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Painting with Light – Part 1

Understand up front that I’m not going to fudge on my resolution to avoid adjectives to describe the Taj Mahal. But the photos in the mini-album embedded in this post deserve explaining. At times I may need a “word that describes a quality of a thing” to clarify what’s in those pix. Sometimes I’ll need to modify something in the experience, other than the building itself.

The genius and artistry of the Taj Mahal is not limited to placement, form and scale. The masterful exploitation of light, within and without the tomb, raises the site to a level not seen, before or since, anywhere in the world.

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Painting with Light – Part 2

Now the sun is rising, just clearing the line of trees to the east, sliding from behind one of the corner minarets. The richness of its palate is revealed. The warmth of the sun is displayed across the eastern surfaces of the monument in appropriately butter-bright shades of yellow. Click on the photos.

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Painting with Light – Part 3

Shoes must be removed before going up the narrow marble stairs to the plaza and into the dome. The quiet intimacy of the past half-hour is rapidly dissipating as more and more people arrive.

Now the shaded areas outside the perimeter of the plaza are attracting photographers seeking the right angle to capture the color.

Examine the two last photos above. They are closeups from one of the larger pix further above. The spots of color are polished jewels set into the marble shell. In the low rays of the early morning sun, when you are in the same visual plane as those rays, they sparkle, reflecting light back to you.

The white spots in the closest shot are sparkles thrown back at the lens. To the human eye, they shimmer as you move through each reflected beam. Curved surfaces present themselves differently to the moving angle of the rising sun with the result that different parts of the building, depending on where you are standing at any moment, pick up the sparkle.

Inside the dome, especially in the height of the day, when the sun is high above the shell, they transmit their colors across the opposite surfaces like a ballroom mirror-globe. But, because photos inside the tomb are not permitted, you’ll have to go there and see that for yourself someday.

I noticed that without a single posted sign or admonishment by staff – for there appears to be none but gardeners and tourist guides – most conversations were held in a subdued, respectful voice. Alone, or as couples, or in small groups, people sat quietly absorbed in the experience.

No one dropped a single piece of litter. Consider the significance of that.

Here, in the heart of a continent covered with cow dung and garbage and junk and refuse and rubble and shacks that tremble in the lightest breeze and open sewers and the public disgrace of entire families living totally exposed to the elements on orban traffic islands, in sum what must be the world’s most pervasively polluted and outrageous insult to the environment, there is not a candy wrapper or cigarette butt.

Nor, on reflection and after expanding and studying the incidental details in the hundreds of photos taken over the course of two days within the walls of the monument, can I recall seeing a single waste bin.

That may be the most amazing thing of all about the Taj Mahal!

 
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Souveniers

Published on October 26, 2006, by in Agra, India, Mumbai.

I am not one for souveniers. They just add to the baggage. Back in high school, studying Ceaser’s Gallic Wars, I learned that the Roman military word for baggage is “impedimenta”; just something that gets in the way. (more…)

 
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Overnight Train Mathura (Agra) to Mumbai

By now, my fantasy of  “Overnight Train to x x x ” has been exposed as poor romance, frustrating adventure and less than ideal transportation.

Guess what?

pa2616711The overnight train from Mathura Junction to Mumbai reset the template. From the moment of arrival on the platform at the Mathura Station, to getting down on the platform in Mumbai Central, it was the train ride I’d been anticipating but didn’t find between Delhi and Varanasi – or between Varanasi and Agra. (more…)

 
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Yep, it’s Pneumonia.

By the time I arrived in Mumbai, I had a fever of 102f (I keep a thermometer and a small first aid kit in my toilet kit).  Every deep breath and cough caused a powerful, sharp pain in my lower lungs. I was sweating and shivering at the same time. I was panting and slightly delirious. I suspected pneumonia – or worse. (more…)

 
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“So, Mrs. Kennedy, aside from all that, how do you like Dallas?”

I just got an email from the online agency where I had booked the Heathrow Lodge, the budget hotel I stayed in during last week’s brief London layover. They want my review of the experience.

Too late.  This detailed indictment had already been drafted and was being made ready for publication when that request arrived.
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Legal Action

Published on November 8, 2006, by in Fujitsu.


fujitsu_p7120Today I filed a lawsuit in Hudson County, NJ against Fujitsu for:

1) selling me a laptop computer that fails the implied warranty that it is designed and manufactured for the purpose for which it is advertised and sold, as a reasonably robust portable computer.

2) failure to honor their own warranty by repairing the defective and useless computer.

3) failure to return the computer to me some 8 weeks after it was handed to them and despite frequent explicit written and phone requests that they do so.

The suit demands a full refund of the purchase price, refund of the cost of the memory upgrades and software I installed on the computer, cost of work needed to reprogram access codes and passwords compromised by the loss of the computer and the costs of the lawsuit.

The court will advise me before Dec 1st, 2006 of a hearing date. I’ll post it here when I know.

 
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As Lyndon Johnson Used to Say . . .

When LBJ was a Senator from Texas and famous for getting his way against strong opposition from fellow congressmen and government bureaucrats, he was asked to explain his negotiating secrets. He said to the questioning newspaper reporter:

“Son, it’s really simple. You grab ’em firmly by the balls. Their hearts and minds will follow.”

It turns out that what charms reluctant politicians works just as well on corporations . . . case in point, Fujitsu. (more…)

 
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Update on Fujitsu

Published on April 4, 2007, by in Fujitsu.

It has been roughly 4 and 1/2 months since the above was reported on. Considering how negative the experience may appear – but with proper respect for what is right – here’s an update. (more…)

 
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