The “Burning Man” Has Something Important To Say!

There is a possibility that many of us, in the world, do not know about the “Burning man festival” of United States. But this year, there is a good reason for everyone to know about it. Before anything, first let’s talk about what this happening festival is all about! If you want to explore your strength and yourself then “Burning Man” is the right event for you. It’s a week long event that takes place in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, United States. The event organizes a temporary city for the burners, from all the corners of world, without much of the amenities. You are left at what you bring along. You learn to adapt yourself amid the scarce resources without compromising with the joy quotient. You actually enjoy the freedom of expression here and explore your artistic creativity sometimes by creating a costume of straws or by making an umbrella of waste materials.

Come for the community!
Come for the community!

And yes, Burning Man is actually burning an effigy so just RELAX! Now try to relate the event with the prevailing condition of the world today. The condition that raises question at one’s understanding of one’s nationality and sense of humanity. I believe you know what condition am I talking about. Yes, it’s the feeling of hatred that is advancing speedily among everyone of us. The prevailing condition is no less than a World War since every other country, in a direct or indirect way, is involved in this war full of hatred. The hatred because of which one is killing the other and the hatred that we feel for those who commit such butchery.

With people coming from all walks of life, this event instills in you a sense of community. A community that never asks what part of the world you belong to, a community where each member is always ready to help the other with what they have and the other doesn’t have. This week-long event is like a big family picnic where the members relish in peace and harmony, keeping alive their spirit and zeal. The way these members manage with the scarce resources, would remind you of the Barter system. But NO! You don’t sell things to your family members, you share! This Sharing is actually the aspect that makes this event possible. There’s no peace in the world but the world created here, is one that we envisage as UTOPIA. So, if we can live happily with unknown people around, for so many days why not always.

Today, we all have everything still we fight for a piece of land and this piece of land lacks everything. Still peace resides here, at the event! How? Why? Think! Why can’t we make this community possible at a larger level? Why can’t we see the whole world as a big community, a community which is no less than a family? What is this Israel-Palestine conflict for? Why so many innocent lives are in danger? Why in Iraq a journalist, far away from his family, was beheaded so brutally? Why people can’t live like a group but can form a group like ISIS?? What has made the situation so worse that we can’t avoid discussing such depressing elements? No matter, whether you are in the war inflicted area or not, you get affected mentally and emotionally. Can’t we learn anything from this “Burning Man festival”? Doesn’t it symbolize what we lack today?

Asked so many questions. Someone please answer! Let’s just utilize this event, this time for spreading a message of community, humanity across the planet. Make sure that the effigy that you burn this time symbolize nothing but Hatred, Enmity, Terror, Fear and all those evil aspects that shouldn’t ever be the part of human beings.

World War Ended or Extended…??

Hundred years ago, the whole world witnessed a phase, that is, World War I that divided the world itself. The word ‘Humanity’ was either killed or it got lost somewhere in the war. Many a souls who didn’t even know what the whole war is all about lost everything to it. However, the destructive part has become a history now. And the present is peaceful, humanity runs in the blood of each and every creature, the world is united. PEACEFUL, HUMANITY, UNITY and PRESENT?? You’ve got to be kidding me!

In the pages of history, World War I got over in 1918 but can the present actually believe it? The war that began in 1914, could not be subdued till now. Instead, with the passage of time, advancement of science and advanced technology, the wars are now less manual and more a ‘game of mind’. Wars are now more technical, more advanced and hence more DEVASTATING!

Horror! Horror!
Horror! Horror!

You may hear cries, lamentations coming from every part of the world. These 100 years have seen hundreds of such wars, with each one no less destructive than the World War I. Nothing could be more ghastly than the atomic attack that ravaged Hiroshima and Nagasaki the impact of which is visible even today and suffered by today’s generation as well. Can anyone of you forget those fateful planes that were crashed into the twin towers of World Trade Center, this attack took toll on as many as 3,000 lives? You don’t have to give strain to your minds in remembering a recent attack on an International passenger flight of Malaysia, that was shot down at Ukraine-Russia border. Who were to blame here, the citizens of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, people who were there at the World trade center or the people who were traveling via the flight?

Destruction everywhere!
Destruction everywhere!

Few days back, a news came from Iraq that around 1,700 soldiers were massacred brutally by ISIS. The number of killings and bombings in Gaza city is changing every day only to show a picture, more horrible. In every page of a newspaper, you would find news around the bombings, killings, destructions that are taking place in Gaza city, Israel, Iraq and many other cities or countries. The situation has become much worse than before with a slight change in the whole scenario; earlier, it was a war between different nations but now the war takes place within a nation. People who share same space, feel same air, walk on same path become too bloodthirsty to see anyone alive. And, the reason why people and nations are stabbing each other is beyond my reason.

Are such wars real reasons as to why we are hunting for other planets, to ESCAPE? In any war World War I, World War II, India-Pakistan war or Israel-Palestine, the ones who suffer the most are common people. Just to prove one’s vain supremacy over issues like Region, Religion, Nation etc, we are not only ruining the present but sending the same message to our future as well. A bloody future! If we fail to stop all such atrocities & destructions, the day is not far when we will be facing the The Third World War since the present designs the FUTURE! Time to think, what kind of future are we planning for the coming generations? Decide now! Whether you want them to “Blame” you or “Thank” you?

Funny Fans Around Tour de France

The hullabaloo of Tour de France is something that has clouded the atmosphere of England these days. All the din and clamor on the roads belong to the riders who have come all the way to England for the famous Tour de France. On one hand, they boast up their favorite riders whereas on the other they turnout to be a danger not only for the riders but also for themselves in their over-enthusiastic endeavors. One such attempt that has become prominent these days is taking a selfie with a live race in the background. Click!!Click!!

Nice Click!
Nice Click!

Amid all these enthusiasm and clamor, it’s a month long party in the beautiful county of England i.e Yorkshire. But the fans can’t be stopped with a party, they do everything to express and support their love for the cycling and their favorite riders or cyclists. Gone are the times when fans used to tattoo the names of their favorite sportsmen, flag of their respective nations but nowadays they paint whole of their body from head to toe to look so bizarre so as to attract the attention of the one they want. If in a static position, you would for sure take them as a dummy but static and that too a fan!!!! Not possible at all.

Superheroes to help you??
Superheroes to help you??

But the most hilarious situation occurs when the fans, in the costumes of some super-heroes like superman, batman try to fly along with their outstretched capes. Imagine, what can happen if in their attempt to flap their capes, they flap it at the face of the one looking straight at his target?? Nothing would be more shocking and horrible for the cyclists if, unexpectedly, someone jumps before them in some scary costumes like that of Satan, chimpanzee and with some very horrible masks.

Watch out!!
Watch out!!

So far we were talking about fans dressing up themselves in different ways but no less are fans who do something way opposite to it. Yes, either they undress themselves or in half-naked state start cheering for the one they are backing. Less do they embarrass the crowd around than the riders they are running along. Such is the extent of their sport’s mania.

Along with a race for cyclists and fans  the bicycle racing, like Tour de France, become a race for the surgeons as well. Finding any of the riders in need of medical assistance, they don’t flinch back to assist them racing along and around many cyclists only to get injured later.

Doc on Duty!
Doc on Duty!

Such crazy endeavors of the fans always remind me of the movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. A comical plot, the story captures the journey of a man following his beloved bicycle everywhere and trying to retrieve it at any cost. It was undoubtedly his passion for cycling, on that very bike, that made him dream of winning the Tour de France. Very beautifully has Tim Burton portrayed the life of, we can say, a fan or a lover who goes to any length just to have his interest back despite of whole lot of problems around. The movie is an essential watch for all those who love cycling or have anything to keep intact forever.

All of us want to do something very unusual for the one we are fans of. So are the fans doing in Yorkshire, England these days in their own way to prove their craziness for the sport and sportsman. Let’s just hope these attempts work in the favor of their favorites and don’t distract and throw them off their game. And, fans end up being an encouragement for the cyclists and the bicycle racing, for them, does not become a race against co-riders, time and finally against the fans!


Germany Going To Create History Again?

 

The whole Germany is on the winning roll these days. While the country is in the mood of jubilation for being the best at kicking the decisive ball into the net, Mercedes is all set to add to this national celebration by proving their proficiency for making hybrid Formula 1 technology at their home grand prix. One Sunday witnessed Germany winning FIFA World Championship 2014, another can witness Germany making it again on coming Sunday by winning the German grand prix at Hockenheim.

It's Mercedes this time!
It’s Mercedes this time!

The Mercedes team last won at home in 1954, thanks to the great Argentine racing car driver Juan Manuel Fangio. This time the responsibility of winning it back with a home car, after almost 60 years, lies on Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. But since Mercedes have got the most sophisticated system of FRIC, it would be really interesting to watch how this ban on FRIC affects the order of the top team. The teams according to the top ranking so far are Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India.

Among other German F1 drivers, there are Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenbergand Adrian Sutil. Sebastian Vettel is already known as successor to Michael Schumacher. Just at a tender age of 27, he has in his account four world titles and more than 35 race wins. And, since he won the German Grand Prix last year at Nurburgring, he is practising hard to make it this time as well. Even he has got the fair chances tokeep the joy of Germany intact during this winning season. Being a local boy at Hockenheim, he is much more familiar with the track than any other Formula 1 drivers.

Win it at home!!!
Win it at home!!!

However, for Rosberg also it’s no lesser than a second home as he states, “Hockenheim is a crucial race for all of us, it’s the home Grand Prix for Mercedes-Benz and a second home race for me after Monaco, so I’m really focused on getting a top result this weekend.”Having gained such determination and talent, Germany is all set to win this Formula 1 championship giving its people yet another reason to take pride in.


With a home circuit around and having tasted a win recently, the German F1 drivers have the familiar and enthusiastic crowd to support them and their country. Let’s see who among the four drivers keep the German flag flying higher and higher this year. By winning this championship, these German F1 drivers can also wish Germany’s best, Michael Schumacher, the quickest recovery possible.

 

Farnborough Airshow Waiting To Thrill You!!!

 

Par excellence!!!
Par excellence!!!

Artists, authors and poets even if all the three come together to express an experience of flying, nothing can come close to experiencing it for yourself. Deep rooted is the desire in us, the human beings, to transcend, to break free from our physical limitations and experience what it feels like when flying. The birds racing along the air, playing up in the sky seem to be mocking at us for the abilities that we lack.

But this gives no less a sense of freedom when you hold the controls of an aircraft and fly it at your will, to the best of your ability. For a moment, you feel like as if the nature has turned its course and has bestowed you with the wings that you were lacking so far. But along with this rejoice comes a sense of responsibility among the aviators who control an aircraft with passengers. A whole train of people blindly trusts an aviator who assures them a safe and unforgettable experience of flying along.

From up above, you feel like commanding a whole city that seems to you nothing but a toy model of that city you are flying in the skies of.  But the real amazement comes when you witness any air show. The place where these aviators get a chance to display their flying abilities which they can’t do in a normal flight. Thus, they show their as well as the capabilities of their aircrafts via aerobatics and aircraft designs.

Aerobatics appeal much to the masses than the static air shows. In a static air show you get to see is the hugeness of aircraft and the uniqueness of the aircraft designs. The feeling of being so close to different kinds of aircrafts (military or civilian) is no lesser exciting. But the thrill that comes across with the huge soar across the skies with various twists and turns of the aircrafts gives you an ELECTRIFYING experience.

Magnificent
Magnificent!!!

If you really want to experience such a state, make sure that you don’t miss Farnborough airshow 2014, at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire. A week-long show, the show offers a major display of defence and aerospace industry. Though the first-five days are solely for the trade purpose, the Farnborough airshow dedicates its last two days for public. The show promises to make you run out of superlatives with its hypnotic displays of aerobatics.

The charismatic displays would not let you see anywhere but at the sky. The sky gets so occupied with these aircraft displays that it seems that even our very birds are watching silently at some place enjoying and appreciating the human abilities. This air show brings together the aircrafts, aviators, aviation and enthusiasts at one amazing show. So hurry for booking the air show tickets to be the part of such a magnificent show as farnborough airshow 2014 for going through a wave of exciting feelings.

 

Playing Pétanque on Bastille Day

Aim it near the jack,” a common phrase that you might hear these days if you happen to traverse the streets of France. But who or what this Jack is? Before answering this let me throw a question at you. How do you celebrate any festival? Simply, by organizing feasts, throwing parties, getting yourself indulged in singing and dancing or so…but here we have France that does everything that has just been mentioned along with playing a special game called “Petanque” to celebrate its National Day known as le quatorze juillet or the la fête nationale.  Jack becomes your target in this game. The nearer you throw your metallic balls near it, the more are your chances to win.

Petanque is also known around the world as Boules in French. It is an exciting game that was first played in France around 1907 and has quickly become very popular all over the world. It can be played outdoors by everyone no matter what their age or athletic ability. All that’s needed is a friend or two, an open space, a small ball called a jack, six or 8 larger metal balls called boules and the ability to aim and throw.

Near the Jack...
Near the Jack…

To play Petanque, players divide up into two teams composed of one, two or three players. After deciding who goes first, a player throws the jack from a designated throwing spot. The rest of the game is spent trying to throw your boules closer to the jack than the other team does. After all the boules are thrown, the team with the closest boule receives a point for each boule that is closer to the jack than their opponents. The first team to earn 13 points wins the game.

The Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam, Cambodia, Pondicherry (India) that have a history of French colonial influence actively participate in Pétanque. The Pétanque World Championships, an international competition takes place every two years.

However, since it’s the Bastille season in France, you may find people gathering outside their homes to either actively participate in the game or for becoming a cheerful spectator trying to enthuse their favorite teams. Now something about the “Bastille Day”.

Most of the English speaking countries name France National Day as the “Bastille Day”. The Bastille functioned primarily as a penitentiary, from 1659 onwards to detain those who protested against the supremacy of monarchy. The day commemorates the storming of a French prison, the Bastille, on July 14, 1789. This is when a large group of people in France rebelled against their corrupt king and queen.

But what does the Bastille Day in France actually mean to French and Francophiles?? Though France’s national day is named after the storming of the Bastille, it isn’t really about that event. For the French, the holiday is mainly about national pride: the tricolor bleu-blanc-rouge flag, France’s national anthem La Marseillaise, and the values liberté, fraternité, and égalité are much more important to this day than the storming of the Bastille.The day marks the end of Monarchy, Despotism and the beginning of modern Republic.

Every year the celebration of la fête nationale begins with the traditional Military Parade down the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The parade is accompanied by musical performances, including a rendition of the national anthem. The day becomes more dynamic with live dance and music performances and games like pétanque.And, the rendezvous continues well into the night with The Eiffel Tower being lit up with amazing and spectacular fireworks displays.

Eiffel Towers celebrating Bastille Day
Eiffel Towers celebrating Bastille Day

And Petanque, the game with no bars on happiness and age adds to the festivities even more.


Obama’s Asia Trip April 2014 and U.S Foreign Policy

Foreign visit by the Head of the State is integral to foreign policy. Foreign policy is made always in the interest of the state. Foreign policy has no room for charity or benevolence. The interest of the state is what only constitutes foreign policy. Therefore, when a state makes its foreign policy, it considers nothing but only what shapes its interests.

Foreign visits by the head of the state or President makes huge headlines in newspapers and breaking news in news channels. It becomes all media frenzy when the President of the United States of America makes foreign visits. The media circus do not cease. The experts on foreign policies and strategic alliance do not stop speculating the foreign visits and its impact on the foreign policies. U.S President Barack Obama slated foreign visit to Asia in April 2014 has given given rise to fresh speculations.

Foreign Affairs

U.S foreign policy remains preoccupied with the Middle East. When it comes to U.S foreign policy in Asia, Obama administration has made some efforts to focus in the Asia-Pacific region. Security and economics form the core of the U.S foreign policy in Asia-Pacific region. Obama administration has tried to focus on the dynamics of engagement and enlargement.

The confirmation of President Obama’s scheduled visit to Asia in April 2014 has been seen as supporting the argument of increasing efforts of Obama administration for greater trade and strategic ties. Strengthening trade relations and security ties lie at the top of the agenda of President Obama upcoming visit in the region.

During this visit, President Obama is slated to visit Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. There are speculations around how Washington looks at the regional dynamics and internal issues surrounding the region. There are contentious and conflicting issues that affect the countries in the East Asia region. The region is struggling with territorial disagreements, border issues, nationalism and security concerns. White House needs to decide how America is going to deal with these issues while developing its ties in the East Asia region.

Asia is one of the biggest markets in the world. Globalization has opened up huge markets in Asia. The United States of America is looking for increasing trade ties in the region. Greater trade ties is important for both U.S and Asia-Pacific countries. The greater economic ties is important to foreign policies of U.S.

The experts are also looking at the visit from the direction of China’s growing power in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s growing economic and military power in the region does impact America’s interest in the region. Some countries’ territorial disputes and historical issues with China will impact U.S ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

After 9/11 and the following U.S War on Terror, the countries all over the world have increased their military budget for internal security. The Asian countries have also increased their military expenditure with cuts on public welfare. The increasing military expenses have slowed the economy in the region.

The scheduled visit of President Obama in Asia would be analyzed with how America deals with the issues in the Asia-Pacific region which conflicts with its interests in the region. Experts have the opinion that U.S should be focusing on developing greater ties with Asia-Pacific countries to increase its stake in the region. Obama’s foreign visit to Asia in April 2014 has attracted all eyes and continues to be analyzed by media, experts, strategists and countries interested in U.S foreign policies.

“The Help” – The Movie and the American Society

Recently, to mark the Black History Month and also to mark the upcoming International Women’s Day, when some of our friends decided to watch a movie based on the period of Civil Rights Movement in America, we all zeroed on watching the movie “The Help”. This movie beautifully portrays the plight of African American maids in the homes of White Americans in Mississippi. Emma Stone plays an aspiring author “Eugenia Skeeter” in the movie who decides to write a book on the miserable plight of African American maids serving White Americans.

Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis in “The Help.”

The Help” is a great movie which revolves around African American women who were treated as slaves by whites. The film opens with a hard-hitting scene where an African American woman standing with weary eyes and saying “ I am a domestic-help, my mother was a domestic help and my grandmother was a house slave. “ The first scene throws light on the heart-wrenching situation of the African American women and how they were trapped in the cycle of slavery for generations. The slavery continued to persist and changed only to some other form of slavery in the next generation that is to say from house slave to domestic help.

The African American women worked in the families of white American and did their household chores. But they were not allowed to use the same toilets on the ground of the color of their skin. The scene in the movie in which the maid used the toilet of the white owner without informing her reflects the racism that was prevalent in the society at that time. She was thrown out of the house and fired from the job by her white master.

The maid played by Octavia Spencer, revenged her insult by baking a pie which carried her faeces. Pretending that she regrets, she took that pie to her former white owner and made her eat. After that she tells her, ”Eat my Shit”. This scene brought satire. But it also carried the deep run pain faced by African Americans. It reflects the victimization of the African Americans. The portrayal of the maid is integral and draws attention of the society. Octavia Spencer won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her great performance in this film.

I really appreciate Emma Stone’s character in the movie. Being a white woman during the period of Civil Rights Movement in America, she stood against segregation. She decides to write the book “The Help” to bring attention to inhuman treatment meted out to African American maids. Through her book she tried to bring a change in the society. Reform was her call.

The movie at large touches upon racism, but it also can be viewed through a gender lens. In this film, women are shown doing stereotype role which is cleaning, cooking washing, ironing and other household works. The white women were privileged to have domestic help in the form of African American women. The white women enjoyed having parties and gatherings at home. The African American women performed all the household work of white women along with taking care of their white children. Also, after returning from work, the African American women performed their own household chores along with sending their children to bed.

Viola Davis in “The Help”

On watching this movie, it is observed that though African Americans are liberated after the Civil Rights Movement but they still face discrimination. The African Americans enjoy the equal rights granted by the constitution and laws but still racism is not uprooted in America. It still persists with its ugly face in some form or the other.

The African Americans face discrimination at workplace. There are still black neighborhoods. The African Americans don’t get easy access to residences in white-dominated neighborhood. Socio-economic disparities still persist in the American society. African Americans are lagging behind in education and jobs.

The race divide has somewhat converted into class divide. The African Americans occupy the lowest ladder in socio-economic condition. They still have not been able to break that glass ceiling. Though some African Americans have reached the highest positions in Government and public life. The United States of America has its first African American President, Barack Obama but the socio-economic reality of most of the African Americans remains low.

The Joy behind Powder Day Celebration

The Powder Day (Vermont)

The Powder Day (Vermont)
The Powder Day (Vermont)

The Powder day has different significance in different parts of the world. Let’s check it out! It is often said, there’s no business like snow business. A perfect place to spend holidays is on hill station. Now this is not only for the newly married honeymoon couples but there is a lot more for the people craving for thrill and adventure. Every day is a powder day for shredders and skiers as the saying goes, “no friends on a powder day.” Just pack your bags to the mountains covered with snow, 24*7 hours, to enjoy the essence of the Powder Day Celebration. Many places celebrate Powder Day for example Vail, Vermont etc. These places cover almost all the skiing events. Two popular types of skiing are:-

a. Alpine Skiing:-

  • Extreme skiing

  • Freeriding

  • Newschool skiing

  • Freestyle skiing

b. Nordic Skiing

  • Cross-country skiing

  • Backcountry skiing

  • Biathlon

  • Disabled Nordic skiing

  • Nordic combined

The Powder Day (Spain)

Nowadays, the Powder Day Celebration involves throwing talcum powder irrespective of the gender or origin. People keep throwing powder till the other person is completely covered with it. Number of visitors come to Tolox to participate in this peculiar fiesta. According to the statistics, up to 3,000 kilograms of talcum powder is known to have thrown all over the village. According to a chronicler, there was a bitter argument and fight between a Moorish and Christian girl. They both loved same man. These girls worked at bakery and ended up throwing flour at each other.

The Powder Day (Spain)
The Powder Day (Spain)

Later on the custom evolved of young men asking their girlfriends to throw flour at them if they agreed to the marriage proposal. The girls who rejected the proposal use to lock themselves in their homes. The closed doors and windows indicated that the proposal has been rejected. Keen guys had to yet work smartly either by climbing their roof of their houses or breaking the window and then dust his beloved face with flour to prove their love. This was a way of winning the heart of a girl symbolically.

The Colored Powder Day/Holi (India)

Holi or the The Colored Powder festival is one of the major festivals of India and is the most vibrant and colorful of all the Indian fests. The joys of Powder Day Celebration knows no bound. Holi symbolizes the dawn of the spring season. It is celebrated in many parts of South Asia, covering Nepal as well. The Holi celebration start with a Holika bonfire, which is held on the night before Holi. The coming morning is free for all carnival of colors. People are involved in merry making by applying colored powder at each others face, hair, everywhere, conditions applied, errr!!!. Everyone plays and chases each other with dry powder and colored water. Some also carry water colors guns and small colorful water filled balloons.

The Colored Powder Day/Holi (India)
The Colored Powder Day/Holi (India)

People sing and dance on the regional or Bollywood songs with the local drink called, “bhaang”. Bhaang is a popular intoxicating drink. It is made up of cannabis leaves. It may have whole spices, poppy seeds, watermelon seeds and rose petals to bring variation in the recipe. Gujiya is served as any festival is incomplete without dessert. Gujiya is a sumptuous cuisine of North India especially Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. “Dhol” or drum adds to the party mood. So rock and roll on the rhythm of “dhol”!!