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Views from the Balcony

An overview of Life around us

It's Spring today
Posted:Feb 13, 2019 12:15 am
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2019 8:21 pm
Whether Flowers Bloom Or Not - Poem by Subhash Mukhopadhyay

Whether flowers
bloom or not
it's spring today

On the paved footpath
with feet dipped in stone
a rather wooden tree
laughs out loud
chest bursting with fresh green leaves
Whether flowers bloom or not
it's spring today.

The days of masking the sun
and then unmasking it
of laying people down in the lap of death
of picking them up again
those days that have passed this way
let them not return
That lad of many voices
who for a coin or two
would chirp like a koel down the street
in the ceremonial yellow of twilight?
those days have taken him away

With the sky like a red and yellow wedding invitation
on her head
clasping the railing to her breast
a dark and ugly unwed girl down this alley
played with such idle thoughts
Right then
there fluttered in, shamelessly, right onto her body,
oh damnation! A stupid, awful, foolish butterfly!
Then the sound of a door slamming shut.
Hiding his face in the dark
that sinewy tree
was still laughing.

[Translated by Antara Dev Sen]

Some of the world's most persecuted rebuilding their lives in Chicago
Posted:Jan 28, 2019 12:59 am
Last Updated:Feb 11, 2019 1:52 pm
Pictures showing Rohingya refugees rebuilding their lives in Chicago.

Rohingyas are an ethnic, mostly Muslim minority (some Hindus too) who have faced decades of discriminatory policies and violence in Myanmar that aggravated during the Burmese Military Junta rules followed by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the false preacher of freedom and Security.

The Rohingya people live mainly in the northern region of Rakhine State, Myanmar, for centuries and have been described as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution labeling the Rohingya crisis as "genocide" in December,2918.

Those readers who are interested to learn more about these Ethnic Minorities may please go through my blogs titled “Two eyes of a Burmese Military's gang R*pe victim” posted on 10/21/2017 and “Man’s inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn” posted on 9/26/2017 respectively. They can also Google “ Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh" that happens to be the world’s largest refugee camp for more details about the Rohingay refugees!

Picture Details:

1. Rohingya mothers play with their children during a 'Mommy and Me' class at the Rohingya Cultural Center of Chicago
2. Rohingya mothers leave a 'Mommy and Me' class at the cultural center founded in 2016 by Nasir Zakaria, a Rohingya refugee who settled in the US in 2013.
3. Rohingya refugee Zulah participates in an English class.
4. Rohingya Children do their homework during a tutoring session.
5. Sakinah, 23, cleans up after English class while her children play.
6. Rohingya refugees Aisha and Naznin work at their mother's restaurant
7. Rohingya football players travel to a game in Chicago, Illinois.
8.Man's inhumanity to man meme.

Photo Credits: Allison Joyce/Getty Images[/B

Lonely mind and an empty room!
Posted:Jan 21, 2019 10:12 am
Last Updated:Feb 6, 2019 8:51 am
"The lonely mind in an empty room
When it gets lonelier
Your warm touch
Heats up my fever!

The sounds of the falling rain
And the restless mind
Forecast the ensuing twister.
Tonight with you,
I foresee my disaster!

D, could you please post the next two paragraphs to complete the song?

Do you remember the song that we used to listen together once upon a time when everything looked colorful even in the dense dark of the night?

It was the time when I could never take away my gaze from your two blinking matchless and unique blue eyes. Those were the blinks that none could ever blink like you used to do!

Please remember that "even when one loses one’s mind, one's beloved does not get lost from there”!

Photos, depicting Christmas Festival-2018.
Posted:Dec 27, 2018 1:10 am
Last Updated:Feb 3, 2019 7:34 pm
For the viewers eyes only!
Here bellow posted some photos of Christmas celebrated this year by the Christian Community living in Bangladesh which is a secular country though over 85% of 170 million people are practicing Muslims. The day is a public holiday even though only 0.3% of the population of this country are Christians. December 25th is a day off for the general population.
Christians began the celebration early on Tuesday last. The Churches around Bangladesh had been illuminated and decorated, along with the nativity scene, that depicts the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger, and Christmas Cakes!

First pictures from red planet sent by NASA's Insight Lander on arrival.
Posted:Nov 27, 2018 2:08 am
Last Updated:Feb 3, 2019 7:34 pm
NASA InSight Lander Arrives on Martian Surface and reports as follows:

“My first picture on #Mars! My lens cover isn’t off yet, but I just had to show you a first look at my new home.”

The picture of the Martian surface was taken by the camera located on the robotic arm of NASA’s InSight lander on November 26, 2018. The picture can be seen below.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

A Cat has nine lives!
Posted:Nov 22, 2018 11:45 pm
Last Updated:Jan 10, 2019 1:04 am
An event for the wild cat to remember!

This morning I found a wild cat meowing being trapped in a most unthinkable place of our home. Probably the poor creature got itself stuck up there while jumping down from the roof of our two story building. It found itself stuck up in between meshed aluminum net and the grill on the balcony of the first floor of the house. It was simply being sandwiched between the iron grill and the net, unable to even move as it did not land on its feet! It required almost two hours for two of us this morning to set it free from its self made prison from where it had no escape route readily available to it.

This cat was not a domesticated one!

Cats are also known for their dexterity and agility. But for this particular cat, neither its dexterity nor its agility helped it to free itself from its prison. It required human help to get free itself to live out it’s all the nine lives!

I must thank Shamuel who helped me to get the cat out of its prison. All Credit goes to him!

“A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays and for the last three he stays."

Journey to a Valley Where One Gets Lost Into the Clouds!
Posted:Nov 13, 2018 2:05 am
Last Updated:Jan 10, 2019 1:11 am
The Sajek Valley-- the mystical abode of clouds

There are places in the world where one can get lost into the clouds while viewing the amazing beauties that nature has offered to the people living in such places!

Some of these places may still remain almost hidden from the onrush of tourists for various reasons. One of such reasons could be the unwillingness of the people living in these regions to welcome tourists in large numbers during tourists season fearing that the serenity of the regions may be destroyed by such on rush of travelers!

One can find such places in this part of the world mostly in the hilly regions of the countries located in the north eastern Indian sub-continent! The countries are mainly Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
Lovers of Mother Nature can explore breathtaking natural beauties around them if they want to be in any of the countries mentioned above now and until the end of December.
In late spring, rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the Bhutanese valleys with color which is feasts for the eyes!

In my homeland, Bangladesh, the Sajek Valley is the region where visitors get lost into the cloud!
It is one of the mesmerizing valleys located in my country. The natural beauties of the valley are simply breathtaking!

It is located among the hills of Kasalong range of mountains in Sajek Union of Baghaichhari Upazila in Rangamati District. The Rangamati District is one of the three districts that consists the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The valley is situated 1800 feet above the Sea level. Sajek Valley is also known as the “Roof of Rangamati”.

The Sajek River that flows between Bangladesh and India originates from the Karnafuli River. It is the border between the two countries. It is needless to say that the valley got the name from the Sajek River.

Apart from the Sajek River, many more small rivers flow through the mountains, dense forests and grasslands that surround the valley.

In spite of its amazing beauty, the Valley remained unexplored and hidden from the travelers even after Bangladesh became an independent country.
But it is now emerging very rapidly as a traveler’s destination.
The permanent residents of the Valley are mostly welcoming and friendly as well as gentle too. They are ethnically minorities consisting of Lushai, Chakma, Marma, Pankua, Sagma and Tripura people mostly.

To a traveler, the entire Sajek Valley may be looked like an imaginary haven!
Here below I take the opportunity of quoting the views expressed by a traveler on arrival there in the valley at dusk time:

“The Valley takes us in by the light of dusk. The hills are perfectly Green with a red tiled house at the far end. A wind mill is turning somewhere and you look up to realize the sky is never just blue. This invigorating clouds encircling above you as you lie down on the grass hold infinite shades of colors that change by the moment.”

Once a traveler arrives in the Sajek Valley, everything including time becomes obsolete and words redundant!
Absolute silence that suddenly reigns around him makes him completely speechless!
He feels the timelessness of the valley!

As stated above, the valley is in Rangamati but the travelers could reach there from Khagrachhari town too.

The route is Khagrachahari-Diginala Bazar-Bagaihat Bazar-Machalong Haat-then Sajek. It is 62 km from Khagarachhari. Diginala to Sajek is 40 km.
Main transport is “Chander Gari”— an old jeep or if the traveler is lucky- a vintage world war 11 Jeep!

We may now view the amazing scenes of this wonderful valley appended one after another to please our eyes!

Revised Version.

Posted:Nov 8, 2018 6:14 am
Last Updated:Jan 10, 2019 4:04 am
What is nothingness?

Does it really exist?

Some compare nothingness with sleep without having dreams! Is such comparison enough to understand nothingness?

Is it correct to say that nothingness separates the space between object, consciousness, matter, energy, vibrations to give it value, shape, separation, and difference?

Can anyone describe, feel or experience nothingness?

It may be mentioned here that according to English Dictionary, the word nothingness is a noun meaning the absence or cessation of life or existence!

Can anyone please tell me in plane language why the word “nothingness” confuses me (or us) all the times?

Prize winning photos of Celestial Photography of night Sky- 2018
Posted:Oct 26, 2018 7:32 am
Last Updated:Jan 14, 2019 4:10 am
Those who are interested in Celestial Photography of the night sky may please view the prize winning photos of the current year here below:

1. Transport the Soul: Brad Goldpaint (USA)

This amazing photo by Brad Goldpaint won the top prize for the People and Space category and the overall best photo submitted to the competition.
The photo depicts a loan photographer, Andromeda Galaxy (top left), the Milky Way galaxy (top right), and the Moon.

2. Speeding on the Aurora Lane: Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)

This photo has been chosen as the best in the Aurorae category. Takenfrom Sirkka, Finland by Nicolas Lefaudeux of France.A careful look will reveal the Big Dipper constellation at the heart of these aurorae, which lasted less than a minute.

3. NGC 3521, Mysterious Galaxy: Steven Mohr (Australia)

The photo shows spiral galaxy NGC 3521, which is located around 26 million light-years from Earth. This image, taken from Victoria, Australia, comprises around 20.5 hours of exposure time. Best photo: Galaxy Category.

4. Inverted Colours of the boundary between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis: Jordi Delpeix Borrell (Spain)

By creating an inverted telescopic image of the lunar landscape,photographer Jordi Delpeix Borrell was able to highlight some of the Moon’s finer details. Taken from a telescope near Barcelona Spain, the photo won top prize in the Our Moon category.

5. Sun King, Little King, and God of War: Nicolas Lefaudeux (France)

The winner of the Our Sun category shows the eclipsed moon, Mars (the red dot at far right), and the blue star Regulus (just to the left of the Moon). The total exposure lasted 100 seconds and was recorded in more than 120 individual images. Nicolas Lefaudeux captured this photo from Unity Oregon, a location he chose based on weather forecasts

6. Two Comets with the Pleiades: Damian Peach (UK)

The winning image for the Robotic Scope category shows a very rare conjunction of two bright comets passing the famous Pleiades star cluster in Taurus at the same time. Comet C/2017 O1 (ASASSN) can be seen at far left, while C2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) is in the center. Photographer Damian Peach captured the seen in Mayhill, New Mexico.

7. Circumpolar: Ferenc Szémár (Hungary)

This extra-long exposure taken in Gatyatető, Hungary, took half the winter to create. The circumpolar star Almach, also known as Gamma Andromedae, can be seen streaking above the horizon. This photo won Ferenc Szémár top prize in the Skyscapes category.

8. Corona Australis Dust Complex: Mario Cogo (Italy}

This stunning photo of nebulas NGC 6726-27-29, dark dust cloud Bernes 157, globular cluster NGC 6723, and other celestial objects, was awarded top prize in the Stars and Nebulae category. This six-hour exposure was taken from a farm in Namibia.

9. Great Autumn Morning: Fabian Dalpiaz (Italy)

15-year old Fabian Dalpiaz won the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year award for this moody image. On an early Monday morning (before an exam at school) Dalpiaz decided to go out and take some images. He got lucky and captured this incredible photograph of a meteor passing over the Dolomites.

10. Galaxy Curtain Call Performance: Tianhong Li (China)

Tianhong Li was awarded the Best Newcomer prize for this photo taken in Ming’antu, China.

The Icy Village
Posted:Oct 20, 2018 6:31 am
Last Updated:Nov 1, 2018 7:18 am
“Villas Las Estrellas”

Would anyone like to travel with me to the Icy Village where inhabitants are required to remove their appendixes if they want to live there for a long time?
Does it sound strange to you?
Please don’t be scared. I shall take you there along with me if you are brave enough! We shall return together with our appendixes intact inside our body if the visit is for a week or so!

Just imagine that you have arrived with me in such an Icy Village named “Villas Las Estrellas” for a short site seeing tour!
On arrival, you must not be surprised to learn instantly how far we are away from civilizations! The welcome sign and the pillar of arrows pointing to distant cities will reveal the information to us. For example:“Beijing: 17,501km”.. Iquique, Northern Chile: 4,675 kilometers!

Perhaps readers are eager to know where Villas Las Estrellas is exactly located. Here below is the answer:
It is a Chilean Settlement (being maintained as a “civilian settlement” mostly) located in that part of Antarctica claimed by Chile as its territory.

It is presumed that the next question would be about the total population of the settlement. How many people live there? Are the children allowed to live in this sub-zero village with their parents? What are the facilities that are made available to the residents of the settlement?

We need not go far to find the answers to the presumed questions. According to Richard Fisher of BBC, “the settlement in Antarctica has a school, a post office and a huddle of homes. It’s like other sub-zero villages, except for one thing: families must have surgery to move in”. Oh, I forgot to add here that this town or village has a small grocery shop, a hostel, a bank, two teachers in the school, a gym, a church as well as a souvenir shop!

While during summer (of course ‘the Antarctic Summer), the total population of the settlement goes up to 120 people, the number goes down as low as 80 people during “Antarctic Winter”.

One can travel to the settlement by air also from the city of Punta Arenas, located near the tip of Chile’s Southernmost Patagonia region. A gravel landing strip nearby is the primary route in and out of the Icy Village. Most of the tourists avail cruise ships to travel to the settlements during tourist season.
One can ask why appendix removal is necessary for those who intend to stay there for longer period.
It is because only a very few doctors (maybe, not more than one at a given time) are available on the military base, and none of them are specialist surgeon capable of doing an Appendectomy! We are aware of the fact that Appendectomy is normally performed as an urgent or emergency procedure to treat acute appendicitis and since the nearest major hospital where such procedure is available, is more than thousand kilometers away from the settlement, there is no other alternative for the people but to get the appendix removed before arriving in the settlement to live for a longer time there.

The settlement is populated mostly by rotating scientists and personnel from Chilean Air Force as well as Navy. Those who required living there for a longer time usually like to bring their families!

The intending traveler may like to ask about then weather condition that prevails in and around the Icy Village.
Those who can not tolerate cold temperature should best avoid going there to live for a longer time. Though the temperature in the settlement is warmer than the Antarctic mainland, yet the yearly mean temperature is -2,3C. Sometimes, during winter the people living there can’t leave their homes due to extreme cold, and during such time, they are compelled to remain in home confined for weeks!
The Icy Village is one of the safest places in the world. Why?
It is because Villas Las Estrellas is a crime free place.
Dog Lovers must not go there to live. Dogs are banned there because they might introduce canine diseases to Antarctic wildlife.
However, elephant seals and penguins (Adelie penguins) can be seen around the village.

Do you want to learn more about this land? Then you must look for more information on the net. You would find them informative and readable too! So go ahead. Things are easy to find now a day within seconds. You need just a click to find!

Sources: Net and Media


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