Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can't Digest This!

This is another form of animal abuse...poor horse!
(Edited ( 21.7.11): I changed the first line which was not right, whether it is India or Pakistan, animal abuse is prevalent everywhere.)

A horse with a local Pakistani mobile number painted on it is left for rent on a roadside on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan

I saw this picture here. Feel very sad.

P.S.: You can see beautiful pictures of birds and animals also in the link given above, but this was shocking.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Mr.Smith Goes To Washington - a 1939 Film Review


Last evening we watched a beautiful, heartening movie, Mr.Smith Goes to Washington (1939 movie!).

I had not heard about the hero of the movie, James Stewart or anybody else, so did not show much interest, when my son said that 'this movie is 'sort of a seed', for the Tamil movie, 'Mudhalvan', ('Nayak' in Hindi'). Then reluctantly agreed to watch this movie and it was a very good decision! I and my husband loved the movie!

The story revolves around a young, straight forward, clean person, Jeffrey Smith, 'selected' by greedy Senators to be a dummy Senator, in place of a deceased Senator of Smith's state (the name of the state is not mentioned anywhere!). They think that his clean boyish image (he is the head of a children's group, 'Boy Rangers' and is very popular among the children and their parents!) will be a big plus point for him. He is put under Senator Paine for training in Senator's job, whom Smith comes to know, was his father's close friend. This person, Paine, is a Presidential aspirant and is ready to go to any length to achieve the dream. He has a soft corner for Smith also. Smith is shown as a true patriotic American.

As part of the training Paine asks Smith to propose a bill at the Senate. Paine's secretary is asked to help him to prepare the bill. Reluctantly, the experienced secretary helps him draft the bill. They show how clumsily Smith does this work, which is quite hilarious! The bill says that Smith wants to build a National Boy's camp in his home state with federal fund, which will help under privileged children to spend a couple of months to stay there and learn new skills. The area he selects, is near a creek. Here comes the hitch. The same area was already ear-marked for building a dam by Paine's promoter and they get their shock. Then Smith's test he handles the Senator's destructive plan and how much trouble he faces and wins in the end, is the story! The last 'filibuster' scene at the Senate chamber, where Smith tries to clear his name, is the best!

The film has won Best Actor Oscar (James Stewart) and 11 Oscar nominations. The movie was a big hit and had great reviews. One review:

'Stewart's character represents the powerful forces of American freedom, democracy and morality over oppression and evil in his emotional portrait of a naive, idealist, patriotic young politician who after being sent to Washington (a symbol of liberty and democracy), as a junior senator from an un-named state, matures in wisdom, fights political corruption within his state's political machine and guards American values as a moral hero!'

The film was released after a couple of months of the beginning of WWII in Europe with great reviews.

This movie is ranked no.5 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Times (2006) and no.26 Greatest Movie of All Times (2007) by AFI.

Jean Arthur played the role of Paine's Secretary, who helped Smith throughout his debate at the Senate floor, acted very well.

The Senate chamber was built as a replica of the original by Columbia Pictures for this movie. It was a huge set (source: IMDB!)

Anyways, we enjoyed watching this famous movie! The old black & white movies have got their own charm! I have watched another 1939 movie, 'Gone with the wind', long back at Sathyam theatre, here, in Chennai!

Now, have a taste of the Senate scene:

Picture courtesy: Google


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some More Fragrant Flowers From Our Garden!

I had listed about the summer flowers in our garden a few months back. Now, let me write about more flowers here. I don't know the names of some flowers...please tell me if you know!

1. I got this flower from a small nursery! The fragrance is too strong. This is a bush plant and the flowers look beautiful at night - white flowers with dark background! Even the nurseryman didn't know the name of the flower!
Anyone know the name of this flower?!

1. Murraya Paniculata - Kamini

2. I have got the Ixora plant(Vrukshi) in different colours, but this White Ixora has got nice fragrance!
(Pavetta indica-Fragrant Ixora)

3. This is Rathnagandhi flower (small) tree...I had noticed many parrots sitting on this tree during September-October, slit open the long seed (which looks like beans) and eat the tiny seeds from inside and drop the shell/outer skin all over! They keep shouting together while eating, which is fun to watch!

4. This is called Rangoon creeper, which looks nice on the fence and has got fragrant flowers!

5. We call it 'butter-cup' flower. This has got very slight fragrance but looks beautiful!

(Bauhinia acuminata - Dwarf White orchid tree, Dwarf white bauhinia)

6. I remember the nurseryman selling this plant to me, as 'day queen' or 'night queen' plant! 
I don't remember which one! The flower has got strong, nice fragrance and reminds me of 'Shrek's ears'!

(Cestrum diurnum -Day blooming jasmine ,Yes Day queen; Cestrum nocturnum - Night queen (rat ki rani)

7. My friend says, this is Juhi flower. This is a creeper. The flower has got strong fragrance!

(Aganosma heynei -Malati)

8. Paarijaata ... This flower is connected to our Hindu mythology.  The story is hereThis is used in Indian medicine and cookery too!
 (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis)

Thats it, for now! List of a few more flowers will come later! Which one do you like most?!

Edited to add on 20.2.13:  A new friend here, Malini, has given the botanical names of  the flowers.  Let me write them below the flowers.  Thank you, Malini!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Seed is Sown For A New Scandal, Here!


Where will this golden vigraha go now?
(This picture is from this article here)

This vigraha of Lord Vishnu looks so beautiful...minute work of art! The serpent on which the Lord is lying, is so artistically done. Lord Brahma who is coming out of the naabhi of Vishnu and the lotus, too, look so beautiful!

This vigraha (statue) is made out of pure gold which was found in the underground treasury of Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvanatapuram, Kerala. More news about the recently found treasure is here.

This 6-9th century built temple (some say, 16th century!) is under threat now because of the billions of rupees worth of treasure found, a couple of weeks back. The temple had been taken care of by the Royal family of Travancore and some trustees all these centuries. Now, the government wants to take over the temple and they started to take inventory of the treasury and unexpectedly stumbled upon underground lockers of the temple, which were never opened for centuries even by the royal family members.

They came upon the above vigraha and other golden statues, diamonds, gold coins and many other ornaments in the lockers. Now, the debate is going on about how to handle the treasures!

All the artistic statues and ornaments can be kept in a museum with proper security - money is no problem now for this...the temple itself can pay and people can pay for the visits! Other things can be bid in a proper way and spent on building schools for children and hospitals for the poor.

This treasure was safe here because the Royal family and other trustees were god-fearing people and so, never touched the temple treasure. Once it is open to the public now, all political vultures will be after it.

Hope Lord Padmanabhaswamy helps in saving the artistic treasures!

I had visited this temple some 22 years back. Kerala temples normally, are, clean and 'jaragandi' business is not there, like at Tirupati. No 'special darshan' too! Have a look at the serene surroundings, here:

Devotees can have darshan calmly, without any hurry-burry...look at the beautiful architecture of the gopuram of the temple!

Kerala is literally god's own serene!

Now, the temple is full of our security people...this temple is prone to terrorist attack, they say, feel very sad...nothing is left alone now! In the past, Moguls and Britishers looted our treasures, now, it is the turn of our own people!

P.S.: I was shocked to see this, while searching for details of the temple! The video asks us to visit Jesus after the health ad.!
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