Friday, March 30, 2007

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!

Pictures speak louder than words!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Read this article on why human rights activists in the future are going to depend more and more on online sites like YouTube to change the legal landscape, and the cultural one as well.

Also see my earlier related post about waterboarding, a phenomenon also mentioned in the above article.


......the 2007 Bentley Continental GTC Convertible!

I saw this baby on the road yesterday.....and wished I had some extra cash to spend..or 'bend' ;-)

It's a Brit thing, maybe?

Do Americans have a thing for British accents, or am I missing something?

Here's one ad that's airing:

...and here's another:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Shi(f)t Happens!

Take a look at this video. It talks about what the future’s going to look like for us, with some pretty interesting facts. I’ll name just a few, most of which we know but I think it’s just that it never really hits us (well it didn’t hit me anyway) till we see it all put together like this.-

- The top 28% of people with highest IQ in India is greater than the total population of America

- If all the jobs that exist in the US were currently shifted to China, China would still have a labor surplus

- Job-hopping is on the rise – 1 in 4 people today work for a company which has employed them for less than a year

- We perform 2.7 billion searches on Google each month – where did we go (and I like this abbreviation) B.G (before Google)?

- A week’s worth of NYT contains more information than a person was likely to come across in his entire lifetime in the 18th century.

- The amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years – this means that for college students, what they study in Year 1 will be obsolete by Year 3. (The computer language I studied when I was in school – BASIC, is not even spoken of, anymore!)


I also watched a TV show last night called ‘Spotlight 25’ where the host of the show spoke to a group of 25-year-old women about their values, beliefs and aspirations - thoughts on life, love and sex. Some of what was said actually just confirmed what the video above said – most of the women on the show had already switched jobs at least 5 times, for example – they didn’t want to stay in a job which didn’t give them as much satisfaction as they were looking for. But more importantly, the show revealed us for who we are: things like moving up the career ladder being important, but getting married and having a family being as important – there was one 25 –year-old on the show who was married with 2 kids, and had a hectic but well-managed schedule getting the kids ready for day-care in the morning, getting to work and being a top performer, picking up the kids on her way back home, and then going for a run in the evening before her day ended. Another one gave up her six-figure salaried job to set up a firm of her own, yet another went to Africa to build homes for underprivileged kids there while putting her own full-time job at risk.

It IS true that a lot of the time I think about where my peers are and try to assess whether I have been ‘left behind’, as one girl said on the show, but at the end of the day every person is unique, and comparisons are odious. What makes you happy may not make another person happy, and you have to go for what YOU want, because that’s the only way you’ll be happy yourself.

We are, after all, a generation that should be known as trailblazers to our future generations. There is so much we have that our mothers didn’t – like the Internet, for example!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Media Consumption Meme

I figured this would be an interesting exercise to do – taken from Jinal via Anastasia at YPulse. I am not highly tech-savvy at all, but here goes anyway:

Web: Plenty, plenty of websites, especially now that I have some time on my hands. I usually go to NYT, The Guardian, Salon, Slate, Rediff, BBC and NDTV for current affairs and generally interesting articles. The NYT Arts, Style and Travel sections have some good stuff going as well. For a list of events that are currently happening in the city, I check out Flavorpill. The blogs I usually read are linked to in my own blog.

Communication: Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail (yes I still use it, inspite of V’s repeated digs at me that I am probably one of ten people still using it!!) and to a smaller extent Gmail. I got a Gmail account when they were handing them out free and everyone’s opinion, since Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail had limited mailbox sizes then, was ‘You really should get a Gmail account, you know’. So I did, but then Yahoo and Hotmail woke up and that leaves my Gmail inbox quite empty now, mostly! I use Gtalk more than MSN Messenger or Yahoo Messenger though, funnily enough. I used to like Orkut, but I don’t anymore, though I still have an account. I find it a bit too intrusive, though it also helps re-discovering people you knew years ago (if you want to re-discover them in the first place, that is!!). I’m not on Facebook, mySpace, linkedin, Hi5 or any of the 100 other networking sites that exist – one exhausts me enough.

Music: I belong to the Stone Age, my friends, I admit. I do NOT own an iPod (for Heaven’s sake don’t shriek in shock so loudly, people!!). I rely on the good old ancient radio, and the computer as well – I just listen online. Viva Radio and 106.7 Lite FM are my current favorites. I don’t have a CD system at home yet, so I don’t listen to too many CD’s at the moment either. I used to, when I was in India.

TV: My saviour, LOL. I watch just about anything that can hold my interest for longer than 5 minutes, or else pique it. Of course, I always go back to the millionth re-run of Friends, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, Will and Grace or Full House. V likes Seinfeld and though I didn’t think it was THAT entertaining earlier, I think it’s pretty funny now. I also like Grey’s Anatomy and ER, and thanks to V again, House MD. I used to watch Desperate Housewives, but have lost interest now. That could also be because I’m not sure when it comes on in the US, so if anyone knows, shout out – thanks. I like watching cookery shows on occasion, and if I’m extremely jobless, What Not to Wear on Style. Yeah, that’s right.

Movies: Anyone who’s been reading my blog lately knows that I’ve been overdosing on them, so of course I love movies. I’m not going to repeat the names of the last few movies I watched - please scroll down to my last couple of blog entries and that should fill you in.

Magazines: The web pretty much covers most of it, but when I get my hands on Outlook, India Today, Femina, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and The Economist, I like reading the hard copies as well.

Books: I recently read Freakonomics (Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner), Passion India (Javier Moro) and Shalimar The Clown (Salman Rushdie), and am now devouring Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book. I’d also like to read Snow and My Name is Red by Pamuk, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Capote), On Beauty (Zadie Smith), Sacred Games (Vikram Chandra), and Lord of the Flies (William Golding), soon. I went into the Strand the other day and can’t wait to go back to buy some of them. If anyone hasn’t read Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram, that’s high on my list of all-time favorites.

Newspapers: In India, I used to read The Hindu and The Indian Express, and FT occasionally. For a good laugh and some entertainment, there was always The Times of India. Here, the NYT sometimes, but seriously I think in America the printed word is a slave to the internet. Check out what the Freakonomics blog is saying about the growth of newspapers in – where else – India!

Yes, and that’s about it for now. Ciao.

Ooh la la!

This one is for the guys - two seriously hot women in the same video, Shakira and Beyonce. I wish it were two hot men, though, for my personal viewing pleasure ;) !!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Movie Nights!

So, since I HAVE been watching quite a few films of late, I thought I might as well scribble down my thoughts about two other Oscar-nominated movies I managed to catch over the last week – ‘The Queen’ (Best Actress for Helen Mirren) and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin and Best Original Screenplay for Michael Arndt).

‘The Queen’, I felt, is not your typical movie, being as it is a biopic of Queen Elizabeth in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. It has a lot of shots of actual events that occurred when Diana was alive – such as Princess Diana’s interviews on TV, flowers offered by the public at the gates of Buckingham Palace and paparazzi shots of Diana with Dodi Al-Fayed. Helen Mirren is certainly brilliant – her mannerisms, gait and restrained acting all contributing to the Oscar that she was awarded, but so are Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair. Very few people probably even spared a thought for the Queen in the uproar and media attention that followed Diana’s untimely fatal accident, but here you see her as someone very human, who had to take on a huge responsibility at a very young age (‘duty first, self second’, as she says, is what she's been taught) and understandably finds it difficult to move with the changing times, coming as she is from an entirely different generation altogether.

As for ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, I’d say this – it is totally a movie worth watching, because it is so WEIRDLY entertaining, something I certainly haven’t seen in a while. Following the not-so-trodden path of movies like ‘American Beauty’, it is the story of a completely dysfunctional American family, as we track their lives over the span of a couple of days. Well-written and edited (the movie won Best Original Screenplay, don’t forget), it follows the lives of young Olive (Abigail Breslin) who has won a chance to participate in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in California, her perfectionist father Richard (Greg Kinnear), her harried mother Sheryl (Toni Collette), Nietzsche-reading brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) who has taken an oath of silence till he achieves his goal of becoming an airforce pilot, heroin-snorting, invective-spouting grandfather (Alan Arkin), and gay suicidal uncle Frank (Steve Carell). I mean, 'how much more dysfunctional can you get!!!!', was my thought when all the characters came into their first scenes! Still, as the family rushes to get Olive to the pageant on time in their rundown van (which they call a bus), a number of quite crazy events happen, all adding to the madness. All in all, if you manage to lay your hands on a copy of this movie, I’d say go for it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Paradise Lost? - and 'Paradise Now'

I passed the erstwhile site of the Twin Towers four times yesterday, as I traipsed around this teeming metropolis. And no matter how many times I go by, every single time I look at the rubble, one thought flashes in my mind: how can people be so ruthless as to fly entire planes into buildings when they know it is civilians that will be killed? People like you and me, who have done no great harm to politicians and governments (even if the reverse is not true). And at the same time, they have absolutely no value for their OWN lives either. They may have had their own reasons, but in that case go target the people who have contributed to the problems, not people who just want to go on with their daily lives, their small joys and sorrows.

Right? Wrong?

I don’t know if it was a coincidence that with all these thoughts crowded in my mind, I walked up past what is left of the WTC, to a screening of Hany Abu-Assad’s ‘Paradise Now’ by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies of New York University. A Palestinian film released in 2005, it is the story of Said, a suicide bomber whose father died when he was 10, executed for being a collaborator with the Israeli authorities. He grows up in a life that he feels is asphyxiating, humiliating and pointless – when we are introduced to him, he is a car mechanic. His friend Khaled is keen on being a martyr for ‘the cause’, and Said is confident that this will give his life some meaning as well. When the call comes for them to jump the line from Nablus to Tel Aviv to execute the so-called mission which will send them to paradise, they both walk into the plan comfortably. But (and there is always a ‘but’ isn’t there – this is where the movie picked up pace), the operation is botched and Khaled manages to get back to safety while Said walks around with a bomb plastered to his chest (only the people who put it on him can deactivate it – and they did not foresee that possibility). After a day of frantic searching, Khaled finally manages to locate him with the help of Suha, a customer at the garage that Said has a soft spot for (and vice-versa). She is the daughter of a Palestinian martyr herself, but grew up in France and Morocco and is completely against the principle of suicide bombing – ‘you are only giving the Israelis another reason to continue with their oppression’, she says, and ‘I’d rather he was alive than be proud of him’, in response to a comment by Said about her father. Said steadfastly believes, however, that suicide bombing will at least draw attention to the atrocities that the Israelis are committing against Palestine, and that at least then he will have freedom.

After he is given the green light by the group leader post his return, Said insists on completing the mission. Khaled tries to warn him against this, by now having second thoughts after his conversation with Suha. But Said is unwavering in his determination. Khaled, unwilling and unhappy but determined to stick with his friend till the end, reaches Tel Aviv with Said. At the last minute, Khaled calls the driver of the taxi who dropped them and asks him to return to pick them up. Said, after arguing with Khaled, finally agrees to go as well, but when the taxi arrives, Said packs Khaled in and mouths one word to the driver ‘Go!’.

We last see Said sitting in a packed bus in Tel Aviv with – well – people like you and me, but with a couple of soldiers for company also. A white screen fills the end - perhaps Said has reached his paradise.

The movie was submitted for the Oscars last year under the Best Foreign Film category, but the Academy rejected the nomination because it did not subscribe to the rules for films under the category – it has to be forwarded by a government, and what government, technically, does Palestine have? Finally, this year it was accepted when it was submitted again, though it did not win. It has, however, won numerous awards at the Golden Globes and film festivals in Berlin, Vancouver, Netherlands and Germany, among others.

I’m no film expert, though I love cinema – not just movies, but the art of it as well, which is why I am interested in watching smaller, independent movies like these. I think life is about expression, and everyone has a viewpoint. It only makes my life richer when I see, hear and learn about people that may or may not think like me. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Knowing what’s going on outside the comfort-cocoon we tend to create around ourselves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Viva La Radio!

For people interested in electronic and alternative music, with a bit of rock thrown in sometimes, check out the sounds at Viva Radio. It's new, it's different - and no it's not Maggi Hot and Sweet !

All that glitters is gold

I had a rather 'rich' morning viewing tons and tons of gold bars in a's true, really! OK, it wasn't like I came into some super inheritance or anything, before anyone gets any ideas!! I went on a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. I'd recommend it for 3 reasons - it's short, it's interesting, and it's not on your usual tourist list of 'Things I must do/see in New York'. It's free, and all you need to do is reserve a place in advance.

While you wait for the tour to start, there's a very detailed collection of monetary coins and notes of the world, dating back to the days of the barter system, courtesy the American Numismatic Society. Of special note is the 1933 Double Eagle coin, which is basically a gold coin which has a value of US$20, but was sold at an auction for US$ 7.59 million!!! It has an interesting history which I'm not going to get into right now, but I wholeheartedly suggest glancing at it - HERE!

The vault of course is the most attractive part of the tour, and it does not disappoint. The Federal Bank of New York essentially holds gold bars belonging to about 36 foreign governments, central banks and international organizations - only about 5% of U.S gold reserves are actually held here, the majority being in Fort Knox. The vault rests on the rock bottom of Manhattan Island and is 50 feet below sea level. The door to the vault (there is only one), which was installed in 1914 and has not been changed since (except for regular maintenance), consists of a 90-ton steel cylinder which is rotated 90 degrees to achieve airtight and watertight sealing. It is completely manual, which means that even if the electricity were to go off, it would not hamper the security of the bars. I went through this door and while I was there, a bank official was showing some other officials how the cylinder moved, as a result of which I got to see the entire contraption in motion - and it certainly did seem a 'masterpiece of protective engineering', as the brochure I later on read, noted. And it needs to be, with US$140 billion in gold currently being held inside!

Mostly for the entertainment of young visitors (I'm not ancient, but I mean schoolkids here!), there are a range of interactive educational games once you finish the tour, and I had a blast with them. I certainly learnt my bit about the monetary system for the day!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The monster that lurks beneath - another war for Afghanistan to wage

As if Afghanistan doesn’t have enough problems to deal with, this New York Times article profiles another : AIDS. It is struggling to rebuild the country as Taliban forces resurface, and the pandemic is kept shrouded in stigma and ignorance. Bordered by countries which have the fastest-growing incidence of AIDS in the world – Russia, China and India, and another two which have known problems of drug addiction and a growing HIV-positive population – Pakistan and Iran, the country is crippled with multiple problems that we can only pray are solved sooner rather than later. The situation clearly does not look good though, with ‘health workers remaining ill-informed and careless, often reusing needles even when they know it risks spreading the disease’. In a 2003 survey of 126 women working in the sex trade in Kabul, an NGO working in Afghanistan also reported that only one was familiar with condoms and only one had knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Five years down the lane, one cannot hope for much change on that front - there are too many battles being fought in the country as it is.

And so another Monday morning in 2007 commences....

Picture by Aaron Huey/Atlas Press, for The New York Times - Heroin users shooting up among ruined buildings in the old section of Kabul. Injectable heroin first hit the city’s streets about five years ago.

Friday, March 16, 2007

What's your DNA????

Beautiful. Taken from Disjointed Outpurings' latest. Try yours.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mira Nair's 'The Namesake' (based on the book by Jhumpa Lahiri)

Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake’ has come in for some criticism, and there are some interesting anecdotes about some of the occurrences during the shooting of the film as well. I managed to catch a screening at New York’s indie-film-focused Angelika Film Theater, and was one of the 9 people that were assiduously waiting outside at 10 a.m for the theater to open for the 10.30 a.m show.

I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s book a few years ago, and have always had this thing for watching movies that are based on books, perhaps to see how closely the movie script has been able to stay true to the original story. In most cases (the Harry Potter series, the James Bond series, A Good Year, The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice, for example), the movies by themselves are reasonably interesting to watch, but ultimately, due to the pressure that a movie has for sticking to a reasonable time-limit, it does lose some of the essence of the book. Mira Nair, director of the highly acclaimed and entertaining ‘Monsoon Wedding’, does a fairly competent job with ‘The Namesake’, and is assisted by a repertoire of very able actors (Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Kal Penn, Zuleikha Robinson).

It could have been a typical ABCD movie (‘Flavors’, and the very unimaginatively titled ‘ABCD’, anyone??), but with the script of a book already in hand, Nair’s job is easier. The movie starts off in the Calcutta of the 1970’s, and has some excellent shots of the city (like statues of Goddess Kali during the festival, the Hooghly, and the crowded streets of the City of Joy). Ashoke Ganguli (Irrfan Khan), traumatized by a near-death train accident near Calcutta where Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Overcoat’ was his traveling companion, makes a quick trip from New York to India a few years later, in the midst of his doctorate, to have a happy, traditional, arranged Bengali wedding to Ashima (Tabu). She accompanies her husband to the States, where she slowly settles into the American way of life. There are some well-captured scenes between Ashoke and Ashima in their first few years of marriage in New York – images of cold, wintry days in the City make you feel for the fresh-off-the-plane Ashima as Ashoke does his best to be a good husband. Many years and two children later, the couple moves to the suburbs where Ashoke has a job as a professor and Ashima takes up a job at the local library. The story then starts focusing more on Gogol/Nikhil (Penn), who is trying as best he can to be an American lad inspite of his very traditional Indian parents. A visit to the Taj Mahal during one of his family holidays to India motivates him to become an architect a few years later, and his life seems to be going well in New York, with a pretty, rich, well-educated American girlfriend Max (Jacinda Barrett) to boot, short for Maxine. (Ashima, when she talks about Maxine to her librarian-friend : ‘What kind of a girl has a name like Max?' ‘Maybe she isn’t a girl’ – and the subtle shock on Ashima’s face!!)

At four, Gogol insists on his pet name being adopted as his real name, though his parents had settled on ‘Nikhil’. Years later, when he finds out at high school that the writer Gogol was a frustrated, lonely, sexually inactive man, he changes his legal name back to Nikhil. His father gifts him a copy of ‘The Overcoat’ for his graduation, and there are many instances where he almost tells Gogol the real reason for his naming him after the author, but the words die on his lips. Finally, one day, just before Ashoke is due to leave for an academic position at Ohio for six months, he tells Gogol the reason.

Revealing more about the story would be unfair to the reader who hasn’t had a chance to watch the movie yet, and to the viewer who hasn’t read the book but would like to watch the movie anyway. Nair inserts a couple of fun scenes in the movie that are not in the book (Gogol and his wife Moushumi (Zuleikha Robinson) on their wedding night, where the Indian- American boy and the British-Indian Francophile girl do a parody of typical Bollywood movies, for example). The movie brought out all those emotions that a modern yet well-rooted, educated young person of today would feel – empathy for all the characters, sadness, joy (I laughed out loud twice and wept a few crappy tears, yes, where applicable!!), but more than anything I’ll tell you what ‘The Namesake’ left me with – the almost-definite, almost-palpable knowledge that no matter what, I wouldn’t want to live in a country that is not my own, for the entire length of my life – maybe a few years, to ‘travel, see the world – you won’t regret it’ (as they say in the movie), but not forever.

Interesting facts: Jhumpa Lahiri actually has scenes in the movie, and Sahira Nair, who plays Ashoke and Ashima’s reel-life daughter Sonia, is Mira Nair’s real-life daughter.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Movement, expression, randomness - dance

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls."
Merce Cunningham

Dance need not be co-ordinated, beautiful, or set to music. It can be random, powerful – almost theatre, and exist with music which does not necessarily lend much to the dance itself. This is what Merce Cunningham believes, and it is what I saw at a performance by students of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company last Saturday. It was a dance in nine pieces, and none of them was related to any of the others. It was not dance in the usual sense of the word – not a classical art form like we are used to seeing in India, like Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Kuchipudi, or Mohiniattam, nor was it typical western choreography like that in Broadway plays. Merce Cunningham’s dance form is very influenced by Dadaism and the Zen philosophy, and as is quoted on his website, he is ‘not interested in telling stories or exploring psychological relationships: the subject matter of his dances is the dance itself’ – the viewer is free to interpret the dance however he or she wants. The dance would look random to the untrained eye, but there was a definite intention in every movement. That was part of the craziness of it all, and the beauty.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Art with a dash of history - The Salmagundi Art Club

The Salmagundi Art Club in New York is one of the last brownstone buildings on Fifth Avenue, and is the venue for regular exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture by its member-artists, as well as regular classes for the public in art. It started as the New York Sketch Club in 1871 and moved to its current headquarters in 1917. The building’s history, heritage and architecture lend a fitting charm to the place of creativity that it is. It is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m every day of the week, and admission is free. For lovers of art, I’d suggest a look.

Any guesses on the origin of the name ‘Salmagundi’? The word means ‘potpourri’ and was adopted after Washington Irving’s paper of the same name came into existence – it was intended to refer to the mix of wit and wisdom that the paper was supposed to be. Interestingly, Irving also used the term ‘Gotham’ to refer to New York City in his Salmagundi Papers in 1807, with reference to Gotham, England where wise men acted as fools in the hope that King John would change his decision to settle there and consequently burden the village with royal upkeep. And Gotham City, of course, provides the setting for a very famous comic book – no prizes for guessing which!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I got this from the Elf's blog - how weird are YOU?????!!!!

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Thoughts on Rushdie's STC

The first time I tried reading Salman Rushdie, I was still in school and I couldn’t get past the first few pages. The book was ‘Midnight’s Children’. I just finished my second attempt, and I’m glad to say I made it through the entire book. This time it was ‘Shalimar the Clown’, and though the first few pages were not as engaging as I would have liked it to be, by the time I reached the middle, I was engrossed.

Writing novels is truly an art – in my opinion, if it does not have a generous dose of creativity, you might as well be reading the paper - and Rushdie moves between modern politics and history with the ease and gracefulness of a tiger hunting its prey in the open fields of Africa. He lays bare the basic human emotions of love and hatred with words that are so lyrical and evocative, you can visualize them as he writes. I especially liked that his characters are well-etched – though each character has shades of grey, clearly, the sympathy of the reader is meant for one person only – Shalimar the Clown – and that person does get it. That is another rather difficult goal to achieve when you set about writing a novel, I would imagine. If your characters are not well fleshed-out, you lose track somewhere along the way and then the end is never exactly what you imagined it would be. Some would call that part of the beauty of writing as well. Perhaps, but I feel that though the writer is free to express himself however he or she wants, in a story, you have to be clear about your characters – you have to convey your thoughts in a way that the reader is not left wondering about the direction you are trying to take him or her in. Many writers make that mistake, but Rushdie did not get caught in that trap in 'Shalimar The Clown'.

I don’t want this to be a book report, so I’m not elaborating on the storyline (I don’t like the people who give out the ending of the movie or book before you’ve had a chance to watch or read it yourself!!), but it should suffice to say that with names as interesting as Shalimar, Kashmira, Boonyi and Maximilian, the story lived up to its characters. A story with a Mary or John could be boring, after all, but with names like these? He didn’t have a choice!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal (yes, THE Grand Central), is a beaux-arts building in the heart of New York City, and, as anyone who has seen it will probably vouch for, it is impressive from the outside. But what I found even more impressive was the inside of the building. During the days when steam locomotives chugged around the United States of America, Grand Central was essentially a rail yard. Hence the name ‘terminal’ (and not, as many people believe, ‘station’). Interesting note: in the olden days, ‘stations’ in America denoted post offices and not, as they are now commonly perceived, railway stations!

The inside of Grand Central is an example of architecture in its true sense. As our extremely well-informed guide informed us, architecture has to do with people and spaces, and the Grand Central Terminal reflects exactly that. It is designed to inspire awe. It is designed to enable people-watching during those long waits for trains, with plenty of comfortable spaces, railings and balconies at different levels. It is designed so that people who run to catch their trains have enough space to dash so that they do not bump into other commuters. In fact, each slab of stone on the floor of the building is exactly the length and width of a human-being – a wonderful example of the involvement of the building with the people it was constructed for, and the stairs are built with the human body in mind as well – each step has been built so that a person can walk down the stairs without even requiring to look down, because it is exactly the height and length of a normal human step.

I spent a very interesting afternoon walking around Grand Central. Truly an afternoon well spent – away from the cold!