Thursday, February 28, 2008

OMG! Is this place really that??

Watch these pictures, and try to guess for what purpose this facility was built.

And I am sure you would be as surprised and shocked as I was.


Yes. This is a Jail in Austria. Justice Centre of Leoben! (Justizzentrum Leoben)

It sounds crazy but this Justice Centre of Leoben in Austria, was designed by about 10 artists and built in March 2005.

It was developed as an exercise to implement humanitarian thoughts in the building and design of the prison.

Can you believe that? They even say that they took ECHR (European Commission on Human rights) and Other Human Rights and Prison laws into consideration.

When I got a mail with these pics, I laughed it off as one of those crazy emails, but was shocked after a little bit of research. The only thing that made it plausible for me was when I read that this place has courts, prosecutorial offices as well as the prison.

Just imagine criminals having a whale of a time by ending up in this five Star Prison. I now know that if you have to comit a crime, Austria is the place to go and do it.
  • For more pictures on this click here.. [ Remember 'vor' is next, zuruck is previous, schlieben closes the window]
  • For a pdf file on Current issues in Penitentiary Organization and Management, click here
  • For a webpage on Postmodern Prison architecture, click here


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pakistan up ahead

The recent scenes in pakistan are reminiscent of the scenes in India in 1991.

Rajiv Gandhi, the former PM of India was killed in a suicide attack. Just like Benazir Bhutto the former PM of Pakistan was killed last month. And both were on their election campaigns. And both were children of former PMs of their respective countries.

In both cases the elections were postponed. And in both cases their parties swept the polls. Riding on the massive sympathy-wave, both the parties (Congress-I in India & PPP in Pakistan) led the formation of new governments.

Isn't it also a strange coincidence that parents of both, Rajiv (Indira Gandhi) and Benazir(Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) met untimely deaths? While Indira Gandhi was assasinated, Bhutto was hanged.

Very few may even recall that Zulfiker Ali Bhutto had actually writen a book titled If I am Assasinated.

Well, whatever, now the parents as well as their luminary children have stopped emanating the bright light they used to. But their political parties are still going on. And going strong.

Seeing the election coverage on pakistani channels, one can be sure that the future seems tough and wrought with many difficulties, but the determination in the country to make democarcy work is very much palpable. The fact that arch-rivals, PPP [of Benazir's, now led the widowed Asif Zardari], and PML-N [of Nawaz Sheriff] shaking hands is a very very strange occurance in a country like Pakistan. But it is indicative of the willingness to let go egos to form a democratic government. The joy of ousting a dictatorial, Pervez Musharraf, has clearly converted these two ecstatic 'rival political parties' into seemingly willing bed partners.

It could have a strange impact on the US Foreign Policy, as they have already pumped billions into the country in their 'fight against terror'. But then, hopefully, the assurances given by the emerging leadership of the soon-to-form-government must have assuaged apprehensions.

The seemingly uncertain future - I am certain - is going to turn out much better than what was in the past. Maybe no government completed a full term but Pakistan has been learning. And the massive pakistani youngsters, and the growing education systems, can only lead to a brighter outlook.

Time will tell. And I am sure it will tell well.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Indiana Jones is coming back!!!

I am very glad he is coming back. The archeologist, historian and adventurer, Indiana Jones is going to be back on cinema screens after a long long time.

I won't forget how - after watching the first movie, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - I was waiting for the second one Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom which unfortunately was banned in India for its ill-portrayal of indian customs. I was able to still watched it with friends - the father of one of whom got it from Mozambique somehow.

Trailer of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Then, there was the third one Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I watched it in Kishore theatre near Kacheguda. It was about The Holy Grail and I won't forget his amazing escapades, and specially the scene of the large ship's propellers chopping the water, and also chopping off the small boat in which our adventurer is fighting villians. Amazing action.

I just wonder if Harrison Ford is still fit to do his stunts after aaaaalllllll these years. In this fourth one Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

But looks like I must wait till May 22 !

Well.... to get some good things in life, one must be patient.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's - A day too late

It was a different feeling. Very strange. Very special. Sweet Sorrow? Lovely longing? Didn't know what it was. A warm inner glow. A calm simmer of joy. Didn't know what it was called.

It had been happening for a while. Everytime I met her. Everytime I talked to her. Evertime I laughed with her. Everytime she laughed at my jokes. A lump in my throat. A gulp to swallow my thrill. Trying to keep a straight face, when my knees grew weak. Trying to speak normally when my heart thumped at high speed. And I hoped, desperately, that she was feeling the same too.......

Click here to continue on to my old post


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bahrain's Crown Prince speaks

Here we have.

Directly from the Crown Prince, and the Chairman of EDB (Economic Development Board), Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

I liked the way he responded to the Davos Question, on economy. Listen to it. He speaks a bit slowly but very wisely. We sure have a Shaikh who is unshaken when it comes to clear thinking. :-)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sunshine Ahoy!!

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she's gone,
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.

Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

In Seef Cineplex, I used to enjoy the lovely picturization of a Cigarette Advertisement they almost always showed before every movie. It was about a glamorous woman executive, who has gone away. And friends who miss her, are waiting in a yatch, for her to come back. She comes back in a helicopter - or rather, on a sea-plane - and then two steam-boats, travelling in opposite directions, cut the shape of a heart in the water, welcoming her, as she flies in. (And we hear these lovely lines, ...Aint no sunshine..). ......And its the sunshine part that I am drawn to, as she seems to bring it in, or take it away! Or I think that's what Bill Withers meant when he wrote it first.

Just today, I got to know why people seek 'sunshine' so much. This realization dawned upon me, with the sun, this morning.

After the last few days of rain, drizzle, haze, and chill, today, when the Sun finally peeped out of the clouds this morning, it felt warm and it felt wonderful. A special thrill. Especially when it fell on my eye, as I drove to work, near the A'Ali roundabout. It reminded me of yet another song, Top of the World, by Carpenters which, many of you know, has the following words:

Such a feelin’s comin’ over me
There is wonder in most everything I see
Not a cloud in the sky
Got the sun in my eyes
And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream....

The pleasant feeling of sun that comes in from the cold, is really a joy hard to explain. No wonder the Bollywood lyrist Javed Aktar also, penned these lines, giving a list of pleasant sensations.

Ek ladki ko dekha tho aisaa lagaa
Jaise khilata gulaab
Jaise Shayar ka khwaab
Jaise ujali kiran
Jaise van mein hiran
Jaise chaandini raat
Jaise narmi si baat
Jaise mandir mein ho ek...
Jalta diyaa....

Ek ladki ko dekha tho aisaa lagaa
Jaise subhon ki roop
Jaise sardi ki dhoop..
Jaise beena ki taan
Jaise rangon ki jaan

Pay special attention to the line about the 'sardi ki dhoop,' which - let me explain to my non-hindi speaking friends - means 'it felt as lovely as the sunshine in winter'. and 'ujali kiran' means the 'soft bursting out of the sun-ray'

Sunshine, therefore, is lovely. And it is essentially there for us to enjoy. And we should. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”

So, lets enjoy the sunshine. Let the sun shine. In all its warmth! In all its Glory!



Btw, here's a corrolary to the theorem!! Opposing views.

Two quotes :

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”

“It takes both rain and sunshine to make a Rainbow.” (I liked this one)