Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Oh B(r)other!!

Has any new year ever drastically changed your life? I mean drastically as in extremely, severely, excessively, extaordinarily etcetera? No? Well mine did, very drastically about 21 years ago. I wasn't my parents' sole laadli anymore, nor my grandpa's only aankhon ka taara :-D. Yup, you guessed it. That was when my beloved brother Darsh was born :).

I don't remember being jealous of him in the early years ever. I was only upset that I didn't get the sister I wanted ;-). I guess I wanted a baby living doll to dress up and carry around. But I got a different doll - a boy doll. I remember when I was 5 and Darsh was 1 year old, I used to carry him every damn place. He was chubby and one of the cutest babies I ever saw. I can't believe he's turned into something we***, oh lets just say something other than chubby and cute today :-p. Don't believe me? Take a look yourself of the then photo:

As we grew older, we didn't grow any wiser :-p. We fought a lot. Lot as in many number of times, more, often, always :-D. God!! Darsh still had milk teeth and he used to bite my arm, real hard. Also due to my long hair, I was easy target. One day, mom adviced to bite him if he bites me ever again. Needless to say the bite marks on my arms vanished. But the fights weren't obviously the only part of our childhood. I had a bus pass and Darsh loved watching the bus driver. His dream was to become a driver then ;-). I would take him along for bus rides. I would proudly show my pass and Darsh would enjoy watching the driver. I would also buy him 25-50 paise lollies :). As time grew, we both learnt to ride bicycles and would always go together to a park nearby. It was our favourite activity on weekends. The next favourite would be to pester dad to take us to Jayanagar 4th block for bhel puri, ice cream cones, sugar candies and balloons :). Meanwhile the physical fighting continued. It stopped suddenly after one day, when mom saw our scratch marks and said in a sad voice "Should I go to work or not? Maybe one day you'll kill each other?". After that the fight continued in arguments and never in actual beatings :-D.

Darsh was a very active boy and was into lots of stuff from early on. I guess I was never like him in those ways. By the time he was in high school, he was in the basket ball team, he was into JAM and Dumb charades and guitar playing. He was also the head boy for the school in his 10th. He taught me the basic rules of basket ball. I watched him win Dumb Charades twice, though he actually won many times. His dumb charade team was named, get this, "Phantasmagoria" (!!!) and consisted of him and his best friends Pritam and Amit, who are best friends of his to this day :). Once the prize he won (1st prize) was a ladies watch ;-) and I enjoyed the fruits of his labour :-D >:). We had a computer at home in those olden days and I can shamelessly say that I got the hang of it only due to him. I learnt DOS, Basic and later Windows\Word\Excel through him (I didn't have computer classes then like the kids do now and he used to pick stuff from his friends). We used to play 2-player games and basically have a great time on the comp. And since he played guitar, I would be the singer for him. We both were into English music by then, but he was the first one to get into metal. The first time I heard that, I almost threw the head phones off. But slowly I got adjusted to it and I would sing songs of Metallica, Guns n Roses, Eagles etc while he played the guitar. We both worked well as a team, though I'd get scoldings from him if I got the pitch wrong somewhere and likewise he'd get scoldings when he missed a chord ;-).

Extra activities didn't mean he was any bad in studies. Good marks in 10th ICSE and better in 2nd PU. He got 100/100 in Maths in 2nd PU public examinations. I was and am proud of him. But he has become a bit negligent of his engineering studies, but what the heck? He has already secured a good job in a good company through campus selection :). After working for more than 3 years, who else but me can know that none of the bookish knowledge is of any use in our practical s/w engineer lives?

Meanwhile, I also learnt about Soccer and F1 through him. He was and still is crazy about Barcelona and I learnt to appreciate the players and their techniques (nope, I'm lying, I still haven't learnt to appreciate soccer :-D). F1 became a rage only because he'd support Mika Hakkinen of McLaren. Just out of spite, I started supporting Michael Schumacher of Ferrari. We'd watch the qualifying sessions and the final races together, never letting anyone else near the TV during that time, shouting at our respective idols to win and basically having fun. Later, I admit, it got boring when Hakkinen retired. But we'd somehow still watch those together.

In engineering college, one of Darsh's long time dreams came true. That was of forming a metal band. I am proud of the songs he wrote even though they are titled "Come back to death", "Hallucination theory" and what not!! Its a deep-rooted philosophy that any metal song should bend towards the tragic :-p :). He was the rhytm guitarist of the band and the back-up singer. I always thought that he should be the singer too, but he always insisted that singing was too much work for a rhytm-guitarist. I was obviously not a member of the 4-membered all-guys band, but I was still the first listener of his experimentations, major critic (mouthing off whatever I found wrong in it :-D), sometimes trial singer (after 100 corrections I'd croon the song exactly the way he wanted it sung :-p) and major fan :). I saw him and his pals Vicky, Subbu and Bhaskar on stage only twice, but I was oh-so-proud :). Right now the band's on a break what with these guys in the final year of their studies, but his guitar still shouts in his room through the electronic amplifier and computer speakers and is still the source of major ear aches/head aches to my parents ;-) :-D.

Now, I am far away. Never thought I'd miss the rogue so much. Darsh is careless, has a loud voice when things don't go his way, is totally insensitive sometimes and is downright a pain other times. But somewhere along the way, he became much more than a boy doll/enemy/brother. He became a friend, a pal, a buddy who I'd watch english thriller movies with, listen to the weirdest songs and sing them too, see football/F1/tennis/cricket with, share a pizza (He was/is crazy about pizza while my parents and I weren't, but I still would share a pizza with him) and even later learn his bike with him as the tutor. Talking of his bike, here's the now photo (not exactly now, about 2 years ago one):

Life changes oh-so-suddenly sometimes. I'm so far away from him and my parents now. But I still chat with him, talk to him, get ragged by him. In fact the jeeja-saala combination of Sri and Darsh sometimes gets after my life :-o, but its fun nevertheless. And today, 31st of December, is his birthday. New year has always been special to me not only because of the obvious new year - prosperity, hope etc, but because of the fact that new year, is the beginning of a whole new year in Darsh's life. Moreover, this year is special as he turns 21. Darsh, buddy, now you can get married anytime you want to ;-). I couldn't resist the marriage gibe, because Darsh always claims that he'll never get married, ever!! Me and mom always retort "Kalla Sanyaasi" to that ;-) :-D. Ok ok, here it is, the birthday wish:

"Happy birthday pal :). Hope your birthday brings you lots of new joys and a bright new start of career. Hope it also gives you enough brains so that you don't trouble dad and mom so much and take more care of them and yourself (couldn't resist that either :-D). Love you and miss you, man :)."

And as for the rest of you,

"Wish you a very Happy and a preosperous New Year :)."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


What's the fuss all about?

It all started once upon a time ago (actually only last week :-D) when my cousin Dineshanna contested what has been the belief of my life, since I've some to understand a little bit of what life is, "Death is the ultimate truth". He asked me one thing - "Are you sure that death is the truth? What if people can be immortal? What if death is just a mind set?". Did the question rock the foundation of my belief? Nope ;-). But it did make me read up on some of the new theories being circulated and thats what this post is about. As usual here's my disclaimer:

"I'm neither supporting the Immortality theory, nor denying it completely (Basically am doing the cat on the wall thingy :-D). This post is just my opinion on the theories that people come up with and the possibilities if such a theory is proved (what am I talking about? :-D). The post and author of the post are again not to be held responsible if any of the readers feel like following the rules of the Immortality theory or feel like opposing it (!!). I'm open to healthy debates :-D."

What is the (in)famous Immortality theory?

1) The quality or condition of being immortal.
2) Endless life or existence.

Since humans have evolved, they have had the desire to live forever and this is what immortality signifies. As the wikipedia site says in detail, immortality is different for different people. But this post is about a particular immortality - the physical one. There have been theories circulating on internet about how you can physically and mentally become immortal. Just searching for "Immortality" or "Longevity" in Google will give you so many sites/results/support groups that you are bound to be surprised. These are people who believe that "Aging is an enemy"!! I dunno about you, but I was like "Aging is natural, so why should you consider it an enemy?".

The basic theory is that the genetic scientists are very close to finding results to living forever. So the people who support immortality claim that all we have to do is "live long enough to live forever". Absurd? Wonderful? You decide.

What needs to be done to live "long enough" according to the immortalists?

According to the Longevity Meme, the steps you have to follow not to age are:

  • Stop Damaging Your Health - Don't eat junk food, don't smoke, see a doc regularly, exercise.

  • Adopt a Better Diet and Lifestyle - calorie restriction diet, Take supplements, exercise

  • Support and Advocate Medical Research - Fund people who are researching on non-aging :-p.

Some things do make sense. I don't like smoking and generally try to avoid anyone who smokes. And since I've started working out, I do believe in regular exercize. And, yes, visiting a doctor and having regular check-ups is commendable and is necessary. And yes, avoiding junk food is also a good idea (even though when it comes to bhel puri and ice creams, I can't think straight ;-) :-D).

The problem is not when you decide to follow the rules. The problem is when the rules turn maniacal. People stop eating basic things like sugar and salt, avoid coffee altogether (guess its good to some extent :-D), don't eat vegetables that are non-organic and survive on salads completely. All this to avoid old age for heaven's sake? And after doing all this what if you do get old and do get diseases? Probably curse that all the dieting was for nothing? But it will be too late for that. For Eg: say I don't eat sugar (ice cream) and salt (bhel puri :-D) for years. Later I do end up getting blood pressure and diabetes. So I can't eat these then anyways. So I'll have the regret continuously that I could have enjoyed something, but I did not. All the sacrifice was for nothing. This might be a childish view, but I'd rather enjoy what I have now rather than not do it and regret that tomorrow! Be it just a matter of bhel puri and ice cream :-D. I would do it moderately though ;-).

What about people opposing the Immortalists?

Every "to" has to have a "fro". So there are obviously people who oppose the immortality theory. One of the sayings that I loved was:

A toy which people cry for,
And on their knees apply for,
Dispute, contend and lie for,
And if allowed Would be right proud Eternally to die for."
- Ambrose Bierce

There was also another article in BBC by S Jay Olshansky which impressed me with its content. It does take all kinds of people to make this world :-D.

What's my take on the whole thing?

Do I want to be immortal? I don't know. I don't think so. I know one life is too short for me to see all I want to see and for me to do all the things I want to do. But still I don't want to be immortal. I might sound idealistic, but thats what I am. To me whats important is my family. If I consider my parents, its probably too late for them to follow the non-aging procedures and be immortal. As for Sri, my brother Darsh and myself, well maybe we can implement it and achieve immortality. I probably would want all of my family with me forever, but I cannot predict the same of my kids. They might not want me around once they are all grown up and might consider me as a pain in the neck ;-) (I am that most of the time anyways :-D). So what do I have to be immortal for? There will come a time, when I'd want to rest and die peacefully.

The following was a story I heard in my childhood:

It seems there was a king who once after severe meditation, pleased the gods and got the potion of longevity. But the condition of the gods was that he drink it himself and not share it with anyone. So he did that and was very happy for a long time.

But happiness does not last long. The parents he appreciated so much die. The queen he loved so much also dies in the passing time. Now his kids are older than him and will probably die tomorrow too. Whats the use of his youth when he can't enjoy it? He again prays to the Gods to grant him death.

Don't know whether he got his 2nd wish or not ;-). But this is the theme that a film also focuses upon to state the difference between robots and living beings - Robin Williams's "Bicentennial Man". Yes, the difference is the difference between immortality and death. That was one of the movies that touched my heart. What I mean here is that immortality will come with side effects. Maybe we will become like robots (as if we have not already turned into semi-robots, what with our software working cultures :-D)...

But more than that, immortality basically feels like greed to me. You have a life and you've lived it, however may it be. But you still want more. You plead "Nope I don't want to die, I don't want to age, I want to live forever". Is this anything other than greed? And haven't we all been taught that greed is evil? Why always the need for more? Why can't we, for once, be happy with what we have and what we get?

What's the end to it all?

What I don't see, I can't believe in. I've seen death all around me, so I believe in it. I haven't seen immortality anywhere, so I can't really believe in that. Maybe it exists, but until I get a "living" proof of it, I can't sacrifice little pleasures for what might not be that big a pleasure for me. You might ask me - "Hey you don't see God, then how come you believe?". Thats because every little thing around is a proof that there's a super natural power beyond our imagination. We are living proofs for God :).

Moreover, I think what is born has to die. Call me old-fashioned, accuse me of not being open to new ideas, but that is the truth. When the old dies, thats when there's new. You may really not want the old to die, you might want to hang on, but the old has been there for many years. It has seen many things and its tired. It wants to rest. Forever.

I'd like to say only one thing to the so-called immortalists. If you don't accept death and keep hoping/thinking that you are immortal, when death comes to you, in that last moment, you are bound to be disappointed. You are bound to have regrets. But if you accept that there's death, then if immortality happens, its like a bonus, is it not? ;-) :-D. So isn't it better to live life to the fullest, rather than save yourself for the tomorrow that is still a stranger to you?

Another quote before I end the post:

"We are immortal until our work on earth is done."
- George Whitefield

That I guess brings the post to its end. Thankfully, the post is not immortal eh? :-D

Monday, December 19, 2005

Learning to Fly...

Learning to Fly..

Baby bird says to her mother, Ma bird,
"I say I do not want to go!!
I do not want to learn to fly!
Mother, why do you force me so?"

Ma bird says "Child, that is not so.
You have to learn how to fly
You have to reach higher and higher
To embrace the peak of the sky."

"But why mother? Why can't I be here?
Why can't I be warm in the nest?
Why do I have to be like others?
Why am I being given this test?"

"Thats the way of the world, my child.
Thats what all birds have to do!
And I want all other birds to know
That my little one can fly too."

Baby bird reluctantly steps out,
Reaches out and jumps from the tree.
Though she falls, she doesn't mind
She's now on a learning spree..

Soon she learns how it is to fly,
She learns to soar high and high!
She starts to fly out now and then
Without even bidding Ma bird goodbye.

Ma bird, one day, says with tears in her eyes,
"Now that you have the sky to explore,
You'll probably make new friends
And may not want to come home anymore.."

"Don't cry mother", baby bird replies,
"Many new wonderful places I may roam,
Many new exotic birds I may meet, but
Every once in a while, I will come home"

"Mother, I'll never forget the way home.."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Moooooing to new pastures :-D

Well what can I say? We have already moo(v)ed to a new apartment ;-). But the process of shifting is unlike any shifting I've seen in India. In India, we have 2 options. One book a matador van and move all the stuff into it. The driver drives to the new place and you move all the stuff out. You can opt to hire some labour for the moving. The second, you book one of these packers and movers who do everything for you, with a bit of a higher cost. Here in US, both are available, but the cost of manual labour is very high, no matter whether its about driving for only about 5 miles or carrying stuff in/out. So most people living in US prefer only one thing, U-HAUL.

As the name suggests, you haul all your stuff. They just rent out either a container which you can tag along with your car, or a min-van, or other different size trucks according to your stuff requirements. The fact that the renting itself costs a lot, is another thing altogether. But its of lesser cost than anything else.

When Sri first told me about it, believe me I was scared. Not for myself, but a truck is a huge thing on road. Just a small turn and you can hit a poor car. I asked him repeatedly "Are you sure about this?" as he was the one who was driving :-D. So many times, that probably he got fed up with me, but he never showed it. What he did show was a kid-like amazement at the thought of driving a truck. I guess every boy's dream is to drive a truck :-D. I have never seen that kind of enthuasism on his face before, not even when we bungee-jumped :-D. Though I was reluctant, I said "Ok this is another adventure" and went for it. This is the truck we drove - a 14' Thrifty Mover:

Not a very good photo, I know. Its taken from the uhaul website. I wanted to take a picture of it, but our camera was packed somewhere, so couldn't. Anyways, thankfully it was a bit smaller than I expected, I really thought we were going to drive one the size of an Indian lorry. This one was a bit bigger than one of our Indian tempos :-o ;-).

We had started packing everything on Friday, 9th December 2005 night, so we had only last minute fridge-items packing remaining. Moreover since we were moving to an apartment inside the same town, no elaborate packing was required. On Saturday, 10th Decemeber 2005 morning, Sri went to the U-HAUL office to get the truck. I couldn't resist taking one last photo of the lawn in front of our house as I had taken one similar in the summer before. So here's the summer one:

Here's the one I took, before we shifted, at the same place:

Look at the bare trees!! And yup, thats snow on the lawn. It had snowed the previous night, but thankfully the day was bright and sunny. Still we did have a couple of difficulties as we moved our things from the house to the truck. One was that the house was in first floor, so the stairs were one big hurdle (or several hurdles :-D). The second was that we had to walk quite a bit to the parking lot. The paths were a bit slippery due to ice formation. But somehow we did manage do get most of the stuff into the truck. The only really heavy items we own are the bed parts i.e the bed itself and the box its kept in. These we had to double up (i.e me holding one end and Sri another) and transfer them to the truck. Rest were all ok. I am so thankful that apartments here come with a refrigerator, washer and drier. Otherwise, I don't know how in the world we'd have managed to carry those!!

After moving all the stuff came the adventure part. I was a bit apprehensive as I sat next to Sri in the front of the truck, but it was much easier than I imagined. The lanes are very clearly defined on the roads of US and hence Sri found it pretty easy to manage the truck within a lane. Moreover it seems that all the other people driving in cars recognize an U-HAUL truck when they see one and keep their distance :-D. I guess they have a right to be more apprehensive than I was :-D. Anyways the move was very smooth and we didn't encounter any hinderances as such :).

After we reached the new apartment, it was pretty easy to move stuff inside as the house is in the ground floor and right next to the parking lot. We dumped all the stuff inside (only kept the fridge items inside the fridge) and were off to U-HAUL to give the truck back. We returned the truck, finished all pricing formalities, had lunch at the nearest Pizza Hut and went back to the old apartment.

To clean it up ;-). Most of the apartments in US (I think, all) are owned by a group rather than a person. So they clean it, repaint it and rent it out immediately to somebody else. And if there's major cleaning/carpet replacing required then all that cost is cut from the deposit the previous resident would have paid. So we had to make sure that the kitchen and bathroom counters were all shining. Basically, make sure that the house looks and feels clean. We didn't have any carpet stains, so that was good. We finished some of the cleaning and completed the rest the next day.

Meanwhile, we didn't finish it on the same day since the internet guy had fixed up that time with us for the internet connection at the new apartment. So as soon as we reached the new house, he came along and was done with it. That was the best part of the move. The internet/phone were working in a matter of hours ;-) :-D. Then we still had the unpacking to do. But we finished almost everything within the end of saturday. Phew!! But it was worth it :). And here's the photo of the new house:

The new apartment name is SteepleChase apartments :). And we live in the ground floor, right side apartment on the photo :). Everything's settled now and is as comfy as it can get. So that was it, yet another adventure to yet another perfect end :).

Sunday, December 11, 2005

What is it? :)

What is it?

As I go out of the house for a walk,
I notice something falling from the sky.
Oh, my god, it is rain, I think,
I don't want to get wet as I walk by.

But they do not look like rain drops,
Rain is definitely not white in colour.
Are they many white insects, I ask,
rushing past, 'cause of the cold weather?

One of the white things touches my face.
Its not an insect, for it doesn't fly away.
Maybe they are cotton bits, I wonder,
Maybe some flew out of a truck going my way?

But cotton is certainly not cold
And does not feel like crushed powdered ice.
They were snow flakes, all along I knew, but
wrote a poem, as prose just wouldn't suffice.

Hehehehee. Kinda silly poem I know (sounds almost desperate to be a poem :-D). But there was no other way I thought I could justice to my first snowfall. The flurries are very hard to describe. I can only say that they feel very nice. They feel like a shower of oh-so-soft small cold thermocole balls :). But they look like small strands of cotton. You long to catch them, but most of them are so light that they sway to and fro with the slightest breeze. Even if you do manage to catch one or two, they melt in a matter of seconds leaving you with nothing. But I honestly had a wonderful time trying to catch a few. The snowflakes I have seen till now have been very slight (haven't seen heavy snow fall yet, so looking forward to it) and thats why its difficult to catch them :).

The snow deposit has also been only upto 1 to 3 inches, so no snowmen/women till now. January is supposed to be the coldest in Kentucky and thats when max snow fall is expected, so my first snowman (or something looking like a snowman) will be built only then ;-). There's one post definitely due when that happens :).

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pittsburgh yaatre :-D

Ok its been sometime and things have happened. I'll just give a glimpse of few before the main Pittsburgh post.

  • One was the thanksgiving black friday sale (For ignorant people like I was previously, Black day sale happens right after Thanksgiving day where stores offer hugggggggge discounts. That day most stores open at 5 AM in the morning!!). God!! We went at about 8 AM and you should have seen the rushes. All the parking lots were full. We had a few fixed items (jackets, sweaters) in mind, so we had a good time grinning at the queues ;-).

  • Later we went to Pittsburgh, where I had darshana of not only Lord Venkateshwara, but also of my first snow fields :-D. This story will be continued in detail later :-D.

  • Saw my first snowfall last thursday (1st Dec 2005) and the feeling is indescribable but will try to do justice to it in my next post :-D.

  • My Parents-in-law' gruhapravesha went on great and so did the shifting.

  • As our current apartment lease is getting over, we were looking for another and fixed on one 2 weeks ago. We signed the agreement on saturday and will be moving next week.

  • A major re-shuffling going on at my workplace. I was working under a manager, but will not be working under him, but another guy from next month. Things are muddled right now, but cross my fingers and hope everything's positive :).

Now that I've got them all off my chest, onto the Pittsburgh post :-D.

25th November 2005:

We left Lexington at around 12:30 PM on Friday. Pittsburgh is about 5 hours drive away from Lexington. The route we took had us actually crossing 2 states - Ohio and West Virginia. Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania state. I packed a lunch of rice, some curry and curd. We also had a few other fruits and snacks with us. So we set off.

Stopped for lunch at a rest area in Pennsylvania. We actually planned to have lunch outside on a picnic table, but I was feeling too chilled, so we went back to the car. It was then I noticed the small white patches on the ground. "Yes that's snow", was Sri's cool response :-p. Man, I was thrilled and touched one of the patches immediately. It felt like crushed ice powder, thats what it is anyways :-p. From then on, we started seeing snow on the roadsides. They evolved into complete snow fields after sometime into Pennsylvania. We stopped at a petrol bunk where I took this photo:

We reached Pittsburgh at around 7 PM and landed at the hotel. Since there was an Indian temple here, we knew that there's be Indian restaurants around :-D. Sri had previously researched and fixed upon a restaurant called "Namaste India" and we set off to the place to have dinner.

I must accept that in first look, the restaurant was a bit shabbier than any of the Indian restaurants I've been to in US so far. But the smells coming from the kitchen were lovely. We hesitantly ordered mirchi bajji as the starter and were ready to get out of the place if the dish wasn't good. But all our fears turned out to be nothing when the food actually arrived :). The bajji was delicious and so were the veg noodles, veg fried rice and the gobi manchurian we ordered later ;-) :-D. This hotel was a typical south indian restaurant we find in Bangalore. The noodles were pukka desi and I almost cried as I had my first bite. God!! Its been more than 7 months since I ate noodles like that!! Needless to say, we both thought that the food was excellant and enjoyed it very much :).

26th November 2005:

Next day, early morning we set off towards the Sri Venkateshwara temple of Pittsburgh. As I mentioned before, its one of the earliest Hindu temples to be built in US. You can find more information on their official website here.

The temple is beautiful. It seems it was modelled based upon the Tirupathi temple in India. The SV temple is actually built on top of a small hill. We went inside and it was exactly as if we were back in one of the Indian temples. The first god we saw was Ganesha. After doing namaskara to him, we went around the main gudi. There was a sathyanarayana pooja going on at one place. It was all very serene and peaceful. Next we entered the main gudi and saw the Venkateshwara idol, very big and exactly like the one in Tirupathi. It seems all the idols were brought to US from India!! We got an archane done in both our names, did namaskaara, took teertha and prasada of bananas that the poojari gave us and sat in the temple for a few minutes. The temple is being renovated from the inside. The only sad part for me was that photography was not allowed inside the temple ;-).

Then we found out that we could buy prasada. Since we hadn't had breakfast, we decided to make the prasada our breakfast and bought Puliyogare, Pongal and Boondi laddu. As the temple is exactly like Tirupathi, I almost expected the Tirupathi Laddu too, but I was disappointed ;-).There's a hall in the temple premises where the devotees eat the prasada. I guess the hall is also used for functions. We both ate the prasada and bid goodbye to the temple. As I walked outside taking a couple of more snaps, the thought I had in my mind was, its all like India except the snow fields and the posh cars :-D.

We immediately started on the drive back home. There's actually nothing else around in Pittsburgh for a visitor, so headed back. The drive back was again, thankfully Sri would say, without snow fall. It seems snow fall is hazardous to driving. But there were snow fields in sight until we crossed Pennsylvania border :).

So thats it, that was the short trip after a long time. Its getting too cold to go out on treks/hikes etc. Forget treks, its getting very difficult to continue our daily walk in the night after dinner :(. So, good that we were able to go to a place atleast when we did have holidays. We actually had planned to go to Chicago that weekend, but it seems its very windy and extremely cold out there. So shifted the plans to Pittsburgh :). Glad we did, for it was one of the most beautiful trips so far :).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lovvvvvvvvvvvvo Lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvu :)

I know I promised a post on Pittsburgh, but I just had to post this one today. Next one will certainly be on Pittsburgh :).

Saw this on Shubha's blog sometime back. It seems its a Titan Valentine Day's ad!! Since I really liked it and since blogs don't last forever and God forbid something happens to her blog, I wanted a copy of my own ;-) (these days I seem to talk of blogs like people :-D). So I stole the wordings, changed the format, converted it to a picture, added 4 pairs of hearts and voila!! Here it is (Click on it for a bigger picture):

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Two sides to a pendulum..

It always has to do it. Swing from one side to another. Once it reaches one side, it probably feels I'm not happy here and I want to be at the other side. Off it goes. The other side reached, it feels no I want to go back. Its never ending. Life's like that! There always has to be a side we want to reach to be happy. Once we reach there, we have some other thing bothering us...

This weekend is my parents-in-law's new house gruha pravesha in Hyderabad. Had we been in India, we'd have already planned our leaves and maybe even would have already been in Hyderabad by this time. Oh the celebration it would have been. The hungama, the confusion about simple things, which saree to wear, the things to help out in, the shifting, it would have been marvellous. As a first big function from Sriram's side, I'd have treated my parents like guests, hurrying here and there and what not! Not that it won't be a great function without us there, its just that I'd have oh-so-much loved to be there..

I obviously feel sad for myself. As a newly married couple, we'd have still been subjected to some teasing. But that's not what I'm gonna miss. All of Sriram's side of relatives are a bunch of fun. I enjoy being with them and thats what I am going to miss. Very badly. I am going to miss each and everything..

I feel sad for Sri. It probably bothers him more that he's not with his parents at this time, but the poor guy has to be brave for my sake. He not only has to deal with missing the function but with me too, as I keep making a fuss that he made me miss my first big function after marriage. Its not true ofcourse. Its just the circumstances. But I have to have somebody at who I can point my finger :(. And bechaara Sri gets it. Honestly, had it been my parents' gruha pravesha, I'd have been uncontrollable . So I do know what Sri must be going through. Poor guy :(.

I feel sad for Amma (Sri's mother). When she told us about the gruha pravesha, I still remember her hopeful voice asking her son whether they'll come back for the function. And I remember the disappointment in her voice when her son replied in a negative way. My mom told me that amma was even telling her that maybe her son and daughter-in-law will land in Hyderabad unannounced and surprise them. I feel extremely sad for the woman who hopes that her son will surprise her when she knows that he won't. Amma, I'm really sorry :(.

I feel sad for daddy (Sri's father), who yesterday, told us that he's deeply disappointed that we are not gonna be there. I've never seen or heard him speak like that. He even said to Sri, "Your Amma cries and controls her emotions, but you know I'm not like that. But I want to let you know that I'm disappointed". But daddy, you know what? We both are lots and lots more disappointed than all of you. Because we are here alone...

I feel sad for my mom and dad who will be on the train to Hyderabad now. It must feel really bad to be attending their daughter's main function, when she's not going to be there. Not that they mind it, they really want to attend. But I wish I was there to boss over them ;-). Sigh!! :((

But among all these, I also know that we have our own gruhapravesha scheduled sometime early next year, when we'll be going back to India. Obviously we have to be there ;-). Then I'll enjoy the same hungaama, same confusions and the company of both sides of relatives. This is the reassurance we both give each other. Thats gonna be some function :). I am smiling already thinking about it :).

We are going to be out of town this weekend, just because I told Sri I won't be able to bear it if I'm at home and am continously thinking about it. Maybe, he wants to getaway too. We are going to Pittsburgh to visit the earliest and the biggest Indian temple in US. Yup, my next post will surely be on that.

Amma and daddy, congratulations on your new home and hope the home will see many happy times, with all of us together. Hope you have a great function and everything goes great and just right :).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Am I dreaming?

Sorry for being missing for almost a week. It looks like I'm facing blogger's block. Just couldn't come up with a topic to blog about. Yup, I thought, thought and thought. But still couldn't :-D. Looks like if you are desperate, then the topic never comes to you. Today morning, I didn't even have to think blog, when this topic came to me :). That was when I had this dream.

I have had weird dreams since I don't know when. Some of the recent ones I remember go like this:

Someone rings my doorbell. I open the door to see an ex-colleague of mine standing in bandages. His whole mid-section is covered by some stainless steel stuff like a robot. Same with his jaw. I am horrified!!

I really don't remember what happened next. Thankfully!

Sri and I are at a party. Its in this huge house which looks very very old. Like one of these haunted houses they show in movies. The dinner is a buffet affair. Sri finishes filling his plate with food and wanders off. I go searching for him after I fill mine up. I look for him in each and every room, but am not able to find him. I am worried. Suddenly the house starts crumbling as though there's an earthquake. I jump broken staircases with my plate full of food in hand. I go around the house. But I just am not able to find him...

I woke up in a sweat after this one. Another scary one was as follows:

Mom, Dad, Darsh, Sri and me are in a group of buildings, but we are all separately moving and not together. Suddenly somebody blasts dynamites in the buildings. Nothing happens to me, but I can't find anyone else. I am scared. I remember mom has a mobile and I call her up to find that she's ok too. I find some people who are helping out to rescue hurt people and I join them. I find my dad under some rubbles. He's ok but for a deep gash on his forehead. I rush him to the hospital and call mom and inform her. I return to the rescue, only to find that Darsh is also helping out. He's alright too. The only person I'm not able to find is my Sri...

I wake up scared again and find Sri right next to me, sleeping like a child. You can't believe how relieved I was!!

I am running. From a group of thugs. It seems they know of my intention to kill the king. So they obviously want to kill me!! I run into a temple and meet an accomplice. We both threaten the poojari and ask him to hide us or else!! And we hide. But the poojari is a brave one and he tells the king, who has just stepped into the temple. At this point, me and my accomplice reveal ourselves and I'm surprised to notice that the queen is none other than a lady who had supported me in dire times. I feel remorse for having thoughts of killing her husband...

God!! The worst thing about this whole dream was that most of the people around me were Telugu cinema actors!! Looks like this one is the result of watching too many telugu movies and the credit obviously goes to my hubby Sri :-p.

The next dream is from today morning, the great one which influenced me to writing this post ;-). Its actually about "Nach Baliye" a show on Star One, that we have been watching after downloading episodes available on the net. Its about celebrity couples dancing in a competition :-D.

I am in the competition of Nach Baliye. All the couples are fighting among themselves and each other. They call Poonam and Manish to dance. Poonam dances alone. She then gives a movie flashback of how her husband tried to jump over a fence and stumbled and fell in the process. Archana and Parmeet are fighting with someone. I am tired of the whole thing and want to get away. I pull Sri along with me for ice cream. We get into an auto and the auto driver simply seems to read my mind. He takes us to an ice cream shop and refuses to take the fare from us!! I get into the shop only to find I'm back in the competition place. There's bhel puri, pani puri and all sort of chat items everywhere and people are just gorging on them. I get into a room to find ice cream and see the ice cream freezer. It has Kwality Walls written on it. I start searching the freezer for my favourite kind of ice cream - Feast. Suddenly I have children surrounding me. One asks for little car-shaped ice creams. I get it for the child. All children grab their favourite types and go. I am still searching...

This was when I woke up!! Wonder what to make of this!! Never seen small car-shaped ice creams in my life before, nor have I heard of them! If I tell Sri about such dreams, his comment is "You have had too much sleep" :-p. Yup, I know that dreams are sort of based upon what you are thinking about before you sleep. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about missing bhel puri here in US. And later Sri also made some for me :) (His bhel puri is copy-righted :-D). And yup, I was trying to download this week's episode of Nach Baliye too :). So yup, I can understand that this may be the reason I dreamt of the combination.

But sometimes dreams are very difficult to relate to. Like this recurring one I have had about snakes. I don't remember the plot (:-D), I only remember that there are snakes, lots of snakes in it. Its not that I'm afraid of a snake (I mean I'm not afraid of a single snake, but a group of snakes around me is something else!!) or have I ever had an encounter with one (except the poor ones in zoo cages ofcourse :-p and some weird-coloured ones during one of my treks in India). And the snakes have never bit me in any of the dreams nor in real life, thank God for that! Also, some of you may know that dreaming about snakes also has a superstition associated with it, I think its considered lucky :-D. If so, looks like I'm very lucky :-p :-D.

I know there are people like to interpret dreams in different ways. If I tell my killing-the-king dream to anyone, they'll probably think I have violent tendencies and probably might kill someone :-o. They might even stay away from me. Looks like a very good idea to get rid of some people ;-). Future terrorist anyone? :-D. Oops, I think I was not supposed to write that particular word, these Americans seem to be arresting anyone who even says that one :-p. All I want to say is that I don't want my dreams interpreted, thank you very much :-p.

Some years back, my cousin Dineshanna, talked about an even weirder concept - Lucid dreaming or Controlling dreams!! He thought we could really do it, just follow some steps regularly in the time that you are awake and you can actually find out the time you are dreaming and control what you want to do then. One of the simplest things is supposed to be seeing the time on your wrist watch on an hourly basis. If you do it regularly for a few days, then your subconscious will start aping you and you will try to see your wrist watch in your dream too!! And if the watch is showing some time not related to your surroundings, or the watch itself is not there, or there's something else sitting on your wrist, then you know you are in a dream!! Sorry, I can't confirm it as I never tried it ;-). I don't know whether Dineshanna did either. Another concept is supposedly to practise switching lights on and off whenever you enter any room. Again, you try to switch on/off a light in your dream and nothing happens, that's when you know you are in a dream. Once you know, the possibilities are supposed to be unlimited. I even remember Dineshanna talking about a dream diary and noting down your dreams at whatever time you are jolted awake at night/morning. Well, I was fascinated, but being an young girl of 12-14 who was more interested in romance novels than dreams, never had the patience to execute it :-D.

If you think the whole lucid dreaming thing is interesting, then you may be interested in this website - Dream Views. They talk in detail about the whole thing. But I have to post a disclaimer here. I am NOT responsible if you end up doing some circus in your dreams :-D.

Ok that's enough blogging for one morning. Now where's my coffee? Oh, gotta prepare it myself. Maybe I should have had coffee in my dream. Would have saved a bit of time ;-).

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Then we met.....

Yup another poem. This time a very simple one to say how grateful I am to have Sri in my life. Last year, same day i.e 13th November 2004, almost at the same time (Its about 6:30 to 7:00 PM in India now), I met Sri for the first time. Ours was a typical arranged marriage and he came to "see" me :-D. Now he has to see me everyday whether he wants to or not :-p :-D. The great man asked me questions per questions and said yes to his parents immediately after departing from my house!! I remember being stumped as I hadn't even decided whether to say Yes or No!! I took about a week, met him again after a week and later said Yes. So the equation is

His impulsive decision = My thought-out decision
==> A bakra and a bakri were trapped together 3 months later :-D

Hehehee. This poem is dedicated to my Sriram and all the joy he has brought into my life :).

Then we met....

Was it only an year ago
That I didn't even know you?
Then we met and life changed,
As if it was always meant to.

I was confused, lonely and
Searching for a soul mate.
Then we met and it was as though
A surprising turn around of fate.

I admit now that at first
I was fully apprehensive..
Then we met again and simply
Was I no more ever pensive..

I knew you were the one
and a decision was made.
Then we met again and again
And later vows were said..

Now I'm glad, so happy
That we are man and wife.
Then we met, now we are bound
Together with love for life..

Then we met and the rest is history.. Oops, err, the rest is the present and the future we have together :).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Memoirs...

My Memoirs..

I was born, not too long ago
In the beginning of spring..
Everyone around me would quip
"Isn't she a dainty little thing?"

My friends and I swayed
And played in the warm breeze.
People called us cute and lovely.
Life was moving with so much ease..

We slowly grew strong and healthy,
In the warmth of the summer sun.
Little ones becoming bigger,
Growing together was a lot of fun!!

I enjoyed the early raindrops
the drizzles and the heavy rains..
We stood strong and faced storms,
Withstood tornadoes and hurricanes..

But later I became discoloured,
Red sometimes and other times yellow.
Standing strong was in the past,
I started becoming shaky and mellow.

Now as I lie on my death bed of grass,
I honestly feel no traces of grief..
Young ones will grow again next spring,
After all, I'm just another leaf...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Save me from daylight saving :-p

Just a few months back, when I wrote the Hmm Dis I Like post, one of my friends Soum quipped about my disliking the sunset at 9 PM and said "Just wait until its winter". God, you were so right yaar!! Just last week the sun had started to rise at about 7 AM and set at about 6:30 PM. I thought it was just right. Then these Americans had to do it. The daylight saving ended and the time got advanced by 1 hour. Now the sun rises at 6 AM, but sets at bloody 5:30 PM!!! Have you ever heard of total darkness at 6 PM in the evening?? If you haven't, you are hearing it now :-p.

Daylight saving does have a good purpose.

"Daylight Saving Time "makes" the sun "set" one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day."

And it is usually from the first sunday of April to the last sunday of October. If you are interested, more details are here. The problem is not when the daylight saving is implemented (Yeah, yeah, I did crib about the 9 PM sunset :-p), but when it ends. Its a sudden change. It seems life all around you is going on like it was but you have advanced an hour. In 2 words, it feels like "Jet lag" :-p.

Since sunday (that's when day light saving ended), its been bad. I don't feel sleepy at the right time, but I feel sleepy when I'm not supposed to. In total, I feel like I'm just not getting enough sleep :(. Sri even says that he feels hungry at odd hours!! Yeah I am getting slowly adjusted to the change, but I can't help but crib about it. After all that's what my blog is for ;-).

Sri tells me its only going to get worse. Come winter, its gonna be dark throughout. I am sorta worried about my work more than anything else. I work from home and the only place in our house which has tubelights is the kitchen. I can't put the computer table in the kitchen. The hall has only bulbs, which do not provide sufficient light. So, obviously need to work a way to get light into my home ;-). We are planning to buy a couple of fluorescent lights in the near future...

But its still a beautiful world. There's fall everywhere, but the leaves have already started falling. Reminds me of the beautiful Louis Armstrong song "What A Wonderful World". You really got to listen to it, if you haven't heard it yet. You can listen to it online here.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

One wonderful song that makes me feel good to be alive :). No matter what, daylight saving or not!! :-D :-D :-D

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dee Deep Deepawali :)

The beautiful day of lights is here :).

Deepawali has always fascinated me. Its one of my favourite festivals, not only because of the fireworks, but because of the lights and the rituals as well. There is a cheerfulness in case of Deepawali more than any other festival or that is what I have noticed in my household. I even used to love taking walks around the colony in the day just to watch kids light up patakhas (or pataki in Kannada). There's a kind of vibrant energy all around. And I used to go upto terrace during the nights and enjoy the rockets lighting up the skies. I love it :).

This year's Deepawali is in a way, a mixture of happiness and sadness for me. Its the same old story. The happiness is obviously in the fact that I have Sri now and am getting to spend it with him. The sadness comes from the fact that had we been in India, this being our first Deepawali after marriage, we'd have spent it with my parents. Its supposed to be very special. Instead, we are spending it here in a country which doesn't even know what the festival is. No one to share the joys with and obviously no walk around the colony to see children playing. No sitting up on the terrace either, the houses don't even have the terrace concept here :-p.

Its been continuously gnashing at my heart. Sri consoles me saying any Deepawali we are in India, we'll celebrate in a big way. The mind understands the logic, we can't fly to India anytime we want and all that, but the heart doesn't. It wants to throw tantrums, make a fuss and somehow be in India. The story is never-ending...

But I haven't actually let my heart bog me down. Yet. Last week we went and bought candles, plain and scented ones. The diyas are available in Indian stores, but rates are atrocious + didn't want to risk diyas, what with wooden houses here. The candles atleast have a glass/metal cover. We obviously can't have fireworks (Neighbours are sure to call 911 immediately, if they hear weird noises :-p), but atleast we saw some in the recent Atlanta trip. I actually said to myself then, this is my Deepawali. Sounds pathetic, I know, but what else can I do?

So, we did do neeru tumbso hubba (water filling festival) yesterday. I drew some decorations in turmetic-kumkum on the water heater and performed the pooja. Later we lighted up all the candles and arranged them in front of the door :). I also had taken recipes from mom for a special Deepawali dish called Ereyappa. There is sweet ereyappa and khaara ereyappa. I made both and they came out pretty well for first attempt ;-). But, while making ereyappa, the poor American mixie couldn't handle my Indian jaggery and the blade's rubber got burnt. Sri's applaudable comment to that was "We did atleast burn something, even though there wasn't any noise" and my retort was "yeah, thank God the mixie didn't explode or something, then really there'd have been a huggggge noise" :-D. We also called up our homes and some of our relatives to wish them all a prosperous Deepawali :).

Today morning woke up early. Deepawali's Naraka Chaturdashi special is enne snaana i.e Oil bath. So did enne shaastra and later had a head bath. Did an aarthi and seeked blessings. That's it. Sri headed to his office and I started my work. Yup, we will be lighting candles for 3 days, but its somehow not the same without the constant noise in the background, without the hustle bustle and without the crackers.

But its still not that bad. Last year, on the third day of Deepawali i.e Bali Padyami, I met Sri. And this Deepawali, we are together. That day I didn't even know whether to say Yes or No. Today, I can't imagine not being with him. This chain of thoughts is enough to bring a smile on my face whenever I feel even a bit down :). So thats how the cheerfulness and the spirit of the festival are maintained.

Mom and Dad, the Deepawali from your side is still baaki to us. Lets carry it over to whichever year we are back in India and then we'll celebrate it really grand :). I know you miss us and I miss you all too, but we'll make it all up when we are together again :).

As for you other people, have a wonderful Deepawali and play safe with firecrackers :).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy 26th Anniversary :)

Happy Anniversary to you, Happy Anniversary!!
Wishing you wonderful days with no worry.
To the world's best mom and dad, a wish so true..
May good luck go with you both and happiness too..

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Autumn thrills and chills :)

Autumn is all over the place and it feels absolutely marvellous :). Its as if the whole place is an enormous canvas and God, like a child, has taken brush after brush and painted strokes of yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and maroons. Looks like He doesn't like any green around, so He's covering it up with all sorts of vibrant colours :). Each direction you turn, there's a new colour. Your eyes can't see enough, your memory can't record enough. And I can't take enough pictures ;-).

Kentucky is one of the states that change their colours once fall sets in. Just about 2 weeks back, everything was still green. I remember cribbing to Sri on what's-the-big-deal-about-fall-cause-I-don't-see-any-changes thing :). Miraculously, the whole surroundings and the weather has changed in days and if you ask me, the whole change is absolutely lovely. Just go on a drive and you'll be awestruck by the colours. Heck!! Why drive!! My apartment complex trees have also changed in a way that makes me wonder whether these were the same trees that I saw about a week ago. Maybe somebody took out the old ones and replanted new ones overnight :-p. This is not a joke, it actually happened at Sri's office once when they renovated the surroundings. One day there were plants and over the weekend there were trees!! Hehehe :).

I remember in India, autumn means leaves fall off. There are colours there too, but those are basically of flowers which remain on trees while the leaves fall off. So the trees are full of flowers with no leaves to be seen. I have seen purple, pink and yellow flowers which look lovely. But here, surprisingly there are no flowers. None at all!! Its as if the flowers got jealous of the leaves' colours and left the trees, huffing in anger :). Me and my imagination :).

The poem on the previous post was inspired by the change of colours in our apartment complex. I wrote it last week, but posted it this week only because of the lengthy Atlanta post ;-). But on the weekend, we got to see so much more of Kentucky autumn that yup, it deserved a special post on its own. The poem just didn't do what we saw justice. Actually it didn't do autumn any justice at all :-p :-D. We drove to Blue Licks Battlefield state park which is just about 40 min away from Lexington, not for history sake, but for the colours.

And man!! Was it worth it or what!! The drive itself satisfied our craving. We both were like kids pointing out candy!! "Look at that lovely yellow there" I said, "The small red trees over there are beautiful" said Sri, and this continued all the way till we reached the park :). The park was also looking extremely lovely with a palette of colours.

We walked to a small lookout to see the hills covered by various shades, later to a bridge to see an awesome view of a road and much later to a small lake which was surrounded with colourful foliage :). The sun was playing peek-a-boo with us and whenever it came out, the sights were worth capturing in a snap. Here's another photo:

We never actually saw any historical places on the park. We were busy admiring the handwork of God, which I should say is much better than man made building anyways. But I did climb on to a swing in the playground there and swung like I used to way back in childhood :). Also, we did try our hands at a 18-hole mini golf. A mini golf has 18 holes, but its not a huge golf course. It has small distance holes with some fun stuff like a house standing in between the path with a hole in the bottom. You have to make the golf ball go through the house to reach the actual hole :). I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but there were no people there except a family which was way ahead of us. So said "What the heck!!" and went for it :-D.

Hehehe. Sri claimed to be Tiger Woods, but most of his shots went outside the course. So I teased him saying "Yup you are Tiger Woods, when he didn't know what golf was" :-D. I got one of the holes in my first shot which was an absolute beginner's luck scenario. We shouted all the time for every shot, boo-d each other and gave hi-fives. Had royal fun throughout. At one point, we actually did wonder what these Americans would have thought had they heard us shouting, maybe "These Indians are crazy!!" - Asterix style :)). Anyways, later had fries, apple pies and sundae (yup I'm crazy enough to have a hot fudge sundae in cold weather, while Sri had a coffee) in McDonalds and set off home.

Autumn is all fun and beautiful but the weather is getting colder and colder day by day!! Its about 2 to 5 degree celsius daily now and we really can't venture out without getting decked in some kind of coats and caps. Anytime of the day I go out, I can see my breath like smoke. Just a moment out in the chilly weather, my hands, nose and ears freeze :(. If autumn is like this, I don't even want to wonder what winter will be like!!! We have to keep the heater continuously on in the house already!! So, the moral of the story, my dear friends is, "Autumn thrills, but chills!!" :).

Monday, October 24, 2005

Why, Oh Why, God?

Why, Oh Why, God?

God, why have you made autumn this way?
So many different colours to be seen..
Here in America, so many shades in leaves
While there in India, why only green?

God, why have you made days this way?
One is cloudy while other is blessed with sun..
And why are creatures the way they are?
One cannot fly while another cannot run..

God, why have you made countries this way?
One has mountains while the other has ravines..
And why is the fate of them so different?
When one has floods, several others have famines..

God, why have you made humans this way?
Skin colours black, white, red and brown..
While the internal system is quite the same,
Why are faces, thoughts, unique and their own?

God, why have you made feelings this way?
Excited, Confused, Lonely, Happy and Sad..
And why is the human nature so different?
While one is good, why is the other so bad?

God, why have you made me this way?
Why do I think, think and over-think?
Why has what started as autumn colours,
Changed into so many other why's in a blink?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cheers Atlanta!

Ok as promised by humble me, here's the pages-and-pages travel report on our Atlanta trip last weekend (Ok ok its not that long :-p). I'm warning you, proceed only if you want to read my rant about all the places we visited in Atlanta and how we spent each and every moment. If you are reading this line, then I'm assuming you really have no other better work to do at this moment and hence you have agreed to read till the end. Its a binding contract failing which you'll be sued :-D. As usual, click on the photos to view all our Atlanta snaps. Again I repeat, limited offer :).

Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (I must admit that I stole this line blatantly from the song "Do Re Mi" from the Sound of music movie :-D). There were 3 main purposes to visit Atlanta.

  • Sri's friend Anjay was shifting to a job in Atlanta and needed our help in moving some of his things.

  • Sri's cousin Uday lives in Atlanta and he had a baby recently.

  • Though Sri had worked in Atlanta before, he hadn't seen some of the things its famous for. Moreover he wanted to show them to me too (very kind of him :-p).
Since last weekend was the weekend Anjay was shifting, we also decided to go there at the same time.

14th October 2005:

We left Lexington at about 2:00PM on Friday noon. Yup, I had to finish all my assigned work early and Sri came home early. So we were off. The drive from Lexington to Atlanta is more than 5 hours. Anjay had left in the morning itself, so he'd pick up his stuff from us after we reached. Everything was fine until there was a whopping traffic jam when Atlanta was just an hour away!! We were stuck for more than 1.5 hours and reached Atlanta only at about 9:30 PM in the night :-(. Just landed at the hotel and settled for the night.

15th October 2005:

Saturday early morning, we set off towards Atlanta downtown to visit CNN headquarters. CNN has a huge building (obviously what with them having so many channels and minting huge amounts of money :-p). Sri had bought the tickets online the previous day and only had to show the printout at the counter to get the tickets. We had a breakfast of some sandwiches at the CNN food court and were ready for the 9:00AM studio tour.

The tour started with a security check and climbing an escalator which is supposedly world's steepest escalator. These Americans have the tendency to find the impossible thing and tag it to their attraction. One escalator is steepest, another is longest, yet another is shortest, widest, so on and so forth :-p. First we saw how the images are mixed and telecasted.

Later we were taken to one studio and the guide even demonstrated in front of the green screen how the weather is telecasted. The anchors are not supposed to wear clothes with the same green colour, or the microchip will replace the green with the weather image :-D. Next we were taken to the studios from where CNN was being telecasted. We could see the anchors and the people collecting news working there. All this from a glass window. And we weren't allowed to take any photos from this point of time. Maybe CNN thinks we'll sell them to a rival channel and mint money. And of course they don't want anyone else to make money other than themselves :-p. We were also taken to the CNN Headline centre and later to CNN International where news keeps pouring from all over the world. In between these studios we were shown many shows on the working of the channel, how the famous anchors started etc. All in all very interesting :).

Our next place of visit was the Coke Headquarters in Atlanta downtown. Since it was a walkable distance from the CNN building, we walked :). On the way, there is a place called Underground Atlanta which is full of shops and carts like in India :). The following is a shot of the fountain in front of Underground Atlanta. It was a 3 level fountain and I absolutely loved the bronze statue:

So finally we found the Coke centre and entered it. Again there was a tour which we took. The tour had history of Coca Cola (secret formulas which they never revealed ;-) :-D) and how Cokes are bottled etc.

We also saw how previously Coke was actually sold as a Fountain drink and took photos everywhere. But the best part was the "Taste Coke flavours from all over the world" section. There were ginger, litchi, fruit punch, cherry, vanilla etc flavoured drinks. One of the worst I tasted was the Italian Beverly Bitter Coke which is actually bitter and worse than medicines. I drank it first, grimaced and conned Sri into drinking it, saying its very nice. Poor guy, the expression on his face was worth the prank :-D. The tour was probably not worth the money we paid, but it was pretty informative :).

Next we headed towards Stone Mountain park, which is one of the very famous National parks near Atlanta. They have carved a Memorial Carving on the stone mountain which is very famous.

We enjoyed the aerial tramway to the top of the mountain. The views were beautiful all around. The walk around the mountain was also very exciting :). Yup I did take hell lot of photos :).

After coming down the mountain, we caught the pumpkin express. Its a train which goes around the mountain with comedy show stops in between. After that we found a nice place on a lawn and waited. What were we waiting for? The Laser and Fireworks show that Stone Mountain Park has every Saturday.

The show started at 8:00PM and went on till almost 9:00PM. And it was awesome!! The synchronization between the songs, lasers colours and the fireworks was simply amazing. I had never seen any fireworks in US before, so this was my first one and it was just what I expected :). Most of the songs were about American Patriotism and it was really nice to see people around us even joining in some of the singing :). The photos didn't come out that well though :-D. But that's ok. It was a really enjoyable experience :). After the show, we went back home and retired for the day..

16th October 2005:

The first objective of the day was Anjay collecting his things from us. The second was to visit Sri's cousin Uday and his wife Kruthi in Alpharetta. It was a reliving of memories for Sri, as he had lived in Alpharetta before for a project in 2002. He showed me his office and the house in which he lived. The excitement was evident on his face :).

We found Uday's place very easily. I had never met them before, so we had introductions all around. Then we met their just-over-one-month-old baby boy Varun. We had a nice time what with me holding him, him sleeping without any concern and his parents complaining about how he kept them awake all night :-D. We also met Kruthi's parents who had come recently to visit their grandson and had a lovely breakfast with them. So after presenting Varun with some gifts we had taken and taking loads of photos, we bid goodbye to them.

Our next objective was to go to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga which is about an hour away from Atlanta towards Lexington. To visit a waterfall called Ruby falls. The Ruby Falls is an 145 foot waterfall inside a cave. Its supposedly the largest falls inside a cave!! Its still privately owned. We were pretty horrified at the fee they were charging, but bought the tickets anyways. We were taken underground in an elevator about 130 feet below the ground! The caves were also beautiful with lots of interesting formations like the cactus, candle, chandelier, Frozen Niagara etc formations. Moreover we were shown history videos on Plasma TVs and there was surround sound everywhere in the cave. No wonder they were charging so much!! But the falls were pretty much worth it. It was wonderful. The photo may not show the beauty as it was pretty dim-lit, but take a look:

Next we visited a place called Rock City Gardens. Its built around rocks on Lookout Mountain and the paths go over rocks, under rocks and between rocks :). The paths are beautiful and the whole place is constructed like a magical getaway place :). The best part about it was a waterfall in a place called Lovers' Leap :).

Our last stop for the whole trip was at the "Lookout Mountain Incline Railway". Its supposedly the steepest tram railway. I believed that!! Man, its oh so steep!! The trip down and then back up took only about half an hour in total. But it was exciting and a great experience. We almost expected thing to speed up like a roller coaster :-D. Sadly, it never did :).

By then it was about 6:00PM in the night. Lexington was still about 4 hours away. So we set off. Thankfully, we didn't have any traffic jams on the way back and we were able to reach Lexington at about 10:45PM in the night. Sri was the only one who drove the whole way and back, so he was tired. But I, who did nothing, was also very tired. Guess the trip took its toll :).

BTW now I'm wondering whether I did the right thing in commenting all those things about the various places. If in India a blogger is sued for something he wrote, I'm in America!! What if they all read this and sue me? That's a very distressing idea :(. Hehehehehe :)). Me just kidding. Who reads my blog :-p!! So this is it. Another great end to another lovely trip :). Adios folks and have a good day :).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Who am I?

Been a long time since I took one of these tests. And I answered 45 questions for the damn thing! The test actually says that I'm Gandhi and here I thought I was an extremist :-(. Wish it had said Subhash Chandra Bose and I would have agreed whole-heartedly :).

Anyways, had been to Atlanta over the weekend. So you are gonna get a full travel report same place, sometime very soon, whether you want it or not :-D.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What you shouldn't blog...

Literally stumbled upon a whole controversy when I was just glancing at some blog. Before you read my instructions on what not to blog, first you require the prelude in chronological order. I suggest you read through all of these (I know its a bloody lot, but you really need the background before making assumptions). So here are the events:

  • The beginning - an article carried by JAM Magazine about IIPM whose editor is Rashmi Bansal.

  • Gaurav Sabnis, a regular blogger reads the above and writes a post, like we bloggers regularly tend to do ;-).

  • Gaurav gets a legal notice!!

  • It reaches up to the level of Gaurav's employer IBM and he decides to resign voluntarily!!

  • Varna another blogger, mentions Gaurav's post and gets a legal notice!!

  • It has become a bloggers vs. IIPM movement now :-D

  • Latest update is that NDTV calls it "fascinating story, which has not just raised questions about claims made by private educational institutions but also about laws governing internet privacy. " :-o!!

Ok the history over. Now my post. Tips on what you shouldn't blog:

  • Don't refer to a magazine article in any part of your post. You never know who might come up and sue you ;-).

  • If some other blogger is posting references to a magazine article, please don't ever support him/her and mention him/her in your post. Oooooooooops looks like I'm doing exactly that!! Hellllllllllp, I might get a legal notice anytime!! For people who want to send legal notice, please post it as a comment to this post as I've not given my email Id anywhere on my blog :-p. Look at me being considerate :-D.

  • If you don't support the blogger above and want to register and post, don't ever post like this stupid guy here :-p. "Mummy, Mummy, my school is very nice, I even got a chocolate" anyone?? Sheeeeeeeesh!!

  • Well, looking at the points above, I think you shouldn't even blog at all!!

  • Also, if you read all my points and still want to go ahead and post, then don't worry, 1000's of bloggers including me will support you :).

If you ask my personal opinion, I think the whole thing is silly. IIPM instead of neglecting the whole thing, negligently put its ass on fire by giving it importance. Now even TVs are picking up the story. Ab IIPM ka kya hoga? Tch tch tch!! Poor Rashmi , Gaurav and Varna are being attacked at personal level, which I think is absolutely shameful and so do 1000's of other bloggers who are supporting them. Go people!! You guys rock!!

But I sort of pity the poor students studying in the pitiful institute. I mean, it really shows how worried they are if they are willing to burn the one and only laptop given to them by the institute :-p (Me being devilish >:) ).............

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Unexpected treat and sweets :)

While I've been bothering my head on what to blog next, I suddenly came face to face with an event which I just had to blog about. Coincidence? Or does God love my blogging? Hehehehe :)).

On Monday, Sri and me went to Lexington downtown just for a drive and some shopping. At a particular place, there were police cars everywhere and some roads were closed. Traffic was being diverted. There were also some fire engines seen and we started wondering whether there was a major accident or a huge fire. All sorts of bad thoughts were floating around in our minds. Since one of the shops we wanted to visit was supposedly in one of these closed roads (we didn't know the correct location), Sri parked the car and we decided to take a stroll. I admit we were also very curious to know just what was going on.

Imagine our delight, when we discovered that it was a parade. It was a fire fighters parade especially organized for children so that they learn about fire safety (The children might have been fire-fighters' kids, but I'm not sure). Much much later we came to know that its name was Lexington's annual Fire prevention parade :).

The parade hadn't yet started. People were organizing stuff yet. There were clowns riding on golf carts shaped like jeeps, fire engines everywhere with kids on top, a marching band playing a nice beat and so many people watching the whole thing. There were banners saying "Blow out before you go out" everywhere :). There were also something called stations which were vehicles dressed up as something else for the parade. Like there was this Fire engine whch wasn't real, it was cardboard all painted and fixed like a fire engine :). Then there were 3 ladies dressed as 3 piggies with a brick and hay house on a vehicle which said "Huff puff blow out before you go out" :-D. Another was a mobile fire safe house which had stuff organized in such a way to minimize chances of fire. There was also one station dressed like a jungle and little kids in fancy dresses, dressed like a giraffe, penguin etc. Yet another was a vehicle which fully looked like a birthday cake ;-). And another like a boxing ring which was named "Million Dollar baby" where a thin lady was fighting a plump man :). We walked along the road watching the hustle bustle. It was really nice to see kids enjoying so much.

The parade started at about 7:30 PM. By that time, we had already walked all the way and seen all the vehicles. Yet we sat on some steps and decided to watch the parade go by. So off they all went. Real fire engines and dressed up stations, march bands, all marched. Ronald from Mcdonalds rode a tiny Mcdonalds car and waved to the audience. There were fire-fighters with fairy wings attached to the back, people having various Popeye and Olive artificial heads attached, small vehicles shaped like a shoe, car etc. Kids waved from the tops of fire-engines and threw chocolates at everyone. There were also people giving away free mementos like a cup holder and like this small house a nice elderly lady gave me.

We waved at the kids, ran after and collected chocolates and bubble gum the kids threw at us, chewed the bubble gums and blew bubbles like kids :-D. More important was the fact that we laughed all the way and thoroughly enjoyed the experience :). I so much wished that I had our camera with us, so that I could have snapped away at all I wanted. But heck, we weren't prepared for an unexpected event :). The photo above of the kids is also from a different parade since I couldn't find any of this one on the net either :(. Anyways the photos of the parade are embedded on my mind and thats what counts :).

This unexpected treat was too cool :). It reminded me of something Sri always proclaims "Always expect the unexpected" :). By the way, we never actually found the shop we went looking for. We just didn't care anymore :-D.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


God!! There were so many people writing about blogging that they started giving me an inferiority complex (Now I can't have that, can I? :-D). I see the "To blog or not to blog" title in every damn place. What's this (blog) world coming to?? :-D

First I read Maddox's post on blogging. I saw so many posts referring to it that I just had to read it. It says:

Blogger: Term used to describe anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives.

Yup people, as you can see my life is pretty uneventful ;-). And yup, I do have the time :-D.

Just when I thought people couldn't have a worse opinion on blogging, I read "Blogging is stupid; go be a human being" referred to by another blogger saying that he agrees!! (this guy agrees and he has been blogging for 3 years now! Contradictions or what! :-D). The article is by Heather Burns and this is what she has to say:

Blogs aren't just stupid, they are crippling our social skills, and there is nothing better than human interaction, trust me. Believe it or not, there is a world outside of the computer. No joke, it has trees, popcorn and drive-thru liquor stores

Yeah so true. I just went outside and saw that there are so many trees. Wow!! Till now I hadn't realized that the earth had trees!!

Am I taking it personally? Yes. Am I being defensive? Absolutely :). If bloggers and blogs are junk, then why the heck are these people giving opinions on junk??

If you ask me why I blog (I know you are not asking me :-p), I don't have a definite answer. Is it because I don't have any other better work to do? Is it because I think I have a webspace and I like to fill it up with junk? Is it because I am being
narcissistic? Or is it because I don't have any real friends and I have only my computer I can have a decent conversation with??

No, the answer probably lies in the fact that I love to write. Be it a small memory or a nice trip or a not-so-nice experience. Yes, I am aware that many people (most of them strangers) may stumble across my blog and read it. No, I am not writing my blog in such a way that'll compel them to read it. Its their wish and will. As for people I know, my family, friends and relatives know about my blog and they love that fact that I have the time and patience to write all about a few simple day-to-day happenings (If you are one of the family, friends and relatives and you think otherwise, then this is the time to contradict me :-D. Speak now or forever hold your peace :-D. Hehehehe :-D). I am living far away from most of them, so I love to let them know the tiny details of my life, be it boring, stupid or whatever!!

And yup, I have gone out, eaten popcorn, not driven through liquor stores till now (probably will be another experience to jot about :-D), but have seen trees, birds and flowers. Heck, thats what I blog about :-D.