Thirlmere Lakes National Park



About 70 Kilometers South-West of Sydney, past the small town Picton, the Queen Victoria Park and an expanse of pastureland grazed by domestic horses and livestock, is Thirlmere. Close on its heels to the West is the Thirlmere Lakes National Park which has found its place in UNESCO’s World Heritage list (under the area Greater Blue Mountains). Apart from the trekking woods, the main feature of the park is three fresh water lakes – Gandangarra, Werri-Berri and Couridjah. These lakes are thought to have formed around 15 million years ago by geological activity, that cut them off from the local river system. The surrounding habitat is forest, spread out over 6 Sq Kilometers dominated by trees like rough-barked Apple, Sydney peppermint and red bloodwood, ideal for trekking, birdwatching and even barbecues. The Heritage Pump Station also sits about a Kilometer into the woods with a bit of locomotive history. In the not too distant past the Pump Station delivered water to Couridjah to replenish the steam locomotives on the old Southern Railway line after their long haul up the steep grade from Picton. The restored sandstone heritage pump house is the only remaining paradigm of a building of its kind.


Autumn of the Patriarch



Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(6 March 1927-17 April 2014)
The first sentence of One Hundred Years of Solitude has become one of the most famous opening lines of all time: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca, a small town near Colombia’s Caribbean coast, on March 6, 1927. He was the eldest of the 11 children of Luisa Santiaga Marquez and Gabriel Elijio Garcia, a telegraphist and a wandering homeopathic pharmacist. Right after his birth, his parents left him with his maternal grandparents and moved to Barranquilla to open a pharmacy. He spent 10 years with his grandmother and his grandfather, a retired colonel who fought in the devastating 1,000-Day War that hastened Colombia’s loss of the Panamanian isthmus.
His grandparents’ tales provided grist for Garcia Marquez’s fiction and Aracataca became the model for ‘Macondo,’ the village surrounded by banana plantations where ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is set. “I have often been told by the family that I started recounting things, stories and so on, almost since I was born _ ever since I could speak,” Garcia Marquez once told an interviewer.
Sent to a state-run boarding school just outside Bogota, he became a star student and voracious reader, favoring Hemingway, Faulkner, Dostoevsky and Kafka. He published his first piece of fiction as a student in 1947, mailing a short story to the newspaper El Espectador. Garcia Marquez’s father insisted he study law but he dropped out, bored, and dedicated himself to journalism.
In 1954, Garcia Marquez was sent to Rome on a newspaper assignment. There he studied cinema, a lifelong love. He later moved to Paris, living among intellectuals and artists exiled from the many Latin American dictatorships of the day. Heavily influenced by the work of William Faulkner, he wrote his first novel at the age of 23 although it took seven years to find a publisher.
His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works _ among them ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold,’ ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and ‘Autumn of the Patriarch’ outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible. The epic 1967 novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ which took him 12 months to write sold more than 50 million copies in more than 30 languages.
In 1982 Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He received praise for the vibrancy of his prose and the rich language he used to convey his overflowing imagination.
In his acceptance speech Garcia Marquez described Latin America as a “source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune.”
In 2006 Aracataca’s mayor made a failed proposal to rename Garcia Marquez’s birthplace after Macondo, the fictional setting for the writer’s most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
In 2012 Garcia Marquez’s younger brother Jamie said the writer was suffering from dementia. The Nobel prize winner made few public appearances since then and until his death in April 2014.


Beppur Sultan


നീയും ഞാനും എന്നുള്ള യാഥാർഥ്യത്തിൽ നിന്ന്, അവസാനം നീ മാത്രമായി അവശേഷിക്കാൻ പോകുന്നു, നീ മാത്രം..

യാത്രയ്‌ക്കുള്ള സമയം വളരെ അടുത്തു കഴിഞ്ഞു.
പെയ്യുവാൻ പോകുന്ന കാര്മേഘങ്ങളെപ്പോലെ ഈ ഓർമ്മ എന്റെ അന്തരംഗം പൊട്ടുമാറ് വിങ്ങി നിൽക്കുന്നു.

ഈ വാസ്തവം എന്റെ സുഹൃത്തുക്കളാരും അറിയുന്നില്ല. പണ്ടേ പടി അവർ എന്റെ അടുത്തു വരുന്നു, തമാശകൾ പറഞ്ഞ് അവരെ ചിരിപ്പിക്കാൻ നിർബന്ധിക്കുന്നു.

അവർക്കു വേണ്ടി എന്തൊക്കെയോ തമാശകൾ ഞാൻ പറയുന്നു, അവരോടൊപ്പം ചിരിക്കുന്നു. എന്റെ ചിരിക്കകത്തുള്ള ദുഃഖത്തിന്റെ മുഴക്കം അവർ കേൾക്കുന്നില്ല.


Nileena Abraham

The name Nileena Abraham ( wouldn’t mean anything to the new gen FB frequenters. The two main reasons why they are not being able to relate to that name is because age had caught up with NA, and Mathrubhumi weekly is no more edited by the likes of N V Krishna Variar sir.

It was uncle Mubarak who had inculcated the habit of reading to my cousins Amitha and Safar kakka and me. He simply flooded our cognizance with tales from Homer to Vyasa to Vikramaditya to Bram Stoker to Dickens. I was hardly nine when I and my cousin were circumcised and confined to bed for about ten days. During that short period of convalascence, Uncle Mubarak in his deep resonant voice read out to us Sir C Rajagopalachari’s abridged versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. On yet another occasion he recited with alluring endearment Vailoppilli’s ‘Mambazham’ virtually reducing all the three of us to tears. There were two huge glass shelves in our house, both of which contained years and years of back issues of Mathrubhumi weekly and black shiny 76 and 45 RPM vinyl records. We grew up listening to Soja rajkumari (K L Saigal), Piya milan ko lana (Punkaj Mallick), Mera sundar sapna beet gaya (Geeta Dutt), Engane nee marakkum (Kozhikode Abdul Khader), Distant drums (Jim Reeves).. From those dusty racks of worn out magazine pages Nileena Abraham brought to life for three little children, the vibrant literary universe of Bangal in all its splendour without ever spilling over either its pastoral flavour or urbane ambiguities. She had struck a chord with the brush strokes of Bibhuthibhushan Bandopdhyay, may be at a closer proximity than the great Ray himself. Meghamallar (short story) continues to fascinate me in the same degree as it did more than a quarter of a century ago, as also did its illustration by artist AS.

During her tenure in Ernakulam Maharaja’s College, a student on his very first day went to meet her. When he addressed her as “Didi”, NA was pleased but at the same time felt curious. What came out of the young admirer’s mouth next kind of bewildered her; “how do you say ‘I love you’ in Bengali”? Peels of laughter broke her answer after every other word, “Didi, omi tumi bolo bhashi”. Like a parrot he repeated the little Bengali he learned just a moment ago: Didi, omi tumi bolo bhashi!

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Nileena Abraham (née Dutta) (born 27 July 1925) is a writer and translator from Kerala, India. She was born in Pabna (now in Bangladesh).[1] After taking master’s degrees in Bengali language, Political Science and History, she moved to Kerala and worked as a professor of Bengali at Maharaja’s College…

Ha.. ha..


In this life I’m a woman. In my next life, I’d like to come back as a bear. When you’re a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that, too.

When you’re a girl bear, you give birth to your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake up to partially grown, cute cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

If you’re a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling and not glowing. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup… I’m gonna be a bear.