Monday, June 30, 2003

Weekend of mixed feelings
The feeling was good to see mom and Pravin after a long time. They could partially fill in the emptiness of Dad. Yes, it feels bad when you see your dad for a day in 2 years. Life moves on and so do we.
Mom had made yummy food that couldn't stop appreciating it. Can feel the bridge between Vivek and mom slowly closing down.
The journey back to Bangalore from trichy on the dirty last seats of a local bus with its bumpy rides will never be forgotten. Empathy with Indians is the last thing one can expect. "I will lay back on my seat , i don' care whether you goto hell" is the attitude :)

"Harry Potter and the order of Phoenix" is making waves in the publishing industry. Since the stroke of midnight on 21st June, the yellow or blue wrapper book can be found in ones hands sans age barrier. However people who have managed to read the 846 page book claim that it is not all that interesting as its predecessors.

Quote of the day : Those who know don't speak.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The fun is over!

:( 75 day vacation has ended. Today is my 3rd day at work and doesn't feel great to get back to work! Human mind after all - never satisfied with the present. Not exactly swamped with work but some junk keeps my tiny brain churning thr the day.
I must admit now that the vacation did a lot of good to me and it was fabulous. Had i been running a company i would promote the concept of a 2 month sabbatical once every 5 years. I have heard Intel does that!
The lag this time stretched a bit too far. The 20 odd hour flight from Boston to Bangalore was uneventful. However, we were happy for we travelled together. Dad and Pravin were there to receive us at that odd hour. Felt good for your family is always tehre when you need them! And some friends too! The harsh relaity of having stepped foot in India hit us when we had to get our baggage thr the customs. For them - Asking for money is a ritual, people traveling into the country pluck money from the lush green prospering lands of the west. They are the only ones who toil hard to earn their money, ofcourse yes it takes a lot of energy to ask for more as $50 is too humiliating, isn't it?
Sleep induced by pills continues...Stark differences between the two worlds is prominent sometimes :( The to-do lists are already growing.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Its past 2:00 p.m. so past lunchtime. My tummy is not grumbling yet. So here i go with one more post for the day :)
Harry Potter casts a spell tomorrow at midnight with the release of his new book - Harry Potter and the order of Phoenix - 5th book in the HP series. Hogwarts fans watch out. What a fabulous way to begin the summer with - June 21st is the first day of summer.

Now rewind to the post World War II and pre cold war era. Were you interested in History in school? I was one of my favourite subjects after Maths. I hated science ..biology to be precise. Does the name"Rosenbergs" ring a bell? Rosenbergs execution on the Electric chair at Sing Sing is a gruesome yet famous incident. It happened on June the 19th , 1953. Today marks its 50th anniversary. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged of espionage, deceit and betrayal. They apparently shared the documents which when decoded constitued the Manhatten Project ( don't ask me what this project was, if you have gotten this far I assume you should know it). Source : Rosenbergs Execution. Today their 2 surviving sons commemorate this day for their deceased innocent parents.

Interested in reading or have difficulty in finding a book or looking for reviews on a book, then chk out these 2 sites:
1. Book community
2.Oprah's book club Her book ratings have supposedly churned out the best sellers ever. She has relaunched her book club after a 2 year hiatus now.

Scratch your heads!
Hola! Coma estos? Bien. Si.Hablo un puco de espanol.
Habla espanol ? Mucho Gracias.
Adios. Hasta manana.

This translates to -
Hello. How are you doing? Am fine. Yes. I speak a lil Spanish. Do you? Thanks a lot for visiting my site. Good bye. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Age & Beauty
This post is very much unlike me. I'm not a beauty or fitness freak by nature - not someone who spends hundreds on cosmetics, spa visits or fashion accessories. But knowledge about everything is not a dangerous thing. My encounter with women has been increasing. With younger women, silly nothings like dresses, cosmetics take up 90% of the conversation. So knowing about all this is coming handy after all.
In business too, there is no second chance to make a first impression. More often than not, its physical appearance that draws attention. Not my way of climbing the ladder but figuring out that at times you got to be impressively dressed ( i said impressively not obscenely !) for your intellectual side to get noticed.
Oh anyways i gave the title "age and beauty" to this post, because i feel beauty increases with age. What's your opinion? I have seen this with my mom, my older aunt. They looked like hippies in their 20's and now they look just gorgeous. Its 8:30 p.m. now and i just logged on to browse aimlessly. One of the AOL popup ads appealed to me - the transformation of Sarah Jessica Parker. Believe me, she is stunning now. And if you saw her 1990 picture you wouldn't believe it is her! One other transformation that is worth mentioning is that of Jennifer Aniston. She is soooooooooooooo beautiful in a 1997 file photo. Check out the pics @
Eleanor roosevelt rightly said "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But beautiful old people are works of art."

Monday, June 16, 2003

Quiet weekend
Oh well, it was a quiet weekend. Thanks to the tonsilitis infection.
Boston gave up the soggy gray overcoat it darned thr the chilly winter and cloud-covered spring. This Sunday, for a welcoming change, had temperatures soaring. The bay-state people were obviously happy and it was evident by the numerous roller-bladers, skaters, joggers, sailing boats across the Charles river.
Been reading a lot since morning. There are periods of time when i do read a lot of stuff on varied subjects and then there are extended periods of lull too.
Liked the few following lines quoted by ordinary people:

Watching the Discovery Channel does not make you part of an intellectual élite.
Personally I'm happy as long as I'm not working with idiots and assholes. An asshole, no matter how well qualified on paper, is never the best person for the job

Rolling Stones -

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"
I said to him
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
You get what you need--yeah, oh baby
I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

Did you know that down-sizing can also be called as 'right-sizing'? Though you are cutting down the task-force, you have identified that as the right number of people for the job to get done. Perception after all, isn't it?

Today's timepass

Friday, June 13, 2003

Rains and common cold go together
This small song has been playing in my mind since morning

Rain rain go away
Come again Columbus Day

If you ask any New England resident to "make a wish", he/she would say "stop this rain and bring me sun". Yes, it is yet another wet weekend.
Rains in spring are definitely not welcomed. They bring a whole list of add-ons with them like swarms of mosquitoes, dull moods, common cold, headaches and spoilt weekend plans. Am down with this cold for the past couple of days and I hate it when I get it. My current mood is irritant because of the running nose and heavy head. Don't even feel like seeing "Friends" today while he is sitting on the couch and enjoying Joey's antics.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Orlando - City of fun, food and fashion
This city of theme parks had much more to offer than we had ever imagined.
The 4-day trip to this Florida city was full of roller-coaster fun along with the heat and sweat of a tropical climate.
Here i reminisce the memorable trip day by day.

Day 1 @ Sea World
The airlines that fly within America are no good. No food offered. Its a pathetic service. No wonder the airlines are queuing up for bankruptcy. The first thought that came to our minds - we must take these guys for a ride on Sahara and they would remember us for the rest of their lives.
Reached Orlando at 3:00 in the afternoon. Dumping our bags at the hotel, we set out figuring what to do that night. Mentally prepared to goto Sea World, we weren't sure if 5 hours would be enough for an evening with the sea beasts. "Public transport" was something that the biggy @ hotel front desk had never heard of. There are sign boards for I-Ride stops all over the town. So i wonder whether he flew inside the town :) Never mind we figured it out and were waiting for those green and red buses to pass by. One red bus did pass by but didn't stop - as always. So we thought perhaps this side of the road (south bound) wasn't all that lucky and we crossed over to the other side ( we figured out later during the night that where we had stood first was right ). Now standing on North bound stops, a green bus stopped. We thanked our stars not knowing what was in store. As we were mounting, the driver said Sea World is just a 5 min walk, so we set out on one of our Gandhian walks. That 5 min walk became a never ending 30 min walk draining our energy. No water, no food thr the day. Seeing "Sea World" at a distance, Vivek ruled out that we would ever make it alive there. Finally followed the service entrance to the main gate - an adventurous way of reaching an adventure park. Lunched at the Park at 5:00 p.m.

However, what we experienced inside made us forget the hunger and tiredness of the day.

Shamu, the killer whale, is a show by itself. Those 35 minutes action packed show in the indoor stadium to the 500 odd audience is worth experiencing. Such a huge creature coming out of its restricted area to the front bay casually , splashing water soaking the audience sitting between 1-14 steps, going promptly back to Bryan to get its quota of fish after every round of its antics is something i can't describe in words here. It was incredible!

Kraken - the 4 minute roller coaster ride at Sea World left me speechless - not because i was awed but because i was so terrified after the flight that i couldn't get myself in shape. didn't dare to do any more rides that evening. My lil advice for those wishing a Kraken ride in the future - DON'T sit in one of those corner or front seats.
Some of the other interesting attractions @ Sea World were:
Pufferfishes - a japanese delicacy that is highly posionous. Called puffer because its body bloats when it cosumes food and water
Barracudas - a dangerous prey with a unique single lined body structure that one cannot see it until its very close
Sharks - stay away :)
Dolphins - a very likeable smart creature unlike its deadly sibling killer whales
Manatees- these obese species on its way to extinction didn't impress me much

Day 2 @ Universal Studios
Day 2 took off to a lazy start. After a good nights sleep, we set out around 9 to Universal Studios. The walk across the bridge that lead to Universal turned out to be rather tiring. Maybe Orlandonian's ( my way of addressing residents of Orlando) are so used to walking that a few miles doesn't count much. Universal studios comprises of "Universal studios", "Islands of Adventure" and "City walk".
Confused whether to take the 1 day 2 park ticket or the 1 day 1 park tickets we settled in for a 1 day 1 park ticket to the Universla Studios. As Islands of Adventure was primarily rides, we weren't too keen. And we are glad we went to Universal.
The rides that i ENJOYED were :

Twister : A real exprience of what a F-5 tornado could do to a neighbourhood. came and it went and there was nothing left. Amazing experience.
My rating : 5

Earthquake : Another natural disaster. We are put into a train, that rode to a station and earth rocks. Earth rocks, we rock, water gushes out form broken pipelines, buildings collpase like a deck of cards, gasoline fumes, trees fell..oh yea you get to hear the police sirens too - welcome to HELL. Amazing job to create an earthquake shot on screen.
My rating : 4

Graveyard Revue : Live rock band of Comical ghosts appearing at their will in funny costumes that didn't scare even the children :)
My rating :2

Jaws: Boat Ride. "ORCA" - the boat in Jaws movie on display during the ride. Shark attacking in midwaters, the captain shooting, gasoline fumes, shark attacking again when least expected, the cpatain getting his target right this time. It was fun and scary too. I know it was just a model shark but when such a big bleeding object appears all of a sudden when you leats expect it can be scary :(
My rating :4

Men in Black : I don't want to write about it. The loooooooooooooong queues were miserable. Vivek scored more than me in that stupid video game thing where you have to shoot at the aliens. It definitely wasn't worth the wait.
My rating :1 ( not because i scored less)

Back to the future : This was my personal favourite. The roller coaster ride in the car that takes you through the past is nerve racking. Dinosaurs, erupting volcanoes, flying by white house , just when i thought i had risen from the volcanic lava did i find myself falling again from a waterfall - huh, this was the best of all. Its a roller coaster ride with a screen in front of you perhaps with such fierce violent scenes and colors that make it further dreadful.

Terminator 2 - 3D - Didn't know what to expect when i went in. As a kid i remember watching the movie kuttichattan, wherein they give you this tiny plastic black colored glass before you enter the cinema hall. I could never comprehend then which where the 3-D scenes and which weren't. So if you are thinking what am thinking, then you would be in for a big surprise when you see Terminator on 3-D. Robot models rising from all the corners of the auditorium followed by the 3-D images is something one shouldn't miss. John firing and the artillery pieces seem as they are gonna hit your eyes any moment, the bad robots punch makes you touch your nose (just to chk if its in shape). Believe me so many times during that 20 min show , i actually lifted my hand to see if my face was ok and there wa snothing in front of it - you gotta see it to believe it.

My rating :5
Well that was Day 2 for us. The day ended with a pepperoni touch :( For those of you who don't know, pepperoni is beef or pork unlike i had imagined it to be :(

Day 3- Pointe Orlando
Broke all my records by sleeping continously for 12 hours. Woke up at 11 in the morning.
After a stale pizza brunch and a quick shower, sat wondering what to do. Not sure of the destination, set out to take a ride on the I-Ride. After a good 20 minute wait, the ever-green i-ride turned up. I wasn't sure where i was going. The big mickey mouse was tempting at Pointe Orlando. So i got down with 2 other ladies.
Its a BIG DEAL after all to dismount a us at Orlando. They have got this weird concept of pulling a string by the seat-side to request a stop. You miss it and you are dead.

There i was in front of Pointe Orlando - a place that is so-so for shopping and good for taking pics.
FAO was the place to be for kids. Toys, Barbies, games, XBOX - name it and it was there. Here i explored the mysetery of finding the denim size that would fit my waists at "the house of denims". "Express" was very much affordable in this part of the country.
However, they didn't have a size that fit me :( At the "sound stage" was an amazing 24-karat gold plaated record of the jimi hendrix tracks. Costed a good $250 - wish one day Vivek will be able to get it. Swarovski and Lladro(recommened by Dr. Phil, the psychologist) porcelain gifts just made me dumbstruck. Truly amazing pieces that i have never seen before.

With a refreshing "Vanilla Latte" from starbucks i started walking north following the I-Ride and Lynx trail -- didn't want to lose my way in this city.
I know i know there is lil chance for one to lose way - for its the straight intl drive that runs all thr the city.

Enroute Hard Rock Vault, i stopped at these places for taking pics:
1. Magic world
2.Race Rock
3.Pirates cove
4.Castle Hotel

And finally at the hard rock vault. Am sure Vivek would have loved it.
Captured images of the carvings on the pavement that reminisced important persons and events.
Tired by the 2 mile walk along the Intl drive i settled in for a chocolate muffin at the Mercedo.
Took the I-rdie south back to the hotel :)

Day 4 - Ripley's believe it or not
You got to see the following to BELIEVE it
the ball rolling upwards in a Billiards table,
black hole,
walk over the birdge,
the silver-ghost Rolls royce made of matchsticks
Believe it or not!

Sometimes i wonder if monsoons follow our trail or we follow monsoon's path. Rains reach before we reach - be it Sri Lanka or Orlando. Well well it was fun anyways. Worth the hundreds of dollars spent on tickets :) No regrets. You live once and you get to see these places just once in your life. So enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

My favorite beverage - Tea
There is an old chinese saying that goes this way - "Kissing is like drinking tea through a tea-strainer; you’re always thirsty afterwards."How true - I'm more biased towards Tea than coffee. The first question i ask in the morning is this - "will you have tea or coffee?" Silently hoping that he answers "tea" and am all excited to sip my first and only cup for the day. What a great way to start a day!
Ofcourse i must admit that my question last week was "will you have coffee or tea"? I got slightly biased to the French Vanilla flavor of Cappuccino. It bowled me over. Introduced to Cappuccino and Espresso about 4 years back by Vivek at Coffee Day, I love every bit of it. It is definitely "black as devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel and sweet as love".
William Gladstone said "If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated; it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are exhausted, it will calm you. - William Gladstone". So go ahead have a cup of tea or cappuccino now :)

The story - the good , the bad and the ugly version
Ever been in a situation where one friend bitches about the other who he/she has spent considerable time with. And wouldn't you be amazed if they have been living together under the same roof for a good amount of time. Don't be surprised if you find them pally-pally hanging out together the very next day after the bad-mouthing incident. For you had just heard one version of the story, you don't know what the other version is and the third version - THE REAL story. Relationships can be kept intact without any tinge of bitterness if you live at a distance. The distance does the magic. Living in the vicinity or under the same roof breeds contempt.
Thinking mood :"

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Detached in a Connected World
Fifteen years down memory lane: Communication between old parents and grown up employed kids was mainly through letters, trunck calls or STD calls. Kids would come down for a week or two every year to stay at their family home. A nice memorable reunion. Then parents would go down to celebrate important festivals like Diwali, Sankranti with their kids.
Memories from my past: I was in class 3 studying at my granny's. Every Sunday, the only holiday of the week, i remember writing a letter to my parents in whatever limited English i knew. Wouldn't address mom, dad and Pravin together. Had this peculiar habit of writing a separate paragraph for each one of them followed by a customised signature. Sounds funny today but they, in those days, longed to receive my weekly letter. And me too from them. Dad always wrote in english and i could read his paragraph. But mom wrote in Tamil and i would ask my granny to read it out for me, it had a personal touch to it. My parents would come down to Madurai to celebrate Diwali with their parents and that united me with them.

A decade ago: E-mails had started slowly replacing inland/airmail letters. But they were still limited to 1/2 e-mail per day as those were the days when e-mails were charged ( i think rs. 3 per e-mail at my college). But still the yearly reunion was very much in vogue. One month of dedicated time with kids and parents when nothing else took priority.

Five years ago: Chat became the order of communication.
Now: Age of webcam. See them while you chat.

People think you are in the stone age if you don't "yahoo" with your parents.
It would have been a good 5 years since i wrote a letter to my parents. E-mail them everyday - helps us stay connected but those sweet-little nothings are no longer my e-mail content. If i can find an appropriate subject for my mail i wriite to them, else i don't. My eyes no longer keep waiting for the 10 o clock postman to come, just to check if there is an envelope addressed to me.
Though very much connected, it is a detached life. No e-mail, no chat, no telephone call, no webcam can ever replace the physical closeness of a human. Those 50 paise inland letters had more warmth than today's monotonous e-mails. E-mails have killed the power of expression. No doubt they keep you connected all the time, thanks to that!
As technology advances, the quality time you spend with your beloved ones decreases. So busy are we with our own lives that there is little room left for those cherished family reunions. Living thousands of miles away, i have to be contented if i can see my dad/mom atleast for 1 day in a year. Maybe this explains me the reason why people in U.S and elsewhere have fabricated holidays such as Father's day and Mother's day. A reason to be with your close ones - makes sense to me.

Monday, June 02, 2003

In Search of Perfection
I want --
Perfect parents, perfect partner, perfect education, perfect job, perfect health - the search of finding everything "perfect" continues all our life. In my constant drive to attain that "perfect big thing", i miss the pleasures small things life offers. Strving for Perfection can turn out to be disastrous for a relationship. "Perfection" is relative. It all about setting standards and expecting all the people around you , all the things that happen to you meet those standards. What might be a perfect weekend for me might not be for my partner.
Perfectionsists lose their sleep worrying about the mistakes committed in some past projects, dates of travel, uncertainty of the future. Too many "what if's" occupy their mind all the time. "What if this happened, what if that happened, what would i do". This is nothing but an attempt to control and master the environment around us which is impossible. Planning is one thing but ensuring everything happens according to the plan is another.
Brought up to be a good child, a perfect child who is quiet, obedient all the time. Am learning to let go of inhibitions and act ad hoc. Sometime things done without planning can bring a lot of joy which a perfect plan might not. So much of time and energy is spent on achieving that perfection, that there is none left to enjoy it ultimately.
The earlier the realisation dawns up on me, the better it is. Someone said it well: Be human: make a mistake! Mistakes are opportunities in disguise.
So make a mistake :)

Damp Weekend - Weekend spoilt all our plans of going to Boston. So another weekend spent within 4 walls, in front of a TV munching junk food. Got so suffocated by evening that we went for a long walk in the cold weather. Our TV, no doubt needs a rest badly.
Lesson : Don't plan for weekends for weather in the East coast doesn't seem to cooperate.