SandPrints Kaleidoscope

Wide Choices for Your Reading

 Photograph of the month

Seven Mothers, Pratihar period, 9the Century A.D; National Museum, New Delhi

Travels and Countries

Ladakh Escapades

Travelogue to Leh, Ladakh, Nubra and Shyok Valleys and Pangong Lake, ( 7 part Serial)

Traces of an Empire

Searching for the traces of an empire from 2nd Century BC.

( 3 part Serial) 

Angkor Wat

Travelogue of visit to Siem Reap (3 Part Serial)

SandPrints Hot Post

The Crash of the Rupee

For last few days, Indian Rupee has been continuously sliding down against the US Dollar. Two days back, it reached the lowest level of more that 53 Rupees against one dollar. Many knowledgeable persons and Economists have been expressing themselves on this subject. I came across many opinions about why the Rupee if falling or what would be the effect of this fall on the lives of the common man or is there any way by which this Rupee fall can be stopped, and many such questions. Even after reading many a points of view, I was not really able to pin point the cause and effect of this fall. I would therefore attempt here, to give an explanation, about the cause and effect of this Rupee fall, as envisioned by me.

The economics of any entity, he may be,  an individual, a company or even a nation, naturally depends upon his income and the expenditure incurred by him. Mr. Micawber, a memorable character from Charles Dickens’s classic novel, David Copperfield, explains this basic truth in this novel in the following way.

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SandPrints Mozaic

Mystery of Czar’s treasures

During the days of the First World War (1914-1918), the Czar of the Russian empire in those days, Nicholas II had moved his treasures from his capital St. Petersburg to the city of Kazan, so that these would remain safe from the invading German armies. These treasures were so huge that they contained 500 tons of Gold. The treasures were packed in 5000 boxes and about 1700 sacks. The estimated price of these treasures was 650 million rubles. Even before the First World War could end in Europe, Bolshevik revolution erupted in Russia led by Lenin. The civil war between Bolshevik revolutionaries and forces loyal to the Czar, Nicholas II, had continued till year 1922.Only in that year Bolsheviks were able to establish their complete control over entire Russia. In 1919, in the midst of the civil war, a senior commander of the forces loyal to Nicholus II, Admiral Alexander Kolchek had waged a war against the Bolsheviks in the Ural mountains with the help of Czech soldiers and had captured the city of Kazan after evicting Bolshevik soldiers from that city. His Czech soldiers are known as white guards in Russian history.

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Flash Mob – What’s that?

The time – 5 PM on a lazy Sunday afternoon; Place – Mumbai’s famous Railway station, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST

The railway terminus is not crowded at all being a Sunday afternoon. Few commuters are rushing around as usual. Few coolies and hand cart pushers are relaxing since there is not much work to do. Suddenly loud music starts playing to the tune of a popular song from a Bollywood flick, “Rang De badanti”.

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Kolaveri De – Why this murderous rage dear?

There is always an apprehension in media that sons and daughters of the Bollywood stars are introduced to stardom rather easily without any efforts or real slogging. This might be true to some extent, but the chances of this Gen-Next, coming out with a super hit, are also very high because of their pedigree. This fact was hammered home last week by daughters of two Tamil superstars Rajanikanth and Kamalhasan. Aishvarya Rajanikanth, daughter of superstar Rajnikanth is producing a Tamil film named as ‘Three’ and Shruti, daughter of superstar Kamalhasan has the female lead role in it. Aishwarya’s husband Dhanush has the male lead in this film. The music for the film is being created by Aniruddha Ravichander, again a nephew of Kamalhasan.

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India’s parliamentarians demand Red beacons for their Cars.

One of my close relatives used to be a top Government official. During last decade of his distinguished career, he was honoured with very high Government posts in Mumbai. During his tenure as a high official, he was entitled to the use of a Government car with a red beacon fitted on the top. Couple of times, when I was visiting Mumbai, I had an occasion to travel along with him in his official car. It was a totally new experience for me. The way in which everyone on the street looked at the car and the occupants, the way the chauffeur would get down, when the car is stopped, and open the door, the pomp and the show of reception at the place where the car was stopped, were all new experiences for me. I must honestly admit that I was deeply impressed then with the trappings of power, associated with that car with a read beacon.

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SandPrints ShowCase

Exasperation

Musings

Current Affairs

Silence of the Lambs

More than two years have passed since we witnessed the horrific carnage of innocents in one of the most elite areas of Mumbai. Recently we had another series of bomb blasts in the Diamond trading center of Mumbai. Just few days back, another killer explosion in New Delhi,  took many innocent lives. On each occasion, the media created much hype about our possible response to this premeditated act of few criminal minded zealots within the country and across our borders.  When it was conceived that the attackers were from across the borders, the (media) interviewed many people, asked them loaded questions and made things appear in such way that it looked as if an attack by our armed forces was almost imminent. When the needle of suspicion moved to home grown terrorists, police made number of statements and it was thought that some severe action would follow.Read more of this post

Musings of a Silverfish

In the summer of 1965, an opportunity of a lifetime came my way. I was able to spend that entire summer in the Kashmir valley. I was quite young then and a student. Along with few of my friends, We managed to comb the entire Kashmir valley. We traveled from Anantnag in the south to Sopur and Baramula in the north, and from Amarnath caves in the east to Sonamarg near Zoji La pass. We traveled in State transport buses, rode on horsebacks and trekked in the mountain areas above the snow line. We had some great picnics in the famous Mughal gardens. In short we had a roaring time. During our visit to Baramula town, I distinctly recollect that we were standing on the banks of river Jhelum, when our guide cum cook, pointed his finger in the northwest direction and told us that the areas of Hunza and Gilgit which lie in that direction are still in the hands of our enemy.Read more of this post

Looking east, further and deeper

About a fortnight back, Vietnamese city of Hanoi, hosted an unusual meeting of the defense chiefs of ASEAN and eight other countries. During such international gatherings, discussions generally take a course, where representatives of governments make some kind of policy statements and care is taken not to offend any of the participant countries or raise any bilateral issues. This Hanoi gathering was no different. In this conference, even though no one spoke about it openly, the undercurrent was about relations between China on one hand and all other Pacific rim nations in south east Asia, who are feeling threatened by the aggressiveness of China in South China Sea.Read more of this post

All Time Favourites

The Strongest takes all.

During early part of last year, news items started appearing in Indian media that China has started building a huge dam somewhere in Tibet on the Yarlungzangbo ( Yarlong Tsangpo as known to Tibetans)or Brahmaputra river. This project, known as ‘Zangmu hydroelectrical project’ was supposed to have been inaugurated on March 16,2009 and the first concrete was poured on April 2, 2009. The 1.138-billion Yuan (1 Yuan = $0.15) project was awarded to a five-company consortium with China Gezhouba Group along with NIDR (China Water Northeastern investigation, design and research) involved in its construction. This dam was expected to generate 540 MW of electrical power. As per design plans, the Zangmu dam was supposed to be a gravity dam with water-blocking structures, which could mean construction of a reservoir.Read more of this post

Poisoning Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the richest countries of the world in Water resources. Per capita availability of water is perhaps highest in that country. It has a major river system of the world consisting of Brahmaputra river and many large subsidiary rivers like Padma. In addition the country gets bountiful rain fall for almost six to eight months of the year.Bangladesh river systems literally pour billions of liters of water in the country. Yet all this water seems to be harming this poor country instead of being beneficial to its people and economy. Every year the rivers carry enormous amounts of flood waters to Bangladesh. The coastal regions face continuous dangers of Cyclones and Typhoons. These tend to flood the coastal areas damaging crops and potable water sources. With so much water everywhere, no one would believe, that the poor citizens of this country, face drinking water shortages round the year.

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Water Scarcity in Cherrapunji?

Meghalaya is one of the seven states, known as seven sisters, located in North-East India. With its green foliage cover, it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque states in theUnion of India. The famous Cherrapunji town is located in West Khasi hills in this state. Cherrapunji’s name is so famous that any school going lad would surely know about it. The reason for its being so well known is simple. It is recognized as the town with highest rainfall in the world. This state came into being in 1972 and was named as ‘Meghalaya’ (The house of the Clouds) because of the weather in the state. The town of Cherrapunji however deserves this name more aptly as the average rainfall in Cherrapunji exceeds 1100 c.m. every year. In the year 1861, Cherrapunji had received 2891 c.m. of rain in just one month, which also happens to be the all time record here.Read more of this post

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