This poster was installed on the ceiling of smoking rooms, in order to highlight the dangers of smoking. A new spatial perspective opens up a new point of view that strikingly illustrates the problem. This advertisement was done by Everest Brand Solutions, Mumbai for Cancer Patients Aid Association. I think it's a very powerful way of advertising and I will imagine many smokers entering a smoking room with this celling will think twice before they lit a cigarette.
Dear Atria, you must have noticed in several pictures that I wear a hat (here it is on the left). I bought this hat years ago and I like it very much. I feel it gives me a different look and some sort of special character. This hat travelled with me to many places, was lost and thankfully found few times and it became some sort of my 'trademark'.
When I was visiting Baba in America I got him to wear my hat on few occasions. You might recall photographs of Baba I've posted here with the hat on. I think it gave Baba a nice character too.
I wanted to buy a similar hat for Baba, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Only the last weekend while I was in the market near Leamington, I saw a hat, which was not identical to mine, but similar enough, so I got it for Baba. I think he will enjoy wearing it. In the adult health centre where Baba goes every day, his friends liked my hat, even a couple of them enjoyed taking pictures wearing it.
It is funny how an item of clothing make us feel different, for instance, when you put a king's or queen's costume on and put a crown or tiara on your head, it makes you feel like a king or a queen, don't you think so?
I came across a very moving and interesting account of a young man, Matthew Hoe who proves that separateness is an illusion. His personal experience inspired him to become a filmmaker with a focus on facilitating genuine human connection beyond the boundaries of social constructs. Below is his story in his own words:
"When my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, it was surprisingly my step dad's idea to take him into our home to live, and give him the loving care of family. My mom and dad had gone through a messy divorce several years prior, so this was a little difficult for my father, because he had a lot of pride. Even though we had broken apart as a family for years, we found a way to fall back together. In the end, my dad started referring to my step dad as his "best friend and brother" and my mom as, "his guardian angel." He died 20 days ago today, and it hurts. However, he taught me an important lesson. I guess what I'm trying to say is that family comes in all forms. I wish you the best."
He made a short film about the experience shortly after his dad died. You can watch it below.
Dear Atria, have you heard of Julien Malland? He is a French street artist who ravels around the world, creating large scale murals using the walls by the streets as canvas. He is making boring buildings beautiful. Since early 90's he has been traveling and painting around the world, including countries like India, China, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Below there are few examples of his impressive work (pictures taken from Google images). How do you like his paintings and idea of beautifying not so pretty buildings around the world?
Couple of days ago I watched programme on TV where a number of people were asked to solve the following riddle:
A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The surgeon comes in and exclaims "I can't operate on this boy."
- "Why not?" the nurse asks.
- "Because he's my son," the surgeon responds.
How is this possible? Do you know the answer dear Atria?
I have to tell you that I did not come up with the right answer. I had various guesses that maybe the boy was adopted or it was his step-dad that died in the accident. None of my guesses were correct. People who where asked to solved this riddle in the programme also didn't get the answer. Well... the answer is actually very simple - the surgeon was a boy's mother! Somehow however we associate a surgeon with a man, we automatically assume that it must be a man and therefore solving this riddle becomes impossible. I think it is very interesting how our brain works.
Dear Atria, do you like receiving compliments? I think all of us do. They make us feel nice, special and bring up positive emotions often accompanied by a smile. So why not to complement others if we like something about them? We will spread smiles and perhaps make someone's day. So, dear Atria, don't hesitate to tell a stranger that you like her shoes if you like them.
Below is what Jordan Sarah Weather said about giving compliments - I think she is right and I wish we all could follow her advice. The world would have been a happier place.
"People wonder why I give so many compliments out to strangers. I am not being faked and I am not looking for people to like me. But, if I pass someone and I like something, I say it. "Love those shoes!' or 'Great hair!' or 'Wow, your eyes are beautiful!'. Why? Because life is hard and this world can be a lonely and unpleasant place ...and some people are mean. You never know how much those few words mean to someone, you never know what hell they may be going through; and when you put positivity out there into the universe YOU yourself become a happier person. It's hard to be nice and be miserable yourself. It will reflect from the outside in. I am telling you, a random compliment giving will change your life; and maybe someone else's too."
As you surely know (if you are reading my blog), I love animated movies. I grew up with them and I don't think I will ever be too old to enjoy them. When I was with Baba in LA, we visited Warner Bros. Studios where part of the display was dedicated to their Animation Department. Above you can see most famous characters created by this studio. Can you recognise any of the characters? Well... I have to admit, I know them all very well :-)
Warner Bros. Animation is one of the most famous and honoured animation studios in history, having won six Academy Awards, thirty-five Emmys, and twenty Annie Awards (honouring excellence in animation) as of 2015.
It all started when Warner Bros. hired Leon Schlesinger to produce cartoons as theatrical shorts and as a marketing tool for the studio's music. For more than three decades, animator/directors such as Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Robert Clampett, and Chuck Jones brought their signature irreverence to the characters of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, and others, most of them voiced by the inimitable Mel Blanc. During this period, Warner Bros. released almost 1,000 classic animated cartoons and shorts, and the Looney Tunes characters became household names throughout the world.
Today, Warner Bros. also maintains the animation libraries of Hanna-Barbera )'The Flinstones', 'The Yogi Bear Show') and MGM ('Tom and Jerry'), and is the home to DC Comics' iconic superheroes including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
What is your favourite Warner Bros. cartoon dear Atria? As for me... it's difficult to decide, but I think 'Tom and Jerry' will be the winner.
Dear Atria, today was my birthday. I didn't have any birthday party or any fancy celebrations, but I had one of the best birthdays ever. I spent a day with Anna just walking around in the nearby city centre and I received a present that I wanted for a long time.
How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you go out for a meal with your family and/or friends, go shopping with your mother or have a big party with a lot of friends?
Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other — it doesn't matter who it is — and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.
This is a story from a heartwarming book 'Chicken soup for the soul' and I want to share it today with you. Here how the story goes:
"Many Americans are familiar with The Little Prince, a wonderful book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is a whimsical and fabulous book and works as a children's story as well as a thought-provoking adult fable. Far fewer are aware of Saint-Exupery's other writings, novels and short stories. Saint-Exupery was a fighter pilot who fought against the Nazis and was killed in action. Before World War II, he fought in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. He wrote a fascinating story based on that experience entitled The Smile (Le Sourire). It is this story which I'd like to share with you now. It isn't clear whether or not he meant this to be autobiographical or fiction. I choose to believe it is the former.
He said that he was captured by the enemy and thrown into a jail cell. He was sure that from the contemptuous looks and rough treatment he received from his jailers he would be executed the next day. From here, I'll tell the story as I remember it in my own words.
"I was sure that I was to be killed. I became terribly nervous and distraught. I fumbled in my pockets to see if there were any cigarettes which had escaped their search. I found one and because of my shaking hands, I could barely get it to my lips. But I had no matches, they had taken those. "I looked through the bars at my jailer. He did not make eye contact with me. After all, one does not make eye contact with a thing, a corpse. I called out to him 'Have you got a light, por favor?' He looked at me, shrugged and came over to light my cigarette. "As he came close and lit the match, his eyes inadvertently locked with mine. At that moment, I smiled. I don't know why I did that. Perhaps it was nervousness, perhaps it was because, when you get very close, one to another, it is very hard not to smile. In any case, I smiled. In that instant, it was as though a spark jumped across the gap between our two hearts, our two human souls. I know he didn't want to, but my smile leaped through the bars and generated a smile on his lips, too.
He lit my cigarette but stayed near, looking at me directly in the eyes and continuing to smile. "I kept smiling at him, now aware of him as a person and not just a jailer. And his looking at me seemed to have a new dimension, too. 'Do you have kids?' he asked. '"Yes, here, here.' I took out my wallet and nervously fumbled for the pictures of my family. He, too, took out the pictures of his ninos and began to talk about his plans and hopes for them.
My eyes filled with tears. I said that I feared that I'd never see my family again, never have the chance to see them grow up. Tears came to his eyes, too. "Suddenly, without another word, he unlocked my cell and silently led me out. Out of the jail, quietly and by back routes, out of the town. There, at the edge of town, he released me. And without another word, he turned back toward the town. "My life was saved by a smile." Yes, the smile — the unaffected, unplanned, natural connection between people.
I tell this story in my work because I'd like people to consider that underneath all the layers we construct to protect ourselves, our dignity, our tides, our degrees, our status and our need to be seen in certain ways — underneath all that, remains the authentic, essential self. I'm not afraid to call it the soul. I really believe that if that part of you and that part of me could recognize each other, we wouldn't be enemies. We couldn't have hate or envy or fear.
I sadly conclude that all those other layers, which we so carefully construct through our lives, distance and insulate us from truly contacting others.
Saint-Exupery's story speaks of that magic moment when two souls recognize each other. I've had just a few moments like that. Falling in love is one example. And looking at a baby. Why do we smile when we see a baby? Perhaps it's because we see someone without all the defensive layers, someone whose smile for us we know to be fully genuine and without guile. And that baby-soul inside us smiles wistfully in recognition.
This is not an internet joke. This is an actual picture taken at my friend's wedding. Obviously he's done it for fun, but I am not going to comment any further :-)
Until I visited San Diego ZOO I even didn't know that such a creature as fishing cat existed. Cats are not really associated in my mind with water. Moreover, I always believed that cats don't like water at all. This cat, a fishing cat, apparently loves swimming :-) It lives in and around water reeds, coastal creeks and swamps. As the name implies fishing cat eats mainly fish, but it also has on his menu snakes, snails, frogs, rodents, and birds. It hunts along the edges of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and sometimes diving into the water to catch prey further from the banks. Fishing cat can swim long distances, even under water. It is an interesting species of cats, don't you think so?
I used AA recently when I went to Iran for Maman's memorial ceremony. The main advantage of Azerbaijan Airlines over the airlines I used in the past for my travels to Iran are their new, well equipped, comfortable planes. I think the one I flu with was Boeing 787. The chairs were wide, very comfortable, had quite a good leg space and there was a little leg rest. There was a screen with in-flight entertainment on every chair (I watched again 'Inside-out' animated movie :-) ). All the passengers were provided with earphones, earplugs, eye cover for people who wanted to sleep, a little blanket. There was one hot meal served during the flight, one sandwich snack and couple of rounds of drinks. On both my flights to and from Baku to London, there were many empty sits, there was no one sitting next to me, so it added to extra comfort - more leg room. All these services were included in a standard ticket price and as far as I remember my return ticket was just little over £300 - that's a very good price.
The only disadvantage of flying with AA (for some people - for me it didn't matter) could be that there is no direct flight from London to Tehran. You have to change in Baku (Azerbaijan). The flight from London Heathrow to Baku takes about 5 hours 30 minutes (that's the one with Boeing) and then the flight from Baku to Tehran is only 45-60 minutes (it is with the small plane, but also modern and comfortable and even on that short flight they serve tea and coffee). I didn't have to wait long in Baku on my way to Tehran, I think it was just about over an hour, which was enough to go through security etc. On my way back I had a longer stay in Baku - few hours, but again, it wasn't bad. The Heydar Aliyev airport in Baku is very modern (the terminal was built for the Olympics last year), comfortable and I also found couple of other people who were waiting for their flights, so we spent all the time chatting, had something to eat and we just entertained ourselves. All in all I can certainly recommend Azerbaijan Airline, so check it out for your next travel to Iran :-)
Dear Atria, do you know the meaning of anticipation? I am pretty sure you do, I think everyone does. Anticipating is waiting for something exciting to happen, expecting, predicting. For example you may anticipate your next holidays, thinking of it and imagining how wonderful and exciting it's going to be, how much you are going to enjoy it, how much fun you are going to have, you may plan and rethink your activities, etc. This time of anticipation while awaiting for holidays can be most enjoyable and very rewarding; it actually adds a value to your upcoming holidays, it builds up excitement and tickles your imagination. As with most life's pleasures, it's not so much the experience itself as the anticipation that is most enjoyable. When your holiday comes it's just a week or two and it passes very fast, but anticipation leading to these holidays may last for months, months filled with excitement, plans, imagination and joy. I think anticipation is often the best part of an experience. What do you think dear Atria?
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
I am your dad Atria.