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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Melbourne - the place to be in

" if you want to have the best coffee .. Sip it up in Melbourne city not for nothing is it known as the coffee capital of the world " .. That's the first salvo I heard from a friend who was a student development officer with Sydney while I was in Aussieland for a professional cum personal reason. They say too much coffee is not a good thing but then when you get a coffee which is a concoction of soy and dandelion one is never enough...and everyone irrespective of physical proportions wears black .Black is the colour to be seen in Melbourne city and if you see red shirts walking the streets , don't be startled .. They are city volunteers with a wealth of information on their finger tips who will point you to the next available block. If you like dancing and are passionate about music .. Streets here have musical names and while the rest of the world goes digital , there are about 50 vinyl record stores around Melbourne.like the popular saying goes there are no free lunches in the world , well to tweak it a bit .. There are no free tram rides in the world but in Melbourne there is one tram which is free .. The maroon city circle tram. I walked into a post office here to send a post card and I was pleasantly surprised .. You can buy flowers .. Now where have you have seen, smelt and bought flowers in a post office. Street art surrounds you everywhere here , Melbourne's cobbled stoned lane ways are plastered with graffiti and pencil art. Australia's sporting giant , the Melbourne cricket ground can seat more than a lakh people comfortably .. In short a sporting stadium where you could fit a city in. This is a city where residents get right of way in the city centre-a large portion of Bourke street , the shopping Mecca in the heart of the city has been a pedestrian and tram only mall since 1983. The queen Victoria market is full of old world charm where you get cheap strawberries and feta cheese in the same breath. The soapbox on the state library lawns is always open for whenever wants to come in.One can always venture into a pub on a week night for some performance poetry. I love cycling and I was in for a big surprise .. There are 670 kilometres of bike paths which could get one to Canberra with 10 Kms to spare. The penguin parade on Phillip Island is a parade one should never miss for a couple of reasons - the drive to the Philip Island and
the freedom with which the penguins are allowed to indulge in their habitats makes for a really cold 
spectacle .. One thing that distinguishes Melbourne from other cities is that the average man or woman on the streets will say that the arts and cultures are the unique selling points of this city and everyone here is really proud of what Melbourne is as a place and what it offers to all and sundry. So what's your Melbourne quotient ( MQ)?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Run for your lives

I was looking forward to world environment day on 1st of June 2014 with wide eyed excitement for a plethora of reasons . I tip toed out of my teen batti flat before daylight could strike  ( yes the tube light takes a long time to light up quite like when lightning strikes .. You are still waiting for thunder to come and deliver its yeoman services) without waking up the missus and the Teri meherbaniyan meets Marley sunshine who were snoring in synch snuggled in their blankets which had seen better days . The chowkidar was dreaming  of momos  , zeenat aman and amitabh bachchan singing their version of " pyar mein dil pe Mar de goli Lele meri jaan " till He was shaken out of his musical stupor by yours truly and suddenly out of nowhere he puts his hands together and does a namaste which might indicate that he had seen a lot of rajshri movies and must be trolling alok nath on twitter. Pleasantries exchanged with the night watchman and off I was zooming away in my Japanese vehicle to the ergonomically located Mother Earth store in inner ring road dumlur . The Mother Earth store was a Bustle of activity with the strong women folk taking charge and how .. Organizing a run is no mean task , you have to push people out of their comfort zone ( literally and metaphorically) and the weather in Bangalore does not really help.. But it was inspiring to see the women folk ( more power to you) taking charge and really kickstarting the event. The volunteers , the support groups and the paparazzi were in full attendance to support and complement the run for trees event and from the looks of it it was a sure shot winner.  It was an awe inspiring moment to see kids who were barely eight years old standing shoulder to shoulder to ladies and gents who were in their twilight of their life . There was a humanitarian purpose behind this run which ensured that for every runner who registered  ,a tree would be planted on his / her behalf . I was totally taken in by the wide array of colours which were displayed from head to toe across the event - psychedelic , neon, flashes of red engulfed in sea of white t shirts  which had " run for trees  flashing at you from all four corners. The sense of relief a runner gets when he or she completes their run and also goes on to ace it is to be seen to be believed .. Yes it truly was a Forrest Gump  meets bhaag milkha bhaag run .The awards distribution was a " you don't win the silver but lose the gold" moment with the loudest cheers reserved for all the participants and yours truly getting into his act of working up the crowd using his own brand of mojo and kinetic energy.The event ended with photo op sessions, selfies and cheerful bonhomie with a " I will see you when I see you moment "

Love,life,luck and loads of laughter,
Shekhar vijayan