A doctor can bury his mistakes

but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines!  (Frank Lloyd Wright, Americas famous architect.)

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No vines were visible at the new Hamad International Airport in Doha.  The lighting and minimal use of colour, the absence of extraneous fittings and accessories – except in the ‘activity areas’ – emphasise the architects pride in his work which needs no adornment.

It certainly was very striking and is my response to Angles challenge of Photrablogger – along with the contrastingly humdrum ‘Angles of my Abode’ … and a little visitor who turns mundane into beautiful.   Angles and birds

 Maybe I’ll grow some vines when she leaves :)

To use or not to use …

Photrablogger’s challenge really has me trying to find beauty in the most mundane – like this jar of plastic lids on my sister’s kitchen sink. She separates the HDPE covers from PET bottles and milk cartons that are to be recycled as part of her efforts to minimise her footprint.

For love of Mother Earth

Apart from the eye catching colours, I think the jar is beautiful because it helps in some small way to prevent this.

Polymer Diet

Submitted in response to MM Challenge Colors and Angles  … and containers :)

Cartoon credit : http://www.maxgustafson.com/

Minimal on my mind …

With Photrabloggers Minimal Touch challenge on my mind, I just had to click on this sign in a little car eco-testing bay in which you could not drive at 5 kmph (3 mph) if you tried!   So this is my tongue in cheek entry for the “most minimal”  you can go … or is it least minimal  :) ?

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Minimal Speed

And this is my attempt at a minimal touch photography !

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Minimal Action !

I wonder … does it qualify ?  :)

Actually it does not matter – for Jithin (Photrablogger) encourages you to take the most mundane pictures and look at it through rose coloured spectacles  … to see beauty in the day to day things around you.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in this challenge to ‘awareness of the things around us’ so please feel free to send in your efforts at finding beauty in the most mundane.

The heart of my writing …

Following a link today I was blessed with this awesome post To Thine Own Self which has nuggets of wisdom- one of which really touched me

There is no greater beauty than that of the Pen of God

being breathed out the mouth of one onto the pages of another heart.

Would that I wrote like that to bring beauty into the world and the hearts of men!!  Would that the Heart of my Writing touched other hearts ….

These beautiful drawings by kids under a Heart of my writing project which I also stumbled on today made me realise that I too need to do a similar ‘heart of my writing’  exercise  this week as I refocus on my somewhat neglected site.

I am a child of the Universe ….

To imagine I am a child of this universe !!

The stunning Cosmic Glow of the Carina Nebula

 Words for Life

I first came across the wisdom of Max Erhman’s Desiderata on a post card at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, in 1982. The words inscribed themselves into my subconscious, with the stanzas rising to the surface at different times.

I recently found myself humming ‘You are a child of the universe’ whilst watching the awesome night sky*, amazed and humbled to be part of this incredible universe. The tune refused to go away, reminding me again of wealth of philosophy and wisdom in these words which I’d like to share with those who have not read it:

I strongly recommend you listen first to the ‘reading’ and rendition of the chorus which truly transcends daily living.  ENJOY  …”STRIVE TO BE HAPPY’‘ as you start your week  :)

       Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
       As far as possible without surrender     be on good terms with all persons.
       Speak your truth quietly and clearly;   and listen to others,
       even the dull and the ignorant;   they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,   they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,   you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;   for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;   and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.   Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;   for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,   gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,   be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,   whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,   it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.    Strive to be happy.

Credit:  Carina Nebula ESO/T. Preibisch   http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1329b/

Quiet time

Rest is not idleness,

and to lie sometimes on the grass, under trees on a summers day, 

Listening to the murmur of the water, or watching clouds float across the sky, 

is by no means a waste of time.”   John Luddoc

But is a great way to start  – or wind down  a Mundane Monday   :)   And it gets better when you have company  ….

Quiet waters                 Quiet time

Chantilly lace

Bricks is the theme of Photrablogger’s MM Challenge #12 and I thought these will fit in well for photos on brickwork.

Palazzo Ducale

Section of wall Old Square Mantua

The first picture is a close up of a wall on one side of the Old Square in Mantova, (Italy) which has been listed as a UNESCO heritage site.  I think the pattern of white stone on the wall of Palazzo Ducale, which dates back to the 15th Century, gives it an enchanting ‘lacey’ look … like Chantilly lace on brick !!!

Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Lombardy

A bigger expanse – more white motifs and more enchantment. A pattern of small hollow squares (like dents) is visible but these are too ordered to be bricks that have fallen out. It may be due to restoration work- if you look closely you can see where  windows appear to have been walled up. In a way it adds to the character and charm.

The small angular buttresses on roof are duplicated on walls on the opposite side of the square – see below. The entire square may have been part of the Palace  (I need to read the guidebook).  Perhaps the different designs represent different quarters. The white insets are visible in a more frugal way on one wall.  You can see that repairs  have been carried out where the pattern is interrupted.    And note that the other wall  is pure brick – with no aesthetic extras. The chimney indicates it may have been the kitchen area … elementary my dear Watson :)

And now the bigger picture contrasting old with adjoining new, ochre wall with blue windows . Old and new blend so seamlessly.

Palazzo Ducale, 15th Century

A toast to buildings that stand the test of time .

Postcript :  We had travelled to Mantova  frtom Milan o meet Rev. Sr. Teresina – Professor of Christology at my faculty in Sri Lanka, who travelled from Carpi, to meet halfway in this entrancing city.  I took this whilst enjoying a delicious Italian meal with famous Italian wine in celebration of our meeting after five years.

I had initially ‘cropped’ our table from the picture to focus only on brickwork. On second thoughts however, I kept in the bottle of wine, for a building this beautiful and this enduring, surely deserves a toast.

So, a toast to buildings with workmanship and materials that endure …  and a toast likewise to enduring friendships.

Cheers :)

Magnifico Milan !

I’ve had an anything but mundane two weeks in Prague, Turin, Milan and environs.

With so much rich art, culture, heritage and beauty around, I was hard pressed both in time and opportunity to find anything  to meet Photrabloggers challenge.  Since I was clicking away like crazy, I was surprised that nothing seemed to fit the challenge so I decided to google Mundane.

OK .. .. here it is … ” Mundane  –  routine, ordinary, everyday, run-of-the mill, customary  …. earthy, material,  non-spiritual.

No wonder then I found it difficult.  The last two weeks was anything but run of the mill.  Definitely not my routine everyday experience, and definitely (many times over) not not-spiritual !!  I mean .. those magnificent churches, castles, architecture, works of art by Renaissance masters that transcend everyday terrestrial experiences.  New faces, new people, new cultures  .. all novel and unique. Nothing mundane for me there :)

But I had missed two challenges so decided that perhaps the apartments I saw daily in the last week would bring in the ‘routine’ element for mundane.  Even though I found them fascinating … wondering at the type of lifestyle the Milanese lived behind them – they could probably pass the test for mundane everyday living so here I go :

View from our bedroom window :

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Some apartments on the street in the Primaticcio District of Milan where we stayed :

I do not like to be around high rise buildings but these seemed different.  Multi-storied but not high rise! There were plenty of open spaces in between, with parks, gardens and playing fields

Basketball  and soccer court

Basketball and soccer court. The older kids played basketball whilst the small ones played soccer between their legs. Wish I had taken a photo .. so busy looking on!!!

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Church and open court yard. Buildings and shops all around. We stayed in the orange building behind the Church Steeple.

And I found that the Milanese like to have flowers and plants even in apartments –  or beautiful gardens to look down on. Their view will change with the seasons. Mundane and beautiful !!!!

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Fragrant plants are everywhere giving off a heady perfume into the atmosphere !!

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I doubt I would like to live in Milan  … it’s not what I am used to.  I need to come down to earth – literally :) from high rise buildings and works of art that take you to dizzy heights.   But with its heritage and art, Da Vinci’s Last Supper,  and its Duomo amongst many others,

Milan is magnifico !!! 

And I could not just give you one mundane picture :)  even though I tried !!!

Asylum Roads

Rambling Rose:

Andy Mersdon has penned some inspiring words – Asylum Roads – to be sung to the tune of what he calls the annoyingly catchy tune ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver .

It really highlights the plight of refugees risking their lives to a place they long to be …

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?

If we can’t help in any other way, let’s at least whisper a prayer daily for those on the high seas today leaving everything behind in search of asylum  …  refuge, … freedom.

Ocean breeze, take me there 
To the place, I long to be 
Safe asylum, distant refuge

Take me there
On pure blue seas.

Originally posted on Poetry is my aeroplane:

Written in response to a Stanford University prompt to write new words (politically motivated) to an easily recognisable tune.  I have chosen John Denver’s annoyingly catchy tune “Country Roads” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo).

Asylum

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
One more shoreline, shines before our eyes
The Christian people will surely grant our lives.
But dark ships stop us and point us back to sea,
Reject our arrival and more horrors we will see.
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
You surely hear our…

View original 71 more words

Shifting Street Scene

A street scene is never the same with vehicles, people and all types of traffic constantly moving through.

I captured these one morning  – of ‘walkers’ focusing on their health; trishaws ‘tuk-tuk-ing’ on way to a hire, cars whizzing past tooting exercise addicts off the road, bicycles;  bread-vans by which you can set your clock … all changing scenes of our busy street.   Made for an interesting half hour inspired by challenge of Mundane Monday.

However I could not wait for the buffaloes  (Yes … they traverse our road too  each morning on their way to the remaining piece of wetland, and return when the sun sets.

I could not also keep vigil for the 8 ft crocodile that resides in the lake (visible in the background). Mr. Croc tends to float downstream around 2.00 pm.  You  know when he is around because everyone stops to look at him. I too stop almost every time … always marvelling at how he glides through so silently and stealthily with  body partly submerged. Absolutely no ripples to warn of his presence!!

And in case you are wondering, the lake has been fenced off.  Long tale of our fundamental rights action to have fence removed when the lake and wetland was leased to a private company and environment degraded. We won the case but the government deviously moved war veterans into the ‘island’ that had been created – knowing that was one ‘fight’ we would drop: you can’t argue for the environment against those who have risked their lives for the country.

So we live with the fence .. :(