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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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Look who's 30!!

Well, not me :-D. Not yet anyways, 3 more years to go ;-). Sriram turns 30 today! Hurray :)). So on this special day, I compiled an evolution chart just for him :).

And what does he have to say on this occasion?

Hehehehehe :)).

Won't be posting a long senti post like last year's, just want to say:

"Happy Birthday" means much more
Than have a happy day.
Within these words lie lots of things
I never get to say.

It means I love you first of all,
Then thanks for all you do.
It means you mean a lot to me,
And that I'm proud of you.

But most of all, I guess it means
That I am thinking of you
on this very special day,
Happy Birthday.

- Poem taken from Tokenz.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Privacy, anyone?

The title of the post may seem kind of hypocritical, since I am flaunting most of my "privacy" in my blog here :-D. But well, I actually do have limits, I share lots of things about myself here, but there are lots other things which I don't really write about. I have a clear distinction about what is private and what can be made public. Thats a line I don't cross and don't intend to cross. But this post is not really about that..

Its about Google. Google has really brought about revolutionary changes in the matter of search and later maps/directions, searching for items for sale (Froogle), Blogging (Blogger), high storage capacity with Gmail and recently Google Videos. I have no complaints about any of these. In fact I'm highly appreciative.

I use google in my daily life so much, its like a virtual encyclopedia to me. Be it recipes, matter for my blog (:-D), day-to-day concerns, Google can find a solution to absolutely anything. I don't use Gmail much, other than to store some data, but I have watched videos on Google Videos, Shopped on Froogle and obviously blogged (a lot!!) on Blogger :-D. The most use we have had is out of Google Maps. All the trips that we have taken here in US, especially road trips, have involved Google maps in the planning. Its so easy to get directions, take print-outs and later follow those to the destinations. Thats how we find Indian restaurants at every place we go :-D.

Recently Google Maps updated their database to include streets, roads and place names of all major cities in India (well, its been 2 months, I am getting to write the post now :-D). Well, the "curious" me just had to see for myself and I really had a nice time exploring Bangalore, especially using the Satellite option. Before I put up any Bangalore photos, first a satellite snap of our house in US.

As you can see "A" hits the spot. This is not really a recent photo, as now there are houses in front of ours.

The next snap is of Bangalore:

I know it looks very shabby, but there's lot of construction work going on in the area (the grey areas are all under constuctiion buildings). "B" is my parents' place and "C" is our new flat which is, as of now, missing us :-D.
The only snap remaining is of Hyderabad:

"D" indicates my in-laws' place :-D. Its so nice to have a software that has information about any place in the world. Its almost as if we are next to each other :).

Here comes the "but". I wonder where it will all lead to. I mean, now its satellite snaps, will it be live satellite coverage in the future? It sounds kind of exciting, I know, but its also a high intrusion of privacy. Reminds me of the movie "Enemy of the State". If something like Google maps is being given to the public, maybe they already have the surveilance technology in National secret agencies! Kinda scary, isn't it? You never know who might be watching you. And its definitely not God ;-).

Its not that I have anything to hide. No, I am not a spy (I'm sure many of you were relieved to hear that ;-) :-D). But somehow the whole thing feels weird. Maybe it won't later when the technology will be available for public. I mean, had anyone told me about 10 years ago that I would write my journal online, where any person in the world would be able to read it, I'd certainly have called them "crazy" :-D. So maybe, people's perceptions of privacy change all the time. If the technology actually becomes available while I'm alive, who knows, I might even have a satellite live on my blog to indicate where I am currently ;-) :-D.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The age of innocence..

Everything is so different when you are a child. You deliberately splash in a rain puddle, while as an adult you are worried that a wee bit of rain may spoil your shoes. You eat lollies/guavas-with-salt/gooseberries-with-salt/candies being sold roadside with enjoyment and glee, whereas as an adult you are careful to eat at the cleanliest of restaurants worried about your health. As a child, nothing is untouchable, not insects, not dirty window panes, not any flowers/leaves. But as an adult, you wash your hands even if all you have been doing the whole day is type on a stupid keyboard :-p.

What brought this up suddenly? Nostalgia as always :). Last night, somehow I was suddenly reminiscing about some of the weird things I used to do as a child and they brought a smile on to my face. I thought well, why not write a post about it? The only problem was that I had to look up some of the trees/flowers we used to address with weird names then. What the heck is Google for? I was able to find all that I had been looking for in a matter of minutes and so here I am listing the "weird" things :-D.

Gulmohar flowers:

The Gulmohar trees are pretty common in Bangalore, more so in Banashankari where I used to live as a kid. The most fun part about this tree was in its flowers, more like the flower's sepals. Not petals, sepals!

I remember especially one of the trees near the school bus stop. We used to climb on to the compound of the Banashankari BDA complex and pluck the flowers. Later separate the sepals carefully and collect them. One flower would yield 5 sepals, so we would generally pluck 2 to 3 flowers. Each of these sepals looks like a finger-nail, red on the inside and greenish-yellow on the outside. I'd carefully peel part of the red layer and stick the remaining sepal to my original nail (there was some kind of glue in the sepal). And so on until we had all our nails covered with the sepals. They would look like witches nails (what with red on the inside) and we'd show it to everyone we could find :-D. It was a simple straight-forward "project" but it never lost its fun :-D.

Jacaranda (or bluebell as I used to call it) trees:

Like Gulmohar, these purple flowered trees are also very common in Bangalore. Its really wonderful to see them at full blossom. The whole tree looks purple and the leaves aren't visible at all! As a kid, we had 2 things to play with from this tree. One was the flower itself. You can see the flower is hollow and once it is plucked, its like a small fat tube. So what we'd do is pluck the flower, fold it carefully (so as to not damage it), take both ends into the mouth and blow air into it. The flower would swell. Then carefully holding both the ends so as to not let any of the air out, we'd find a bakra who'd willingly show us their forehead to smash the swollen flower against. The flower would burst making a sound like a very small balloon exploding ;-) :-D. Since we would get lots of ammunition (:-D), this would go on for sometime until our hands started aching ;-).

The second plaything was the pod.

The pod as you can see has 2 parts. We'd, with difficulty, pry open and separate the parts. Then apply glue to the darker surface of both, stick one to the thumb and the other to the rest 4 fingers and Voila!! We'd have a thaala!! For those who don't know what a thaala is, its an instument that is a set of small brass cymbals and it is played like a beat to songs by clapping them together like cymbals. We'd sometimes have these glued to both our hands and we'd run around the house creating a ruckus :-D.

Spathodea tree (or boat tree :-D):

Again another common tree. We always would call it boat mara, mainly because of its boat-shaped pods :-D. Another bad name to it was uchchekai (urine-fruit, I know, I know, the name's terrible :-D) mara because it had these juicy fruits. It was fun to rupture a part of the fruit and squirt it on an unaware friend :-D. These trees grow pretty tall, so it'd be extrmely rare to find a bunch of these fruits, so when found it'd be guarded like a treasure and everyone around would be squirted upon :-D. But we'd be careful not to squirt these in anyone's eyes, we had this idea that the power of sight will be lost forever in such a case (probably "weird" thoery told by parents just to make sure the children would not do such a thing :-p). I still don't know whether this is true or not!

The 2nd thing were the pods. These pods would dry completely , push out flaky feathered seeds that'd fly everywhere, then fall down. This was when they were of any use to us. They literally were shaped like boats, so if there was a puddle anywhere around, we'd float them there. if there was no puddle anywhere , then we'd run home with our arms full of these and prepare a tub (the tub isn't the hugge bath tubs, but just a small round plastic tub) full of water and have a blast floating these natural boats :-D.

Other than these, there were still so many things. I climbed trees, jumped for tamarind, mangoes, guavas. I used to ride my cycle for hours exploring what I called "new" places :-D. I used to love rains, just because it meant I could shake the leaves on trees, get wet and then say at home "I got drenched in the rain" ;-). Once I even found a way to get down from the terrace of our 1-storied house (thank God, it was only 1) without using the stairs (I actually used the window panes and the compound to get down!) :-D. Once I even planted an onion without telling my parents and was fascinated when the young shoots erupted from the ground. Another time I found a dead butterfly and was so sad that I buried it with all glory. If we found sand, we'd make a cave. Once we even made a sort of sculpture which we called "Bath of Mesopotamia", hehehe :).

I wonder how or why we suddenly "grow up". Suddenly we are not kids anymore. Suddenly things we love become examples of "childishness". Suddenly we stop looking at the world with wonder. Suddenly money is more important than the little moments of happiness. As a child I thought that the clouds were made of sugar candy and that if I swallow a seed of some fruit, a plant will grow out of my mouth. Now I know better, but how come it doesn't make me feel any better? And I am certain that if I was a child, I would never have been worried about not working as long as I am fed :-D. Why do we change so much? Well, I guess I haven't changed too much if I still am building snow mommies and snow children :-D.

I wish I could go back. I wish I could return to a phase where I don't need to be "dignified" or "behave maturely", where I thought there was really a huggge rabbit on the moon or when a ride on the bus was an adventure. I am glad that I have retained atleast some of the wonder :).

* The snaps are all not mine, sadly. They have been taken from various spots on the internet. Hope to take my own snaps sometime when I am in Bangalore.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

- William Blake in his poem "Auguries of Innocence"

Listening to: "Chinna Chinna Aaasai" from Roja.

Chinna chinna aasai,
Siragadikkum aasai,
Muthu muthu aasai,
Mudinthuvaitha aasai..
Vennilavu thothu muttham ida aasai,
Ennai intha boomi sutri vara aasai..

Translated roughly it means..

Little little wishes
Wing-laden wishes,
Like little pearls - these wishes,
Carefully cherished wishes..
Wishes to touch the silvery moon and kiss it,
Wishes for this earth to revolve around me..

Monday, February 12, 2007

Snow snow everywhere..

It seems like Mother Nature has had her revenge on a person who has complained all season about there not being enough snow ;-). There's news that it will snow all this week. Nothing's going to make me regret for asking for snow, but the weather is so chilly that sometimes I have second thoughts :-D.

But snow is still a great photo opportunity, so I couldn't let it go, could I? So one day, dressed in 3 layers of clothes, I headed out to 'capture' the sights ;-). Here's our home and the lawn which is currently a field of snow..

My poor plants are dead (atleast as of now until they decide to grow back {cross my fingers}).

There is a Holly bush in front of our house and snow on its leaves makes a pretty sight :).

I took several more photos and decided to head back to the house. It was only when I put my hand on the door knob that I realized that I was locked out!! Well, I tried everything I could think off, but I didn't have a single paisa, err cent on me. All I had headed out with was my camera :-p. So what to do? I decided that the best thing to do was build a small snowman :-D.

The first thing I did was make a snowball.

Later grouped some snow on the ground to make the body. Placed the snowball I made like a head. By this time, my snow man was looking more like a "snow woman", so I made a bun like thing for her hair :-D. I used the dead plant's twigs for arms, holly fruits for eyes, a stub fo the nose and a small leaf for the mouth. Here's the result:

I had gone out for the photo session around evening, but still there was no sight of Sri. Whats a girl to do? I built a snow child for the snow mom :-D.

Here's the mom and baby together:

Finally after an hour of my getting locked out, my knight in shining armour came home to rescue me. I rewarded him by throwing a snowball at him and chiding him for coming home late >:) (I am a wicked one :-D). Poor guy, how was he to know that I was locked out? But we women are unreasonable sometimes. There, I have admitted to it ;-).

Well, another lesson learnt. Never will I leave the house without a key from now on :-p.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anniversary adventure :)

Kind of following tradition, we went ski-ing on our Anniversary. I say tradition because, we actually did Bungee-jumping on our honeymoon :-p. Ski-ing is not really something new to us. After all, we learnt how to ski last year. But this year, the snowfall has been so scanty in our area that I wondered whether it was possible to go ski-ing at all. But as if to make me eat my words about snowfall, its been continuously snowing for a week now and the temperature has been continuously below "0" degree Celcius for days now :-p. Well, it atleast meant we could go ski-ing and so on Sunday, off we went to the same old Perfect North Slopes.

As I have mentioned in my earlier post about Ski-ing, the slopes in Indiana are about 1.5 hours drive away. So we had breakfast, packed a lunch and were off.

It was really cold and there was a chilly wind blowing. The crowd was a bit less thanks to Superbowl. But still there were people out in the cold. The following snap is of the professional slope:

Did I mention it was freezing? This, after we had worn thermals and 2 layers of clothes over that! Brrrrrrrrr...

We rented our ski-gear - the skis, ski poles and the boots. Man, I had forgotten how heavy the boots were. Its really great exercize for the legs ;-). Again, as I have mentioned in my earlier ski-post, the weight is important for the protection of the ankles. Those are the most delicate parts of our legs and are very prone to fractures/twists. After wearing the boot, there's no way a fracture can happen to the ankle :). Here's a skis and ski-poles picture I took later while having lunch:

After being equipped with the gear, we headed off to the initial slopes for practice. It was good to know that I hadn't forgotten what I learnt last year. After about 3 to 4 times in the very-beginner slopes, we were able to get on the ski lifts and ski on the higher beginner /intermediate slopes. Though it was scary in the beginning, its really exhilarating when you speed down the slope and yet are in control. After ski-ing down the slopes for a couple of times, we took a break to have lunch.

After lunch, I sat and watched the professional ski-ers for sometime, while Sri rested. Its really fascinating to watch them glide down the professional slopes. I wonder if I'll ever have the guts to do that :-\. Then we went back to the slopes again to ski a couple of more times. The whole experience was really good, as this time both of us managed not to fall at all the whole day!! The only mistake we did was wear our leather gloves instead of the ski gloves, which chilled our fingers to the core until we decided that enough was enough and headed home. But we did manage to ski down more than 10 times on the higher beginner/intermediate slopes :-D.

We were pretty tired when we reached home, but unlike last time, didn't really have any aches thankfully :). Later went out for dinner and so ended the 2nd anniversary :).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Two to tango :)

The equation goes like this:

This post = 2 x last year's post (An year of a lifetime... ).

We met almost 2.5 years ago and talked about our interests..

After finding out the things we had in common (and the things we didn't :-D), we got engaged...

Then got married 2 years ago on this very day :).

There has been a lot of understanding and helping each other..

There also have been quite a few disagreements ;-).

There have been some confusions and adjustments too..

But mainly there has been LOVE :).

And the love is what will last :). Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary Sriram !

* Most of the images are taken from Cartoonist Group and one from Off the mark.

Listening to: Luther Vandross - "I'd rather"

I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else
I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself
I'd rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart...