April 30, 2013 1 Comment
Do you know the name of this tree? Can you please tell it to me?
Quotes, conversations and thoughts
March 13, 2013 1 Comment
A backdrop of foothills. A small field. With an almost ready wheat crop. A long mango tree standing a midst the crop. And one fine morning, there are three kids in the field. Under the tree. On a cot. That they have hung from the tree. Using two ropes. Playing on their make-shift swing. Swinging in and out of my view, on the other side of the tree trunk.
Lunch time. I look up again. The cot is gone. There are only two kids. The ropes suffice. No fights.
A while later, the cot is back. On the ropes. Friends seem to be visiting.
Summer is here.
January 29, 2013 5 Comments
The India England ODI match, 27th Jan 2013, Dharamshala- the first cricket match that had the fortune of having me in audience, apart from being the first international match in the “stadium with a view”.
I learnt a lot of new facts…
1. Every alternate over, bowling direction is actually reversed. Till now, I thought the batsmen switch sides. Logically, switching bowling direction makes sense- to damage the pitch evenly from both side, nullify the effects of wind, light etc. (These are my reasons, might not be the same as the actual reasons! No, I am not enthu to search the actual reasons, although you are welcome to teach me thru comments.) Just that it never occurred to me before!
2. The bowler is permitted two over-the-batsman’s-shoulder deliveries every over.
3. Bowlers often use the above fact to their benefit towards end of an over, especially to unnerve a batsman who has just arrived at the pitch.
4. Sometimes, Indian men can be really really disgusting in their behavior towards females, more so if the lady happens to be a white non-Indian. Education, age and background (rural/urban) do not seem to have any correlation to the behavior.
5. Cricket matches can be boring. After a while, even the awesome view of the mountains fails to entertain. In fact, the view makes you want to leave the stadium and roam outside.
6. Training is important. Like training the traffic police how to handle the huge traffic resulting from over 15,000 visitors to a town with population of 19,000. I could not blame the guys posted there, they had no experience and no guidance for such a situation.
7. Steven Finn is super cute. Perhaps the reason why I did not whine much during the first innings.
December 25, 2012 2 Comments
Multiple posts in one day… in the spirit of Christmas and eagerness to record 2012′s awesomeness before 2013 begins…
I was frustrated with the delay in take-off and mentally preparing myself for spending few more hours at the airport or taking a flight to Delhi in case flight to Chandigarh never took off. Thankfully, before the in-flight breakfast needed to be converted to in-flight lunch, boarding was announced.
A first row, middle seat, chosen via web check-in was waiting for me! Go, raise your eye-brows at middle seat. I fit easily in it… and first row is what was more important there.
Soon after I settled in my place, 2 kids came to the person sitting by the window and asked for an autograph. And then, I took notice of him. Recognized him by face- of having seen him in quite a few tv serials and a couple of movies, but owing to my zilch knowledge of Bollywood etc, I didn’t even put an effort to recollect his name. I simply knew that I don’t know the name.
The aisle side uncle asked me who the gentleman is. You can guess what I replied. And we both giggled at ourselves. (We eventually figured out that he was Gajendra Chauhan, and chatted with him for a bit towards the end of the journey.)
There started the 2 hour journey that was going to be an amazing story-listening session for me. The aisle side uncle turned out to be a retired Navy Commodore. From the batch of 1949, the very first batch of Armed Forces of independent India. With a very active and secretive role in the war of 1971. (The details aren’t secretive anymore.) And decorated with a gallantry award. And with a 20 year corporate work experience after retirement from the Navy. Was returning home for good, after a voluntary retirement from the corporate world the previous day. I was totally in awe. The number of years he has been retired from Navy itself is more than my complete life on this earth.
I got so many things in those couple of hours. The stories he had to share- especially of what London and Singapore were like in 1950 and how amplifiers et al were actually made of huge vacuum tubes and how they planned during war of 1971 and more. The affection that I totally enjoyed. The brief, happy-sad glimpse of what a grandfather is probably like. And food for thought on questions of life- what matters, what doesn’t…
No offence to Mr. Chauhan, but to me, this other person was a bigger celebrity or at least (if the word celebrity implies not just my view but needs to take into account view of public), a bigger inspiration.
Merry Christmas! May the awesomeness of life continue.
December 25, 2012 1 Comment
An evening in Mumbai. With two good friends. Meeting one after 6 months. Meeting another for the first time after her marriage. Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. I thought it can’t get any better.
SS: We aren’t going to have dessert here!
Me: But why? Lets finish main course first. If we are too full, we will skip dessert. But even then, we can always manage to have some dessert na.
SS: No. No dessert here.
SS: We will go to Naturals.
And I must have had the widest, silliest grin possible on my face.
How could I forget Naturals on my Mumbai mental check-list! Turned out to be great that I forgot and then got awesomely surprised. Super duper thanks SS, for remembering that I would want to go to Naturals. <Ok, it’s actually named Natural, but we all call it Naturals> I would have complained infinite had I returned without those heavenly ice-creams.
Icing on the cake, I spotted a Naturals parlor in Goa two days later. And bugged my colleagues for a pre-dinner dessert session. One of them turned out to be a fellow Naturals lover and other one had never visited it before. So, we took it on ourselves to introduce the awesomeness to him and gulped down 2 scoops each in the process of getting him to taste as many flavors as possible- as if the world was about to end.
Disclaimer: Naturals does not know who I am or that I am this crazy about its ice-creams. This post is not an advertisement and I have not been paid any compensation for the same by Naturals or anyone else.
December 4, 2012 4 Comments
… or lets say, down the lanes which feature in infinite memories in my head.
When an opportunity came up to visit campus on 1st, my first reaction was- No, I can’t, I shouldn’t, I won’t. But well, who was I fooling! Lots of discussions, a few explanations and some promises later, it had been decided. I was going. I hadn’t expected anything specific from the trip apart from visiting Tiffanys, beach, Murugun idly, hostel, department, insti roads etc. Things couldn’t have gone any more different than the plans.
Thanks for turning up despite the huge traffic and other logistic issues. And thanks for the amazing dinner (what’s the placed called, again?), and the conversations.
It was great to realize that your office was next door. The paper flower was an awesome, impromptu gift, btw. And thanks for those much needed drinks at insti the next day.
I am extremely proud of you. You rock, girl. Am glad to have managed to be there with you . I didn’t realize till now, but the charm insti held for past 1.5 years was mainly because of you. I doubt if, next time, I will feel the same excitement. Anywho, it isn’t a good bye, not at all. Just a moving-on from insti phase.
It was perhaps my first time ever in insti when you weren’t there- just a call away. Selfishly, I wished you were still around. Where is your cycle, btw? I missed the cycle too.
I went to department but it was all empty, all rooms locked. Oh well, it was a Saturday. I hope you are enjoying at your new univ.
I should have probably stuck to our idea of hiding a parcel for you somewhere in the department so that you can collect it 2 weeks later. It would have been fun.
I couldn’t have a tea at the canteen! Btw, Nag’s birthday is around. I mentally pictured a cake and a collage.
I guess you already know what I want to say…
I didn’t go to Tiffnays. Partly, because there was no time, but mainly because I was afraid of getting disappointed. So, to preserve the happy-sad feeling of your week-old message and our conversations over sambhar idly and bournvita milk, I stayed put.
Van, Multi, Pressure,
Would you believe, I didn’t even go for a walk on insti roads! At 2 am, I was highly tempted. Dunno what held me back. Fatigue? In retrospection, I should have gone. Could have witnessed some preps of the Chennai Marathon that was due in a few hours. Insti had so much energy flowing, you know, so so much of it, when I was starting back.
Shrek and Divi,
I didn’t visit hostel either. Knew that this time, even the 155 and 157 will be unknown faces. So, I just let it be.
I realized, yet again, that it is not the places- Tiff, hostel etc that held relevance, but the people with whom I shared those places that made the places special. I know am just repeating the universally known fact. But it was my realization moment.
On the brighter side, I met a few awesome juniors with whom, I hope to stay in touch in future. And, I, finally, stayed in Taramani guest house, after wishing for a chance for years. Didn’t I want my parents to visit me once just so that I can stay in TGH! Standing in the corridor at 2 am, listening to the silence was so refreshing and soothing.
I cannot close this post without complaining about the mess that Chennai airport is. And about the Spicejet lady whom I literally wanted to hunt down and shout at- shout louder than she was in the PA system. Good for her, I was tired. Someone, please record her voice and make her listen to it. Or at least tell her to keep her message short, and cut those 60% redundant words out. Yes, I actually did the calculation…
In some wise moment when stars were aligned in my favor (!), I had decided to do a break journey on way back instead of returning directly to an empty house. That’s the only thing that kept me going, the fact that I was just a tiny bit away from a warm hug.
November 6, 2012 4 Comments
Just in case someone missed me in past 1 month, am back. There are 2 possible reasons for such an absence- No action, hence nothing to write about. Or too much action, hence no time to write. It was a mixture of both. First few days, I didn’t have much to write about and and post that, I didn’t have any time to be able to focus my mind towards writing.
So, the big news: I visited The Taj Mahal. On 3rd Nov. For the first time. (Did I hear you go WHHHHAT?) There’s more. I went with colleagues. I know, it sounds super-unromantic.
Like I explained to the firangs in my group (for one of them, it was 3rd visit to Taj)- Indian parents do not really have a check list item that reads: Take kid to Agra before she/he is 5 year old or 10 year old. Unfortunately, my parents happened to visit Agra a couple of years before I arrived in this world. Hence, Agra did not appear in their travel plan for next 15 years or so. And by the time I started traveling with friends, I was far away from Agra. Good logic, right?
Blame it on me or the group, I really could not connect the word ‘Love’ with the Taj Mahal. I think it is an architectural marvel. We discussed the seismic design of the building, the tilted at 4 deg pillars to avoid a fall over the main tomb, the extreme symmetry, the complexity of executing such a construction project in the days of no computers, the fable that hands of the workers were cut off etc. And of course, we took hordes of pictures.
Pictures remind me of a particular incident when a security guard (SG) refused to let us take a group picture!
SG: You cannot take a picture!
Me and a colleague (We): Why?
SG: Are you foreigners?
We: Do we look like?
SG: No, but then you cannot take pictures.
We- Err.. why.. everyone around is taking pics.
SG- No, you cannot take picture with Indians and foreigners together.
The argument continued for a while and finally we realized-SG was thinking that we were harassing the ‘foreigners’ to take pics with them. Once we told him that we are from the same company, he got super embarrassed and then, actually kept others out of the way till we got some pics clicked. And even offered to click our pic, although, we politely denied, not trusting his photography skills.
Btw, it was hazy/foggy/smoggy throughout the day. Such low visibility in first week of November, am disheartened. And actually scared. Of tomorrow. Of choking ‘coz of pollution some day. The next 2 days in Delhi were equally smoggy. A quick Google search proved that it wasn’t just the used-to-smaller-and-cleaner-than-Delhi-cities me. There is indeed a big issue as explained here and here. With this, am very sure not to touch a single cracker this Diwali. I have anyways been lying extremely low on that front for quite a few years… But the last 3 days have actually panicked me.
On the previous note, just in case you happen to visit Agra again (assuming I was the only one left), and want to eat at a good restaurant, try Pinch of Spice. They have a branch on the road between Agra fort and Taj Mahal. The service, hygiene, taste, ambiance- every thing was pretty good. Let me add- it is a high end place. Agra does have other, much cheaper famous options which I would prefer if visiting with friends. But for family or a workplace team, this place is highly recommended.