August 30, 2003

My life is about to turn around 180 degrees around. Next week I'll be at a place, which is about 12 hrs behind IST. So lunch will turn into dinner, dinner into lunch. I'll be sleeping during daytime & trying to stay awake at night. It's a few more days till I settle into that daytime.
But right now I have already turned around 60 degrees. It's lunches at 4, dinner at midnight, shopping during the rest of the day. I never thought I'd say this, but I am tired of shopping. I realize now the meaning of 'shop till you drop'. Buying clothes, utensils, going for fittings for formal clothes, trying on, trying on, trying on & trying on clothes, looking with horror at the ever increasing pile of items which need to be packed, despairing at the ever lengthening shopping list(which never seems to shorten as much as you tick off the items purchased), shopping with & without friends, shopping with parents, shopping alone,trying without success to atleast step into the kitchen once before leaving home, realizing after returning home that you forgot something important, trips to every possible kind of doctor, the dentist making jokes about guiding you on the phone in case of problems, everybody counting the days till I leave(some happily, some sadly), sandwiching a Reiki course in between-as my Dad says, its worse than marrying someone off.
Trying to pack two years in two suitcases is very difficult.

The spread of the W32.Sobig.F virus happened to be one of the fastest ever.It affected innumerable computers, including mine at office,until the patch was applied.It proved to be famous too, making front page news(irritating too coz I still keep getting about a hundred mails containing the virus everyday)
After watching one such news clip on TV, my grandmom asked me if I had heard about this virus spreading very fast through computers. After hearing me answer in the affirmative(with the added information that my comp too had been affected), she looked shocked and said "How is it transmitted to humans then? And have you been infected too with this virus?"

I happened to meet the one of the two bloggers on my yet-to-meet list last week. Sandy proved to be pretty much the way he makes himself out to be-funny & nice.
Now the only person left on my list is my favourite blogger. This person's blog is the first one I open in the morning. I happen to know this person for many years, but its years since we met. But God said-"This wish shall be fulfilled too". I think anyone could easily guess-this person shares my blog with me.

August 21, 2003

This is probably the last time I post from my office.
The past week has been one of the most hectic ever.Haven't even managed to blog properly :(
Quite unhappy , two days ago, I decided to take a much deserved break in the afternoon.It was raining cats & dogs then.I happened to look out of the window and saw this beautiful rainbow covering almost half of Pune.The rain stopped but the rainbow stayed on, displaying all its seven colors in full splendour.I went out on the terrace and enjoyed this beauty of nature in solitude.Just the sight of the rainbow made me feel that I got my pot of gold.
It is small moments like these which make your day, and will be remembered, many years down the line.

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.
One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you", said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life".
"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.
At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked. "Yes", the farmer replied proudly.
"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of."
And that he did. Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, he graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin. Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

August 15, 2003

Participated in my first cultural event at my company this week. It was the culmination of efforts the last few weeks of practicing & that too how! We freshers had to juggle with all the new work, persuade our managers to let us go at a sane time & the worst part- coordinate our practice timings. Since I happen to work in another building than where our practices were held, I realized that people in my building seemed to think that I left too soon (read for a fresher) while parents on reaching home always asked me if I’ve forgotten how to read time. We ate up some precious Saturdays too, when all the drama and dance people managed to be together. But of course it was a total waste trying to practice as the situation used to be something like this- Half the stage would be occupied by the drama people, half by the dance. We dancers would try really hard to concentrate, but land up dancing with such bad synch that the flow of comments would start, our attention would be diverted to the melodrama alongside, and finally thanks to the play’s dialogues with our own added comments, we would end up rolling on the floor with laughter. We had some funny moments too- like the dress rehearsal at 11.30 in the night inside a cubicle, with our formations crossing cubicle boundaries.
I happened to choreograph a classical dance and in the process of searching for a much-wanted song, happened to stumble upon a few sites with good classical music to download. It’s a different story altogether though,how the required song was finally procured from Bombay.
I think we managed to pull off a decent show (atleast that’s what the audience suggested). I was really glad to be a part of it as it was really the practice sessions that bonded us all together-something akin to saying that the effort is more important than the result. There is a great pool of talent in our batch and I’m very happy to see that it is getting showcased (and will be many more times) even in a software company.

Movie Time!
My first real holiday after a looooong time- spent it with a sprinkle of shopping in between two movies. Watched Slappy and the Stinkers on HBO. It is a delightful movie where some kids rescue a seal from an aquarium, then try to free it, but it refuses to go in the ocean. So they decide to return the seal to the aquarium, hide it in the woods till their Parents’ Day is over in school, but manage to create a big ruckus and in the process get expelled from school too.They then hand over the seal to an animal-catcher by mistake, thinking him to be from an aquarium. That animal-catcher wants to teach Slappy some tricks & sell him to a Bulgarian Circus, but these kids have something else planned. They actually set out to search Slappy & some amazing scenes follow. The kids are as cute as they get and throughout the movie have a natural dialogue delivery. The seal makes you want to go & hug it(and kept reminding me of the seal from ‘Mr. Galliano’s Circus’).This was one afternoon well-spent.
Rushed to do some shopping and reached home half an hour late to watch Kandukondein Kandukondein.This movie was a trendsetter in the sense that it was screened in Tamil with sub-titles, rather than dub it to Hindi. Though I missed watching it in the theatre, I tried really hard to watch the full movie and managed to almost do so by coinciding my interruptions with the commercial breaks. This movie is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. I still have to watch Emma Thompson’s adaptation too.
I think both Tabu & Aishwarya did a great job as practical Eleanor and the fiery & temperamental Marianne respectively. While the story has been adapted for a South Indian audience, the essence remains the same. Among Jane Austen’s books, I rank Pride & Prejudice the first, with Sense & Sensibility, Emma & Northanger Abbey all taking a joint second place. Persuasion was not so brilliant, while I never dared to give Mansfield Park a second try, even though the major plot of the story revolves around the main characters having long talks while taking long walks, like any other Jane Austen book.
I have always been disappointed with the fact that Marianne marries the Major in the end rather than her lover with whom she is so perfectly compatible. But when I read the story again this March (see my old post) & had a long discussion with another Jane Austen fan, both of us finally concluded that it is much more sensible to marry a person who likes you than vice-versa, especially more so with a person of Marianne’s character. Today’s movie kind-of reinforced that thought. Its funny how sometimes you get deeply involved with characters in a book, I also wonder then why people think getting addicted to characters in the soaps on television is any different.

During a recent visit to Bombay, happened to get Krishna Avatar (all the eight parts) by KM Munshi.But realized today that the book itself has only half the Mahabharata in it. It remains unfinished as he died before completing it.

August 14, 2003

Dreamed of "The Authentic Tamil Rasam" all day in the lab yesterday. After eating Maggi for lunch at a friend's house, decided that it was time I made Rasam even though it was not my cooking turn. Turned out really well, if I may say so! :-) Called people home for dinner, and watched "Andaz Apna Apna" the nth time, and enjoyed it as much...

There are two buses in opposite directions that I can take in order to get to college on weekdays. Usually the "A" happens to arrive before the "L". And the "A" reaches the Busch campus (where my dept. is located) a little earlier before the "L". But the bustop at which the "A" arrives is totally under the glare of the sun, providing for a not so very comfortable waiting-for-the-bus experience. Nervethless, in order to get to the lab more quickly, I decided to wait there. After getting all hot and bothered on waiting there for 10 minutes or so, the "L" arrives first! So much for trying to optimise!

Decided not to go on a trip to West Virginia, because of a meeting with my advisor, and after telling my friends that I could not possibly come, I get a mail from my advisor's secretary, telling me that since my advisor is extremely busy, the meeting has been postponed to next week!

August 13, 2003

As Good as It Gets
Happened to get yesterday, because of Raksha Bandhan, a hardcover edition of Jane Austen's works, comprising of "Pride and Prejudice", "Sense and Sensibility" and "Emma". Now, if I keep mentioning to people what I am fond of, looks like the chances of getting it are pretty good! :-)

August 11, 2003

Where do you find a village named 'Ravana-gaon' ,see a cattle fair, where barter-trade still goes on?I found all of this on the way to Pandharpur yesterday.
Issued an ultimatum by my family to drive over this weekend, I woke up bright & early.Somehow long trips(count anything above an hour) make me sleepy & I nod off, to wake up only at the destination.But this time I couldn't afford that luxury as I happened to be the driver.
Driving on a highway on a good day, looking at the verdant surroundings is blissful.So is the joy when you manage to touch a hundred on a good stretch of road.You can feel the car purring along, the power in your hands.I also managed to notice that there are 2 Lonis & 2 Khadkis within a span of a hundred km.
I've lost count of how many vehicles I overtook( & overtook them again after we took a break),but the thrill of making a decision to do so,then actually overtake all of them, at the same time, racing towards the oncoming vehicle at full speed,finally pulling over into your lane just in time, was the same everytime.
Pandharpur was as typical a religious place as any other, reminding me a lot of Tirupati.The same long queues, the same feeling that you experience as you enter the sanctum of the Lord,similar stories about why the Godess resides in a separate chamber....
One thing which remains in my memory is the fact that I had to drive in a varying weather as it kept changing from cold to hot, windy to calm, sunny to rainy, bright to dark, on the spur of the moment.I have never experienced before, how, for one moment you can see for miles around & at the next, not see more than ten feet ahead of you.
This trip where the travelling time was more than the actual halt at the destination, ended on a nostalgic note(along with aching bones, of course) that this may be the last family trip I go on for a long time now.

August 10, 2003

Ye Rut Mast Mast....
Things really cannot be better, as of this moment! Am in the lab (yes, on a Sunday, making up for doing timepass on Friday), listening to nice Hindi and Tamil songs from MusicIndiaOnline, had a good breakfast, got a ride to college (did not have to take the All-Campuses bus :-)), very few people around in the lab, peaceful, still websurfing, need to get down to work soon....small moments like these.....bliss...

August 08, 2003

"It Takes A Paycheck"..... And Other Stories
What is it with you when you keep losing things? Especially when you were the kind of person who never lost things before? And you used to have the satisfaction of telling others to be careful with their stuff...those words are coming back to haunt me now! And with a vengeance too! Managed to lose my University ID, then of all things my mosst recent paycheck. Thankfully it was a Rutgers paycheck, so I avoided the stop payment. But with the ID, I was not so lucky, had to shell out the Lost Card Fee. What a waste!
......But finally everything's settled now! Have a new ID, (maybe with a better photo :-)), a new bank account and will be getting two paychecks next Friday! What a relief!

Jane Austen
I keep coming back to her books every now and then. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are among two of the best books I have read. Recently managed to catch the television adaptations of both these novels. They too stay quite true to the narrative and provide for a quaint movie watching experience. Have to admit that somehow I still have not managed to read Emma, will be soon rectifying that mistake.
Her writing skills can be attributed to the fact that she was a voracious reader, both of serious and popular fiction. The reading that she did of the books in her father's extensive library provided material for the short satirical sketches she wrote as a girl.
At the age of 14 she wrote her first novel, Love and Friendship (sic :-) ) and then A History of England by a Partial, Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian, together with some other very amusing juvenilia. In her early twenties Jane Austen wrote the novels that were later to be re-worked and published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. She also began a novel called The Watsons which was never completed.
After moving to Bath, and then after her father’s death to Southampton, with visits to London in between, she came back to settle down in the Hampshire countryside that she loved so much. It was a small but comfortable house, with a pretty garden, and most importantly it provided the settled home which she needed in order to write. In the seven and a half years that she lived in this house, she revised Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and published them (in 1811 and 1813) and then embarked on a period of intense productivity. Mansfield Park came out in 1814, followed by Emma in 1816 and she completed Persuasion (which was published together with Northanger Abbey in 1818, the year after her death). None of the books published in her life-time had her name on them — they were described as being written "By a Lady". In the winter of 1816 she started Sanditon, but illness prevented its completion. She passed away in the July of 1817 after contracting Addisons Disease.

This is a poem my friend Amol wrote, in a fit of inspiration.
I still have to write a poem which stays out of the wastepaper basket,so I thought why not post a good poem by someone else instead!

I know not what love is, nor want to,
But when I see you, I can foresee,
A ship far beyond the horizon,
In the ocean of my heart.
I know not how to approach it,
But want to ...
Atleast for the timebeing.
Before I realize you have,
Another ship to meet, And
Destiny has something else stored for me ...

-Amol Pakhale

August 06, 2003

Khalil Gibran
Lebanese-American philosophical essayist, novelist, mystical poet, and artist.
Growing up in the lush region of Bsharri, Gibran proved to be a solitary and pensive child who relished the natural surroundings of the cascading falls, the rugged cliffs and the neighboring green cedars, the beauty of which emerged as a dramatic and symbolic influence to his drawings and writings.

Gibran's works were especially influential in the American popular culture in the 1960s. Among his best-known works is "The Prophet", a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into over 20 languages. The Prophet, who has lived in a foreign city 12 years, is about to board a ship that will take him home. He is stopped by a group of people, whom he teaches the mysteries of life. It is based on a Promethean man’s exile to an island. "The Prophet" evokes the journey of the banished man called Al Mustafa, or the Chosen One.

Here is what the Prophet has to say about Work:

You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

August 01, 2003

Q:What can be worse than being stuck behind a garbage truck all the way to your office?
A:Overtaking it and realising that now, you are sandwiched between two garbage trucks!


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