Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I read from WikiLeaks that its the end of year. OK! OK! Stop cursing me :)

I have 10-12 days of shutdown holidays every year around this time when both the humans and the machine take some break and "service" ourselves. I am at home all these days; I mean I didnt take a vacation off as everyone else does. But been busy cleaning the house, meeting friends and catching up on movies and reading books. I thought let me ground myself a bit after all those visiting places and countries this year.

2010 has been good for me. I did have a disappointing January though. Booked tickets to Sri Lanka and finalized all plans but had to cancel it during the nth moment due to my holiday dates collided with the Presidential election. I was sad and disappointed; but I got my dues plus bonus bonanza later part of the year. 3 countries in a span of 55 days :) ; oh yeah I am yet to start writing the travelogue of my Mauritius visit. I will soon.

Professionally and personally as well; all happy. Met new people, got closer to few people; met old friends, made new friends. Acquired wealth, knowledge and body fat :) Lost very very less of body fat, been lazy and bullied around at work. (I need to change these things)

Loads of entertainment at disposal; not from these hopeless movies but from politicians and lobbyists. Lobbying seems to yield a lot; its a glamorous profession. I am thinking of considering it as my main profession. Lots of drama -  Lalit Modi, 2G, Nira Radia, Raja, Burkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, CWG, Adarsh society.......(Can you believe it? As I write these nouns, the spell checker is not giving me any red wavy underlines!!. These names have become so famous and are part of international vocabulary)

But the grandest celebrity of them all was Paul the Octopus. I enjoyed the FIFA WC season, keeping awake until 2 AM sipping tea and watching the games was so much fun. Seems Julian Assange is stealing the spotlight. If 2G is giving us sleepless nights here in India, WikiLeaks are doing the same around the world.

Lobbying is the new buzz world while 2G is the latest technological wonder(sic!) Talking of techno, I liked the techno beats in Endhiran songs. ARR has done justice to the movie's theme. Mr. Rajnikant created waves and the cash boxes clunked with profit. Rajnikant's jokes and one-liners gave way to Santa-Banta jokes and they were circulated like crazy as SMSes and online. Every friend of mine in facebook had one Rajni one-liner to share.

Facebook!! I have wondered if India can produce a Mark Zuckerberg? at 26 years old, CEO of the largest growing social networking site Facebook. Facebook is changing the lives of people; its driving the ways of the world. Why cant India produce a Mark Zuckerberg? Oh the answer is obvious! Lets not reiterate it again!

Few readers want to know my name. Most of them are on my Facebook list; so its not fair on my part to keep my name in secrecy only to some people. Initially when I started to blog; I did not want to reveal my identity; my name or my photo. You know you can be tracked easily on the web and your opinions might work against you at times; especially at work. So I was skeptical; but I am fine now. I am mature enough to realize that my blog is my own private space and my opinion and reader's opinion are their own and we are not advocating it and not be used as reference elsewhere.

Yup, so my name is Bindu. As its known, the lady of the house has a final say in everything and so was in choosing my name. From Sadhana to Sapna to Lakshmi; it was finally Bindu; my mom's choice. I am named after her Marwari neighbor. Few people ask "Thats it? Is this all your name?" Fortunately of unfortunately its just Bindu with my surname of course. But I would continue to write under Insignia.

Chitra ma'am, happy? :-)

Lets all look forward to the dawn of 2011. I am sure the year is going to be exciting.

Arnab Goswami will continue to yell on TV "This is absurd. Who is going to be responsible for all the innocent Sheilas and Munnis?. India needs an answer.

Akshay Kumar will continue to torture us all with his gawky laugh and his tasteless comedy.

Karunanidhi will continue to influence the center's policy and decision making.

Telangana will continue to be politicized and Osmania University students - I hope they graduate soon.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will continue to hold Carla Bruni's hand while walking in public and she will continue to look away.

Our Honorable PM will continue honoring the '2G' - Sonia G and Rahul G

And Insignia will continue to write. 

Good-bye 2010 and welcome 2011. I hope we will have newer and more sheep to graze and more meat to chew :) Happy and a Prosperous New Year To Ya'all

Friday, December 24, 2010


My eyes put up a valiant fight with me; trying harder to not get bogged down by my mind's signals to open. It was this morning. Deep in slumber, waken up by chatters; medley of chaotic noises of various frequency. My eyes finally gave in; I fumbled and got hold of my phone to check the time. It was 5:45 AM. Thats the time devils go for leisurely walk; at least for me. I am not an early riser. No, not at any cost.

It took me some time to figure out that those chaotic noise were rhythmic chants of devotional songs and drums. A group of devotional people chanting hymns in God's praise. No sorry, though I was still dreamy eyed and sleepy; I remember it was not one God they were singing the praise of. Innumerable Gods, He God and She God, they were fair enough not to let any God out of their chants; lest offend any one of the innumerable Gods we have.

They probably woke up the entire neighborhood. For a change it wasnt the howling of the dogs or the vroooooom of those silencer-less 2 wheelers doing a wheely . This episode is a very trivial one which just prompted me to write about this; certainly only a trigger point. I have witnessed more torture; this was such a sober one. Just beside my house where I previously resided was a temple; they had "Jagran" everyday for one reason or the other. A cacophony of devotional songs and chants blaring out on the loudspeakers. I wonder if the audience present there were really interested! Of course the peacefully sleeping mortals and those poor animals on the roads elsewhere were least interested either..Nay! not even the Gods.

Now if I want to celebrate or perform religious activities, why force others to indulge in this activity; willingly or unwillingly? Celebrating the spirit eh? What I find amusing are the jarring combination of devotional songs being played alternatively along songs as "Beedi jalaile" or the latest "Sheila ki jawani" and "Munni badnam hui" . This orchestra comes complete with an all night active music jockey; playing songs one after the other to please the Gods; much to the displeasure of the ghosts and spirits that take a leisurely walk at that time.

Why is this impudent callousness? Do they really need to use loudspeakers? Why is there no consideration for the sick? the old? the animals? the infants? the weak? the tired? and of course people of other faiths? This tastelessly clamorous activity starts when everyone else wants to go to sleep; and gets louder and louder as the night progresses. Rejoice, appease the Gods, but please have a bit of consideration for others. You certainly cant appease the Gods by displeasing your fellow beings.

Merry Christmas; wish Santa Claus sends his elves to bestow each one with gifts :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blog, Blogging and Bloggers

What binds us all here is one sole purpose, our passion for writing a.k.a Blogging in virtual world. The budding writer, the amateurish writer, the professional writer - all play in the same arena and each one has their own readers and fans and followers. Here is where you can rant, discuss, crib, complain, flaunt, debate........

Most of us start a blog to pen down our thoughts or to maintain a journal and then forget about it. The doubt if you can even frame one sentence and write it down is what lingers on; and the blog gets buried deep down. Few of them build the courage to resurrect it and start writing. And then, there is no looking back.

To Blog or Not to Blog....hmmmm.........

The best thing to happen here is interacting with so many fellow bloggers and sharing and exchanging views and learning whole lot of new things. Some of them crib, rant or write about personal life. Its their own space, few write beautiful poems and enchanting fictions; giving a run for a money to an established story teller. Few share recipes. fashion tips and few others share their travel experiences through journals and photography. All in all, a place for suckers of knowledge.

Here is where you can claim "Man, you are wrong" and fight for it :-) Or give lots of unsolicited advice or even better - plan someone else's life or have a take on others' decision or anything and everything happening around you

Bloggers - few of them continue to become good friends and go beyond the one that brought them together. Few stay on and continue to encourage and support and yearn for the same. Still few drift away - their work calling; they get sucked into their busy schedule and cant take time for the blog. Few of them gradually lose interest; for few its a temporary halt and they bounce back. Few other still stick on and keep writing and in the process make new friends and miss old ones.

As the blog evolves, so does the blogger. If you want to know how a blogger writes and the true style, start digging into the archives first. The present one might not be his true style, as the blog evolves and as the blogger churns up post after post, the creative juice flows away and topics dry. So the best of the posts are always in archives. :-)

I have been fascinated by innovative concepts like Tags, 55-er, Wordless Wednesdays, Muscial Mondays, Thursday Challenge, Blog awards and so on. Yes, I did want to receive those digital image as awards, wanted someone to tag me, wanted to write a 55-er. But then again, thats the "teenage" years of blogger. :-) You mature as a blogger and then look back and laugh at your desperate act to gain readers and comment count. All that mattered then were number of comments and number of awards and tags.

I have known bloggers as to what kind of a person he or she is with their writing, their passion towards life and purpose of life becomes evident by the topics they write. Those few people who constantly encourage and give constructive criticism keeps us going on and on, churning posts one after the other. Oh! there are few hypocrites out here as well; who follow you and throw in comments just to lure you into visiting their space. For them, the number matters. Few who just comment to keep their presence without even reading what the blogger has written or trying to say is common here. You can as well read different styles of commenting if you are observant.

I had an humorous take on comments sometime back. Check that our here - I Love Your Comments

Whatever......we continue to write; we continue to read, encourage and share; there's an untold Good-Bye when a blogger vanishes; we interact with different people at different point in time....

For bloggers may come and bloggers may go,
But our blog goes on forever :-)

PS : I dedicate this post to all you wonderful bloggers and also who have vanished from blogging world now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We the IT folks

Information Technology Industry - the much talked about industry that is directly or indirectly contributing to our country's economy - be it in the form of R&D, services and outsourcing and business processing. The engineers who work in the IT industry - lets talk about them.

They are smart, pragmatic and the elite ones; agile, geniuses who can churn out new technology and new products at the snap of their fingers. If you thought this is what I am going to say; sorry! We engineers are as normal as everyone else; with limitations galore. We are not THE CHOSEN ONES. In fact, we are the most amusing and entertaining creatures one can find :-) Why so? Because we are so confused ourselves.

Most of them get enticed into the creamy seeming IT; and they remain confused - neither here nor there. They graduate from a different stream; major in a totally unrelated subject but get submerged in this mighty ocean. Systems, application, R&D, domain, development, QA, support, technical writing, analyst, consultant...........all these seem so very trivial and unimportant when all you want is a IT job.

Its only much later that you realize you are not meant to do what you are doing; you want to work on core product, but here you are working on some banking application. Gosh!! but yet its IT!!!! So yeah, we are consistently confused, always on the run to grab opportunities, constantly learn something new. We work hard to prove ourselves only to be told "You are not proactive". You successfully complete all your assignments only to be told "But why don't you write a paper? An IP? A Disclosure? You are so capable you now" and this stalls your promotion :-)

Amidst all this, we are a bunch of fun loving people; insane and confused. Only among us will you see the maximum and optimal use of technology that is offered to us. Two mates sitting beside one another would 'talk' to each other via internal messenger communicator than just turning back and talk directly. Here is a sample

A and B sits next to each other. A initiates a text conversation

A : Hi B, what is the status of the module you were working on?

B : Hmm, I am working on it. I think I can leverage some of your functionality.

A : OK, I need Pinky tonight. May I?

B : Sure. I am done with Pinky. Go ahead.

A : Cool, come lets go for tea.

Both go for tea. By the way, Pinky would be the name of a server or some piece of hardware.

We think we can get more out of technology. Like; we try to call from our desk phone to our own extension.....or keep punching the keyboard after powering off the laptop....or more; use our office badge to swipe to unlock our house gate :-) We are smart, didn't I say? We foresee a lot and thats how we invent new stuffs.

Gadgets - Aaahhh those are our toys! How we love them! From those complex multi-core processor servers to  latest phones and music players to cameras to laptops. We can learn the functionality of these gadgets faster and so remain always ahead. We are crazy! When others use desktops, we use sleeker and less bulkier laptops, when they start switching to laptops, we use netbooks. When people start using netbooks, we use a 17" massive laptops. We are different! adapt to technology soon. The same with any gadgets. When you all use a "mobile type" mobile phones, we use a matchbox size phones, when you guys think that's cool and switch to these, our new toy is a 4" display keypad-less touchscreen smart phones.

We think too high as well. Engineers you see; computer engineers :-) Our lingo, our talks are on a level beyond comprehension for most layman. We can "fix" the most impossible of the issues; we "leverage" and "optimize". We "boil down the ocean" to get issues resolved. We are super humans who can multitask and yet deliver with perfection and remain proactive and consistently over perform :)

We are software engineers. Our world is a 4x4 feet cube. Oh! even those are for the privileged ones. Our companion is our laptop and desk phone. Our friends are messengers, emails and websites. We emote, we talk, we cry, we feel within this world. We are branded as geeks or nerds. Some of us are zombies, but all of us are morons. I found this apt image online.

Image courtesy -

No questions asked, not even promotions :-P

PS : I dedicate this post to all the engineers working in IT industry

Friday, December 10, 2010

Partner or Buddy?

Remember your first car? How well you treated it. That innumerable wiping until that last speck of dirt vanished and your car was all spotless and sparkling. You sulked for days when you saw the first scratch on the bumper. Your heart ached whenever the car's ground hit the speed breaker.

An interesting and amusing conversation popped up between me and Gautam. He bought a new car; his first car. But is not excited as he should be! During the course of our mundane conversation; I asked him how was his car doing. To which, he answered "i have left the poor thing out in cold. :-( he is having a layer of frost everyday"

But isn't car a SHE? For most guys? But the reasons he gave me as to why he thought his car was a HE was so amusing. Snippets of our conversation.

Gautam : it sounds kind of hard on a she thing to drive 'her' all the time... step on the gas... brrrrraaakkkkkke!!!! he is better me:-P she is soft he probably can bear it :-p poor fellow... staying out in the cold all night... and makes my life so much easier i get to work in 15-20 mins

I asked  thus - so you mean to say "he" is strong enough to tolerate the cold? if it was 'her', she wouldnt have?

Gautam replied - well, i am saying that i first gender, subconsciously that struck me when i was referring to the car was the word 'he' and then i was thinking how he is out in the cold all day it so happens that, out of all the hes and shes bearing the cold, i referred to the car as a he

Read on......................

me: thats DISCRIMINATION!!!!!
Gautam: well once hes and shes are in cold, it doesn't matter if the thing is a he or a she
  it is damn cold!
  thats all that matters
 me: hahahaha
Gautam.: hmmm
  it is kinda interesting that i referred to him as a he
  dunno how that happend
 me: hm yeah most guys want to refer their car as a she
  you are the second person i have come across who refers as a HE
 Gautam.ya i know. i know that cars are referred to as shes
 me: :)
 Gautam: but i wonder how i am referring to the car as a he
  and even now it seems like he suits him better
 me: hmm why do you think ? was it impulsive?
 Gautam: i have no idea
 me: is this the first time?
Gautam: it was the choice of the subconscious brain
  and moreover
  it;s kind a good for him that he is a he
 me: haha
 Gautam: cause there are so many shes out there!
  ha ha ha
 me: lol!
and your he might be abused by so many shes
  dont you think so?
 Gautam: ya that is something to consider
 me: hmmm you are putting him in jeopardy
 Gautam: i think the reason i referred to the car are he is because the way he looks
me: macho?
 Gautam: if you think that a car has a face
 me: aggressive?
 Gautam: ya it is probably not like a woman's face
 me: all cars?
 Gautam: look at this
me: :)
 Gautam: a jeep and a hummer look more like body builders
  even if women work out they can have muscles like that
  they are not supposed to
 me: :) hmmm
Gautam: he is dirty already
  i made him dirty
  full of papers
  mud on the carpet
me: hm bad'
 Gautam: plastic bags
  books in the truck
i guess i am a dirty fellow
 me: :)
 Gautam: what do you think
 me: you continue to remain that way...keep him clean
 Gautam: the car is a he or a she
  may be it is a 'it'
 me: It is a IT
Gautam: i have thought of him only as a it till you asked me
 me: :)
 Gautam: and then the more we talked about it
  the more 'he' suited the car
  i should say you triggered it
me: aaahh i just asked hows your car started by referring him HE
 Gautam: ya... you question was so 'human like' as if you were asking how a human being was doing then i thought
  oh no
  poor fellow
me: yeah!! even the car would have feelings
  according to me :)
me: isnt it
Gautam: ya. :-) ha ha ha
  tell me one thing
  what do i think of my car as a he
  i wonder why
me: hmmm i know
 Gautam: i mean why do i think of my car as a he
 me: i know i think
 Gautam: i am a straight guy
  ha ha
  but i feel the car goes through so much rough stress
 me: hahaha just because you mentioned a HE doesnt mean you are not straight
Gautam: i don't think i could emplace so much force on it
  if the car was a she, stepping on the pedal if she was a woman
 me: lol
 Gautam: man that does not sound right
 me: hahaha
 Gautam: brrrrrraaakkkkkkkkkke
  amuku            (Step on)
 me: morality and ethics huh
 Gautam: on a woman
  i don't think it is morality and ethics i think i would feel bad to put so much physical stress on women...
 me: :P
 Gautam: should maybe try a bit to make their going a little easier
maybe thats why
 me: i have a question
 Gautam: oh boy! o.....k....
  go ahead
 me: suppose your car is washed and looks sparkling nice
  wont you feel like running your fingers across the car and feel?
Gautam: hmmm. not really
 me: sure?
 Gautam: i hadrly touched my car
 me: ok..then your car being a HE suits
 Gautam: the only parts i have touched is the steering
  and the door
  not even the hood
  ha ha ha
 me: hmm :) so its a HE
 Gautam: ha ha ha
 me: :P
Gautam: well there you have it
  if i thinking of the car as she was natural to me
  then i would have surely
  felt it
  like you aid
  but even scooby is a he ----------Scooby is his pet dog
  and i pat him and feel him
  and i love doing it
 me: :) haaa
 Gautam: so i cannot really relate the patting and feeling
me: scooby is different     
 Gautam: car is also like that only na
  i mean the feeling and touching part
 me: nah....
  scooby is like your kid
  car is like your companion
 Gautam: hmmm
  true i guess
 me: hmmm :)
Gautam: may be like a buddy
  i won't caress it.. ha ha
 me: yeah :)
 Gautam: and hug and kiss
  ha ha
 me: hahaha

Once we made sure why the car was a HE; we went on to discuss the GPS fitted to the car. This went on -

me : one of my friend thinks his car is a HE
  but he has a GPS system
  whom he calls Jill
 gautam: ha ha ha
 me: :)
 gautam: wait
  i don't get it
 me: ?
gautam: you said he thinks his car is a he
 me: hmm
 gautam: and then Jill is a girl's name?
  so it does not make sense
 me: yeah...thats what i said..he thinks his GPS system is a she
  only the GPS system
 gautam: i would have a girl's voice in my gps
 me: yeah so only
 gautam: ya
 me: he has a girl's voice and he calls her Jill :D
 gautam: gps is the car's buddy ha ha ha
 me: companion is fitting word
 gautam: Jill stop bugging mE
  ha ha
 me: yeah or "Enna Jill, unna nambi vandha, nee ippdi thappa thappa route solra"
(This can be appreciated if you know Tamil. It means "I trust and follow your instructions Jill, but you are giving me wrong directions")

 gautam: ha ha
 me: :)
gautam: then followed by... intha ponnungale ippidi thaan ya...
  nambave koodaathu...
  nice a kondu poi kauthiduvaanga
  ha ha ha
(This means Girls are always the same, we should not trust them. They take along and later ditch us)

 me: exactly!!!!
 gautam: aanlum unakku kurumbu jaasthi Jill :-p
(You are very naughty Jill)

 me: ha ha ha oh my god
  imagination wild!!
 gautam: ha ha

So is your car a HE or a SHE? :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Insignia at IIT

Last 3 days were a bit hectic. Now I was sent from my company to interview graduates for potential job opportunities in my organization. Now! dont raise your eyebrows as mine have already been raised! Yes, me! out of all those intelligent, smart and technically sound people in my very large organization, they chose to send me. Yeah, call those candidates' fate suddenly taking a U turn or their luck itself was bad, they had to put up with me.

I have interviewed lot of people earlier but not IITians. I was more jittery than them.  Gosh! I lack the brains man!! Fine! I thought this would turn out to be a good experience and off I went to IIT-Kanpur. Experience I gained was no different but my impression for sure changed.

Sad to see where our education system is going; most of them believe that the brand name will land them a plum job and so take it easy. Others tend to be so methodical and task oriented that I could not stop thinking about the cows being yoked at a beam and they keeping moving in a circle because they have been taught to. Just deviate a bit and give their brain some cud to chew, they are lost! There were very very few who were really good and learnt things due to passion and for knowledge. Its to do with our society and system; study to get good job. So studying to gain knowledge and learn new things becomes secondary.

Traveling to that part of India was new to me. The winter was harsh and chill; the food was amazing, phulkas, rotis, naan and kulchas with that simple and tasty daal. Not to forget that soft and melting cottage cheese scrambles a.k.a paneer bhurji. Mornings began with sweet and yummylicious jalebis and awesome ginger-cardamom tea.  While we visitors ate their food; the locals gorged on Masala dosa, idli sambhar and uthapam :)

About the place; I did not get a chance to see much as interviewing a dozen candidates took away all my time. Whatever I saw was when I traveled from Lucknow to Kanpur and back. I did laugh at my transliterations of few sign boards I saw like "Bijli Ghar -  Electricity House, "Angrezi Sharab - English Liquor", "Krupya bachche hai - Please kids present". Was helpless without my camera; I wanted to capture so many snaps like those colorful band vehicle with speakers and lights, the amazing kulhads(clay cup) in which tea was served, the colorful rickshaws...............

But it was sad, I felt that part of country is at least 2 decades behind. It was not a pleasant sight to see cycle rickshaws being pulled for measly sum of money. Bad roads, poorly maintained infrastructure, pathetically dirty river Ganga, eons old buildings with no maintenance whatsoever; dusty lanes. Dull looking people, struggling hard to make their ends meet...

Its really really sad. I realized one thing. This part of the country I am living is much much better. I am blessed. I hope things change there for the better. Where has all the money Behenji?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blow your own trumpet

We feel so bloated when people look at us with awe and appreciate us hearing to our success stories. What if the success story is a bit exaggerated? We all want to feel great, believe we achieved a bit more than normal. When sharing our stories, we do tend to embellish with spice. Though this quality is as normal as gossiping in us, there are a type of people who have specialized in this. They inflate possibly everything, right from their appetite to their weight to their phone bills to their salary.

This type of people do not know the meaning of austerity; generosity is the mantra. But sadly, more often that not, they become laughing stocks, an object of ridicule. How far can they stretch their lies in the name of glorifying themselves? Overheard in a train journey was this conversation between two men; each one trying to glorify his own self. One said he donates blood every month; to which another said that the last time he donated blood; 1.5 bottle of blood was sucked out from him while it was just 1 bottle from others. The first one then went on to insult this guy by saying he doesnt donate blood which gets stored for future but only those cases where his blood is immediately injected to someone else! He went onto tell that he is the first person to be called by doctors in the whole city whenever there is an emergency. An universal donor with unlimited supply of blood....Ahem...ahem....

You just need to keep your ears open to hear to such gems. Its really an immense talent to keep your face grim and not laugh when you hear these jokes. I once took pride in saying how we solved division problems where one single problem stretched beyond 2 pages :-P Math problems for a grade 3 student. The lady and the 10th grade schoolgirl whom I was speaking to were smiling; I did not realize it there smile was wicked then :) But I felt really good about myself and a sense of achievement in solving a very long problem.

But what we fail to realize is the listeners are not fools. Why else would one say gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa) is white in color. Things get more interesting if it comes from older people when they try to show off their knowledge. But more often than not, its thwarting and tiring to keep listening to such self-glorifying details.

So its just a sense of achievement :-) So, whats your most interesting blowing your trumpet story? :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

FOR SALE! - God's blessings

I am a passive worshiper. When I say this, its that I believe I don't have to go to a temple to pray to God. I believe God is all around us, within each of us. God is omnipresent and omniscient. I don't even give a form to the spiritual being, that's why I cant say if God is a HE or a SHE. Another belief of mine that has welcomed criticism and disapproval especially from my mom is that when I say God knows what my needs are, so I wont ask for it while praying. My prayer are just thanks to God for what I have been bestowed upon, what I would be bestowed, for giving me beautiful people and this beautiful world.. God knows best, why ask, just thank. It has not been easy for me coming from a traditional family, my mom doesn't approve my ideas even a bit.

Yeah, but there are few unavoidable situations/pressure from elders when I have to go to temple to appease the Gods :-) Its not that I don't like going to temples; in fact I really like that peace one gets; what I dont like is the experience with people. Yes, the drama and the business put forth by the priests and the sevaks.

Its really disheartening to see Gods as mere exhibits to milk money from the devotees. I have either experienced it or witnessed it each time I have visited the temple. Right from the special darshans, VVIP queues; the funda seems to simple. More the money, sooner the God's darshan. More the money, more blessings, more closer proximity to the diety, more longer time you can spend chanting hymns.

So, does it all boil down to money? Is God only for those who have money? It would seem too hard to believe when I say that nowadays temple management have professionally qualified MBA gurus to set up strategy for earning. Few months back, I visited a famous temple and opted to donate a meager sum of money to sponsor lunch for 2 kids for an entire year. The sevak who doubled up as marketing and sales consultant was trying to sell me a 'package' where I could gain closer access to the main deity of the temple, chant hymns as long as I wanted on one day every week, savor tasty prasads, gain backdoor entry, closer access to the deity and get special VIP invitations on festivals and special puja days in addition to sponsoring lunch for 2 kids for a year. All this, hold your breath fellas, for 25000/- ONLY

It took me too much of an effort to explain to that gentleman that my main intention was sponsoring the lunch and nothing more. I had to firmly tell him that I have no interest in getting special invitations or gain any special status. Is he asking me to buy God's blessing for 25000/- per year?

At another temple, right after the pooja, a priest came by with the aarthi and as tradition goes, I dropped Rs.10 in the plate. It seems that it was another priest's turn to carry the aarthi plate. So now, he lost his 'earnings' to this guy who had his turn already. To the shock and dismay of the devotees, this guy started blaming him and the other shot back and later these 2 guys started yelling at each other. Priests yelling at each other in the sanctum sanctorum. How do you expect devotion?

Not to forget the fees for numerous darshans, offerings, miraculous wishing ponds, strategically placed donation boxes and cups and yeah! a poor helpless elephant which begs!

I tried lot, but I cannot comprehend why the level of accessibility to God depends on how much money I can spend. Anyone of you have any idea?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An ode to those who matter to me

There are few people who have a profound effect on you. Not those famous ones whose biography you read or any famous personality whose ideologies you try to follow. These are people who are simple and around us. When you look at them, they seem so ordinary that you would not take a second look. But when you actually analyze, you realize how much impact they have had on your life, how they have influenced you and have formed a part of you. You ARE bits and pieces of so many people whom you have come across at one point of life; and even though the meeting is short, they would have had a lasting impression on you.

I write about so many things. I thought why not dedicate a post to all those wonderful souls who have influenced me to enjoy my life.  Life can never be perfect, you would all agree. There is no beauty to life if its all rosy and perfect. However, with all those pain and sorrows, remains hidden the subtle beauty and joy that we have to unearth. For that we need to overlook those sorrows and pain and look beyond it.

A blogger asked me how is that you can be so happy all the time. I said NO I am not happy always. In fact, I get depressed more often than necessary. Then he told me that all my posts are so cheerful, humorous and positive. I replied "Yes, they are. Doesnt mean I dont have any sorrows in my life. Its not that I am happy 24/7. I have people annoying me at work. I have situations at home that makes me sad. Everyone has it. So what? Doesnt mean I have to crib"

Anyway, so here is my ode to people who have made me. I want to mention few folks who have changed my life, who have made me see life and the world in whole new dimension, who have made me to smile and dismiss any unpleasant situation, who have made me appreciate simple things in life. I am not going to mention the obvious people like mom, dad, husband......but people whom I have met accidentally and without any expectations the relationship turned wonderful. those people whose certain qualities I appreciated and tried to imbibe in me. The list is not in any order of preference.


I know now he will start shivering. According to Gautam, he is the most casual and laid back guy with no particular purpose. He was introduced to me by my friend's friend. He was the last person whom I began talking to in that group. Yet, he is so close to me than others. It happens right? You strike the right chord and everything falls into place. This guy has taught me to appreciate simple things in life. Be it a stale bread, or a simple tasteless coffee or a murky road or a so ordinary landscape. He savors even the boring of the moment like waiting to pick your baggage from the carousel and admires the most ordinary sight like a woman carrying her child on her hip.

I started to admire more the beauty of nature and the happenings around us. My photography skills is also due to him....I started experiencing beauty all around me.


This man probably doesnt even have slightest of an idea that I am inspired by him. He would in fact think that I am ridiculing him. He taught me to love oneself. He taught me to treat my body as temple and take care of it. I started loving myself. If you dont love yourself, who else will? A person who always encourages to do what your heart says and encourages to express thoughts. He is also the person who instilled in me the seed to appreciate music irrespective of the language. I was into music earlier but was confined to a genre or a language, his perception towards music made me realize that even a baby's shrill cry is a music. I still remember the day when we went on a long drive to a mountain in California and he sang

"unnaale unnaale vinnaalachchendrene
unn munne unn munne mei thaazha nindrene...."

It still gives me goose bumps. After that, my passion for music grew stronger and I opened myself to different genre and appreciated a lot. He doesnt have a speck of an idea about his effect on me. Yeah, not to forget those amazing drives in his BMW :-)


She was my English and Geography teacher in high school. This lady was ruthless and always criticizing. I never liked her. She has made me cry so many times in front of the class for my lack of knowledge in Geography and English. I still remember her words "Girls, you need to be observant".  Much later did I realize her intent was not to mock at me but to improve me. Even though I dont approve her way of teaching even today, I salute her for making me what I am. My command over English, my observation habit is solely due to her.


He was my mentor when I first started working. More than learning technical stuffs from him, I learnt other things that is needed to be a person. One important thing I learnt from him was to be considerate. Be it promptly replying to emails or returning phone calls or SMS, or getting back to what has been promised, he was prompt. Be it at work or otherwise, he is a man of words. How can someone so busy with so many things in life still remember to return calls or respond promptly? The same quality is inseparable from me now.


I first met him 4 years back in California. I asked my hotel reception to book a cab for me and then I see this cab driver. He was regular then on, eventually sharing information about each other. He is a Punjabi, calm and poised, his struggle in life without education and his struggle to earn a living in USA away from wife and children is really an inspiration. This man respects me so much, I dont know if I deserves so much of respect from such an elderly man. He often says "You have been my best customer". Shares all his family problems with me, shares such hardships he faces in life that he cant share with his wife. He talks to me about it and asks me for my opinion and advice. I can trust him more than I trust myself. I learnt to respect every life on this planet after meeting him. Everyone and everything deserves respect.


My classmate during my engineering days and my buddy later. Will be a buddy throughout. I learnt from him the never say die attitude and anything is possible belief. I learnt the meaning of dedication and focus from him. But one thing I chide him even now is his lack of punctuality.


My junior in college and my closest buddy. I got the "so what?" attitude from him. I started gaining confidence in whatever I did and always succeeded. He does not even realize that. Stupid fellow. Though an idiot, he has been with me through thick and thin and is a wonderful human being. Even an irrelevant HI from me makes his day, such a beautiful person.


If you have observed, I have had only guys in my list except for my teacher. Somehow I cant relate to women. No offense, but I have had only bad experiences with them. Guys have been my best buddies, may be because I am a tom boy. But this lady is one I look forward to being with. We met each other 2.5 years ago when both of us changed to a new job. She is the first one to figure out if something is bothering me and make sure I am fine. She is ever caring and like my elder sister. I can always talk to her about my problems and she will have time to listen to me. I have grown so much fond of her that I dont go to office if she is on leave :-)

All these people dont even have an idea how they have influenced me and my life; but I would thank them throughout my life. This ode is just my humble bit.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trying to write

You have this, this, this and that to write and share.

(stares into space, watches TV, Kylie Kwong is showing how to make Ma Po Tofu)

Then you click on Posting -> New Post...your fingers snap and hit the keys....few words, backspace....stare at the wall, get lost in thought.....Get into the mood of laziness

(Sentence not turned out the way it has to...Backspace..........)

trying to dress your thoughts with words in your vocabulary....few more words, erase


....snap the delete key.

As I typed those words above, I did type, backspace, stare, delete, type some more, nod my head in disapproval, delete, try typing again - whatever I did is captured within braces in italics. Yeah, the same old writer's block. I have loads to share, pictures, travelogues, thoughts and everyday experiences. Yet, why don't I feel like writing? Lack of interest. Why am I (stares into space......minces for the right it!!!) uninterested?

 Is that really a writer''s..................

(At this point, nod in disapproval, backspace....backspace....backspace....)

(Uummmppphhhh....need a hot cuppa...should i make it or sit still)

(Thinking.........decide to continue writing)

Yup, so talking about lack of interest. (Pauses) (Pauses again.....really blank..$#@&%)

Am I forcing myself here to write? No, I want to write. Been thinking to write for 2 days now. Yet, I cant bring myself to write something substantial. (Wow....the previous sentence just flew like a river downstream.....Improvement! )

Catches a glimpse of Kylie Kwong mentioning "put in some brown sugar. As the cooking process continues, the mushrooms soften and takes the beautiful flavors together. A tiny little bit of sesame oil for extra flavor, to top it off with fresh green chillies and fresh red chillies. A beautiful balance of sweet, sour and spice"....)

(Concentration lost)

I want to write about how blogging evolves and how bloggers and their posts influence us and what we write.

(Scratches the neck) 

(Caramelized Potatoes is what I see on TV...Hmmm...sllluuurrrrrrrrrrppppp...)

So I want to write a post on blogging, influences and how blog evolves. Just wondering why most bloggers around have either vanished or are not writing anything interesting .......

 (Ooops...thinks this might be an umbrageous statement. Bloggers not writing interesting? Maybe I am lacking interest. So....backspace...backspace....backspace...)


OK!! Not Today!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A stroll around San Jose Downtown

My poor and humble point and shoot camera which clicked so many awesome pictures went bust due to my carelessness. I was playing in the sea in Mauritius when this unfortunate incident happened. The service person told me it was beyond repair after hearing about it; I have not yet taken it for inspection yet. I am very angry with myself for being so callous with my camera which served me so well. People who have been following my blog for long time now can understand why I am so mad. The same camera which captured those moments an visuals which I saw and enhanced them aesthetically is beyond repair now :-(

Anyway, here are few pictures taken when I and Gautam strolled around the city of San Jose on a Saturday. Each picture has a story. 

The famous cathedral in San Jose. There was a wedding so could not go inside. Gautam likes this cathedral a lot and he mentioned that its very beautiful inside. We thought we will come back after few hours so that we can go inside but something else came up for me later. Missed it :-( Next time for sure!

A Chinese restaurant. I liked the intricate red gate

A very old piano. Gautam told me that such piano are left outside for the public to play. We stopped and Gautam played Pudhu vellai mazai/Yeh haseen wadiyaan from Roja. I was lost in music and got goosebumps for few moments. Gautam, thank you, subtle things like this are treasured forever. :-)

A very ornate and colorful graffiti capturing the essence of the city of San Jose.

 Hungry, we wanted a quick meal. We saw this shiny hot dog cart and this guy inviting us to savor his hot dogs. His shop was set up new, he said how tough it was to seek permission from the cops to set up a business on the streets. And he readily agreed to pose for the photo. Oh! I did not ask his name :-|

 I liked the lamp posts and the bunch of colorful flowers that fall out from it

These golden leaves and its fruit shimmering in the sun was a delight

We were sitting by the glass partition in a Starbucks coffee shop. Just less than 7 feet was this Light rail track. There was this light rail chugging every 5 minutes. It was surreal to be sipping coffee sitting just close to it. Right opposite on the walkway was this pothole lid made of bronze and beautiful carvings. We discussed as to how such items might not survive a single night in our Indian cities. A real treat to thieves :-)

Outside a Thai restaurant was this beautiful lady

Bright crimson flowers lining a wall sill. 

Abandoned? No just a model piece for advertisement.

The beautiful flowers and the lamp post

A tower against a clear blue sky. I dd some shadow and highlight effect to get this :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Open Letter to Mr. Wisdom

Dear Mr.Wisdom,

You will turn out to be good for nothing. I don't need you. I already have some decent amount of wisdom in me. I am appreciated for being wise, time and again. Yet, God decided that I lack wisdom at this stage in life, maybe I was doing something stupid. He mistook the wisdom that I am missing to be YOU.

Its a painful proposition. You would not be helping me in any way, there is little room in my mouth to accommodate you priceless jewel.  I appreciate you, but forcing your way out and claiming a rightful space of your long abandoned ancestral land is not fair. The battle is tough, agonizing me and totally disrupting my routine for days together. Mr. Wisdom; please note that I have better things to do in life than fighting a battle against you!

I sincerely appreciate your good intentions but please understand that you are the one now least needed for my good oral health. My jaws are smaller, my diets are not tougher. I do not need extra chewing power anymore. In addition, you are also causing trouble to your siblings as well - the gums are swollen and the other molars which are hale and hearty are intimidated by your rising presence. I do not like you bullying them; waging a war against them by harboring bacteria and infecting them in turn.

This is to sincerely warn you to drop your senseless effort to erupt in my mouth. Continuing to do so will have serious consequences. You would be deported as per laws against illegal occupation. Please accomodate my request.

                                                                                               Agonizingly yours,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Final Countdown

I was tagged by Anurag. I stopped taking up tags few months ago as it involved divulging lot of personal information. But this one comes with no strings attached and is also interesting. Also I thought let me break away from sensible writing for once :-P 
 So here it is.  
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay ? ?” you say:
Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisi Se, Kisi ko pyar ho jaaye..........One of my favorites of favorites..

2. How would you describe yourself ?
Jaane nahi denge tujhe..... :-o I am not a leech...Now I am not to blame eh!!!

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
Remember the time...
When we fell in love...


4. How do you feel today ?
My heart goes sha la la....sha la la in the morning..... \:D/

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Tanha Tanha Yahan Pe Jeena..yeh koi baat hai.................OK! But what's the purpose?

6. What’s your motto ?
Latoo Latoo mein us pe latoo.........................Lekin kispe?

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Ghar aaja pardesi tera des bulaye re.............They did; a month ago when I was roaming from one place to another

8. What do your parents think of you?
Give me some sunshine...Saare umr hum mar marke jee liye :-)

9. What do you think of often ?
Pyar humko bhi hain..pyar tumko bhi hai..tho kya silsile ho gaye..   :-D Dont ask who is the TUM now!

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Its time to count it in.....5...6...7...8 

:-O Spooky that this question got me this song..but where is the 4???

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
All I want to say is that They Dont Care about us..............No...No...Not me...but my iPOD :-P

12. What is your life story ?
Ek Mein Aur Ek tu,...dono mile is tarah.............Again!! who is this TU???

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Be a Rebel.....Loose Control....(Rang De Basanti) appropriate!!

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
Dil Tujhpe Aa Gaya...Kya Nasha Chhaa Gaya.....:-)

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?
Chaahe tum kuchh na kaho maine sun liya....Ki saathi pyaar ka mujhe chun liya
Chun liya.....Maine Sun liya.....Pehla nasha....Pehla khumaar
Naya pyaar hai naya intezaar


16. What will they play at your funeral ?
My heart goes shalala lala...shalala in the morning
shala la la in the sunshine.................................  BE HAPPY!!!

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
It's amazing...How you can speak......... Right to my heart
Without saying a word,.....You can light up the dark
Try as I may...........I could never explain
What I hear when.........You don't say a thing

Doesn not make sense here, but another one of my favorite song :-)

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Aye Khuda mujhko batha tu rahta kahan kya hai tera patha
hum tho yahan pe musafir hai, jo dhoonde apni manzil ka patha

Fear!! ?? :-|

19. What is your biggest secret ?
Thok Di Killi.......................:-|

20. What do you want right now ?
Mar Jawan....Mar Jawan...Tere ishq pe mar jawan.............Awwww i am such a hopeless romantic!!

21. What do you think of your friends?
Ishq ishq karna hai kar le..ishq ishq mein jeele marle...........Hmmmmmmm.....

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
Yahan ke hum sikander :-P

Vo sikandar hi doston kehlaata hai
Haari baazi ko jeetna jise aata hai
Niklenge maidan mein jis din hum jhoomke
Dharti dolegi ye kadam choomke
23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
think you gotta keep me iced
You dont
think Im gonna spend your cash
I wont
Even if you were broke
My love dont cost a thing..............Whew!!

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Whenever, wherever
We're meant to be together
I'll be there and you'll be near
And that's the deal my dear..........................:-P :-P

25. What will you post this as?
Its The final countdown

This one turned out to be very weird and funny. I want to tag Neha, Madhu, SG and A. I am waiting to see the list of songs :-) Yeah! anyone else who wants to play can take this tag as well :-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No country for good men

A brief 10 minutes talk with a man; made me shudder at the thought of living one's life away from the place you were born; the place which you consider your homeland.

While waiting in the queue for check-in to depart to San Francisco at Juan Santamaria International airport, San Jose, Costa Rica, I broke off from the queue to throw some stuff into trash can. There was this man in his mid 30s, who was standing near the trash can. I had seen him while waiting in the queue. It seemed to me that he was lost and restless. A tiny kit-bag was all the luggage he had. He was dressed very simple, he seemed to be traveling alone. A brown skinned man; who seemed Indian traveling alone from Costa Rica. He did not seem to be here on a vacation, was it business trip? The air around him didn't say so.

His presence was intimidating to me, but I had no other choice; the trash can was the nearest I could dispose off the trash. I am conscious of strangers and definitely think twice before talking to a stranger; this man's look seemed even strange. He was searching for a familiar face among that melee of crowd, that made me conscious even more.

I wanted to throw away the banana skin and move away from that place as soon as I could. When I was about to turn; I heard a voice "India-va?" I turned to see it was him. I nodded and gave a smile. Maybe my skin tone and my facial features with a nose stud made it obvious that I was an Indian. "Neengal Tamizha?" (Are you Tamil) - the next question stunned me. Indian fine, but were my looks too obvious to be rightly said a Tamil?

His accent told me lot of untold stories. His was a Sri Lankan Tamil accent. We started talking. His "Neengal Tamizha?" was because prior to talking with me; he spoke with Gautam. Ours was a 10 minute conversation. He was asking me about what I do, where I am from. He seemed obviously happy to have met a person who came from the same part of the world he was from and who spoke his language.

As I mentioned; I guessed right as soon as I made out his accent that his story would not be a pleasant one. He had his parents back in Sri Lanka; but he cannot go there. He escaped and sought refugee in France in the year 2004. France rejected and he was deported to Costa Rica where he spent 2 years at the immigration jail. Later he stayed in San Jose as a refugee and worked for 4 years. An American gentleman whom he met in San Jose offered to help him out. He mentioned that the gentleman worked for the America President's office and he is sponsoring his job now. This man was happy that his grueling ordeal is soon coming to an end. He had a temporary passport from Costa Rica. He was flying to Connecticut.

His life would start now, in his mid 30s. His family was scattered, sister in France, another in Sweden, his parents in Sri Lanka, now he was going to Connecticut. He would settle down in USA. For him, USA was the land of freedom. He wished he could bring his parents. He would not stop thanking God. His eyes were void, that unquenchable thirst to be together with his family, in his homeland, with his people. I thought how sad that the place he was born, grew up among his people, his friends, his memories..................he cant claim as his own.

I wished him all the very best, as I walked away, I got reminded of the cultural show and fun activities we at school put up for child refugees from Sri Lanka. There were these tiny tots of our ages who were separated from their parents and siblings,  now refugees in Bangalore. We invited them to our school, sponsored books and dolls for them, served them food on that day and put up dance shows for them; just to make them happy for at least a day.

 Where does he belong to? What is his identity? There are so many civilians like him in various parts of the world who are fighting for their identity, who cannot claim their motherland as their own. How lucky we are to proudly claim our nationality, our sense of belonging and citizenship.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Proud of what?

This post is in lieu of comments that I intended to pass elsewhere.

When we talk about our country; there are two types of viewpoints that originate.

1. Bash India. Crib and crib
2. Go gaga over what all has been achieved; however irrelevant that might be.

Let me give some examples.

Sunita Williams is an American. She is married to an American. Her father is from India and mother from Slovenia. She is not even an Indian origin; she is just half-Indian origin. We took so much pride in her achievement. How did India contribute to her success? Did India provide her any sort of help to achieve? How was it ever part of her life except for the fact that her dad was from India who migrated to the States long ago. Why do we own and celebrate someone else's achievement as ours?

Lets take Bobby Jindal. He made it very clear that he does not belong to or relate to India in any way. He showed his loyalty to his motherland(USA) when he spoke against outsourcing of jobs. He even mangled his own brother's Indian name during an acceptance speech. But we in this country took pride when he was elected the governor of Louisiana.

What are we proud of? What does Bobby Jindal stand for with respect to India. Our pride is so misplaced.

Now few folks out there are going to call me unpatriotic. But is this patriotism? 

Let me digress from these lines a bit. We as a nation have a funny idea about achievement.  Should we be proud of McDonalds having arrived in India? Is that a sign of progress? If so, is Pakistan a successful nation as well?

We cannot tolerate if someone give us a piece of our own reality. Our traffic? Our roads? Electricity? Public transport? Public rest room facility? Policies? Regulations? Our country still follows reservation based on religion and caste. Have we thought about making reservations for physically challenged? In buildings? On buses? On trains? Do we value life? Have we thought about their inconvenience and made facilities?

These are not material comforts or luxuries; but bare necessities. When would these problems be addressed? India is global, attractive for investments and blah..blah..blah...

An average Indian works hard to earn his living and all he dreams is a good life. How many of us enjoy good life even after doing our duties? A commute to home and office is a struggle; getting a work done from a government office is a struggle.

We take pride in all those hypothetical number of people working in NASA or the number of people working in Microsoft and talk at lengths about the global Indian diaspora. Thats individual success story. What about the country? Do we need to be proud that a branded jeans cost Rs.3000? You can get a stomach filling apple pie for $0.55 in USA, what can you get for a rupee in India? I am not comparing dollar and rupee but just giving an idea of the purchasing power. $0.55 is minuscule if you take an hourly wage of $10 on an average for a maid or housekeeping cleaner.

We are reeling under inflation. How many people here can happily fill their tummy 3 times a day? Go to a Subway and order a Veg sandwich. You have to shell out Rs 80. How many Indians struggle to even earn half of Rs 80 each day.

One can always point out the better infrastructure, better connectivity and better standard of living. One could always say; all is not bad; we have improved. I would say; if not even this; what is the use of being called one of the oldest and greatest civilization of the world?

Nepotism in politics, bribery, corruption, red tape, money laundering, inequality at all levels.....................................I can go on. 

Do you enjoy a decent standard of living?

Is your life valued?

Why do so many people still dream to migrate to the West even when our country is performing good economically?

If someone talks the truth; lets not brand them unpatriotic just because you are a nationalist. Also dont mistake your nationalism for patriotism :-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Procrastination can wait

Is it my fault that I don't have a Friday the way Robinson Crusoe had?  

Or is it my fault if the calendar moves so fast!!

Of all the skills that I have acquired over years; my best skill would be the art of procrastination.

How else would one justify my deferring in backing up of data residing on my laptop even though I had my external HDD with me all the time? The result - my system crashed!!

Its another story that my 2 greatest digital treasure packages - vast collection of music and photographs were backed up. But the notes related to technical work at office? What about them? They are all gone! Who cares. :-P

Things can wait my dear! If I can do stuffs more efficiently tomorrow; why do it today and end up clumsy? With time, you gain experience. Likewise; tasks done tomorrow than today turn out better and perfect as you would have gained some more experience.

See, I will tell you how. Why wash your car today when it could get a better wash when it rains tomorrow? But its not an easy art let me warn. You got to be focused, dedicated and sincere and believe the mantra "DO IT LATER". Start off on simple tasks.

Laundry? Nah...I have some more clothes for the next 10 days..So LATER.

Dishes? I am bored with my cooking. I am eating out, dont need of dishes......So LATER

Bath? I just got a limited Edition of Davidoff Cool water Frozen...Want to test it effect.....So LATER

Some call it a disease. I feel pity on those poor naive mortals. Whats fun in finishing tasks on time? Have you experienced the thrill in starting late for a Rajnikant's movie? You drive and zip across, honk, bite your nails and wish how you had Rajnikant's speed!! If you did not know; it has been scientifically proved that he travels faster than light. A copy of the report is on its way to heaven for Einstein to read.

Folks! does anyone of you know how tough it is to be idle? How we must fight hard to convince ourselves that putting off until tomorrow would sure be a huge benefit? How tough it is to hold off an otherwise tempting task? It needs oodles of grit to say LATER.

I feel depressed when I hear the word END. I do not like the term STOP. I neither like to FINISH nor do I use the UNIX command KILL.  DEADLINES are unreasonable and an END is unceremonious. STOP is rude and KILL is heartless.

Procrastination is my virtue; SOMEDAY I shall set up a society exclusively for it.

Procrastinating has its benefits; I will write about them TOMORROW

I wish to be a seasoned procrastinator; HOPEFULLY sometime in FUTURE.

I believe in MIRACLE and a better TOMORROW and I have HOPE.

I shall WAIT until the LAST MINUTE!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Costa Rica - Final Travelogue

 The hike back was easier for obvious reasons. Our baggage was lighter as the food we carried were all consumed. It didnt matter to me because Gautam was sweet enough to carry my backpack while going; I pretty much had to swing my hands free while hiking and enjoy the nature. The only stuff that we carried back from the ranger station was our trash. Its a clean environment and each visitor who came in had to accumulate the trash that piled up during the stay and take it back and not leave anything behind. The hike back was faster as we knew the landscape, knew what to expect and so were prepared. Another reason was we didnt have to stop to admire the animals and the birds and didnt have to spend much time photographing.

We started off early as we had to hike 16 kms by 1 PM to avoid high tides and thus crocodiles, bull sharks and hammerhead sharks. We did see more animals and birds on our way. Walked through devastating destruction of the rain forest due to gusty winds and rains and saw landslides of great magnitude. Gautam bathed in one of the waterfall on our way back. The weather was perfect, mildly raining, rainbow overhead; vast expansion of teal colored sea, few birds hunting for fish, rain forests all lush and green; synchronized pace of walk; collecting shells. I managed to collect few huge conch and corals that were abundant on the beach. They adorn my living room now :-)

William was a very interesting character; sociable, gregarious and childlike. He got very comfortable with us they way we got comfortable with him. He felt good that we respected him for his authority on the rain forest and we let him know how important he was for us and that without him; this would have been impossible. He reciprocated by mentioning that he never felt he was with visitors and he felt we were like locals belonging to that place. He was very passionate about the place and the flora and the fauna. He went great lengths to protect them. He mentioned about how tough the job was for rangers to hike days together in the forest to preserve and protect it. The rangers stationed in the ranger station had an easy job of keeping count on visitors and monitoring the area even though they were away from their family. That was anytime better than carrying heavy backpacks and hiking days together around the forest.

He took very good care of me; helping me cross the river or climb up in the forest or while walking down a steep area. He made sure I was safe. Among other things, he was constantly mentioning about how he was very different as a kid. In his words, "Bindu, I was a bad man". When I asked what he meant he said "I dont want to say. You will stop liking me" :-) I insisted and after much pursuance, he told me how as a young boy he killed many animals which he is striving to protect now. Once he and his uncle captured 100s of Coatis and shot them all as they were raiding their fields and destroying crops. He killed snakes, frogs and what not. My face turned pale and I said "That was bad William" to which he immediately shot back "See, you dont like me anymore". :-)

He was interested in what I do, what kind of job and such. He asked me age and when I asked him to guess; he guessed it right. Later the discussion went on to why women hide their real age and he was sharing an incident with me about an American visitor he met and they went around. She didnt reveal her true age until she left and when she parted she left a letter for him where she apologized for lying about her age.

We were served steaming hot coffee at the ranger station. Another interesting fact we were told was how few rich people from other countries like USA, Spain, France came in there; acquired lands and didnt let the locals venture into it. These lands included part of forests, beaches, water falls, creeks. How could beach, water fall, forest be a private property!! The Costa Ricans didnt know the value of their resource and sold it off to these foreigners and were now poor. William was mentioning how sad it was that they could not venture into their own land. We saw lot of "Privado"(private) written on wooden planks. But now the government has realized that and come up with a rule where foreigners cant own land but only lease them for certain number of years.

After reaching Carate, we waited for couple of hours to get a vehicle to go back to Peurto Jimenez. William's potential father-in-law didnt get his message and so he was not there with his Prado to pick us up. We also had an American couple for company. The ride was bumpy, tiresome and 2 hours long. We chatted all the while; continued our chit-chat through dinner. William took leave to freshen up and when we got back; it was just to say good bye. He was unattached and it was just business. We started to miss him.

The next day we left for the capital San Jose. Before that, William took us to the shop where he got his custom made machete as I was in love with it. I bought one as well as a souvenir. We bought a couple of T shirts; big good byes. William while parting gave a hug and said this "You have a friend here. Anytime you want to come here; just call me". 50 kms from San Jose was an active volcano site and a national park. The drive through coffee plantation was scenic. It was raining; foggy and we could see trees cutting through the clouds - the cloud forests. Visited these volcanic sites and the national park and got dropped off to the airport on time.

Guess what? We waited to get our boarding passes for an hour or so and when our turn came, the lady at the desk said "I am sorry but the flight is full". Thought she was kidding; but it turned out that they always overbooked. So even though we had our tickets booked 1 month earlier; we could not board that flight!! They talked about some compensation which was anyway useless; put us in a next day flight to El Salvador and from there to San Francisco. They put us up in a Holiday Express hotel near to airport and we were told; passengers being denied flight is normal. There was one person exclusively meant to fetch passengers from airport to hotel. Had to make calls to people concerned to let them know of this unprecedented turn of events.  Now time for few pictures.

Jesus Christ Lizard. So called due to its ability to walk on the surface of water :-) When fleeing from predators, they gather sufficient momentum to run across the water for a brief distance while holding most of their body out of the water

A view of the beach as we hiked in rain

The devastation; broken and uprooted trees due to heavy rains

A Tarantula. We dared not disturb

Flock of Magnificent Frigatebird. William asked me "Do you know why the fly in that shape?" When I answered; he was impressed :-)

A secluded bunch of trees.

At the ranger station at La Leona, this young man was enjoying the view. 

Either a species of Antbird or Flycatcher

Does it not look like a Dolphin's tail?

Criss crossing paths

This species of plant was abundant in the Volcano Poas area.the leaves are very large; almost 5 feet in diameter. When translated from Spanish; the name of the plant is "Poor man's umbrella"

One of the new leaf. Look at its stem. Does it look like poor man's umbrella? Who can hold this spiky stuff?

Volcano Poas. Its an active stratovolcano. There are 2 lakes near it. The acidity of the lake is almost pH 0; the most acidic place and supports no life of any kind. Seen here is the crater with fumarole activity.

A pretty clear view after the clouds cleared; visible is the sulfuric lake.

Lake Botos. Botos is named after a tribe that lived near this lake. One of the lake near the crater. It fills an extinct volcano; and is surrounded by cloud forests.

At the La Paz Waterfall Garden park.

This one is a Morphus. Remember my first post on Costa Rica and this marvelous butterfly? Seen here is the underneath portion of its wings.

Scarlet Macaws

The Sloth

There were 100s of humming birds of all colors. They were so agile and were fluttering all around. It was a delight to watch them

Any idea why all of them are standing on only one leg?

My souvenir from Puerto Jimenez - a machete

Costa Rica experience was rich and it would be memorable for long long time :-)