Here we present a review of new book ‘Transit Lounge’ by Sunil Mishra.
Transit Lounge is a contemporary book consisting of short incidents, observations and reflections while travelling to 30 countries across six different continents during the last 15 years.
The book is a personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argentina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka,Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy,Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Georgia,Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.
It was interesting to observe all these different cultures and people from an Indian perspective. The book is a compilation of small incidents and events during such travels; it includes losing an air ticket, dealing with difficult custom officials or getting mugged in a prime location in a foreign country.”
An adage – join the navy and see the world – applies in equal measure to this generation of Indian IT professionals who have gone global. Sunil Mishra has leveraged such an opportunity to capture the essence of his travels in the newly published book in which he collates his observations of cultures and people from a distinctly Indian perspective.
The fast-paced narrative is sprinkled with anecdotes and humor that seamlessly ties together his views into a readable book. He shrugs at incidents where he had to bribe customs officials and security guards, turning to humor; perhaps reflecting on his Indian background where such incidents are par for the course. In his narrative, the author also attempts to review the geopolitical and economic aspects of the countries he visited.
Sunil makes a point of ‘cookie cutter’ customer service he experiences at hotels and airlines, a fact that intrigues the frequent traveler in me. With all the choices of airlines, he continues to patronize Indian national carrier, Air India, more than a few times while observing its ‘declining ranking.’ Equally intriguing is the fact that Sunil, the frequent-traveler didn’t get to an ‘elite’ status with his preferred airline or hotel, which would have afforded him the “personal touch” he yearns for. (Perhaps add those tips to the next edition of the book?)
Bottomline: Transit Lounge is a nice, entertaining and readable travelogue.
[Review from a complimentary copy of the book received from the publisher.]
Police have found a body in the search for a three-year-old girl who went missing after her father reportedly sent her out of the house at 3am as a punishment.
Sherin Mathews has been missing since October 7 after being left in an alley by her home in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to finish her milk.
Police said the remains of a child had been found yesterday in a tunnel around half a mile from the family’s home. Officers said the body was “most likely” that of the missing toddler and efforts to officially identify it are underway today.
Wesley Mathews a native of Kerala in India and his wife Sini adopted the toddler’s from India. She was reportedly malnourished when the Mathews adopted her and police suspect that the little girl also had disabilities, which made it difficult for her to communicate. The three-year-old was last seen when her father reportedly took her outside at 3 AM and made her stand near a tree behind the family’s house as a type of punishment for not drinking milk.
Sherin Mathews saga does not end here, but rather raises more questions:
About parenting: The area behind the house is wooded and infested with wild coyotes. What would possess a parent to leave a three-year-old near the house at 3 AM “as a type of punishment for not drinking milk” ?
About adoption: Adopting a child is hard enough (link). Will stories like this make it harder for innocent parents to adopt children from abroad?
About Indian-Americans: Incidents like these throw a spotlight on the South-Asian, Indian-American and NRI community. Not all the media attention will be positive.
The festival of Ganesha Chathurthi is being celebrated across India with a lot of fervor and devotion. GaramChai.com team invokes the blessings of lord Ganesha
DJ SHEIZWOOD BIDS FAREWELL TO LORD GANESHA
You know that Ganeshotsav is here when the chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya fills the air, and there is a festive fervour where ever you look. Baarish Ke Bahane star bid farewell to Bappa with much grandeur
DJ Sheizwood happily posed for the camera as he bid farewell to Ganpati. While most immersed Ganesha idol in water bodies found around the city, he decided to go eco-friendly this time.
Dj Sheizwood danced his heart out and joined the procession up until the visarjan spot “Crowded, noisy yet full of life – with order in the chaos, the Ganesh Visarjan is quintessentially what Mumbai is all about” says DJ Sheizwood who gears up for his next single composition “Teri Yaad”sung by Babbu Maan
I have a glass beaded necklace . I’m told it could be Hindu but what throws me off is the swaski. I ‘m also told that it was made long before Hitler. What are your thought on it. It has a beautiful peacock on it. – Patricia D.
Response from our editor follows
Thanks for checking in.
Yes, this is likely to be a Hindu necklace with the swastika symbol. The symbol is widely used in Hindu culture. Check out the following link to Wikipedia
The swastika (as a character 卐 or 卍) is an ancient religious symbol used in the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and Southeast Asia. It is also an icon widely found in human history and the modern world.
The swastika is an important Hindu symbol. The word is ancient, derived from three Sanskrit roots “su” (good), “asti” (exists, there is, to be) and “ka” (make) and has meant a “making of goodness” or “marker of goodness”. The icon connotes and reminds the viewer of something “conducive to well-being”, “make good”, prosperity and dharmic auspiciousness. The swastika symbol is commonly used before entrances or on doorways of homes or temples, to mark the starting page of financial statements, and mandala constructed for rituals such as weddings or welcoming a new born.
Here is a funny anecdote. We live in North Carolina and after we moved into a new house, my wife decided to mark the good-luck-swastika symbol on our front-door. Our Caucasian neighbor was alarmed and asked my wife if ‘kids‘ from the neighborhood had market the door (?!). She was genuinely concerned about a possible racial angle to this. We explained the significance of Swastika to her and had a good laugh about it.
The peacock also has a strong Indian significance and happens to be the national bird of India. (link). The image of necklace you have shared certainly looks likely to be of Indian origin. Enjoy the necklace and check out the Wikipedia post for more details about the symbol’s significance in the Hindu culture.
The Week magazine published in India recently published a cover page series on the many faces of ‘Indian’ Spirituality. A brief summary of the interesting articles that covers the entire gamut of modern spirituality and interviews with some Gurus:
India would lead the world spiritually– Swami Suvirananda was chosen as general secretary of Ramakrishna Mission and Belur Math in May. An educationist, Suvirananda worked in Arunachal Pradesh for 17 years, and taught in Ramakrishna Mission schools in Kolkata. Union Minister Kirren Rijiju, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Jangipur MP Abhijit Mukherjee were his students. In an interview with THE WEEK, Suvirananda talks about the relevance of the Ramakrishna Mission today.
Science of yoga does not demand any kind of belief system or philosophy: Sadhguru – In spite of all its problems and contradictions, if the world is looking to a rapidly resurgent India today and an India that is about to join the ranks of developed nations, the silent and subtle contribution of the rich spiritual process inherent in the land and its people is undeniable. Though obscured by hundreds of years of foreign occupation and distorted by the aggressors, the relative peace, contentment, and harmony of the Indian people and the society are clearly the fruits of the carefully crafted spiritual process.
Mystic catcher of souls –Recently, in a television conversation, filmmaker Karan Johar asked Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev if there should be a limit to one’s love and emotions. “Love is a certain quality, not quantity,” the Sadhguru replied. “Love is not something that will get over. The more you experience it, the more it is available to you.” This is true of the Isha Yoga Centre, the Sadhguru’s ashram, as well: the more you experience it, the more it is available to you. Located on the foothills of Velliangiri Hills, on the outskirts of Coimbatore, the Isha Yoga Centre has dedicated itself to the well-being of the individual and the world.
Easterly wind bloweth– The nature of spirituality is undergoing a radical shift in the United States, with the temples furthering social change. On March 19 this year, Shaanti Bhavan Mandir in New York became the first Hindu temple to join the National Sanctuary Movement—a coalition of places of worship for sheltering undocumented immigrants. The temple was founded in 2013, by Indo-Caribbeans hailing from Guyana and Trinidad. “A mandir is not just a place we come to pray,” said temple leader Pandit Manoj Jadubans to the devotees. “We can give them shelter, a place where they feel secure.”
Old monk, new companion – The Ramakrishna Mission hopes to take its message of universal brotherhood to the Middle East –On August 14, 1897, three months after establishing the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur near Calcutta, Swami Vivekananda was travelling in a train with freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had first met Tilak on a Pune-bound train in 1892. The following year, he addressed the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. After he returned from America, Vivekananda was in touch with Tilak and other freedom fighters. So when they met again, Tilak asked him when and how India would achieve freedom. “India would attain freedom 50 years from now,” said Vivekananda. “But no one would believe how it would come. It would come surprisingly and suddenly.”
Peace in poise – The Sivananda Yoga Centre is a partner of Toronto school board –The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre at 77 Harbord Street in Toronto has been teaching people to “spread peace, health and joy through yoga”. Noahora Sierra, 57, who is from Colombia and has settled in Canada, has been doing yoga asanas five days a week and meditation twice a week since 2012, and it has made a world of difference for her. Doing yoga gives her a positive feeling, said Sierra. She and her daughter are regular visitors at the centre, established in 1962.
Taking a look at our philosophies – A FEW YEARS ago, a relative of mine philosophically said, “At any point in life, there is always someone thinner than you, and someone richer.” I could not resist taking a dig: “I am surprised it took you so long to realise that.” Jokes apart, I have always felt that this ‘Who is thinner/richer/prettier?’ game is quite unproductive. Writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry sums it up in one line: “Grown-ups love figures.” I think he meant both figures—numbers and the human form. In The Little Prince, he writes: “When you tell [grown-ups] you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand, ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’”
Trikonasana in Trafalgar Square –Religious activities, community service and yoga go hand in hand for Hindus in the UK. Religion in the UK has become an intrinsic part of the Hindu identity, especially in the last few decades. It is perhaps a symbol of their migration pattern after World War II or during the expulsion by Idi Amin. With time, they have established temples of their faith in the UK, as well as many community organisations and umbrella bodies to represent their ideologies. But what was exclusive to the people from that particular faith before, is now available to the wider society—and Britain stands as one of the best examples of a successful multicultural country.
Ministry of Heartful Happiness – Meditation for health and well-being matters to the UAE government- On a warm May morning, as my taxi pulls up at the entrance of an elegant office building in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers business district, I know I’m at the right place. Small groups of Indians have just arrived and are greeting each other as they enter the building. Instead of rummaging through my handbag to find the address, I simply follow them into the elevator. I’m sure we are all heading to the same place. The elevator stops at the first floor and I follow them out, down a short corridor, and into a large hall. Within minutes, the cacophony of 300 people exchanging pleasantries dies down and everyone is seated with their eyes closed; the lights are switched off and the hall descends into pin-drop silence. This is how members of the Heartfulness Meditation Centre at the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation begin each morning; with an hour-long meditation session.
Individuals can be transformed through love and compassion: Mata Amritanandamayi – When you talk to the Americans, what is it that they like the most about you? Do they come to know more about India through you? Are they keen on visiting India or, may be, even settling here close to their ‘Amma’? Not just Americans, but all people in general are longing to experience true love. There is an inner thirst to find someone who will lend a compassionate ear, so that they can pour out their heart. I don’t speak any language other than my mother tongue, Malayalam. But through love there is perfect communication, no matter what language we speak.
Viewers of GaramChai.com are aware of the extensive listings of Religion and spirituality in North America including