Monday, December 15, 2008


In this moment of clarity, you suddenly ask yourself - what next? Or, why am I doing this? And you realise you have no answer. And you are suddenly confused about why you thought that everything that you did that day made you feel good.

Its the end of the day anyway, so you just curl up onto your bed, hold the blanket close and go to sleep. Answers will come soon... :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama will be the new President of USA. It means a lot to many people here, and I did not realise it until today.

A friend of mine - Snyder, who is of Haitian origin, was at my place when we got the news that Obama has decisively won. His reaction was something I wouldn't have ever expected. He cheered, hooted, and punched fists in air. All signs of immense joy, and hope. And a re-affirmation of his belief in his America - a place where he can see hope for everyone. And where anyone, from any background, can make it big.

I guess I was lucky to be sharing such a great historic moment with him. It means a lot to him, and to many other African Americans. Lets just hope that Obama is the ray of hope that everyone expects hims to be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ever since I wrote about my experience at the church, I have been thinking. And I realised the contradictions in my thoughts. The most blatant example being - I do not like the fact the devotees / members of ISCKON here start dancing while saying the prayers and aartis. I feel it is improper.

Hmmm... it could also be because I do not completely agree with their thought process. Or what I perceive their thought process to be. It still doesn't change the fact that I managed to contradict myself.

Good thing is: I realised this... and hopefully will notice again when (if?) I do so again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I recently had an opportunity to attend a service at a church. It was quite a novel experience, since I had never done so before. Just prompted me to write about how different it is as compared to a service or a sermon or prayer I am used to.

One of the first things I realised is a certain sense of joy and happiness that seems prevalent. I am not saying that we, as Hindu's are not happy. To me, it seems that we are more obsessed with "following the ritual" and bowing down before a supreme entity than paying our respects to that entity. I believe there is difference - you can be happy about the fact you are paying your respects, or you can lower yourself in order to portray that entity as something that deserves your respect. I think we tend to do the latter. I have almost never seen people happy or rather, joyous while praying. ( I perfectly accept the possibilty that I have been observing the wrong people. But I'm just trying to write what I have seen. :) ) The only time I remember people to be enjoying their prayers are at the Ganesh festival, where people are not enjoying the fact that they are praying. They are just enjoying the whole thing.

During the service, the people seemed happy to be there. They also seemed to express that a bit more than I have generally seen. (Although, Americans in general express their feelings much more than Indians.. so I shouldn't count this in). The mood was, overall, lighthearted but respectful, not sombre.

I have not been to any kirtans or the sort, so I cannot say how it proceeds. But at this service, it was a pleasant surprise to see members of the church come up and give their interpretation of a certain passage of the Bible. They gave examples from their own life, about their own mistakes in helping everyone understand what they had understood.

A little sentence was spoken by one of these speakers, which has stuck with me. He said, that "staying away from idol worship" as said in the Bible does not mean that one should not look at an image of God to pray. It means that one should never obsess over some object, or activity. Don't overdo playing a video-game. Don't overdo repeating a certain habit. And so on. I liked this definition of idol worship, because personally, I believe that it sorta helps to have an image to which you would like to pray to. Just a sorta little belief.

All this just tells me, that what I believe in, tends to not fall in any one religion. What I believe in, is a sorta my own patched-up version of all things that I have heard and found to be morally and logically satisfying to me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Culture Shock: redux

After almost an year, coming back to India is a great feeling. Though the country "India" is not very specifically important. I guess you could substitute it for "home". I cannot say definitely. :). The thing I remember now, after coming back to USA, is that you build up your expectations. You glorify what you remember. Here is what a few things almost shocked me... when I landed back in India. A reverse culture shock, in a sense:

1: Cars are smaller. I felt that the Esteem we own was tiny. Ironic, since a year ago, I used to find it comfortable.

2: Traffic is scary. I flinched, jumped, clenched the seat a couple of times, even when it was my dad driving. And it was 3 am in the night, when traffic is supposed to be bad. (Though 1 week later, I was back in form and driving away almost the same way I used to drive last year).

3: India is not that inexpensive. Well, initially when you come to the US you multiply everything by 40 and start sweating. And then mentally, you remember the rates in India. Eventually you just remember that in India everything was cheap. Hulloooo.... wakey wakey... I spent almost 300 rupees on coffee for four people. 2 of us had a meal that cost us 600 bucks. A pair of jeans i bought cost me 1000 rupees. Convert it, and its like almost the same price as the US. Though, roadside food, non branded clothing and all that is cheap, I agree.

4: Calling from your cell phone is not the preferred option. Roaming charges, STD charges all make calling from cell phones expensive. SMS use is widespread. Night-time calling is NOT free. Damn. 70 bucks on one call... ouch ouch ouch.

5: Travelling in the city is soooo easy! Two wheelers rock!

6: You realise that almost everyone has the wrong notion about the US. You also realise that you too had a wrong notion and you smile to yourself. And then,again, its time to answer to all those questions about "how it feels to be back". (The answer is, it always feels good)

7: Leaving India the second time around is harder. It hits you that this decision to study in the US was sorta life changing. And all the future course of your life truly depends on you. The realisation is a bit overwhelming. Probably, when in another frame of mind, I might say that this why it feels good to be here, in the US.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The grand debacle ?

So much for the grand plan about posting from all the places I stop on my way to India. This is what happened.

I thought of writing up something in the flight. But I slept through all of them. Woke up only for the food and sometimes I slept through that too. When I reached Dallas FW airport, I was amazed by its size. Its slick. Its huge. And the MCO seemed so small and raw, if you get what I mean.

The waiting area near the gate 30 of terminal D seemed like a mall. The restaurants, duty free shops and coffee places just seemed to be out of place. The flight to Heathrow, London was peaceful. The American planes are comfy, and my decision to take aisle seats was justified. Though, with the 2-5-2 seating arrangement means that window seats aren't a complete no-no.

London airport is huge. And coming off from another huge airport, one can just appreciate the differences between something English and something American. London, makes good use of the space. So, to an American, the airport will seem ultra crowded and congested.

The reason why the plan failed, was that I got to know that both airports have free wi-fi internet. But in fact, both have wi-fi which needs to be paid for. And that too, in the order of about 10$ atleast. The Dallas airport didnt even have a charging point for laptops. There were places where I could charge my laptop, cell phone etc, but it wasn't free. One needed to pay for it.

Eventually, I tucked my laptop back in my bag, and just looked around. Took some photos. And took loong naps.

Back home. Feels good. Relaxed. More about how it feels .. later.. :-)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Orlando International Airport

Trying to make sure I stick to my "Plan"... The drive from Gainesville to Orlando was fun. Didn't make a wrong turn and get lost. Reached places right and sorta on time. Yay. The Toyota Avalon is an awesome fun car to drive.

I think I was over the speed limit all the time!

Orlando seems to be a fun airport. The baggage check-in was a pain. Was told that people in London are really strict about the 1 Carry-on bag only rule and wont let me allow the other personal item of a small backpack. Had to check in that intended cabin bag too. :( A little short on cash since I had my money there.

But the novel and Ipod are in the backpack now. And so is the camera. So i can still read, watch movies, listen to songs. There seemed to be a flight to somewhere south - peurto rico / mexico or something. Spanish speaking folk all over the place. Its fun to watch the kids. The terminal was sorta similar to an Indian railway station. Aasawari has just left. Her plane took off maybe 4-5 mins back.

The strain of sleeping only 2 hours and then driving down is showing. Am feeling sleepy. Dunno how much time I'll get at Dallas. Have just over 90 minutes of halt time there and have to go from terminal A to Terminal D. Atleast.. thats what the website says.

The Plan

In about 3 hours I will begin my loong journey to home. Feels nice. Excited in way that I haven't slept till now. Will catch some 1-2 hours of sleep. And the rest in the planes, I guess.

My route is Orlando - Dallas FW - London - Mumbai. And the first part of the journey begins with a two hour drive from Gainesville to Orlando. Have got an amazing car - the Toyota Avalon 2008. Since I will be alone all the time, I plan to catch up on reading a novel - The Mahdi. Will also probably watch movies.

But since all airports have free Wi-Fi, I plan to document my journey in this blog. Fingers crossed. The Plan is to write about the airports, and the journey till then. Just a small experiment. And hopefully i actually do post at that time and not later .. ie after reaching home etc.

Wish me a happy journey!

Monday, May 5, 2008

And yet again, the question about the existence of a blog comes to my mind. It seems too fake to write only about the good times one has. Or about mildly amusing anecdotes that I may want to share. Or about worldly views that I want to spread with my "readers".

But then, writing about something touchy, or unhappy is too personal. One can't crack jokes about it. And sometimes, you ( = me) don't want to reveal all things that went wrong. The blog is just too public.

And, if a blog is supposedly meant to be a sorta web diary, it, paradoxically, also means that someone has to read it. The whole point of having a blog, and publishing it, is to have readers. And I don't want people to read about certain stuff that I may want to write.

The question is unresolved. The blog entries, will only be about fun stuff... or rather, non-touchy stuff. :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Summer? are you sure?

And so, summer has begun. Thats what people say. The college also seems to suggest that by wanting to end the spring semester.

It is getting warmer. I agree. And then this bloody rain! Rain for one day. The next day is cooler. everyone is happy. The day after that is chilly. Huh? The temperature goes to 5 Celsius (I will be stubborn and use the Celsius scale... I am still Indian).

I take out the other blanket/ cover / sheet / whatever-you-would-like-to-call-it. Heater increases the bill like crazy, we've got the experience. Nice peaceful sleep. The next day, I almost miss the lecture. Somehow, go for my job after that. Tired! Project has been assigned too...

So, I sleep late, because I'm "studying". (Partly true, I also had to submit a review of a paper and had to read up on Control theory). Then next day, I miss the class where I'm supposed to submit the paper. I go in later in the day to the Prof's office and submit my critique meekly. Whew, thank god he's cool about it. The evening is chilly again.. and I sit and study, till late.

I go to sleep, tired again. Am I falling ill? Nah, just the weird weather. Wednesday, I wake up with a start at 12. Ouch. Sitll tired.. and missed my job. Damn. That cold weather.. and the blankets.. are a deadly combo.

Repeat (almost) above activities again. Only this time, am woken up at 10.30 by a call, reminding me to go for job (for which i'm already 30 minutes late .. ouch ouch ouch)

Damn this weather... makes you wanna just sleep.. sleep and sleep.

PS: the forecast says its gonna rain tomorrow. :-(
Are we gonna see a repeat? Heck no... (hopefully)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Public transport... x-(

Its 8:09 am. You rush out of your house. The bus is supposed to reach the bus-stop at 8:07. You "know" that its always 5 minutes late. And heck, if you miss the 17, there is always bus 43. (grin about how lucky you are).

You reach the stop at 8:10:37. The bus stop is empty. Damn! Atleast one bus has gone by. Grrrrrr... Why did I press the bloody snooze button the 4th time and sleep for the additional 5 minutes? (rhetorical question of course... the bed is just too comfy :-D ).

You wait for the "43". Its 8:17. Time for the 16 to come. It doesn't seem to want to come. Maybe I should have cycled. I would have reached on time.. but would be damn sweaty and stinky for the very first lecture of the day. 8:19 am, my roomie ambles by. He gives me a grin - "missed the bus, didn't you?" types.

8:22 am. The bus roars in, literally. The lady who drives it has a blank expression on her face. No remorse. No apology to be expected. Your curse her. Load the cycle on the bus.

And you are late for you class again. Damn you, public transport!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Take a bowl of fries / potato waffles. Put two slices of mozzarella cheese. Heat this in the microwave for about 20- 30 sec.

Take some hot Turkey chili soup and pour it over this microwaved stuff.

Yum, delicious, unhealthy food...

I love being thin!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bad Bad blogger me

So here is what has been happening...

Swamped (or seem to be swamped) with homework, job, time-pass and boredom. Spring semester goes by fast. All this time I was waiting for the Spring Break to come so that I could go somewhere. It came, I went somewhere (= Canaveral National Seashore) and suddenly the break was over.

Next thing I realize is that there is just over 1 month for the semester to end. There are 3 exams lined up (two of them over, one currently on), a project to be done soon and a paper to critiqued! (All three exams were take home; one went awesome, have no idea about the second, and I'm writing this blog while on a break from the third take-home). Panic set in.

Last two weeks have been heavy on the job side... have been working in Einstein Bros, eating bagels, cookies, coffee cakes etc, and since the last two weeks have been doing extra shifts, almost making it a 20 hour-a-week job. Man, its tiring! Went through a low in between... and I think I'm getting back on track. Yay! Cheers to friends who kick you in the butt at the right time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Watching movies

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a movie freak.... and I generally watch movies at home. Mostly because those movies don't play at "a cinema near me".

These days movie watching has gone down. I realised that there a few things better than being cooped up in your house watching a movie. But watching a movie at a cinema is definitely better in the US than watching at home (in the US). The audience is much more involved... they react better... and react audibly. And this is quite enjoyable.

I had seen "Waitress" in the flight from India to US, because the reviews suggested that it was a nice funny movie. And either, I didn't get all the movie's funny parts or it wasn't a sit-alone-and-watch kind of a movie. But when I saw it at the Gator nights in our college, it seemed a hell lot funnier. The audience reactions - the oohs, the yucks, the aahs and the whistles - made the movie, finally, funny to me.

Back in India, i think most of the people didn't understand all of the dialogues (me included) or understood it a tad too late. English is not my first language, you know! And all of us seemed to be a bit too serious about the movie watching experience, when it came to English movies.

Just waiting for Wednesday, when they are screening Eastern Promises at the Reitz cinema... I love it.. its free.. and they show non-standard movies. :D