Nov 3, 2012

Every so often, I get vivid memories of the moments I stood atop the Trail rider pass at 14500 ft with my buddies, looking out on the land that I climbed through, shrouded in the clouds and battered by rain, in silent awe, with the freezing wind whipping around us.

Whether we realize it or not, we all live for such moments.

Oct 31, 2012

Champagne, Pizza, United game and an empty office at 5PM on a Wednesday evening. Good times.

Oct 17, 2012


Coffee to Ginger Tea
Briefs to Boxers
Waking up late to waking up early
Gedit to vim
Plain, messy room to a postered less-messy room
Slacking to working out?

Sep 13, 2012

A new girl joined us at work recently and she dresses too nice for the small office that we are. I felt so bad that I started wearing pants to work. (Nope, I did wear shorts before)

Sep 6, 2012

The Egg by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
-- From and continued here..

Only the best piece I've read in recent times.

Sep 4, 2012

This weekend, I slept in a tent in a huge clearing. It had rained in the morning  but the night sky was perfectly clear with a moon which had just started waning. We took the top off the tent and slept staring at the stars. Walking around in natural moonlight with no other sources of light, in the forest, is an out-of-this-world experience. You come to realize how much external sources of light have spoiled you when all you needed were your eyes.  

Aug 10, 2012

English, here to stay.

"I recall an incident that Crystal describes in his book Global English — it happened in India some years back, involving a street protest in support of Hindi. The banners were largely in Hindi, but there was one very prominent banner that read ‘Death to English’. The event was filmed on world television and of course it was this banner that reached more people around the globe than any of the others. You can see the quandary facing the people — write your message in English and you compromise your identity, but you do connect with a worldwide audience! (Just as an interesting aside, you could compare here the predicament of early English writers. John Wallis wrote about the growing significance of English in the 1600s — yet, his grammar of English Johannis Wallisii grammatical linguae anglicanae was in Latin. Even into the 18th century, Latin continued as the language of scholarship and by writing Principia Mathematica (1687) and Arithmetica Universalis (1707) in Latin, Isaac Newton reached a wider audience — besides, English still wasn’t deemed respectable enough for such learned and technical texts!)"
- Excerpt from here by Kate Burridge, prominent Australian Linguist.   

Aug 9, 2012

Huge deadlines and lots of work piling up. Leaving everything behind for 4 days of disconnect in the mountains of Colorado. Should be fun.

Jul 25, 2012

To the next two weeks

For I will be swamped with work, and have to take support calls and be homeless (crashing a friend's place). And also a lot of my plans have been thwarted by twists of fate, so here's a 'Fuck you' to the universe.

Jul 20, 2012

Aurora over an Icelandic volcano

Found this piece of gold online. If I ever live to see something like this, I'd forget every care in the world.

Jul 15, 2012

Sounds on a quiet night by the lake

Air conditioner motors and static buzz of electricity.
Trilling bugs and chattering crickets.
Croaking frogs and the scampering raccoons.
And the silence of the glassy water reflecting the starry night sky.

Jul 10, 2012


Here's to those moments when you don't have control over what you feel, as you lay bare and vulnerable to the resounding music pounding on you wave after wave.

Jun 30, 2012

No quarter

Today I experienced the joy of finding a quarter in the folds of my backpack. I had 7 quarters and I needed $2.25 to get on the train to the airport in Chicago. I also had $20 but the machine wouldn't tender change, a woman said. I rummaged in my bag and pulled out this quarter while looking for something else. I thought I could make up the remaining 25 cents I needed with dimes and nickels. Well what do you know, I had two dollars and twenty three cents. I really didn't want to waste twenty dollars so I went out looking for change. A man tried to sell me his transfer for 2 bucks but I had no useo for a transfer if I couldn't get on the platform. I asked this random guy at the corner of the street if he had change for a twenty or a quarter. He gave me a quarter with out questioning, bless him. It had just started raining. The jingle of the nine quarters in my pocket sounded like sweet music to my ears. I got out of the night streets of Chicago and got on the metro, putting in exactly $2.25 through the turnstile. The twenty lives to fight another day. 

Jun 28, 2012

They'll find you on facebook, follow you on twitter,
They'll tweet about what they do on the shitter
They'll like every picture you take and every word you say,
The second you go online, they'll say 'Hey!'
They'll wish you on your birthday and and ask you 'what's going on?'
You'll quickly sign out, but they'll know you're not gone.
They'll question if you're active, they'll question if you stay low,
They'll know more about you online, than you even know.
They've always been there, and always will be
Thing is, this doesn't comfort me.

Jun 26, 2012

I give up

Steamed brussels sprouts and a banana for dinner - when hunger and irritability trump the will to go buy groceries.

Brilliant weekend if I may say so myself.

It all started with Beth who offered to drive me to Chicago (rideshare). She loves her car and talks about how it touched 100000 miles just that morning without having any  major incident. Turned out that her wheel's loose and the rim is busted because of that. She got towed back home and I took a bus to Chicago. She was so looking forward to visit Chicago, first time and all. It was a little sad. The next day I took a bus to Minneapolis, my first time there. Reached too early, and HAD to take a dump. Walked around downtown looking for an open place with restrooms at 7 AM. I found a mall and a bagel place, had hot chocolate and a bagel and then I find out there's no restrooms. Wandered around the mall and thankfully there were restrooms but they were locked. Thankfully again, the maintenance guy walks by, and I asked him if I could use it. He replied 'I guess?' and opened them for me. Gratitude was me. When I exited the mall, I was so ready to tackle that town. Quickly got used to how the public transit worked, and met a guy on the bus who was going to the same concert as I was, though at a different time and from a different place. He however told me how to get there, and also told me places to spend time at before then. I had around 7 hours to kill and I wandered around a few streets to find a sports bar before the quarterfinals between Spain and France started. I then found myself sitting between an old resident who supported the underdogs and a man in a hat and late forties downing beers fast just watching the game and talking to me. Turned out he was Finnish and was living in Arizona and had driven ALL the way to MN to see a 50s car show. He also asked if my name was 'Vijay' because he worked with a guy named 'Vijay' and I allowed him that. Ended up watching the whole of the second half with him, getting to know about Finnish bands and places to see, to make note of for my Scandinavia trip. Drank to a Spanish victory and meeting him, and was drunk just in time to catch the concert shuttle to Harriet Island where the concert was. It was a huge spread out lawn-ish area, and I was a little too tired so I rested myself gingerly on the grass, gingerly because my lower back/ass hadn't healed entirely from the surgery yet. I took my glasses off and slept gloriously in the sun. I woke up hearing people saying 'Look how comfortable he is..' and realized they were referring to me when I saw them smiling at me when I woke up. A girl walked by and let her flowing white skirt brush over my face. It was a nice time and way to wake up. I got up and made the way up front for the main event - Tool. It was as brilliant as I expected with people tripping all over the place on the blue and yellow net of light that sprang forth from multiple lasers positioned strategically. I left the concert grounds hurriedly to catch my bus which left for Chicago in an hour. I had to hurry and I asked this guy at the bus stop about the next bus and he told me a bus was coming in ten minutes and further conversation led to cutting a sack and me asking him how he felt about being referred to as 'African American'. He didn't like it much and he was fine with nigga as long as it wasn't offensive and gave me the go ahead to refer to him that way. The bus got delayed, on other news, and so I had to catch a cab after saying goodbye to tony, and my cab driver was an Ethiopian named  Khedir. He had a lot to ask me and also say about his life. It was quite an interesting conversation and I didn't worry about missing my bus as Khedir had it all worked out to get me there in time. He even warned me not to go into the downtown area alone at night. The next day I was at Chicago again and it was gay pride day. I witnessed the gay parade and got a caramel heart on top of my cold coffee which I ordered later that day. And oh, I had a chance to step inside a U-boat from the war, that was captured by the US forces. As the guide mentioned how 59 soldiers sat in that U-boat at an average temperature of 100 degrees with no baths and shared beds, under the sea surrounded by enemy ships trying to sink them with depth charges, making no sound so as to not let the others know their position, sitting in the dark with emergency lights on and listening to the ping ping ping of the sonar for as long as two days in a row, in the very place that I was standing, I shuddered. I marveled at the engineering skill of the germans, and the tenacity of those men who carried out vicious orders and the ones who tried to stop them, by stepping into a sub that was known to be left sinking and booby-trapped by the fleeing german crew. And then I went back home. 

And now I shall lay my head on my pillow and drift away to sleep. 

Jun 18, 2012

All aboard..

Very therapeutic, this one. One character who makes me happy, by just being happy. Oh Kaylee.

I've been staring at this for a good ten minutes now, probably more..

Jun 11, 2012

Note to self

Hoy por ti, mañana por mi.

May 29, 2012

Squirrels are amazing creatures. They are nervous beings on caffeine. So much shiftiness. Squirrels in michigan grow to be HUGE, because they get a lot to eat. I also learnt in my "Environment and Climate Change" (Fun course for a credit) class that squirrels farther north and in high altitudes are much bigger to look threatening to other animals. They have lived among people for so long that, some of them aren't nervous anymore. They calmly walk close to humans and do whatever they do. I've always wanted to hold one of the squirrels. So I took some trail mix and waited in front of this particularly smaller guy, who crawled up tentatively. After a few sniffs and rapid turns of the head, he started eating out of my hand, and even got on it to eat stuff out of the palm. All the time, he kept an eye on me though. 

May 19, 2012

I have a found a new sound I like. I've seen/heard it on television before but experiencing it first hand made me appreciate it more - The sound a medication bottle makes when you open it, tilt it and pop some pills n your hand and close it back, all in one motion. (especially if they are painkillers, giving it a house-ish feel)

This is going to  be one long month,

May 7, 2012

Off the top of my head.

America's interesting in a lot of little ways. I like how everything is a reason to drink beer. Take all the 'activities' a man indulges in on a summer day
i) Barbeque - what's a barbeque without beer?
ii) Fishing - Men take a break from drinking to catch fish.
iii) Baseball - Possibly the slowest game with the least action ever and can probably only be enjoyed in a stadium. Still, people stay home on a couch with beer and watch the game
iv) anything else.

It's also funny how everyone's going on about watching 'games' and going to 'games'. Back home, I would watch a football 'match' or a cricket 'match'. Now everything's a game. It's probably because every sport has this entertainment factor associated with it. And then there's this whole thing about statistics and numbers. American sports commentary seems to be fascinated with numbers. In a single 'football game', between two plays, there were statistics about how much this player ran, how much he threw, how much he threw on average since last year, how his team performed when he threw that much, etc etc. And there's the whole thing with 'football', Football. Really? If there's one thing I won't give in to, it is calling football soccer. Here's an incident from one trivia night at a local bar here. I usually go with a friend from work and some of his friends. All the questions are SO american. They ask you who the fucking commentators were on this epic superbowl game way back in 1982 or something, and then they go and ask what Manchester United's homeground is, for the same number of points. Even more fascinating is how most teams answer the former, and very few, the latter. (There was also this question on F.R.I.E.N.D.S - Which actor played phoebe's husband Mike?. NONE of them knew the answer. I thought they were just kidding, because you know, FRIENDS is not a cool thing with kids here. (It is from the previous generation apparently and you know how we always skip a generation in liking things and understanding stuff? How you seldom agree with parents but get along great with grandparents? (Bracketception Woot))  It actually turned out that none of them knew it and were guessing out random names. I silently mentioned - 'Paul Rudd'. Then these people turn around with an incredulous look and go - 'What?' "Yeah Paul rudd. He plays mike. did none of you ever watch FRIENDS? It was big in India when I grew up." This was also the first time I met those guys. From then on, I was the go-to-guy for anything FRIENDSy or soccer related, apart from other stuff.)

What's really interesting (as I've probably mentioned before) is how people check the weather before heading out anywhere. I've started doing this as well. The first time I did this, I remembered how I did the same back home. I would go out and see the sky, and that would be it. Now I check the forecast for the day and I am 'informed'. I don't take any measures if it's going to rain, but I find out if I'll get wet. The weekly forecasts are amazing. It's interesting to see them pan out like they do. Sunny, sunny, cloudy, sunny, thunderstorms, sunny, flaky. they always have a 'Feels like' description as well, which takes into account humidity, winds etc. I've always felt, it would be a much better idea to just mention stuff like 'a nice sunny day. wear summer shirts and shorts' or 'this is a three layer day - don't forget to take an umbrella'. It's redundant to mention temperature again.

And then there's this unified mockery of Canada. Everything up north is somehow extremely funny. Anything from Canada has to be shitty. Simple as that. Southpark does a great job of it. They even make fun of Canadian beer! They struggle to accept that Canada kicks ass at hockey. (Oh yeah. One more thing. Field hockey is for girls, apparently. When I mentioned that India's national sport is field hockey, you can imagine the response). I've always wondered why. even a few minutes before I started typing this, and then suddenly thought about the names they had for cities - Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the likes. Winnipeg. I don't even know if that sounds like a real city. But then I thought about american cities. I came to know that, there are atleast 20 cities names Columbus, and 10 named Springfield. Don't even talk about the roads. there's a Washington, Liberty, Michigan avenue, Ohio st, in almost all cities. These guys completely lack creativity when it comes to naming things. But still, Winnipeg? Heh. (It sounds funnier if you keep repeating it in your head. Winnipeg. Winni-peg. *chuckle*)

USA is a superpower and all that jazz. but when I see how self centered they are with respect to events and standards, it s kind of staggering. There was this one discussion I had with this American kid, about who the ideal person is. He wanted to be an american in Brazil because apparently, they automatically take any American to be a rich guy and treat him with respect. And also because Brazilian women are extremely pleasing in whatsoever way. To him, the best combination would be an American kid who schools in India or say Iran (so he knows what the world is like), gets his college degree from Europe (get to experience many cultures and tolerate Canada), work in America, then in Brazil and then settle down in say Phillipines or Hawaii. I don't know what an ideal combination is, if there ever could be one. 

There's so many internal differences as well. I am somewhere in the midwest, (It's actually dead center but it is called the midwest. There is no mid-east, as well, they're not really fond of the term. There's the east coast, there's the west coast, there's the midwest and there's the south. The people have completely different personalities as well. Everything's laidback and backward in the midwest, according to the west coast. The east coast is too busy, and the west coast has too many hipsters. The south is all about the trucks, guns and country music. I found this piece -
  "Not much mention was made of one's physical point of view in your story on attempts of the new magazine Midwest Living to find what the Midwest is (April 27). In Omaha, where I previously lived, Michigan, Ohio and even Indiana were considered part of the East. Later I learned that Easterners considered Ohio, Indiana and even Kentucky to be the Midwest. But Nebraska and Iowa were the West, no doubt about that. Nebraska has never really figured out what it is. Bernard DeVoto, that avid frontier historian of the 1930's and 40's, was one of those who maintained that the West began at the 100th meridian, exactly in the center of Nebraska, ''where the average annual rainfall drops below 20 inches.'' Many people in western Nebraska believe they should be part of Wyoming or Colorado. ''That Eastern newspaper in Omaha and most of the Legislature in Lincoln don't understand our life style,'' they say."
You'll see that, the east is a thin strip, then there's the midwest, then there's the central states, then the west. I live in the midwest and I follow Eastern time. Illinois which is to my west, follows Central time. But hey, it's their country. It's not like they're Canadian, right?

Apr 13, 2012

Zakir Hussain and the masters of percussion, Opeth, Ghost, Bela Fleck and the flecktones, Victor Wooten, Joshua Bell and the Pavel Haas Quartet.

A very good april lineup, indeed.
My brother had a daughter last October, and for the first time in my life I have the chance to see someone important grow right from birth. I have spent quite some time with my niece, spanning over three visits. It has been quite an experience to say the least.

She is quite a handful. This one day, she started crying all of a sudden. All I knew was the usual hunger, poop, sleep check. My dad was giving her some baby food but she didn't want to eat. She has just woken up and she hadn't pooped. She cried for twenty minutes and then became ok. WhatisthisIdonteven

This other time, all she needed was a piece of cloth. If I waved it in front of her, she'd burst out in fits off laughter and look at me in anticipation for the next time I wave. She'd also smile and laugh if I whistled to her. She'd go all still when I pucker my lips and when the whistle comes out, she'd smile and thrash. She'd hold completely still, hand in hand, a smile waiting to break out the moment the whistle came out. 

Sometimes a piece of cloth is all she needs, but other times, she'd be surrounded by all the toys she has, after being well fed and rested, and she'd complain. She'd continue complaining until someone picked her up and walked around. The look of gratitude on her face when I pick her up is enough to make me pick her up even though it means she grows thinking she'd get her way by crying. The doctor told my brother and my sister-in-law to let her cry herself to sleep and not to go to her side, a few minutes at a time. Yesterday they tested this out, and she was crying for half an hour, untended. It was hard to stand by. I don't like it, but somethings have to be done.

It was also nice to see my dad and mom play and take care of the kid. Having had me and my brother, they kind of have an instinct for what distress calls stand for. It's also as though you are an outsider, looking at your past when you were a kid.

It's going to be an interesting next few years as far as she is concerned. 

Just another morning.

At the airport I saw one of those TSA videos about the stuff they do and demo videos to guide people through the process. One of those videos made me snort, in the middle of a crowded queue at 5.30 AM in the morning, inviting quite a few looks. The video has a Sardar wearing an official's uniform directing an american fellow to go through the manual pat down process after the screen. The lengths they go to make videos 'politically correct' suggests the existence of the other scenario. Or I'm just very cynical at 5:30 in the morning.

Apr 7, 2012

Middle-aged woman sat next to me on the flight. Had a book in her hand. Turned out to be the Book of Mormon. Chuckle to self. Look down at book in my hand. It says 'Lolita' with an image of a little girl's legs on the cover.


Mar 19, 2012

Feb 24, 2012

'Brilliant weather today, I don't want to stay indoors!'

I have a strong feeling that the amount of conversation revolving around weather is a direct measure of the nation's/people's progress.

Yesterday there was a storm . I got to know because my boss at work took off early, wanting to bike back home before the front hit us. So we all left early. All around me there were people talking about the storm. They spoke about tv reports, website analysis, how the snow band was thick and how it was going to snow in 6 inches here and another 8 there. This was not an isolated occurrence. Over the past year and a half, I've noticed that people often talk about the weather when they run out of other interesting things to say. Either that, or bless them, they find weather an interesting topic.

India has always been a developing country. Of late, I've seen many people from back home talk about the weather incessantly on Facebook. There isn't much a lot of people don't share anyway. As trivial and discouraging as that sounds, maybe, just maybe, it is a sign of 'progress' or whatever it is we call progress.

Jan 26, 2012

Recent Anime favorite - "Just Bones" Brook


And the song he sings.

And the perverted, weirdly funny skeleton he is.

Jan 22, 2012

"...If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin, where it belongs."

--"Politics and the English Language", George Orwell, 1946.

Jan 9, 2012

Theme From The Conversation by David Shire on Grooveshark

Theme from "The Conversation".

I am lost.

Jan 3, 2012

"Om namo narayanayah".
In India, we had this chanting device, which could chant 10 different things.
"Om namo narayanayah".
This was one of them. It kept chanting over and over again.
In between the whistles of a cooker.
"Om namo narayanayah".
When the TV is muted for a phone call.
"Om namo narayanayah".
The sound keeps lingering in the background, for you to tune in.When I close the bathroom door, the sound pervades through.
"Om namo narayanayah".

I close the door to the bathroom here and sit down, and that distant sound play in my ear.
"Om namo narayanayah".