Friday, December 11

Be lucky - it's an easy skill to learn


I've spoken about luck before. And how I think I've been very lucky. Heck, mum says that things come very easily to me. I'm guessing that's another word for lucky. 

Remember what Napoleon said? I prefer generals who are lucky. And for a very long time kids, I always said that the secret to my luck is simply because I jump at more opportunities than the next person. Secondly I try to be happy. And I'm frequently accused by a close friend of being a Pollyanna. Look it up. 

Remember I keep on banging on with you Kannu that you need to keep on exploring opportunities? That's the key, kids. Keep your eyes out. Get out of your comfort zone. Keep challenging yourself. Don't go to sleep without having learnt 5 things, met one new person, made two people laugh and one very large hug and a kiss. 

So it was with pleasure I read this book review which said what I've said above in a more structured and scientific manner. 

You can be lucky and learn to be lucky. 



Be lucky - it's an easy skill to learn
(via Instapaper)

A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I wanted to examine the impact on people’s lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time. After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.

Thursday, December 10

How to Drink Whiskey


I've spoken to many times about whisky. Or whiskey. Take your pic. Here's an interesting article on the art of drinking whisky. Worthwhile reading. Drinking is an art son. Anybody can get drunk. I used to get drunk regularly. Sloshed. Blotto. Comatose. Puking drunk. Till you were born. And then I grew up in a hurry. Needed to take care of my little baby. You. Cutely cuddled in my arms. I can't really drink or need to drink do I? Given I was too busy drinking you in :) 

Drinking is an art as I mentioned. You're in Tenerife with your friends so drinking is good. It lubricates conversation and makes you less uptight. But remember one thing. Never drink alone son. Ever. Not good. It's a classic sign that something's going wrong somewhere son. As for getting drunk, you'll know and learn when you need to stop :)

By the way, I've found a place in Thailand which offers a PADI licence in a week and it's not too expensive. About £1000 all in including flights. So as soon as you're happy that your asthma is under control (make sure you visit the doctor) I'll treat you to this holiday and get a PADI licence for you. What is amusing is that you'll most probably get your PADI licence before you get your driving licence! :)

Hope you're having a wonderful time son and have a great special day. 



How to Drink Whiskey
(via Instapaper)


While whiskey was first billed as a medicinal substance — aquavitae or “water of vitality” — it soon gained popularity and became one of the most popular drinks in the world. Whiskey as we know it was probably first distilled in the 1400s, and probably in Scotland, according to the best hard evidence we have. Especially in England and Ireland, it became the drink of choice, and through taxation, came to contribute 30%-50% of the nation’s revenue.

With the colonization of the states, the popular beverage crossed the Atlantic, and Mr. George Washington himself counted whiskey as his favorite vice. He even opened a distillery at Mount Vernon which ended up being one of the largest in the young nation. They continue to make whiskey today.

When death rained from the skies

Warning. Very distressing photographs ahead. Do not read if you're of a sensitive disposition. 

These photographs are from the ground in Ukraine where the MH17 plane's bits and bobs landed. Some bobs landed as well. You don't see these photographs usually on tv or newspapers. 

The sheer banality of the man still strapped inside his seat and has fallen to his death. Wheat fields giving birth to the dead. Just when I couldn't be more shocked, the other photographs managed to shock me even more. A body crashed through this man's bedroom. You can see the hole in the roof. And is lying next to the bed. All the clothes have been blown off the body. Can't make out if it's a man or woman. The dead have no dignity. 

And then the photo of the man with his head held low in the red shirt leaning on the windowsill is Igor. He owns this place. He was in the bedroom when the body came crashing through. 

I was trying to imagine the man's feelings. And trying to put myself in his shoes. And failed miserably. I don't know if they had family. But that bedroom would be associated with violent undignified death. 

What a tragic set of photographs. Makes me hate war even more but worse was to come. 

Wednesday, December 9

Fear in the eyes

Can you see the eyes of this migrant who is hiding from the police? Under the car? In Mellila, which is an enclave of Spain on the coast of North Africa. These little enclaves are an historical oddity, left over from the days of colonialism and imperialism. 

And now they are the promised land. Land where African refugees flood into, trying to get into Europe. 

But those eyes. Fear. Totally fear filled eyes. 

Monday, December 7

When the mother forgave her son's murderer

Look at the photos first

Confusing? Let me explain. This is a set of six photographs showing what happened when the man convicted of murder was lead out to be hanged and the noose out around his neck. All in public. And then the mother of the victim, ironically the two men were friends, slapped he murderer and he was pardoned. 

The bottom middle photo shows the mother walking away, clutching her bio around her face. No tears. I'm guessing she is all cried out. While the murderer's family is celebrating. 

What was she thinking? I cannot imagine. But that was such a ginormous act of courage and charity. I would have killed the murderer myself. Sod charity. But this act of redemption is spectacular. I just stood in front of the photograph and was stunned. Nothing spectacular. Just a poor old woman who lost her son. And then she forgave her son's murderer. 

What a decision. What a heart. Respect. That's all. Utter respect. 

I kept walking and came across another set of photographs. 

These are photographs of mothers. Who lost their sons during the Iraq Iran war. And they have no idea if their sons are alive or dead. The only thing they know is hat they have hope. And fading remanents of their existence. Photographs. Letters. No tears. Again they have been cried out. But they hold hope. 

I was driving up to oxford to collect Kannu and I heard this radio play on bbc radio 4. About the town called as Hama. Which was brutally obliterated by Assad senior. And the play talked about this mother whose son was locked up by the regime and nobody knew if he was dead or alive. And how she slowly pined away. And then died of a broken heart. Clutching faded letters and photographs. Of her son. 

And all I could do was to just hug Kannu when I saw him. It's true. When your child is born, you know your heart is walking around outside your body.

I find myself in a dual situation. I can see the longing I have for my son whose now a man and is busy making his own way in life. Away from us. I'm right now flying over India. Going to meet my aged father. 

Who pines away for his children. And I'm much further away. 

Ah the joys and pains of being a father and son. 

Sunday, December 6

When chocolate takes the place of your parents

This is Igor. He's in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. Where 1/2 the population has left for better paying jobs abroad. Igor was left in this boarding school. His mother died in Russia and he's never seen his father. His grandmother gave him some chocolate to celebrate with his friend Renat. 

Just that.