Ring out the old…


“Ring out the old, ring in the new,


The  year is going, let him go”

[In Memoriam]

Here’s the last sunset of the year 2021. Clicked from the bridge over Saigon River. Hoping that the new year will bring joy, peace, health and prosperity to all. Wishing everyone a happy new year!

Beard Tales Continue… Day 2

A noble priest from Jaipur

Another interesting piece of information I chanced upon is, in Ancient Rome a man’s beard style could throw light on which philosophical school he belonged to! The  Romans were impressed by the distinctive styles of beards the Greek philosophers were sporting. As soon as Rome conquered Greece in the Battle of Corinth and ‘imported’ the Greek philosophers, they followed suit. It is said that Horace humourously remarked,    “Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror”(here’s the link to an interesting read).


No Pogonotomy?

Two interesting words that I came across recently are derieved from the Greek word pogon. One is pogonotrophy‘ (beard growing) and the other is ‘pogonotomy‘ (shaving or cutting of a beard). That led me in reading many interesting facts on beard growing!  In the Victorian era doctors were believed to prescribe growing beard as a prevention from illness; whereas during the time of Alexander the Great, pogonotomy was banned in his army, as he  thought the enemies would find grasping his sodiers’ beard an easy task! So that could be called as pogonophobia ?  

A sadhu from Rajasthan, India

November being ‘Movember’ and ‘No shave November’ I thought of sharing a few photographs of bearded men and thus break my long break from blogosphere! Here I go starting form today.  

The Yellow Gate


Standing tall on the busy Dinh Thien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu intersection is the Gia-Dinh Gate in Ho Chi Minh City. The bright yellow gate captures the attention of any  any passer by.

Gia Dinh Gate was the gateway to the Ecole de Dessin Gia Dinh , an arts school in Saigon founded by the French in 1913,  that provided further studies for students from Thu Dau Mot School of Indigenous Arts ( Ecole d’Art Indigene de Thu-Dau-Mot) and also for students of Ecole d’Art de Bien Hoa . Thu-Dau-Mot School gave training in woodwork and lacquer-ware whereas Bien Hoa School of Arts was teaching ceramics and bronze-casting. The institute produced many prominent  sculptors and painters of South Vietnam.

In 1955 The Saigon National College of Fine Arts was opened close by  and after the Reunification of Vietnam in 1975, the two schools were merged to form the Ho Chi Minh City of Fine Arts. Later, all the the teachings were confined to the new building of 1955. The original Ecole de Dessin Gia-Dinh was demolished and paved way to Truong Cong Dinh Secondary School. However, the regal looking gateway was preserved and it stands the test of Time.

Beating Monday Blues with Frost’s ‘Fragmentary Blue’

Why make so much fragmentary blue

In here and there a bird, or butterfly,

Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,

When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)-

Though some savants make earth  include the sky;

And blue so far above us comes so high,

It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

Robert Frost

 Everything has a purpose, a place, a justification in the grand scheme of things..  Came across this beautiful poem by Frost,  the beginning sounded a lot like an Emily Dickinson one. 

What’s Cooking?

Banh Trang or rice paper wrappers are edible Vietnamese rice wrappers made from steamed rice batter. In the south and north they are known differently. Here, in the south these thin, translucent round rice papers are used to make fried spring rolls cha gio and fresh cold spring rolls goi cuon. The filling can vary from meat to shrimp to vegetabes and a mix of these. Rice papers come in different textures, thickness and flavours taking varied names. The commonly used ones for fresh spring rolls are Banh Trang, made of rice batter mixed with a little tapioca starch and salt; steamed and then sun-dried.  Rice paper making is a thriving cottage industry in the Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Vietnam. There are rice paper villages in this area. Here are few clicks from a visit to this Ben Tre a couple of years ago, of how rice turns into paper thin translucent rice wrappers.



Songs of Experience

” She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms”

(She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms)

proverb 31:17

A Rajasthani village woman  wearing upper armlets.

These are some portraits of tribal women of Rajasthan, who would have had varied experiences which made them bold and strong. Adorned themselves with lot of jewellery, (some of them were wearing silver,gold and some artificial) these women were walking around with so much confidence and self assurance, an air of resilience too. They happily posed for the photographs. The upper armlets, which may look a bit unwieldy to an outsider, are a mark of married women, it seems. Earlier they used to wear armlets made of ivory, replaced by present times plastic ones. Traditionally the ideal number of armlets were 52 on both arms.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” Proverb 31:25


“She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverb 31:27