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Monday, 31 August 2015

Fishing Trail at Bull Sluice Lake

No, I do not go out for fishing, I don't even have the patience to wait for a catch, but nevertheless, I was very amused at the little boy of 5years jumping up and down excitedly, waiting to see the fish trapped on the line. He helped his father roll in the cord and would hand the rod back to his father,then run back few meters away and wait while his papa adjusted the bait at the end of the line and swing the fishing line to the far end of the lake and then he would come back to hold the rod and hoping to lure a catch.

Bull Sluice Lake is the extension of Chattahoochee Lake that I had visited earlier. This is the shallow end of the lake closer to the Morgan Falls Dam, that generates enough electricity to light up more than 4000 homes in the Atlanta

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Centennial Olympic Park Is a Lovely Spot To Visit In Atlanta.

The first thing that attracted me as I approached the Centennial Olympic Park was the voice of the singer, Tina P as she performed in the concerts on the recreation side of the park at Southern Company Amphitheater.

It could be heard all the way for quite a distance  till we reached the ‘Fountain of Rings’, and then I got distracted with the children playing in the interactive water sprinklers. We had just missed the 6:30 session of computer-controlled lights and jets of water that synchronizes with music. But it fun, watching young kids in the water play area that consists of 251 jets over five large olympics rings.

There were different flags surrounding the fountain area, that represented the host countries of each summer Olympics preceding the 1996 games.

Eight 65 foot tall light towers reminds me of classical Greek marker columns.

There were several pieces of sculptures scattered through the park.

The walking path was paved with small engraved bricks, alternating light and dark red, with short messages, bought by people who supported by contributing towards the cost for construction of this park.

We sat in the park for sometimes and then walked on the other side to enjoy the excellent views of the park and the surrounding area in a joy ride on the 200 foot ferris wheel, till the sun begun to settle down.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Chattahoochee Coffee Company in Atlanta

Long drive through wooded area, we reached a gated residential complex, we seeked permission and entered the private residential complex to have a cup of coffee at Chattahoochee Coffee Company, but oooh la la..What a place!!

We just ordered croissants and capuchins and walked towards Chattahoochee river, sat by the river side sipping coffee till the sun set…..

I could sit here all day because there is so much one can do. In the coffee shop there were comfortable lounges where one could have social meetings or sit and relax, just reading a book perhaps. Outside in the patio, many people sat relaxed, browsing the virtual world on their laptop or mobile. Those who loved nature, walked down to Chattahoochee river to sit on the rocks with feet immersed in water or sit on the comfortable wrought Iron seats, closer to the river. There were some people canoeing down the stream.

This is the place where everybody can enjoy. Swimming pool on one side of the coffee shop and tennis court on the other side. a group of health conscious people were engrossed in Yoga activities. Other group of friends were enjoying a BBQ party in a barn closer to river. A group of children sat listening to the stories and were playing some games under adult supervision

More important, the place was clean and tidy. It was a perfect place to spend a day with self, just being surrounded by nature, if one chose to.

Loved the place.

I could sit here all day and watch the stream. It was so beautiful.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Holocaust Museum at Skokie

I have read many books on stories around holocaust survivors but the impact of going through Holocaust museum was still chilling.

Not that there are actual graphic depictions of the atrocities that were inflicted on Jews on exhibit, there is nothing like that, but the real stories of the survivors is gripping. You walk through the series of cubicles in the main exhibition hall. Each cubicle has exhibits of pictures of people and their activities during that period on the walls, some artifacts, some personal belonging like a purse, or a shoe, or a clothing and the videos of the survivors, who painfully tell their personal stories. The story unfolds as you walk from one cubicle to another. You walk through time, starting with World War 1, through rise of Nazis, the propaganda they used to portray Jews as the ones who bought down the German society, the disinformation they used making the world believe that they were taking Jews to safety when actually they were taking them to Ghettos, the train journey to gas chambers and the growth of the Nazi’s ‘final solution’

I was deeply pained to learn about the plight of young children who once lived a happy and normal lives, but were suddenly pull away from the comforts of a family life and were subjected to starvation and deprivation.

How could people be so cruel and indifferent to human sufferings? How could people have so much hatred and prejudice?

I sat in each cubicle (there was a bench to sit on in some cubicles) to watch videos of survivors. The videos gave the actual narration of the survivors who were children then (during that period). One of the survivors was the youngest in the group of 200 women, and she spoke about how everybody tried to protect her and shared their ration of food with her to keep her strong, giving her the best from the little that they had. In another video, survivor spoke of the stench and stink in the railway compartment, in which they were transported to concentration camps. A chill passed through my spine as I saw the miniature models of gas chambers and the actual railway car, that is restored and was on exhibit inside the museum. I saw some people entering the car to witness the pain (I could not) I was transported to another world and at times, I could feel as though it was in the middle of the war.

My mood lightened up when I went downstairs to the Educational hall, which was interactive with games and quiz, educating children on how to be kind and tolerant. Through this initiative, it fosters the promotion of human rights and the elimination of genocide.

‘Never again’ is the strong message you bring back home as you walk through the bookstall and out to the real world.

I spend more than three hours inside the museum but was not able to see all of it. Didn’t spend much time, watching each photograph minutely in the art gallery, nor did I wait to see the movie about genocide, nor did I enter the railway car, nor did I spend any time in the coffee shop. I wish I had.

I came out to wait for car to fetch me, it was still sunny and warm outside, a gentleman came up to me and offered me to come back inside the museum and wait in the the AC rooms. It was only two minutes wait, I did not go back in, but his kindness lingered on…….

if you are in Chicago, do go and have a lookie….
9603 Woods Dr
Skokie, IL 60077
b/t Golf Rd & Old Orchard Rd


Monday, 17 August 2015

All Aboard by Kiran Manral – An interview

I had a talk with Kiran Manral when she had published her second bookOnce upon a time

 Now she is back with yet another book ‘All Aboard’, a story completely different from her other two books but entertaining nevertheless. Her characters are normally the people you meet on daily basis. She talks about an interesting character from her book Rina Massi,eccentric retired school mistress who is the protagonist Rhea Khanna's aunt and she's a livewire.”


When Rhea Khanna is dumped just days before her marriage, by her boyfriend of four years, the only thing she wants to do is to get out of the city to clear her head.  The opportunity presents itself immediately when her aunt, a retired school headmistress, invites her to accompany her on a Mediterranean cruise.

As Rhea struggles to cope with her grief of being dumped at the altar, she finds herself getting attracted to the seemingly unavailable Kamal Shahani—the infuriatingly attractive ex-student of her aunt and a hot shot entrepreneur.  To add to the confusion, Sonia, Kamal’s very attractive ex-girlfriend boards the ship in a bid to win him back.

Will Rhea heal her broken heart, or will she end up even more shattered than she was when she got on this cruise?

Kiran Manral Speaks:

 What was your inspiration behind writing the third book?
It began with an anecdote I heard about a friend of a friend who decided to go on her honeymoon after her fiancé ditched her at the last minute, albeit taking a friend along for the company. I thought that was a most fun way to deal with the heartbreak, it was the mark of a survivor, and somewhere the seed was sown for this story. Of course, I did change it around a fair bit, but that was the genesis of this book.

Share some resources that help you when you are writing
Spell check on the computer. Seriously. And of course, Google baba.

Your favorite character
From this book? Rina Maasi. She's this eccentric retired school mistress who is the protagonist Rhea Khanna's aunt and she's a livewire.

A paragraph of your work before and after editing
Ah, the work goes through so many infinite versions, from first drafts through four edits plus a rewrite to simplify my tendency to run on and on with sentences as long as paragraphs, that this is quite difficult, because one really doesn't have first drafts anymore.

Your favorite (not too famous Indian) author, why?
I must say Annie Zaidi. Not because she's a dear friend but because what she writes goes straight to the heart, always.

You prefer: twitter or facebook..why?
Both have their place, but twitter definitely helps you to reach to a lot more people a lot quicker, facebook is limited to friends and family and a few acquaintances in my case.

Three books you would read in isolated places
Ah, I prefer to read in a crowd so I am not compelled to make conversation. But books I can read over and over again, Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, anything by P G Wodehouse or Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

You prefer: Ebook or hard cover, why?
Can I be contrarian and say I prefer paperback. Ebook, I have still to acquire an electronic reading device. If Kindle decides to convert me, I'm open to the trying of it. Hard back is too much of a pain to carry around and I have a book in my handbag wherever I go. Ergo paperback.

Favorite place to hang out: beach, cafeteria or library
None of the above. My favourite place to hang out is at home.

What book you reading now? How do you choose it?
Am between books right now. Therefore am busy re-reading Bridget Jones, Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. It is great fun to read Bridget Jones, she's someone who could have been me.

Thank you Kiran for sharing your thoughts, wishing you success on your new book. Shine on…….

The Pre-order links for the book here:

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