Bad news for Barkha Dutt?

The most celebrated journalist of India, Barkha Dutt of NDTV found herself caught in a controversy recently. This controversy also known as the Radia Tapes controversy is still under talks now mainly states that eminent journalists were caught in a political rut of staging a story or in common man’s terms, being set up for this story.

Barkha’s image

What is really surprising is that Barkha Dutt, being one of the most popular journalists and a celebrity of some sort who set a benchmark and standard for other journalists is caught in this controversy for good reasons or bad we are yet to find out. The big question also lies in what this can to Barkha’s image as a journalist in the future.

What happens to NDTV

Besides, NDTV is also a leading news channel, even the number one news channel in India is also now in deep turmoil because along with Barkha Dutt, there’s Vir Sanghvi another prominent journalist also caught in the same controversy.

While all the allegations are yet to be proved, the very word controversy can spoil the image of a journalist and a news channel in the years to come. Only time can decide the outcome of this ugly game.

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/ndtv-special-ndtv-24×7/barkha-dutt-other-editors-on-radia-tapes-controversy/178964

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Winter Wonderland this year

The much heard of and awaited event of the year was finally here. Winter Wonderland, an annual carnival that is held during Christmas in Hyde Park is certainly a must-do on your list. For starters, there are joyrides, skating rings and plenty of food!

Indulge in some mulled wine

As one enters Winter Wonderland, the mulled wine stall just around the corner and it’s perhaps a good start to try some of this delicious warm wine with ginger or lemon, especially to beat the cold and enjoy the rest of the evening.

There are various other stalls, right from selling gloves and scarves to hotdogs and other succulent eatables. The German sausages are a must-try here as well.

A better variety of joy-rides to choose from

The fairly large ferris wheel catches your attention as you enter and there’s a roller-coaster ride which is sure to get your adrenaline rushing once you’re in it. There is also the drop tower which soars high up and as the title suggests, it drops or plunges several feet into the ground and one must only experience it to feel it.

If you’re not the kind to enjoy such joy-rides, then you can still have fun by getting into the maze which is well lit up and is bound to take you on an adventure. There is also the horror house, looking at which all my friends got highly excited.

Go ice skating

If all of the above is still not tempting enough then  the ice skating rink is bound to get you into high spirits. Many here just groove into the overall mood of winter wonderland and prefer going ice-skating to experience maximum fun at this annual carnival.

So if you’re a foodie, or an adventurous person, or a shopaholic who can have a great selection of Christmas gifts to choose from, Winter Wonderland is certainly for you.

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The ultimate con artist

The stories of fraudsters and con artists always got me thinking on how one could be bold enough to pull off a con and get away with it. Sure they were caught and imprisoned, but the life the led before that always intrigued me.

Right from the case of Frank Abagale Jr to Abdul Telgi, a fraudster in my home country, India , the adventures and mastermind behind conning people has urged me to read further about these men, not just about their psyche, but their overall thinking patterns.

Picture for representational purposes only

The recent case

The case of a teenage fraudster may not be very topical, however, it was revealed to me very recently during an office visit organised by our University.

James Blake Cameron, a boy who lost his mother at the age of twelve was apparently frustrated with the sum of 18,000 GBP she left him with.

Being a prodigy at an early age and a master in technology, James created his own website which mainly displayed furniture and other necessary accessories such as stationary on sale. It became an instant hit and attracted many customers.

As the first attempt of conning people was successful for young James, he managed to go up further on the ladder.

He hired a secretary to take care if his ‘business’, got driven around in limousines, and also managed to find escorts for himself and his friends.

It only gets better

James got people to advertise on his website and many said he was the most convincing teenager they had come across. Just when he thought he had everything going for him, he got caught after a newspaper reported him to be a fraud.

The tales of the ultimate con artist does not end here. After being sentenced to twenty two months of imprisonment, he managed to sneak a mobile phone into his prison cellar and continued conning people into various activities.

This time the con was short-lived however, as James got caught again and his jail sentence was extended to another seven months.

Eye witnesses to the courtroom scene during his sentence say that James was never ashamed of what he had done and always had a grin on his face, like he had achieved something huge.

In my opinion, yes, he was a fraud, he was the finest con artist I had ever heard of. I do understand that it wasn’t right on his part to pursue what he did, yet, he was only a teenager and if he was convincing and extremely well versed with technology, then the boy deserves some credit in terms of intellectual standards.

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Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Coming from a tropical country, India, it was rather exciting for me to see the much awaited snowfall here in London last week.

 

Not like I have never seen snow before, I have seen and played around with snow earlier in Switzerland and Mussourie (a popular hill station in India). However, this time it was going to be a different experience and it truly was.

The history behind the fascination

Ever since I was a child, I have been an ardent fan of the 1960’s film The Sound of Music and in the song Julie Andrews sings a popular song- Raindrops on roses.

One could wonder what the connection is between the two , well, in the song, there is a line which goes, ‘Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes’. When I ventured out in the snow to play, walk and have snowfights with my buddies, this line from the song rang in my head over and over again like a broken tape recorder.

It feels cosy

The fact that I have not witnessed snowfall of snowflakes as a part of my daily life is what really got me excited ever since I read about the weather reports.

The good old feeling of sitting with a nice hot cup of cocoa and watching it snow outside is divine. What is even better is when I wake up and look out of my window first thing in the morning; I see the most splendid sights of silver and white.

People around me sunggle up with loved ones, rush across pathways rubbing their hands together to fight the cold, some run around and play in the snow and some other silent spectators such as myself jump up with joy when we see snowfall and snow flakes everyday which instantly makes my day great and also makes me feel festive.

Christmas is just around the corner and I can hardly wait to see a White Christmas this year and I’m assured that it will be one of the best Christmas seasons I’ve ever witnessed.

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Born with a silver spoon

How ambitious can one get? We all say we want to be the best.

In order to achieve this dream, some of us don’t give up, some others don’t give it their best shot due to sheer lethargy and many die trying. Those born with a silver spoon, we believe, have it easy, but it’s not true in most cases.

Having interacted with the young teenagers of the rich and famous, the statistics showed that nearly 75% are confused about their goals.

While it is expected that they take over the family’s business, follow the legacy and become the heir to the rich dynasty, these kids are most often in search of their own identity.

I was one of those who used to sit back and comment on the elite kids saying they have it easy, but realised that they are as ordinary as we are.

Being in the limelight along with the all the comforts of their homes is no doubt a bonus, but in terms of establishing a career, they are usually on a confusing rollercoaster ride.

Many of these kids have dreams and ambitions of their own, but most of them are driven towards following their parents’ career path, rather than their own.

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Nostalgia. . .

There has always been something warm and welcoming about Malleshwaram. Not because I lived there for over a decade, nor is it because the area has a homely atmosphere.It is something in the air, where you can find serenity amongst the growing chaos which only a true Malleshwaram person can relate to.

Present day scenario

It is perhaps an ordeal to find a parking space here today, but an absolute delight to re-visit a favourite food joint or just stroll about on the streets.

Despite the numerous developments in this northern area of Bangalore, I still long to have breakfast at Veena Stores, catch a regional film at Nataraj Talkies, take photographs of the colourful market area, walk along the railway line near my school, share a samosa with mother at the IISC campus late evening, watching the fireflies making the place look magical.

Now, as the popularity has increased thanks to the Mantri group, nobody expected Malleshwaram to be the chosen location to construct a fairly large mall. After Maharaja Mills shut down and the residential apartment complex- Mantri Greens flourished, there came India’s largest mall, Mantri Square.

Traffic Trauma

Yes, the traffic congestion here and number of ruthless drivers have increased, yet, I still feel peaceful when I’m walking on the cobbled path of Sankey Tank.

After numerous renovations and attempts to transform this tank into a lake, it now looks more scenic and adds to Bangalore’s beauty. It is rather funny that I have always had a great experience here, right from watching the old men ‘jogging’ to the women gossiping on the benches.

The couples here behave themselves and it is peculiar how I’ve come across couples who associate Sankey Tank with love, not necessarily expressing their love (which does happen fairly often), you will also find couples breaking each others hearts here.

Peace at Sankey Tank

On a more personal front, has it ever happened to you, while you’re walking down a familiar path on a random day, scenes of your childhood start flashing by? I was on my photo clicking spree at Sankey Tank during dusk and there was nothing spectacular that had happened that day.

I started walking around, trying to finding a good spot for my camera and me to get to work, when suddenly in the water, I saw more than just my reflection.

I don’t remember how much I used to walk around Sankey Tank as a child, but I do remember going on a boat ride with my family, feeling disgusted looking at other noisy families who littered the area, munching on some cotton candy on my way out and pestering mother to buy me a balloon from the uber friendly balloon man on the street.

As these memories came out of nowhere, I sat on a bench staring at the sparkling water and the birds chirping around, thoroughly enjoying the moment.

Despite my complaints on the growth of this area, I felt welcome again, only because, no matter what happens, the name Malleshwaram breathes something special to me.

This is dedicated to all the true Malleshwaram people I know!

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Amsterdam is the city where you find the finest of everything

“God made the world,” say citizens of Holland, “But the Dutch made Netherlands.” Nearly half of the land in Holland has been reclaimed from the sea, thereby making this country one of Europe’s popular waterways. Yet, there is a lot more to the city of Amsterdam than just being the business capital of Holland or being a well admired sea port.

Amsterdam is no doubt known to be one of the wildest cities across the world, but there’s something magical about this city that will leave you enchanted. Right from its traditional windmills to its cheese factories, their trademark wooden shoes and of course the exquisite tulip gardens which make you instantly fall in love.

For starters

Here’s what you can begin with, visit Heineken, which is one of the biggest breweries in Europe. There’s a treat for all beer lovers, if a tourist happens to visit the brewery on his birthday he stands to get a complementary half barrel of Heineken draught beer.

Holland in miniature

Then head to Madurodam, a museum which has al of Amsterdam in miniature! Yes, hard to believe, but the entire city has been redesigned in miniature and you can walk through this feeling like Gulliver only to find man-made Lilliputs.

Madurodam has everything, right from an affordable entry ticket to a café. But the interesting bit still remains with walking thru the entire city of miniature Amsterdam. There’s a miniature airport which has battery-run flights moving about, a football stadium, a highway that actually has tiny cars and trucks driving their way through.

The good ol’ feeling

If you’re a culture vulture, you must visit the museums in Amsterdam. There’s the Amsterdam Historisch Museum which offers all the historical information you require to know the city. Or simply take a walk, this city never sleeps and is absolutely safe, despite its wild surroundings.

When you take a stroll in the evening, you pass the traditional windmills which remind you of some Dutch paintings or even fairytales. Some of these traditional windmills have houses in them making them all the more appealing. The greenery around these windmills only adds to their beauty.

Cheese and wooden shoes. . .

Whether you are a food lover or not, you must visit the cheese markets and cheese factories in Amsterdam. There are so many cheese factories which have the widest range of cheese to offer. From smoked cheese to Gouda cheese, it’s all here.

What’s even better is that most of these cheese factories have the wooden shoes factories adjoining them. Here’s a little history, earlier, cheese was manufactured by those who wore wooden shoes to maintain cleanliness.

Besides, wood was easily available. But now, these wooden shoes make a style statement and you can buy miniature wooden shoes to take home as souvenirs.

Nightlife

Coming to the nightlife, Amsterdam has a wide variety of nightclubs, bars, cabarets and now, it even has places surpassing the ‘hotspots’ of cities like Hamburg, although none of these are as elegant as Paris, but they are worth visiting nonetheless. The most bizarre sexy haunts are never over publicised and one can visit these places only through word of mouth.

Around Amsterdam:

Unfortunately, the tulip season starts in March and lasts only till the third week of May. If you do happen to visit Holland during the season, then Keukenhof is the place to be. It is the garden of tulips and once you’re there, you feel like you’re in paradise.

If you’re late, don’t worry, there’s Volendam, the best fishing village (which does not have any foul odour) which offers a panoramic view of the sea port and the sunset in this village is unbelievably romantic.

Unlike countries in Africa, Holland does not require a medical check up. You might have missed the tulips, but there’s still a lot you can look forward to in Amsterdam. Make an excuse to visit this city again so that you can go see the tulips next April.

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