Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Just plain lucky to be alive now.

“If water enters the airways of a conscious victim the victim will try to cough up the water or swallow it thus inhaling more water involuntarily. Upon water entering the airways, both conscious and unconscious victims experience laryngospasm, that is the larynx or the vocal cords in the throat constrict and seal the air tube. This prevents water from entering the lungs. Because of this laryngospasm, water enters the stomach in the initial phase of drowning and very little water enters the lungs.” – WIkipedia

I remember that point in which I had swallowed the water…it was utter loneliness and the realization that I am drowning. A terrible moment, and one of the worst of all near-death experiences… an empty, pitch-black darkness and a singular loneliness… when that sinking feeling (stupid pun intended) becomes all too real.

And, when all hope was lost, and the mind was preparing for the final stage – unconsciousness, two hands pulled me up to a raft. Fortunately, there was atleast one raft behind us and they could paddle good enough to come to the proper spot.

How did I end up in this mess? My raft had collapsed after hitting a rock in the white-water course in the Alaknanda River near the Himalayas (Uttarakhand).  This happens if the rafters weights are not balanced or if one group in the raft doesn’t paddle properly to change directions. Usually nothing happens since everyone wears a life jacket and experts are nearby to rescue you.

But in my case it was an improbably unlucky event, as the rafting expert couldn’t see me because I was “under” the toppled raft, head down, legs up, trying to grasp the raft or a rope hoping someone on the raft would pull me up (this was the instruction given to us by the expert before we started the course).

My life-jacket ensured I didn’t sink, but being a non-swimmer, I couldn’t get my head up the water because of the strong current of the rapids near the rock.  Luckily, one raft colleague who got rescued alerted the team following us that there was still one guy trapped below the capsized raft…and finally after ONE WHOLE MINUTE under water, I was pulled out.

Geez. Try holding your breath for one minute. Now try doing the same under water. Next try doing it when the water is icy cold at around 4 – 5 degrees C.  Add some swift water currents to the mix. Now you know what am talking about.

7 rafts along the river, with 6 novices vs 1 or 2 experts in each. I keep thinking, what if my raft was the LAST one and no raft had followed behind us? Worse, the raft behind us (which too had majority first-timers paddling) could have missed me or the river current could have taken it a distance away or they could have collapsed themselves.

It also shows us the futility of life-jackets. They are not foolproof in the case of non-swimmers, as sometimes you can get trapped head-down under the raft and get pulled by the river currents.

Some 10 minutes after the rescue, I could breathe normally after a few heavy burps because of the enormous amount of water I had swallowed. Am I ever going to do white water rafting again? Yes, if there are two experts for every single novice in the raft. Any ratio lower than this is unsafe and reckless, and should be banned by the Govt. (Am defining a “Novice” as someone who is rafting for the first time and doesn’t know to swim).

Am having a painful sinus infection after the river water entered my nose and eyes…and have lost my expensive spectacles. But I can happily live with this for a couple of days…as it feels a whole lot better than that other “sinking” feeling.

To see how a capsized raft can kill, click on this link: 2001 rafting accident (BBC)

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Mona Lisa Mystery Solved!

So it turns out to be the original suspect –  Lisa del Giocondo,  after all! What an anti-climax. Would have been good fun if it was Leonardo Da Vinci himself in drag or some hidden trick painting.

Mona Lisa

The irony is that the Louvre Museum in Paris has ALWAYS maintained the painting’s title as “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo”. In other words, Miss Lisa del Giocondo… Duh!!!

Anyways, you can read the Reuters News report below:

German experts crack Mona Lisa smile

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Best repsonse to a cricketing rant of 2005

The RICKY PONTING rant: “I think it is an absolute disgrace the spirit of the game is being treated like that. [Duncan] Fletcher has known right the way through the summer this is something we haven’t been happy with, but it’s continued. He knows it’s something that has got under our skins and I’ve had enough of it, and I let him know that, and most of his players too. Being here in England they’ve obviously got the resources to just draft in the best fieldsmen that they possibly can at the time. The way they’ve been doing it is just before their bowlers are about to bowl they’ll send them off for a short amount of time to have a bit of a loosen-up and a massage and that sort of stuff, and come back on and bowl. As soon as they’ve finished their spell they’ll do exactly the same thing. It’s within the rules of the game but it’s just not within the spirit of the game, which is what we’re all trying to uphold.”

And the DUNCAN FLETCHER response: “You want to take a run to a cover fielder and get run out, whose fault is that? You know what’s more? All the palaver caused me to burn my toast.”

Source: Wisden Cricinfo

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What does “Reem” mean?

So you are a fan of the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex (popularly called “TOWIE”) and want to desperately know what “Reem” actually means? Reem has often been used by Joey Essex to describe his hair. You have asked your neighbours, friends, everyone in office and are scratching your head for the answer! Like everyone else in the U.K. you finally hit the internet and type “Reem definition” or “what does Reem mean” and voila, you have reached this blog.  You have to suffer no longer mate as this post along with the detailed feedback from readers in the Comments section (I highly recommend you read all the comments)  is arguably your single best resource to know everything about the word “Reem”.

– Reem – Joining vajazzle, ohshatuuuup and jel in the Essex dictionary, we know have the word reem. Invented inside the mysterious empty void that is Joey Essex’s brain, we’re not entirely clear what the term means, but apparently it’s a phrase of endearment. It may seem idiotic right now (and it is), but trust us, you’ll all be saying it in a couple of months’ time. As Joey Essex so poetically put on his Twitter account today, “Look reem… smell reem… be reem… Reem.”

TOWIE is UK’s answer to  the “The Hills” or “Jersey Shore” and has gone insane on Social Media. The popularity among teenagers in Britain is really out of control prompting social commentators to research the phenomenon. Check out British blogger Ashe’s post on the same on ITBLOKE. Like what happens in modern day pop culture, Joey’s usage of the word “REEM”  has gone viral!

The slang usage is apparently derived from Swedish and is used to describe an incredibly sexy and physically talented individual. A “reem” is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach “reem status”.  This is now used like an adjective and to summarize the pop-culture meaning today in a single word, “reem” means “sexy”.  There is even a Facebook Community Page for the Joey Essex derived usage of the word Reem. The Telegraph though has opted for a slightly toned down definition calling it a  term of endearment to mean ‘cool’.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show. Photo: ITV

But what is the TRADITIONAL meaning of the word “Reem”, which is used as a first name by many (including myself)?

Many people have asked me what my name actually means…to which I have had no clear answer! While “Reem”is used as a female name in the Arab world (for ex: Reem Acra) and in Israel for males (ex:  Reem Aminoach) as well.  As one reader pointed out it is a family name or surname in Dutch (ex: van Reem) and surnames  are historically taken after a male patriarch in most societies. This confounds the matter even more.

Finally, after hours of searching & reading, the mysterious meaning of the semitic word “Reem” has been explained…that too in the most unexpected of places.

Read this early 19th Century report of a curious event which took place in Glasgow City published in the Glasgow Argus newspaper:

Glasgow Argus
MONDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 7, 1835

…Our visitor is of ancient lineage, though we are by no means certain that it can be traced quite so far back as his flatterers have attempted to do. Some have represented him as the lineal descendant of the Reem , of whom mention is made in the Books of Number and Deuteronomy, in the Psalms, in Job, and in Isaiah. The genealogy is not very clearly made out. In the kindred dialect of the Arabic, Rem denotes an antelope. Of course this does not prove that the Hebrew Reem was an antelope; for only from scientific zoologists can we expect critical accuracy in the matter of names, and we know well the carelessness with which colonists apply the names of the beasts and birds of their fatherland to those which they find in their new domicile. On the other hand, the text of the Septuagint favours the identity of the Reem with the rhinoceros, by translating it monoceros . The Ethiopic translation of the Scriptures renders it Arwe Harish , the names of the rhinoceros; this, however, is of little consequence, as it seems now to be admitted that that translation was made from the Septuagint. This latter, however, was effected before the birth of our Saviour, by Jews resident in Egypt, at a time when the rhinoceros was frequently exhibited there as a part of the royal pomp of the Ptolemies.

The account given of the form and habits of the Reem , in the sacred books, are far too slender to add anything satisfactory to this vague guess-work. In one passage it seems implied that the Reem was abundant on the north-east frontier of the Israelites, from Anti-Lebanon towards Bozrah. In “Job” the strength of the animal, and the impossibility of making it available in agricultural labour, is hinted at. The elevation of the horn is always the most prominent, if indeed not the only feature alluded to. In the twenty-second Psalm, it would almost seem, from the juxtaposition, that the “shooting of the lip” was the image which raised up the Reem in the poet’s imagination. Altogether, these combined hints produce a very faint and indistinct picture of the animal…

Read more of the Indian Rhino’s visit to the UK over here:
Rhino in Glasgow

Here’s an alternative definitions for “Reem” where scholars say it translates to a “wild ox” and not “rhinoceros or unicorn”. Click here: Unicorns and the KJV

In the Arab world, “Reem” is mistakenly understood to mean  “gazelles” or “pure white antelopes”  or ” young deers” or  “white rabbits” and even “seaweed formed on ocean surface” depending on who you speak to. This confusion is not surprising as lots of Arabic words have digressed from their original Semitic roots. Take for example the famous case of the word  “‘houris” which has been wrongly understood for centuries as “doe -eyed fair maidens” when they actually mean “white raisins of crystal clarity”.  (Source: The Guardian)

Interestingly, “REEM” is also the name of two Intelligent Humanoid Robots created by PAL ROBOTICS.

Another famous “Reem” is  Alistair “The Reem” Overeem a Dutch Mixed Martial Artist and kickboxer. “The Reem” made history by being the only fighter in combat sports to hold a world title in both MMA and in K-1 kickboxing at the same time.

a Swedish word used to describe an incredibly sexy, vulgar and physically talented individual. A reem is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach reem status as well as those who are.

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Here’s lookin at you kid


“The trouble with the world… is that it’s always one drink behind.”

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