Following footsteps


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.

Burlington Ontario- 2021- January
Remembering World war I – 1914-18

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.


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)


As we went through some books of our Home Library, memories of walks in Mediterranean region came alive.


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.


The Antropology of religion-Khadra Forest

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Year End Diary 2020-2- Photographs- Interrogating Dystopias

Imagined versus Idealized

She imagined dystopia , but always

regarded it from the point of view

of the Garden of Eden

Fink Lendvai- Dircksen

on the works of Diane Arbus

Port Credit Mississauga Ontario-Dec 2020
Strange effect seen – by naked eye the clouds are not well seen – but in photograph there is this effect like a canopy over the landscape- with the frozen river below

As we reviewed the photo – diaries of

2020, earlier perspectives and current

times of Covid19 merged.

Walks by Lakeshore Burlington – Dec 2020

We spent some time on Brant street, the Promenade was slippery, walked back to the parking near Scotia and recalled last year’s trip to Dundas ( July 2019) . The Christmas lights around lakeshores of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington

Why is the mask not covering your nose

in the picture- is a comment I get often.

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


DIANE ARBUS- New York- 1962

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.


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


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



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.

Swami Shardanand Bathes at the source, Gaumukh. 12770 feet. Uttarakhand

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

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Year end Diary 2020-1 : Art


The Group of Seven

Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

shared a passion for Canada’s landscape and a strong desire to create a distinctive visual language

From Art Gallery of Ontario

Catalog no. 380


In the year end diaries 2020 , we started going through some of the walks, readings, discussions done in these landscapes

Canada – as a mental construct – came to us as a family in 2004 when we were in Tripoli Libya and some Indian diaspora living in Tripoli introduced this concept to us. Then we spent a few years in Malta – Sweiqi. Art has been a way of life for is- my paternal grandfather used to take the family for walks and cultural tours to the monuments, museums and gardens of Delhi Agra region of North India.

My father evolved this concept further and we started with the Peshwa museum of Pune, Maharashtra, Western India .

In Malta we were introduced to the Caravaggisti art movement, which like the Group of Seven of North America- Canada left an imprint on the Consciousness of the Country and region


The interaction with artists of Visual Arts Mississauga- ( VAM ) Riverwood Conservancy made us see figures, buildings, forests, trees, leaves ( in different seasons) in a more intimate way

That was the year I did some sessions of figure sketching and Sahil joined the Nature drawing classes.

ART DIARY 2017-2019

The Royal Ontario Museum organizes great special exhibitions . This year we went to explore the Canada 150 exhibits- and the Missing Chapters, Jodhpur, and Age of Rembrandt exhibitions stand out

The Art Gallery of Ontario organized the exhibitions on Impressionism in the Age of Industry. This made us interrogate layers of city-scapes and reminded us of similar exhibitions in India – The Natural History Society Mumbai, and Ganga – National Museum Delhi.

2019- Pottery classes at VAM – the art created at Riverwood has found its place in different corners of our house and garden in Candlestick Circle.

2020 – Landscapes

This year we went to Kawartha Lakes area and did some walks and boat rides in Bobcageon

It was a time to tell my sons some rhythms taught to me by my father – the 100 day program, The Revision plan, the Daily and Weekly Review, How to make a subject and Topic Index and the value of Followup.

Informal discussions and settings sometimes help to break icy intellectual and emotional mountains.

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