Tag Archives: Food for Thought

Esther Vergeer – the world’s greatest Wheelchair Tennis player


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Esther Vergeer - 2012 Australian Open - Day 13

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Esther Vergeer born on July 18, 1981, in Woerden, Netherlands is the greatest wheelchair tennis player of all time. Since 2003, she has won every singles match she has played – around 444 matches in the last nine years.

In 1999, at the age of 18, Esther became world number one. She is now 30, and she still plays on. Between 2004 and 2006, she never lost a set – winning 250 in a row. During her career, Esther has won 39 Grand Slam titles – 20 singles and 19 doubles, as well as five Paralympics and 22 year-end championship titles.

Esther has been nominated six times including 2012 as Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. She won this prestigious award twice – in 2002 and 2008.
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Esther Vergeer - US Open 2007

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Esther Vergeer was paralyzed from the waist down in 1990 at the age of eight after undergoing surgery for a spinal defect and brain haemorrhage. Part of her rehabilitation programme involved playing sports, and she found she had an aptitude for wheelchair tennis and basketball, eventually choosing to concentrate on tennis from the time she was 17. She says that she no longer sees herself as disabled.

At the beginning, I didn’t realize I’d be paralyzed the rest of my life. I was little and in pain and in hospital and all those things together made me think that when I got home and I didn’t have pain any more, I would be able to walk again,” she told Marianne Bevis of The Sport Review.

But when I got back home, had to go back to school, play with my friends, it dawned on me it would be the rest of my life.

In the beginning, it’s hard, of course, everything I did I compared with before: It was easier when I could walk, it was more fun when I could walk, so it was difficult.

I guess sports, and the people around me, made me realize that the world doesn’t end. Now I can do all the things that other 30-year-olds do so I don’t see myself as a disabled.

I love this game more than anybody. It’s a lot of sacrifices, it’s a lot of effort, but I do enjoy that.

My main motivation is the inner game: I just love the sport, I love the training, but then also the way I see that I can improve in so many aspects still.

Then there’s the motivation of the Olympics: You have to set certain goals, and this year for sure I’ve set my goal – my mind – on the Olympics.

Away from the court, Esther with her own charitable foundation continues to work tirelessly to encourage a new generation of athletes by organizing wheelchair sports clinics. She also continues to work closely with the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the Dutch National Paralympic Committee and is also a member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors programme.

I have posted below some images of Esther Vergeer – the world’s greatest Wheelchair Tennis player.
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Esther Vergeer attends the Laureus Sports Awards at the Palau Sant Jordi on April 2, 2007, in Barcelona, Spain.
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Esther Vergeer after winning Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award in 2008.
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Esther Vergeer poses with the championship trophy after winning her women’s wheelchair final match against Korie Homan of the Netherlands during day thirteen of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2009, in Melbourne, Australia.
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Esther Vergeer and Rafael Nadal of Spain pose for a photo during day two of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at the Ahoy Centre Rotterdam on February 10, 2009, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

.Esther Vergeer poses with her award at the ITF World Champions Gala on day ten of the French Open on June 1, 2010, in Paris, France.
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Esther Vergeer with her trophy celebrates after she defeated Daniela Di Toro of Australia in her women’s wheelchair singles final during day fourteen of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2010, in the Flushing neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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.Esther Vergeer poses with the Women’s Wheelchair Roll of Honour Award during the ITF World Champions Dinner at Pavillion D’Armenonville on May 31, 2011, in Paris, France.
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Esther Vergeer celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands in the Wheelchair Women’s Singles Final during Day Fourteen of the 2011 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2011, in the Flushing neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Esther Vergeer (L) poses with the winner’s trophy after defeating Aniek Van Koot (R) of the Netherlands in their Women’s Wheelchair singles final match during day thirteen of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia.
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Esther Vergeer poses in the Winners Studio during the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards at Central Hall Westminster on February 6, 2012, in London, England.

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Navels of Adam and Eve by Modern Painters


Myself  

By T.V. Antony Raj
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Fascinated by the Navels of Adam and Eve, I Googled for paintings of Adam and Eve done by modern day painters. I came across seven paintings of Adam and Eve with navels.

 

Adam-and-Eve-Kees-van-Dongen-1877-1968.jpg

Adam and Eve by the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) who gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits.

Adam-and-Eve-by-Karoly-Patk-1920-305x340.jpg

 

This painting of Adam and Eve by Karoly Patkó (1895 – 1941) is an example of 1920s neoclassicism.

Karoly Patkó was a twentieth-century Hungarian painter and copper engraver, noted for his nude paintings in a plastic presentation.

Adam-and-Eve-Robert-Lohman-1919-2001-298x340.jpg

This is a lithograph done by Robert Lohman (1919-2001), an American artist from Indiana.

Lohman was an Art Educator, Teacher, and Lecturer well-known for his sculptures, medals, and oil paintings.

Adam-and-Eve-V.O.M.-Petrillo-in-1996-340x252.jpg

The Beginning of Life” created in 1996 by the artist Prof. V.O.M. Petrillo (1932-2001).

Collectors of his artwork have deeply admired his artistic genius and his expressive uniqueness.

Adam-and-Eve-Vladimi-Zunuzin-present-day-340x194_thumb.jpg

This painting of Adam and Eve by the Russian painter Vladimi Zunuzin, a prolific painter. He was born in 1950 and participated in many Russian, regional and international exhibitions.

Works of Vladimi Zunuzin are being kept by the Regional Arts museum in Ulyanovsk, and private collections in USA, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries. Vladimir Zunuzin is a member of Russia Painters Union. He has more than 1000 works to his credit.

Adam-and-Eve-by-Maia-Ramishvili-born-1969-340x272.jpg

Adam and Eve by Maia Ramishvili, born in 1969 in Tbilisi, capital of Republic of Georgia.

Maia’s talent for art was discovered at an early age. She went to two very prestigious art school. She studied at Nikoladze School of Art from 1984 and graduated in 1988.

Adam and Eve - Nataly Kuzmina (232x340)

Adam and Eve by Nataly Kuzmina of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Natalywas educated in a variety of artistic styles including Old Russian Icon painting, Realism, Impressionism and the Avant-Garde.

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An Atheist and an Agnostic in Paradise


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Swami Beyondananda.

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Recently I came to know about Swami Beyondananda, the cosmic comic alter ego writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman.

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Steve Bhaerman alias Swami Beyondananda.

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This Swami, whose favourite yoga pose is ‘tongue-in-cheek‘, is the spokesperson for a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism (accent on “fun”). Says the Swami, “We are strictly non-dominational.”

By the way, do you know who or what the word ‘uncommontator‘ or the word ‘non-dominational‘ mean? Well, I don’t know, neither does Google.

One day in 1979, while Steve was pursuing a career as a teacher and writer, the name “Swami Beyondananda” flew into his head. As Steve tells it, “I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm.”

Now, let us tune into the wisdom of Swami Beyondananda:

Whew, my head is spinning with all that hate! Well, here is a joke to lighten up everyone!

An atheist and an agnostic after dying to arrive in what they realize is paradise. When they arrive in Paradise, they are met by this benign, radiant beautiful woman who claims to be God ( or rather Goddess!) who shows the agnostic and atheist around.

They see all these beautiful trees, orchards, meadows, waterfalls and meet with many beautiful people of many different ethnicities with happy-faced children all hugging and loving each other with flowers in their hair singing

“If you’re going to San Francisco,
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

“Who are they?” ask the atheist and the agnostic

“They are the Children of earth, atheists and agnostics like yourself,” says the beautiful Goddess. They have come to paradise and obtained what they sought – eternal happiness, peace and harmony among all people,” says the beaming Goddess.

Finally, they arrive at the edge of paradise, a vista point where they see this deep, bottom-less huge pit, a cavern the size of the milky way with roaring flames! They see all kinds of people throwing bombs at each other, blowing each other up, hating each other, cursing each other, fighting each other, in other words, one big hate fest!

The atheist and the agnostic ask, “Who are they and what is that cavern with flames?”

“Oh, that is Hell,” says the Goddess. “Those people down there are hateful, intolerant, violent religious extremists, the believers, all the haters from planet earth, extremist Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Nazis and yes even republicans!!”

“Why are they so angry and hateful?” ask the atheist and the agnostic.

The bemused Goddess says, “Oh, they are just angry because they were lied to by their Gods as to who would be in heaven and hell!!”

The Navels of Adam and Eve


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Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

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The above painting opened my eyes to the world of art. I am not a connoisseur of art nor do I pretend to be one but do you see anything wrong in this drawing of Adam and Eve?

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Explain this - Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Explain this – Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

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I couldn’t but exclaim “What? Adam and Eve with belly buttons? The artist was a dumb idiot!” 

But the artist who painted it was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes. 

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Self portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Self-portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder

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Lucas Cranach the Elder was the foremost member of the family of artists by that name active in Saxony during the 16th century.

From about 1501 to 1504 Lucas Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of the Wife of Dr Johann Stephan Reuss (1503), found in the collection of Staatliche Museen, Berlin and The Crucifixion (1503, Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg until 1550. He was a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, received a title, and became mayor in 1537. In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. He painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and EveThe Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and nearly 20 versions of Venus and Cupid from 1527 to 1545. 

Lucas Cranach was a friend of Martin Luther, and his art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation. Cranach ran a large workshop and worked with great speed, producing hundreds of works. He died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553. Cranach’s sons were both artists, but the only one to achieve distinction was Lucas Cranach the Younger, who was his father’s pupil and often his assistant. His oldest son Hans Cranach was a promising artist but died prematurely.

Here are some of the paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
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Adam and Eve - 01b - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 16 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 19 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

Adam and Eve - 17 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 05Adam and Eve - 18 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

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Other artists who spent time drawing the navels

Out of curiosity, I searched Google for images of ‘Adam and Eve’ by other artists and I was shocked to find that almost all the painters of the renaissance period including Michelangelo drew gracefully and spent time in drawing meticulously the navels of Adam and Eve.

To prove my point I downloaded many pictures and have posted some of them here. Like most of you, I am just a layman who admires the beautiful forms drawn by them.

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The Expulsion - Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone alias Masaccio - c 1425
The fresco painting “The Expulsion” by the Italian Renaissance artist Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone alias Masaccio – c. 1425.

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 Three centuries after the fresco was painted, Cosimo III de’ Medici, in line with contemporary ideas of decorum, ordered that fig leaves be added to conceal the genitals of the figures. These were eventually removed in the 1980s when the painting was fully restored and cleaned.

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Adam and Eve - 12 - Hugo van der Goes c.1470
The Fall of Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Hugo van der Goes c.1470.

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Adam and Eve - 03
Adam and Eve- Engraving  by the German painter Albrecht Dürer – 1504
Adam and Eve - 20 - Albrecht Dürer - 1507
Adam and Eve – Painting by the German painter Albrecht Dürer – 1507

Albrecht Dürer  (May 21, 1471 – April 6, 1528) born in Nuremberg was a German painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. In his twenties, he established his influence and reputation throughout Europe with his excellent woodcut prints. Dürer was in touch with the major Italian artists of his time, including Giovanni Bellini of the Bellini family of Venetian painters, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino alias Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. From 1512 Emperor Maximilian I patronized him.
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Adam and Eve - 04
Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Jan (Mabuse) Gossaert c 1525.

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Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam by the Michelangelo c. 1542-45.

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Adam and Eve in the Garden by Michelangelo
The Fall of Man by Michelangelo c. 1542-45.

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Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

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Adam and Eve - 21- Frans Floris De Vriendt - c 1547
Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Frans Floris De Vriendt c. 1547.

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Adam and Eve - 06
Adam and Eve, c. 1550. I was not able to get the name of the painter who drew this beautiful painting.

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Adam and Eve - 14 - Hendrik Goltzius
Adam and Eve by the Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter Hendrik Goltzius c. 1600.

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Adam and Eve - 07 - Cornelis Cornelisz Van Haarlem c 1622
Adam and Eve by by the Dutch Golden Age painter and  draftsman Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem c. 1622.

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Adam and Eve by Domenichino 1623
Adam and Eve by the Italian Baroque painter of the Bolognese School, or Carracci School, of painters Domenico Zampieri (or Domenichino) c. 1623-25.

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Adam and Eve - 09
The Expulsion Of Adam And Eve From The Garden Of Paradise by the French painter Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889]

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Adam and Eve - 22 - Hans Thoma (October 2, 1839 – November 7, 1924)
Adam and Eve by the German painter Hans Thoma (October 2, 1839 – November 7, 1924).

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Cooing, Crooning, Bawling and Hollering


Read downwards.

This what you would hear from a couple cooing and crooning behind the bushes. Obviously before marriage:

He:  Yes. I have been waiting all these days for this only.
She: Will you think of leaving me?
He:  No. Never. I will not even dream of it.
She: Do you love me?
He:  Yes. Today and forever.
She: Will you cheat on me?
He:  I would ratherI die.
She: Will you kiss me?
He:  Surely. What a happy instance this would be!
She: Will you scold me?
He:  Never. Don’t ever think of it?
She: Will you hold my hand and walk with me till the end?

Read upwards.
This is the same conversation that we heard afore, But now it has metamorphosed into a conversation after marriage.

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Sweet and Cryptic Words used by Women.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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I came across this caboodle of sweet and cryptic words used by women penned by an anonymous author under a different title.

1. Fine:  Word used to end an argument when she is right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes:  If she is getting dressed, this means ‘half an hour’. Five minutes are only 5 minute given to you to watch the game on TV before helping around the house.

3. Nothing:  This is the calm before the storm hits you. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that generate ‘nothing’ usually ends in ‘fine’ (see #1 above) .

4. Go Ahead:  This is a dare, not permission. So, don’t do it.

5. Loud Sigh:  This is actually a word –  a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks that you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing there and arguing with you about nothing.  (See #3 above for the meaning of ‘nothing’) .

6. That’s Okay:  This is one of the most dangerous cryptic statement uttered by a woman. ‘That’s Okay’ means that she want to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will realize and pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks:  Do not faint or question if she thanks you. Your response should be “you’re welcome.”  This ‘Thanks’ seems to be true unless she says ‘Thanks a lot’, which by the way is pure sarcasm and is not thanking you at all. In this case do not respond with “you’re welcome” that will result in a ‘Whatever’ (See #8 below).

8. Whatever:  It’s a woman’s way of saying f*** you.

9. Don’t worry about it, I got it.:  Beware. This a dangerous statement meaning that she had told you to do something several times before and is doing it herself now. You will now be asking “What’s wrong” to which her response would be ‘nothing’ ((See #3 above for the meaning of ‘nothing’) .

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Eyes do speak


Eyes-do-speak.jpg
Priya (Photo: Karthik Muthuvali)

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I fell in love with the photograph of this girl.

My student Karthik Muthuvali had captured her eyes that convey many nuances, and I could not resist commenting:

“பேசாமல் பேசும் விழிகள் சொல்லாமல் சொல்லிவிடும் சேதிகளை மென்மையான ஒரு பார்வையில் சொல்லிவிடுவாள் பெண்.

With her tender reticent eyes, a woman can indeed convey subtle implied messages.

Yes, the eyes speak.

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Poor people in the United States!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Elkridge, Maryland, USA.

January 30, 2012

Yesterday, my son suggested that we go shopping at IKEA. Though it was sunny and cloudless, the temperature outside the car was 45° F (7° C) and freezing.

Before coming over to the United States, I thought that everyone here had enough monetary resources. But, on our way to College Park, the image in my mind of an affluent United States of America shattered.

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IMG_0493.jpg

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Do you see the woman in the centre of the above photo standing in the middle of the road holding a placard?

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Poor-in-US-2.jpg

Since we were in the third lane. I could not read what was written. So, I zoomed in with my camera.  What I read shocked me.

Family in Need
Due Lay off
Any help Appreciated
Thank you
God Bless.

– Elkridge, Maryland.

While in India, I thought the United States of America was a land flowing with milk and honey. But now I realize that this country is no different from any country in Asia. It too has its own quota of poor people!

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My-Ex-wife-had-a-better-lawyer.jpg

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In a lighter vein, my former student Keerthi Jeyaraj posted the above picture on Facebook. He says:

“Quite common here…I see a lot of such ppl with hoardings in Manhattan… the best part I saw was at Vegas… a beggar had a board in front of him that said:  ‘My Ex-wife had a better lawyer’.

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Photos taken while travelling by car in US.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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I took these photos on 14 and 15 January 2012 while travelling in my younger son Subas Raj’s car.

Initially, occupying the front seat while my son drove his Honda CRV smoothly between 60 and 70 mph, I felt a bit jittery being not used to left-hand driving.

I really admire the clean streets over here in the United States – not a bit of paper or piled garbage could be seen. The roads are smooth devoid of potholes – no bumpy roads and so, no backache.

No town busses. So, everyone has a car or two. The drivers are road conscious and polite towards other drivers and stop and give way to pedestrians crossing the road. No harsh driving, no unnecessary road hogging and no rash overtaking; and everyone obeys the road rules. All use the fantastic GPS for guidance and direction.

Spacious non-congested landscape with houses built with light materials, looking bleak and drab outside. Almost all houses look alike with mostly painted – no vivid or vasthu colours that we see in India.

Since it is winter not much of green foliage could be seen.

Though the sun is shining, the outside temperature chills the bone. Here I give the lowest temperatures in degrees Celsius for the past 4 days: 13th: 2, 14th: -3, 15th: -4 and today (16th) it was -7 at 8am (it would have been colder outside while we slept) and now at noon it is -1. Inside the car we need the heater for warmth. Inside the house a steady temperature of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained throughout day and night.

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