Author Archives: Jashobanta

Revisiting Bangkok through Google Earth Street View

Wandee Building from Street View

Wandee Building Snapped in 2002

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You imagine something in mind, and then Google comes up with it. I took a snap of the Wandee Building in Chaengwattana-Pakkred Street 33, way back in 2002. When I wanted to see the building through Google Earth Street View, within seconds, I could navigate to it and could identify the similarities and the changes. In 1989, Wandee used to have a small, cute,  mini mall. In 2002, it had a Tyre Shop. Now perhaps something else is there. But yes, this is how there is a temporal dimension given to the spatial address. What is important is that this is a smaller street in the Nonthaburi province and Google has succeeded in capturing the images of streets seamlessly. Every street, every building is important, and for a nostalgic me, this technology is an windfall.

Thai Restaurant, Bonn

Recently I was in Bonn which was clouded most of the days. Then suddenly on 16th January, the sky cleared. From the bridge over the Rheine, I snapped the restaurant opposite the Hilton Hotel, bathed in morning light. Thai food in Bonn is also available in multi-cuisine restaurants.

Thai Poetry

It is natural for us to get interested in peoples and cultures, especially when we stay in countries for a considerable length of time. Bangkok for me was like a second home. It was delightful to see so many young couples moving around in shopping complexes, markets, the streets and other places of gathering. It is always delightful to see people in love, more so when they stay in love and are faithful to each other.

These devoted and loyal lovers perhaps do not make any news, divorces do go to the headlines. One way of knowing about love it to know the poetry of a nation. It is difficult to get access to Thai poetry and there is a case for a column in news papers or blogs to provide such access.

With Japan, another country with which I am closely associated, I have no problem as it is easy to have access to poems through papers like the Asahi Shimbun. This paper has a regular Haiku section. Recently I had access to a beautiful Thai poem,two stanzas of which I am tempted to reproduce below:( Interestingly this poem is also a thesis on poetry)

I wrap the sky around myself
to keep away the cold
and eat starlight late at night
to take the place of rice.
Dewdrops scatter below the sky
for me to find and drink,
and out my poems flow
to greet the morn, to last the age.

My purpose in composing poems
is to salvage the soul.
now lying upon the swift, bold
currents and waves of time.
Although this life, which is not long,
gets all used up so soon,
the heart’s proclamations,
sparkling and divine, shall last.

The Poet’s Testament, Angkarn.

The complete poem is in six stanzas, I have quoted above the first two. In a certain sense, through poetry we talk to ourselves, to our souls. The soul is always plural and in effect, we talk to all human beings.

Bridges of Bangkok

Across the river Chao Praya, there are many attractive bridges. The memorial bridge is very much heritage and the latest addition of King Rama VIII is a feast to the eye, especially when you cruise below it. The prize however is taken by the Bridge Across the river Kwai; made famous by David Lean’s film.

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The image of the bridge above looks a little sombre, unlike the happy river. However in the water there are many colourful boats that cruise all through the day and even in to the evening. I found the boat below as colourful as Van Gogh’s painting of boats in Saintes Maries de la Mer:

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Bangkok to Kanchanaburi: Evening by the Water

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The water in the river Kwai is unusually clear, and being in the mountains it has speed. The pink bougainvillea above however reminds me of a flower pot by a Venice balcony. Strange how a water body adds beauty to commonplace things.

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The colourful boat cruising by above adds its charms to the evening. I found my trip to Kanchanaburi really engrossing. Once you are inside the river, you are in another world.

But just come back to the bus terminus behind, and its almost like being back in Bangkok. The usual coffee shops, food markets and the large market of semi-precious rubies!