Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Why Israel? Why Not?

You ask, Why Israel? I reply, Why Not?

Why on Earth? That was the most common reaction from almost all of the people whom I told that I am going to Israel. To be frank I was a bit apprehensive myself when my manager asked me how comfortable I was to go there. But, as my friends know, I always try to venture into uncharted waters and more over many from my group have been to Israel for much longer periods than I was planning to. Yes, I said to him.

I will discuss on my travel experiences at a different time, now my main agenda (Gosh! I imbibed the meeting culture) here is to clarify on some myths that most of us have on this country which is a bit larger than our very own “God’s Own Country”. I will first surmise my point and then discuss in detail. If you feel India is a very unsafe country because there were a blast in Delhi, a train accident in Bihar, or there was a robbery, a mugging in Bangalore, then yes Israel is definitely not for you. For that matter I doubt if there is any place in this world where you can live.

You may say I am being highly opinioned in this perception of mine, but then I am speaking with first hand experience and not from some overblown media reports. I have traveled extensively in the last few days and I tell you I felt more at home here than at some places in India. I don’t mean any disrespect to my mother land, I very well understand the reason for such feelings of mine and I tell you they arise from my inability to speak the local language. Though I don’t speak the Hebrew, I am amazed at the trouble the people take to make you understand things in English. Remind you they are not many native English speakers in Israel. Sometimes I really did not know what to say of their kindness.

Now if you feel the people are an epitome of virtue, they are all immortals which we are not, then you get me wrong. The people are very aggressive, very frank, very opinionated and insecure. You see they are any other hard working people like you and me who are trying to eke out a living.

This should answer many of your queries about the people here. Now coming to the most important issue, most of us feel Israel is a burning cauldron. Let me ask you how did you know that?
Did you speak to any Israeli?
Did you speak to any one who had been to Israel? Did you at least talk to any Jew from India?
I am sure the answer to the above questions will be a BIG NO from most of you. Then why do you feel it is an unsafe country to be in. Let me put it this way, what do you think of a foreigner who discuss among themselves about India being a land of “Magicians and Snake charmers”. You get the point right; I after being here feel the same. The last week end, I had been to Dead Sea and to go there I had to travel for considerable amount of time in West Bank. Am I not writing this, is that not proof enough. I happened to be in Jerusalem on the day of feast of Ramadan, It was peace and harmony that greeted me.

I am not saying Israel is a country without problems, infact it had or has problems with all its neighbors. I am not saying Israel is a paradise; it is too far from it. What I am trying to tell you is, don’t form an opinion about some country or people in this case Israel and Israelis just based on the media reports. You must know by now what gets media attention and what doesn’t.

I know here that I spit out my ire against all those ill informed, but I remind you it is not anything personal. It pains me to see well informed people making such stupid statements just because they fail to use their commonsense. If you have any queries, mind you any kind of queries about Israel, do let me know in this blog. I will try to answer them to the best I can. “SHALOM”

Bare Foot In Haifa

Bare Foot in Haifa

I, for some reasons not clear to me, like to walk bare feet. However, I am stupid enough to think of what people will think of me. To be frank I could never make out what all those hundered and one people around think or rather do they notice me in the first case, forget about my foot ware. But this is how I am and hence you see this small piece “Bare Foot in Haifa”.

It was a beautiful weekend and as usual I freaked out all the day. By sometime around 4 in the evening, I found myself at a beach. Anyone who knows me also knows what beaches mean to me. In no time I was waddling in the waters of this unique water body, about which I described in a previous post. Now it is very apparent to any irrational human being that he should leave the foot ware and body ware on the shore before he takes a plunge. I being one among those 6 billion irrational species did the same.Mind you some of these species were dumb enough to leave there foot ware and body ware in the car.

An hour passed by and I care not to come out of the waters, which for some reason were very nice to me as usual. Then came the call from the leader of our pack, asking us to packup. Oh! No!, Where was I? Deep inside, far from the shore, all the others had gotten to the shore and I was atleast one sixth of an hour into the water. In all my hurry I could make it to the shore only in quarter of an hour. A quick shower and then I was in the car, I could feel the unplesant glances even in that dark, of course it was not pitch dark. But it was not these glances that were bracing me, it was some exhilarating feeling from beneath. It did not take me much time to realise the cause of this excitment, I was not wearing any foot ware. Oh! Gosh I have to go back and search and that means more wating and more such glances. Any way just for the heck of it I went in search of those elusive foot ware, I was sure of not finding them. And yes I did not find them.

The others give a not so sympathetic look as disgusting. We drive back to Haifa, and for the first time that evening I see my feet. There is nothing wrong with you having a look at it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Dead Sea Saga

The Dead Sea Saga
Talk of unique experiences and I bet none comes even closer to what you get at The Dead Sea.. It is one stuff that cannot be described in words. You get into knee high water, just let your legs go and voila you start floating. I was searching for some kind of hold when I did that, but the land beneath is very slippery. I was confused, did not know what to do, I was kicking the water, rolling on it, and doing all sort of stupic things. Then it struck me like lightning that there is no point resiting the forces of nature, better flow with it, that did the trick, you can see how far I have gotten into. I swear I can’t swim in knee deep water, forget about that far where the depth is anywhere betwee one metre to a metre and a half.

It was a pity most of the people confined themselves very near to the shore. I was infact one of the few people who ventured a bit deep, around 10mts from the shore. I am not sure why they do this, I would say they only had half the cake. The time I went was around sunset, hence I did not venture much beyond, else I was sure I would have given it a try to venture into Jordan across the Israeli. You can see Jordan in the picture right across.

At 400mts., below the sea level amdist a desert, it was a pretty sight. You can see this here. The shot was from near the Qumran Caves. The caves where 2000 year old Hebrew Scrolls were found.

It was my first experience in dead sea, and like icing on the cake I got to see some pretty sightings. A prelude to these can be found in the picture above. Be assured what you got to know hear is just opening shot -:).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Holy Fish

The Holy Fish

You must know that I am a gourmet, and what better topic to start the post than with one of the finest delicacy.The St. Peters Fish, I will not delve into the details of how/why the name for this fish is what it is. The fish has some other name too, about which I am not much interested in at the moment. If you are interested in the name, please feel free to take help from google.

Coming back to the topic on hand, the picture below should tell you what was on offer my palate. But wait, in this case its not WYSWG its What You Get is more than What You See. To say that the fish melts in your mouth would be an understatment. I seriously wish I can take this back home, to some of my Bengali friends. I am sure they will appreciate this more than any body else. If not for the myraid laws I would have loved to see it being served from the kitchen of mallu (my good friend/roomie) .

In case you feel this piece of writing is of no information at all, let me remind you it was not meant to be one, it was only to let you know how strongly I felt on tasting what I call "The Holy Fish".

Google Docs -- Web word processing and spreadsheets. Edit this page (if you have permission) | Report spam