Monday, November 28, 2016
Thursday, November 24, 2016
After the battle of Midway where the Imperial navy suffered a catastrophic defeat, the Japanese had great difficulty in transporting men and material to Burma, where the Imperial army was fighting the British Indian army by sea, as their carrier fleet had been annihilated. This led them to plan to construct a rail line through the thick jungles to Rangoon. It was an arduous task and the Japanese thought it fit to use Allied Prisoners of War as labor for this construction. One of the most difficult stretches was across the river at Kwai. All around the river there were dense tropical forests and cutting through the forest and constructing the bridge over the river was a very difficult task.
The Japanese had a paucity of time and they wanted the bridge and rail line ready in as a short time as possible. this led a very harsh regimen for the prisoners who were made to work 12 hours a day with hardly any food to eat. This aspect of Japanese character has baffled me as they studiously ignored the Geneva Convention on POWs. The Japanese soldiers overseeing the construction treated the prisoners badly and many died during the course of the construction. it was a terrible time and after the war, the Allies tried many of the Imperial army officers and soldiers and hanged many of them.
The Bridge is still there and is a tourist site. There is also an excellent museum that showcases the construction of the bridge. All in all, it’s a place worth visiting.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Review of Sophie Schiller’s latest novel: The Race to Tibet
The novel “Race to Tibet”
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Goa and the bikini
Goa brims with foreign tourists around the year and no other spot except Goa deals with such astronomical tourist-influx. Goa is indeed in oddity with all other tourist zones of India. And what that fixates one’s eyeballs upon and also heats up a debate among ministers of Goa is ‘bikini’.
Why is it that biknis still continue to be a matter of squeamishness among the ministries of Goa? Very recently, Goa PWD minister Sudin Dhavalika reportedly said that he would oppose a free bikini wear in Goa. He is reported to have said that if tourists come to Goa wearing bikinis, then I am against it. He added that “culture” was against wearing the two-piece bathing garment. In contrast the Tourism minister Parulekar had commented that as a tourism minister, he had never said no to bikinis.
The tourism minister, however, added that bikinis could be worn on beaches as well as swimming pools but not in supermarkets or temples. One gets a feeling that politics is needlessly injected into a mundane topic. Maybe to hog the limelight, but it could also be playing to the gallery for votes and popularity. Many people love moral policing.
Live and let live
With no intention of inflicting my views on any body who is reading, I put forward my stand on the ‘bikini-issue’. Well, in my eyes, I don’t see any need for a ban on bikinis on the beach, that is, in swimming pools, markets, kiosks or any open-to-public section. One should not forget that the ancient Indian dresses as seen from paintings and sculptures are far more revealing.
Most tourists who come to Goa do it to relax and let their hair down. Many come from extremely cold countries and Goa is heaven for them, with its sunshine and all weather beaches.
Donning a bikini is one’s self choice and there should be no talk of culture and heritage etc. These can be self-defeating. I think bringing politics into wearing a bikini is not the right approach. In real terms many Indian girls also wear bikinis. Goa on the Arabian Sea is a blessed place, let's keep it that way.
How King Solomon Seduced the Queen of Sheba
A great seduction
When the Queen came visiting Solomon she was given a bedroom adjacent to the great king. Solomon had seen the queen and he longed for her. Can we call it love at first sight? He made a devious plan to bed the queen and he resolved to possess her.
Keeping his promise to the queen in mind, Solomon got a large ornamental glass filled with water and took a big sip from it. He later placed the glass by the bedside of the queen. At night the queen felt thirsty and got up and drank from the glass. Solomon who was waiting in an adjoining chamber with an artificial partition was able to watch the Queen not only undress but reinforced his plan to enforce his part of the promise. Solomon entered at once and claimed that as the queen had drunk from his glass she was his. The queen who was in a state of undress had no choice but to acquiesce and she gave herself to Solomon. Perhaps she secretly desired him. It is reported that Solomon made ferocious love to her and soon teh Queen after this bout became his consort. Solomon shifted to her bedroom. All the same, it’s an interesting tale and the union bore fruit as the queen conceived a child from Solomon.
This tale from the bible is wonderful to read and was very well presented on celluloid with Yul Brynner and Gina Lolobrigida in the movie " Solomon and Sheba".