Archive for February, 2008

The ‘ancient version’ of the ‘Liberated Woman’???

Posted on February 27, 2008. Filed under: The Good Book |

A gracious woman gets honor; but like a gold ring in a swine’s snout is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion. A loose woman is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home – now in the street, now in the market place. A foolish woman is noisy. She is wanton and knows no shame. And to him who is without shame, she says, “Stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant”. With much persuasive speech, she persuades the fool and all at once he follows her as an ox that goes to the slaughter.

This is the way of an adulteress. She eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong”. The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit. The lips of a loose woman drip honey. And her speech is smoother than oil but in the end she is more bitter than worm wood, sharp as a two edged sword.
“Why should you be infatuated, My Son, with a loose woman and embrace the bosom of an adventuress?” Be saved from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God. Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister’ and call insight your intimate friend to preserve you from the evil woman, from the tongue of an adventuress.

Be ashamed of gazing at another man’s wife. Do not desire her beauty in your heart; and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes. For a harlot may be hired with a loaf of bread but an adulteress stalks a man’s very life. ‘Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?’ Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman and do not look intently at beauty belonging to another.

Many have been ensnared by a woman’s beauty and by it passion is kindled like a fire.

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‘The Evil Wife’ – of olden days???

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: The Good Book |

Do not be ensnared by a woman’s beauty and do not desire a woman for her possessions. There is wrath and impudence and great disgrace when a wife supports a husband. A disgruntled mind, a gloomy face and a wounded heart are caused by an evil wife. Drooping hands and weak knees are caused by the wife who does not make her husband happy.

Allow no outlet to water and no boldness of speech in an evil wife. There is great anger when a wife is drunken. A wife’s harlotry shows in her lustful eyes and she is known by her eyelids.
Taking hold of an evil wife is like grasping a scorpion. ‘I would rather dwell with a lion and dragon, than dwell with an evil wife’. The wickedness of a wife changes her appearance and darkens her face like that of a bear. Her husband takes his meals among the neighbors and he cannot help sighing bitterly.

Any wound, but not a wound of the heart. Any wickedness, but not the wickedness of a wife. ‘I found more bitter than death the wife whose heart is snares and nets and whose hands are fetters’.

He who pleases God escapes ‘her’.

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An Army Commander’s Visit …

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: From a Services Career |

An Army Commanders visit.

Army Commander, Raj Rifs – Bakshi. Corps Commander KVK Rao and TS Oberoi Paras – GOC.

My unit, Mendhar. Feb 77.

The Commander, Brig Shamsher of the Dogras. is at lunch in the unit mess when this call – the GOC wants to check if he can bring the Army Commander to the unit next day?

Two companies have come down from the piquets the night before and the other two are moving down this night – for the annual training. No problem – the Army Commander is welcome.

Sadly, it was not to be a Good Day.

Next morning, self  and the SM are lined up to receive the august personage. The first chopper brings in the Corps and Brigade Commanders; out of the next come the Army and Division Commnanders. Two smart salutes (which are barely acknowledged) and the snarl, “What the F…k are you going to show me today?”

A ‘Right’ to the jaw would have been a milder shock!

Training, Sir!”; to which, “Is that the F…kin training you are going to show me?” I look back and there on the roofs of most buildings on the slope are men, women and children in various dresses – and much excited with the choppers. I blurt, “They are not my men, Sir”. “Dont they do any training? .. Who is the Station Commander?” … Indeed I was the adhoc Station Commander!

By now I have had my fill – because I held that job too. The GOC steps in to salvage, “Sir, today is a holiday and only his unit is training because of your visit”. .. “Oh .. I see”.

Pretty much on my guard, I ask if I can drive him to the Operations Room for the briefing; which despite crude attempts to trip one up, goes like clockwork. He seems to allow, reluctantly, that we are no amateurs; the unit had earlier been part of his division and he deigns to remember.
Then we go to see the troops do their stuff – a real laid on snow job!
He first asks the Machine Gun JCO re the firing pin problem and is satisfied with the knowledgeable responce.

Next he corners a new Company Commander re what the men do on the piquets? The chap gives all the right answers viz dominating the area, keeping the other side under observation, checking infiltration etcetera. I try to break in but am brushed aside.

By now the poor officer is truly flustrered and does not quite know what else to add; so he falls back saying they also do administration. At this the Army Commander blows up saying that is the one thing we should not be doing (the word he had wanted to hear was ‘training’). The Corps Commander (who had visited the unit in Jan and tickety boo) joins in and the two raise their hands in despair saying their instructions are not being obeyed and so on. …

A few steps and we are in the next Company; there is this chap lying flat on his stomach and lo and behold one out of the 13 nails on one of his boots is missing. Turning to the Subedar Major, the Army Commander thunders, “What is this?” The poor man explains that the men have just come down last night from the piquets. Shouts this worthy, “Dont they do any administration on the piquets???”. He orders me not to recommend the man for the next honor blah blah blah.

Excellent Day. And my cup runneth over!
I ask the Corps Commander whether they would like a cup of tea in the Mess or would they like to go back to the choppers? The back handed invite is accepted. On the way the Division Commander puts his arm around my shoulder and advises, “In the Mess get up and explain about the training on the piquets”. Wild horses will not make me get up!

In the Mess Gen Oberoi gestures – but Not me Sir. So, he gets up and says the officer had cracked and could not explain. His two bosses lament that no one is obeying their instructions. I drive them to their choppers and salute a farewell.

The unit gets a two day holiday and a double issue of rum; the officers move to the Mess. One forgettable visit no one is going to forget!

PS. I learn later that the Army Commander had an acute case of painful piles (little justification for his obnoxious behaviour!!!); and some one had forgotten to put his soft velvet seat in the chopper! Little wonder we were at the receiving end!!!

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‘Chandigarh’ & Le Corbusier’s architecture …

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: Personalities, The French Contribution |

Albert Mayer and Matthew Nowicki were the original choices for designing Chandigarh. After the death of the latter and the pull out of the former, Corbusier was given charge. The basic framework of the master plan and its components – the Capitol, City Center, University, Industrial area, linear parkland and even the neighborhood unit – was retained as the basic module of planning.

However, the curving outline of Mayer and Nowicki was reorganized into a mesh of rectangles, and the buildings were characterized by an ‘honesty of materials’. Exposed brick and boulder stone masonry in its rough form produced unfinished concrete surfaces, in geometrical structures. This became the architectural form characteristic of Chandigarh, set amidst landscaped gardens and parks.

The city plan is a grid pattern with the city divided into rectangular patterns, forming identical looking sectors. The rectangular sector measures 800 m x 1200 m. The sectors act as self-sufficient neighbourhoods, each with its own market, places of worship, schools – all within 10 minutes walking distance from within the sector.

The numbering of the Sectors is also a wee unique – meaning that if the Sector Nos of any two Sectors, lying North South of one another, are added up then the sum is divisible by the number 13. For example, Sectors 11 and 15 are located North South of one another. Now adding of their Nos gives 26. And this is divisible by 13. Its true of all Sectors.

The original two phases of the plan delineated sectors from 1 to 47, with the exception of 13. The Assembly, the secretariat and the high court are the three monumental buildings designed by Le Corbusier in which he showcased his style to the maximum.

An interesting aside is that any addition of North/South Sector Nos results in a sum that is always divisible by the No 13.

The city was to be surrounded by a 16 kilometer wide greenbelt to ensure that no development could take place in the immediate vicinity of the town, thus checking suburbs and urban sprawl.

Le Corbusier, chosen name of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris,(1887 – 1965). Swiss-born architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter who became a French Citizen. Famed for his contributions to Modern Architecture, dedicated to providing better living conditions for residents of crowded cities. His iconic buildings live on in central Europe, India, Russia, and Nortt/South America. Was also urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, furniture designer. Laid out Chandigarh, the planned city.

His Views as architect are given below –

The home should be the treasure chest of living.  Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.

Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city. I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.

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Personal Magnetism; The Negatives – II

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: Personal Magnetism |

The First of Four Negatives in this group is ‘Irritability’. Irritibility destroys Magnetism. Snapping at everything and everyone from dawn to dusk; fretting, fuming – giving way to irritation makes for the negative temperament.
You will say mean things, do acts of violence, act most unmanly and be unmagnetic. It comes like sneezing. It is the temper having a sneeze. Recognize its approach and deflect it away. Habit of giving way to little things soon grinds out the exalted part of your character and leaves dross.
Irritiibilty shows ‘uncontrol’ in the meanest degree. Nothing needs more mastery than the temper. Lack of Magnetism causes irritability and results in the narrow, pinched and repulsive face.

‘Cynicism’ weakens mind and heart. If you cannot speak well of others, keep silent. Adverse criticism is unmagnetic. To mock others is to chaff at God. Every time you turn on the mud pipe you daub yourself. You cannot besmirch another without getting spattered. The reaction in your own mind is harmful.
Do not cater to this scum of the heart. Disappoint its morbid greed by refusing to become a sewer through which any filth will flow. The reason for this is that most humans are defective – but that is no excuse.

‘Flippancy’ is the most distasteful mood. It takes away the dignity of a person. It begins at home and is due to an unloosening of the restraints. It weakens the brain. Flippancy and morbid moroseness are the only off springs of an empty mind.

‘Unsuccessful People’ are full of disgust for everything and everybody. The fault is due to their impatience and incredulity, unless their laziness is also the cause. When a little success makes a man arrogant, overbearing and independent of the views of others – his ability is never great enough nor his past triumphs brilliant enough to prevent the decadence of his power.

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Tennyson, Alfred … poet laureate …

Posted on February 19, 2008. Filed under: Guide Posts, Quotes, The English |

Tennyson remains the most frequently quoted writer, after the Bard, in ‘The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations’. His phrases are commonplace – “Nature, red in tooth and claw”, “better to have loved and lost”, “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die”, and “My strength is as the strength of ten”, “Because my heart is pure”.  

The same words conceal and declare the thoughts of man.  Guard your roving thoughts with jealous care. Your speech dials your thoughts; and every fool can plainly read in your words the color of your thoughts.

A day may sink or save a realm. Authority forgets a dying king.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rust unburnished, not to shine in use! After it, follow it! Follow The Gleam!  To Strive, to Seek, to Find — and Not  to Yield.

A smile abroad is often a scowl at home.

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead one to sovereign power.


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TE Lawrence – ‘Lawrence of Arabia’

Posted on February 17, 2008. Filed under: Movies, Personal Stuff, Personalities, The English |

From my mail –
“Our common friend TE Lawrence writes –

‘All men dream.
Most men dream at night in the dark recesses of their minds, only to find out in the morning that it was mere vanity.
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act upon their dreams with open eyes, and make them possible.’

We shall see!”.

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888 – 1935). British soldier renowned for his role in the pre 1918 Arab Revolt. His vivid personality, his writings, the extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and his associations, have made him the object of much fascination. ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, the movie, starrs Peter O’Toole. ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, the autobiography is an all time classic.

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There are Men!!!

Posted on February 16, 2008. Filed under: Personalities |

In times of the Clintons and the Bushes, it is stimulating to recall incidents which starred men who had their own value systems.

There is this story narrated by Field Marshal Alexander, who later became Governor General of Canada. As a young officer – much before the First War – he was attached to the the HQs of a certain German General whose division was being tested in an exercise. In the concluding remarks, there was scathing but utterly unfounded criticism of the Generals handling of his command. The General had remained quiet and accepted everything.

When it was all over, the agitated Alexander went to the General and asked as to why he had not corrected the erroneous statements made???
Replied the General, “What!!! Are you asking me to strike the death knell of Discipline in the German Army???”.

Rudyard Kipling – whose own son fought and was killed alongside Alexander in the First War – wrote, “It is undeniable that Colonel Alexander had the gift of handling the men on the lines to which they most readily responded. His subordinates loved him, even when he fell upon them blisteringly for their shortcomings; and his men were all his own.”

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M A R R I A G E …

Posted on February 16, 2008. Filed under: Mars & Venus |

A Lion decides to get married and goes on a quest to find a pretty Lioness.

After a few months of unsuccessfully wandering thru the jungle, he comes across a small Mouse. The Lion is tired, and so he sits to rest and strikes a conversation with the Mouse.

The Lion tells the Mouse about his quest and the Mouse say’s he would like to help. The Lion roars with laughter and says, ‘How can a tiny Mouse help me, the Lord of the Jungle’?

The Mouse says, ‘Don’t laugh my friend, for I too was a Lion before I got married’!

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Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839)

Posted on February 14, 2008. Filed under: Personalities |

Image result for pics of maharaja ranjit singh

Captain Murray in his ‘Memoirs’ (History of The Punjab, Vol. II; Reprint,Patiala 1970) on Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s character.

“Ranjit Singh has been likened to Mehmet Ali and to Napoleon.
There are some points in which he resembles both; but estimating his character with reference to his circumstances and positions, he is perhaps a more remarkable man than either.

There was no ferocity in his disposition and he never punished a criminal with death even under circumstances of aggravated offence.

Humanity indeed, or rather tenderness for life, was a trait in the character of Ranjit Singh. There is no instance of his having wantonly imbused his hand in blood.”

The foreign minister of Ranjit Singh’s Sikh Empire, Fakir Azizuddin, met the British Governor-General, Lord Auckland, in Simla. Fakir Azizuddin’s responce, when asked as to which of the Maharaja’s eyes was missing, so pleased the Governor General, that he gave his golden wrist-watch to the Maharaja’s Minister. The reply –

“The Maharaja is like the sun and the sun has only one eye. The splendour and luminosity of his single eye is so much that I have never dared to look at his other eye.”

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