Tag Archives: @shantanubaruah

Shining Moon

Moon And You

You are like the moon,
Scald by the sun yet always disseminating a soothing glow.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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France Travelogue​ – Cannes Day 2

Cannes

Cannes, oh you beauty. The glamor, nature’s brilliance, historic monuments, and miles of sea blue settings, Cannes had it all.

Ever since France decided to make Cannes as the world’s film and arts center in the year 1946, the place had been sought after by the who’s who of the celebrity world. Be it leisurely vacation or for the shooting of films like the Golden Eye, Cannes had innumerable Hollywood’s memories canvassed all around the place. Like the locals said, if the hotels had ears, there would be untold stories to tell.

We dedicated about 6 hours to explore Cannes. This time we decided to take the train – a 20 minutes ride from Nice St. Augustine station.  Right outside the train station, there was an information center. You can get all the tour details or a city map if you would like to explore the place on feet.

We made a left from the train station and headed towards the beach,  about 20 minutes walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette.  Once we reached the waters, we made a slight right to reach the main attraction of Cannes – Palais des Festivals et des Congres.

The Petit train ride was one of the best way to explore the city.  The train was about a 40 minutes ride and ran every 30 minutes.  One could board the train right outside Palais des Festivals for 10 Euros, children under 12 could ride for free.  The train offered a running commentary, with headphones and choice of language. I highly recommend listening to the interesting facts while enjoying the ride.

The tour would take you through the beach side-walk showcasing the famous hotels, the old port, arrays of shops and the old town.

Palais des Festivals et des Congres  was the main attraction at Cannes. We stopped by the red carpet that had graced the past and the present celebrities on its famous stairs. We took some time to enjoy the view, strolled around the beachside park and captured some memories. The toy train started right outside the famous red carpet stairs, and we waited for our ride to arrive.

The toy train ride took us through the famous Boulevard de la Croisette. On one side we saw the elegant strip with the display of famous hotels such as Le Grand Hotel,  Majestic Barriere, and Martinez and on the other side, we saw the beautiful beaches of Cannes.

The train then looped around the Palm Beach Casino, the place where the young and the rich party. The place offered game rooms facing the Lerins Islands, an upscale restaurant, and terrace overlooking the sea.  Shortly after that, the train took us through the branded arrays of shops through the narrow streets of Cannes.

From there the train headed towards the old town, Le Suquet. The town sat on top of a hill overlooking Cannes. The cobbled streets, the narrow pathways and the local restaurants, all provide the distinct flavor of the history of this place which dated back to the 12th century.  The train then climbed the narrow road and stopped by an old fortress – the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance. The fortress was built in the 14th century and offered some stunning views of the old harbor and the city.

The stone roads were laid over 400 years ago and gave the reminiscent history of the old fisherman’s bringing their fresh catch to the old market(Marche Forville) alongside the rue-saint Antonie road.

After 40 minutes of the enthralling ride, we concluded our journey at the Palais de Congres building.

After a quick bite in a close by Italian joint, we headed to the beach. The French Riviera had all kinds of beaches – Rocky, pebble, and Sand. Cannes offers mostly sandy beaches. The waves were mild and water was warm enough for us to enjoy the rest of the afternoon soaked in water and sand.

It was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the Monaco by the Night tour.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Finding The Right Words

As an aspiring author, one of the most tedious jobs I invariably face is to find that one word, which can express my writing in the most desirable way. How I always avoid getting entangled in those long-winded sentences and attempt to express my thoughts in few select verse.

Let me explain this with an example. I am sure you remember the distinct smell of mud after the first rain. That pungent smell that is so hard to explain, but it lingers on your mind. You can feel it but struggle hard to express it in words. Well, there is a word for it – it is called Petrichor. Will it not be cool to use this word in your writing. Something like,

“You are the raindrop that meddlewith soil,
petrichor raising gently making my heartto moil, 
The colors of rainbow defines your being,
You are a free-spirited anima with a soul that is clean.”

So how do you get such words in your treasure trove? Let us explore

Read voraciously, but with a twist – we all know the best way to become a better writer is by becoming an even superior reader. But reading alone is not enough. To become a good writer you need to exhibit some discipline in reading. Here are few things I religiously do

  1. Select books on the genre you are writing on. Reading the same genre helps in not only understanding how the plots are built, but also to appreciate the author’s choice of words.
  2. While reading, as you come across a difficult word or a word that gets your attention, note it down. Look them up in the dictionary, understand what it means.
  3. Noting the words is not enough though. We are not wired to remember everything that comes to us. So put them in practice. How? Learn what parts of speech the word is. Create your own sentences. Implement it. Experiment it. The more you use them, higher the chance of you using them in your writing.

It is not easy to read a book with such constraints. It takes much longer to finish, and at times may break the excitement of reading. Particularly if the book is interesting. But who says writing is easy.

Thesaurus – a boon or curse: Writing has become much easier than before. Tools like Microsoft Word gives ready access to word banks. While synonym does help, blind use of the same will make your writing look shallow. Here is why

  1. A synonym is a replacement for a word to word. It is not an alternative to a sentence or a phrase.
  2. It is a misconception that using a difficult word makes writing look cool. It is the choice of right words, not difficult that makes writing interesting.
  3. Not all words describe the same situation. Consider the following sentence. “The rescuers marked him alive after the catastrophic storm.”  One of the synonyms of alive is extant. However, “extant” is used more in the context of the existence of documents. So if one chose to use extant instead of alive the sentence will not make sense.
  4. Be careful with the parts of speech. Some synonyms are adjectives. And replacing a noun with an adjective can make your sentence confusing. Consider this. “The fetters clamped him to the ground.” One of the synonyms of fetter is a constraint. However, while fetter is used as a noun in the above sentence, the constraint is a verb. Changing fetters to constraints is not appropriate in the above situation.

So when you use synonym, consider the tense, the parts of speech and enhancement factor before using them.

These are some of the simple, yet powerful ways I have used to enhance my writing. Hope you find it useful. Let me know your thoughts, and if you have few more hidden tricks up your sleeves, please leave them in the discussion thread.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah