Thursday, December 13, 2012

Part 1: Two flights, a road trip, time lapses and a purty woman milkin' her cow

Well, Day one was a day of firsts. First long trip this year. First time in Kolkata (even if it was only at the airport for an hour). First time on an Air India flight in aeons. First time in North East India. First time i've sung Karoke. First time i heard of the Naga Chili. First time i ever saw a time lapse being setup.

Most important and memorably, the first time i ever (in fact this is a first for everyone in the group) heard a song called "Purty woman milkin' her cow".

So we set off from Namma Bengaluru at the unholy time of 3:45 and one false start later (due to our standard procedure of re-checking on the iron box being left plugged in) we left by 4.15AM. Woke up a friend who lent us a camera but forgot to lend us the battery charger and got him to meet us at that crazy hour of the morning near Hebbal (We owe you lots for that one, Mug). Reached the airport on time. Got through check in and security without being asked to take our camera bags apart. Got through both legs (Bangalore-Kolkata and Kolkata-Dimapur) with no AI pilot strikes, congestion or other natural airport mishaps.
Roadside market...neatly stacked  

We reached Dimapur on time, and we were in esteemed company as we got to know later. The Nagaland CM was on board our flight (though at that time we presumed it was the governer). S&P met us in their Scorpio Getaway and Karachi biscuits within the vehicle. Given that i had demolished 80% of a one KG box of the same in exactly 7 days, i took it as a sign from above that it was perfectly okay to continue doing so...

So we drove (okay...S drove and i sat in the rear seat with P) to Kohima through winding roads. I learnt about Dimapur being the fashion capital of the north east, the concept of innerline permits, the natural tendency of the Nagas to be neat and organized as evidenced by the stacking of veggies and fruits in a chai-stop enroute and the Naga Chilli.Incidentally, the Naga Chilli is touted as the hottest chilli in the world on the Scofield scale. Wiki however claims that the record was surpassed in 2010, but that is a matter of contention.

Kohima village 

We were staying at a guesthouse in Chedema, and en route from Kohima "downtown" area, we stopped for a glimpse of Kohima village from a random vantage point. Not sure why it is a village when the place is ostensibly large and city-like. There were colorful houses nestled in the valley and we planned  (but never did execute the plan) to come back in better light for more pictures. We passed through curving roads and cutting through a BSF camp  to reach our guesthouse.

A couple of days later, we heard that the gate next door our guest house was a camp for the  National Socialist Council of Nagaland ( NSCN) which is an underground organization that runs a parallel government. The NSCN and its modus operandi dominated quite a few of our conversations during the trip.

The sun breaks out at dusk over Kohima

Settled down in our rooms and we went up to check out our terrace. S helped GW set up a time-lapse .. about which i knew next to nothing (except that this  Google advert was made using time-lapse ,  i asked dumb questions and settled down to watch the setup. Some pumpkin bajji and two cups of tea later, it was quite dark (at 4.30 PM - this is more to the east than Kolkata). So that was the end of our activities for the day...or so we thought!

After a simple and tasteful dinner, which challenged our chef who couldn't comprehend why and how someone could want to live without fish, meat or eggs, we were all set to retire for the night when the Karaoke set came out. Ended up scoring 100s on "Anne's song" and "Zombie", but we were stumped by a song that was called "Purty girl milkin' her cow" (we referred to it as purty woman for the rest of the trip)... And that ladies and gentlemen, was definitely the learning for the day!

Part 0: The storyline of a vacation

So I came back to Bangalore after seven days of travel, fun and photography. After landing in the airport at Dimapur, i paused and said to myself : Enjoy this moment, for all too soon you will be going back and struggling to remember what happened in the trip.

Somewhere in the middle of my vacation, i came up with random titles to capture the spirit of the each day that had gone by. And towards the end, i was telling myself that i needed to ensure that i put pen to paper (errr... in my case fingers to the keyboard) and get the words out so that i have some written documentation of what i captured during the trip...

And if this endeavor is successful, i will start doing these for all my trips, big or small. So that the next time someone recounts something that happened on "that trip two years ago", I will have a more intelligent answer than "Huh" or "did that happen?"

So here I am, sitting in my office, having (almost) caught up on seven days of emails. And i figured that now was as good a time as ever to start this series. So far, all i have is working titles for each subsequent post.

Day 1: Two flights, a road trip, time lapses and a purty woman milkin' her cow
Day 2: Spotted: A mallu actor at the hornbill festival a.k.a Hiawatha at the hornbill fest
Day 3: The case of the mistaken chief minister of Nagaland
Day 4: World class food at Numaligarh Dhaba
Day 5: Kids will be kids (no matter how much we wish otherwise) a.k.a. introduction to He-Man 9000
Day 6: Going around in circles looking for seven primates
Day 7: The one who snuck up from behind
Day 8: The 120 hour bandh that never was...

Of course the trip itself was awesome because of our hosts S&P (not the rating agency, though they definitely rate 5 stars!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

La La land...

Some fantasies which will mostly never see the light of day...

  • Cruise the Greek islands...funny how a romantic fantasy has lasted years now...somehow dont see this ever happening in the intent of the fantasy, given recent interest in photography/ birds etc...
  • Strawberries at wimbledon... but this doesnt seem very high on my priority list now a days!
  • Adopt a child... The more i read about the adoption rules/ officious behaviour, the more i find it a good excuse not to follow up on this... Mixed feelings on this
  • Get drunk... I used to think that i would get drunk with someone who i could trust to ensure i stayed safe and sound when i did get tipsy... Somehow, i never can go beyond that second drink... Maybe not the best fantasy to come true
  • Learn Swimming and spanish... Either or both seem fantasies at this point. Chalk it to sheer laziness! 
  • Get a full fledged makeover done.... Chalk this one to sheer cowardice
  • Building the house of my dreams... i was reviewing my dream-house specifications the other day, and realized, i just dont care anymore:) Its off my priority list
  • The elusive PhD... dont want to ever write this off, after seeing a 50+ year old guy in my office who went in for his doctorate
  • Dance a waltz... but i cant quite picture myself dancing in public:D so this stays in the fantasy of the mind list...

But as i review the list above...i realized that i have gone after and lived some...
  • Egypt ... finished!
  • Scotland ... Finished, albeit i was opportunistic on this
  • Bali... ditto
  • Buying the car i always wanted...Check:)
  • The KINDLE! check
  • gold status on an airline loyalty program ...check 
  • Drive in a foreign country ... UK - with no support:) then Malta... which seemed far easier after the UK nightmare
Some fantasies i hope to make come true in the recent future
  • Drive in US of A. I think its about time i took the risk... worst case, wont do it again:)
  • Disney Landdddddddddddd

Saturday, April 21, 2012

And its official...

... I am a certified bonafide lazy bum...

What else can i be when i have done nothing but read random books and browsed even more random sites on a bright and sunny California afternoon? I finally dragged my self out of my erratic web-browsing to pen these words, simply because i was so disgusted with the way i whiled away my time.

Of course, i did do something worthy by getting myself committed to an evening out by booking a cab to go to a local mall...that way i have to leave the room!!! Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, since i have tickets to go to Alcatraz.

I wonder if i would have done any better had i visited California five years ago. I cant but help contrasting my London visit where i was literally out on the roads visiting and gobbling up the sites... and all alone to boot. Not that i'm cribbing about lack of company, but i am not sure if it is the place or me who has contributed to the lazy-bum-ness!

Not driving in suburban USA is very different from not driving in the UK. I guess that is what causes the main difference. To be honest, i was up bright and early at 630AM, called a friend to fix the plans for the day who in turn promised to call back about a possible birding trip. Surprise, surprise, i never heard back. Was quite cheesed off, so decided to go out somewhere till i figured that Cupertino is the back of the beyonds in terms of public transportation : Actually, its no exaggeration to say that there IS no such thing as public transport here.

So after much soul (?) and google searching, i narrowed down to a couple of malls where i could while away some time, blow some money, buy some jigzaw puzzles and pickup dinner at subway. Let's hope the cabbie turns up and doesnt fleece me for a 4m ride (which they do tend to often esp. if they are Desi cabbies)

I wish i had followed my instincts and stayed over at SFO for the weekend. May have been easier to go around and see the sights.

Ah well...tomorrow is another day ... and the cabbie awaits for an exciting evening out shopping at walmart ;)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Its that time of the year (Again)

The end of a year, and the beginning of another
Is a point in time that is very reflective
Makes one wonder of things gone by
And how they could have been better
But forgetting that they could have been worse too

Its a time to recollect the things
You thought you 'd do, but never did
People you thought you'd meet, but never did
Fences you thought you'd mend, but never did
Hopes you thought would fruition, but never did

What about the other things that did happen
People you never thought you'd meet , but you did
New things achieved that was never on the cards
Bridges that were built that were never conceived
The new strength that you found when hopes were dashed

What's a year but 365 days completed, and more ahead
That's true of any day in the calendar
Still, in this day and age of fast paced action
Its as good a time as any to pause and reflect
On what has gone, and what is still to come...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Marriage myth: The goal of marriage is for both partners to get exactly what they want

The goal of marriage is for both partners to get exactly what they want

The notion that marriage is a way to achieve fulfillment is relatively new. For a long time, people married out of economic necessity and to have children. Now, many people think of it as a road to personal satisfaction.

Many complaints about marriage go something like this: "I am not happy with him anymore. I don't feel fulfilled." Such complaints are a result of overblown and misguided expectations.

You may see signs that this myth is interfering with a marriage. One is when a partner says, "If you loved me you would . . . (check the choice or choices that apply):

  • Spend more time with my family
  • Make love to me more often
  • Take the vacation that I want
  • Not criticize me so much
  • Do more household chores

The message here is, "You don't love me unless you do exactly what I want."

There is also a flip side to this myth that shows up when one partner demands that the other accept his love on faith — even when his words and actions convey the opposite message.

If, for example, your spouse complains because you forgot her birthday, it's not enough to say, "Don't you know I love you?" There is no justification for expecting our partners to forgive our thoughtlessness by simply declaring our love. What that amounts to is just another way of manipulating the situation so you can have things exactly as you please.

All of us have a right to want our needs fulfilled, but it's important to be realistic. Even in the best of marriages, a spouse can provide just so much fulfillment. The rest may have to come from children, from work, from the pursuit of various interests, or from within.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Schizophrenia and technology

I've not blogged for almost 2 years now... and every once so often i remember that this blog exists-and urge myself to pen some stuff. But somewhere along the line, i never bothered to update the blog.

I've been thinking of this topic for a while now. And couldn't find a place to air my thoughts till i remembered that i have my own nook to write my own stuff... Of course, i also did put in a 1 liner update on facebook on the topic...

I was quite frustrated one day - dont remember with what, was it life in general, work related stuff, people at home or anything else. And i wanted to vent out my feelings in public - kinda gives the comfort that people are listening. And i thought to myself, why dont i create an alias facebook profile which doesn't have any of family, friends or colleagues in the network? That way i can rave and rant to my heart's content and get sympathy from strangers.

Suffice to say, i never did go ahead with that plan, but it got me thinking that if multiple personalities or schizophrenic behaviour was tough to trace a few years ago, it would be worse now. I could create profiles, login from home and be completely someone else online with my own fantasy life, and noone in my real life family would know about it. - Boggles the mind doesn't it?

Another thing that added on to my thoughts on this topic was the fact that i had started using a second Sim card as a alternate mobile number. And this was helpful when we were doing some house hunting. I would call from my regular number and get all details, and cross check them from my second number using an "alias" personality. If i was doing this, with full cognizance of the reasons and rationale, imagine the folks who have discovered the anonymity that a mobile phone has afforded them. Unlike fixed line connections, there is no address/ name lookup facility for mobile numbers. Unlike fixed line connections, i can easily acquire a number and discard it as my whims and fancy tale me.

I know several folks use alternate email IDs for chatting with strangers, for signing up on websites which may tend to spam your mailbox etc. But i never realized it was symptomatic of a larger problem, which now can only grow larger.

On the positive side, what is the harm if we do have an alternate "online" or "mobile" personality? It may relieve the stress of daily life and provide some fantasy in an otherwise boring life... as long as we don't confuse reality with fantasy