Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne 2010

It's finally time to sing Auld Lang Syne to 2010, a year of new beginnings, new opportunities and new experiences and truly, all's well that ends well.

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year but most importantly I wish you enough for the New Year 2011.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

Quoted from the internet

This post is for the future

I'm blogging using an app called blogaway. I was surprised to note that despite owning blogger, google does not have an app for this. I think this app works well though and my new android phone is pretty awesome overall, not just for angry birds, or that would make it one expensive game. Reviews in the near future.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kodak smile

And just like that it is the end of an era. RIP Kodachrome, you have captured some of our best smiles, some goofy and some fake, some tears and then some dramatics that we did only for the camera!

Gone are those days when we carefully loaded the film into the camera and not everyone in the house was allowed to do it or wanted to do it, it's not rocket science, but there is a correct way to do it and stressing over a damaged film roll was not particularly appealing and certainly the rolls themselves were not inexpensive either. The days when we thought twice before clicking a picture, when we made sad long faces as we got to the last of the 36 captures, when we looked forward to the opportunity to head to Foto Flash and have the film developed. The picking up process was even better as we'd cheat and check some of the photographs in the store itself or along the way and chronologically placing them in the album.

I got my first digital camera, a Canon A95 in 2004, it no longer works but served me well. And the cycle continues, point and shoot, a cent a picture or a dollar a picture whichever works and makes you happy :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The car under the bridge

Part of my everyday commute includes a short walk under a freeway, four contiguous blocks of concrete with tonnes of load on it, what if it came crashing down? But that's not what I've been pondering on! I almost always notice a lone car parked in the dark shadows on the two+ lane road with someone in the passenger seat ... I ponder as to where the driver is, what conspiracy he is hatching that makes him want to park his ford explorer* day after day under the bridge. What about his partner who sits idle, waiting for him? Puffing along the way or waiting for his guardian angel?

*Vivid imagination could have led to distortion of facts

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Bart and Caltrain

I already know all the stations on the Bart and Caltrain between here and to where I need to go. Although I was surprised to note that the Bart is slower than the Caltrain or at least the one I take. The oh-so-infrequent times when the B train emerges from the tunnels, it's speed is slower than the cars on the parallel road whereas the C seems to zoom by the cars and it is out in the open most of the time. Have to experiment with the cable cars and the regular buses, add public transport to what I love about the move!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The numbers game

Started off well and continued the momentum right until three quarters of the year. And then there was a hiatus and now I don't think I can make up for the lost time especially with only so few days left in the year. Well, I reckon, there's no need to!

No mystery here: It's only the post count for the year, my hyper sensitive numbers part of the brain has been working overtime, that's all!

My angel on the tree

I think I need to start blogging tweet style or this blog could turn into a relic! That aside, I've put up a few Christmas decorations around the house, it is early but since everyone here has their houses decorated so beautifully, I decided to give in. Of course, mine's not as elaborate as theirs, but it makes me happy!

Back in the days, I don't think we ever put up the tree, lights, other decorations and the star any day before the 22nd or 23rd, the day when the Christmas holidays began in school. The Star was important, there were multiple ones but one central one outside with lights, these are the big colorful stars made of cardboard paper you see in houses in Mangalore, naturally the top of the tree had to have a star too or an angel, the youngest member of the family always got the chance to put that up. The nativity crib was something we didn't put up in the beginning, but later on it was the most awaited (NOT! since it takes so much patience) activity right on Christmas eve.

Around the same time we also made kuswar at home because it was impossible for the mother to do it all alone without help. No more home-made rice ladoos, chaklis, banana chips, kokkisa, neu-reo, keedyo, gulleo, thukdi or sharing tray fulls of kuswar with the neighbors and relatives. I don't know if anyone in Mangalore makes all this at home anymore, I hope some do.

Bringing down the tree and other decorations and carefully packing them was something no one wanted to do, but usually right on Jan 6th someone would half-heartedly kick start that initiative.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The move happened

A number of strings were pulled and a number of tantrums were thrown and to clarify none by me. I just sat back and let it all come to fruition. Now it's back to the awesomeness that is San Francisco and the Bay Area, most importantly the people, the place and the beach!

Monday, October 18, 2010


A phone call and before I could even think about it, let alone over-think, I had flight tickets, bus tickets and a weekend pass for a seemingly long has always been in the works but never materializes trip to Boston which also included NYC for the Comic Con.

My future self will probably remember this trip for running on pure adrenaline, no sleep for almost 36 straight hours and probably her first ever experience riding the greyhound. I've heard awful stories about the greyhound and the trip into NYC did fit the category but the return trip evened it out and made up for it too, this despite having tickets for 18 hours later and being allowed to board at the time we wanted. I don't want to chronicle too much in here, the 200+ pictures each tell a story of how wonderful a time I had. 

Boston is lovely. To my host, thank you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The olive theory

Say you meet someone who shares the same birthday (date and month) as you, has a particular last name that seems to conform to the round-robin list of last names your school friends and now their spouses have, whose sister's name is the same as your sister's, who drinks coffee with exactly three quarters of a teaspoon of sugar, who loves olives (since you hate them) and who is a fan of Lost. That must be too much of a coincidence right? I mean, certainly this is God himself intervening, so he's got to be the one for whatever reason?

So you've heard, 'Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous', but do you truly believe that? Sure, I believe in angels and miracles, the power of prayer and faith moving mountains and as much as the two concepts may seem intertwined they are not.

Predictable human logic picks out clusters of coincidence from a myriad of ocurrences without investigating the layer below the too good to be true coincidences, the layer of the skeptics. That's where the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy comes in, I have been guilty of attributing greater significance to something that was perfectly probably only a natural order of events at various stages of my existence and I might still do it.

'You can't ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that's all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence. There's no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be'. This is a quote from 500 days of Summer, it's not verbatim but it struck a chord.

Back to the fallacy, this is what it says 'The fallacy gets its name from imagining a cowboy shooting at a barn. Over time, the side of the barn becomes riddled with holes. In some places there are lots of them, in others there are few. If the cowboy later paints a bullseye over a spot where his bullet holes clustered together it looks like he is pretty good with a gun.By painting a bullseye over a bullet hole the cowboy places artificial order over natural random chance.' Go read it all here and on wiki too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Famous Bakery

Ever since we had learnt the nuances of crossing the road on our own, Famous Bakery came into the league of our little extended world. Currency notes in hand we used to practically run to the bakery, Mama always told us how many to bring in total, but the assortment was up to us.

By default I'd pick a minimum of one egg puff for myself, possibly a meat and occasionally the veg puff. We'd count the change, mumble a few words in Kannada in response to the Tulu from the Famous uncle and hurry back to eat the garma garam puffs. And then we just learnt who wanted what.

Since it's been a long time since my teeth had the pleasure of biting into one of those egg marvels, I decided to take matters into my own hand and my stomach thanked me as well after  the little attempt.

The puff pastry sheets truly simplified my work, but it is impossible to achieve the typical layers in this sort of puff coating.

 I hope the pictures speak a thousand words!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

He remembered

It's always the little things that make you smile, that make you cry, don't they? 

It's been a week of uncertainty first, then lows and highs. I'm not sure at what level of the cloud or wave or fire I'm on right now, I'll know soon enough but I reckon it doesn't matter ( This is where I go on about how work is work and should not determine your state of well-being, but it's not entirely true so I'll let it be). You know this thing we do, every year with goodbyes and the farewell lunches, that's what it is. If you're lucky you'll do it only once every two years or longer. Yes, change is constant yet it is those moments in goodbyes, that will last forever. This story is not about team goodbyes, it's about forging the unlikeliest of relationships, something that I might have the tendency to do!

It was just before the thanksgiving holiday of last year that our team was moved into the current building they are in. It may seem like a short time to get to know someone or even forge any kind of relationship with, let alone someone who knows in the security team. Every morning he was there, his usual beaming 70 old year old self making sure that no one entered the building without their badges or give us our temporary passes on the days when we thought we lost it but had only misplaced it, and over time we'd just banter during my breaks. 

He had stories for every season, every vacation he took and every single time we talked he would ask me for my name, saying it was a difficult name to remember. I know he loves baloney and cheese and loves going on long drives into the wild open country land from Oregon to the Mt. Rushmore and everywhere else in between in his truck. He asked me if I knew how to dance and then invited me to come up to his farm-house on some weekend, saying I reminded him of his niece who was away in college, he had stories of the now sprawling buildings where we worked to those from the good old days. It was always fascinating to hear those narrations of his family, kids, parents and even his community. As I bid farewell to him yesterday he called me out by my name and asked me why I had to go and if I would come back to the office, he remembered. 

And then it was only the office ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The silver slipper

The unthinkable happened today, I wore slippers to office.

I mean who wears slippers in a professional work environment? I used to wonder about those women who did even though it was casual Friday's (Okay, before you think bata slippers or bathroom slippers, they're not ... infact I think they didn't seem out of place with the jeans!) And I must say it was like breaking some kind of shackles, roaming free into the open wide world :-)

Just wanted the world to know that, it was my first time.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A little tradition

This post will continue to satisfy something I noticed recently, a little tradition if I may call it that. There's no point to be made, there's no advice to be given and there's no experience to share.

I'll leave you with the lyrics from Ryan Star's Breathe, only because I've been humming it all day.

She's fine, most of the time 
She takes her days with a smile 
She moves like dancing in light 
Spinning around to the sound 
But sometimes she falls down 

 Breathe, just breathe 
Take the world off your shoulders 
And put it on me Breathe, just breathe
Let the life that you lead Be all that you need

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A margarita for you and a scotch for me

He skimmed through it first, then seemed to be memorizing it. 'Are you sure, this is your resume?', he asked me. Apricot* is my co-worker who works for a 'sophisticated' consulting company and just wanted to *see* my resume even though I really did not want to share it! When I asked him why he had turned into doubting Thomas, he droned on about not expecting it be as technical as it was, saying most women work in QA or Support or in Functional roles, not to belittle those roles as I've performed in the first two in various stages of my career, but why would anyone think something like that? 

Coming on the heels of the debate on 'Too few Women in Tech' in the blogosphere, I thought I'd chime in, what with my fair share of experience working in male dominated teams. For context, in my current project, I'm the only girl in a team of 32. However, the program as a whole has better ratios, not just in Business Functions but also in other technical teams. I'd like to think that the skewed ratio in my team might have something to do with the niche skill-set, EAI and all, but I can't be sure. In any case in 3 out of the 4 organizations I've been a part of in the US, women held very powerful leadership roles with significant influence on the programs they lead so the balance is really hard to figure.

Where did it get all so skewed? We were about 75-25 in favor of the boys in my engineering class (Computer Science), streams like Mechanical had zero girls whereas Bio-Medical, Architecture, Electrical had more girls. When I started my professional career, I think we were almost 50-50. >

From the teams I started out with at my current and only employer, there really was nothing to talk about the male-female ratios in the team, it was fairly balanced. Over the years some of my female co-workers have opted to move out of the company for personal and family reasons, got a transfer to development centers in other locations again for the same reasons, prefer not to travel out of the country again for the same reasons. I don't believe these are constraints and given a choice, a need, I'd do the same without much thought. 

Constrained or not, I am certainly not the epitome of women in tech, not one of those juggling a perfect family and a perfect career, I can't speak for them. Not to sound shallow and despite my characteristic sun sign traits, it can never be perfect, I probably strive for it more than the girl next door, but I can be happy not achieving it and this is a perfect example of digressing from the topic at hand!

For those women who have made it to anywhere in tech, it is a choice (sometimes with kids in tow), that could make stress at the workplace part and parcel of your life, that could give you sleepless nights, that could bring uncertainty in your life, especially for employees like us. There can be no bets on your next project location or it's duration or you can choose not to do it all. You'll say men face the exact same thing too, but while performing the traditional roles for women it is just not possible, it's not a sacrifice. *I just couldn't coherently state my thoughts in this para and it still doesn't sound right in my head, but'll have to do*

In essence, no one blames the men. Advocating equal rights is one thing, but no one expects free-passes just because of gender, not in the corporate world. If I encounter a glass ceiling, I will conquer it on my own, the key being if I want to and that's the only reason for so few women in Tech.

*Names changed to protect the innocent until proven guilty.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Great American Apparel Diet

I must add, that never was! 

Predictably the diet in the previous post was for shopping, although I hope that one day I can go on one of those diets that normal people go on. It was supposed to last a month July 20 to Aug 19 specifically targeted at only apparel shopping, brought on by the yearly cycle of potential (packing/moving/wondering-where-all-that-stuff-that's-not-going-to-fit-in-two-bags-came-from)! my own feeble attempt at joining the minimalistic revolution and the bandwagon of austerity. 

Like someone once said, if you want to be on a diet, you might want to stop hanging out by the dessert cart and unfortunately that's exactly what I've been doing. In the past month exactly after I decided to go on this diet, I became the de-facto shopping guru for all those going on vacations and back for good, to pick out gifts for mom's and girl-friends and sisters and then to stock an entire wadrobe after an airline so kindly lost their luggage. It wasn't the back-to school or the better-than-tax-free sales in AR or the tax free sales in OK that made me budge, it was the darned coupon from JCP, well ... the mauve shirt was well worth it, but so much for control.

Perfect reason for not making such stupid resolutions.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

My new diet

I've decided to go on a diet, that was last week - July 25th to be exact and so far I haven't faltered. For starters it will last for a month so you'll know how it goes or not but I must say August is a rather tough month to go on such a kind of diet, with back to school and all, but here's to persistence and all the other adjectives you can think of for such an  event, that's if we and my tan survive this week with all those heat wave warnings and three digit plus temperatures that's been forecast!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A little piece of his ear

It was a razor-sharp pair of scissors, almost brand new and way too big too, completely inappropriate for cutting hair, let alone a little child's hair, the girls should have known better. They were all prepped up, large mirror, tall chair, couple of extra pair of hands to hold the kid down, just in case! 

There he was in the chair, his cute self. I don't think he was excited ... I mean have you ever seen little children in a barber's shop or a salon? the havoc they create, phew! Anyway, she seemed to have done a good job, the hair looked neat and cropped, a little uneven on end, but would do for her first time, unfortunately she found a long lock near the left ear, that's when it happened, like a scene out of a silent movie all in slow motion! She had chopped a little piece of his ear, a very tiny, minuscule piece. It probably didn't hurt since there was no howling, after all it's all tissue. It did grow back and the ear and it's shape turned out just fine, but ever so often he remembers her as the sister who chopped off a piece of his ear!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

She's sailin' away

Ever been excited about something but when the time comes, for various reasons you just seem out of it?

The project scope seemed interesting before it was executed, it made my heart do a little jump however, sadly along the way it just seemed to have lost it's charm. I don't know why? the message was drafted, the original draft being the final message ( I surprised myself there), was ziplocked, packed into my bag and awaiting it's finder. The quest for the perfect bottle died before it even began but I think somewhere in the hustle and bustle of the first three days of the trip and the lack of sleep, I simply did not put in the effort required to procure a bottle I wanted the MIB to rest in. Despite that, when I set out into the middle of the ocean from the Keys, I knew without a doubt that I was going to cast it out, bottle or not! 

After a fun first half of the day, I unwittingly had to recruit a partner in crime from one of the crew aboard the boat we were on. Since they were serving food, there were a few empty bottles to spare, sadly they were plastic and too big. Ideally if it was plastic, I'd have preferred a 0.5 ltr bottle, but then really at that point I had lost the right to talk about my preferences! Naturally his curiosity was piqued at my strange request and despite my not revealing my not so elaborate plan, he was able to guess what it was for. Of course, considering that we were so close to the coral reef and that there were laws protecting the area and everything in it and that he was an enforcer, he did ask me not to throw it out just yet. 

Here she is all prepped up for her journey, after all what's on the inside matters more than the outside.

Honestly, no one would feel like throwing a plastic bottle into that part of the ocean, it's so pristine you can see the ocean bed and the marine life underneath even from a comfort place on the boat. It was my intention to toss out the bottle closer to shore for all the practical reasons and more and as soon as the coastline of Keywest was visible to us, my partner in crime helped me with my whoops, 'something overboard, but no need to go after it' moment. All I saw was 'her' sailing away into the deep blue ocean and a sense of peace came upon me, I don't know if it was just that moment, the sea always has that kind of effect on me.

Posted this on buzz as soon as my phone was within range of a cellphone tower!

I had to do this and even if it did not happen in the perfect way I wanted, I still have a hope that this was not the end, and she will be found and then there'll be a part 3 to this series :) I just might do this again though, in more familiar territory, closer to home. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

The standstill checkout line

It is a well established fact that I have the worst luck when it comes to lines at the checkout counter, no I don’t just end up in a slow moving line, the checkout line almost inevitably comes to a standstill as soon as I join it, it does not matter if it was a self-checkout line or even a line for those *dumped a few items just so that I can make the ‘20 items or less’ line*.

I usually don’t mind the wait, it is fascinating to watch the story of someone’s life unfold ever so slowly right in front of my eyes, okay maybe only the story of their grocery shopping, but it’s interesting nevertheless to learn the shopping habits of my fellow shoppers. The large stock of aerated drinks, the mounds of frozen pizza, macaroni and cheese, the green capped bottles of milk, organic vegetables, all so mesmerizing!

Ever so often I’ve ended up in a line where the line’s delayed for no other reason than the ineptness of the checkout assistant, but that’s rare too, most times I simply always end up in lines wherein folks are paying with cash, counting to 79.11 dollars in change or paying by check which for no apparent reason seems even more tedious and then those other times when the customers themselves cannot recognize the vegetables/fruits they have in their cart and the hassled assistant ends up playing ‘In pin safety pin’ with the grocery chart trying to figure out those veggies!

Onto my latest experience, you can probably visualize the state of any fridge after a vacation and despite needing a vacation to recover from my vacation, I had to head out to stock up, made up a little list (I know it’s sad, but I still occasionally make lists and this trip needed one!). In addition, I am also known for the speed with which I can pick out items from the shopping list, the list is useful on such occasions to prevent mindless meandering.

I should have learnt something from all my checkout situations, or so you’d think but really you can’t beat murphy’s law, ended up in a line with just one other person group ahead of me, two women and two kids and it did seem like they were almost done checking out. Like I always do, got hold of the divider and loaded up all that stuff from my cart onto the conveyor, neatly, there's an order to that, that some just can't understand.

Checkout dude’s brows are all messed up, I can see that’s not a good sign, he is immersed in what looks to be a check, sigh! then he presses the call button, he’s clearly waiting for help. tic, toc, tic ... Surprisingly she doesn’t waste too much time getting there, all authoritative, she goes through the items on the receipt and says no, the milk can’t be checked out! What the ... From what I could hear, the form of payment the women were using did not allow them to buy the whole milk (red cap). 

Dude tries explaining it to the women, they show no sign of understanding (no comprendo!, that’s where espanol would have come in handy), they seem to be grinning away or maybe that’s just the look! Dude says he will return with 2% milk cans (blue cap), thankfully he seemed to have decided that the family could survive on 2% milk!. These assistants are just too kind is the first thought on my mind, bless him. The women were heavily made-up and their clothes ... well they could use some money to buy clothes that were a little less revealing! anyway dude comes back (probably took about 4 mins, with the milk section being in the back and all, it is a brilliant strategy if you must know, more on that some other time), re-scans everything again, presses button, supervisor comes and all’s good. I can hear the sigh of relief from all the people behind me, yes a line has formed now. Quite frustrating it was already, had to resort to doodling, twiddling!

I can sense something though, there’s two more milk cans that's not been scanned yet and you guessed right, those too have red caps on them. They seem to want the receipts to be separate and they're going to use similar checks again, no once bitten twice shy or whatever!. With a urgency I’ve never displayed in a grocery store, I scooped up everything on the conveyor into my cart and hurried out of there, I could see that everyone else had followed me too ... As I was finally all settled into another checkout line, I could see dude go back to swap red cap milk can with blue cap milk again and when I had my receipt, he was still peering away into the receipt and waiting on his supervior to give the green signal!

p.s Were those checks some kind of benefits, then why would whole milk be a restricted item? I can be nosy, but was just not in the mood to ask that day what with all of us already in a beleaguered mood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today is June 21st!

Today is June 21st. I'll call it C-Day, not to be confused with D-Day from the MIB reference in my previous post. I want to say it is the beginning of the rest of my life, but then that would be me being dramatic and all although that's something I do ever so often and then I do think every new day is the beginning of ... you get my point, so let's just stick to C-Day. 

I've always had a fascination with June 21, maybe if I was not born on the day I was born which I think is a great day to be born on, then I'd have wanted to be born on June 21, sound weird enough? :) As it is, we have two Gemini's in the family, another cusped Gemini would have been disastrous :P

Back to June 21, the birthday of Prince William (which girl my age hasn't had a crush on that cute
boy fella at some point in their lives, tell me?), the feast of St. Aloysius College, the birthday of our current Bishop (Mangalore), summer solstice (appropriately we have a heat wave warning today) and I'm sure some more equally fascinating events, so I'll record mine too.

To satisfy my curiosity, I looked through my archives and found there's only one other blog entry dated June 21, that was in 2006, so much for the fascination. Going forward, I will *try* to post 'something' on every 6/21, I encounter!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Message in a Bottle - Feasibility and Initial Planning

A draft version of my message is ready and sealed in a ziploc bag, it will be cast into the deep ocean next month with little to no fan-fare, at most probably a picture to capture the event if possible.

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to send out my own 'message in a bottle' hence forth referred to as MIB, I think the pleasure of sending out one is slightly elevated than receiving one and of course nothing can beat receiving a response to a MIB. I've had umpteen opportunities to do it but I reckon better late than never.

The feasibility and initially planning was nothing like I've ever done in any previous project, a 5 year old could do it! Once I knew that I would have access to a deep ocean, the wheels in my head started turning and I knew there could be no better time to create my own MIB. Next came the little tough part, the content of my message? Knowing me, I had to caution against the finder drumming a tl;dr, I knew I wanted to bring a smile to the person who discovers it, I can almost visualize a girl or a boy reading it, with a grin on their face and that is what I've set out to do in my draft. I still call it a draft version as I'll probably modify it another 7 times until D-Day. Then came the easy choice of using my email id as the preferred method of response, when they find it, if at all they wanted to tell me about it.

MIB should be sent in a fancy blue transparent bottle, no? Anyway, due to the logistics involved in procuring and transporting said blue bottle, I 'think' I'll have to stick with either a wine or beer bottle and then comes the real trick of how to seal the cap, haven't figured that out yet, but can't let the MIB wiggle its way out of the bottle, now can I?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The end of The End ... we will be found

Two weeks since that fateful air accident in Mangalore and the very last episode of Lost too and no, I'm not inclining towards any paranormal co-incidence between those two events. My involvement was naturally with Mangalore as a city for all the flying I've done through Bajpe airport and Lost, well ... you know fan-girl and all.

Every time in this past year, when I've mentioned to my fellow Indians that I was from Mangalore, they would jokingly ask me if I was one of the girls dragged out of the pub (thanks Muthalik and all those before him, you made Mangalore infamous) however these past few days, I seem to be have become the unwilling catalyst for aviation related conversations! If only IT professionals could design our runways ...

Back to 'Bad Robot' no more, every lostie would have their 'back-story', how and why they got hooked onto a show as complex as this.

My back-story is simple, the trailers for 'Lost' started airing in India sometime in 2005 and since it was going to be on Star Movies, we assumed it was a mini-series, rather than a show with many seasons, maybe a few hours long max and with an airplane and island storyline, it easily caught my attention. No matter what, come rain or come shine, power or no-power, the whole family would be gathered around the idiot box every saturday between 7 to 9 PM for the next 13-14 weeks. No other show, not since the days of Surabhi or the weekly Kannada/Hindi feature film on doordarshan (not that we had channel change option then) received the kind of dedication from all of us like this show did. Mother and Father were just as focussed as the rest of us.

Unfortunately the dedication was short-lived since one, realizing that it's not the end after 25 hrs of not batting our eyelashes is disappointing and two, the time in-between seasons is distracting and something that we're not used to. Anyway, that was around the time I first came to the US and well, guess what, they were already ahead of me by a few episodes, once I caught up there was no turning back. I had been christened into a lostie. The only thing I started missing was the conversations we had about the show, bouncing ideas with my folks, out of the original six of us, only my brother and me kept pace and after a while, he got bored too. Along the way, I've met a few co-workers (mostly non-Indians) who were very passionate about the show and I remember going out for coffee once just so that we could discuss Lost!

The finale was a commercial fest, a mammoth 2.5 hrs and that after a long day at the Soup Kitchen. There may be a few spoilers ahead.

What I've enjoyed most about the show was the persistent story telling, the flawed characters who were not judged for their past, everyone gets an equal opportunity to start afresh. It's like agreeing that redemption is for all if one desires it, the end to me almost seemed like a spiritual experience, heavy with emotions and fore-thought. I will agree that over the seasons, it did get slow and ever so confusing at times, but that was no reason to stop watching. There are whole episodes that made no sense at all when I watched on tv, but I would go back and watch again, online or go to the forums, the online fanaticism is quite amazing!

Sometimes being a person of faith and a person of science at the same time is not at all easy, I can relate so well to the conflict, yet it's not about gloating who trumped the other. I liked the explanation for the side-ways world (it was exactly how I'd thought it would play out, it was the way I perceived it although there are still many open questions). I believe it's all about finding the other person that we connected with even if we failed to figure that out here, our faith and trust in people will be rewarded, if not here on earth, then elsewhere? And if I can say 'I trust you', that's the greatest thing in the world for me.

So where does all this leave us, can we just drink of the fountain and protect the light and be whole again? It sounds very biblical and convoluted too at the same time, is there really a cork holding all the evil back in, what's the guarantee that we won't plunge into whatever it unleashes? The end itself was still only about letting go of the limbo we put ourselves in, no man is an island and it's really okay if I don't have all the answers. This has been a great ride, I'll watch the whole show again, maybe with someone who has never watched an episode.

My own side-ways and future story is in writing and everytime I ask 'WHY', I hope to see the light from the tunnel just like Locke did albiet metamorphically.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Broken links

You're bound to find a few broken links in places where my beautiful pictures on the blog originally were. That's simply because I'm in the process of cleaning up and organizing all the pictures that Blogger uploads to picasa and elsewhere in the universe when I added a pic to a blog post. 

Until then we relish in the Google Not Found error!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My turquoise dream

What is it about the sea, I've asked myself a million times,
In my head and in a pensive mood,
What pray be my connection to this vast expanse,
Who hath not desired the Sea?

She fades into nothingness, clicked somewhere along the Northwest Pacific Coast.

I've grown up by the Arabian sea, she with all her might, us building sand castles on the Panambur beach, the serene strolls on Tannirbhavi beach, the boisterous parties on Suratkal beach, thrown into the water at Kapu beach, girls day out at Summer Sands, office parties at Kotekar beach and what became our very own getaway spot from a few Computer Architecture and Object Oriented classes, Malpe beach. In the midst of all those, somewhere is Fujairah beach and Khorfakkan beach and how can I can not include Goa and a little bit of northern Kerala too.

In my opinion there is really no option between flying out of Bombay or Bangalore, not that we had the Bangalore option while we were young. But flying in from Bombay will give you the best feeling ever, when the airplane moves in from out of the clouds and the Arabian sea coastline is visible, she dips, she rises and then she descends. That is a moment worth relishing and capturing and I've managed to do so on a couple of occasions, hiding from the prying eyes of the flight attendants!

Living inland this past year, I can feel the void, I can't hear her talk to me anymore. My feet have not been sucked into the sand, I don't have the sinking feeling, I have not felt the salt water on my face and I have not collected sea shells. Despite her wild roar on the pacific she beckoned me aboard the Seattle ferries, from Ocean shores and San Juan into the Pacific, to the most pristine blue oceans ever and although she seemed a little dull and down at Galveston in the Gulf of Mexico, she was always still only an hour's drive away. 

I've heard from my parents that I was a water loving baby and with a bunch of baby pictures always with a hose in hand splashing water around the house, on everyone on myself, I can pretend to remember those moments. I don't quite know why I didn't learn to swim, her vastness scares me a bit but not enough as I can feel the bonding that is just hard to put to words.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
- E.E. Cummings

I think it's time for some sea therapy, maybe that's when I will have my epiphany. 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Venice queen

I had a dream, it was on a gondola under the twilight sky, there you were, there I was and then there was the merchant of Venice.

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me
That I have much ado to know myself.

I hold the world but as a world, '*';
A stage where every man must play a part
And mine I did on so many occasions,
the two 'tis heart will not forget,
That much I owe you.

To You.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Beer Shampoo

I've heard of the joys of rinsing one's hair with beer shampoo and also of bathing in it. I certainly had no intention of trying any of these, what is the use of wasting perfectly good beer on hair, when you can drink it, no?

My viewpoint took a 360° turn when I realized I'd left a bottle of beer open all through the night and day allowing it to be contaminated and spoilt? I couldn't possibly drink that now, could I? That's when the beer shampoo plan was conceived.

Step 1: Heat the beer in a saucepan and bring it to boil (The recipe asked for reducing the content to 1/4, but I figure no harm in letting it be runny!)

Step 2: Pour in a few spoons of shampoo ( I used garnier fructis, this is probably only so that it will lather a bit)

Step 3: That's it, done. Use the beer shampoo.

I must admit, my hair felt good after using this beer shampoo although the smell from heating the beer did make my apartment seem like it was recovering from a bad beer hangover!

P.S Just a reminder, please read the disclaimer before attempting anything I write on this blog and the disclaimer's not updated either, so you're pretty much on your own here.

My Yellow Submarine

Yet another puzzle bites the dust, this one is called Emerald Valley. My fascination with puzzles is now a well known fact, but I must admit to having an inclination only towards the landscapes by Thomas Kinkade. The portraits just don't impress me as much.

I'm also currently reading The Bridges of Madison County and I found Robert Kincaid to be hauntingly similar to Thomas Kinkade (not that I know the man!) with his camera and passion for landscapes. It was disappointing to note that Kincaid was only the figment of the author's imagination.

When something seems easier than baking bread, is it no longer worth the time invested? I think I've pretty much figured out the process for putting together these puzzles and working for a process oriented employer, the process has become so ingrained in me ... tsk, tsk. Here's a simple trick, start with the corners and work your way in. Make small piles ( I start out with 6 piles and then further into 12 based on the shape and colors) and that and a little bit of sunshine is what separates you from a pretty landscape of a 1000 pieces.

A sky of blue and sea of green is all that I want today, anyone?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RIP rzd.musings

This is something I should have done months ago. No, No ... don't shed your tears yet. I'm not retiring this blog, I'm only changing the contact by email option (now you can start crying) which I'm sure won't be missed and before you say it, yes, I have to work on the html portion for the tabs (again!). I decided it's not worth my time and yours to have the email out there, after all there are so many other ways to send your comments.

I've met a few fascinating people through that id and that's probably an exaggeration too, but overall it's not been a pleasant experience. Back when I was elusive, it probably added to the charm or so I thought and I'm still appreciative for the bouquets and brickbats.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

52 weeks

 I just crossed 52 weeks off my make-shift calendar, 52 weeks out of which some days just went by like a blur and other days which seemed frozen in some perverse time-experiment. This is also now my longest ever stretch without having made a trip back home.

It was a journey of a 62 hours undertaken with hope mainly for the future, for the unknown, for change (as much as it terrifies me) If my travel woes to getting here were any indication of things to come, then I should have simply taken the next flight back home :-) The hope still remains, though the words have had to be re-arranged through a tumultuous journey, although it may be for something different. It's not about getting priorities right, that's one thing that's been straight in my head for as long as I can remember, it's probably about taking comfort and solace in those small little nice things (something about counting your blessings?) as difficult as it may be to find them when your eyes are all blurry. It is about not letting it get to you if other people think you are not good enough and when you are judged for all that's not in your control and trust me I can sit here now all high and mighty and write this, but it's not easy to implement, everything in life is a work in progress.

The hardest part about moving to a new city is the settling in, the first few weeks when you wonder what you are doing thousands of miles away from your loved ones and you don't really know anyone around, but I've found it's not the case. The initial months are always the best, everyone is very enthusiastic in getting to know and just forming friendships. In the kind of circumstances we live in, there's always people moving out, getting married and then it's harder to keep up the social setting. This is also my first time in a multi-vendor team, more on that after I move out of the team :) Okay, this is sounding very Oprah-esque now. Must Stop.

'One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand'

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shampoo vs Books

My shampooing habits have some similarities with my reading habits, that's all I can divulge for now.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The question mark?

Hazelnut coffee or Regular coffee? Tall or Grande or Large ? No cheese, Extra cheese or Regular cheese?

We often come across a myriad of choices in our lives, some as simple as selecting between mutton and shrimp biryani other’s bordering and threatening our very existence on this planet! Exaggerating a bit, but what if you simply do not have a choice, what if all the cards belong to someone else and all you can do is play along, hope you somehow come out a survivor?

Can the cards be grabbed, can they be shuffled? Do you want to do it, are you willing to go the extra mile, make the connecting flights? You like words like wallow? While all you want to do is swim and furiously across shores. Can you unwrite all the words that were written? Can you unbreak all that was shattered? Can you make sure the spider does not start spinning his current *more deadly* web and this just after you’ve cleaned the old one?

Can you not do any of this? Can you simply continue living one day at a time?

And then I wonder ‘Why I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.’?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The cooking range clock and the microwave clock were blinking 12:57, it couldn't have been AM since I could see the sun streaming in through the window shades and on my groggy eyes. My first thought was that I had somehow turned off the main switches for both the microwave and the range.

I turn off the mains for the heater as sometimes it gets uncontrollably hot and the heater knob seems to be mal-functioning, I hear ya ... I need to put in a maintenance request for that like I've been meaning to for the past two weeks, one of these days for sure!

Anyway, so I go check the mains and despite my still slightly dazed state of mind, I can see that all the switches are in the 'ON' position like the way they are supposed to be. I then fiddle with microwave and can see that it works fine and the range too. Finally it strikes me! I check the time on that little travel clock and its blinking 12:58 in not so much glory and likewise on the range and microwave too!

For the life of me, I honestly believed it to be closer to 3 PM or so! maybe it had to do with my successful attempts at making panpole (finally) and consuming them non-stop with that tomato chutney and copious amounts of chai or it had something to do with that mid-noon dream, I remember nothing of! In any case, 12:57 it was!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Give me my bone

So there's this bone I am particularly fond of, I can suck on it until there's no semblance of juice left in it. Ever since I can remember the kitchen used to be our battleground and this piece of heavenly anatomy the prize for the victor, put on your best armor and pounce on it. Praise the heavens if there were a satisfactory number of pieces of the prize, if not, alas, be the envy of piercing eyes and salivating mouths!

If anything can turn me into a cannibal, then this is it! The bone marrow in that oh so delicious mutton curry. Growing up, mutton curry was always reserved for special occasions, unlike your usual chicken or beef or dukra maas. That piece of bone marrow would make even the laziest of girls to pick up the plate and hurry to the kitchen so that they'd be the first in line for the best of those bones.

It has been a long time since I have indulged and salivated on one of these bones. Unlike the mutton that's sold in Mangalore, we buy Lamb meat here, but that piece of bone is as succulent as ever and I always pick the packs which look like they have a few more bones! The ritual of eating is almost the same although not as tough here. The bone marrow flows much more smoothly over the tongue and is quite easy to suck on.

Back home, the ritual involved forks, the end of a spoon, toothpicks and pure pleasure. I spend a minimum of five minutes on each of these delicious things, making sure it is as dry as a bone when I'm done with it, soaking it back in the gravy and sucking the life out of that poor bone.

No wonder its called God's butter, to many more such bones in our lives!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Who are all these people who say they are totally content in their lives? Tell me, I want to meet you, I want to know what makes you happy and content? How did you get there? Don't you ever suffer from the 'grass is greener' syndrome?

Most people I know are at various phases of contentment or so to say. If having a daughter seems like the 'it' for someone, just being married or having a companion may be the only point of satisfaction for someone else. Then there's some who don't want all that, they say they are happy the way they are, but then comes the huge 'BUT' they want to be *more* rich, want to own a yacht or have their 15 minutes of fame/maybe more or there are some who just want to be left alone, who don't want to be micro-managed, who want to be their own boss, who just wanted it to stop being so cold and snowy and chilly!

Again it is a question of 'what' after all this? Are your wants satisfied or do they keep blossoming? I want a little of the grass is paler and grass is greener syndrome in my life. I want to be grounded, settle for something while continue my quest for everything else. Where do I draw the line, what are these lines made of?

There are days when I live in a black-box and sometimes I live in a blue-box. Give me a little bit of sunshine or let me enjoy my cup of coffee in peace or just lick that frosting off the cupcake one day and on some others a trip to the moon would not suffice! I draw lines in my mind for all those boundaries and sometimes when they was wash out, I re-draw the lines that were originally drawn in chalk, now in felt-tip pen. They might fade too, but that's okay, I'll be happy then or I'll draw those lines with something way cooler! Maybe I'll narrow it down, maybe I'll widen it just a little bit, maybe I'll pick precisely something that is all wrong for me, but then who knows until it has been tried, has been tasted, maybe that's the way we're wired.

And a simple want after a long mentally exhausting day at work! maybe just enough?
'All I want to do is go home and kick off these incredibly painful shoes, eat pizza and watch some really bad TV where people’s lives are more screwed up than mine.'
- Addison Montgomery

Quid-nunc is from the words 'what' and 'now' describing a person who does not cease to ask 'What now'! Isn't that what life's quest is all about?

Okay, done with my rant. Don't even get me started on the lines that separate the wants from the needs!

Monday, March 01, 2010

The joy of owning a dog

vs the trouble? My neighbor next door owns a poodle, he's an adorable little thing. In case you're wondering he looks something like this dog

I do favor dogs over cats, in fact my paranoia flares up when I am in close vicinity of the feline variety. In any case I know it is too much trouble to own a dog here although I'd be more favorable to the German Shepherd or Alsatian or the Golden Retriever type of breeds. Coming to why not, as long as we live in our apartments, with a rather stringent pet policy and spend a significant amount of time outside with no one at home, caring for a dog is just not possible and really we can't have the dog fend for himself now, can we?

Maybe owning a dog comes with the white picket fence and the kids and the suburban living or NOT!

For now I make do with Caramel (in pic!), and then there's Pluto the little doggy and Dunno, the panda and oh, how can I forget the real dog from back home!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Country living

Yet another journey of a 1000 pieces was complete on 1/1/2010 despite my really wanting to complete it by 12/31/2009 and its taken only all of two months to put up a picture!

There isn't really a story this time around, only just one significant common denominator in both these completed projects. The half assembled piece went through a move this time around and more precariously this time I might have to add as I didn't bother to pack it up. I was surprised when I put the last puzzle piece in as I was pretty sure I'd lost at least one piece in some car along the way or in the grass! or that someone had stolen it!

This puzzle is a part of the Thomas Kinkade's Country Living Series and unlike the last time I own this through and through in every sense of the word and it was completed with zero help.