Its beckoning

 There’s an old saying attributed to legendary sports journalist Red Smith: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” 

The technology may have changed since the 1940s; the painful parts, unfortunately, haven’t. 

Coming back to this blog after eons, perhaps am ready to work at the keyboard again.


Oooh those melting eyes


Budd the pup

From his beautiful mommy GG

Who herself was a puppy 

Not so long ago.

Filled with curiosity

And not a worry.

The only ask is to explore

Chase the monkeys

Play with mangoes 

Make a reassuring pact

With his master 

For the daily biscuits

That he so adores.

Happy to roll in the grass

And bark furiously 

Because GG is barking. 

For what is play

Without some 

aping, soil and dust.

The lone wanderer

Its bossing time. The Lord of all he surveys and smells:D 

All he is, is a puppy:) 

Will one day break the bounds of puppyhood

Go through some dramatic experiences in life

But for now, he is the Lord of all he surveys

Fully knowing Mommy GG is a bark away:) 



Flap your wings, come fly

The 14 hour flight had me re-check my passport over 20 times, 6-movies seen back to back, AND soaked up all the prep material saved by me, on paragliding.  Turns out that paragliding grew out of parachuting. In the 1960's, the military needed to train parachutists on how to perform safe landings. Repeatedly going up and down in an air-plane to drop the parachutists was complicated and time-consuming. In order to fit more landing practice into a day, they would attach the parachutists to a truck with a tow rope.

As the vehicle picked up speed, the parachutist would float higher and higher. Then the parachutist would release the tow rope and descend back to earth. Many parachutists soon became more interested in the floating part than the landing part. For fun, they would launch themselves off steep hills and parachute to the ground below, experimenting with how they could harness air currents to stay in the air longer. A new sport was born.

The elliptical-shaped parachute or wing that is used to fly by para-gliders actually folds up to the size of a backpack when it's not used. This makes the tool-kit of paragliding considerably lighter and more convenient to transport than hang gliders. Para-gliders use air currents and own body weight, to fly to heights of 23,000 feet with mere paragliding sails. Imagine the solitude, the incredible peaceJ

Now for the hard training part, the real practice on the ground. This is the most vital skill of handling the wing on the ground.  My instructor first talked me through the technique, a detailed 101. The romanticism of paragliding being all fun was soon dispensed with.  The first step is to push the face in the direction of the wind and walk/run forward, it is this, that helps the launch, the take off.  Simultaneously you pull on the wing, which causes it to start filling with air. Soon, the wing transforms from a piece of elliptical fabric dragging behind you on the ground into an inflated canopy rising over your head. I saw myself transformed into a kite. I was never good at kite flying, would cut my hand on the thread a zillion times, could never take off the kite from the ground, so I started getting cold feet about paragliding and almost ditched the flying!  I did even consider taking the option of the tandem ride, where you can enjoy the experience without being responsible for controlling the glider. But being a coward aint my middle name! JJ

Tom (my patient instructor) calmly kept talking me though airflow and how it works like the brakes of a car. This analogy helped me gain control of my runaway emotions.. At this point, the wing (the elliptical fabric) is above my head, catching some airflow. To retain control of the wing, I was taught to do an overhead check to ensure the wing is fully inflated and no lines are tangled. Post check I had to run down my designated slope to work up to flying speed. The wing slowly rises and gently picks you up with it. You look down and your feet are no longer touching the ground. You're flying!

It is scary, unnerving and equally overwhelming. You have to let go of the fear soonest, to control your flight. There is no one else up there to help you! This is cut loose freedom like never known before, I was soon a soaring bird in my mindJ  

I was taught in my 4-5 hours of 101 to work with the airflow to create the lift. Air flows over both the top and the bottom of the glider and meets at the edge. Aerodynamics predict that the pressure on the bottom of the glider is higher than on the top of the glider. This creates lift upwards. So tugging the lines, shuffling own body weight, manoeuvring the glider to ensure a constant inflow of air current, is the challenge and the thrill. Wont go into the details of my 101 in terms of 3 basic types of rising air etc.J , suffice to say, took all my being to remember the steering and controlling the wing lessons, while I was up in the sky

If I wanted to turn to the right, I pulled on the right control and released pressure on the left. This made the right side of the wing fly slower and the left faster. Before you know it, the glider smoothly angles rightJ, of course, it's all a matter of finesse and practice. Yanking on the controls can cause the wing to act unpredictably. So its important to stay calm in the head when sailing in the skies.

If for some reason the wing begins to deflate, due to turbulent air or own miscalculation, 9 out of 10 times it usually re-inflates on its own. In the rare instance it doesn't, there is an emergency parachute, which one has to deploy

I think I went into some details on this post, with the hope that some of you readers will bite the bullet when an opportunity arises. Go for it. Flying high above with no noise, no person, is an experience one can only feel and cherish. No words can do justice to the feelings, when, up above.


The Great Home for any Arsenal foreign fan

The Armoury and The Emirates are ranked as one of the 3000 must visits in London. For foreign fans like me, visiting the Emirates was up there on the priority must do list! Top class! More on the shopping in a bit. This is the best stadium I've been to in England. Of course I'm a little biased about Emirates, but this stadium is new, clean, you still get the sense of "history" and "class" from it. Must admit the stadium is plush, if you do decide to sit thru the 90 mins, you will be painfree, given the soft cushiony seats provided in the stadium. 8th row from the front, mid field, thats where we were planted for Arsenal home game vs Liverpool. I dont think I have ever seen a more beautiful pitch, than at the Emirates. Lush, smooth.

Fast game, huge crowd of enthusiastic fans, the beautiful stadium handles the capacity crowds with ease. Getting a ticket at short notice is not easy at The Emirates, so if you get one you MUST go! Excellent crowd, a bonhomie so real, brings a lump in the throat. Mighty mighty pride palpable when watching the home team play. Clean loos, speedy service at the counters, lotsa beer and chicken burgers on sale. Ohh btw, just like our vada pao and bhel wallas outside any of our stadiums, there were chicken sandwich sellers outside the Emirates too.

From Piccadilly Circus via Hamleys into The Emirates, we toured the stadium and also the Arsenal museum. So much to know and so much to learn yet:) There is almost something hallowed about the new ground. Very friendly staff, warm and courteous. You enter the stadium from the car park, working your way up to the directors' box, and club level. Then you work your way back down to the changing rooms, dug outs and press areas. The tunnel is out of bounds though. All the way, you are free to take photographs wherever you like and the staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have. See who we spotted, made my day!!:)) The musuem is great too - even for a non-Arsenal fan, make a visit there, you will come away happier:) The stadium is beautifully designed and impressive inside and out. A heads up - walk the 5 minutes or so to see what they did with Highbury, the old Arsenal ground. It's brilliant.

Now the much the heart desires to get from there, everything, but much had to be rationalized - I got a couplea things from here, but my prized possession had to be the the gorgeous navy blue ceramic Arsenal mug. Upon return home, my heart crushed to bits when I unpacked the broken mug:(

Moving forward

Saw this- armoury square stone, couldn't help but think back about RVP, how much pride we felt felt in him. But not all are heros now are they. Wonder how he may be doing...

Getting to and from the Emirates is convenient, on a non match day:) On a match day, be prepared to be surrounded by singing chirpy crowds (that is, if the home team has won) who are in high spirits waiting to catch a tube home - its a long long wait so you better have spare time to stand in those long queues. 

PS: The beers are mighty expensive inside the stadium. What you get at our Wankhede is much cheaper. But you dont get to meet The Boss or Santi at the Wankhede! Consider that:)


Wild & breathless football

Armed with burgers, margaritas and beer, we were as ready as could be. Willing mentally for an exciting attacking Arsenal. Domination. Onwards!

The bets were placed. The gloves were off. The Arsenal fans were bubbling with confidence, the Liverpool fans with fake bravado. This is The Emirates for chrissake!:) ‎

I've been angry, embarrassed, even sad, since Manchester United put us through the humiliation 2 seasons ago. Was unconsciously clutching at that to settle some anger this Monday game. I wasn't gonna return to The Emirates in a hurry after this AFC - LFC match, so in some convoluted fashion was trying to do a 2-in-1! Hoping my physical presence in the stadium will impact the boys to trounce LFC.

We started with a handicap- no Per, no Kosc from the outset. We were starting with an unfamiliar centre-back pairing - inexperienced and not the best defence against the physical threat of Benteke. We could have lost that game in the first half. Dodgy offside call and big chances missed for both sides. You know things are bad when Mesut misplaces 6 passes in one half, or, when you see basic errors from Chamber's. Some say it was a fantastic game of football this, which somehow finished 0-0. I felt let down and cheated of a great attack, I wanted a win at home, to me this result was very disappointing. 

I was looking forward to a kickass game, my first ever at The Emirates, where I wanted to see LFC's butt kicked hard! The FH saw me finish my well manicured nails with LFC dominating and the referee being an ace jerk disallowing the Rambo goal despite he being onside! What a beautiful magical pass from Santi Cazorla when he slipped a weighted pass behind the Liverpool back line for Aaron Ramsey to slot it home, only for it to be incorrectly ruled out for offside.How that hurt:( 

The SH finally saw Arsenal up their game, a massive shift in momentum saw Arsenal begin to look much more threatening, Liverpool started dropping deeper and deeper. Petr Chech made some vital saves for Arsenal, boy! is he a leader! Despite being under pressure for long periods we had a goalkeeper who was more than capable of saving the day for us. He certainly helped keep the scoreline blank:) The fans sitting around us believed Arsenal should have had a penalty after Lucas fouled Giroud on the edge of the box but Michael Oliver didn’t share the same view. Liverpool stayed resolute, were defensively very good and the game closed at 0-0

Would I have ever predicted a draw for this game? Not a chance in hell. But my 10 y.o. nephew, an LFC fan forced me to agree, to put money on a 0-0 result. And lo behold I was financially richer yes, emotionally drained, physically shivering with the cold and rains - this Arsenal game definitely has been stamped in my memory forever. 
Seeing Arsene Wenger in the flesh and blood made the tense stalemate a bright spot that fateful monday:):):)  Anyone see the nonchalant aggression?:):)


The Colours of December

Walk along with me into my garden of colours
Let me show off Nature's pride
So colourful, so vibrant
Makes me yearn to own them

Then again, I remind myself
To forsake the mindset of worldly possessions
Cos I know deep inside
This bounty is indeed mine
To have my fill, ensure its nurturing
To one day soon
Allow another, the same joy
The same magical awe

Till then, I shall safegaurd this treasure zealously
Have my fill and more
Watch the birds play hide and seek
Enjoy my private conversations
With the Universe

For my heart is full of
Song and cheer
Nature does know, just like a Mother
To heal and give unconditionally

Come, walk with me
In my garden of colours.