Today – Feb 27 is my nephew Mayank ‘s 19 th birthday.
A few days ago , on 10 th Feb
was my sister’s birthday.
And Ten days before that was the marriage anniversary of my late parents – Jan 30 ( 1967)- Benares.
WHO WILL TAKE ME TO THE ZOO
( 2008- November)
In recent books on logic, distinction is made between two orders of inquiry concerning anything. First, what is the nature of it? how did it come about? what is its constitution, origin, and history? And second, What is its importance, meaning, or significance, now that it is once here?
William James – Philosopher
Writing letters, notes on trips and family
gatherings have been a tradition which my grandparents, parents passed on to me. The parks of Delhi have been our Thinking places for four generations- since 1930s .
We have spent some lovely hours sifting through the different trails, flower beds , and enclosures of parks like Lodhi, Humayun tomb, Qutub and Delhi zoo. When my passport was lost in 2008 November ( in a hurry to get down at Okhla rather than Nizamuddin- I left my bag with all documents in the train)
the only person not happy with the passport being found was little Mayank
⁃ then six years old.
Now you will be off to Tripoli,
who will take me to the zoo
Mayank- 2008- Nov – Delhi
When we were studying in school- St Anne’s high school Pune camp, my sister’s school, we used to go to Parvati temple Pune – and visit the temples and the museums – the last repose of Nanasahib Peshwa.
The love of historical parks , museums was passed on to me by my father. His elder sister told me about my grandfather’s love for the garden tombs of Delhi.
Spinoza says: “I will analyze the actions and appetites of men as if it were a question of lines, of planes, and of solids.”
But the spiritual value of these walks -from the trips to Parvati temple Pune, early morning walks to Lullanagar or as we became teenagers- the hill temples in and around Shimla and Rishikesh regions
Some of us think I could have been a success but I never had the right opportunity. I wasn’t born into the right family, or I didn’t have the money or go to the best school.
But when we measure success by the extent we’re using what we’ve received, it eliminates that frustration
Fred Smith – consultant and mentor of John C Maxwell
as quoted in his Mentoring lesson –
What do I need to know before I start?
Around Christmas 2020, New Year 2021 we went to Burlington lights area. We have been to this area over the years to see Lake Ontario from a different angle than Port Credit Mississauga or Downtown Toronto or St Catherine (as we drive towards Niagara) . The local history of this area , the talks I had with different people of different ages some of them born here , descendants of Union Empire Loyalists, and others who have come here from different continents and settled here, has added a richness to our lives as immigrants who lived in India, then migrated to North Africa- Libya and then to Southern Europe Malta before shifting to Mississauga , Southern Ontario Canada.
The evolution of the waterfront and its architecture is of interest as it provides a perspective on the different people who made Canada their home and the currents and energies which went into shaping these communities.
RAIN IN MOUNTAINS- RUSKIN BOND
After all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful. – Ruskin Bond
…when I pray for my biological and spiritual family, words of Ruskin Bond, Virginia Woolf come to my mind..
Look these need no rewards, they have loved reading (Virginia Woolf-1932)
FROM THE HOLY MOUNTAIN
As we went through some books of our Home Library, memories of walks in Mediterranean region came alive.
REMEMBERING JOHN MOSCHOS
Open on the desk is my paperback translation of the Spiritual Meadow of John Moschos , the unlikely little book which first brought me to this monastery and the original manuscript of which I saw for the first time less than one hour ago. God willing, John Moschos will lead me on, eastwards to Constantinople and Anatolia , then southwards to the Nile and thence , it it is still possible, to the Great Kharga Oasis, once the Southern Frontier of Byzantium
From William Dalyrymple’s book From the Holy Mountain
This book reminded me of the trips taken to Luxor, Karnak ( 2004-November) and the walk into the tomb of Tutankhamen, the guides explaining the intrigue around these civilizations- and later in 2006 I went to Eastern Libya – Cyrene- the place where from came Simon of Cyrene who helped Christ carry the cross towards Crucifixion. Present day Cyrene is known as Shahat by the Libyans.
Later we have been to walks to Gozo Citadel, Malta which has been a place of worship from Pre Christian times. The walk to Gozo Citadel in 2016 reminded me of similar walks I had with my family, taking my sons to the Citadel, and trying to imbibe the spirit of those who built these monuments many millenia ago. We had gone to the Gjantija temples which are the oldest free standing structures known to man, predating Stonehenge of UK. These Citadels, Temples, Churches tell us of the aspirations, energies and lives of our Spiritual ancestors.
As I reflect on the words of Fred Smith, remember the museum walks and the microculture of our family, initiated by my grandparents, parents and mentors – the walks which we took in the Hill temples and places of worship in Pune Western India, Shimla – Himachal Pradesh area, Rishikesh Mussoorie- Uttarakhand area I saw Burlington lights , Ontario, Gozo Malta and Luxor Egypt , Cyrene Libya walks as part of that continuum.
RIVERWOOD-MISSISSAUGA-2016-One of our Reading Thinking Places over the years
I was introduced to the nuances of the writings of Amitav Ghosh by the English teachers of Tripoli, many lovely evenings spent in the Mediterranean breeze talking of the journeys covered in books like In an Antique Land- of migrants who come from what is present day Tunisia, then went to Egypt, Aden,(Yemen) and then the Western India coast across the Arabian seaSelectI was introduced to the nuances of the writings of Amitav Ghosh by the English teachers of Tripoli, many lovely evenings spent in the Mediterranean breeze talking of the journeys covered in books like In an Antique Land- of migrants who come from what is present day Tunisia, then went to Egypt, Aden,(Yemen) and then the Western India coast across the Arabian sea
Afterwards we went to Brant street and prayed meditated at the World War I memorial, sang and clapped in front of the Singing tree and had a pizza sitting at the junction of Lakeshore road- Brant street .
( indoor dining is stopped for now due to the Covid19 lockdown)
Many lovely hours exploring the museums, paths around India Gate Delhi, St.James Centre of Creativity, Valletta,(Malta), Hamilton -Immigration square-James street, and Royal Ontario Museum- The galleries and special exhibitions-Bloor street-Toronto.
In the beginning of the year we visited the Forks of Credit area – Caledon
Around Father’s Day – after the lockdown was lifted we went to Hamilton area – and I told the family about the works of Leonardo Sciascia -the Italian writer whose statue is on Immigration square of Hamilton Ontario.
Street photography exhibitions in Art Gallery of Ontario – made us look at Diane Arbus in a more intimate way. For our family we have intimate memories of walks and street photography in Tripoli, Malta, Istanbul and now Canada
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Let us look at – Child with Toy Grenade in Central Park – New York City – 1962.
Fink writes – about Arbus’s approach
“ The grenade, grimace and claw-like hand seem to point to a desperate future, hysterical and militarized. The picture works because the strangeness of the boy is staged with the kindly natural scene ; there is even a rhyme between those paired tree trunks and the child’s spindly legs . Arbus ‘s subject, here and elsewhere, is the discrepancy between imagined and idealized worlds represented by trees , sunlight, in the park and the violence apparently promised by the child. She imagined dystopia, but always regarded it from the point of view of the Garden of Eden.
APPLICATION- THROUGH EARLIER
PERSPECTIVES – 2017 Copleys at
Art Gallery of Hamilton and
Missing Chapters – at Art Gallery of
⁃ The Copleys exhibition of 2017 told of the lives of immigrants who worked in the factory and how this institution has evolved over the decades.
⁃ Sara Angelucci – the artist – remembers her parents generation and pays tribute to their struggles through this unique exhibition
THE LAST FOLIO-1942-SLOVAKIA-
MISSING CHAPTERS- 2017-Special exhibition in Art Gallery of Mississauga, in collaboration with Royal Ontario Museum, depicting the missing years in the lives of families- of loved ones lost, of migrations, wars and many unspoken realities
ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO
REMEMBERING RAGHUBIR SINGH
The AGO has interesting sections on the art of photography. We added – Modernism On the Ganges- by Mia Fenman – to our home library. Raghubir Singh interrogated Jaipur, Ganges, Calcutta in transcendent ways.
In the essay – The Ganges side of Modernism , Mia Fineman tells of how Raghubir Singh found on his parents’ bookshelf a copy of Cartier Bresson’s book – Beautiful Jaipur ( 1948). Those lyrical images of Singh’s hometown “ stoked the youthful fire” in him . Singh first met Bresson in 1966 April at a dinner hosted by fellow Magnum member Marilyn Silverstone at Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur. Both photographers were in town to meet India’s new Prime Minister , Indira Gandhi, who had arrived for a Congress Party meeting.
For Singh, then twenty three, it was the opportunity of a lifetime: for several days he accompanied Cartier Bresson around Jaipur and witnessed
“ first hand his quickfire intuition attached to a clarity of eye and a surety of stance.”
As we went through our photo diaries and reminisced on the associated trips – the journeys of “ forced democracy” in Libya, walks on streets of Malta and recent years trips to Ontario smaller cities came to mind