Monday, January 09, 2006

On Missed Signs....

Roadtrips are a lot of fun. Get a bunch of your buddies together, rent a car, get a map, have a vague idea of which direction you want to go, and you're all set. I've gone on quite a few roadtrips but the most memorable ones have been those in which V~ has figured. v~ is this incredible chap who has this uncanny ability of coming up with THE defining moment(s) of the trip. We eagerly await these moments and he never disappoints. This is what happened the last time around......

We were driving up to SanFranciso from LosAngeles. As always we'd started as late as possible and decided to forgo the preferred scenic route, and take the 'straight'(Yes!!it truly was straight) road up to San Fran. Me, J~ and M~ were in a convertible, while P~, v~ and Poo~ were in the SUV with P~ driving and V~ navigating. About a 100 miles north of Los Angelels, was this "big" split in th highway with one road going up to Fresno/Bakersfield and the other going to SanFran/Sacremento(Where we were heading). There were signs all over the place giving directions, and we easily took the road leading up to SanFran. Five miles down that road, we get a call from V~,

V~ : Hey guys, did you notice that the road divided up, and only one went up to SanFran?
M~ : Ofcourse we did, and we are on the correct road, why do you ask?
V~ : Er...We missed it and we're driving towards Fresno now...
ALL OF US ~: Whaaaaattt???.You were the navigator, how could you miss that sign??.
V~ : Er..I was busy clicking pictures..
M~ : Of what?
V~ : Nothing in particular, I took some of the hills, roads, and some signs.

All right,so you miss some exits, big deal!!. It happens to everyone. But no,it doesnt end there.A couple of hours later, we stopped for a break, and V~ and the rest caught up with us. We reviewed the snaps V~ had taken and we found this.....

V~...I salute thee...:)..

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Go Gophers!!

Minnesota BEATS Michigan at the Big House !!!..

Now, how many times have you heard that?!!.This one deserves a blog entry :)..What say J~?..:)..

PS: The last time Minnesota had the Little Brown Jug, its current running back Gary Russell wasn't born
PPS: Yes!!!I AM addicted to football!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Football Therapy!!

Ah!!Yes, the blog !!!...It's been a while since I visited the blog world. Lots of things have changed at my end. And I've grown wiser with every change(or so I think).

Speaking of changes, I've been completely cured of my 'earlier' addiction. To get rid of my addiction I followed a strict TV regimen.

My "TV Regimen" included the following tenets.
-> One shouldn't watch TV all the time
Sounded fair, So i went out and got the season ticket to the Gophers Football game(s).
-> One should indulge in some exciting TV prgms once a week.
Exciting TV pgms?Hmm..the two things that I know to be classfied in America as exciting tv pgms in Americs are reality shows and Football. I can't stand the former so i opted for the latter.
-> Add a bit of this 'excitement' to your everyday life, and you'd be happy forever
As farfetched as it sounded, it was still worth a shot. So i join this Fantasy football league, and decided to put my managerial skills in to action.

I called this 'Football Therapy'.It worked marvelously, and I no longer care what becker had for breakfast this morning or what seinfeld did last evening.Now I go for the games on Saturday, watch the National Football league on Sunday, and work on my fantasy football team everyday.

The Physicist in me says " Addictions can neither be created not be destroyed, they can only be
transformed from one form to another"!!So it begins........

And yes!!.I'm at the bottom of the league...:(.........

Thursday, May 19, 2005

On Lost Friends

NYC Public Library

I'm not a big fan of libraries. There is a great deal of irony in choosing libraries to loathe considering that I love books-- it's as if I like trees but hate forests. Bookstores are fine, its just libraries I have a problem with.

It may be my inability to return a book on time. Calendars, planners, and bright colored messages on the back of my head do not seem to help the inevitable late fees. I discovered long ago that buying a book is a cheaper option.Or it could be the libraries itself. Places that demand whispered voices -- like funerals, china shops and libraries -- are frightening and stressful. I can't seem to get in or out of one without setting off an alarm and bringing unwanted attenion to my general nervousness.

Most of all I fear the quiet wrath of the librarian. The cold stare that tacitly disapproves of my book choice, study habits or inability to understand the catalog system is far worse that any screaming reprimand I could receive. I live in fear of sneezing, coughing or breathing too loud. But then, my educational career has forced me to deal with my library phobia, as they house the information I need to gain the powerful student curreny of good grades. Business school gave me no choice in that matter. It was not only, expected but demanded that I makes use of the annals of research printed and bound for my benefit.

I went begrudgingly and only when it was absolutely imperative. After several personal prep talks I even worked up the courage to ask one of the many librarians staring at me in condemnation a question or two. No one tried to tackle me when I brought in coffee or a cookie and an alarm only sounded once in my presence. Slowly, the library and I were becoming acquaintances, not quite friends just yet, but cordial colleagues with a common purpose - academic success.

Then it happened. An early morning fire at the school, the final weekend of spring break closed the library for the rest of the semester. The library was not harmed by the fire itself, but by the measures requires to put the blaze out. A friend who would refer to herself as a "bad catholic" happened to uncharacteristically attend mass the day beore the pope died and now feels she may have been the last nail in the coffin. Upon hearing this story, I fear that the my newfound comfort in the library had somehow caused its demise.

In truth, most of us are online junkies anyway -- we prefer to do out internet searches in the library -- surrounded by old-school hard copies reminding us of how much harder our predecessors had to work. Still there is a sense of loss.

My new experience with the library remains incomplete -- it's the same feeling as when you start dating a school mate just a little too late, too close to summer. What will the fall semester bring? Will I confidently walk in, without setting off alarms and successfully research?Or am I destined to remain a connoiseur of online databases. unware of what to do when the internet access fails?.

In the meantime you can find me clicking pictures outside libraries - close to them, but afraid to go in.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wooing the Lady !!


I am completely in awe of the complexity of the universe and the arbitrary nature of many of its little wrinkles and fractal permutations. Infact, it all appears so difficult that we all pray for a little luck to get us through.

A couple of days back I was proctoring an MBA exam. Ten minutes before the end, this MBA student gives me his answer sheet and walks away. I was just putting his exam away,when he came running back up to me,and asked me if he could have his exam back. The way he pleaded with me, made me think that he'd forgotten to add something of 'great' importance.

There was just about five minutes left, and me being the considerate proctor, I gave it back to him and asked him to work on it very quicky. Unfazed, he took a piece of colored paper from his wallet, and rubbed it all over his answer sheets. After doing this for a while, he grinned , gave me his answer sheet and said

"Thats my lucky charm" .

I was too stunned to say anything.

Ah!the things one do to woo the lady.And if luck,indeed be a lady,the courting,the flattering,and the indulgences directed her way continue unabated.From the Exams to playing to walking to living,you name it,superstitions and good luck charms are embraced,usually against people's own good judgment.

But why do we do this? Just because, just in case, or just don't ask.Come to think of it, believe in them or not, good luck charms and superstitions have been an integral part of human life throughout history. From rain dances, to human sacrifices, to touching up answer sheets, they're all attempts to curry the favour of gods or the powers to be. Good luck charms and superstitions can serve simply as comfort, but at the other end of the spectrum, the world of superstitions can be a hall of mirrors navigated by people who border on obsessive-compulsive behavior.

The black cat crossing the road is a classic example. I do feel a bit discomforted when one crosses the path, but then the excitement of expecting the unexpected(which, by the way, never happens), makes me go on my way. But I know a few people, who would faithfully obey the sign from above, and turn back and go another way.

And to top it, intellectually people understand that it doesnt make sense, but emotionally they're unable to make the break.And we all know,Emotion always overruns intelligence, otherwise we'd have world peace, right?.

Well, I'd like to believe that, they're really an attempt to control the universe that is way too powerful for us to control. And now, I'm going to practise some 'mumbo-jumbo', and try my luck at making breakfast.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Whats in a name!!!


Every once in a while, I go on this 'death-wish' trip to Detriot, to visit J~. So there I was, a couple of weeks back!!.7.00 AM in the Morning, and I'd been in downtown detroit for 20 Mins!!! And the news played the now so familiar

"Good Morning ye all, the latest from downtown Detroit, in a shoot-out lastnight, two policemen were killed......."

(And as you can see, I've survived so far). J~ derives a lot of pleasure in making me relish every moment of being alive, by always coming late to pick me up. After 60 Minutes, I'd almost given up hope of making it out alive, when J~ finally turned up. I let out a sigh of relief and got in the car, and after the 'not bad!!you're still alive' dialogues.....J~ dropped a bombshell...

J~ : So, How would you like to put your Hindi skills to good use....
Moi : eh? Hindi?. Were you drinking last night?..
J~ : Er..No...Actually, we're heading to a 'Children's educational fair' now, as part of the Indian Student association. We're organizing a 'Write your name in Hindi' event.
Moi : Damn neat, so whats for breakfast.
J~: Candy!!! You and I are running the first shift...I'm in charge of setting things up.
Moi : WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTT?? Write in hindi?? you and I??..we cant even write our names in Hindi...and our best hindi was left way behind in the Pilani mess..

But J~ was adamant and insisted that we were being way to modest about our now perfected hindi. So there I was sitting in this table waiting for the next bunch of grad students to save us, before we began embarassing ourselves. J~ in the meanwhile came up with this brilliant idea of preparing a chart featuring 'Hindi Alphabets from Mars'. We tried finding the hindi equivalent for every english alphabet, and in this process we 'discovered' that we could represent all the english alphabets with less than a dozen hindi alphabets. An acheivement we're still proud of.

Well, our job was done, we'd set up everything, and so J~ went out to call for replacements. That was when all hell broke lose. Suddenly I was surrounded by a dozen kids aged 5-10.....the fair had opened!!!

" WOWEEEEE!!! I Want to write my name in HEENDI", shouted one....

and that set of a whole chorus of 'Me too's '....and I panicked!!!!.But then something struck me, In the land of the blind , the one eyed man is king. And that reasoning made me feel very very good!!. And mustering up all my 'hindi', I squeaked,

'Who wants their name written in Hindi, the national language of India',

and soon the Wayne's, the Zachary's, Amy's, Julia's and Linda's were all leaving the table, in joy claiming that they could now spell their names in Hindi. J~ returned after a while, and was amazed at the speed at which I was churning out 'hindi' names...but soon he was busy distorting names as well..

After the storm had passed,

J~ : Do you think ,that kid will ever find out that you spelt his name as 'Jakoory' instead of 'Zachary'.

Before we could exchange corrections, we were surrounded by yet another group of children, and we went about our ways, killing english names. But then all the equations changed when this very ABCD girl came up to the table with a kid and said,

'Look Rebecca, you can write your name in Hindi' ..

I wanted to say ' yes she can if she wants but we can't for sure', but senses prevailed and I quickly became very busy arranging stuff around/under/over the table. And so they moved over to J~'s side. And to top it, Rebecca turned out to be this 'I seek knowledge' kid, and asked ' What is hindi'..and the ABCD's girl reply...

'Oh!remember, I wrote your name in Sanskrit, this is a similar language'

...was enough to scare the bejusus out of J~.But I must say I did enjoy watching J~ squirm in his seat, beads of sweat forming in his forehead, trying to spell 'Rebecca'correctly..And finally after what seemed like a very long time, he succeeded in writing the name and they left. And now it was my turn...

' How did it go? Did you get Rebecca or Rebekaka?......

But I guess we'll never ever find out...and finally our replacements arrived, and Pandits S~ and J~ walked out heads held high. Besides, Whats in a name??
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