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A City of Smiling Hearts and Creative Souls
|by Ramendra Kumar|
If someone had told me that the color of peace could be red – and that too a bright, flaming, passionate red, I would never have believed him or her. However, in Oslo I saw and experienced Peace and love, trust and togetherness in red. The place was the Nobel Peace Centre. As soon as I and my wife Madhavi entered it, we were overwhelmed by the ambience. The walls, the roof, the floor, the interiors were all a flamboyant red and everywhere we looked we saw the symbols of peace from Martin Luther King to Dalai Lama, Gorbachev to Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa to Aung San Suu Kyi in perfect sync with the milieu. Key chains, book marks, CDs, greetings, post cards, books et al were on sale : we had the option of carrying back a little bit of Peace with us.
Shaped like a castle the Nobel Peace Centre is a truly fascinating place. It has a Nobel Field where all the Peace Prize Laureates are showcased. Another star attraction is the world’s only interactive wall paper which contains more than three thousand articles on the Nobel Peace Laureates.
Oslo is the second largest Scandinavian city, after Stockholm. It looked lovely as we cruised into the harbor and I was reminded of Roald Dahl’s words “When I was young, the capital of Norway was not called Oslo. It was called Kristiania. But somewhere along the line, the Norwegians decided to do away with that pretty name and call it Oslo instead.”
Our first stop was The Holmenkollen ski jump, which is host to the world's second oldest ski jump competition still in existence. It was a very picturesque location and I felt that asking us to spend just ten minutes at a spot of such breathtaking beauty was an injustice to our sensibilities and an insult to the locale.
As we went around looking at the creations I could only gaze in complete fascination and admiration at the sheer genius on display. Statues in stone of old women and men with their sagging breasts, wrinkles under their eyes and around their mouths, sculptures of young men with their muscles taut, those of young women with their perfect curves and toddlers with their supple bodies looking fresh and pure - all etched with such precision that it left me spell bound.
Gustav Vigeland’s eye for detail and his absolute mastery over his craft was awesome. The sculptures were housed in a huge garden which was resplendent with flowers and majestic lawns. From the centre as you moved towards the exit there were rows of statues, each one as eye catching as the next. The neatness and the cleanliness of the garden were outstanding with not a speck of dirt or litter anywhere.
Later we roamed the streets happily drinking in the sights. At one spot we found a middle aged man sitting on a bench playing a guitar. The tune was really melodious and we just sat there enthralled by the euphony as well as the passion with which he was playing. Beside him was a glass in which passers by were dropping coins. One could possibly term it ‘begging’ but he was doing it with a lot of grace and dignity and I for one felt nothing but admiration for him.
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