Thursday, June 25, 2009

Five men of Words

During my school days someone once asked me a question which was kind of silly when I first heard. Was it a car or a cat I saw? But the fun in that sentence was the letters are in exactly the same order from both starting and end. It is the same as in the word Malayalam. I was very impressed to know such a line being the little boy that I was at that time. Today I attempt to create a silly question of my own based on etymology.

Will a maverick guy be lynched and end in mausoleum if he was a Casanova?

Well this sentence might not be as interesting as the earlier one but it does have something special in it. All the main words (italics) in the sentence have got something in common. They are all derived from name of persons who walked this planet once upon a time. This is an attempt to find out who they were and what they did to be part of the English language.

Samuel Augustus Maverick (July 23, 1803–September 2, 1870) was a Texas lawyer, politician, land baron and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. His name is the source of the term "maverick," first cited in 1867, which means "independently minded." Various accounts of the origins of the term held that Maverick came to be considered independently minded by his fellow ranchers because he refused to brand his cattle.

Guy Fawkes, or Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, belonged to a group of Roman Catholic restorationist from England who planned the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Their aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I and the entire Protestant, and even most of the Catholic, aristocracy and nobility were inside. Bonfire Night, held on November 5 in the United Kingdom commemorates Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Several geographical locations have been named after him, including the Isla Guy Fawkes in the Galápagos Islands and Guy Fawkes River in Australia. The word "guy", meaning "man" or "person", derives ultimately from his name.

Captain William Lynch (1742–1820) was a man from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, who claimed to be the author of "Lynch's Law". This is an agreement with the Virginia General Assembly in 1782 that allowed Lynch to capture and punish criminals in Pittsylvania County without trial due to the lack of courts in that county. Lynch now means to hang someone in mob frenzy without a trial.

Mausolus (377–353 BC) was ruler of Caria. He took part in the revolt against Artaxerxes Mnemon and conquered a great part of Lycia, Ionia and several Greek islands and cooperated with the Rhodians in the Social War against Athens. Mausolus was the eldest son of Hecatomnus, a native Carian. He is best known for the monumental shrine, the Mausoleum of Mausolus, erected for him by order of his sister and widow Artemisia. The term mausoleum has come to be used generically for any grand tomb. Its site and a few remains can still be seen in the Turkish town of Bodrum.

Casanova de seingalt, giovanni jacopo (1725-1798), was a Italian adventurer charlatan and social climber, who wrote several books and translated the Iliad. But he is most notorious for his History of my Life, which focuses on his many romantic conquests and provided many vivid accounts of his sexual encounters. In 1725 Giovanni was born in Venice as the eldest child to his parents. His father belonged to a noble family and made a runaway marriage with the beautiful daughter of a Venetian shoemaker. With his precocious and lively intellect he passed his examination at 16 and entered the seminary of St Cyprian in Venice, from which he was expelled a short time afterwards for some scandalous and immoral conduct. All restrictions were irksome to his wayward disposition and began his existence of adventure and intrigue which only ended with his death. Casanova now means a philanderer, gigolo and an irresponsible lover who has many affairs with women.

I am thankful to the internet and all the resourses put up there by people from around the world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A hard Fact of Life

Change is the only constant in life while weight is the only constantly changeable truth!
As we move along the journey of our life we meet a lot of people and also leave them behind as we continue on our path. Sometime we do not remember much of that person anymore but certain comment or act of his stays with our for a long time. I remember one such statement which will make all the health conscious people shudder. While I was in Delhi we had an Accountant (a hot shot stock broker now) who used to come for a week every month and do the auditing and prepare our salary cheques. He was loud spoken north Indian with lots of anecdotes and excellent sense of timing. That made him very popular with this bengali man who was just being exposed to Hindi and Punjabi languages.
Our usual lunch was dal makhani (black dal with white butter) and tandoori rotis with the option to top up with a quarter makhan or half makhan (25gm or 50 gm of amul butter). Then we were young and hungry, not at all perturbed with eating excesses or obesity. In case there was sense of a guilt creeping in while gobbling all those extra butter, his unforgetable comment would come to our rescue. He always used to quip "ki laike aya tha .. ki laike jayega? Jo khayega woh e saath jayega!" (what did you get along at your birth and what will you take along when you die? Its only what you eat that will stay with you till the end). I would not debate how prudent that statement was, but it definitely was helpful at that moment in time.
But when you come to think of it, this particular "saath jayega" stuff is quite intriguing. When you want it you do not get it and when you get it you find out that you got it in the wrong place and then you want to get rid of it you hardly succeed!
While in college I had done everything I possibly could to put some weight and have a bit of a noticeable body mass. I turned out to be too slippery to get anything stuck on me and my weight remained unchanged, as constant as the unit of measurements. Few years later things changed and I could feel the surge! It was a great feeling. But it soon turned out to be a present continuous tense. Initially a little bit of walking and gyming would do the trick and kept things under control. Slowly as life got busier and I kept postponing my mission to restart the exercise to tomorrow but to my surprise I was presented with a brand new tomorrow, each morning and I could never catch up! Finally a day came when I sadly realized that it was beyond my control and perhaps VLCC will not be of much help. Then, one day I received a mail with pictures of some of the most sought after heroes of Hollywood. Well..... pictures speak louder than words!!! I am not alone!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Horse sense for the Dummies

Picture @Getty Images
I was doing a project which has been designed on an Equine theme. Once you get to meet the horse lovers you are already ushered into a all new Horse world inhabited by a different type of people. I was introduced to this world in New Delhi while we got involved with the design of a farm house within a stud farm. But this time around it is much deeper and longer and I had to do some research to be able to understand them and be able to talk sense. I would like to share some curious facts that might interest many a dummy like me.
A Horse Is A Horse When...
A horse is usually not considered to be a "horse" until it is 5 years old. Before that, males are known as colts and females are known as fillies. However, it is still acceptable to call a colt or filly a horse.
A foal is a very young horse and can be either male or female.
A yearling is a foal after its first birthday
How long do horses live?
An average life span for a horse is around 20 -25 years, though they can live for up to 30 years. The oldest recorded horse was "Old Billy," an English barge horse, who lived to be 62 years old.
Mare and Foal
The mother horse, or mare, is pregnant (or "in foal") for 11 months. Most mares give birth in the spring to a single baby (foal) although twins are not uncommon. Mares produce milk for their young and will feed them for several months. Most foals are born at night under the cover of darkness and away from prying eyes and possible danger.
Within 1-2 hours of birth a foal is able to stand up and walk. When foals are born their legs are almost the same length as they are when they are fully grown - their legs are so long they find it difficult to reach down to the grass to eat! Foals can focus their eyes almost as soon as they are born and cut their first teeth within a week. They are fully grown by 3 - 4 years of age.
Horse Height
Horse’s height is measured in units known as "hands." One hand is equal to 4 inches. A horse is usually considered to be 14.2 (14 hands, 2 inches) or taller when mature. Anything under 14.2 when mature is usually considered to be a pony.
Horse Teeth
Adult female horses (mares) usually have 36 teeth. A mare may have up to 40 teeth if she happens to have any canine teeth, which is possible but less common. Adult males have between 40 and 44 teeth.
"Floating" a horse's teeth means to file the sharp edges or points off in order to create a flatter, more efficient chewing surface, and to keep any sharp edges or points from cutting the inside of the horse's mouth.
A horse's age can usually be accurately determined by its teeth until the horse is about 9 years old. After that, a horse is known as "smooth mouthed" or "aged" and it becomes far more difficult or impossible to tell its age by its teeth.
Inside A Horse
The horse has one stomach. In contrast, cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, elk, caribou, moose, and camels are "ruminants" which means (among other things) they have four digestive chambers instead of just one stomach.
Bridle Path
The "bridle path" on a horse is the area just behind the horse's ears where the mane has been clipped or trimmed. This area is commonly trimmed on all kinds of horses of all riding disciplines. Clipping the mane is this area creates a neat place for the bridle or halter to lay across the top of the head without long mane hairs to get in the way or get tangled.
Colors & Patterns
Chestnut: Golden brown coat with lighter or darker tail than mane.
Flea-Bitten: Grey coat, with small dark specks more appear in age.
Gray: White coat with black skin the coat will lighten with age.
Skewbald: Big patches of white on many other colors except black.
Brown: Mixture of black and brown on limbs, tail and mane.
Bay: Dark golden color also a Red -Brownish color with black tail, mane and limbs.
Black: Black coat mane, tail and limbs.
GroomingOne might think the reason to groom a horse is so that he/she looks nice, but the main reason is so that it will stay healthy and clean. If you keep your horse in a stable where he cannot roll on the ground to groom himself, you should groom him daily. If he is out in the pasture he will not need as much grooming.
Why does a horse have to wear shoes?
Horses that work or travel on hard roads need their feet (hooves) protected by metal shoes. Horse’s hooves, like our finger and toe nails, also grow continuously and need to be trimmed. To do this, the horses shoes need to be removed and their hooves trimmed every 4 -6 weeks. After trimming their hooves new shoes are fitted. The person who cares for a horse's feet is called a farrier or blacksmith.
Horse Facts
A horse's HEART WEIGHS about 10 pounds!
The average horse's HEAD WEIGHS 11.84 pounds.
In the wild horse world, the mare decides when and where the herd will go while the stallion follows. (Surprised, are you?)
Horses are the LAST PRIMARY ANIMAL to be domesticated.
Rabbits are not rodents. They are more closely related to horses than they are to rats or mice.
China not only has the most people in the world, but also has the most Horses with 10,000,000.
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Horse Records
The tallest horse on record was a Shire named Samson. He was 21.2 hands (7 feet, 2 inches) tall.
Samson is also recorded as the heaviest horse weighing 1524kg (3360lbs)
The oldest horse on record is "Old Billy," an English barge horse. He was 62 years old when he died, living from 1760 to 1822.
The oldest pony reliably recorded was named Teddy E. Bear, and lived to be 55. He was owned by Kathy Pennington of Virginia Beach, VA. He was still alive as of 1998.
The record for the highest jump made by a horse is held by a horse named Huaso who jumped 8 feet, 1 and 1/4 inches on February 5th, 1949 in Vina del Mar, Chile. He was ridden by Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales.
The record for the longest jump over water is held by a horse named Something who jumped 27 feet, 6 and 3/4 inches on April 25, 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was ridden by Andre Ferreira.
The smallest breed is the Falebella of Argentina.
The tallest of the breed stands about 74cm (30 inches) at the shoulder.
The smallest pony in history was a stallion named "Little Pumpkin." He stood 14 inches and weighed only 20 lbs!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Through someone else's lens

These images have made few rounds by email and most of us must have viewed them. But I thought these are a few frames that gives us an idea how THEY viewed us. If I can use the phrase looking through their lens... I feel we Indians (natives) were quite under nourished 100 years back.

These image bear the copyright of "Underwood & Underwood ". But according to wikipedia "The company ceased business in the 1940s." I could not ask for permission for using the photographs.

I would say these can be described thus .... "Some images to Remember and some to Forget"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You are the King

Last month I had attended “The Hotel Show” at the Dubai International Trade Centre. It was a one of its kind yearly occurrence with exhibitors from around the globe descends here to showcase their products. Everything that you see and you do not see when you walk into a hotel as a guest was on display. It goes without saying that stuff that we do not see surpasses what we do with a great margin but this is not my point of discussion. It was very encouraging to see how the business houses are putting up a brave face in the wake of the economic Tsunami that has struck the entire world. Everyone was being extremely optimistic and kept focusing on to the sunny days ahead and we all know that it is not too far away.
There were amazing and awesome products on display like stabilized natural plants to designer’s furniture. Similarly exciting were the technological concepts focusing into providing a unique and integrated guest experience. There was a design competition for the employee uniform and it was it was a corporate catwalk that showcased those 7 categories of uniforms by designers. Two conferences were being organized simultaneously on the side lines of these displayed products and glitz. My main interest was to attend The 7 star conference and The Middle East spa Summit which roped in the experts and the business leaders from the region.
Now that I have sat through those two, I would like to reveal a secret that I was able to conclude while listening to what the market leaders had to say. I have found out that you and only you are the King at this moment in history and I thought everyone should know this.
Today the all the players (Tour Operators; Retailers; Airlines; Hotels) of the Travel and Tourism industry are working together and working hard to come out of the crisis brought in by the global economic downturn. We need to remember that in good times they are arch rivals vying for each other’s blood or market share. So what does it mean to you when they come together and try to get back the tourists? The answer is simple. They need you. Rather they need your money. They woo you with very attractive offers and great discounts. You are pampered like never before. A few years back you had to be very rich or an influential and powerful somebody in order to be treated royally. But today all that have changed for this moment. Today you can negotiate the best rate with the top hotels and one doesn't have to be embarrassed in doing so. You can select from various packages being provided by airlines. You walk into a boutique or any store for that matter and you are treated like a shahenshah. So enjoy it till it lasts.
Similar trends are visible in Dubai. The top of the range hotels including Atlantis is providing series of attractive packages. The resorts in and around Dubai are also offering a basket of alternative choices for guests and patrons to select.
There has been lot of Dubai Bashing in the past few months in the western media. But the general consensus that came out of the speakers was that business generated here today is still much more than other areas around the world. Someone has very aptly described the situation in Dubai as "the heat is off the cattle right now but not to forget that the cattle were already overheated."
So enjoy being a Royal till it lasts.