London Thumakda


A few months back I was contacted by Kingston university. They wanted to invite me to take a tour of their campus, check out the various courses offered and see what life is like out there. Now, I don’t have any direct connection to universities or the profession of teaching (except for being the daughter of one), but I have been contemplating since quite a few years about doing a course on photography (the art, not the technique) from London or Paris. That would give me a global perspective, get me exposure to many more luminaries in the field as well as allow me to globe-trot more often. On hearing the details of what all Kingston University has to offer to their students, I must say, it took me no time in saying yes to their generous offer!

As some of you on twitter might have guessed by my tweets, I have already reached London and Well, now is the time to strike off London from my bucket list! London and New york are two cities I have always been in love with, without having visiting them!

The plan at Kingston university is quite exciting. I’ll be interacting with faculty, students and departments indulging in Creative writing, Illustration & Animation, Art and Design, MBA, Strategy, Marketing & Innovation, Marketing Communications & Advertising etc. – basically quite a few areas of my interest. I’ll also be interacting with Faculty staff connected with India & some Kingston University Alums from India to hear about their experiences and see the kind of support they get in their respective endeavours. I am however, most excited about yet another interaction, which is a Tour of Forensics House on the campus, including a crime scene. Female Sherlock Holmes, anyone?

The KU interaction is not just all work and no play. There will be a boat ride on the river Thames as well as a fashion show put up by the graduate students.

The planned duration of the official trip is from 2nd June – 5th June. I am also planning to explore London on my own, in the patches of free time I get. I wish I was here longer, because knowing a city needs some living in it. I am also extending my trip beyond the touring of Kingston university and plan to visit places in/around London as well as Scotland, Ireland till 13th June. Those nearby, give a shoutout!

In the meanwhile, KU is planning some overseas interaction for the benefit of prospective students. The list of events in India is here.

The purpose of this post is (like previous similar activities) not just to talk about the university I am visiting, but also to present my perspective of a prospective student, hopeful of learning more about the Art scene in Europe. Needless to say there will be lots of intertwined bits to do with experiencing a new city, a new country, a new culture – one that I am particularly excited about because of our “common” heritage. The hashtag for the event is #KUexperience but I am NOT planning to use it for every single tweet I write while in London. For the record, this is NOT a contest or a paid event. Here’s hoping for clear skies, pristine locales & interesting experiences. I hope you would enjoy “virtual traveling” with me as much as I would on ground. And hopefully, this should get me back on the blogging track as well!


My brush with Turkey & why I want to make it real 2


My first brush with Turkey was as a child, when we had to learn the capitals of all the countries in the world. I must have been in the third or fourth grade I suppose. Now this was in the ’80’s and one had to buy special books that contained all this information. It wasn’t as easily accessible as it is today – like the tap of a finger . That was the first time I came to know that a country called ‘Turkey’ existed. I was still unaware about a bird existing with the same name though. I learnt that the capital was Ankara and the phrase “Turkey-Ankara” just rolled off my tongue and was one of the easier ones compared to let’s say “Iceland-Reykjavik”. I knew that it was at the cross section of two continents – Europe & Asia or Eurasia, where East met west, Religions intertwined, and important trade routes existed. That formed the foundation of an indelible curiosity, that still exists about this place that I want to visit.

Over the years, Turkey kept being mentioned as part of academia. I learnt about the prominent Turkish invasions like those by Mahamud ghaznavi and Mohammed ghori, which permanently changed India as we know it today. And then followed the pop culture references. I liked listening to world music – Greek, oriental, Turkish, Finnish and many others. As expected, Turkish music has a lot of influences from Europe, Asia, Africa. It all percolated down my senses into a tiny memory pocket somewhere.

Then followed the visual influences. Even though Istanbul was part of the locations of popular films like “From russia with love”, it was only when I watched the Bollywood film “Guru”, that I got mesmerised by the beauty of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul as well as the Nuruosmaniye mosque, Istanbul, where “Mayya Mayya” was shot. After that, visuals of Turkey always sprang out at me, whenever I would watch any films shot there. And I would have a sense of deja vu, without having visited the place, ever. The latest such instance was when I watched Skyfall – the most recent Bond film and saw Daniel craig, tearing down on a motorcycle through labyrinth corridors and grand bazaar rooftops. I wanted to jump behind him and chase him over the fascinating landscape. I know the labyrinth routine was a set but at least the bazaar setting was real :).

Being a photographer, I come across a lot of ethereal travel photography, some of which is from Turkey of course. All this exposure has intrigued me even more and I really want to visit the mosques, the spice market at Istanbul, see the nightlife at Antalya, travel back in time in the underground city of Derinkuyu, experience hot air ballooning at Cappadocia & catch a sunrise while flying over the fairy chimneys, take a dip in the hot springs at Pamukkale, visit Roman ruins at Izmir and much more! I would love to immerse myself in the cultural melting pot that is Turkey, experience the Byzantine & European drifts, be at the centre of Eurasia, capture some precious memories to narrate to others and seek out the familiar India within that land! If you vote for me, I could do all this for real! Pls vote here:

This post is an entry in the “Million Stories” Contest sponsored by the Turkish Embassy, India.


A meet description in verse


One sunny April afternoon,
I excitedly rushed to a blogger’s music meet,
and quickly reached the venue,
For I wanted the front seat!


The restaurant was quite full,
The chairs were few,
I saw some old faces,
A lot of them new.


Soon the program started,
And along came Prateek Shah,
Who had people introduce themselves uniquely
And the audience doing wah wah.


Fun was had, along with introductions,
Imagine a male couple ball dance,
The audience chose all the next participants,
and a lot of people got their 15 minute fame’s chance.


Soon a presentation by HP was shared,
and a music demo to everyone was given,
Some HP hi-def headphones were also awarded,
and the audience seemed driven.


This was followed by a much needed break,
Variety in beverages & a sumptuous snack,
Hotel Garden Inn’s high tea menu was so varied,
No one could refrain from a food attack!


The last part of the day,
Was what everyone was awaiting,
Our tweets with music titles had been filtered,
And people’s breaths were bating,


A lucky girl won an HP laptop
for tweeting Pink Floyd’s “Hey you”.
She was followed by a lucky guy,
who had managed to tweet a pre-chosen song too.


I immensely enjoyed the meet,
Thanks Indiblogger and Hp connected,
I didn’t win the bumper prize,
That has definitely been regretted!


So here’s hoping that,
this blogger meet description in verse,
will be liked by the organisers,
and a laptop I’ll manage to coerce!


Mad about “Castle”? 12


I like watching “Castle” on Star World, a “Dramedy” (Drama + Comedy) based in a crime setting that is shown everyday from 10pm-11pm, Mon to Thurs in India. Of course the series is running behind in terms of what is shown in the US (where the 2nd season has finished already).

Only 2 episodes are left for 2nd season to finish in India, but fret not if you like this series, a 3rd season is in the offing. Not every episode of the series is path breaking and definitely could do better, however irrespective of that, I like culling out a lot from any stuff that I watch on TV. So I often watch it for the visuals, for what Richard Castle’s home decor is like, what fancy activities he indulges in, at home with Alexis, what photographs he puts on his walls, what fashion his mother and daughter follow, what meals they are eating or what accessories Kate Beckett wears when she does dress up for partying and hence I find the series overall engaging.

In the series, the characters regularly use twitter, especially Richard Castle. In one episode, they even show Richard Castle & Kate Beckett finding out their victim’s whereabouts by doing a twitter search! However this post isn’t really about the series and is instead more about the people in the cast. Since nowadays twitter is the rage and it seems anyone & everyone has some presence here, needless to say the Castle team also does. I did some research and this is what I could find about the twitter presence of the “Castle” cast.

Stana Katic as Kate Beckett  – @stana_katic

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle  – @nathanfillion

There’s also another (official) account for the character Richard Castle which tweets as an author of crime bestsellers only – @WriteRCastle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito– @Jon_Huertas

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish – @tamalajones

Molly C Quinn as Alexis Castle – couldn’t find her on twitter as the real her, but there’s an account @alexiscastle (seems to be offical as well) that tweets in character as Richard Castle’s daughter. This id interacts regularly with @WriteRCastle as her dad.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Cpt. Roy Montgomery – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers – couldn’t find her on twitter.

Seamus Dever as Kevin Ryan – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine in Season 2, episode 12, “A Rose for Everafter” – @Alyssa_Milano

There’s an account on twitter called @CastleTweets which seems to be an official twitter id for the team’s comments including the actors, producers etc.

Michael Trucco is Kate Beckett’s new love interest in “Castle” and it seems it is an experiment to see who suits the chemistry better. Needless to say Richard Castle wins hands down here for his boyish charm.

All “Castle” fans, till we get to “Castle” Season 3, you can survive on the information above :)