India Gate and Book Fair (pictures)

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Yours truly made a completely unplanned trip to India Gate. The ‘planned’ trip just had the Book Fair in Pragati Maidaan on the list. I visited India Gate for the first time. I was bit taken by surprise by the festive look about the area. I had expected it to be a place with somber environs due to its historical importance and the adjoining high security areas. But just imagine, children playing cricket in the lawns, besides numerous ‘kulfi-walas’ and ‘chana-walas’! Clicked some pics with my ever faithful K750i.

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The next stop was the book fair at Pragati Maidaan. At 5 rupees, the entry was cheap. Inside was a book lovers heaven, with books and tons of books all around with that aroma of fresh bindings. I bought two Urdu dictionaries which I had been looking for a long time now. Some more books are on my wishlist, if only I could get another chance to drop by before the fair is over.

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Post Edit (September 27, 2006) – I managed to visit the fair again, although just in nick of time, I must say. I reached around 7:45 PM, in a rush. I had expected that the fair would be open till later than 8:30 PM, the official closing time, because of it being the last day. But it was the opposite. Almost all the stalls had packed up barring a few of fictional books. Some were offering their collection at Rs 100 a piece. A steal, considering some of the hardbacks which were on offer. I managed to find a James Clavell and three of Stephen King. Though the time was short, but the trip was worth it.

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Will the scars of 9/11 ever heal?

The news channel is replaying the news story of that fateful day five years ago, September 11, 2001. I look at the images of smoke emanating from one of the ‘Towers’. People are standing in streets, shading their eyes with their hands to look up at the building. Every one is thinking this to be an accident. One very bad accident. The newsreader’s voice does not shows any alarm, just a tone of concern with a hint of remorse. Smoke continues to rise from the building. The long antena on the roof juts out of the smoke as if mocking it. The ambulance sirens are not howling yet. They will come later.

The screen shows a shadow appearing in the clear sky. Its a plane. Gliding effortlessly through the air, coming in a long lazy curve. Why are they flying so low today? Don’t they see that one has already hit a building! The plane curves more sharply, as if being drawn towards the smoke by an invisible power. But wait … it is going straight towards the smoke! No body had thought that it will too ram straight into the building. The second tower. The plane just disappears into the concrete, as if melting into it. But the other side is not the same. A huge yellow ball of flames circled by grey smoke emerges, seemingly out of the walls. There are loud shrieks. The camera-man seems confused as to where to focus. Up in the air where a hypnotising fire ball is coming out of windows like dragon breath or down in street where all hell seems to have broken loose. Screams, sobs, frigtened faces and horror filled eyes.

Next, fire-tenders are shown trying to douse fire at one of Pentagon’s wings. The walls had started crumbling after a loud noise and a huge fire. A guy thinks it was a cruise missle. Later, it will be ascertained that a commercial airlliner has crashed into the Pentagon.

Some rescue workers are shown rushing towards a smoke cloud from what seems like a jungle. An eyewitness says that a plane had come plummetting towards the ground. The tail fin was pointing towards the wrong side. It was upside down when it crashed behind the trees. Sky is falling today.

The screen conjures up the video feed of two smouldering towers. One burning almost in the middle, the other a quarter way up. The smoke has blackened and flames are leaping out from windows as if they are trying to escape the buildings too. People, mere specks, arching out of windows, waving frantically. Some others can wait no longer to be rescued. They jump out and seem to be moving in slow motion. In the street, a lady is crying out loud. Streams of people come rusing out of the Towers. The lucky ones. Some with clothes and hair disshelved, some wailing and some with bruised faces. But they are very lucky as they will later realize.

The police men are motioning the people to clear the area. Helping the hurt to move. But the crowd is still there. The urgency in the sirens has increased. Then there is a rumbling noise. Something has happened. Another plane?! A long shot of the Towers comes up. The tower hit in the middle by the second plane seems to be tilted a bit to one side. Then it starts to crumble down. There is utter mayhem. Every body wants to run now. The roof of the tower seems to be dissappearing down in smoke. It keeps going down faster and faster untill everything is covered in smoke and dust. One cameraman is running with his camera facing backwards. The video is wobbly but I can see a dense dust cloud rushing between the streets, engulfing every car, every person. There is a thick layer of ash and dust on the roads.

Some time later the second tower crumbles down too layer by layer like a card house. My attention moves to the live news feed scrolling at the bottom of the TV screen. It reads –

Al Qaeda warns of attacks in Gulf, Israel. 4 French tourists abducted in Yemen. Saddam trial resumes after 3 week break. US warns North Korea on nuclesr tests. Japan launches satellite to spy on North Korea. Malegaon blasts: Police release sketch of third bomber.

Funniest bloopers by students!

This is a compilation of actual (allegedly) student bloopers collected by teachers.

– Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Desert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

– Solomom had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

– The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

– Acutally, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

– Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

– In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the Java.

– Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long.

– Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: “Tee hee, Brutus”.

– Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

– Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was cannonised by Bernard Shaw. Finally Magna Carta provided that no man should be hanged twice for the same offence.

– In medieval times, most people were illeterate. The greatest writer of the futile ages was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature.

– Another story was William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

– Queen Elizabeth was the ‘Virgin Queen’. As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted “hurrah”!

– It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. And Sir Franccis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper.

– The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies and hysterectomies. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Romeo’s last wish was to be laid by Juliet.

– Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote ‘Donkey Hote’. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote ‘Paradise Lost’. Then his wife died and he wrote ‘Paradise Regained’.

– During the Renaissance, America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina,  the Pinta, and the Santa Fe.

– Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim’s Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

– One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the fact that the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. Finally the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis. Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contended Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided aginst itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

– Soon the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

– Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.

– Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightment was a reasonable time. Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy.

– Beethoven wrote music even though he was dead. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.