Thursday, December 22, 2011

PBS Christmas with Nature

Warm feelings in Texas as I remember the first time I saw snow in America....
Watch Christmas in Yellowstone on PBS. See more from Nature.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9-11 Reflections

Fragments of a person's mind, ten years after the tragedy......Glenn Losack
was in NYC
while I was in Houston, Texas.

The picture below is from 1996, the last time I saw the Twin Towers.

I cannot share anything new with you today about my reflections of that place on that day.
It was before cellphone cams became the norm, and so I have nothing to add in that
respect either. All I can say is that I can never watch any NYC scene ever again without
some discomfort, because I invariably experience pain deep inside. Even some of my favorite
old Hollywood NYC scenes have taken on a new, tainted dimension as I get flashbacks, in a
manner of speaking.

Luckily, Glenn has been biding his time and finally finished his dedication for all of us to see,
the two 9-11 videos below. All the photos, lyrics and music performances on all instruments
are Copyrighted and courtesy of Glenn Losack, MD

"Dedicated to the 10th year anniversary of 9-11-2001 and to the brave soldiers who
die/d for our liberty protecting our freedom of speech and right to protest among
other freedoms we enjoy."
~ Glenn Losack

Related link :

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I Remember Mama Mia

This has some strange meaning to me in more ways than just the immediate desperate
message to humanity in the video. Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Salma Hayek, Jessica
and countless other celebrities have all visited poverty-stricken countries and
been moved to join the crusade to bring attention to the dire conditions children face
in poorer nations.  


Today's UNICEF post on Facebook featured Woody Allen's ex-wife Mia Farrow
who has been garnering attention for her untiring work in the Horn of Africa. Today
I am pleased beyond measure with her efforts, even as I remember with mixed emotions
the day I met her. What follows is a highly condensed version of that day.

Back in Sept.'94 as a Limousine Driver I found myself on the premises of Mia Farrow's
Connecticut farmhouse just after her divorce with Woody Allen came through. I was
responsible for transporting the Marquesa de Varela

(PIC COPYRIGHT Peter Dench )

the Editor and the crew of Hello magazine European edition to interview Ms. Farrow in
Connecticut. My mind was a mess. First day on the job with a new Limo company and I was
going to meet a legend !

A couple of hours after the drive from NYC I naturally got as curious as the average
star-struck person and decided to try and get a peek of Ms. Farrow. I walked to the
front door, knocked, and was greeted with curiosity by a little boy who was obviously
Woody's son. It was like someone had taken Woody's nose and glasses and stuck them
on the kid, like one of those Groucho Marx masks. He just stood and stared and I guess
he didn't speak much yet. Well, the babysitter directed me to an outhouse kind of
residence where I helped myself as I began to feel like a real servant in the 'Servants'

As I kept out of  listening distance, the interview continued outdoors on the banks
of Ms. Farrow's own private lake where they were barbecuing hamburgers and
hot dogs that survived the transition to a new humongous refrigerator that was hooked
up while I was there. The amount of wasted food that was being thrown out was amazing
but somewhat understandable given the presence of 12 kids. No, Soon-Yi was not there
anymore. She left with Woody when the farmhouse was awarded to Mia as part of the
divorce settlement.  As I got hungrier by the minute at the aroma of all the grilling,
I also found myself taking a disdain towards my client who I later discovered was known
as the 'Nutty Marchesa' in Europe. She was a full-fledged Marquessa and her royal
blood and cash connections are what landed her this interview so soon after the divorce
(I believe). Almost the entire trip from NYC and back consisted of the Marchesa behaving like,
well, a European Marchesa with no time for small talk with small people. Fine, that was
acceptable in my situation. Limo drivers should be seen, and not heard, as I was to learn that
But my roots of Indian hospitality towards all, regardless of one's station in life were shaken.
I bristled at the total disregard of my presence while they gorged themselves but was not
even offered a glass of water. While I was driving, the Marchesa demanded I first dial  
Mary Pierce at the US Tennis Open, and then make contact with the late Natasha Richardson
(who had just married Liam Neeson), and while I was struggling with the international codes
with one hand on the wheel she very loudly remarked so I could hear, "Not very professional ! "

But I digress....

During the final minutes of this ongoing adventure the heat and humidity gave way to
a tempestuous thunderstorm akin to the best Monsoon I have ever seen as an Indian. We set
out back to NYC, but only after I spent 15 minutes holding an over-sized umbrella over Ms.
Farrow, who seemed immune to the downpour in her Mac and gumboots. She was completely
drenched as she chatted with the Marchesa, and I was soaked to the skin on the one side
that wasn't protected by the umbrella. It took 3 hours for me to dry out as we drove back to
the Intercontinental Hotel in NYC.

So the strange part I mentioned before is.... ? It just struck me as ironic that Mia should be
struggling to help feed children across the globe all these years after she threw away (in true
American style) humongous amounts of food along with her old fridge.

Please do watch the video and help if you can !

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Unique Superman Parody

This was just too entertaining to remain unseen by fans of DC Comics' Superman
and those people worldwide who are fascinated by everything Bollywood. But this
is in no way reminiscent of the glamor and money associated with Bollywood. No, this
is an extremely low-budget creation that isn't missing any high ideals, where the creator
possesses an admirable freshness of vision and drive that cannot be ignored.

There is talent, ingenuity, small-town charm and humor in this Documentary film
from the 'Witness' series by the Al-Jazeera network :

" Far away from the glamorous film world of Mumbai, there are many enthusiasts
making films on a fraction of Bollywood's budgets. A film enthusiast in India's Malegaon
decided that it was time for some Indian parody so he bought a video camera and set
out to make a film, Superman of Malegaon."

The rest is hysterical.......22 minutes of sheer enjoyment for all ages, everywhere !

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extraordinary Accordionistas

Valledupar is famous as the birthplace of vallenato, an upbeat 
accordion-driven folk music that plays constantly in streets, shops, buses and 
restaurants across northern Colombia and has become popular across Latin America.

Magical, mysterious, mesmerizing, moving and more. From the first cry of the newborn
babe as heard by the mother to the ceremonial dirges for the departed, Music always
remains an unquestionable driving force in our lives. Some musicians make it their life's
chosen task and manage to make a living from it even as more people make a living selling
it nowadays than the musicians themselves.

Then there are some who play music solely for survival, like the raggedy urchins I watched
as a child in India. Playing for pennies, severely undernourished, publicly abused and
humiliated on a daily basis, their unfortunate situation broke my heart forever.

Many years later when I played in a Blues-Rock band, it was one of my secret desires to
get one of those waifs off the streets and train them to perform with me at all my high society
gigs. But I was just a struggling young adult myself at the time and my 'Pygmalion' dreams of
those days were never realized.....but neither have they faded. And so today, reading about
the Turco Gil Academy in Colombia immediately touched a nerve.

Thanks to the 20-plus years efforts of Accordion Maestro Turco Gil, the students at his
Academy have been able to turn away from a life of crime, drugs, homelessness and
exploitation and instead found themselves performing in talent contests where the
winners sometimes get to entertain world leaders like Bill Clinton and Hugo Chavez.

" Gil has about 1,000 students sharing 60 accordions, and he says that about 80
percent are refugees from violence or live in poverty. They attend the school for free,
supported by donations, earnings from concerts, and tuition from wealthier students who come
from as far away as Europe, Mexico and the United States to study with the accordion master. "
Read more at Smithsonian Mag

Many thanks to Gilbert Reyes Hohner US Accordion Product Manager for spreading
the word on  Facebook and Youtube among other places.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Greetings

Happy Easter 2011  
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply 
  to be kind to others.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Open House Today for a House With a Heart

Once in a while one comes across a truly noble person with a just Cause,
a person who belongs right up there on stage with all those CNN Heroes who are
annually honored with prizes and recognition for their efforts. Beverly Bronson of
Ghar Sita Mutu is one such person, with an underfunded organization that is barely
recognized, from what I gather when I check her updates on Facebook..

Firoze Shakir, a Mumbai-based photographer and blogger is a friend from Flickr
and Facebook who requested I add Beverly Bronson, founder of Ghar Sita Mutu,
as a friend. All it took was a few lines on the website to convince me that I was witnessing
the work of an individual with a heart of gold :

Sushmita (r) and Sujita (l)  
Photo copyrights by Ghar Sita Mutu on Flickr

" Ghar Sita Mutu was founded as a charity in 2001 by Beverly Bronson,
a volunteer social worker in Nepal, when she found two abandoned brothers 
aged two and five huddled together outside their tin hut in the streets
of Kathmandu, Nepal. Unable to find anyone to care for the children, Beverly 
became their guardian and admitted them into a bleak and overcrowded hostel
attached to a small school. The boys did not thrive, and she began to dream
about starting a charity to provide a home for them and other abandoned
children that would also help support and train destitute mothers." 

Beverly is someone who gave up her life as a small antique shop owner in New York
to seek a more meaningful one as a volunteer social worker in far away Kathmandu, Nepal.

 Photo copyrights by Ghar Sita Mutu on Flickr

The only ongoing support I could offer to Beverly in my current financial situation was the
comfort of friendship and encouragement via my words and network friends, and so I put

out an 'Add as a Friend' request on Facebook.....and Voila ! Hearts burst open with words
of love and support !

Thanks to all these wonderful friends on Facebook who responded to my
request to add Beverly Bronson my Hero, as a friend. There was little hesitation
on their part or in their hearts it seems. Apologies if I've omitted any new friends
who may have joined my network in the interim between publishing this post.
Contact info is listed below.....join on Facebook and leave your comments there,
or if you wish to donate, click here

Adrienne Gonsalves of Pune, India,
CEO of PACE Communications Mumbai

Akshay Mahajan of India, 
roving Photojournalist

Alan William Roberts 
Photographer from Wales UK

Andruta Bell
Teacher in Romania

Angel Danger
from Udine, Italy

Anthony Posey
New Orleans Photographer

Benn Bell,
Photographer in New Jersey

Blank Noise in India
Organization that fights against Sexual Harassment of Women

Bridget White Kumar
International Author, Blogger, Specialty Chef based in South India

Chris Mortensen
Entrepreneur in Asheville, North Carolina

Claudia Minnalouche
International Translator and student currently in Dublin

Dale Hyde
News Media blogger/publisher

Dan Carwyn
My schoolmate from Pune, India, now in Lesmurdie, Australia

Dev Pandey Mumbai India

Diana Manning
Artist/Owner Diana Manning Studio in Argenta, Illinois

Emilys Apartmentskasiopi A 
in Kassiopi, Greece

Firoze Shakir
Barefoot blogger-street photographer from Mumbai India

Glenn Losack New York NY
Musician, Photographer, Psychiatrist and International Humanitarian

Gorgo Gorghi 
Musicologist from Palermo, Italy

Heather Rothey
Photographer/Horse Whisperer in Ogden, Utah

Heidi Anne Morris
Photographer and student in Bath UK

Isabel Quiñones Pentell 

Jagannath Mistry 
 Indian artist now in Brazil

Jasmeen Patheja
Feminist, Activist, Photographer, Blogger, Founder of Blank Noise

Jeanne Lozier
Singer-Songwriter in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Jeet Thayil
Musician-Artist Mumbai India

Jennifer Naidu
Teacher-Writer Pune, India

Jitendra Hassija 
Friend from Pune, India

Jocelyne Costa

Judi Just
Photographer-Artist from Miami, Florida

Kara Sachs
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Kaushik Dutta
West Bengal, India

Lievanta Evelyn Millar
Student ~ Mumbai, India

Linda Schaefer
Photographer, Author and Teacher in Ada, Oklahoma

Lisa DuBois
Photographer, Journalist, Digital Artist New York NY

Lydia Naidu
From Pune, India

Manav Sachdeva Maasoom
UNICEF, Consultant Services, Writer, Poet from New York, NY

Manoj Phulphagar

Marcel Duvoix
Author, Entrepreneur from Ypsilanti, Michigan

Mariami Nadareishvili
From Tbilisi, Georgia

Marla Miller
Registered Nurse from Hancock, Minnesota

Monica Martinelli
Linguistics Specialist from Jesi, Italy

Montana Newman

Oriah Miller
Author, Entrepreneur, Comsultant from Marina del Rey, California

Petra Cerjak from Ptuj

Prabhat Za
Photographer from Kathmandu, Nepal

Preet Soni

Régine Engel
Photographer-Artist from Strasbourg, France

Raisa Sheikh
Teacher from Pune, India

Rajesh Kumar
Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist in Mumbai, India

Rajputravel India
Travel Agent in New Delhi, India

Rama Sethu Ranga Nathan
PSG College of Technology · University of Madras, Chennai

Ramona Borthwick
Musician, Photographer, Artist, Graphic Designer, Entrepreneur
from Boston, Mass.

Ray Framroze
From Goa, India

Romeo Fraioli
Photographer from Arce, Italy

Sandy Hawkins
From Niceville, Florida

Sean O'Sullivan
From Seattle, Washington

Sherrie Lovler
Calligraphy artist, Poet, Blogger

Simona Mortensen
Nursing professional from Asheville, North Carolina

Susan Marie
Nlogger, Radio Jock, Humanitarian, Talent Co-ordinator, etc. from Buffalo, New York

Tushar Naidu 
Pro Club DJ in Dubai UAE

Uwe Paschen
Environmental Engineering · Narita-shi, Chiba, Japan
Environmental and Agricultural Consultant
Valentin Arfire
 Photographer from Timisoara, Romania

Varsha Manik  from India

Ghar Sita Mutu Photos on Flickr :

Beverly's Contact Info :

  • +977 2392060116Mobile
  • 1 212.529.0832Home



Interesting story of Kathmandu orphans in this video :