And their eyes were my eyes.

I saw be

I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come.

I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and

in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.

And their eyes were my eyes.

Richard Llewellyn

In my house in Palam Vihar, I have kept a special room for my diaries (have been a regular diarist since 1983). Over a period of time, photos, videos have added to the written word.

One Christmas card, which Carlos (A Nigerian friend) from Tripoli’s San Francisco Church (Dahra) still plays the greetings tune, many years after it was gifted.

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I met my brother (Guddu bhai)  at Lodhi, early in the morning, before the work-day swallows life…Four generations of our family have walked in Lodhi gardens-Delhi

This is with Guddu bhai, over the years we have talked about our many journeys

together. Last year he told of his Shimla trip. This year he told of Andaman Nicobar

Many nuances of life came alive as we sat in Palam Vihar, seeing video diaries, photojournals and remembering the days gone by

Devraj bhai said – “Mummy kindled a love of literature in me.”

His father too used to write stories.

“He was a Botanist, but loved literature” Bua ji said, remembering old times.

And recalled some poems which he had learnt in childhood

This packrat has learned that what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we loved. In the end, it’s the family stories that are worth the storage.
-Ellen Goodman,
The Boston Globe

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Reading places- Gulhane Park-Sultanahmet Istanbul

Following the theme of finding nice reading places, I have been visiting

Gulhane Park in Sultanahmet -(the historic Constantinople) area of

Istanbul, whenever, I have a chance to pass by , on way from Libya

to home.



In better times, the flight connections were straight, Turkish airlines

used to operate. But now we have to stay in Istanbul, wait for connecting flights.

So one makes the most of it, by exploring Istanbul

GULHANE PARK..has different atmosphere in different times of the day

In March 2015- It was raining

In August 2015- I went for an early morning walk, and meditated by

the Column of Goths, saw Bosphorus in the early morning.

Morning calm..not many people around at that hour


This reminded me of some other reading places where I have enjoyed

the many flavors of art and literature in scenic environments

LANDOUR…Mussoorie region


PORT CREDIT…Mississauga


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Walks and meditations around Riverwood-Mississauga

There are many things which come out in walks in a natural surroundings

On 15-7-15 we had seen the exhibits of Chris Hadfield in Ontario Science Centre-OSC-in which he had said, we should do daily disciplined efforts so that we become the adult which we want to become, and not something which life kicks us into being but we do not want to become.

Sahil said that this was similar to many wisdom literature themes which he read in SECRETS. This book was given to Mummy by her Yoga group in Malta.

In the morning we saw a movie- IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON- in which there were many interviews of the astronauts who were part of the Apollo program. This program was started by President Kennedy. The political theme was to beat the Russians to the moon. The scientific program involved putting a man on the moon, and return safely by the end of the decade. The 60s was a very turbulent time in US with Vietnam-anti war movement, the Civil rights movement, Women’s liberation movement. If there was a script writer who would have to cap it off, there could be nothing better than landing on the moon.

Later we went to Riverwood, and while returning went to Mr India Grocer, Christo Rei Church, and YMCA.

In Christo Rei we read the Proverbs- 17-6

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged

and the glory of children is their fathers.

As continuation of this conversation, they talked to their grandparents-Nana Nani in Mumbai

20 7 15 – The Anniversary of Man’s first landing on the moon. Went through the narratives relating the Niel Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins of Apollo 11.

CHRIS HADFIELD..In a bit more depth.

We went through the nuances as described by Hadfield. The weekly meeting in which pilots discussed candidly what mistakes they did in the past week, which could have killed them. This sharing and conversion of mistakes into Teachable Moments is key to the educational culture at NASA


We went through the narratives related to the British Emigrant to Canada- Catherine Traill. Following her story of how she found the way of nature to find her path to North America was educative. Catherine Parr Traill’s herbariums are part of the ROM 100 years collection – Every object has a story.

She described her new life in letters and journals, and collected these into The Backwoods of Canada (1836), which continues to be read as an important source of information about early Canada. She describes everyday life in the community, the relationship between Canadians, Americans, and natives, the climate, and local flora and fauna. More observations were included in a novel, Canadian Crusoes (1851). She also collected information concerning the skills necessary for a new settler, published in The Female Emigrant’s Guide (1854), later retitled The Canadian Settler’s Guide. She wrote “Pearls and Pebbles” and “Cot and Cradle Stories”.(Source-Wikipedia-

Her many albums of plant collections are housed in the National Herbarium of Canada at the Canadian Museum of Nature.On 8 September hi 2003, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Library of Canada, Canada Post released a special commemorative series, “The Writers of Canada”, with aign by Katalina Kovats, featuring two English-Canadian and two French-Canadian stamps. Three million stamps were issued. Traill and her sister Susanna Moodie were featured on one of the English-Canadian stamps.


Here is what Canada post wrote while issuing commemorative stamps in memory

of the two Strickland sisters  ..

SUSANNA MOODIE (1803-1885)

Susanna Moodie (née Strickland) and her sister Catharine Parr Traill are two of Canada’s most important 19th century writers. Born in England only 23 months apart, the sisters became precociously engaged in writing after the death of their father in 1818. The two immigrated with their husbands to the backwoods of Ontario in 1832, where they recorded and interpreted their experiences as pioneers, writing until their deaths. Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush (1852) is her best-known work, which combines her steadfast moral vision and fascination with differences in character – with a generous measure of wit and playfulness. The book, along with its sequel, Life in the Clearings (1853), formed the basis of her reputation as an author.


Pioneer writer and botanist Catharine Parr Traill (née Strickland) is most famous for her bookThe Backwoods of Canada (1836), an interesting factual and scientific account of her first three years in Ontario. With pragmatic and optimistic vision, Parr Traill wrote using the kind of realistic detail that has become a tradition in Canadian literature.


In our generation, many persons from the subcontinent who are fresh immigrants are either unemployed or employed in a field which they are not trained for, or underemployed in the field which they have training. For us, as we had not taken the direct route to Canada, but having stayed in Libya, Malta for some years, we have some idea of the international scene which helped shape our perspective. Riverwood has been a place where we go for long walks to reflect and not get caught in the many marketing traps which await new immigrants. Of course, as we tell persons who try to seek justification in their path by forcing it down others throats, thus revealing their insecurities, that there is no one right path, no one standard medicine which will cure all issues, no single dress which will fit everyone for all occasions. While walking in Riverwood, we also remember the many walks taken in historic and natural parks of India, Libya, Malta.


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Exploring Collections-Connections-Communities

Each place one visits, has many energies,currents. Interest based groups form an important part of 21st century community feelings. Saw this lovely exhibit at the Pearson international airport, installed in collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum.

Pearson  international airport exhibit-in collaboration with Royal Ontario Museum

Pearson international airport exhibit-in collaboration with Royal Ontario Museum. The display captures a moment when a small herbivorous dinosaur is attacked by a larger dinosaur, an event which probably occurred around 150 million years ago, in Western United States region

This morning we went to Toronto Botanical gardens- Edwards Gardens-Leslie Street. Watching different activities..Tai chi, gardening, studying the evolution of public gardens. There is a good library which has many books related to garden societies for people of different tastes and levels of interest and education.

Our next stop was the Myth busters special exhibition in Ontario Science centre. Like the previous two special exhibitions on Science of Rock and roll and Brain, this one too was a delight and opened many windows into the world of science. Before reaching the level 6 exhibition hall, we went to the right of the stairs to see the roots of a tree donated to the museum, which had been studied as part of a 1971 thesis.

Sounds of forests, and many interesting exhibits which re-affirm the assertion- Science is everywhere

The many lovely aspects of Science, ranging from the sounds of forest, the nature of soil, to the science of military, Chris Hadfield’s space mission, the reactions of human body to extreme conditions like high altitude are beautifully exhibited through interactive exhibits…Visitors should go to level 5, right side above the Human body gallery to see the gallery on cultures..usually if one goes straight to Special exhibition hall, one may miss this very interesting gallery- where different cultures, interviews with different scientists, the evolution of farming are among the interesting exhibits (above the canteen)

Could Empty Space Exist

Remembering Otto Guerike- The Magdeburg Hemispheres

In the 17th century, Otto Guericke began exploring the question – “Could empty space exist, and is heavenly space unbounded?” This led him to experiments regarding vacuum, and sealing, and the Magdeburg hemispheres around 1650. Guericke was the mayor of Magdeburg from 1646-1676 (hence the name). References state of an experiment in 1854  by the Reichstag and the Emperor Ferdinand III in Regensburg, where it was found that 30 horses, in two teams of 15, could not separate the hemispheres until the vacuum was released. (for those interested in further reading..see

The OSC did well to introduce  these concept to visitors, especially children in  a very interesting ways

Other posts of Interest Darwin’s dream ponds

Every season, we become a member of one such institution around our home and explore the different exhibitions in depth. This has added a richness to life, and brought connections with different trends of humanity. As one curator once said- Collections make Connections. The Polar bear cub was one year old on November 9 (2014) … Adopt a zoo will add many dimensions to life.

Museums with Children

My father first introduced me to the richness of museums in the early 1970s… Over the years, the seeds  sowed , are bearing fruit in different interesting ways.

Walks in Malta again

Artists must never express the sense of an age: They must give a sense to that age. These words of Conrad Fiedler come back to me in many different ways, in the galleries of the Caravagisti of Malta, the sculptures of Antonio Sciortino

Communities of interest.

In modern urban societies, the traditional old community links undergo many strains and changes. In such milieu, interest based groups such as Historical societies , Nature groups, Reading groups and other forms of Civil society are the community of the 21 st century. Walking through Toronto Botanical Gardens, and Ontario science centre, made this feeling even more intense and clear.

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Dharamshala trip

On asking my nephew Master Mayank what he liked about Dharamshala visit, he sent to me a video of cows coming out of a labyrinth of foliage. I encourage children to write a few lines about their visits. When one writes, one has to think about the issue in a much different manner. I remember my own visit to Dharamshala in 1998 , (ages ago. walks to Tushita monastery,St John in the Wilderness and Bhagsu Nag temple. They represent three important spiritual traditions of India.


Once again..

Remembered visits to Taj Mahal and his father’s college. I nudged him towards awareness of different architecture trends. I have a photograph of the family in front of some Indo-Sarcenic Gothic architecture in Mumbai region, visits to different museums.

“The last time we went on a train trip was with Mummy” my sister told me over remembering the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi April 2011. One year before in 2010 they had visited Shimla.

See blogs


What will the mouse Stuart Little do if he is in Delhi? This question sparked

an interesting journey with my nephew Mayank.


Still waiting…

I am still waiting for Master Mayank or his busy sister Divya to write a few lines about their personal experiences of the trip to Dharamshala. Meanwhile I re-read the Autobiography of Dalai Lama (presented to me by Dr.Rajiv Tandon..when he was in Tripoli and became a member of the reading group).

The book is a window into the life of Diaspora and can be read at many different levels , wearing different hats.

WESTERN SOCIETY…Dalai Lama’s comments on Western society are worth thinking about.

“Overall I found much that is impressive about western society. In particular I admire its energy and creativity and hunger for knowledge. On the other hand , a number of things about the western way of life cause me concern. One thing I have notices is an inclination for people to think in terms of ‘black and white’ and ‘either, or’ which ignores the facts of interdependence and relativity. They have a tendency to lose sight of the grey areas which inevitably exist between two points of view.”


The trips made one remember similar trips of yesteryears

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Musings with Tortoises

“ A process journal is not a diary, which means instead of recording history, I will use it to plan, record meetings, explore –store-reflect on ideas and work is well illustrated at the different stages of the project.”

From the process journal of my son-who did a project on Chelonians.

Following a project over a period of time makes one examine an issue in greater depth from different aspects.  This made me ask whether he has met a practicing naturalist.

A true conservationist is
a man who knows that
the world is not given by
his fathers, but borrowed
from his children.

– John James Audubon

South Peel Naturalist Club

Other questions which came out of reviewing the process journal are

1.Go through the process journal again, and see how this project  changed your approach.

I know that I should not do work just before it’s due because then I will have too much to do at a time and not do it very well as I will be in a hurry. Reading the process journal reinforced this to me.

  1. Name any project have you participated in before this?

Invention Convention.

  1. In future, if you take part in a project, what points will you improve upon, based on the changed approach, having gone through this experience.

After reading the process journal, the idea that you should always choose topics with care was reinforced to me to avoid changing the topic repeatedly.


The petition has got over 800 signatures.


The legal battle started when Gilead Power Corporation, a renewable energy development company, received approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to construct a wind energy park in Prince Edward County. Naturalists from the area weren’t happy with this decision, because Ostrander Point, where the wind energy park is planned to be built, is a place the Blanding’s turtle, a species that’s already endangered, calls home. The Environmental Review Tribunal supported them and overturned the Ministry of Environment’s decision, but the corporation was supported by the Divisional Court of Ontario. Gilead Power hopes that a decision in its favor is reached soon, so that it can start its inhumane destruction of an untouched land that’s greenery has been enjoyed by many, and of an animal that’s lived there since before humans ever existed.


Mathew gave me the first tortoises..when he was going on a holiday to India-2008

Whenever I see them, my thoughts go back to the  many times I have spent with my friend Mathew, the trip to Gharian searching for the Anti-Gravity point  (which we never located), the trip to Ghadames, (2004) watching sunsets over the Sahara, the fishing at Tirq Shaat feeling the gentle Mediterranean breeze.

The lovely chicken curry he makes-Farnaaj and Ghadames evenings. The Pakoras at Bengashir. The desert tortoise which he has given to me, to keep in my back terrace.

 2004 sunset sahara

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Joint Journals -March 2015

How would a family journal like this look like in a 100 years from now?

To answer this question, one can try
Looking at how a family journal
would have looked 50 or 100 years ago.


I got some old black and white photographs (collected from Palam Vihar)

and made a file. Then sat with my sons and labeled them- the year (approximate)

for old photographs, the persons, place, and themes. Seeing old photographs

made us get the perspective of what has happened in the lives of these persons,

and their children, grand children over the decades

BHATT BROTHERS...1967. A 20 year window gives us many nuances of how life shapes up

BHATT BROTHERS…1967. A 20 year window gives us many nuances of how life shapes up

1958... My grandfather, in Karachi days, Ministry of External affairs, India

1958… My grandfather, in Karachi days, Ministry of External affairs, India


Seeing the different phases of life, through the lens of a child growing made

for another theme in our joint journal.

“Who will take me to the zoo” said Mayank in 2008, the only one disappointed

that I had found my lost passport and could now travel

2004 ..Grandchildren are the future which we will not be able to see physically

RAWATS 2004 ..Grandchildren are the future which we will not be able to see physically

2003 Jasola Delhi

2003 Jasola Delhi

WALKS …Indian diaspora

The joint journals have nuances and discussions regarding Walks and readings done in different regions.

Looking back at some characters through post colonial perspective, or putting on

a feminist thinking-hat helped make for rich memories of walks done over yester years

2012 JUNE- FATHER'S day walk..Many currents across generations of the Maltese Indian diaspora community

VASWANIS 2012 JUNE- FATHER’S day walk with the Vasvanis .Many currents across generations of the Maltese Indian diaspora community

Maltose Indian diaspora The Yoga Group with their certificates-Sukh Sagar Indian Community Centre, San Gjwann, Malta

Maltose Indian diaspora
The Yoga Group with their certificates-Sukh Sagar Indian Community Centre, San Gjwann, Malta


Another joint journal theme we kept was- Art as a way of life.

Went through some guitar recordings and memories of Orlem-Malad


Memories associated with schools give a flavor of different aspects of life


Have a reading at the end of the day..(and also in the beginning) is a wonderful

way to enrich one’s life.

These were some of the themes on which we build four separate journals

sitting together in Mississauga, last month

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