Why Do People Get Suicidal Feelings

Whenever I read about cases of suicides, especially by kids, teenagers, or celebrities, I have often wondered what must have prompted them to take such an extreme step of ending their lives.  What pain did the child or teenager have to undergo (apart from study problems, extreme discipline, or love related matter) to take this drastic step?

The recent news about the suicide by 25 year old actress Jiah Khan shocked me no end. She was one of those lucky actors who started her career at a very young age with Mr. Amitabh Bacchan. She was young, beautiful, had a head start in the film industry. Why did she end her life? News stated that she was depressed since some time as she had no acting assignments in hand. Later, a six-page letter found by her family, indicated that the Jiah may have committed suicide over a failed relationship. In the letter, Jiah accused her boyfriend of cheating on her. She stated: “If you’re reading this I might have already left or about to leave. I am broken inside.”

Broken inside. This is the major problem and culprit. A person who is broken inside, lives in depression. A person who lives in depression does not have the any positive thoughts a healthy person will have.  The unfortunate truth is that you may feel broken because of various problems in life—rejection, pain, loss of love/money/family, abuse, panic, failure (at work, studies, love, etc.), disciplinary issues, social/school problems, not allowed to do what you want, no freedom, no family/home support, etc. This mental imbalance will not allow you understand the options available to help you relieve your suffering.

Just as different substances have different boiling points, different people have different tolerance levels (breaking points). Some loose heart very fast where as some others have a more tolerant level. But ultimately we all are human beings. Once you go through the painful experiences, the heart breaks, and depression sets in. You may begin to believe that you are useless, unwanted, unloved, and unneeded. Faced with an unbearable situation, unsolvable difficulties, overpowering feelings of guilt, failures or conflicts, feeling of being unloved and unwanted, you may start to think that life has not done justice to you. So you are likely to feel alone, withdrawn, sad, depressed, and irritable.

Repeated painful experiences will make your distress seem unbearable. It can break you completely. It can lead you to blame people or yourself to the extent that you can no longer see why you should go on living. Death seems to be your only option. That is exactly what pushes you into committing suicide. From being broken inside to taking the decision of ending your life is indeed a painful journey.

It is understandable to be angry with people who have hurt you. If you have been badly hurt by someone close to you, you may be thinking of suicide as a way of getting back at them and making them feel guilty by your loss of life. But at that moment, what you don’t understand is that suicide turns that anger on yourself as you are thinking of destroying yourself and the people very close to you. The person who has hurt you will NOT be affected. If the person had to feel guilty he/she would have felt it after hurting you, when she/she realized that you were feeling hurt by their behaviour.  Why do you have to hurt yourself and the others (parents, siblings, friends, children, etc.) who love you very much. Why give all the importance to one person who is not even worthy of your attention. Why take away your life for that person?

Unfortunately, suicidal feelings can be terrifying. You are in the most vulnerable state of mind, and then, it is difficult to relate to others, let along thier feelings. Even if you have family and friends around, you may find it impossible to tell them how you feel—it could be because of guilt, shame, or simply because you feel that others will not understand you and will ridicule you.

What people need to know:

  • People commit suicide for a number of reasons. However, the majority of the people who take their lives suffer from acute depression, mental illness, and/or abuse problem at the time of their death.
  • Having said that, we also need to understand that all the people who think about suicide are not mentally sick. Most of them are fighting pain and depression. We can help such people with awareness, education, and treatment so that suicide does not become an option.
  • Most people who attempt/commit suicide don’t really want to die. They actually want to kill their pain and suffering—they want to put an to end to the pain and suffering. For such a person, the desire to stop suffering is more stronger than the desire to live. During the vulnaerable moment, suicide seems to be the only way to do it…at that moment, the person feels that there is no reason to continue living.
  • Chronic depression can lead to feelings of despair, loneliness, lovelessness,  hopelessness and helplessness.  Some people choose to express these desperate feelings by attempting suicide.
  • Never ignore a suicide attempt. It is a cry for help and is a warning that something is terribly wrong in their lives. Without intervention and proper treatment, a person who has attempted suicide is at greater risk of another attempt and possible suicide.
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Want to Commit Suicide? Read this First

If you are feeling suicidal and are considering ending your life, I am glad that you are reading this page. If you are thinking about committing suicide, I assume that you are in pain, deeply troubled, in depression, heart -broken, feeling cheated, and in deepest despair. I will not stop you from doing what you want to do— I am not your spouse, parent, friend, relative, doctor, or your therapist. But is there any harm in sparing some time and reading this page?

The fact that you are still alive at this minute reading this means you are a little bit unsure about your decision to die. It means that even while you are thinking about dying, some part of you still wants to live on. That’s good news for us and the others. So hang on and read on….. you have nothing to lose. Finish reading, think about it for a few minutes, and then make your decision. In any case, your life is yours—so it is up to you to decide whether you want to live or die.

Intense PAIN! Intense mental, not physical pain, that is what you are feeling right now. This pain is probably caused because of one or more problem(s) in your life—rejection, death,  cheating, abuse, panic, failure (at work, studies, love, etc.), loss of money/work, disciplinary issues, social/school problems, not allowed to do what you want, no freedom, no family support, etc. Faced with an unbearable situation, unsolvable difficulties, overpowering feelings of failures/conflicts, feeling of being unloved and unwanted, you may start to think that life has not done justice to you.

You slowly start feeling that death is your only option. It comes from the feeling that your pain is so severe that there is nothing that you or anybody can do to help you overcome it. That is exactly what pushed you into contemplating suicide. Am I right?

Remember a few things:

  1. Is the person worth your life? It is understandable to be angry with the person who has hurt you. You are probably thinking of suicide as a way of getting back at the person and making the person feel the pain you are undergoing and make the person feel guilty by your loss of life.

But at this state of mind, what you don’t understand is that committing suicide turns that anger on yourself (as you are thinking of destroying yourself) and the people very close to you. The person who has hurt you will NOT be affected at all. If that person had any remote feeling of guilt, he/she would have felt it after hurting you and after seeing you in so much pain. He/she would have already asked for forgiveness.  Why take away your life for someone who does not respect you, love you or value you?

2.  Your life is important: You should know, you are unique and special. There are people who love you and care about you. There are people who emotionally depend on you. Don’t end your life for someone who does not respect you, love you, care for you, or want you. You now that you deserve  better.

    • Why do you give all the importance to that one person who is not even worthy of your attention.
    • Why make that person the centre of your life, especially when the person does not reciprocate your feeling? There is someone out there who will love you and respect you more.
    • Why take away your life for that person? After your death, he/she will continue his/her life as though this episode never happened.

Learn to accept misfortunes as challenges. That’s when you are able to recover fast.

3.  Why punish yourself and people who love you?  Why do you have to hurt yourself and the others (parents, siblings, friends, children, etc.) who love you very much?

    • In all your anger towards the person who hurt you, have you thought of your new and dear ones?
    • Have you spared a moment to think of the trauma they all have to go through when they find you dead.
    • Have you thought how negatively you will affect the lives of so many people who really love you?
    • Do you know that it hurts them to see you in pain and in distress, but it will hurt them even more to see you dead?

Damn it, I am a stranger and I care for your life. So, your parents, siblings, children, friends and/or relatives surely care for you even more. Don’t be so inconsiderate. When in depression and pain, the tendency is to try to reach out to the person who you love, but who does not reciprocate your feeling. This will not help. It will only worsen the situation. Instead try talking to your near and dear ones—the people who love you in return.

4.   Don’t make a decision in depression: Everybody knows that a depressed person does not have the same thoughts as a healthy person. The chemical imbalance does not allow you to understand the options available to help you relieve your suffering. When you are under depression, you lose the ability to imagine a normal and a happy future. You decide that you are going to spend an unhappy life in the future. So, you don’t feel the need to seek external help. When pain becomes unbearable, you feel that suicide is the only way to end the pain.

Wrong.  Since you are depressed and are not thinking normally, your decision is but an irrational choice. Depression is a treatable illness that can be managed—depending on the type of depression, the severity, and the age of the person being treated.  

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
—Khalil Gibran

In corporate work life, we often tell the juniors not to send out an email in a fit of anger or when upset about a situation. This is because when a person is angry or emotionally challenged he/she will not be able to think logically. The same applies here as well. Don’t make a decision when in depression, especially about your life.

5.  Feel the relief: You are thinking about suicide because you are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling and you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you are seeking so desperately, if you are dead.

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” —Agatha Christie

I know it is easy to say this, but, be strong enough to walk away from someone or the situation that has hurt you. Be with your loved ones, overcome the grief, catch hold of your life once again and then walk past the person as though he/she never existed. Trust me you will feel so relieved and more than that so proud of yourself for having come out of the most difficult situation as a much more stronger person.

 I hope you see this before you kill yourself. And I hope you change your mind after you read this!

MakeMyTrip.com: What I DID NOT Like

We made our first communication for the Europe trip with MMT on 28th Dec 2012. We were told to confirm our booking by 3rd Jan or else, won’t get seats for that schedule of the package. Since we had planned to make this trip, we paid the booking amount of 20,000/- per head on 3rd Jan 2013.

We also had to send out scanned copies of our passport. My husband’s passport was in the renewal process, and so we said that we could give his only by mid Feb. It was agreed. By end Feb, they had all our passport details and then we were assigned to Shweta Grover, Sr. Executive, Outbound Operations. This is when the problems started.

1. Irresponsible: We kept following up to know what documents we need to keep ready for the Visa. Since both, my husband and I are working professionals, we wanted to do it in a proper pace, not in a hurry at the last minute. Finally on 28th March (a Thursday), MMT send a list of numerous documents required to process our Schengen visa and wanted them in 5 days time.

We rushed, got the required documents from the office (remember Sat and Sun were off for us), and send them to MMT.

2. Hopeless Customer Service: We had a tough time interacting with Shweta Grover, Sr.Executive – Outbound Operations. I called the MMT call center, entered my booking ID, and kept waiting for more than half an hour. Nobody took my call. I called again and again. Still no reply. I was always kept on hold for a long time. I wasted so many hours (yes hours) trying to locate Ms Shweta and talk to her about my queries and concerns.

If she would have shared her mobile number with us, we would have been able to locate her quicker and faster, but she refused to do the same. I again sent a curt and crisp email, to which she replied that she has been at her seat and that I must have tried a wrong extension—implying that I am stupid.

3. Non-communicative: After sending the documents for the Visa and transferring some more money, there was total silence from their side. All efforts to contact Ms Simran was futile, she was never at her desk (1800 102 8747 Ext.# 2620) or would never pick the phone—the phone would keep ringing. I actually wasted about a day and a half trying to locate her and talk to her.

Finally I sent a curt and crisp email to her with a cc to all others concerned (emails from the earlier communication). I should admit that when I re-read the email, I found it a bit too rude, but that rudeness got me a reply from Ms Simran on 2nd May. She wrote back saying that she had been at her desk all the while and wondered why we could not reach her. There was also a note saying that they received the passport with stamped visas.

4. Why last minute: Why is there such a delay in processing the Visa? When the booking starts in Dec-Jan, why is it not done at an earlier timeframe? Our friends who were to travel with us and booked their seats in early Dec 2012 did not get their Visas (reason unknown). They came to know about the fact that their Visa has been rejected only by 9th May, that too after contacting MMT.

Right from the start we were in sync regarding all the activities about the trip. When they came to now that we got our Visa, they waited for a couple of days and then started following up. They had started making preparations for the travel as well. The kids were very disappointed to be told just 5 days before the trip that they will not be going.

5. Wrong information: Initially we were told that the full and final payment has to be made a month before the date of departure (which is May 14th of 2013). With barely 2 weeks to go, there was total silence from MMT. We had to follow up time and again about what was happening and the status of the situation? I am very upset by the way things were handled!

6. Not Flexible: After we received our visa, we checked with the trip organizers about the actual date and time of our flight. They said that the tickets were not yet confirmed—they provided us with tentative time and date. This is just a week before we were supposed to leave from Mumbai. So, we requested if we could go to Doha 2 days earlier—we would take care of the visa (my brother-in-law stays there). MMT just had to book earlier tickets for us (as is it was not yet done).

But they were not flexible and refused to do it. According to them it was a group trip. We tried to reason that the people travelling to Doha were coming from different areas in different flights, at different times. The group will be formed from Doha where people from all over India (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Ahmadabad, Delhi, Surat, etc.) would meet. So even if we travel two days earlier to Doha, we could still be taking the same flight from Doha. But no—the lady Simran attending to us refused to even consider the request—some extra work for her I presume. A little flexibility from MMT would have made the trip a little more memorable and enjoyable for us.

7. Careless and irresponsible: We had specially asked for non- vegetarian food on the flight. Having travelled on International flights a number of times, we know that vegetarian food, especially on an International flight is useless. In normal language, it is crap. So, we specially told them not to order vegetarian food for us. When we received our online ticket (after numerous reminders) on 12th May, it showed that they had very conveniently ordered for special vegetarian food—a total disaster.

I immediately complained to the MMT contact (Simran again), who wrote back saying that she had done the needful. But we were served vegetarian food on our flight from Mumbai to Doha and from Doha to Milan and back too. We were literally hungry the whole flight time thanks to some careless and irresponsible person at MMT.

8. Errors: My name on the ticket was Mr. Sajitha Jayaprakash. They changed my sex all together. They don’t even check that info? When we say that this is a family trip with our daughter, how can they book the tickets by the name Mr. Jayaprakash and Mr. Sajitha Jayaprakash—did not feel there was a mistake at all.

I would advice that an educated person, who can read, write, and understand English should take on such responsibilities.

9. Last Minute changes: On the nightof 11th May, we received an email saying that there is some change in the hotel reservations. Some of the hotels mentioned earlier were no longer valid.

10. Wrong promises: Initially we were told that in Europe, each person would get a bottle of water a day. After landing at Europe, we were told that there is no such thing—not even one bottle of water for a family a day. I am not complaining about it, but do not to promise things that is not going to happen.

11. Breakfast: This is the Europe part of the complaint. The first two to three days, the continental breakfast was good. After that, there was barely anything to eat. We had to depend on bread and butter/jam. Things would get over and inspite to repeatedly telling the hotel guys, they would not refill it properly. No scrambled/boiled eggs or fruits. Breakfast was very pathetic indeed. We understand that it is a budget travel, but treat people as human beings.

12.One more day at Paris: Last but not the least, we spent two days in Paris and saw the Eiffle tower and the Disneyland. We would have appreciated one more day Paris to see some parts of the city properly— Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Concorde Square, Magdalene Church, Opera Garnier, Louvre Palace, Conciergerie, Notre Dame Cathedral, Cite Island, Sorbonne University, Orsay Museum, Church of the Invalides, Military Academy, Trocadero Square, and Palais De Chaillot. Also the well known catacombs of Paris. All we saw were a few parts of the city sitting in the bus.

A precap of the European Summer Bonanze at: https://sajithajayaprakash.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/europe-intro/

MakeMyTrip.com: What I Liked

  1. Effective marketing: The marketing people are very effective. We interacted with Simran Kholi, Holiday expert, who gave us all the information. She was very informative and communicative. She was crisp, quick, and clear in her messages. She passed on her official mobile number to us if we had to get back to her with queries or questions about anything. Appreciate it very much. It was a pleasure dealing with her.
  2. Tour Director: In contrast to the painful interaction and experience with Shweta Grover, Sr.Executive – Outbound Operations, the tour director Manish Vakharia was professional, experienced, and well informed. He ensured that the group mingled to ensure there was a friendly atmosphere. He gave us pointers and told what to do and what not to do, how to do things, how not to do things, etc. which were very helpful.
  3. Indian lunch and dinner: We were impressed by the extra effort taken to arrange for Indian lunch and dinner.  Personally, I would have appreciated an option of having local food for lunch to get the feel of the place and the life style. But then no complaints….
  4. Good hotels: Except for one place, the hotels were good, nice, clean, and comfortable.

Day 2: Venice—The Floating City

Left the hotel at 9.00 am after a filling continental breakfast and proceeded to Venice. On the way, we passed through the famous Verona city. Three of Shakespeare’s plays (Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentleman of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew) are set in Verona. We were told that one of the main attractions of Verona is the balcony where Romeo used to visit Juliet.

Now, we did not visit the place, but being a romatic at heart, and having grown up on a good diet of Shakespearen plays, checked the Internet for more information and found a picture of the balcony, which I am posting here:

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Balcony of Juliet’s house at Verona

Now, if we think a bit, Romeo-Juliet was but a play by Shakespeare. So, they survived in books not in this world isn’t it? So, how true is this balcone? Anyway, proceeding with our travel story, we took two stops on the way. Stopped at autogrill for a short break and stopped for lunch.

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Stopped at Autogrill on the way to Venice.

We reached the place to get the water taxi at about 3.00 pm.  We sailed in a special water taxi to Piazza San Marco. Reached Venice at about 4.15 pm.

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The water taxi ride was very interesting. We kept looking all round and clicking photographs. Beautiful view. The ride took about 45 minutes and another 15 minutes trying to find place to dock….

 Venice is built on 180 islands that are connected by over 400 bridges, with hundreds of canals criss-crossing the town. It is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. Venice is known by many names: Queen of the Adriatic, City of Water, City of Masks, City of Bridges, The Floating City, and City of Canals. Venice is fondly referred to as La Serenissima meaning Queen of the Adriatic.

On the city tour, we got to see incredible sites such as the Bridge of Sighs, the Ducale Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock tower which are part of this romantic city.

Bridge of Sighs

This bridge was designed by Antoni Contino and was built in 1602. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo connecting the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

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The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the fact that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.  A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge Of Sighs.

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The Palace prisons were famous for being difficult to escape. However, someone did manage to demonstrate to the contrary. Casanova was a man with special gifts: a legendary seducer, but also amateur scholar, actor and for a short period even abbot. When they put him in the Piombi he was twenty-nine and had already travelled the world. But it was only after his escape that his destiny turned to fame and riches

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Casanova left the Piombi on the night between 31 October and 1 November 1756. Digging up the wooden planks with a makeshift tool he climbed out of his cell onto the roof and then down into an attic. Crossing the whole palace he reached the golden staircase where he was seen by a guard who mistook him for a politician who’d been locked in and let him out. A legend says he stopped for a coffee in San Marco square before fleeing by sea on a gondola.

The Ducale Palace

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The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice. The Palace is the most representative symbol of Venice’s culture, which, together with the Basilica of SanMarco and the Piazzetta, forms of the most famous sceneries in the world.

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Cleaning work going on

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Work on the windows

 

For centuries the Doge’s Palace had three fundamental roles: as the Doge residence, the seat of government and as the palace of justice. This was where some of the most important decisions for Venice’s, and even Europe’s destiny were taken. It was turned into a museum in 1923.

Today, it is one of the 11 museums. The oldest part of the palace is the façade overlooking the lagoon, the corners of which are decorated with 14th-century sculptures.

Those interested in seeing the interiors, need to take the ticket that includes the guided tour to the itineraries and also access (without a guide) to the rest of the Doge’s Palace. The ticket must be picked up at Doge’s Palace This reservation is made through an agency authorized by Coop Codess Pierreci, official licensee of Venice Museums. Reservations must be made with a minimum of 1 day notice.

Pauly & C. (Compagnia Venezia Murano)

We were fortunate enought to be able to visit  this Venetian company that produces glass art, most notably Roman murrine, mosaics and chandeliers. There, we saw the demonstration as to how stained glass is made (not painting glass after the product is ready).

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Enterance to Pauly

We also got to go around the store and see the display. My… they were mind blowing, mind bogling, awesome, and extemely expensive. A pair of wine glass cost Rs 14,000 and more. We were not allowed to take pics in the store—copyright issues 😦

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Over the centuries the malleability of glass has led to the development of different production techniques. They remain the techniques of true craftsmen, the pieces handmade by the master glassblowers of Murano.

St Mark’s Campanile

St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica is located in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

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St Mark’s Campanile

The tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark’s Square, near the front side of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 12 metres (39 ft) wide on each side and 50 metres (160 ft) tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells.

The top of the tower is the best way to view Venice. The cost to take the elevator to go to the top is 8 Euros a person. There was a long queue and 8 Euros is a steep price. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venie. The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel.

The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902. The tower is currently undergoing structural repairs in order to halt its subsidence.

St. Mark’s Basilica

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is commonly known as Saint Mark’s Basilica. It is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, connected to the Doge’s Palace.

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Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city’s cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice.

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In the upper register, from the top of ogee arches, statues of Theological and Cardinal Virtues, four Warrior Saints, Constantine, Demetrius, George, Theodosius and St Mark[ watch over the city. Above the large central window of the façade, under St Mark, the Winged Lion (his symbol) holds the book quoting “Peace to you Mark my evangelist”.

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In the lunettes of the lateral ogee arches are four gilded mosaics renewed in the 17th century. In the center of the balcony the Greek Horses face the square.

The Clock tower:

It comprises a tower, which contains the clock, and lower buildings on each side. The lower two floors of the tower make a monumental archway into the main street of the city, the Merceria, which linked the political and religious centre (the Piazza) with the commercial and financial centre (the Rialto).

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The clock is in blue and gold. It is inside a circle of marble engraved with the 24 hours of the day in Roman numerals. A golden pointer with an image of the sun moves round indicating the hour of the day. Within the marble circle beneath the sun pointer are the signs of the zodiac in gold (original from the 1490s), which show the position of the sun in the zodiac.

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The winged lion of Venice with the open book, with a blue background with gold stars. The symbol of St Mark, a winged lion armed with a sword, became the city’s emblem. It is a simple symbol to represent civil virtues, strength and courage.

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Below is the statues of the seated Virgin Mary and Child. On either side are two blue panels showing the time: the hour on the left (in Roman numerals) and the minutes on the right (in Arabic numerals).

Piazza San Marco:

After seeing these sights, we spend some time at the Piazza San Marco, commonly called the St. Marks Square. It is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful squares with its boutiques, traditional cafes, and historic buildings around it.

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Besides being filled with people Piazza San Marco is also full of pigeons. Pigeons have long been a problem in the square. The pigeons have caused much damage to the delicate mosaics on St. Mark’s Basilicia and to other buildings around the piazza. So, recently the city passed a law that banned the feeding of these birds. Several attempts have been made to control the pigeon population but have not been even slightly successful.

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Aishwarya’s mom had a piece of bread/cake with her. Soumya made small pellets of it and tried to lure the pegions. She was so fascinated by this… pigeon lady 🙂

 Random Snapshots:

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 After spending a few hours on the islands, looked around one last time, trying to capture the beauty in the human memory. Walked back to the location pointed out by our tour manager so that we were on time for the water taxi!!

Day 1: Milan

 We went to see the Milan city straight from the airport. People were excited, children were super excited to travel in Europe.

Milan, the capital of Lombardy, is the second largest city in Italy. It is the economic centre of the country with financial services, car industries, media empires, and fashion houses. It has the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, a fifteenth century castle, art galleries and museums displaying works by the old masters.

 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a double arcade structure is formed by two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza dellaScala.  It is housed within a four-storey double arcade. But it is true to say that the Galleria is a landmark on its own right.

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 It is supposed to be the world’s oldest shopping mall. The Galleria is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877, who fell to his death from the structure during construction.  It is still used a shopping center and houses high-end store like Gucci and Prada.

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The tradition tells that if a person put its right heel on the bull’s genitals depicted of the bull from Turin Coat of Armsand turn on himself three times, this will bring good luck. This practice causes damage to the mosaic: a hole developed on the place of the bull’s genitals.

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Dumo (the cathedral)

It was an amazing moment to step out of the Galleria into Piazza del Duomo and experience the grandeur and magnificence of the Cathedral of Milan.  It took a few moments to realize the shear massiveness of the fourth largest church in Europe and the largest in Italy.  The marble that adorns the cathedral actually came from the Lago Maggiore region of Northern Italy.  For a building that took over four hundred years to build, it is absoutely breathtaking!

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Dumo is the name for a cathedral. The Milan cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente.  It is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. It is said that the construction of Gothic cathedral started in 1380 and took nearly six centuries to complete. The golden ‘Madonnina’ (Little Madonna) stands on the largest pinnacle. It was created by Giovanni Perego in 1774.

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The Golden “Little Madonna”

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The enterance door to the church

 The façade was completed in 1813 at the behest of Napoleon Bonaparte, who chose to be crowned King of Italy here. Some 135 spires and 3,200 statues are crammed onto the roof and into the facade.

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Soumya and dad relaxing a bit…..

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Soumya in awe….

  It is recommended to go to the top of the cathedral. When we visited, some repair works were going on. The cathedral is white marble, over a brick core, and has a cruciform plan. It was designed to accommodate 40,000 worshippers. It is an imposing structure. The first thing that comes to mind is how the hell did people manage to construct such a cathedral? If the outside was mesmerizing, the inside was awesome.

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Stained glass window in the cathedral.

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More stained glass windows in the cathedral.

During World War II the Madonnina was wrapped up in rags to avoid light reflected from the statue attracting American bomber planes. But the Duomo was terribly damage and was later largely restored, while the surviving wooden doors were replaced iwth bronze doors made by the sculptors Arrigo Minerbi, Giannino Castiglioni and Luciano Minguzzi. For the last thirty years its façade has been the object of continued restoration and cleaning works to counteract the disastrous effects of smog and city traffic.

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During the XIX century all the remaining spires were completed and the central bronze door, by the Milanese sculptor Lodovico Pogliaghi, was installed. The interior has 52 pillars that divide it into a nave and four aisles containing numerous sarcophagi and altars of great historical and architectural value. The façade is a real summation of all Italian architectural styles. The present arrangement of the façade dates back to 1888; it is the work of Giuseppe Brentano.

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Piazza del Duomo

After enjoying the beauty of the cathedral, we stepped out into the Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral Square of Milan. It is the main piazza (city square) of Milan. It is named after, and dominated by, the Milan Cathedral (the Duomo). The piazza marks the center of the city.

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At the Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral Square of Milan.

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Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II

We sat there for a while to rest our aching feet and enjoyed the beauty of the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II. then we decided to circle the cathedral before going out to the meeting place, where we had to meet Mr. Manish.

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People playing awesome music on the streets

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Soumya drinking water from the streeet fountain.

Statue of Leonardo. Just outside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (next to La Scala) is the statue of Leonardo. There is a sitting area around it. After looking around, Soumya and I sat here for a while observing the birds sitting on the heads of the statue.

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Statue of Leonardo

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A beautiful green tree.

One thing that I noticed is that about 90% of the people (young, old, boys, girls, women, men)weres moking and puffing. It sort of left me suffocated. Everybody seemed to be smokers.

Others:

It you are interested in seeing the famous works of art in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, you will have to guarantee your visit by making reservations for the same. Reservations to see this legendary painting are limited and sell out quickly, sometimes months in advance. We did not see this. The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, is housed at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, and has earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The famous fresco has enjoyed increased popularity since the publication of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

At 6.45 pm, we all boarded the coach, went straight for dinner. Enjoyed a nice Indian dinner at “Aangan”. After all the flight meals related goofup by MMT, we all were so very hungry and enjoyed our first dinner at Europe. Then went to the hotel (Idea San Siro) where stayed for the night!!

European Summer Bonanza 2013: An Introduction

Soumya, our daughter is in now entering the 12th grade. Ever since she stepped into 9th grade, people have been bombarding us with suggestions, opinions, ideas, and information regarding how we should be taking care of her current studies and further education. It served the purpose—it did scare me a little.

Knowing what the condition would be after she appears for her 12th exam in 2014, we decided to go for the much overdue vacation this year. In December 2012, we went to the Banasura resort on a holiday with one of our close family friend (Sreekumar and family) from Bangalore. Then, they mentioned that they were planning to go for the Europe tour through Make My Trip (MMT). They had already paid the booking amount.

We thought it would be a good idea to go for the trip as we will have a good company too. That’s how we ended up signing for this trip. Unfortunately, their visa was rejected. Jayaprakash was on the verge of cancelling our trip as well, but finally Soumya coaxed him to proceed with it.

The itineary was as follows:

Well, our flight from Mumbai to Doha was on 14th May 2013 4.00 am. Then we went from Doha to Milan. We reached Milan at 14th 2.00 pm (local time). We were supposed to meet our Tour Director Manish Vakharia at Milan Malpensa Airport outside the arrival area. that’s when we realized that we were a group of 47 from India for this trip. Since it was only 2.00 pm, Manish decided to take us around Milan and we all readily agreed.

Europe’s climate is temperate. However, there are differences in the climates of different regions. Most rainfall takes place in the Alps and in a band along the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to the west coast of Greece. Most rain takes place in the summer, due to westerly winds from the Atlantic that hit the British Isles, the Benelux, western Germany, northern France and south-western Scandinavia.

The best time to visit Europe is in the summer. In July-August, most places have average highs of around 23-24°C, but these temperatures cannot be taken for granted. In any case, in India, the summer vacation is in April and May. So these are the months we can travel to Europe and enjoy a good holiday. So our holiday package was from 14th to 26th May 2013.

Somethings to remember:

  • Carry a nice woollen jacket. Most of the time it is cold and windy. It is specially necessary, if you are from south of India where there is no Winter.
  • Carry comfortable walking shoes. In some plcase you have to walk a lot
  • Also carry a cap, sunglasses, and an umbrella.
  • If you plan to go to Mr Titlis or Jungfraujoch, carry a nice wollen cap or muffler and a pair of gloves. You WILL need it.
  • Have some small currencies (in Euroes). Except for a couple of places, you will have shell out 0.7 to 2 Euroes to use the public restroom.
  • Take good care of your handbags and your purces—there are a lot cases of pickpocketing.
  • Just in case you haooen to loose your bag, quickly check the trash cans. Chances are that the person who has stolen your bag will quickely remove the valuables and trhow the bag in the trash can. You mught be able to retreive your valuable documents.
  • In most places, soecially Milan, Venice, etc, you don’t have to worry about carrying water bottles as you will see water fountains at most of the places where you can drink water.

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