Traveling Raconteur

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Day Four: Jewel of the Universe

It was a great decision to get to Trafalgar square, Catharine was very excited about the ‘huge’ Christmas tree there, she had said that I shouldn’t miss it!

As I walked those familiar streets from Piccadilly to Trafalgar, a jewellery store caught my eye – on display in the store was a life-size, shining world map that was just wow! I wouldn’t dare enter a jewellery store in Trafalgar – one would laugh at the means I had for my travels so there was no question of visiting a place so expensive but then, I saw that the map could be very well examined from outside, through the glass window. Happy that I didn’t have to step in, I stood outside the store admiring the gorgeous, scintillating, beautiful world map. It looked like it was made of precious crystals.


As I stood there in the cold admiring the map, one of the staff members, a friendly looking big foreigner beckoned me inside. I said I was fine and wasn’t looking at buying anything to which he replied ‘it costs nothing to see!’ Warmed by his kind disposition, I entered the store to take a closer look at the awesome map – I had never seen cartographic treasure that beautiful – ever! The big, kind man explained to me that the world map was made with the gem stones – that it is incredible.

Upon entering the store, I realized that it wasn’t really a store but a gallery – the ROA Gallery, specially hired to display this dazzling work called ‘The Jewel of Universe,’ by Chris Chamberlain.

From the website: Created by English-Chinese artist Chris Chamberlain, Jewel of the Universe shows the entire world from a God-like perspective of looking down from space. It consists of around a third of a million hand-cut pieces of stained glass – with 97% of those pieces having been cut by the artist himself. It also consists of 260 carats of natural cut jewels including sapphires, aquamarines, zircons and a single diamond, with each jewel indicating a city.

THIS IS AMAZING – what a jewel I stumbled upon on my solo wandering!

Just when I thought it can’t get amazing than this, the kind man at the gallery showed me the list of places on the map and the jewel used. I looked up Hyderabad where I currently live – Zircon and was thrilled to find Vijayawada – my hometown – what I discovered then was awesome. The stone used for Vijayawada is topaz, the only stone I wear on me.  I showed my ring to the gallery man pointing to the place I come from – he was amazed.


Seeing me gleam with joy, the gallery gentleman decided to treat me to another spectacular view – “Do you want to see how the stones shine in darkness?” – to which I had no answer as I wasn’t sure what he meant and before I could imagine, he switched the lights off. In that darkness, the map glistened, dazzling with such breath-taking beauty like I’ve never seen before. I could only “wow.”

I learnt more about this artwork online and loved this part of the story that the artist one day felt defeated due to a meltdown and was going to decide on stalling or discontinuing his projects when,… But on the evening of that day, in a pub garden in Greenwich, a moment of (possibly divine) inspiration struck: ‘look inside yourself, trust your own tastes, and from them make something so stratospheric that even you’d be impressed every time you saw it.’  And with that inspiration, he made this!

Read the rest of the story here:

I didn’t know it then and really wish I did, that the only diamond on the canvas is on Freetown, Sierra Leone  – read the story in the pdf above.

Touched and energized by the illumination from this breath-taking piece of art, and with a bright, bejewelled smile, I walked towards London’s biggest Christmas tree

 no light,

no matter how bright

could impress me anymore that night. 


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This entry was posted on December 9, 2013 by in Travels and tagged , .

Fighting An Additction

Not One MoreSeptember 12th, 2014
Addiction is a curse one allows upon one's self until it ceases to seek permission. I do not like the idea of a mind controlled by substance. If I can refrain for 30 days, I'd be very impressed with myself.

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