Friday, January 28, 2011

Parisian Date: Cher Monsieur S.

I found new love and old love again. My new love is a Parisian gentleman who's slowly renewing my faith in men. My old love is none other than Paris! When I first came to France as a tourist, I fell in love with the capital city. Then I moved to Normandy for work and Paris lost its charm. It turned into the city one passes through on the way to another place. Now that I have found Monsieur S. I have a profound desire to rediscover the city I once loved so much. Paris is filled with wonderful things. Shadows of lamps on walls, gai Parisians who dance in streets filled with mosaics and charming "restos''.
Monsieur S. is my soulmate I believe. We have similar likes and dislikes. We laugh so much together and according to me that the biggest sign you love one another. When you find the same things are funny, you're meant to be. We both love photography too. I overdo it of course and he just lets me :)
We love walking around the city and I take pictures of grilles, doors and windows. We come across a random church and we're so fascinated by it, we enter and sure enough it's magnificent. 
This is the church of Saint Etienne du Mont. The 16th century gothic masterpiece has been beautifully preserved and extra treat for literary airheads like me. It holds the remains of famous literary figures like Blaise Pascal and Racine!

Since I have never visited the Notre Dame Cathedral made infamous by Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame. Monsieur S. made sure we visited the Cathedral before I left. I love Gothis churches but Notre Dame de Paris was really creepy and sinister inside. I would NOT want to be trapped here at night.
Unfortunately it's time to leave. I get to spend a mere five to six hours everytime I visit the Monsieur. Since it take me three hours each way from Saint Valéry to Paris and back :( but it's worth it. The love, the giggles, the nice bad Parisian weather, the rarely empty Parisian metro, the hand holding, the whispering, the endless noisy and silent conversations, etc.
He sees me off at Paris Saint Lazare station. I hate goodbyes. I will be seeing him the following week at my place but I can't stop feeling sad, empty. I will miss Paris, my Monsieur S and above all that amazing thing called Amour :)
Au revoir Paris, mon chéri..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holland: Small country, big heart.

Holland is a nice country but when I'm here, I'm not really as adventurous as I would be in let's say Italy or Spain, etc. I have an annoyingly large number of family members living here and somehow that downs the fun. Because I'm automatically drowned into the myriad of problems they have created for themselves (which personally I don't give a sh*t about!) 
This was my second visit to Holland and once again a major part of my stay was in Rotterdam. I tried to make the most of it.
Puma the lovely orange cat was a constant companion. He never sat still for a picture but he was always very friendly and liked cuddling up to me. 

One is always thrilled to explore with camera in hand. And happy to see a few flowers that survived the bitter winter!
Winter in Holland is always a delight. Snow is literally everywhere. The entire place is so fresh and clean. You can actually taste the pure air! 

 I love how the snow fell on ground and created hundreds of white fluffy cushions!


The adorable winter birds! Holland is never short of ducks, geese, swans and strange black birds that swim in lakes. All the best thing of all they belong to everybody! 


I tried to capture the Christmas spirit where I was but I wasn't really feeling it and these were the only four pictures I took of the decorations I came across.
When one is in a foreign country, one must try the foods and try to make them as well. Hence one goes to the produce market in Rijnhaven. 

You're blown away by how nice vegetables and fruits can look in photos!

You meet a Moroccan fish seller who's happy to converse with you in French and pose for a photo too!


Den Hague is a pretty little city close to Rotterdam. And it's worth a day trip if you're looking for a smaller version of Amsterdam. The city has many lovely restaurants, good architecture, antique shops, and bookstores! It's an old city so I enjoyed walking around, passing quaint streets and shopping there too.

Rotterdam is an open air museum of modern architecture. Since I was staying here most of the time, I was forced to appreciate the various styles of architecture. I actually found myself enjoying the experience. The Dutch have a lot of imagination and clearly enough money to make it a reality. Rotterdam boasts of the Erasmus bridge (Erasmusbrug) which cost an estimated 75 million euros in 1995. The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe and one of the busiest in the world. There will always be a thousand boats standing still at a certain point in the city. It's a beautiful sight to take in.




Tuesday, January 18, 2011



I'm NOT a fan of Bollywood. I hate hindi movies mainly because they're nothing but immature cacaphonic expressions of the (random person who wishes to call himself) director. But on that rare occasion, when you've lost all hope of Indian cinema ever growing up, a film comes along. A film so magical, so profound and so beautifully created, it leaves you spellbound and pensive for days after. That is exactly what happened after I watched Guzaarish. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the Balzac of Indian Cinema and he's outdone himself again. Like Balzac, Bhansali creates stunning visuals and pays painstaking attention to every detail. He has taken the theme of death and created an dazzling opera that embraces life and all the emotions that come with it!
Two of Indian cinema's most beautiful and excellent actors are cast in the film. The stunning Aishwarya Rai plays the role of Sophie De Souza, a nurse and Hritik Roshan plays the role of Ethan Mascarenhas, a once famous magician who was paralysed in a fatal spinal cord accident while performing one of his levitation tricks. For me, the best part of the film is that it has been shot entirely in Goa, my lovely hometown. The film exposes the finesse and flamboyance of a real Goan home. For the first time in Bollywood history, Goa has not been portrayed as a place overfilled with brothels, drunkards, junkies and nudists. The backdrop comprises of a magnificent colonial house, vintage cars, conservatively dressed women, especially Aishwarya who is nothing but a personification of elegance and beauty. I love what she wears throughout the film specially the scarlet flower in her hair and the flowing spanish style skirts and scarves. 
Ethan Mascarenhas has been paralysed for nearly twelve years and his faithful nurse Sophie has been by his side all along. She's given up her entire life to take care of Ethan. Ethan is tired of being a "vegetable" and decides to make a Guzaarish (a request) to the court for Euthanasia or mercy killing. This is of course illegal in Indian courts, it's considered a sin by the Church and strongly opposed by Ethan's friends, especially Sophie. There exists an unspoken passionate love between the two. She's the only person who understands his afflictions but she won't accept his decision to kill himself. I believe this is the first time in Indian cinema that the Hero is fighting to die and we should applaud Sanjay Leela Bhansali for bringing Euthanasia to the forefront. Leave it to the Master to shed light on a social cause through the medium of love, resplendent images, seduction, grace and songs. If you're contemplating watching an Indian film, take a chance on this one. This is a sheer celebration of life and worth every penny and second of your time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mi dispiace ancora non parlano italiano!

Happy New Year 2011!!! So far so good. I haven't kept my hopes too high this year because I learnt a good lesson from being overly enthusiastic about 2010. I divided Christmas break between friends and family in Italy and Holland respectively. Although now I curse myself for spending less time with the former. I had a miserable time with my family in Holland and I broke some ties which I never hope to mend again. That's a subject we will dwell on another time. Let's go to Roma now! My feel good city. I've been here for the third time this year and I can safely say I haven't had enough. Everything is so romantic and though many people might not agree, I think Rome is the world's best place :) Magnificent architecture, excellent food, gorgeous Carabinieri (Italian police wink wink), loving people and of course cats!


If you're interested in military artifacts, head to Altare della Patria or the Victor Emanuele Monument.  

At the magnificent Piazza Navona!


I love you Roma. Yours truly. The Bohemian Teacher x