Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Reluctant Funadametalist Film

I   like the  film very much.  There are multiple  tracks of  my  special  interests merging   in to  one  film   like:  1) Terrorism, specially post  9/11 stories    2) social  conflict  3)  Mira Niar films   4)  films   about the   South Asian subcontinents  5)  Films  with stories  about  immigrants experience ,   minority, diversity   and multiculturalism
The List of the terrorism films that I have seen and  enjoyed  is  long .  Fiction,  based on True story or   actual  documentary
·         Hollywood  : Charlie Wilson's War   ( 2007)  , Saving Jessica Lynch (2003) (TV), Argo (2012 film) (2012),  Zero Dark   Thirty ( 2012) 
·         Bollywood :  Roja (1992) Dil Se.. (1998),   Black Friday (2005)    Fanaa (2006), A Wednesday!, (2009) thriller film,   New York (2009)  ,   My Name is Khan (2010)
·         Foreign Films :     Waltz with Bashir ,  Gate Keeper  ( 2012-Oscar nominated for the  best documnetary   (  Kudos to  the  Israeli directors to make  movies  with such  exemplary  candor )  ,  Khudake  Liye  ( Pakistan )..  

The  subject is  also popular theme in some the  award-winning   TV serials like Homeland (HBO) . We live in post  9/11  era. The  era  of  WW-II  spy movies or   James Bond type  cold-war stereo type   has  faded.   Besides terrorism,  there  has been     many   good movies on the   deep  and  agonizing conflicts that people live in . Few just caused by the class war, drug wars specially in Latin American countries    but many more   are also no the  sectarian,  tribal, ethnic  , Islamist  conflicts  that we  see  in  the Middle east,   countries  made  out of the  lines  drawn by the  former imperial powers or  forced  co-existence  by the  past conquerors.   

Usually I like  Documentaries or the  fact based film  a lot more than fiction,  However this  film is an exception. I  liked  may shuttle things  in  the movie  from the titles in English  going from  right  to  left.   Sufi divine music,   the dialogues in  Urdu , not  modifying  the name  Chengiz ( to Gengiz) ,  ghazal, specially the ghazal of Iqbal. (   “the mountain eagle” (Bāng‑i Darā,  your place is  not on the  domes of the palace  but on the peak of  the mountain “  where  The Eagle,”highlights the “ascetic” and freedom‑loving nature of the eagle.  The subtitle  translates its  as Falcon ) .  I like the most of the movie’s ability to  keep the suspense  till the end and Mira Nayar dedicating  the film to  her father. 

I am not going to be  a  spoiler  as I  would  recommend  every  person  of acquaintance  living  the in USA  and the Indian  subcontinent to see the film) . The  critics review   is not the most applauding  with  the  rottern Tamoto meter indicating  on 53%  grade . May be   the  background  Sufi  music and lyrics   could  have made it  difficult to decipher  for  American  Critics.  
Probably this one of the first Indian directors to make a Pakistani film from Pakistani author  and bring it to America .  Though the movie  does not  necessarily  put  Americans in the positive light  but no  one  has   denounced it.   That  makes  proud  of open and liberal  practices in  US democracy.   The  fact no one in India  has  asked  to ban the movie    and  the  fact that  it has   crosses borders makes me so proud of India. 
Probably this  one of the first Indian directors to make a Pakistani film from Pakistani auhor  and bring it to America .  Though the movie  does not  necessarily  put  Americans in the positive light  but no  one  has   denounced it.   That  makes  proud  of open and liberal  practices in  US democracy.   The  fact no one in India  has  asked  to ban the movie    and  the  fact that  it has   crosses borders makes me so proud of India.

It’s no wonder that the words Islamic and fundamentalism are often so tightly coupled in our  minds that  by default we  bind them together.  On a superficial level, “fundamentalist” refers to religious identity, one unfortunately most often associated with Islamic terrorism these days. However the  title is  of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,”

Mira Niar is  great  film maker from  India     I have seen  Salaam Bombay (1988, probably my first  “off-beat movie in theater) ,  Missisipi Masala  ( 1991 )  , Kam Sutra ( Mediocre)  , The Namesake  , Amelia    and now the  Reluctant Fundamentalist. Can not compare the films in different  but  I find  The  Reluctant  Fundamentalist  as the most  intriguing  film . ( Mira Niar's own most  favorite film is "The battles of  Algiers".  She  said   "only movie in the world I wish I had directed is “The Battle of Algiers”

 We  probably empathize  with  the  travails of  unemployed   youth  with  hopeless  future  in  Palestine more easily.   However   we all wonder why  someone  like   2010 Time Bomber  (Faisal Shahbaz) having   successful  career at the  Financial Analyst, or  some of  2005 London bombers  who happened to be   student form prestigious school like the London school of  economy  or now the  Tsarnaev  brothers in Boston      become  such  terrorists ?

As she demonstrated in films like “Mississippi Masala” and “The Namesake,” Nair has a gift for revealing the challenges and contradictions of the American minority experience, a talent that serves her well in a number of scenes here . She  covers  many social issues  in her films    like  Child labor ( Salam Bombay) ,   Pedophile in  family (Monsoon Wedding),   Immigrant experience  in assimilation ( The Namesake)  and  this  movie  is no  exception. The message of them movie by Indian  director Mira Niar and  the story   by the Pakistani   Moshin  Hamid is   also  something of   profound importance and  a timely reminder after the  recent  bombing at the Boston Marathon. I  feel that the film should be  shown in schools specially on the course work of  social  studies and  diversity in the  society . The film provides  much needed spin on the war on terrorism.  





Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kai Po Che ! Bollywood Film

Interetsingly , In 2007 I returned form the trip to Rajasthan, India and saw a very liked film “Eklavya” shot in Rajasthan, at DeviGath, the place  I just visited. That made my first blog on film at this blog  http://tjshah.blogspot.com/2007/03/eklavya-royal-guardhindi-film.html

Seems the same history is repeating. I just came back form the trip of Gujarat. Again I am seeing a very likable film in USA shot in the place I just visited.  I still have not posted most of the pictures of this trip to Gujarat.   The subset of the albums are posted. The public albums can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/TusharInGujarat.
More albums and the associated blog entries will follow at this site,
http://tusharinGujarat.blogspot.com.    In the film , I felt as I  know  every brick in the every building and   some of them I  just  visited, specially  seeinng the spirit of the Kite-flying in Ahmedabad,  places like heritage walk ,  Jumma Masjid, Sarekhej no Rojo  and even trip to Div, Saurastra.   I also had  trip to Saurastra  with three firends  and  so felt  the experiene of the  stars in the  movie  somehwhat personal . 

Other  item common to  Eklavya and  "Kai po Che" is the message  to the  Indian  literature  and culture   about the  importance of   "सत गुरु ". Find a good teacher and life would be made .

 Independent of  my personal association with the locations in Gujart,  attachmnet to  the  recent  natural  disaster of  earthwauke   on 1/26/2001 and man-made disaster on Feb 27 2002,   close  repeat of  the paths of my rcnet, I  like the film a lot.  I feel   I have already seen one of the best  Hindi film of the year.

Kai Po Che is the Gujrati line meaning ‘I Have Cut’ which comes out in a kite flying festival when one knocks down the opponent’s kite. It is used as a cry of victory in kite-flying contests.

I expected the movie to be some kind of cliché about friendship that have seen in many Bollywood dramas which includes flirting, dancing and mimic around during college hours but its about three adult pals and their struggle in life whose friendship is tested on a big scale..

At the most I expected KPC to be another clone or at least a shade of such drama like Rang De Basanti, DCH(Dil CHahta Hai,) 3 Idiots and ZNMD (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,) specially when the superstars of these movies like Amir Khan, Hritk Rosham Arshad Warsi praised the film.

KPC is none of the above. It is not a copy cat of these films, It is a remarkable depictions of three friends the backdrop the strains of the roller coaster of life. No Bollywood dance, silly comedies, no real villain. Even the character of uncle politician. who is a political leader in a right-wing Hindu party.

The 2002 communal riot is a big part of the story but the film makers smartly avoided any reference to Narendra Modi or other controversy which may block the screen of the movie in Gujarat officially or by de-facto riots as was the case for several such very good movies.  I have  read in media that  the director Abhishek Kapoor  did a  smart trick of portraying the  film as Modi's propaganda by  suggesting  that  the 2002  riot  was an act of  local  BJP leader ( and of Gujarat BJP leadership).  However Abhishek Kapoor  has profusely  rejected  such charge  through the  twitter.

The plot is new and creative. Three friends are in their first business venture of having a sports shop with coaching facilities All three have different personalities, interests, ambitions and vulnerabilities. None of the three are big stars but good actors and I think that goes in favor of the movie . I think some new stars are born. I specialy liked the new actoor  Sushabt Singh Rajput ( Ishan) and the  character of the actress  Amrita Puri and the romance.  I  do not see  the  film is  about the 2002 sectarian violence.  It is nice story on  friendship, life  and also  missing importance of sports, specially during the    growing up  in  building the character of   individual and  nation .  Physical education is   very important and we  as society  ignored  it as part of the basic education.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Torres Del Paine National Park , Chile

Torres Del Paine National Park : ("Tower of Peaks")

Jan 26 2007; Day 3 at El Calafate

See the slideshow

Torres del Paine National Park is a Chilean National Park comprising mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and rivers. The Cordillera del Paine is the centerpiece of the park. The park is located 300 KM from El Calafate, 112 north of Puerto Natales and 312 km north of Punta Arenas. Los Glaciers National Park ( our 3rd day in El Calafate) is located to the north in Argentine territory.

The Park is marked by the sharp vertical rise of the granite rock form from 70 M to 3000+ meters. The black granite peaks soaring in to the clouds are indeed very picturesque. The pictures do not show the sharp rise in the height. The park and the picture with the three horns ( peaks) is well promoted by the Chilean tourism in posters, book covers, bill board on Chilean airports. The park is also very popular for the challenge-driven hikers. You may take several 4 to 7 days hiking trips to camp in the park by tour operators like "Mountain and Myth", adventure travel etc. Withstanding the savage wind is a challenge

We departed early morning from El Calafate at 6:00AM to the Chilean border reached at 10:30am in the morning and from where, after customs, we headed 90 km straight to Torres del Paine. They were two stops for the boarder crossing each country in both directions. The custom/immigration bureaucracy was fairly slow and in total they must have taken at least another 1.5 hours. The 300 KM journey took six hours. Part of the road is unpaved. Most of the road goes through arid desert for miles and miles with dry burned short grass. There is no town or even other signs of many human living around.

Taking the internal route, we first passed by Lake Sarmiento and Amarga Lagoon (see the map at the park's web site in English). After a few kilometers from there we got our first lookout point for a panoramic view of the Paine Horns. We continued to Lake Pehoe and Paine River and took the lunch . We took a short trek to Salto Grande to enjoy the magnificent sights. It was a relative nice and sunny day. However the Wind was blowing at a very high speed. Often it was difficult to balance the body. The place is notorious to have winds as high as 230 KM . The park is huge ( see the map) and we could not cover the grey glacier (we did see a super set of glaciers next day in Argentina)

We saw herds and herds of Guanocos, one of the four mammals native to South America, The animal looks like the cross between camel and deer. We saw pink Flamingos, Nandu ( Ostridge like South American bird). We came back to El Calafate little after the 10:00PM. In future, I would rather come to the park from Chilean side ( from Punta Natales or Punta Arenas from where it 3-4 hour drive) instead from El Calafate (Argentina) and not deal with crossing the boarder twice. Of course we did not have that option.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Perito Moreno Glacier:, El Calafate, Argentina

Jan 25 2009
Perito Moreno Glacier: On our Day 1 of real excusions, today Our first adventure was to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and then ice trek on it! This is considered to be the most spectacular and unforgettable excursion in all Patagonia. Our experience was exceeded all our imaginiations and hype we had by reading e half a done travel books and watching the DVDs !

We have been to several glaciers in Alaska and in Candian rockies. However, when I got to Perito Moreno Glacier, it was a new world of glaciers for me.This glacier is a monster, with 60 metre high walls, stretching 30km back into the mountains, but most importantly, it moves quite a distance each day . It moves 2 meter in center and 10 cm in sides causing tensions , cracks and Craveasses.This means that the glacier is constantly moaning, creaking, groaning and squeaking, while every 10 minutes or so a big chunk of ice crashes into the water below. This is captivating entertainment, and you don´t want to let the glacier out of sight in case you hear a big crash and miss the splash! ! The day, and whole experience was absolutely amazing. If you ever get the chance, don´t miss it.

It´s incredibly active, We witnessed building-sized chunks of ice calve off the glacier´s 150 ft face into the water of Lago Argentino below. It periodically advances, touching the mainland, separating the lake into two. This causes one side of the lake to fill with water, until the pressure is sufficient to break the ´dam´caused by the glacier, creating an explosion of ice and water as the ice dam fails. Truly amazing!

Equally exciting was the expeirence of the Ice Tekking. We hiked through a lush, green forest for about 20 minutes, till we got to the base of the glacier, where we were fitted with crampons - spikey shoes that fit to the bottom of our hiking boots. We were briefed on how to hike in our crampons, then we set off, single file, up a narrow trail of ice. It was absolutely surreal.

The ice is actually layers upon layers of compressed snow, which absorbs all colors, except for blue, which it reflects. This is what makes the glacier these shades of blue. We had never seen anything like it. It was absolutely beautiful. bluetiful.
We hiked for a while, stopping along the way to appreciate our surroundings. It was almost overwhelming being surrounded by these glacier peaks, valleys and streams. There was a slight, cool breeze and the sun was shining intermittently. What an amazing experience. We were in total awe.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Costa Rica

HighLights: Pura Vida

Pura Vida (POO-rah VEE-dah), a very popular expression used by Costa Ricans literally translated means "Pure Life." Contextually, it means "Full of Life" "Purified life", "This is living!", "Going great!" It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction.

Pura Vida is the most significant expression, I learned in Costa Rica ! Costa Rica furnished tons of tourist trivias, tracks and Tushar’s tidbits about tuanis topics. This includes the traveling from Tortuguero( First Day) to Tamarindo(Last day), Tarnatula(Spider like insect) , Tucan (exotic bird), Tortuga(turtle), Tequilas, all about Ticos (Costa Ricans) was truly Tuanis( Cool). What Ticons call Pura Vida ! (.). These all "T"s in the land of Coffee Richa ! Turtles and Toad gave me extra introduction to the world of Herpatology, lava and magma to the world of Volcanology.

Costa Rica is Pura Vida ! “ Costa Rica is paradise according to National Geographic, July 11 2008” – per the official web site of Costa Rica.


The land with size smaller than West Virginia in the USA, it encompasses one of the one of the world’s most diverse natural landsacpes . Nowhere else in the world are so many types of habitats squeezed in to such tiny area. The unique geography, creates rich diversity of flaura and fauna. Costa Rica is home to roughly 5% of the world’s biodiversity and is credited with having the 615 of species per 10,000 sq km in the world. Hundreds of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians can be found here, along with a staggering 10,000 plant and tree species! Compare this statistics to the wildlife rich country Rawanda that has 596 ( and USA has 104) . This makes Costa Rica a premier destination for the nature lovers in the word. We were not that fortunate enough to many of the well-promoted birds and animals, part due to the season, weather .

Niral, Amit, Madhu and myself has a wonderful trip. We landed to San Jose (Day zero) and departed from Liberia (Day11). On both weekend, Daniel ( CostaRican, who stayed with Madhu and family as exchanged student and Amit’s friend), I grouped the travel log and the picture album in five sections .

You may see the overall summay highlights ( I call Pura Vida Gallery)for a quick overview. For more details , click each one of the following links, Click the "slideshow" and hit F11 key for the full screen view. Here are the five photo albums.

1) Tortugero National Park ( Day 1-2) ; Land with canals, Turtles on Carribean ocean

2) Mount Arenal ( Day 2-5) Volcano, Hot springs, water falls, Lake Arenal

3) MonteVerde Gallery (Day 5-8); Rain Forest

4) Guanacaste : Northwest (Day 8-11) Pacific coast next to mountain. Stay at Hilton Resort

5) Miscellaneous: Art, people, more flaura and fauna

1 Tortuguero National Park ;

Witness the timeless, primordial act of Nature

It’s the Caribbean version of the Amazon in Brazil. One may compare it with the backwaters in Kerala as well. The Tortuguero Canals are an extensive system of natural and man-made waterways used both for simple transportation and jungle exploration. Traveling through the canals is a fascinating experience rich in wildlife that includes monkeys, iguanas, and colorful tropical birds. Picture on the left shows the topology of the place with tiny strips of land between canals, rivers and the ocean.

Getting there is part of the fun. The road goes through the verdant coffee plantations outside of San José and pass through the massive Braulio Carrillo National Park, before heading down to the lowlands of Limón, on the Caribbean coast. Here, the jungle finally gives way to small towns and huge banana plantations, offering a unique glimpse of Costa Rica’s rural life. The unpaved road goes through the banana plantations for atleast 1.5 hours with huge plantations equipped with planes for spreading fertilizers. The loom of Banana is covered with the blue plastic for the protection. Each Banana tree may have enough bananas to feed a village ! Once you arrive at the Canals, the real fun begins. We’ took a scenic boat ride along the canals for another hour and half to a charming jungle lodge.

One of the most important nesting sites in the world for four species of marine turtles, Tortuguero National ParkThe Green Turtle, one of the park’s most famous visitors, has existed for over 200 million years and can weigh over 400 pounds. It nests in Tortuguero from July to October.The egg laying occurs at night, when the females pull themselves out of the pounding surf and up the sand, digging holes with their flippers. After carefully covering their nests with sand, they return once again to the sea. Guided tours are available at night to have us a chance to witness this timeless, primordial act. Like Salmons in Alaska, the Turtles cone back for the nesting at the same place where they born. Costa Rica is one of only a handful of countries that protect turtle nesting sites, and even then, chances of survival are slim, as only one of every 10,000 baby turtles reaches adulthood per ranger. Photography is strictly prohibited and enforced as any light (except for special red light) inhibits the turtle from nesting. We walked there at dark night,with intermittent pouring rain. However the experience was worth the trip.

US Naturalist and Herpetolgist Archi Carr gets lots of credit for saving the Turtles, His name and work creates deep reverence the way one feels for another US scholar in America like Hiram Bingham when one visits Machu Pichu

The second day began with boat tour through the canals. The boat employs nearly silent electric trolling motors, helping the skipper maneuver close to wildlife without disturbing or scaring it. I got a chance to take some photographs of the wildlife that inhabits this immense ecosystem with my tele-zoom lens but it could have been better ! I learned the necessity of Image Stabilization in the lense I concluded that 200 MM zoom is not enough for the close up of the wild-life far away in trees !

2 Mount Arenal

We had a great view of Mount Arenal from the room with river Arenal flowing 100 ft away from the room. We hiked to La Fortuna water fall, soaked in hot springs, did white water rafting at the Sarappiqui river. We took taxi few times into town and ate at a cool restaurant called "the Lava Lounge" complete with lava lamps in the bathrooms. There credit card machine was down but they trusted us to pay for the bill next day. The town of La Fortuna is typical tico because in its center is the park and the catholic church.

The Arenal volcano is ACTIVE!!! So you can actually see and hear (the noise coming from) the volcanic activity: fumaroles and rocks rolling down. Here, a picture of the lava river from the 1992 eruptiion. Unfortunately ( rather fortunately) we were not around to see the grand view of the lava river but we were fortunate enough to see the lava at night on our third night at Arenal. Watching the live Volcano was another unique experience. We could actually see fire coming out of the volcano and the smoke blowing to the west, which was really cool.

3.MonteVerde Cloud Forest

Situated along the Continental Divide in western Costa Rica, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve stretches down both the Pacific and

Caribbean slopes. As the elevation increases from under 2,000 feet above sea level to over 6,000 feet, the temperature and humidity also change, markedly transforming the scenery. The Monteverde region is known around the world for its conservation efforts and lifestyle centered around respect for nature. Santa Elena is the area’s main service center with various shops and tourism companies and beautiful art shops.

One of the coolest things was the view from the room. It was great ti watch the clouds passing by you , opening the view of the bay from the height of 6,600 ft, seeing rich wildlife and the lush greenery. .

4 GuanaCaste

We lived in all- inclusive resort of Hilton at Papagayo. The hotel in Costa Rica is located in a private bay heading the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Papagayo. Mainly we relaxed at the resort. Had fun with the wave runners, beach volleyball, taking lessions in Spanish and try different drinks. Last day we rented a car and I actually drove in Costa Rica for the first time. That was indeed exciting. Visited many towns near by. To Be added ..

5 Miscellaneous

People, art ; To Be added .

Visting art shops and art galleries of the local artists was new track added to the fine pleasures in travelling. I specially enjoyed the work of local artists with the depiction of inanimate objects theme of merging still life, plant life and animal life with human life on wood, jewlery or on canvas. The right term in Gujarati is સજીવારૉપણ્ ( Sa jiva ropan- planting life implying human life to non-human entities )

The artist may intend to convey a more subtle, moral message.


Under Construction

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

अंगकोर वत; Angkor wat ; Mother of all temples in the world

Angkor temples, which spread for 40 miles around Cambodia's northern city of Siem Reap, are all that remain of a 'lost' people. It is also rightly called “Mother of all Temples in the world” The first thing that strikes you about them is the overwhelming sense of mystery: elaborate, multi-storied stone temples pop out of the jungle, each one with its own unique architectural style and history something more fascinating in reality than Indian Jones movie or the Tomb Raider video game (that Niral mastered once upon a time ). The most striking and best preserved is Angkor Wat, with its carved reliefs (bas-relief) and jagged towers.

I have been fascinated to with all the reminiscence of the lost civilization I have seen places like
Chichen Itza, Machu Pichu. However Angkor wat has been the place, I found myself most qualified to learn. The place has full of galleries, carvings based on epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Hindu and Buddhist mythology. I have also found a vast amount of data about the bas-relelief ( carvings) in books and on-line reference. The 300+ paged picture book for free download at http://theangkorguide.com// is also one of the very valuable resources for a serious tourist।

There were so many amazing temples to visit. What a huge archeology park ? The three most magnificent temples are Bayon, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. To begin to a get a feel for Angkor you will need at least three days. This will give you time to properly view the major temples as well as an array of some of the more ornate smaller complexes further out such as Banteay Srei.

Angkor Wat is considered by many to be one of the greatest monuments ever constructed। Like the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids, with its soaring five towers and beautiful bas reliefs, few people fail to be in awe of the sheer grandeur of these ancient temples.

We visited Angkor Thom and many places today. In comparison, Bayon is far more intimate, built around 1200 by Jayavarman VII, the most illustrious of the Angkor leaders, from a distance it looks more like a mess of decrepit ancient rock, yet, as you near, Bayon takes shape to reveal 54 huge faces of Avalokitesvara staring down at you from all areas. 54 faces symbolizes 54 stats of th empir at that tim. There is definitely an other-worldly feel to Bayon, every turn revealing yet another gigantic disdainful stare from the ancient god with slightly curving lips, eyes placed in shadow by the lowered lids (they) utter not a word and yet force you to guess much.

Finally, of the big three is Ta Promh. Located close to Bayon, here the ancient ruins have deliberately (and questionably) had little restoration, and the awesome effect of the jungle can be seen, as thick powerful roots thrust from the earth and rip huge sections of the temple walls apart. Massive stones lie scattered like building blocks to leave narrow passage ways and corridors which act as light relief from the searing heat. There is definitely a feeling of discovery at Ta Promh unlike any of the other central Angkor temples, as we climbed through the rubble and roots to unearth another secret passageway or statue. Ta Promh brings you closest to replicating the atmosphere that the first French explorers must have experienced 140 yrs ago.

Finally we show pricing show of Apsara dancing. Do NOT MISS to click the link below to get the perception. http://www.angkorwatshow.com/show_preview. (see the last pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/TusharPhotos/AngkorWatTemple )

You may see the pictures of Angkor wat temple and th show at:


Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Phrom at:


Each picture deserves at least a paragraph of annotation. However I am sending them even with out the captions! the It is almost blastphamous to send such pictures with proper annotation. I am rushing du to lack of relaible , fast internet her and lack of tim .

I will update the picturs with captions or prferablly at a different site where I can dscribe better.

Tushar ; Jan 15th 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Doc, Lock and Peacock

One of the very unique and special experiences in this trip to Ahmadabad, India was meeting a truly renaissance couple named Dr. Hiren shah and his wife Dr. Namita shah.

Dr. Hiren Shah is a practicing successful pediatrician running his own hospital. He has many rare and demanding hobbies. One of them is to collect the locks ( along with , clocks and peacocks). Dr Hiren Shah was the first Indian Guest ever invited to International Puzzlers Party in Australia last year. He has been attending several international conferences for the mechanical locks and puzzle solvers symposiums such as one at Velbert, Germany 2003. He is amazingly passionate about his hobby. His wife Dr. Namita Shah is also a practicing physician ( OBG-GYN) and full time mother of the couple’s three kids. Her support and dedication to her husband’s hobby is even more impressive !

Together the couple has made their house a live-in Museum. The house is built with old-styled wooden tick doors with the carvings, Zarokhas (balcony), pillars, verandah, chowk, with unique and antique artifacts, Indian decorative vessels, decorative collectibles, souvenirs collected from their trips around the world along with the masterpieces of extensive lock collection. Dr. Hiren shah has several other serious hobbies like traveling, photography, presentations, creative word-plays. These additional hobbies impressively supplement their principal hobby of collecting the locks, puzzles, clocks. Being busy professional, parents the time management is a challenge as well. The couple stretches the day and manages to find the time in the “25th hour” Heat and dust of Ahmedabad also introduces extra challenge in the maintenance of the House + Museuem = “housem”

I was originally introduced to the couple by an e-mail from my sister who visited the couple's house and I heard their radio talk at Sydney, Australlia in Gujarati. The strong fascination after hearing this made me write a small rhyme out of my excitement. (below). Meeting this renaissance couple in person, I found myself even more stunned and spell bound.

Many bright individuals lock a part of themselves away. It's a bit sacred. Here is the couple for whom the locked up part is the lock it self. ! In their busy lives they have tuned their clock to generate the precious 25th hour . This 25th hour is dedicated for their cultivated passions for the locks .

More amazing thing is the fact as precious is this passion nurtured in the 25th hour, they have not locked up their passion for the locks in hiding that no one can find it . They shared their passion with us with full enthusiasm and energy. Their passion and dedication for their hobby, reiterated the fact that combination of attitude, dedication, perseverance can make the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart and lead to higher pleasures of success.

You may take a partial virtual tour of the “Houseum” at http://picasaweb.google.com/TusharPhotos/Houseum?authkey=JeLqlZ0S47M

Here is my early response after hearing about the “houseum” on Sept 30 2007.

Doc, Lock and Peacock

Fascinated by the enchanting radio talk

the unique story of Doc, Lock and Peacock

twist and torque, poke and provoke

solves any puzzle by the keystroke

this is not a game for ordinary folk

It takes one with the "25 hour" clock

The "housem' with a chock

has no match on the block

is bound to invite a tourist flock

but dealing with the dust is no joke

The trickiest lock is the wedlock

secrets are locked in this padlock

like movie mystery of Hitchcok

ask the key who found his lock

the solvers is the real 'Sherlock'