Evanescent as snow

So windy.  My hair was all over my face and they seemed to like it.  Blowing wildly as I tried to take selfies at Coronet Peak, Queenstown.

Beautiful views from the peak.  Gondolas hanging on a line, moving up and down.  It’s almost winter now so time for ski.  So many nice things to do there.

What a lovely spot, though evanescent for me and other visitors.  Similarly skiing is evanescent as snow only falls in winter.

 

Viceroy’s house

History is written by victors.

– Quote Gurinder Chadha,
director of Viceroy’s House and film maker behind Bend it like Beckham.

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I had a lazy afternoon yesterday at the cinema, watching a historical movie about the inside life of the Viceroy’s House in 1947 during the Partition of India.

An amazing opening with the above quote and introduction to the Viceroy’s House with numerous  (some 500) Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants cleaning the Lutyen’s masterpiece, the lawns, carpets and marble floors to greet the last viceroy of colonised India, Lord Louis Mountbatten – or Dickie, as he was known.

His full name was Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten.  Such a mouthful but Richard was not any of his name.  His initial nickname among family and friends was Nicky which later became Dickie.

Viceroy House’s grandeur was alarming.  It has 340 rooms and 12 indoor courtyards.  According to Lady Pamela Hicks (Lord Mountbatten’s daughter), the house was so vast one had to allow 10 minutes to arrive at dinner on time.

I dozed off a bit at the earlier part of the movie but midway through till the end, my heart was heavy and sombre as I watched the Great Divide.

In August, 1947, when, after three hundred years in India, the British finally left, the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nation states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Immediately, there began one of the greatest migrations in human history, as millions of Muslims trekked to West and East Pakistan (the latter now known as Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Many hundreds of thousands never made it.

Across the Indian subcontinent, communities that had coexisted for almost a millennium attacked each other in a terrifying outbreak of sectarian violence, with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other.  Independence also brought violence and tragedy.  Ten million people were uprooted from their homes. Hundreds of thousands died, and women were sexually assaulted and kidnapped, in the upheaval that followed.

This August will mark the 70th anniversary of the largest migration in human history.

Have Pakistan and India put their post-1947 partition feud to rest?

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The End of an Empire. The Birth of Two Nations. VICEROY’S HOUSE tells the true story of the final months of British rule in India.

Viceroy’s House in Delhi was the home of the British rulers of India. After 300 years, that rule was coming to an end. For 6 months in 1947, Lord Mountbatten, great grandson of Queen Victoria, assumed the post of the last Viceroy, charged with handing India back to its people.

The film’s story unfolds within that great House. Upstairs lived Mountbatten together with his wife and daughter; downstairs lived their 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants. As the political elite – Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi – converged on the House to wrangle over the birth of independent India, conflict erupted. A decision was taken to divide the country and create a new Muslim homeland: Pakistan. It was a decision whose consequences reverberate to this day.

The film examines these events through the prism of a marriage – that of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten – and a romance – that between a young Hindu servant, Jeet, and his intended Muslim bride, Aalia. The young lovers find themselves caught up in the seismic end of Empire, in conflict with the Mountbattens and with their own communities, but never ever giving up hope. VICEROY’S HOUSE is a film that is both epic and intimate, with an inspirational message that celebrates tolerance. Many of the events depicted are either unknown or forgotten, but all have strong contemporary relevance in terms of lessons to be learnt concerning the politics of division and fear, the origins of religious extremism, and our moral responsibility towards migrants fleeing violence for a better life.

It is a story that is deeply personal to the film’s director Gurinder Chadha, whose own family was caught up in the tragic events that unfolded as the Raj came to an end.

Click here to read Fatima Bhutto’s summary of the film in the Guardian

via Daily Prompt – Unmoored
 I am still drifting as I tried gathering my thoughts on what to write on ‘unmoored’.   Like a vessel that is not anchored, my thoughts are loose and scattered.  The movie I watched yesterday had an impact in my mind so this blog is about my thoughts on Viceroy’s House.

Make money from the air you breathe

Feeling blessed that I am living in New Zealand breathing fresh and free air !

On average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day, 8,409,600 a year

Assuming the cost of our exported NZ Air is $35 a pop for 150 breaths, using that sparingly one can easily used up one pop/can per day.  Over a 30 days, the cost would be $1,050.

Wow, for $1,050 a couple could fly from Auckland (or anywhere in NZ) to Queenstown, stay two nights in a nice hotel and breathe the fresh air looking at the breathtaking scenery  of the Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu and the alpines.

littleborneogirl

Put your thinking cap on, brainstorm, get creative to see if we can make money out of anything and everything, in this instant, ‘air’ (read article below).

Work in collaboration with entrepreneurs, professionals, researchers and create an idea.  The Wall Street Journal said ‘At the heart of any successful business is a great idea. Some seem so simple we wonder why nobody thought of them before. Others are so revolutionary we wonder how anybody could’ve thought of them at all.’

A interesting read – extracted from NZ Herald

Just a load of hot air? Chinese consumers paying $35 a pop for canned Kiwi air

Airteroa sells cans of Southern Alps air for $35 a can online. Photo / Supplied
Airteroa sells cans of Southern Alps air for $35 a can online. Photo / Supplied

It might not seem like much of a bargain – $35 for a can of nothing.

But for those suffering through China’s oppressive smog seasons, cans of mountain-fresh…

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Silence

Sitting alone, in silence, reflections in my head of who I was and what I have become.

Reflecting on the good times, the not-so-good times that strengthened me to be what I am now.

littlegirlstory

Silence speaks when words can’t
Ignorance, defeated or simply deciding
Longing for an answer
Enduring each overwhelming moment
Nothing can be explained
Calmness is a source of great strength
Eventually in moments of silence I rediscover who I am.

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Kiwiana

I was on Jetstar and flipped through their in flight magazine.  Looking at me was a page on all things Kiwiana.

kiwiana

Kiwiana are certain items and icons from New Zealand’s heritage, especially from around the middle of the 20th century that are seen as representing iconic Kiwi elements.

Amongst other Kiwiana, the silver fern flag has become an iconic, if unofficial symbol of New Zealand.

A number of products widely regarded as Kiwiana, such as Weet-Bix, Watties tomato sauceMarmite and L&P, are now made by non-New Zealand companies.  In some cases this is because the original New Zealand company has been purchased by an overseas corporation, in others the product has always been made by an international firm.

In 1994, New Zealand Post released a set of stamps depicting kiwiana items including a paua shell, pavlova, hockey pokey ice cream, fish and chips, jandals, bush shirt, buzzy bee, kiwifruit, rugby boots and ball and a black singlet and gumboots.

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To sum it up, Kiwiana are all the weird and wonderful quirky things from years gone by that contribute to our sense of nationhood — our Kiwi identity.

Bitter

Food wise, I love anything bitter.

Its pungent taste, not too sweet or too sour.

My favourite bitter drink is Schweppes bitter lemon.

Bitter lemon is a carbonated soft drink flavoured with quinine and lemon. The signature bitter taste is produced by a combination of the quinine and the lemon pith used in manufacturing the drink.

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I love bitter gourd.  Bitter gourd (melon) is one of traditional edible pod vegetables in many Asian countries. It is grown widely as a field crop as well as backyard vegetable and, in fact, is among the most bitter tasting of all culinary vegetables.

This vegetable has numerous health benefits.

Health benefits of Bitter gourd

  • Bitter melon is very low in calories, carrying just 17 calories per 100 g. Nevertheless, its pods are rich sources of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
  • Bitter melon notably contains phytonutrient, polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. Also, it composes hypoglycemic agent called Charantin. Charantin increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis inside the cells of the liver, muscle, and fatty (adipose) tissue. Together, these compounds may have been thought to be responsible for blood sugar levels reduction in the treatment of type-2 diabetes.
  • Fresh pods are an excellent source of folates, carrying about 72 µg/100g (18% of RDA). Vitamin folate when taken by mothers during their early pregnancy time, would help reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
  • Fresh bitter melon is an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 grams of fresh pod provides 84 mg or about 140% of RDI). Vitamin-C is one of the powerful natural antioxidants which helps scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • Further, it is an excellent source of health benefiting flavonoids such as β-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. It also contains a good amount of vitamin-A. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
  • Bitter melon stimulates smooth digestion and peristalsis of food through the bowel until it excreted from the body. Thus, it helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.
  • Further, it has small amounts of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
  • Early laboratory tests suggest that certain phytochemical compounds in bitter melon might be effective in the treatment of HIV infection.

    – credit to Nutrition and You

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While bitterness is so favourable in food, it is not so in life experience.  Many of us may encounter some bitter experiences at some stage in life.

Every uncomfortable experience in life gives you the choice of growing bitter or better.

every-uncomfortable-experience-in-life-gives-you-the-choice-of-growing

 

The most beautiful place on earth

 

 

Yes, it’s gotta be Queenstown, New Zealand.

Not only is Queenstown beautiful with its stunning scenery, it is also known as the adventure capital of the world.  Looking for thrills and spills, crags and canyons, Queenstown has them all.

Explore Queenstown, expose your soul and be rejuvenated in the natural beauty of Lake Wakatipu.

We love Queenstown to bits and we are blessed to be less than 2 hours flight away.

Here are some lovely shots we took when we were there for a short visit last weekend.

 

Looks can be deceiving

I was captivated by this awesome picture.

onsen

And this looks even better.

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We were on a short break staying at Novotel Lakeside Queenstown, our favourite Queenstown Accommodation with its private spa/Jacuzzi.

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We thought a pamper at Onsen Hot pools would be a luxury.

We booked for a 6pm soak, took the complimentary shuttle which was supposed to depart at 5.30pm but we waited a bit for some others who didn’t show up.  Upon arrival at Onsen, we would have thought we could get into the bath tub as booked but we had to wait another 10 minutes or so before being given a room.

A unique feature of Onsen Hot Pools are the retractable picture windows: Convert your pool room from indoor to outdoor and back again at the touch of a button!  That was cool but it got dark too soon and we could only see the stars and not the view.  Perhaps choosing a day entry would be better for those who are looking for views across the Shotover Canyon.  For those who want to look at the stars and happy to pay an extra $20 per pool for the cost of lighting 14 lanterns, then by all means get your enjoyment from gazing at the stars.

The fare was for an hour but we didn’t really get our whole hour’s worth as shuttle departed late and yet we had to wait to be served.  We were told if you were still not dressed or ready when the buzzer comes on, you will have to use the public changing room.

We came looking for relaxation and some pamper but it was more like a rushed  impersonal experience.  If we have to wait, perhaps a glass of water with a slice of lime would be cheap enough to make us feel special.

We should have used that money for a sumptuous feed and then soak at Novotel’s private Jacuzzi instead.

Would you pay $115 for two people for a hot soak gazing at the stars?

 

 

 

All images credit to the original contributors.

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