Reading: Wide Angle Lens

A few interesting things. Lets start with wine!


  • An eco-smart alternative to the wine bottle.
  • Slideshow: “Making French Rabbit’s New Eco-Smart Wine Bottle,” Fast Company.

    Seeing this feature in Fast Company, I tried French Rabbit’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Fantastic and it goes superbly well with my grilled salmon. Importantly, a tetra pack has 1 L wine compared to 750 ml of a regular bottle and it was inexpensive ~ $7.99! Our guests loved it too!

    See more reviews here.

  • Plain vanilla gets you to your retirement goals faster!
  • Made to Stick: The Myth of Mutual Funds | Fast Company.

    These authors of the bestseller, Made to Stick, remind us why investing in Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index fund is the way to go! And don’t be mesmerized by the glib talking financial advisers, who are looking after their own retirement! Make money for yourself, not for the financial adviser!

  • AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu: Deflating IT
  • So fabulous to see Sridhar Vembu featured in The Economist.
    AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu | The Economist.

    “SRIDHAR VEMBU is a dangerous man. If he succeeds, a lot of people will lose a lot of money: software developers, consultants, shareholders and others. The chief executive of AdventNet does not have fraud in mind. Instead, he wants to remove what he calls the “value-pad” from corporate IT in general and business software in particular: all those millions of dollars he thinks are wasted on inefficient production structures, marketing and, not least, proprietary standards. “In the world of corporate IT”, he says, “the low-cost revolution is very much unfinished business.”

  • Racist policies of the LPGA
  • The recent policy of the LPGA, that all players pass an oral english test was rightly criticized. From the New York Times: Editorial – A Bad Idea From the LPGA.

    The LPGA has since revised its policy: L.P.G.A. Will Revise Its Policy on English – NYTimes.com, but as the following quote from their Deputy Commissioner suggests, they just don’t get it!

    “In an interview with The New York Times last week, Libba Galloway, the deputy commissioner of the L.P.G.A., defended the policy and said the suspension penalty was fundamental to it.

    “…, this is puzzling to us because we think we are ensuring that our membership is better equipped to succeed by having them effectively communicate in English,” she said. “We are equipping them with the necessary tools for maximizing their potential off-course earning opportunities. The suspension demonstrates the importance we are placing on effective communication in English.”

    Nearly half a millennia ago, when the Portuguese butchered and forcibly converted the Konkanis in Goa, their rationale was similar: “They don’t know it yet, we are just saving their souls!”

    Centuries later when the British colonized India, their rationale was similar, “we are bringing culture and civilization to these savages.”

    And similarly in Iraq: We have to destroy them to save them!


Portuguese Inquisition and Revisionism

Due to my heritage and interest in Konkani Temples in Goa, and particularly our Kuldevata Ramnathi Devasthan I have been researching books on the Portuguese occupation in Goa. During the Portuguese Inquisition lasting more than 150 years (1560 – 1812), the Jesuits made a systematic attempt at wiping out the Konkani heritage in Goa. Konkanis were either tortured and killed, forced to convert, or give up their lands and migrate. In a desperate attempt at genocide, all Konkani temples in older Goa were ransacked, wealth stolen and destroyed. It was the men-of-the cloth, who spread the horrors of the Inquisition, and later Anglicans who put political pressure on the Portuguese forcing it to end the Inquisition.

I have tracked scores of such books from the 18th and 19th century which shed a grim light on the atrocities of the Portuguese, all in the name of their God. In the midst of an enormous amount of historical literature, there are always the revisionists, trying to cast a softer glow on the Portuguese Inquisition. This one by an ordained priest takes the cake.

A few lines from his work and my related comments.
An Historical Sketch of Goa, Rev. Denis L. Cottineau de Kloguen (DK)
Gazette Press, Madras (1831), Reprinted pp 44-45
Also available digitized from the Library at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA; Pg 69 – 70.

Original text in italics is contiguous in one paragraph; my comments are in regular text. In this paragraph, the Kloguen is trying to defend the Archbishop D Alexins de Menezes.

DK – … Some acts of violence by the Portuguese agents may have been committed, both before and after him, but they are not to be imputed to him.
AS – Really! Everyone else is to blame, but not the Archbishop who actually had more power in Goa than the political appointee?

DK – It is equally false, that, followed by the officers of the Inquisition, he went armed with fire and sword, to compel the inhabitants of Salsette to embrace the Christian religion. The Jesuits converted a great part of them by the usual and most laudable means;
AS – Reminded me of the recent controversial remarks by Pope Benedict 16th: (from the NY Times) “… in Brazil, … native populations had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.” The Rev is probably alluding to such an “innate longing” for torture and death.

DK – but in order as they thought, the better to detach the remainder of the inhabitants from worship of idols, they destroyed all the temples and pagodas.
AS – Much to the embarrassment of the Jesuits, many forced converts continued to visit temples and kept to their traditional Hindu ways. The only way to prevent this was to destroy the temples. How many is “all”? How many temples were destroyed in Goa?

DK – This however, had the contrary effect; and the Pagans, exasperated at this circumstance, rose up in arms, murdered five jesuits, and several Portuguese.
AS – Did the Jesuits really expect anything else? Note the choice of the word “murdered” when associated with the Jesuits and the Portuguese. BTW, when “all temples and pagodas” were destroyed, how many of the locals were killed? Smoothly overlooked. And really, when armed men go in and destroy peoples temples, wouldn’t you expect an equally violent response?

DK – The Governor then felt himself obliged to use arms likewise to reduce the rebels; and of course did not after wards permit the temples to be rebuilt.
AS – “reduce the rebels” here is an euphemism for “massacring the population”! And since when did the locals become the “rebels” in their own lands? Don’t the ‘rebels’ have the right to defend their lands, home and temples?

DK – But in all this, the Archbishop had nothing to do, and what is certainly better proved, are the good works and the pious establishments of Goa, of which he is the founder.
AS – Looks like he is an ideal candidate for sainthood, no?



My Posts Related to the Ramnathi Devasthan and other Konkani Temples:


Colva Beach – Serenely Beautiful

Colva Beach Goa sunset pics by Arun Shanbhag
On our visit to India in June, we paid a short visit to Goa. Starting on the early morning flight from Mumbai and after visiting the Ramnathi Devasthan, we arrived at the beach-front resort in Colva, early in the afternoon. We were so fatigued, both of us promptly fell asleep. The drumming of the heavy rains outside pushed us deeper in sleep. On waking up around 5 pm, and a leisurely coffee, we ambled onto the beach. The rains had stopped but the skies were still overcast.
Continue reading “Colva Beach – Serenely Beautiful”

Here is Colva Beach Goa!

After blazing a trail through mumbai, goa, austria and switzerland, we returned a few hours ago to an oppressively hot and dusty house. But I so look forward to sleeping in my own bed. Traveling is fun, but living out of a suitcase and washing underwear in hotel sinks, does get tiring after a while.

During this two and half week holiday, I checked my e-mail twice. Sorry, I haven't replied to all the birthday wishes – will get to it soon. And will catch-up with your lives as well. Hopefully, I didn't miss anything important.

In the meantime, a quick jhalak of Colva Beach, Goa! It was overcast all day and rained in the afternoon. But as the sun set, the clouds broke and we were treated to this beautiful vista. It was a rare relaxing day on this trip. Enjoy!

Young Couple on Konkan Railway

Less than 24 hours after reaching Mumbai, we left for Goa on the Konkan Railway to visit our kuladevata Ramnathi Devasthan and attend my nephew's Upanayana. The night ride is ideal for catching-up on gossip with cousins. Their wives (and M too), are fast asleep and we chat away in peace. Pics from our our earlier Konkan Railway trip.

When daylight streaked the sky, the train had stopped at Ratnagiri. There this couple boarded, with an unusually large retinue to see them off. As the train raced towards Goa, I chatted with the guy. Generally I asked and he answered. I wanted to know everything about them. He was evasive, but I persisted. Finally he relented, giggled and confessed they were on their honeymoon to Goa!

Later as she dozed off on his lap, they struck a cute pose.
Arun Shanbhag Konkan Railway
As she dreamt of a beautiful life ahead, he seemed preoccupied! With what, I wondered!

See this video of the view from the train: Video: Approaching Kumta

A closer-up.
Arun Shanbhag Konkan Railway

Basilica of Bom Jesus


From my last trip to Goa. The beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus in Panji.

The inside of the church. There was a small private service going on.

The crypt with the remains of Francis Xavier

The building across the street. The Convent and Church of St Francis of Assisi. Part of it has been converted to an Archaelogical Museum. The Tower on the right is part of the Se Cathedral, behind it.

Konkan Railway: Welcome Aboard!

As we prepare to visit India again, here are a few pics from our 2002 trip. The Konkan Railway serves the Konkan coast from Mumbai to Goa, and down to Mangalore. Since Parashuram reclaimed the Konkan land from the seas, this is the best that has happened to this region.

The a/c coaches were very comfortable and the food was just superb. The kitchen car made the dishes from scratch. Here are a few pics taken from the Mumbai to Goa trip. We left CST around 10:00 pm and reached Panji around 9:00 am the next morning.

The second set of pics are from a week later between Bhatkal to Honavar taken around 6:00 pm.
Enjoy the trip!


I was not the only one who could not sleep. This gentleman communed.

Early morning at a station near Chiplun.

If you listen carefully, you could hear, “Ghanashyam Sundara” in the background!

The kids (not related) were having a blast.

About a week later, Bhatkal to Honavar
Bhatkal Train Station

Lush fields

Blue Skies: Ramnathi, Goa

Fields across from the Ramnathi Temple Devasthan in Goa pic by Arun Shanbhag
Ramnathi, Goa: On every trip to India, we first visit our ancestral Ramnathi Temple in Ponda, Goa. On the cab ride from the train station, you are taken-in by the lush fields rimmed by coconut trees swaying in the breeze, beautiful bungalows on either side of the road, with folks just hanging out on the porch watching life go by, and cows grazing in the fields. And every time I think to myself, “I could live this life. I just need a small house, over there by the fields.”

We usually spend a few days at the temple guest house (Rs 40/night; approx $1/night) before moving on south along the Konkani coast. Smack across the temple was this beautiful rice field. I couldn't avoid the trees without actually getting into the field, so I tried framing the field with the trees. Enjoy! or as they say in Goa, Devu baren karo!

August 2002, Canon Elan II, 28-135 IS, 200 ASA Velvia Slide, scanned and exposure adjusted



Posts Related to Ramnathi and other temples in Goa:


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