I am all about impromptu acts. Going on an unplanned road trip. Taking a deliberate wrong turn just for the fun of it. Sometimes, it is just not worth it. But, I would still go for it. Risking the self is the fun part. Like going on cheap thrill rides in theme parks, the adrenaline rush is awesome!
I went for white water rafting in the rapids here in China, and fell off the tubing I was on. Besides being pushed forward by the rapid which was not that fun when you get hurt by the rocks. The downside to this is I cannot swim. Yes, I was wearing a lifejacket which was pretty much useless. But I was lucky; the lifeguard was nearby so I was brought back to safety. He gave me the what-the-hell-were-you-doing look. That was because I did not read the safety measures which said I ought to let go of the tube handle if I were to fall off it. And of course me being me, I flashed my innocent smile and requested to go to the next stop-over (to continue the ride of course) with the lifeguard, which involved climbing up the hill from the river, crossing a bridge, a truck ride and finally to the stop over. I got into the tubing and continued my ride till the end. One should really try white water rafting because it’s REAL COOL!!! The waves are mind blowing and when the rocks at the side push the tubing forward; one is in for a bumpy ride. The BESTEST of the entire rapids is the fall of the tubing from various heights. There were three of the 7m, 13m and another I forgot. Its mini sky diving off a tube. Pure Awesomeness!
Oops, I got carried away!
Anyways, I just caught the 2007 film ‘Into the Wild’. Directed by Sean Penn starring Emile Hirsch. Alexander SuperTramp (the character) walked out on everything just to explore the world. Who does that? He was a 23 year old who could have got himself a place in Harvard Law School but instead chose to go on a trip away from the world he was brought up in.
According to him, "Job is a 20th century invention. I am not a destitute. I have a college education and I chose the present way of life I lead".
The movie was so good till the part he had to die because he ate an inedible wild plant by mistake. The movie was based on the real life character, Christopher McCandless aka Alexander SuperTramp. He was 22 when he left home after donating his savings to a charity home, destroying all his identification and only taking with him a couple of books and some basic necessities. Throughout his journey he took up odd jobs, stayed with hippies, put up a shelter at a desert, kayaks in the rapids eventually making his way to Mexico from the United States, illegally of course. He was so in love with nature and his ultimate aim was the mighty Alaskan Adventure. He took the odd jobs at McDonalds, at a grain factory all in the hope to save up to get to Alaska. He was industrious, always driven and put himself up for the severe of challenges.
Christopher Mccandless was "an aesthetic voyager whose home is on the roads". The line was lifted from the movie which I believe got it from Christopher’s diary that was recovered when Moose hunters discovered his body in the Alaskan Wilderness.
Christopher died in the Alaskan Wilderness in August 1992 at the age of 24.
It’s inspiring. It reflects his stupidity at some point for refusing to take a compass or equipment that might aide him in Alaska. He did not even have a map with him. He walked out on his parents as well. He was wise. He was dumb. He was over confident. He was grounded.
Food, Phobia, China
It has been over a year since I moved to Shanghai to study. And the thing I miss the most is Indian Food. I belong to the group of people who try to seek for Indian food regardless of the country. I enjoy cuisines of numerous countries, but the end of the day Indian cuisine gives me the satisfaction of a wholesome meal. Yes, I choose to overlook the layers of oil and massive salt content.
Daily I dream of a Banana leaf cuisine greeting me in the morning and instead I wake up to Tea (which is not even ginger chai) and biscuits. I love Indian Food and I love the Indian sweets more. They are easier to purchase back in my home country. But here, I did manage to get my hands on jilebi, which lacked the genuine taste I was craving for.
Some people have an unexplained paranoia with health. I call it paranoia. They are stingy with salt and claim it is healthy. Do they even taste their food before serving?! Cos there is no taste! I could have screamed that out at a dining table, but come on I am nice. They also stay away from sweet stuff! My aunts are a classic example of wanting to stay healthy but falling ill more often than not. They have sugar-o-phobia. No, they are not diagnosed with diabetes. They just automatically back off from Indian sweets because they are sweet! Who says that? They are sweets and obviously meant to be sweet. Any reduction in sugar content in my Indian sweet will call for a protest from my part. I am serious.
My aunts fear chilies as well. Way too spicy and they go all teary. Some enjoy the spice if we see them tear, others are crying for help like my aunts.
Phobia itself would cause illness. Moderate consumption is what an individual needs and not silly phobias that minimize the variety of the food we consume and limits the taste. My mom is an awesome cook. Whose mother isn’t? She cooks a whole lot of Indian dishes which never made me fat and I never found out why. Here in China, I got rounder. Plus I am going healthy. Not that I want to but rather because of the lack of variety of what I can consume here. Vegetarians are looked upon with utter shock. They give you the look as if I had just sprouted another arm that instant.
Which also explains why Chinese eat everything and anything?
Article written by Usha Amudan.
To bribe or not to bribe ?
US of A is considering a bribe for the Afghan fighters to join their side. Honestly, I find this both interesting and hilarious. Some of the security analysts claim, these fighters were frustrated with local leaders, impressed with charismatic leaders from the Taliban, and promises that were made to them if they to perform an action. Simply said, Taliban or whichever group they represented promised them things that the government deprived them of. So who shall we point the fingers at now?
I am not encouraging war and will I never do that. Everyone at some point was at the bottom of the lowest pit, and obviously you would not care who pulled you out from the pit, as long as you got pulled out. I am guessing the same worked for these guys when they were in distress.
Let’s just take a look at ourselves. We lose our temper at times and only cool down when we have either got it our way, or some sort of a consensus has been reached largely in our favour. I would call that subtle bribery and of course violence on a small scale. We are not different from anyone fighting out there. They kill people. We tend to "kill" people with words – Just a faint line that separates us from them. Otherwise, all is good whether you choose to agree or not.
This video I came across had Hindu men fighting in the name of jihad. That came quite as a surprise. If this was indeed a religious war, where did these guys sprout out from? And they claim, as always I am going to quote word for word: "When we pick up guns, we get everything in life". Jihad in its true sense (if I am mistaken, please do correct me) is “all about battling the vices within which can range from simple anger to ego, jealousy and anything else that may cause harm (both physical and mental) to the self and others.”
Back to the ‘interesting’ American solution, it has been identified as ”the most cost-effective way to get people to lay down their arms, either to negotiate a peace or coerce them". I hail from a nation where Bribery is heavily criticized and is almost non-existent so that would naturally make me one who detests bribery as well. However, in this case if it reduces the amount of violence in the country, then I might be all for it. This of course may not be the permanent solution to the rising problem. But it will curb the situation. Buy us some time.
So why not?
Article written by Usha Amudan. The author hails from Singapore, currently pursuing studies in China.