Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Feet

Watched the movie at PVR Priya at the unearthly hour of 10:40 am on a Saturday morning.
Yeah, _a.m._, not p.m. Saturday Morning.

But well, I had a LOT of fun. Its a v cute movie, cute songs, great animation.
In short, lots of fun !
Do watch it in a theatre, if possible :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Mumma

When I close my eyes and think of her, I first see her smile. Smiling, laughing, eyes crinkling up - her whole face glows when she smiles.

A whole lot of memories flash by :
- Mom cooking daal and rice in the kitchen, and Jisha and I sitting on the floor cutting tomatoes slowly slowly for the gravy, fussing about trying to cut the perfect square pieces without making a BIG mess.
- Mom singing Hanuman chalisa while cooking - even now, hanuman chalisa makes me think of food and mom :)
- Mom waking me up at 6:15 am, so she could make my ponytails for school and then go to work at 6:20.
- Mom shouting at us for not cleaning the room, for not changing out of our uniforms after coming back from school, for not washing our white canvas shoes on Thursday and Sunday, for not washing our hair on Thursday.
- Mom and us in Esselworld, in the cups and saucers ride .... mom telling us, keep laughing and you won't get scared. And you know what, we kept laughing and really didn't get scared.
- Mom taking us to Ganga Vihar and Vijay Vihar for dinner after a hard days work.
- Mom shouting at me for reading too many novels. :)) But getting me a library subscription anyways :)
- Mom buying me my birthday dress. And making me cake. And putting up balloons and calling the neighbours over for my budday party.
- Mom taking care of me when I am sick. Patting my forehead, pressing my legs, giving me medicine.
- Mom taking me to my first parlor visit to get my legs waxed for a big school function.
- Mom making tea for me, giving me hot food when I am studying.
- Mom making us do jhaadu-pocha as punishment when we were naughty and the servant had bunked :))
- Mom exercising to the Spice Girls album in her yellow tee. :)
- Mom putting oil in my hair and trying to get rid of the lice when I got them at school :( - I was given a bribe of one 5-star for each day that I let her pull the lice out of my hair - imagine !! she had to bribe me for letting her help me !
- Mom treating us to bhelpuri and sandwich and mysore masala dosa in her college.
- Mom walking to Shivaji Park, and us walking along, and having lassi later at the Aarey milk store.
- Mom telling me to sleep on time the night before an exam, and me trying to stay awake the whole night cause I hadn't finished studying :)

Mom laughing, mom teaching, mom cooking, mom feeding, mom taking care ....

Miss you mom here... Have a wonderful wonderful birthday !

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sarojini Nagar Market

Sarojini Nagar is "supposed" to be the cheap market in Delhi. Its not really, but its still a lot of fun. I went to Sarojini the first time to buy "cheap household stuff". Like bucket, mug, shampoo, linen, curtains, etc etc. Got TOTALLY ripped off by the guy. Me thinks it was too obvious that I am not from Delhi and have no clue how expensive is stuff. :) Have gone there a few more times since then, a little wiser about the ways of SN, and its always been fun.

This week, I have gone to Sarojini twice already, with a third round expected on the weekend for winter clothes shopping. Got a red jacket, a black overcoat, a v hep cap, socks, stockings, still to buy gloves and mufflers.

Today's quote of the day by Bo Derek :
Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.

Have a great day !

Friday, December 08, 2006

Weekend

This weekend was a lot of fun !! Our Diwali Dhamaka play director, Amit, gave a party at his place on Saturday. Lots of people, lots of fun - we played dumb-Cs and Twister and laughed a lot, and had good food from Naivaidyam. And after dinner, relaxed with some tea, and desserts, and everyone sang... I sang "Nanha Munha Raahi hoon" :D

Yesterday, I went shopping !! I bought a pressure cooker, and a jacket for the cold, and some other stuff. Tested the cooker by boiling potatoes and peas and making some really interesting and tasty sandwiches for dinner. :)

Watched Omkara (again), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I liked the jerkiness in Eternal Sunshine a lot, shaking cameras, jerky scenes, sweet concept, though a little depressing. The idea that someone can be so right for you, and yet so wrong is scary indeed !!

It made me wonder how easy would it be to actually forget someone? Maybe you can destroy your diary, and the gifts you received and the things you bought together. But what about the rest ? What about the jokes cracked about the pillow covers, or the compliments given for a sweater? What about times spent together putting up the curtains or cooking or eating at a particular place or discussing a particular topic? Will you forget that you ever ate at a restaurant, or that "someone" taught you about a particular concept or that you had ever watched a movie ??

Todays song for the day :
Beedi jaleyle jigar se peeya...
Jigar ma lagi aag hai :D

Big Chill Cafe

The name says it all. The perfect place to chill out, eat some good food, check out all the interesting movie posters they have on their wall, and end it all with some brilliant chocolate dessert(s). The first time I went to Big Chill, I spent around half an hour just staring at their menu. Its soo pretty, and big, and everything on it sounds soo good !! :)

My favorite food there of course would be the soup, and the brownie with chocolate fudge sauce. Their Missisipi Mud Pie is also great, with peanut butter and oreos and fudge sauce... ummm ... I am getting hungry already ....

Will leave you with my song for the day.

Bawnra man dekhne chala ek sapna...
es sayani bheed mein bas haathon mein tera haath ho.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time heals all wounds.
Time makes you forget all …

Unfortunately, it makes you forget the good stuff as well.
That’s what this blog was all about – me trying to keep a record of all the good times, which hasn’t happened since I have moved to Delhi, so I am trying to get back on track. Everyday for the next one week, I will remember the good times here, so when I am older by a year, and have forgotten everything, I can come back here and check what fun Delhi was. :)

Today’s post is about the most fun place of all – my kitchen. Coming back from office, tired and hungry, the kitchen is a great place to relax. You can beat the eggs and hit the dough and take out your frustration by bashing the vegetables with a sharp knife, and get good food at the end of it :P What more can anyone ask for ??

And of course, cooking also means shopping. Yesterday Kudrat and I went shopping, for monthly groceries. We got 2 packets of cheese spread, and 4 cheese cubes, and half a kilo (that’s 500gm) of Mayo. And after we came home, we had a _serious_ discussion about how we would not finish all the cheese by Saturday :P and will ration it, so it lasts the whole month :))

We came back home and had macroni with cheese (what else), and then I went out to a birthday party. And when I came back, Kudrat and I had bread and cheese as a midnight snack. :)

And breakfast today was mayo and mushrooms on bread - a v interesting sandwich indeed...

OK, that’s it for today. More happenings on Delhi tomorrow. Till then, stay tuned, and listen to this brilliant song :

Every rose has its thorn….
Just like every night has its dawn.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

News

Have been busy with Ph.D. applications for the past 2 weeks. And busy with some other office work before that :)

Hopefully will be free-er now for a couple of weeks atleast :) (Thats the hope)

In other news, Happy Birthday to Hitesh. Hope the old age is making you wiser as well :P

Monday, November 20, 2006

Spam

I recently got a mail :

From : delivery
Subject : Important information regarding your loan: ID EHPI883
Hello,
Your refinance application has been accepted. We are ready to give you a loan.
After further review, our lenders have esstablished your locked rate as low as 3.87%
Please finalize everything by visiting our Secure Web-Form
www.trustspower.com
Upon receiving your submission you will be contacted shortly via phone/email.

This mail is SPAM of course, but it's not obvious that it is. All that it has is regular text from an ordinary email, and asks you to click on a link.
And Gmail marked it as SPAM. In spite of no "obvious spam words". In spite of no "nonsensical words or phrases"

Wonder how.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Crib Time

Driven by food cravings for salty food, I came out of IRL for "a few minutes" at 5 pm, and went to PVR Priya, a posh area in Delhi with a theatre and some really good restaurants.

Decided to try out some interesting looking Italian place called Sartoria, entered, and found it to be "a little on the expensive side". So we decided to order just 1 pasta dish, and share it, and maybe eat some more cheap food later to fill ourselves.

Our bill :
1 Pasta Alla Ristorante : 320
1 bottle of Water : 50
VAT : 50
Service Charges @ 12.5 percent : 50

Total : 470 Rs !!!

470 is almost 50% more than the advertised price of the pasta dish of 320.

Still a little pissed about the hidden charges. X(

And a little thankful that we didn't drink more water :)

Diwali Dhamaka Dwitiya (DDD)

So the reason I haven't blogged in a while is that I have been busy.
With work of course.
But also with play.
Thats the Diwali Dhamaka play that I am talking about.

Diwali Dhamaka Dwitiya (DDD) was the Diwali celebration at IRL on the 14th of October - Dwitiya because it was arranged for the second time, of course.

There was a play "All The Best" about a film producer who tried to make a flop film and make more profits. I acted in a play for the VERY FIRST TIME - I played the secretary to the producer, who is the love interest of the accountant, and who also saves the day when the film eventually becomes a hit ! In spite of what the last sentence sounds like, it was a small role, but I was on stage acting for the first time !! SUPER COOL !!

There was also a fashion show cum dance thing, where I danced on stage for the first time as well. Yeah, it was a day of firsts !

Anyways, so I was busy practising the past few days, making sure I don't have a "screwed up on stage for the first time" appended to my list of firsts, and so I was busy.

Am off now to Aamchi Mumbai for Diwali celebrations, will be in Mumbai from 20th-24th, if you are going to be there as well, lets meet up ! Call me on my old Mumbai number, and not my new Delhi number.

Have a happy, prosperous, and safe Diwali, and don't add to the fireworks pollution !!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

MAM 7920

I still remember her with so much fondness. Dad had got her at a time when saving for a house was more important than a new car. She was a white Fiat. Second hand of course, but we loved her so much.

In the "wow, its not hot today" winter days of Mumbai, my sis and I religiously overslept, by mistake of course, because we knew that Dad would drop us to school "by car", even if we missed the bus.

I remember both of us running towards the car, to get to the front seat next to Papa, good reason for fights. I remember Papa cleaning the car, which we never offered help in. I remember taking the car to pick up Mom after her lectures got over late, and we went for dinner to Ganga Vihar and Vijay Vihar.

We sold our car when protecting it from street vandals became too much of a chore, but I miss our MAM 7920 a lot even now.

Life

is so complicated...
Sometimes I wonder how it will all turn out ?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rendezvous VI

Attended Kaleidoscope - the dance and fashion show events - at the IIT Delhi festival, Rendezvous, yesterday. We hadn't arranged for passes before hand, so first roamed around on the streets of IITD asking random guys "who looked like IIT-ians" for extra passes. After having unsuccessfully asked a 100 people, when the security finally let me in without a pass, on my IITB i-card, I felt v v happy about this IIT-IIT bhai-bhai culture :)

The fashion show was strictly OK, almost bordering on bad for most colleges, with Mumbai college-fest fashion shows being much better. One surprising thing was a lot of skin display (super-micro-mini skirts with bikini tops) by girls who had "Chinese eyes" in all the colleges. Left me wondering where they came from... are they Indian from the Northeast regions, or they from Nepal/China/Japan?? And soo many of them?

The dances on the other hand were absolutely gorgeous, with Mumbai college-fest dances not even 10% as good. All 4 participating colleges had beautiful dances, with around 15-25 people on stage, fully coordinated, doing amazing steps inspired from Bharatnatyam to modern dance to ballet and others. Gargi college actually had 1 girl carrying a second girl around her waist, fully horizontal, a lot of complicated yoga steps in synchro, followed by Bharatnatyam steps, with some bit of ballet thrown in as well. And the dance was v thematic, with storylines, and costume changes, with the themes coming from various sources like Devdasis, King Ashoka, and so on. i was superlatively impressed by the effort ! And the IITD team rocked as well, in spite of being the only dance team with guys in it !!

Good fun !

Update : After sooo many people commenting on the comparison, I would like to clarify. Mumbai college dances are great as well, but more filmi, much less thematic, and much more free style. This was a totally different form of dance - much more structured, much much more precise, more thematic, v less emphasis on costumes, and beats and being flashy. A Mumbai dance would get you on your feet dancing with the performers, on the lastest Hindi/English hit song, and you could probably do the steps as well, although you would not do it as well, and people on stage would be much more graceful. Given the amount of aerobatics and classical dance on the IITD stage, not many in the audience would be able to do any of the steps. But given the western classical songs, not many would want to as well. I could hear some jeering as well by bored audience people, but I loved these new thematic dances !!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Turn-Ons

Interesting how the Orkut programmers came up with the brilliant thought that people can be turned on by only one of the following things :

assertiveness
body piercing(s)
candlelight
dancing
erotica
flirting
intelligence
long hair
public displays of affection
power
sarcasm
skinny dipping
tattoos
thrills
thunderstorms
wealth

I wonder if they had a meeting, where they sat down and decided what turns people on.

To : programming team
Subject : turn-ons

Lets meet at 8 pm tonight to decide what turns people on. I propose that we all discuss our own favorites, and take an OR of all of those. I'm sure noone else in the world would like anything else anyways.

Be there at 8 !!

P.S. : We won't make this awkward by discussing turn-offs - lets leave that to a text box !!


Or was this decided by the marketing team ?????

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Food

Today I cooked in my new house for the first time. I hadn't done it yet, cause I haven't bought some small stuff yet, like turmeric, onions, and belan-chakla (to roll chapatis), but decided today that I would make food in spite of all these obstacles.

So breakfast was jain style :) bread upma without onions, and dinner will be mushrooms. The food was OK, a little less oil and too bland, needed some more chili powder, but I guess given my bad throat infection, this is good for me.

Have to figure out now how to make chapatis without a belan, or should I eat mushrooms with bread ?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Updates

Finally found a new house, single room with attached bathroom on the terrace on a 2 storey house in posh Hauz Khaas enclave (effectively, I am on the 3rd floor) - only a 15 minutes walk from my workplace.

It has an AC and a geyser and the terrace also has a kitchen with a fridge and a gas, so things are great. I moved in this Saturday, but then immediately went off to Vikaspuri to meet family and was back only on Sunday night, so yesterday was my first night at my new house.

On Sunday, I went to the nearby Sarojini Nagar market and bought jhaadu, pocha, dustbin, maggi, vessels, vegetables, foot mats, pillow covers, mattress, bucket, mug, stool, rope for hanging clothes, scrubber for washing clothes, scrubber for washing vessels, soap, juices, cello tape and many other such things. Big phatka on small stuff. And I have of course forgotten many more small things to buy. :)

Yesterday before going to work, I cleant the whole terrace using my new broom and the terrace looks nice now. I also swept the room, and the kitchen, and scrubbed the bathroom tiles with soap.

Then in the evening after work, we went to Connaught Place, tried the Delhi metro, passed 10 Janpath Road, and India Gate and ate at TGIF (Thank God Its Friday). Had a lot of fun !

But thanks to the hectic day, I have body pain now, and my throat ache and
cold are much worse :(
Stupid me.

In conclusion, life is hectic, but a lot of fun. :)
Oh, and there is some work happening as well :))

Friday, August 25, 2006

Delhi News

Just finished my first week at IRL - a hectic week that started with a nice car ride along Delhi roads to Gurgaon to complete joining formalities at the main IBM office (with a trip to Kutub Minar included in for free) and ended with pineapple cream cake AND chocolate cake at the IRL month end party to celebrate August birthdays and introduce freshers. The middle of the week was work, which I will skip :)

Am off now to look for a rental place to live in thats not too far away from IIT. My first weekend from job starts now. Yipee !!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Plans

Have been busy the past few days winding up, packing my bags, saying my good byes. Am off tomorrow evening to attend Aditee's wedding in Nagpur on the 20th, and will be flying from there to Delhi, to join a job at IBM India Research labs (IRL) from the 21st.

If you know anyone I should be knowing who is in Delhi, please let me know. :)

Am currently busy in ironing clothes and making sure my bags don't weigh more than 20 kgs. Its tough deciding what not to take.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Convo

It was our convocation today.




Was dressed in all white churidar and kameez and the MTech green uttariya.
Heard the speeches by Director Ashok Misra, and the convocation address by Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Took my degree, gave it to my mom.
Became a chipku.
Went for lunch and dinner treats with friends.
Off for movie watching now.
Kinda get the feeling there should be moonlight somewhere, reflected on water though.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lets go outside.

After 2 days of heavy heavy heavy rain, the sun finally came out on Tuesday afternoon, the roads became dry, and I thought this is a good time to empty my desk at IIT and take all the stuff home. By the time I had packed everything up, it was 8 pm, and it had started raining again - very light rain though, so not too bad.

Given the amount of stuff in my desk, it had taken 1 suitcase and 2 plastic bags to get all the stuff in. So I thought I would take an auto home. Asked the watchman at KReSIT to call for an auto, but the main gate guys said that since it's raining, I wouldn't get an auto.

This is when I should have taken the lift, gone back to the 4th floor, left my packed bags there, and gone home by train. I instead frowned and wondered loudly how would I carry a suitcase and 2 bags in the rain? I wouldn't be able to open my umbrella, and would get wet. The watchman then commented saying that its not raining heavily, and the market gate is close by, so I will not get wet if I walk till there and take a rick.

And stupidly enough I took his advice. Suitcase in one hand, 2 bags and unopened umbrella in the other, I started walking. And of course, the rain got heavier. By the time I had covered 60% of the way, my hands were hurting like crazy, and I was totally wet.

This is when I should have thought that this is a stupid idea and gone back and left my luggage at KReSIT and gone home by train. I instead thought that this is a stupid idea but I'm 60% done, so lets keep walking - "market gate dur nahi!".

By the time I had reached the gate, my hands were killing me carrying all that weight, and as already mentioned, I was anyways totally wet. So I kept the luggage with the watchman, and tried to find an auto.

50 minutes later I was still waiting for the auto. Yeah, 50 minutes. And in case you didn't know it, my house is 45 minutes away from IIT by train.

Finally, after 50 minutes, after I had gone to 2 auto stands, and had waited at the main gate (walked from the market to the main gate in the hopes of finding an auto there), finally, I got an auto. But 2 other men had already booked it. :((

But I guess I looked so frazzled and tired, that the auto wala told the other 2 guys to "go away", and decided to take me instead. (Or maybe it was because I had to go a farther distance, and that would mean more money. At that point though I was soo happy that I attributed my good fortune to a v nice auto-driver.)

I sighed in relief thinking finally the nightmare is over.
Guess what. It wasn't.

Now, it was v apparent to the driver that autos were in major demand, and a LOT of people were waiting for autos.

So he decided to start complaining about the traffic to me.

Everytime the traffic slowed down by a miniscule amount, he would start cribbing about how he is losing business cause he is dropping me to Kurla, and traffic is so bad. And then he would ask me to get down there. Knowing fully well that I have a suitcase and 2 bags and am wet and I will not get another auto for another 45 minutes (if at all).

So I had to tell him, "chalo naa bhaiya, please". And smile. X(
When he had said it for the fourth time, and had started slowing down his auto to one side of the road, in the middle of a huge puddle, I wanted to kill him, wondering what more could go wrong now.

Oops.
Wrong thing to be thinking about.
Things did get even more wrong.

It started raining even more heavily.
And the winds got much much worse.
So now a lot of water was coming inside the auto.

This guy had an auto with the curtains that can be rolled down when it is raining, and they were rolled up, and I was getting v wet, so I tried to open the curtains. At which point the auto wala says "Madam, aap bhi gilli ho rahi hai, aur main bhi ...... to curtains rehne deejeye".

I was 10 mins away from home then, and thought it prudent to not get him annoyed now, so sat in the auto getting wet, with the curtains rolled up. :(

Finally, I reached home at 10:30 pm, wet, tired, and irritated.

And this was the night that the lift was not working.
And my house is on the 5th floor.
Thankfully, Jisha had come down to help with the bags.

Small mercies.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Counting sheep

Mom starts getting tense about me going to Delhi, so she tells Jisha that she can't fall asleep.
My sis says "relax mom, count sheep and you will soon fall asleep"

Mom, lying on the bed, closing her eyes, starts saying "sleep 1, sleep 2, sleep 3 ..."

Sis starts laughing. "Mom, I said sheep, not sleep !!"

Mom : sheep? Whats that?

Sis : The animals which give wool ?

Mom : Oh bhed ! Why should I be counting them again ?

Sis : The idea is that you imagine sheep jumping over a fence, and you keep counting them and then you will fall asleep. Its a concept shown in all the cartoons.

Mom : OK.

silence for a few seconds.

Then mom starts saying (loudly) "sheep 1, sheep 2, sheep 3 ..."

:)

Am not too sure how effective the technique was !!

My mom is super-cute though !!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Done

Done with MTech.

Done with hanging out in 210.
Done with treats.

Done with walking the roads.
Done with mess table guppe.

Done with cribbing bout courses.
Done with MTP - major time pass !

CH is all empty right now, so are the h11 rooms.
Noone I know at Badlu, no missed calls for lunch.

Everything seems all empty right now :(

Day 10 - The End

Got up, checked out of the hostel, took the subway to the airport, thought for the millionth time how efficient everything was in London, how helpful everyone was, how easy public transport was.

Checked in luggage, got in the flight, admired the London skyline from the plane, ate good Air India plane food, slept.

Looked back at the past 10 days, felt very happy at all the fun, all the excitement, sad cause the holiday is over, thankful for this opportunity (no, I'm not starting a speech!), wondered when would I do this again.... and with whom... worried about how much I had spent in 10 days....

Wondered if all the chocolates I had got would be enough for everyone, should I have bought some more stuff, did I forget anything?

Made a resolution to blog all the details so I wouldn't forget anything !

Checked out, collected baggage, smelled the smelly Bombay airport, came out to find mom and Tejaswi waiting for me, loaded my luggage in the auto, felt v happy cause it was raining, and reached back to IIT.

The holiday is over.

OK ?

Was waiting at Tilaknagar station at 10:00 pm at night to come to IIT, when this young girl walked by. Not more than 18, dusky, thin, average looks, wearing tight jeans folded up to form 3/4ths, a full sleeved white tight tshirt, with a pink spaghetti on top - just like in the pop song videos. Pink lipstick, kajal, blue eye shadow, chunky earrings and a head scarf completed the outfit.

She walked by me, and then asked some men sitting on the platform "ladies dabba kidhar aayega". And I was surprised by how fearless she sounded. And somehow how lost. How innocent. Almost like she has just come to Mumbai to make her filmi dreams come true. Or maybe run away from family?

Wait a minute. Tilaknagar is right next to Kurla terminus, so thats actually a likely explanation. Now I felt a little worried for her. Who is she? Is she safe? Does her family know she is here?

By this time, she had walked up to me and was asking me if she should be standing here for the ladies. I replied, and later kept staring at her (non-obviously of course), wondering ... And then she asked me at Kurla where to go for Thane. And I was with her in the next train as well. Wondering "Whats her story? Where is she going? Where is she coming from? And whats up with the clothes ?? "

Wanted to ask her if she was OK.
But couldn't.
Noone interferes in anyone's life in Mumbai.

I still hope she is OK though.

Day 9 - Shakespeare

I woke up on my last day in London with a long list of things to be done - places to see, people to call...

First stop was St Paul's Cathedral, which was beautiful, but at first glance, it didn't seem like there was much to see. They had a display going on about Anne Frank, where a life size replica of her room had been built, along with short stories from her book, talking about how her experiences are still relevant in today's society. Since St Paul's is a cathedral after all, they have a crypt underground, which was quite spooky. After that, I climbed many many steps to the Whispering Gallery, where a whisper on one end of the gallery can actually be heard at the other end. I couldn't test this out myself cause I was all alone :), but there was a German couple whispering to each other, and I had fun enacting the man-in-the-middle attack. :)

After that I climbed some more steps to the Golden Gallery, which is a circular balcony from where the whole city can be seen. That was gorgeous ! You could see "everything", and even the London Eye seemed small in comparison (at which point I decided not to go to the London Eye, cause it just couln't get better than this). The London skyline is very beautiful indeed !

I climbed down the 530 steps to the bottom, and crossed the Thames to try and get to the Tate Modern Gallery on the other side, when I happened to see a small "Shakespeare Museum", and entered it cause I thought I had a lot of time. Inside I realized that the museum was connected to the Globe Theatre, and that some Shakespeare play was starting in 20 minutes, and standing tikcets were available for 5 pounds only. Took up on the offer, and watched Coriolanus standing in the front gallery, right next to the actors, for 3 hours. Very tiring, but very interesting as well. Initially, the accent and the Shakespearean language were very tough to follow, but thankfully facial expressions are universal, and I was soon able to figure out the storyline. The theatre itself was beautiful, and so were the lead characters, with great acting as well. A part of the play actually involved a lot of actors standing in the crowd with us, and screaming their lines, and even we were prompted to say "Naye Naye !!" on being asked some question by the actors in the crowd ! Great fun !

Walked around for some time after the play, but was just too tired, and was back to the hostel, for dinner, packing, and for some great conversation with Hannah. Went to sleep worried about the alarm, hoping that I manage to get up in time for my flight back home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

An Orange Ball with Black Lines

Just a reminder that I had fallen in love with a kid once.

What about the paper jewellery ?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Football Stats

No, I am not a football fan to give you stats about the game itself. This is about me :D

27 : the number of blogs on my bloglines feed.
18 : Indians on the list
12 : Indian bloggers on the list who blogged in the last 24 hours.
11 : posts by the above 12 on Zidane's headbutt (and India wasn't even playing !! Wasn't even in the top 1000 !! )
01 : my blog post adds the count of 1 to the same :P

Yeah, Zidane, What were you thinking ??
I am kinda glad now I decided to do more fun things like sleeping instead of watching the match ! :))

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Epiphany

You start with a research problem and 1 possible solution. Work on the solution for a few months, and a second possible solution presents itself. With no way of judging which is better, you continue working on the first one....

After a few more months of work, the epiphany hits you that this won't work. Most probably.

But switching to the second solution is tough.
It has no guarentees either.
It could be better. It could be worse.

Finishing work on the first solution will take a few months, the second many more months....
Comparing the two - a lifetime.

Existance of an optimal solution not guarenteed.
And the first solution might just be workable on a short term basis.
But the second now seems more exciting - the first is now boring...

What do you do?

Epiphanies are tough.
Life problems - tougher.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Memories

My lab had not had ACs working for a week now, and its very hot, but since my lab technically is a CS lab, but in the KRESIT (IT) building, noone has bothered to repair it ....

Anyways, the heat is so much, that we have now opened windows....
I am sitting right opposite an open window, with the breeze blowing on my face. Its raining outside, so its a little chilly as well... and sometimes, random drops of rain drop by ...

Reminds me of sitting on the marble window at home, watching the rain, sipping tea, and munching on hot pakodas... pretending to be studying.... but actually watching people passing by, and listening to birds chirping and feeling the rain drops fall on me ... wondering where my life is going...

There's a cool breeze blowing in my lab, an I'm missing home like crazy....

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Day 8 - The museums

For people who have forgotten, this is an account of my UK trip, and this is my third day in London.

So I met Nilesh early in the morning, right after breakfast. Nilesh had spent 2 more days in Edinburgh after WWW and he was returning that afternoon so was in London for a few hours. He had got pine cones for me from the yellow hill close to Edinburgh, and also a seashell from the Edinburgh beach for my friend who collects soil (Thats Meghana). It felt very nice to finally have some company while roaming around, and we went to see the change of guards at Buckingham palace.

Unfortunately, entry to the palace is only in August, so we had to be satisfied with standing with more than a 1000 people, trying to see the change of guards from outside the palace. The guards do some marching thing, and then they play a band, and then some more marching - a few guards on horses, blah blah. It was a cute sight to see soo many people stand and watch 50 men marching, and commenting on how the traditions have been maintained so well in the monarchy. :))

After that, Nilesh went off to catch his flight, and I went to Harrods, which was HUGE !! It was soo huge, that I didn't even cover the whole place in an hour (and I was just walking through the damn place - not really window shopping). I obviously spent quite some time looking at all the chocolates available, but everything was too expensive. I instead had a Danish pastry and a cheese croissant from there - which was an interesting and inexpensive lunch. Also saw a LOT of designer wear from Armani and Gucci to other designers who I hadn't heard of. I also spent some 30 minutes trying to buy a lipstick for my mom, but all the lipsticks were either in pink or 1 standard brown shade which I didn't like. (There were some lovely brown shades in liquid gloss, but my mom doesn't like that).

From there I went off to the Victoria and Albert museum which was gorgeous. Saw their paintings and silverware and stained glass displays, and brass-work and a few others. From the beautiful glass display (a very very modern chandelier made of green and yellow glass snakes) to the temple gates, everything was very beautiful. And then I saw David. Michelangelo's David. Huge. Mindblowingly gorgeous. Everything else paled in comparison. Out of words.

Went to the Science Museum from there, which was even better, if thats possible. Saw the 100 greatest inventions of the last century (including the printing press, the XRay machine, cars, trains, the atom-splitter, the earliest computers ...), also saw the History of computing and the History of Math. Then went to the "Who Am I" exhibition which tried to answer questions like "what makes human beings different from other species", "what makes you different from me", "what is consciousness" etc. When I had seen only 10% of what I had wanted to see, it was museum closing time, and I had to reluctantly return.

Back to the hostel for a quick dinner, and I was off to Picaddily Circus this time. A lot of beautiful people, clubs with all hot-looking people waiting in a line to be admitted, a lot of pubs (including one called Cheers), bright lights, interesting shops, flashing billboards and neon signs... seemed like a very "hip" place to be.

Came back to the hostel at 11 pm, very tired, but also very happy and excited to be in such a beautiful place, and was off to sleep, planning all the things to do on my last day in London.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Day 7 - Madame Tussauds

Day 7 started with breakfast in the hostel, and then I was off with my map walking towards Madame Tussauds - Museum of Wax. The wax museum opens only at 10 am, and I was there at 9:45 am, expecting to go to the Sherlocks Holmes museum first, but when I was crossing the museum, I realized they are letting people in, so went in and found a 20 minute line (!!), and was told by the 2 ladies in front of me that by 11 am, the line will be more than 1.5 hours long !!

Went in, took LOTS of snaps, and then took some more snaps and then some more, and some more as well... around 200 of them ! There wasn't much else to do anyways, and I wanted to spend enough time to justify the 25 Pound ticket. So when I realized that I had reached the end of the gallery, I went back and guess what - took some more snaps. The one cool thing about the Wax museum that I hadn't known was that they now have a "Horror Display", which basically has a dark corridor with dull lighting, and a prison like look, with live actors (in prison clothes, and dried blood) that jump out from corners and try to freak you out, shouting at you, and a few others that pretend to be in a LOT of pain, screaming and writhing ... Besides that, there wasn't much to see, and by 12, I was out.

I then started walking towards the British museum, and on the way made a stopover at Regent's Park, which was mindblowing. Calling it huge would be an understatement, and I could see all these couples having romantic picnics in the grass, and groups of people playing ball, and kids running around - reminded me of the last scene in Notting Hill where Julia Roberts is lying on Hugh Grant's lap, reading a novel, with people all around enjoying themselves....

After walking in the park for around 20 minutes, I came out to realize that I have no clue where I am (had walked along 5% of the perimeter of the park). Was in some part of London where there were lots of apartment buildings, very beautiful, asked for directions, and then went off to the British Museum. The British Museum India display is supposed to be very impressive, but somehow, it wasn't. Looked around for 2-3 hours at the India, China, World displays, but couldn't get time to cover the rest(including America, Japan, Taiwan, Britain ...) They also had a gorgeous display of superstitions held by cultures around the world, which was quite informative.

One of their most impressive displays was one in which the life of a man and a woman had been chronicled using the medicines that they had through their life. So for the woman it started with vitamins for the first 2 years of her life, sick with Typhoid at age 10, chicken pox at age 13, pill for periods for 7 years till 20, birth control pills for 35 years, and pills during 2 pregnancies, pills for postpartum depression, pills for arthritis, and so on...
All these pills had been stitched into a beautiful bedspread (1 for the man, and another for the woman), and all the pills made very pretty patterns into it, especially the ones that were taken regularly (no surprises then that the woman's bedspread was significantly longer and prettier with much more obvious patterns) Along with that, there were snaps of people during that time of life, which showed them doing various things. Very touching, and thought-provoking.

By this time it was 6 pm, the museum was closing, went back to the hostel, slept for 30 minutes, had a v early dinner, and was off to Covent Garden. Covent Garden is this huge market square kind of place, but almost all the shops close at 6 pm, and after that it seems more like a hangout place for the "younger generation".

There were a few guitarists at various corners of the square singing songs, and collecting money, and people were just hanging around with friends, chatting, drinking beer, laughing. It was a beautiful sight indeed. One of the guitarists started playing Imagine by John Lennon, which fit my mood then perfectly. While I was singing along, getting all senti, a French guy tried to ask me out for a drink, which was quite hilarious, cause I freaked out a little :). Walked back to my hostel at around 10:30 pm, crossing Trafalgar square again, and again struck by how beautiful it was, and was off to sleep thinking very happy thoughts indeed...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 6 - 1st Day at London

If you have been paying attention so far, you would know that I am talking about my UK trip for the WWW conference. Earlier posts are here, here, here, and here.

So I reached London at 10:45 am, and travelled by tube to my hostel. I had stayed at the Indian YMCA, which is right at Warren Street. Given the size of the London underground, I thought it would be a little tough to figure out how to get there. But their maps are so clear and simple to read that I studied it for 2 minutes and realized that I had to take the Victoria Line which would take me there in 6 minutes, and I was soon at my hostel.

I had been booked into a ladies dormitory, but it turned out to be a 2 bed room, with a bathroom right opposite with 2 baths, so that was quite nice. My roommate was not in, so I took a quick bath, had lunch at the Subway right outside, slept till 7pm, had a early dinner in my hostel, and went off walking. I started walking with my map in my hand, with the intentions of going to Oxford Street, but kept on walking, and reached Trafalgar square instead. Trafalgar Square at twilight is gorgeous ! It basically has the Nelson's column (which is closed for repairs now), facing the National Art Gallery - which is a beautiful sandstone building, with huge pillars, and steps to sit on, and also 2 water fountains. A lot of people hang out there, from groups of guys drinking beer, to couples, to families with small kids playing around....

I sat there just taking in the atmosphere for almost 30 minutes, very happy to be all alone in the beautiful place, free to just "be", no work, no friends, just me. I was so happy that I smiled at random strangers (who surprisingly all smiled back), and on my way back started running and singing on the streets (not that many people around so its ok). On my way, I heard this amazing guitar(an electric one at that) being played by a guy sitting outside a club, who after the song got over said "Man, anyone not drunk here is wasting their time !! Go drink, be happy !" And I felt like I was drunk on the place, on just being here ! Passed Soho on the way, so went around and saw the sights, and then went to Chinatown, with all its Chinese people and Chinese restaurants with Chinese menus (didn't seem like London at all !!). It was great!

Came back to find my roommate Hannah was back. Found out that she is an American doing her PhD in Princeton on history, and she was in London to do some research for her thesis in the British Library. She was a very interesting person, and we spoke for quite sometime, about her life and mine... For each of the 4 days in London, I went back to my room at around 10:30-11 pm, and invariably Hannah and I ended up talking about life, future plans, philosophy, culture etc etc for an hour or 2. She was a lot of fun, and I was pretty lucky to have such a cool roommate !

Went to sleep all happy and excited, wondering what the next 3 days in Lodnon would bring ...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 5 - Edinburgh

Woke up early in the morning, had a huge breakfast at my hotel, and checked out. My hotel had the most amazing breakfast btw - a full Scottish breakfast that served haggis, fried bacon, fried sausages, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, toast, mushrooms, tomato, baked beans, cornflakes, porridge, orange juice, apple juice, yoghurt, milk, and fruits, and maybe some other stuff that I don't remember. I stayed there for 4 breakfasts, and tried to eat something different everyday, but even then I couldn't try all of it :))
Oh and some wheat cereal packet thing that I never even saw properly. And also coffee and tea. And butter and jam and marmalade.

Anyways, after that Satish and I went to Jenners which is a beautiful store at Edinburgh. They compare themselves to Harrods at London, but they aren't quite that big of course. From there I also did my first bit of shopping - dinosaur chocolates for my sis, and Belgian truffles for my mom :)

We then walked around for quite sometime, and eventually reached the Royal Museum of Scotland. It was not huge, but it was sooo beautiful, it will remain etched in my memories as the best part of my trip to Edinburgh. The highlights of the museum were the Millenium clock, which has this beautiful mechanical structure representing our millenium, the display on extinct and endangered animals, the Great Ape display (where Satish and I wore big Gorilla hands and walked on all fours), and their modern world display where we got photographs taken in space-suits.

At 5 pm Satish left to catch a train back to Edinburgh, and I walked around in the city, aimlessly for 4 hours and then went back to my hotel to collect my suitcase. By this time, I was cold, tired and hungry. And for reasons unknown, I started worrying about spending 400 Rs on dinner, and decided not to eat. Bad idea. It then got worse when I missed my bus to the bus station (where I was going to take a bus to London) by standing on the wrong side of the road, so I had to walk till the bus-station.

Unfortunately when we were walking through the city, I had never really noticed how much we used to walk, and how far away everything was. But when I had walked for 40 minutes with my suitcase, I realized that its not as small a city as I thought. Luckily, I then got a lift from a Pakistani couple who drove me in their car till the bus-station (which was another 5 minutes by car, so I was lucky I got the lift). By the time I reached the bus-station, the tiredness had left me feeling depressed and lonely and poor for the first and only time in my trip. But when I reached there, I realized that Nilesh and his junior friend were there waiting for me :), just to say a good-bye. That was very sweet of them, waiting there for me, and I got myself a coffee and ate some food from my bag, and felt all better. Life is good after all.

Got into the bus, and fell asleep instantly, only to be woken up at 2 am by the driver cause the headlights of the bus had failed, and the repairman had just got there, who wanted to see the wiring next to my seat. So I had to get out of my seat half-asleep and wait while they tinkered with the wiring. They kept trying for a full 2 hours, while a very cute guy from Spain tried to chat me up :), eventually they managed to find the problem and fix it and we were on our way.

We were supposed to reach London at 7 am in the morning, but thanks to the 2.5 hour break in between, we had to again stop at some coffee shop outside London (drivers in the UK cannot drive for more than XYZ hours at a stretch, so we had to let our driver take a break), and I finally reached London at 10:45 am.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Love

She loved the guy.
She did it for him.
She would've done anything for him.

Some women are like that.
Some lovers are like that.
Some loves are like that.
Most loves are like that, from what I can see.

Your heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your respect and your independence. After a while you start throwing people out - your friends, everyone you used to know.

And it's still not enough.
The lifeboat is still sinking, and you know its going to take you down with it.

--Shantaram
page 63

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Days 1 to 4 - The Conference - Fun

This post talks about my "tech" experience in the 4 days of the WWW conference, now lets talk about the fun parts :)

First of all, I met a lot of interesting people during WWW. There was Nilesh who is a DD student at IIT Kanpur, and Prasad, a grad student from IIIT Hyderabad, and also Amit from some US university. I also met this v cool Prof. from The University of Georgia and his grad students, and a lot of other grad students from various places. Then there was my room-mate Preethi who is at Delaware, who sadly I didn't interact with much, cause we both were too busy meeting other people, but I could tell that she is a interesting person. I also met a lot of people from a lot of cooL places including IBM India Research Labs, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft Live Labs, and Ask. And Satish was there of course as a volunteer, so life was good....

Every evening after the conference, we went out exploring Edinburgh. On the first day, we went to Princess street, and had unlimited dinner at a Chinese Buffet place for 10 Pounds. Thats 870 rs BTW for me, the second most expensive dinner I have had to date. (The most expensive dinner ever was 1400 Rs at Grand Hyatt sponsored by Induslogic, since I was the placement rep handling them)

The second day we went to the conference reception at Edinburgh castle, beautiful view of Edinburgh from there, and also the crown jewels of Edinburgh are displayed there. But unfortunately, they served only drinks, so after the reception, we went to Burger King to have dinner. The fun part of the reception was that Nilesh drank for the first time in his life (3 glasses of wine, and 2 glasses of beer), and got drunk(supposedly) and started behaving hilariously, laughing all the time etc. - that was brilliant ! Satish was around of course, which was the reason why I didn't freak out, and instead enjoyed watching a drunk guy talk funny for the first time in my life.

The third day was the Microsoft party at the Jam House, which was a pub with live music, and again unlimited drinks but no dinner. Nilesh decided to take advantage of this opportunity to try out champagne. But the bartender told him that she cannot give him a glass of champagne, so he should find 4 people who are interested, and she will give him a bottle. Now the rest of the people who we were with didn't drink either, so Nilesh didn't really have company, but he told the bartender that "we" will drink, and got the bottle anyways. So we finally ended up sitting on this table - 5 people who don't drink - with a bottle of champagne kept in a bucket of ice in front of us. It looked pretty cooL, so random people walking by decided to fill their glasses, so the bottle got over finally, and we met a lot of new people in the process.

The third day also had a single malt whiskey tasting session organized by WWW, where I ended up trying 2 of the 4 single malt whiskeys available. I am not a "drinker" though, so didn't really appreciate what was so great about these whiskeys, but I managed to get my friends who drink pretty jealous about trying out single malts :P

On the final day I was v tired thanks to all the hectic conference attending and roaming around, so we again went back to Princess Street, and had a dinner at Pizza Hut and was back in the hotel room sleeping pretty early.

1 cooL thing about the UK which I haven't mentioned so far was that even though it was spring, it was v v cold, temperatures in the 5-10 degree range in Edinburgh, but the sun didn't set until as late as 10:30 pm. So you could stay out till 11 pm without feeling like it was too late.

Days 1 to 4 - The Conference - Work

I hope you already know that I am writing about my visit to Edinburgh for WWW - a description of Day 0 is here.

The World Wide Web conference was hosted in the EICC - a beautiful sandstone building situated in the middle of Edinburgh. My hotel was only a 5 minute walk, which was pretty lucky for me. The first day had a welcome by traditional bagpiper players wearing the kilt and all the necessary accessories, and there were also 2 dancers doing a Scottish dance wearing the female version of the kilt. (Not too sure if thats a skirt, cause it was the same colour, texture, pattern as of the kilt).

I attended a lot of interesting talks, but it was a little difficult to understand the accents of the researchers from Microsoft Research, Asia (which I felt very bad about). I also attended a tutorial on Web advertising by Yahoo! researchers Ricardo Baeza Yates, Andrei Broder, and Prabhakar Raghavan, which was pretty interesting and almost like a guest lecture in CS610 (the IIT web mining course conducted by Soumen). Thanks to parallelism in talks, tutorials and workshops, I could attend only 1 workshop which was on data logging, which was also pretty interesting.

Thanks to the popularity of WWW, it is now also pretty popular with the corporate world, due to which I got to attend some "non-tech" talks by the Ask.com Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President Tao Yang, and also a panel on "Creating successful Web based Business", and another one on "The Next Wave of the Web", which also had Tim Berner Lee as a part of the panel.

A major crib that I had was that thanks to a packed schedule, I didn't get any time to see a single poster :(, which I felt v bad about later.

I gave a talk as well on my paper, which was reasonably well received, thanks to all the advice that Soumen gave me, and all the practice talks which I gave to my friends @ IIT who gave me some pretty good advice.

A second major crib was the bad food that they served during the conference. Thanks to the fact that the English are not exactly well-known for their culinery skills, the conference had other cuisines instead for lunch. First day was Italian(pasta and some gravy), the second was Mexican(Chili corn and Mexican rice), the third was Chinese(macroni and some gravy), and the final day had traditional Scottish food (boiled potatoes and gravy). The common denominator was that the food was bad on all 4 days. Luckily, my hotel served breakfast so I could eat a heavy breakfast, and not mind eating a little bad food for lunch, but people who skipped breakfast due to budget constraints has a bad time. In spite of this, by the fourth day, I was frustrated enough to treat myself to some good food outside for lunch. However, I stupidly assumed that my lunch bills would not be refunded(since the conference people are providing lunch), so I didn't take a bill, only to find out later that of course, any expenses that I had made would have been refunded. :(

Even worse, the conference reception didn't have food - only drinks !! Now thats a dinner that only the Scottish can serve !

I had a friend once...

I had a friend once in IIT who was a v close friend. We used to hang out together, lots of laughing, lots of jokes, but also sharing secrets, and doing projects together. It almost felt to me like we were siblings, we were that close.

But then one day, I did something to piss my friend off, I don't know what. Cause my friend never told me, just got angry and stopped being friends. Now my friend doesn't talk to me, doesn't tell me whats wrong, doesn't dance with me anymore, and come and hang out with me in my lab, doesn't even pop in to say a hi when I return from a 11 day holiday, and leave chocolates on the lab desk ...

I have many other friends, but each one is special, and losing one hurts. Especially when you don't even know what you did wrong. I would go and say a "Sorry boss, I didn't mean it, and please forgive me - your friendship is more valuable to me than my ego", but I don't know what to apologise for cause my friend never told me. Not knowing hurts even more.

I had a friend in IIT once, who isn't friends anymore - just a classmate now, who says hi and bye and no more.

And trust me when I say it hurts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Birthday ??

The tradition in my class is that after the birthday guy has cut cake, they lift him up, and give him birthday bumps. And for 5 minutes, you can hear the birthday boy screaming in pain. I am very sensitive to pain, so I make sure that I go in the lab before the hitting starts, so I don't have to hear the screaming...

I remember seeing a friend crying cause someone had hit him too hard on his spinal cord...
Today, I saw the birthday bumps after a long time, and they went on for a long time as well... almost 8 minutes... (I think its a measure of your popularity, but I'm not sure) until I had tears in my eyes feeling bad for the birthday boy... and even now, the guys in my lab are discussing how it doesn't hurt too much with chappals, only makes a lot of noise, its all "instantaneous pain that goes away in a day", while kicks to the spinal cord can hurt for 8 days ... Today's screams might actually give me nightmares....

What kind of birthday wishes are these anyways?

Kinda makes me glad I am a girl...

Beauty And Symmetry

If someone's face is symmetrical, its supposed to look beautiful. And pimples don't look good cause they make your face asymmetrical of course.

Well, I have now been "blessed" with 2 pimples : 1 on my lower lip, and 1 right on my upper lip along the same vertical line - so symmetry is still maintained.



Does this mean I look :
(a). better than before - some more symmetry added, and along the X axis this time !
(b). the same
(c). worse since symmetry along the Y axis is not maintained.
(d). don't know
(e). can't say
(f). Others (write comment in comments section, since making a comment box is tough) :P

Friday, June 02, 2006

Trip to the United Kingdom - Day Zero

As many of you probably know, I went to Edinburgh to attend the World Wide Web conference WWW 2006 on 21st May, and just got back today.
This is going to be an account of these 11 days - the good, the bad and the rest is censored :P ...

Day 0 was of course the flight. As I haven't flown before, this was HUGE !!
Mom and Tejaswi had come to drop me to the airport - Megha wanted to come too, but I wanted her to come receive me instead...

Anyways, flying rocks !! You can see a 100 aeroplanes flying over your head every day, and you can study the physics behind the flying, but the feeling when you are looking out of the plane window watching as the ground goes further away, wondering how did this HUGE thing with 400 people sitting it it EVER get off the ground is another feeling altogether !!

I was flying Air India, with a stop at Delhi. The Air India hostess were v pretty (actually hot is a more accurate term), and v friendly as well. When I told her I am not hungry enough for a full breakfast, and want only fruit, she gave me 2 helpings instead of the usual 1 - not a big deal you might say, but she didn't have to do it, and she did, and that was appreciated.

Also, flying rocks ! I fell asleep of course once we were in the air, and when I woke up, it was 4:30 am - and there was the gentlest of light and I could see some small bumps on the ground before ... they didn't look like hills, and they didn't look like rough terrain - they literally looked like bumps .... Kept staring at them for 15 mins wondering what they could be when the light started getting better - and I realized that they were clouds !! They were sooo pretty !!

I reached London at 11 am London time, where I had to wait for 2 hours for my flight to Edinburgh. But the waiting lounge had the most amazing view of one of the runways, so I could see a plane taking off every few seconds, and it never got boring !

The British Midland flight to Edinburgh had air hostesses who were clearly more professional, and they were good looking as well. But they didn't serve any food at all, instead they were selling sandwiches and coffee on the flight - that was something I hadn't known about, and it made me thankful that when the Air India people were giving out packs of chips I had picked one even though I wasn't hungry then - so I ate that packet on the BMI flight.

My first view of Edinburgh was breath-taking - cause it was soo cold, and my warm jacket was in my suitcase - so it literally took my breath away ! :P

Edinburgh is very beautiful of course, very clean, my bus which took me till the hotel was very spacious. I met a Pakistani on the bus who was trying to make conversation, but I was just too tired. The bus driver was nice enough to stop the bus for almost 45 secs and give me exact directions from the bus-stop till my hotel - thats the kind of friendliness that people in the UK have that you will NEVER see in India.

My hotel looked exactly as it was shown in the snaps - Herald House - and soon I was in my room meeting my new room-mate, and checking out the room. I freshened up quickly, and went off to this party in the search for free food, and Satish. Found Satish, also found v bad free food :(

Anyways, it was fun meeting him after so long, and there was highland dancing !!
So the band guys told us how to dance in terms on steps (clap hands, guys move 1 step to the left, girls 1 step to the right, reverse, put hands on your partners shoulders, go round for a full circle, clap again, and count 4 steps of a quick trot or a fox trot), we practiced once without music and then danced with music - it was a lot of fun, since the later dances involved coordination between 6-8 people at a time, with the barn dance requiring 4 groups of 6 people each to coordinate into a single dance - where of course, some one will always screw up, so everyone was laughing continuously.

I was tired though, so left from there by 9:30 pm, had some dinner at a restaurant on the way, and was soon fast asleep.

And did I tell you flying rocks ??

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me !!









It was my birthday on the 18th, and I had a blast !! First, we cut cake in my lab at midnight, followed by a treat at the staff canteen, performances by the birthday girl :P, and then had to shampoo my hair twice to get rid of all the cake in it....

Went home in the evening evening, with my friends, and we cooked dinner - bhindi, mutter paneer, pulao (Mom made pulao), cake and raitha, - had AMAZING fun :D.

Got loads of mails, calls, offline messages on messenger, SMS-es, and of course, scraps on Orkut. Made me feel v special indeed...

All in all, a fun day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

Teaching at IITB




These photos show me teaching a few people in IIT. I am smiling so that I don't appear too intimidating to them with all my knowledge and wisdom. The classroom is the IIT Powai lake, so that the beautiful weather, the sunset, and the smell of rotting garbage can inspire my students to pay attention and study hard. I am pointing at the highly complicated equations that I have written on the whiteboard. You cannot see the whiteboard since the equations that I am teaching are highly classified, and hence one of the students has used highly complicated algorithms to make the whiteboard disappear from the photographs.

This is what I hope to do the rest of my life - teach highly complicated equations, and make them disappear using highly complicated algorithms.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Drugs & Trials

While India makes a big fuss about the booming drug trial industry, articles have started appearing all around the world about human guinea pigs fighting for their lives.

As 6 healthy young individuals in the UK fight for their lives after collapsing an hour after participating in a drug trial, and another eleven died in Chicago, the obvious questions raises itself "Is it worth it?" Would these medicine that were being tested have saved more lives than they took? Definitely, clinical tests are essential, but maybe we need better checks in place, especially as trials become easier to conduct in "developing" countries with no policies, no policy implementation, illiterate patients who sometimes don't even know that they are being given "untested" medications.

And after all that news, anyone interested in participating in a drug trial in Aamchi Mumbai?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Holi Hai !!







Lots of fun in h11 today with colors :), water :), kichad :(....
Then went with the guys to wish the Professors Happy Holi as well !!

DK was supposed to come with us, but he met two sets of friends on the way - one set tore his tshirt, the other his pants, and then the poor guy was not in a position to visit other people's homes... :(

Passed a lot of HUGE groups of guys having a LOT of fun, everyone was either silver or purple or black... almost everyone with torn clothes, destroying clothes on holi is like this HUGE tradition in IIT, that I dont understand, but I can appreciate what kind of fond memories that must lead to :P:P

BTW, Profs have beautiful homes :) - and the lakeside view from Prof Sanyal's home is AMAZING !!

Lunch was the traditional maharshtrian meal of Pooran-poli, aalu ki sabji, aamti, and rice.
Watched Crash after that. Very complicated storyline, but brilliantly done !! Now going for a walk ....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Television

NDTV Profit did a segment today on consulting companies that have visited the IITs for placements. After interviewing some IITians who have been placed in consulting firms like BCG, McKinsey etc., they wanted to show some shots of IITians hanging out, and some of the shots included me.

While I haven't seen the news myself (no TV in IIT), I have been told that the cameraman actually ends the shot by focussing on my bracelet. :)) LOL

My love for accessories is now on national television !! :P

Anyways, if anyone knows how can I see the clip now, do let me know (I'm dying to know if my bracelet was looking good :P)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Remember

Time : 9 p.m.
Date : 6th March 2006, Monday.
Venue : Pizza Hut, Hiranandani, Mumbai.
People : Mom & I
Reason : Mom knows why ! :)

Busy

Lots of news that I haven't said yet :)
This is over the last 3 months :

1. Valentine's Day :
With the MM again - went to RMall, Mulund, had a blast of a time, LOTSS of shopping (what do you expect with 9 girls ??), great food, and amazing, mouth-watering desserts... :)

2. RAIT, Alumni Day :
Again loads of fun. Met up with a LOT of people - everyone has changed, most for the better :P...
It started with the usual set of speeches by RKJ, and a few others, followed by "tea and snacks" and interaction with faculty... then some amazing singing by alumni, and current students, and very bad renditions of "Summer of 69", "Sweet Child of Mine", and "the Animal song" (so what's new?)...

Everyone was served biryani after that, most people got lots of pepsi and sprite from various sources, and we were given hand-painted cups in various colors that said "RAIT Alumni". The effort taken to paint the cup instead of doing a standard printing, was highly appreciated, and I will cherish my red cup for the rest of my life. (I just wish someone had had the sense to paint the cups with water-proof paint... I had some "pepsi" in my cup, and when I washed it, the m of alumni was washed off - I have now repainted it with permanent marker.... but even then !!)

Then the disc began. Lots of dancing, lots of fun, ... I had to leave early cause I had a midnight coding deadline at IIT... but I heard the party rocked till late at night !

Who was there? Rupi, Mallu, Shamel, Joyce, Sukrit, Priyanka, KC, Kavitha, Srini, Buddy, Tunnu, Kirti (Teredesai), Aditi Trehan, Maggi, Disha, Cheryl, Sabah(obviously), Sameer(the singer), and many many more !

3. Horizons : Day 3 : Strings

String was good singing wise, with a GREAT guitarist, and a good band etc etc. The crowd was happy, could see MANY hands in the air... was personally a little bored though. They sing well, but have ZERO stage presence. And without the energy on stage, whats the point? Euphoria with their jumping around, and their keyboardist is definitey a 1000 times better. Anyways, as I had said earlier, people were v happy singing "Zinda hu main", and "dooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrr", so I guess they were a big success.

Indian Ocean had been advertised but cancelled at the last moment due to budget problems.

Went for "dinner" after that - which was much more interesting than the event itself (mail me for details :) ), and finally Disha dropped me home at around 2am.

For me, this years Horizons was more about nostalgia, not knowing the organizers, not seeing most people from my batch, missing "the good old crowd"....


4. New Years :
New years was a party at my place - dinner, dancing, and the girls slept over ... loads of fun :))


5. Acads :
My very first research paper has been accepted for publication in WWW. I will be going to Edinburgh, Scotland in May to present it ! If anyone has advice or can help for any arrangements related to Visa, stay, travel, food, packing etc, please let me know !

Friday, February 10, 2006

Serendipity - Dear Diary II

As the movie got over, I turned to Brad and asked him "If you ever lost me in the crowd, would you search for me too in just the same way as Jon?"

He replied "Arre ... I finally get rid of you, and you want me to search for you at the end of it?? I will be too busy celebrating ...."

I slapped his cheeks playfully.... he held my hand, and kissed it instead.

We laughed, snuggled even closer and got back to the movie.

Do you think he loves me?

Natasha

Monday, February 06, 2006

Dear Diary - 1

Disclaimer : The following diary entry is NOT TRUE. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental. :))

Now we can go on....

Dear Diary,
Guess what??? I had a great day today !! As I walked out of class today morning, that really cute guy Brad walked up to me and started discussing assignment 3 and my thoughts on the tangible effects of the Impressionist movement on our culture. As we talked, he suddenly said "This is soo interesting ! Do you wanna talk more over coffee? " Ofcourse I said yes. We went to Java Beans which is this amazing place that serves great coffee. Sat there for some 3 hours talking !! We gel so well together and agree on everything !! Its almost like we were meant to be together for ever !! As we kept talking, we didn't notice how the time flew by and suddenly, it was lunch time and we were hungry, so we went to the Zodiac for lunch. 5-star hotel, dim lighting, polite waiters, and ofcourse, a hunk sitting right opposite me - what more do I need from life ??? The conversation was wonderful - he kept looking into my eyes while he talked, and it was soo cute !!

But then in the middle of this perfect lunch, the weirdest thing happened ! My glasses started hurting ... so I took them off, and kept them next to me at the table, and suddenly I realized that I was making the weirdest facial expressions !! I became very concious of my facial muscles - I could feel each one move and as I became concious about it, I obviously became very stiff. Now I didnt want to look stiff - I wanted to look friendly and cute - so I started making my face muscles move in more exaggerated movements - and my smile became bigger and my eyes crinkled up even more, and I ofcourse became even more conscious. It was BAD - very BAD. Anyways, then I put my glasses back on - to hide my face and then the whole thing was better.

I am meeting him again tomorrow for dinner .... What should I wear? What should I wear?? My pink top maybe...??? Or maybe the blue one?

Will go and ask Saira what she thinks...
Bye for now,
Love
Natasha



MY Diary:
I finally asked that hot chick Natasha out for coffee today. Gave her some lines on some abstract art movement, and then smoothly said "Lets talk this over at coffee" - guess what? It worked.
Took her out to Java Beans, then lunch at Zodiac. She kept talking, I kept agreeing... I tried really hard to look only at her face and her eyes through the conversation - it didnt work though ;))...
In the middle of lunch, she took her glasses off - I think that was to impress me or something - so that was great. But she put them back on real quick - I hope that wasn't cause I said something stupid and she got turned off... :(

My friends think I'm very cool for taking her out .... I suggested some other stuff too - so that just makes it better. I'm meeting her for dinner tomorrow.... lets just hope.

Brad.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Movie Time !!

Mom, sis and I went for a movie a few days ago(28th Jan). It was a last minute decision, at 8.30pm I casually mentioned how it would be nice to watch Rang De Basanti, at 8:40pm we were all dressed up and out of the door.

Since the movie has just been released, its running house full in most of the major theatres... so the plan was to go to this small theatre in our locality, where tickets are 50 Rs, and the place is _never_ house full.

But as the saying goes, "never say never". We reach there to find a nice notice saying "balcony is full", and there is a HUGE line of people standing for stall tickets (even cheaper at 40 Rs). I gamely go and stand in the stall line.... unfortunately within 18 seconds of standing in the line, I realized that the only people in the line not smoking were busy eating paan (and then there was me - I was neither smoking nor chewing paan - was standing and making up such statistics instead).

So there I stand in the line wondering how mom and sis (and I !!) will bear such smoky red people for the 3 hours of the movie, when this really FAT guy, also smoking paan, approaches mom dearest and offers balcony tickets for 100 Rs each. The first thing that strikes me is 100% profit - thats a v cooL deal for him (I seem to be a very statistic oriented person nowadays).

Anyways, mom bargains for 80, I complain about the smoky red people, and say no point of spending 80/100 Rs for sitting with them ! FAT "blackseller" guy refuses to budge from his 100 Rs demand.... Mom agrees, I insist that this is ridiculous... we can go to some nice posh theatre instead (except that they r all too far away, and no tickets avaiable anyways)

Mom asks him "These are good seats right?" He says "Don't worry Madam, I am here only, mera dhanda yahi hai", my sis agrees "Yeah mom, I know him - he is always here", and I am left wondering when did my sis come to this theatre anyways !!!

Anyways, then we are asked (v rudely at that) to STAND IN LINE TO ENTER THE THEATRE ! IF YOU DON'T STAND IN LINE, WE WILL NOT LET YOU ENTER !

Meet a few people from the locality in the line :), wait inside the theatre for 15 minutes(felt like 15 hours with all that small talk though) before the movie starts....

Finally, the movie starts, very very good movie, bad interval when there was a line for samosas as well (as if they are giving them for free), good movie again, and then it was over.

12 midnight, no autos available to go home, mom panicked as usual while we searched, found an auto and finally our 9-12 adventure was over !

Good fun :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mumbai Marathon

Life wasn't going too good for him. Work was boring, the girlfriend was not too interesting anymore, and the parents were insisting that he get married. And even worse, his TV was not working !!

Dejected, bored, pissed with life, feeling depressed without having a reason.... he went off to a bar to hang out with some work mates, discuss the latest gossip, bitch about the girls, when one of his friends (a health freak of course) started talking about the Mumbai Marathon. How great it was, how tough, all the way from VT to Bandra and back... a true test of man's determination... how it was all about one man against the elements, fighting for glory, fighting against all odds. In that dejected, lonely, sad state of mind, it sounded soo inspiring.... the perfect way of getting out of the rut, doing something different, accomplishing a well-defined goal.

So he started practising every day - starting with a three kilometer walk everyday in June, to a 5 km daily run in August and by December he was running 20 non-stop km a day. When he got his Diwali bonus, he spent it on running shoes and shorts rather than a TV, so high was his enthusiasm for his new passion. He lost 10 kgs weight running, developed the confident personality of one who has a great body, knows it, and revels in it. Everyone could see the change, he glowed health, and happiness, and was forever smiling.

As he grew healthier, and happier, his sense of humor returned. He could laugh now - at himself, and the world. Road rage seemed funny now - so immature. So did kissing the boss's ass, and haggling with the vegetable guy for 2 Rs. And as he started observing the absurdities of life, he decided to something crazy himself for the marathon, wear something totally wacky, and original, that will make him stand out as he runs across the city. But the million dollar question was what should he dress up as?

Should he dress up as one of the Indian mythological characters? Ram was too stately and too much of a gentleman to run, Hanuman needed a mask that would obstruct his breathing. Ravana appealed more to his sense of absurdity, maybe he could dress as Ravana and keep shouting "Shri Ran ki Jai!"... but the heads would be tough to manage.

Maybe he could try being a Greek guy, since they started the Olympics and represented youthful vitality, vigor and even wisdom... or maybe he could be a traditional Mallu guy with a lungi or maybe he could cross-dress as a fairy with wings and a wand (though he could never run in a dress - which ruled out being the Statue of Liberty as well).

Finally, he hit on the perfect solution - he would run as a murdered man ! So he got a knife stitched across his tshirt, into a pool of blood, with the other edge of the knife protruding from the back of the tee. To make things even more appropriate he wrote a slogan at the back - "Fat kills - Run and stay alive !"

The d-day arrived. 30000 runners and 1.5 lakh cheerers arrived at VT early in the morning. They came from different parts of the city, and even the country, wearing their sponsored company/college tshirts. Each company seemed to have sent a group of 50 employees to run on their behalf. His company's contigent was there as well but he chose to wear his own murdered look. There were many Rams, Ravanas, lungi-clothed sardars as well... but no mudered men yet. He felt pleased with his look, and smiled at everyone who gaped at him. He almost felt like a celebrity, in this mass of people, a part of a bigger whole, yet a part that is unique.

42 km
A very long distance.
A distance that had represented a HUGE challenge to him - one that had already changed his life. It had already made him a healthier, happier, better man.
Failure was not an option, giving up before the finish line was not possible.
He had worked for 7 months for this with whole-hearted dedication.
His motivation was astounding.

The race started, people started running/ jogging/ walking as each tried to reach the famed 42 mark - one step at a time. The onlookers waved at everyone, and cheered especially loudly for him, dressed as he was. 1,2,3,4.... the kilometers ran past and they reached Nariman Point and he was running along the beautiful Queen's Necklace, feeling the sea breeze refresh him and egg him on to run some more. 5,6,7,8,9,10.... and he started thinking "this is easy - I can do this quickly enough - 10 done, only 30 more to go..." By the 11th km, he had reached Haji Ali, and he bowed in respect at the Durgah, feeling like even God was encouraging him to keep running ... and soon he crossed Siddhivinayak Temple and Mahim Church as well... reaching Bandra Reclamation and then it was time to turn and repeat his backward journey.

The half point had a lot of bands cheering the runners, with girls dancing with pom-poms singing "Run Mumbai Run ! Run Run Run !!". He smiled and waved, and even winked at one or two girls, stopping to have some fruit juice before beginning his journey backwards. Even though he had just reached the half-way point, he felt that he had succeeded, and now he just had to run back home - if he could run so far, he could run back as well....

But his legs didn't agree with such optimism, they had started paining, and he was forced to slow down....


What happened next? Keep watching this space to find out more ... :)