Wednesday, December 31, 2008
There are two things which i will be doing differently this time. Not party or celebrate New Year and try and make a New Year Resolution. Better still stick to it! Both will be a first for me!
New Year somehow doesn't seem the same anymore. There isn't the excitement and enthusiasm to plan a party or be a part of the celebrating. Big Deal, its just another year, another day. What's the reason to party or celebrate? Before you think i am sounding depressed, let me just set the record straight :D I don't feel like New Year has to be ushered in loudly.I just feel like spending some quite time today.Maybe i am a little weird, maybe i have mellowed down or maybe i am plain lazy. :D
However, I am planning to have a New Year resolution this time.I was never a believer in this.But its more like a wish list! :D
Hey, this is as good a time as any to start something new or pick up from where you left off. There are two things on my resolutions list. The first one is to stay fit and lead a healthy lifestyle and the second is to start driving my car.The rest of the stuff i am pretty content with.
Here's to another year! Have a great 2009 folks!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Its got everything from to places to see, restaurant listings, hotels and lodges listing with the telephone numbers. It also has these little tips about the best time to visit a particular place, what to look out for, what to give a miss etc.
My next visit to a bookstore i am definitely picking up a copy.
Yay to The Lonely Planet!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
If you still dont heed my warning ,go ahead and get bored!
My niece Disha is visiting us for a couple of months and its soooo much fun being around her. She is 3 months shy of turning two!I was apprehensive meeting her at the airport as she has never seen me in person before. ( The one week visit when she was 5 months old doesnt count!) She knows me only through the computer and through photographs..Boy! Was i delighted when she instantly recognized me and flashed a big grin at me :)
Some interesting conversations with Disha :D
What's your name?
Deeeesha! (She's slowly losing the American accent now and manages to say Disha!)
Me : Bruum yen ayithu? (What happened to the balloon?)
Disha : Bruum phoos.....
Me : Yaake phoos? (Why?)
Disha : Disha koootho (Disha sat on it!)
What's Disha eating?
shheal , doya bowl (cereal in her Dora bowl)
or kaanbeyy (Cranberry)
or something unintelligible!
What did Ravana do to Jatayu?
cut cut cut! (Ravana clips off Jatayu's wings in one of the episodes of Ramayana)
What does Disha watch on TV?
Namanana and Mahahaha (Ramayana and Mahabharatha)
What does amma say to Disha?
Iknnoooo! ("I know!" Thats what my sis says in response to Disha's babbling!)
Who is America's president?
I am having a great time with her! :D
Monday, December 1, 2008
Thanks so much sweetheart! :)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have seen on TV and movies junkies snorting cocaine or smoking marijuana.
However today i got to witness firsthand some one actually under the haze of addictive stuff.
This happened on my way to work while traveling in an auto rickshaw. While we were waiting for the traffic lights to go green, i noticed this person sitting on the sidewalk,inhaling from a bottle. On close observation i realized that it was a commonly used correction fluid called Erazex. It is cheap and easily available and the most common addicts to such stuff are the urchins and people living off streets.
They probably see it as a means of attaining quick relief from the harsh life that reality offers them. They would rather be living under an illusion than be faced with hunger, homelessness and the generally desolate life they lead.
I looked up for more information on this and found an article relevant to the city i live in. You can read more about it here . It was published sometime last year.
In comparison to this, it left me wondering why people who seem to be relatively doing well in life end up doing substance abuse.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Took up this tag from here. Though i am not 30 yet, i though i would take up this tag. That way i would still have 5 years to catch up on things i have missed!
Feel free to take it up yourself! You are supposed to highlight things you have done.Some of the things are really weird!!
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg (Does a glacier count?)
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (I think K had it at one point :D )
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight ????
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (it helps if your friend is a journo)
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes ???
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
Friday, November 14, 2008
One such incident happened at office today. We were all talking over our morning coffee at the pantry, boss included.
There are a series of events happening in office as a run up to the annual day.I found that the activities were not as well-organized compared to the previous year and expressed so.
The minute i said this , the boss said , "I approved the mail that was sent out".
I should have known then to keep my mouth shut then and not go on, knowing that he was part of the organizing committee. But no, I had to go on and elaborate why i thought it could have been better.
Sigh! Next time hope i think hard before i blurt out something.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I am sure we have all done this when we were kids. Swinging our arms with sparklers in hand and be delighted at the play of lights by the sparklers.
The lady wanted her son to experience the same joy that she had ,when she was a kid. Sadly by the tone of the voice, the kid mistook it to be some kind of a ritual which is performed before one lights a flower pot.
So before lighting every cracker, the kid would move his arms in circles once or twice with the sparkler in hand.
This got me thinking as to how a lot of such inane activities have come to become strict norms in the Hindu culture.
How many of such things we follow without ever questioning the rationale behind it?
In South India, we are still not allowed to cut our nails after dark.Its the same when it comes to plucking flowers or leaves. The way i see it, back in those days when there was no electricity ,you wouldn't want to cut your finger accidentally or be bitten by insects when you were out picking the flowers!
The Rangoli\Kolam was drawn in front of the house to ward off insects. So was the thoranam of fresh mango and neem leaves which adorn the main door of the house during festivities.
I can think of lot more such examples but i am sure you must have got the drift by now :)
Of course not all rituals are without logic.I am sure most of them have some logical explanation. But over centuries , the meaning behind the rituals have been lost and they have reduced to a set of meaningless activities.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Is there anything left to talk? To make up for the years of silence?
The words had never flowed easily. There was never a feeling of kinship. They had never been giggly teenagers who had shared secrets ,talked about crushes,gossiped about others.
She always felt she didn't measure up to the standards.
Why then did she feel that she still had to hold on to this one?
Friday, October 31, 2008
We were in awe of both his documentary and his passion for researching the valley. We couldn't wait to be there amidst the flowers ourselves.
As i walked along i realized this kind of beauty is to be enjoyed and cherished in the company of a loved one and decided to wait for K after all ;)
We went walking along and taking pics and came across this glacier. There was huge crack right down to the middle of the glacier threatening to split and come crashing down any minute.
The glacier on the way to the valley. Notice the crack in the middle?
I simply cannot describe in words the rest of the walk. All i have to do is close my eyes to be transported back to that serene place. I will instead share some pics of the place.
The valley is itself huge. Flowers of one kind grow in patches. Cross-pollination has led to the same variety of flowers growing in different hues.Thats what lend the color to the valley.It feels like the valley is one never ending stretch.
This is where we settled down for lunch. It was the best picnic i have ever had. While the rest of the gang wanted to further into the valley and also visit the grave of Margaret Legge , a botanist who died in the valley on her quest for more information on the flowers.
Panoramic view of the valley of flowers.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I am wondering what possibly would make him want to speak to me! We usually just nod and exhange a hi when we see each other.
He starts by saying he needs some information about an "alliance" for his nephew.This particular "alliance" happens to be my cousin's daughter.
The conversation went like this :
Neighbor : Nimm kade ondu hudgi idaaLe.... nimm tande cousin magaLu anthe...
me : err...(racking my brains to figure out whom he is speaking about.After a long explanation realised who he was talking about)
Neighbor : "hudgi hege? ok na? ("Whats your opinion about the girl?")
me : huh? err... yeah very nice girl and good family as well! (duh!!)
Neighbor : hudgi akka divorcee anthe? (Her sister is a divorcee)
Me : Akka divorcee aadre yenu? (How does it matter?)
Neighbor : proceed madbahuda ?("Should we go ahead?")
me : hmm... haan ....proceed maadi....yenu problem illa....(sure why not...go ahead!)
Neighbor : "naavu ade yochne maadtiddvi....sadhya eega ondu reference sikktalla!"(Its a good thing that we found a reference)
I just grin stupidly and nod my head!
I have never been asked such questions before! duh, i didnt know how to react! For God's sake,how does my opinion about a person matter in situations like this!Its upto the two people seeking alliance how they like each other and how much they think they would be compatible.And how does it matter what's the marital status is of the rest of the family?
I then realised that one's status in the Indian society is elevated after marriage.Your opnion matters when it comes hitching up two people!
What if something goes wrong and they blame me later in life?yikes! i want my single status back when faced with such situations! :D
Friday, October 24, 2008
Since my usual lunch gang in office was out on vacation owing to Diwali, i thought of giving it a try today.
Now, it is very important to choose the place where you want to enjoy your first solitary meal. It should either be a very crowded place like a fast food joint, where no one notices you or it should be a place where there aren't many people. The popular restaurants are not a good choice. People instantly notice that you are alone and they might end up thinking you are a loser to be dining alone! You will be subjected to pitying glances or stares, making you conscious and that might ruin the whole experience of dining alone.
After deciding between the food court in the nearest mall and a small, quiet cafe in the nearby theater auditorium, off i went to the mall close to my work place. This also gave me a chance to go pick up a few books that i had been wanting to. After almost an hour of browsing through the various sections in the bookstore, i picked up a few books and then headed off to the food court in the mall.
The shortest line was at the subway counter and I decided to head there. After the sub was ready, I found myself a quiet corner and settled down to enjoy the meal with the one of the books that i had bought. Unfortunately it is difficult to read a book when you are attacking a sub whose stuffing threatens to spill out in all directions.
I gave up reading the book and settled down to the next best thing , studying other people. :D
I noticed that there were a few more people enjoying their solitary lunch.One girl looked like she had a lot of experience (nope am not judging her social life :D). She was totally immersed in the novel she was reading. There were others who were not quite comfortable eating alone.All they wanted was to be done with their lunch quickly!There were techies in large groups enjoying their friday lunch, flaunting their company identity cards. Then there were these college kids who looked like they had bunked classes to enjoy with their friends. And all the aunties out for their Diwali shopping getting a respite from slogging in the kitchen. And of course the high-society types. It always makes me wonder why they would want to eat at a food court. I saw Charu Sharma once at the food court in another popular mall in the city.
By this time i had finished eating my sub and i would say it was not a bad experience eating alone. One lesson from this was experience is not to order something messy if you are planning on enjoying your meal with only a book for company!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Kaavad Mela in Haridwar
After freshening up and eating a hearty breakfast we started our bus journey towards JoshiMath to reach another GMVN. The journey itself was very pleasant and we spent our time looking at the passing landscape ,getting acquainted with the KMA group. The group was in top spirits as we started gaining altitude leaving behind the sweltering heat of Haridwar.
The next day was when all the hard work started.Our destination was the small hamlet Ghangria which is a 13 kilometres trek from Govindghat,about 30 kms from Joshimat. The distance sounded easy enough but turned out to be a killer as we had discounted the terrain and the heavily laden rucksacks.
The initial part of the trek was exciting as it was an easy walk up the hill with breath taking views of the mountains around and the gushing torrents of Ganga in the gorge beside us. As the initial adrenaline rush wore off,and the landscape remained unchanged, we began to experience fatigue.The 8-kg ruck-sack made things worse. The final descent was almost impossible and i was ready to give up. Only the thought of some hot food and a warm bed kept me going :D .
There are small dhabas all along the way for weary pilgrims and trekkers to rest and restore their energy levels with steaming hot chai,paranthas or maggi. Everything here is twice as expensive as the only means of carrying these goods are using mules.
One of the many dhabas on our way....
We later realised that this was the toughest part of the trek! Some places it was almost a 90 degree incline.Once we reached Ghangaria, we were told to look for Hotel Priya which would be the place where we would be camping for the next three days .I was sure glad when atlast i spotted Hotel Priya!
The next day was the trek to the holy shrine of the Sikhs, Hemkund Sahib.
We started the trek around 6 AM in the morning. The visibility was almost zero. All along the way we heard the pilgrims periodically bursting into "Jo Bole So Nihaal,Satsri akaal".Sounded more like a war cry to me! And then there were others who would chant Ik Onkaar non-stop. It was amazing how these people effortlessly managed the climb, chanting all the while , when most of were focusing our efforts on just walking along the mountain.
We reached the peak after a 3 hour trek and we were in for a disappointment, the Hemkund lake was fully covered in mist. Having seen beautiful pictures of this place on the web, this turned out to be a major dampener.
We decided to visit the gurudwara first before heading to the langar. Blankets are provided inside the shrine for all pilgrims. After warming ourselves ,we headed to the langar to eat some steaming hot kicchdi and drink some sickly sweet tea. It was manna for us weary trekkers.
Having my hunger pangs satisified, i felt guilty of not doing any Seva(volunteer work) in the langar. So a bunch of us sat down to the task of washing the vessels. It seemed like some people volunteered to this task becuase they got to soak their hands in hot water when it was freezing outside ;)
Inside the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara.......
Having waited for a while for the mist to clear, we set out downhill. This seemed relatively easy and halfway through the mist cleared. That is when we realised how narrow the path was and how steep the precipice was!
We climbed down quickly enough and were delighted to be treated to hot hot Jalebis and chai!
Monday, October 20, 2008
K and i being avid travelers, decided to trek to the valley of flowers in Uttaranchal. July and August are the only two months when the flowers are in full bloom through out the valley. The treks are more or less organized around this time of the year.
I was very excited about the trek and apprehensive at the same time as i had never been on a hiking trip ever!
its one thing to walk a few kilometers to the waterfalls or the nearby stream while you are on a vacation but quite another matter when you have to be walking in rugged terrain with a heavily laden back-pack for hours together.
One thing that held me back from going on these hikes or treks is the phobia for answering nature's call ...err...amidst nature...you never know what's lurking out there :P
I was relieved when i heard we would be put up in rooms there rather than pitching tents.i knew things would be alright. :) My experience of trekking being zilch,K was very encouraging and said that it wouldn't be as difficult as i thought. Easy for him, as he has scaled almost all the peaks in Karnataka and done two Himalayan treks.
In spite of having these self-doubts there was not a single time i thought of any kind of preparation for the impending trip.Another couple, Y and K who were to join us on the trek would take one day trips for practice during the weekends.
About a month before the trek i began to panic as i had no idea about my ability to sustain the trek or my stamina levels. We decide to put these to test and set out on a weekend trek to Satyamangala forests in Chamarajanagar,Mysore. Although i couldn't keep pace with the rest of the gang , i completed this trek successfully.... This boosted my confidence levels and i was all set for the Big one!
The day dawned bright and sunny...sounds too cliched isnt it? well, i wish it was like that...instead K and I were slogging on our laptops till about an hour we were to leave for the airport.
Anyway, off we went to the airport and on the way i get a call from a cousin saying that there were serial blasts happening everywhere in Bangalore and she asked me to be careful as i was headed to the airport. It was quite a shock to hear that the blasts were happening quite close to my work-place. I immediately called up colleagues at work not knowing what the intensity of the blasts were. I was relieved to know everyone was safe and much more when i heard they were all low intensity ones. I was still in a state of shock as to how someone could do this to my beloved Bangalore... such things only happen in other cities and you get to see these things on the television!
After an uneventful flight ,we landed in Delhi at around 9:30 pm and immediately set out for the Silk Board guest house near IIT. I had conjured up visions of homely comfort when Y had booked the guest house. Alas, that was not the case to be.On being show into our rooms, my heart sank.The paint was peeling, the furniture looked old and dusty. The bathroom was dingier. We had no intention of hanging out in the guest house except to sleep in the night so we decided to stay put.
The first day in Delhi was spent indulging in one of my favorite activities - shopping!This was mainly because both K and i had visited the usual tourists places in Delhi before,so we decided to skip them.
We still had two days before we would set off to Haridwar where our trek would start. The next day we headed to nearby Mathura and Agra. Here are some pics!
A pic of the Agra Fort. I must say the fort has been very accuratley re-created for the movie Jodha-Akbar.
The famous monument of love, Taj Mahal. We did what most tourists do when visiting the Taj.
Get a pic of the two of us sitting on the stone bench in front of the Taj :D
The last day in Delhi before we took off on the trek, we didnot have anything planned as we had a train to catch to Haridwar in the evening .So decided to watch a movie.The nearest mall had "Singh is Kinng" playing.Oh what a mistake it was ! Most parts of the movie had the rest of the crowd in splits and the few genuine jokes didnt get a reaction from them. It only left us wondering about the intelligence of the Delhi audience!
Friday, October 17, 2008
- Freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning
- Long walks at night
- Holding hands
- Curling up on the couch with a good book
- That unexpected sms or phone call
- Cooking a good meal
- Give in to the urge to eat yummy chaat :)
- Watching the rain
- Sitting on the sea shore and listening to the sounds of the sea
- Sitting by the window and watching the world go by on a lazy Sunday evening
- Smell of burning incense at twilight when the lamps are lit
- Waking up to Suprabhata by MS/Vedic chants on festive occasions
After all, i have been wanting to put down my thought since aeons.....this is as good a time as any to start.
So here's to me!!