Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year? Already???

Yet another year is going away.

Into the past.

Wasn't it just yesterday that we were all talking about the Year 2000??

But then, the cliche rings true. And time and tide have just followed their platitude. Seven years just rolled right past our surprised faces.

And now as we stand on the threshhold of 2008, without knowing what's in store for us, what can I wish for all of us ?

Judging from the horrible things we see, hear, and read - in Newspapers, TV, Radio and Internet - I can only feel that its appropriate to wish for PEACE.

I wish for all of us, a time of peace.

Peace in our families, among our friends, within our community, inside our country, around the world. Peace.

Salaam.....Shalom..... Shanti.....

Peace in the valley

May it be a peaceful...and.. ofcourse.... a happy new year.

God Bless us all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Stone

This is one of my favourite poems.

It is a poem about a girl whose lover is dead. And she goes to a stone cutter asking him to cut a tombstone for her dead lover.

I read out the poem here. You can listen. Just turn on the speakers or headphones, and click on the 'play' button below. While it is playing, you can even follow the words by reading them below.


Wilfred Wilson Gibson

"AND will you cut a stone for him,
To set above his head?
And will you cut a stone for him—
A stone for him?" she said.

Three days before, a splintered rock
Had struck her lover dead—
Had struck him in the quarry dead,
Where, careless of the warning call,
He loitered, while the shot was fired—
A lively stripling, brave and tall,
And sure of all his heart desired...
A flash, a shock,
A rumbling fall...
And, broken 'neath the broken rock,
A lifeless heap, with face of clay;
And still as any stone he lay,
With eyes that saw the end of all.

I went to break the news to her;
And I could hear my own heart beat
With dread of what my lips might say
But, some poor fool had sped before;
And flinging wide her father's door,
Had blurted out the news to her,
Had struck her lover dead for her,
Had struck the girl's heart dead in her,
Had struck life, lifeless, at a word,
And dropped it at her feet:
Then hurried on his witless way,
Scarce knowing she had heard.

And when I came, she stood, alone
A woman, turned to stone:
And, though no word at all she said,
I knew that all was known.

Because her heart was dead,
She did not sigh nor moan,
His mother wept:
She could not weep.
Her lover slept:
She could not sleep.
Three days, three nights,
She did not stir:
Three days, three nights,
Were one to her,
Who never closed her eyes
From sunset to sunrise,
From dawn to evenfall:
Her tearless, staring eyes,
That seeing naught, saw all.

The fourth night when I came from work,
I found her at my door.
"And will you cut a stone for him?"
She said: and spoke no more:
But followed me, as I went in,
And sank upon a chair;
And fixed her grey eyes on my face,
With still, unseeing stare.
And, as she waited patiently,
I could not bear to feel
Those still, grey eyes that followed me,
Those eyes that plucked the heart from me,
Those eyes that sucked the breath from me
And curdled the warm blood in me,
Those eyes that cut me to the bone,
And pierced my marrow like cold steel.

And so I rose, and sought a stone;
And cut it, smooth and square:
And, as I worked, she sat and watched,
Beside me, in her chair.
Night after night, by candlelight,
I cut her lover's name:
Night after night, so still and white,
And like a ghost she came;
And sat beside me in her chair;
And watched with eyes aflame.

She eyed each stroke;
And hardly stirred:
She never spoke
A single word:
And not a sound or murmur broke
The quiet, save the mallet-stroke.

With still eyes ever on my hands,
With eyes that seemed to burn my hands,
My wincing, overwearied hands,
She watched, with bloodless lips apart,
And silent, indrawn breath:
And every stroke my chisel cut,
Death cut still deeper in her heart:
The two of us were chiselling,
Together, I and death.

And when at length the job was done,
And I had laid the mallet by,
As if, at last, her peace were won,
She breathed his name; and, with a sigh,
Passed slowly through the open door:
And never crossed my threshold more.

Next night I laboured late, alone,
To cut her name upon the stone.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Runway on sea?

I was surprised at the stunning pictures of a runway built almost on sea!!

I received these pictures - some of which I placed below - as an an e-mail forward from my friend Mohan Gokavi, and couldn't help investigating a bit.

I now understand that this is a beautiful island called 'Madeira' that belongs to Portugal. At a 15 minute flight-distance from Lisbon, this airport has won the IABSE award for structural engineering. Click here to more about the award.

The Award recognises the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structures completed within the last few years.

Watch pictures below and enjoy. Don't miss the cars parked under the bridge!

Madeira Islands

The Madeira Islands, known originally to the Romans as the Purple Islands, were found (accidentally) by the Portuguese in the 15th Century.

Positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, about 360 miles directly west of Morocco, Africa, and 540 miles southwest of Lisbon, Portugal, Madeira and Porto Santo are the only inhabited islands.

These islands are a popular year-round resort, famed worldwide for their Madeira wine, embroidery artisans, a perfect climate, striking scenery and beautiful flowers.