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Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The Fly Dubai flight soared over Dubai , the Manhattan skyline of Shiekh Zayed Road and the Palm Jumeirah disappeared from below as the plane  went above the white clouds ,
It would take around six hours for us to reach Bratislava in Slovakia but it would still be afternoon there due to time lag .
Fly Dubai was comfortable even though it was a budget airline it served hot food and had drinks ,WIFI  and entertainment for a payment
Bratislava Airport was small but with all facilities ,immigration was quick ,and after collecting our baggage we searched for our pick up person ,very shortly he appeared and we sped to our Hotel ,checked in and after a wash we were off to sight see .

Graing sheep behind us in the Devins Fort grounds 
Bratislava Airport 
All Smiles on Reaching Europe 

It was cool ,a bit cloudy and around three pm when we came out ,just adjacent to our hotel Austria

The Austria Trendz Hotel in Bratislava where we stayed 

Trendz a four star place was Ganesh Utsav an Indian restaurant run by a group of young Malayalees ,it was strange to find one here ,we actually found three of the young owners sitting in the table outside ,one of them nursing a Beer ,
so we asked them how to get to Devin's Castle about 10 to 12 km off .,
They arranged a cab for us and we quickly were on our way .
Taxis in Bratislava are costlier if hailed from the street instead its better they are called then the meter is put and only reasonable charges are spent

The Owners and Chef of the Indian Hotel 

Devin's castle was on a strategically important spot at the confluence of Danube and Moravia rivers and the fortifications had always existed there right from the Neolithic times
later the Celts ,the Romans had built fortifications and during the communist regime it was the Iron curtain with barbed wire fences as the Austrian border was just off the other side of Danube .
Devins Fort 

Devin's castle or Fort is on a small hill about 200 meters high and beautiful gardens surrounded it
the forts themselves were huge hulks not very impressive mostly ruins , but giving lovely views of the river on one side and the city on the other ,there were lot of souvenir and food shops below the .

hillock ,we returned by bus
The tickets are mostly paid based on time traveled ,so if the distance was short we bought for 15 minutes and one could travel for that time ,
Trams also were in plentiful in the city though not in Devin's castle area .

Slovakia historically was under the Romans ,the Celtics ,the Turks ,The Austrian Hapsburg empire During the Hapsburg rule  its St Martins cathedral saw a line of coronations ,
During rein of Marie Antoniette of the Hapsburgs it gained much in importance many historical buildings were added then .
Slovak Republic was part of the greater Czechoslovakia which after second world war became part of the Eastern bloc of communist countries directly under Soviet regime and had a socialistic Government ,
During the velvet revolution the country split into two Slovak and Czech republics which was termed as The Velvet Divorce
,Bratislava was the capital of Slovak  republic .it has a high per capita income and high living index ,its main industry is automotive and its famous Skoda cars are well known ,Volkswagen ,Peugeot and Kias also have their factories here .
The country side has undulating hills , flowing rivers ,lakes etc .

On our return we went to heritage area starting with the St Martins  cathedral and the well preserved  buildings in the area
on the other end of this road was The famous Michaels gate a city gate in the past .

St Martins Cathedral 
The heritage area was full of branded shops cafeterias etc ,and we munched on a fresh burger with crunchy French fries ,Beer was cheap and all drinks and cocktails were sold .

The heritage area also was free of any motor traffic

,once in a while the electric tourist carriage off electric carriage tumbled  quaintly red in color ,
we would go in it the next day ,
How nicely the tourism industry in Europe preserves its heritage areas and makes it convenient for tourists to view it ,It could be a lesson to India which has so many historical sites .

The Heritage or old Town area 
Ancient buildings well preserved loomed on either side , up market branded shops shone with their luxury wares and almost live models adorned the roadsides
In front of one shop was a model knight in his black hood almost looking real providing selfie


opportunities in plenty  .
There were plenty of eating places to sandwich corners to upmarket restaurants bars and pubs to relax with a beer or a cocktail and nibble on a sweet pastry were plentiful it was relaxing cool and pleasant place to spend time .
There were three famous contemperory art pieces on the road
one was General Napoleon bending on a park seat with an enigmatic shrug of his shoulders and a far away look on his face
there a man with a raised hat and a wide grin
on his face

the most famous of them was the man on work which was a man  popping out of a manhole peeping up into the street and probably finding his views of women walking in pavement from under their skirts interesting continues to stay there with a gleam in his eyes this was at street level and was a very interesting piece of art with imagination

the man on work emerges from his manhole but stops and enjoys the view up womens skirts ..naughty

There was a central statue on a high pedestal and a story behind it
it goes like this ,during new year eve on the stroke of midnight the head is supposed to revolve by itself and all the loving romantic couples may see it if they have luck but if they dont it just means they arent suitably sozzled enough !and as it was not new year eve yet and we werent sozzled we could never test our love

The police were inconscpicous but were aware of all quiet but protective 
modern and older trams fills the cute city ,transport was cheap quick and efficient lot of buses too were there 

After exiting via the Michaels gate we retired to our hotel and a much needed rest .

in the morning we partook the excellent European breakfast with its retinue of fresh cheese fresh croissants ,soft pastries good coffee and fresh fruits ,
suitably fortified we walked back to the heritage area ,
we took a ticket for an extended heritage tour and castle tour .
it was around 28 Euros per person but worth

Red electric tourist sight seeing  vehicle for the heritage area 
it .
The carriage as well as the bus had English announcements and descriptions which could be heard through ear pieces so that one could know what one was seeing ,
Any tourist spot one needs to know the significance and history or story behind every sight to make it authentic and get a right feel of the pale ,with online resources these days on can read up a lot and be an expert of the place before one sees it ,but nothing like getting it from a knowledgeable guide or recorded version as we see the sights .

The vehicle trundled along the cobbled narrow streets some just the size of the carriage that pedestrians had to squeeze into shops to allow the vehicle to move forwards, run by an able driver
the second part involved getting into a bigger bus as now one ventured out of the heritage area into the city we crossed the bridge over the Danube and saw the UFO tower and its revolving restaurant on end of the bridge the tallest structure of Bratislava ,
we went to the famous Bratislava castle with a history extending to many years

Bratislava Castle

The Bratislava castle is situated on a hillock in a strategic position overlooking the Danube and the neighboring Austria ,historically it has been a place of importance for the line of rulers that Slovakia had ,right from the 300 to 500 BC era the Celtics and later the Romans fortified it later the castle was built and rebuilt several times ,
The Hungarian Empire stored its treasures in this castle ,
The Ottaman empire of the Turks conquered it and later the Austrian Hapsburgs ,
During Marie Antoniettes time ,she made it a castle of great importance ,and made a promise that she would spend a lot of time there a,true to her word she modified the castle to her comforts made the stairs inside the castle more broader and less steeper so that she could ride into it ,baroque changes in its designs furniture and added towers and buildings made the castle more grander ,she gave the Governorship of Slovakia to her son in law who lived in this castle with his wife and as the couple were keen on science there were a lot of scientific meets in the palace and the castle turned into academic excellence center
 It was during Napoleans time the castle was destroyed and a fire made it a wreck and then the world wars came with a lot of neglect and during the communist regime in 1953 the castle was rebuilt ,Today it holds several museums , the parliament itself and is a great tourist attraction .

After the castle we were dropped back into the heritage area and walked back to our hotel for a nap and rest ,

Evening saw us walking a short distance to see the Church of st Elisabeth popularly known as the Blue Church ,
Having seen the blue mosque in Istanbul and in Beirut it was now the turn of the Blue church for us
somehow Gods seems to  have  a preference for the color Blue I think
This cathedral was built by the Hungarians in 1908 and had a blue facade ,
there was a model shoot going on and we watched the models striking lot of poses in this lovely background till the cathedral opened for the evening at 5 pm and we went inside to see its beautiful interiors
Blue Church or st Elisabeth cathedral 

We took a bus to reach the main bus stand as we wanted to know where it was for the next days trip to Vienna by bus .
We were shown our way by an Engineering student who could speak good english who went out of his way to show us ,at end he said i need to go as it is  7.10 and my train leaves at 7.13 pm ! that is the Teutonic efficiency of the europe we saw
our tickets were already booked for the next day but was for the afternoon we preponed so that we could reach Vienna earlier .
we returnee back
 it started drizzling a bit we went to the Gansehs utsav Restaurant for an excellent north Indian dinner with an ebullient  red wine to accompany .
Thus we ended the mellow evening for a nice sleep .
Next day we were at the bus stand and got into a modern luxurious bus with entertainment consoles mineral water served just  like a plane and left Bratislava promising we would return again to this lovely city with its honest people .

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Salil Chowdhry the music Maestro

Salil chowdry those who love him for his creativity in music he is Salilda...
A friends status today made me write this short epitome to a genius who by his film music has bestowed happiness to many .
.Born as a Bengali , the land of culture and creativity Salilda lived as a child in the misty tea estates of Assam and West Bengal where his father worked ..his father had a big collection of western classical records ..Salilda grew up to the orchestraic pleasures of aBeethoven or a Mozart or to a Chopin. His fine ears would catch the chirp of a bird , the rustle of a tree , or to the gurgle of a stream.
He learnt flute on his own ..later all this would blend into some of the finest compositions made for indian films ..Madhumati.Kabuliwala.. Anand specially Anand.
There was something very etheral to Salildas music , it elevated one to spaces above , one would be lost in its flow , it rhymed with the music in our souls.
It wasnt surprising that other than Bengali and Hindi films Malayalam films just took to Salilda .
I grew up as a teenager listening to the haunting Manade singing the immortal "maanasa myele varu " in Chemeen the classic born from a great novelist and a great film maker ..the three of them made Chemeen a milestone in films and when actor Madhu enacted it in lonely nights in the drifting sands on the shores of a beach with crashing waves yearning for the lost love of his life it was picture perfect .
Salilda with that film entered into the hearts of every malayalee.
They made him thier own
He went to make many more classics till as late as late nineties..
Kamalahassan another virgin talent recognised by kerala long before his fame came , had frolicked for many of his films to music from Salilda like Rasa leela madanotsavam etc
These were the songs that captured the hearts of the young in those days to which i belong too.
His music was a blend of western orchestration sounds of nature and eastern classicism blended so finely it was an art unsurpassed
Ilayaraja was once praised by salilda as a great composer of future when he was just a guitarist in his troupe of musicians .
Geniuses recognise each other.
As i write this in my mind the timeless tunes of my favourite Salilda echoes to infinity

Friday, September 02, 2016

Josh to Jio

The senior Ambani had done the same ,
In his legendary shareholder meets in huge stadiums the great businessman would declare his plans ,fortunes would rise and fall on that day and now it is the turn of the son ,
to become a tycoon after working as  a petrol attendant needs ruthlessness as part of your flesh and blood
 Agreed the Ambanis arent honest men with golden hearts but Godfathers never are !!

They need to have tricks under their rich  sleeves and cunning brutality to survive the jungle ,
Out in the corporate wilderness ethical nicety isnt a password for success  though  the  TATA say  they still can do it
The Ambanis have been known to be ruthless even within  themselves and their family  wars have extended beyond the boardrooms into the drawing rooms of every Indian ,
This time too with the inauguration of the mother of all Gs Mukesh Ambani has created a Tsunami with the other mobile companies running to cover their vitals with fallen fig leaves ,

As long as it benefits the common man ,we are cool
 After all you guys make the green bucks in trillions so spread it a bit  guys ! ,
we are happy when you fight among st yourself ,so nice

price wars are good for the man on the street
so Mukesh carry on we are with you as long as you dont gang up with the others and raise the price .

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