Monday, December 29, 2008

Sikkim girl in a Bollywood flick

This morning, as I was browsing through the Internet, trying to get into my regular grind, back from a great 4 day vacation, I was pleasantly surprised to come across this piece of news:

A local Sikkim girl Geetanjali Thapa has been casted opposite Ranvir Shorey for an upcoming movie "Tina ki Chaabi".

Just look at her pic, isn't she gorgeous?


As I did more research on her, I found that she was the same girl who had acted in Myth which is the first English movie made in Sikkim by the local talent. The movie itself had won rave reviews. She was also crowned the Mega Miss North East in 2007.

Way to go Geetanjali! You make us all proud!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Aaah! Its finally Wednesday! Today we are leaving for Columbus, Indiana ... our "hometown" in US. Its been more than three years since I last went there, when V was still there. I have so many memories related to the place which has been fading over the years and I had been waiting for an occasion to go back and refresh them. Lots of our old friends are still there and those not there are also travelling to Columbus. So it's going to be a reunion of sorts.

Me and V have been spending hectic weeks doing X'mas shopping, finding the perfect gifts for our friends while trying to keep them all within our budget :) We have early release from work today, so we will be leaving right after work....that's like a couple of hours from now. Its a long drive of over 10 hours, but V and our friend S will be driving, so I can lounge in the back seat of the car with the control of the iPod in my hands! Buhahaha!

I shall be back on Sunday, so until then wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Hope you all have a fun and safe, warm and cosy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Haunting San Antonio

During the Thanksgiving weekend, we along with a few friends went for a trip to Texas. We were in Irving, a suburb of Dallas for a few days and had planned to drive to New Orleans, Louisiana from there for a day. However bad weather in New Orleans forced us to change plans and we ended up visiting San Antonio instead.

While in Irving we spent most of the time at our friends place with their kid. Other than that, we visited an ice sculpture exhibition called ICE! and also went for a rodeo show at nearby Fort Worth. Due to time constraints, I was unable to go to a Nepali restaurant there but did manage to have a great lunch at my childhood friend's place. Nepali restaurants are a hard find in US, so I was excited about it. Well, maybe next time.

San Antonio, though a small city, turned out to be very beautiful and well planned. A canal runs through the downtown which is lined with wonderful restaurants and lively pubs. You can walk along the canal, aptly called the River Walk and can even take a guided boat tour. We reached the River-Walk in the evening and spent quite some time walking around, enjoying the view and the people. The great weather also helped. While in Texas, how could we not have an "authentic" Tex-Mex food? Tex-Mex is basically a cuisine from Texas that is highly influenced by Mexican cuisine. After a scrumptious dinner, we went to a pub and spent a good time there.

The next day we went back to the downtown and checked out some tourist attractions like the Alamo where the Battle of Alamo had been fought. I found it very interesting that the battle was fought right where the San Antonio downtown now stands. While we were having our lunch back at the River-Walk, a friend of mine called and when I told him we were in San Antonio, he asked if we had been to the historical haunted site yet! Haunted!! My ears immediately popped up! I did a quick search on my iPhone ;-) and sure enough, there was a haunted place near town where you can experience the "haunting" yourself!

It seems that some time in 1940's and bus of school children were passing through a railway track when all of a sudden the bus stalled right when it was over the tracks and unfortunately an oncoming train hit the bus and six of the kids along with the bus driver died. Now, legend goes that till this date if one takes their vehicle to the railroad crossing and stop right in front of it and put it on neutral, unknown forces move the vehicle until you have safely crossed the tracks to the other side. That happens in spite of the fact that the road just before the tracks is inclined upwards! And to top it all, many people swear that when they spread baby powder over their car's rear bumper and once they were across the tracks when they examined their car, they could see distinct baby palm prints all over the bumper!

After reading about such an interesting place, we had to check it out. So we went to the location and we saw another vehicle in front of us trying the same thing. We stopped our car at a safe distance and watched the vehicle in front of us smoothly crossing the tracks. Of course, from where we stood, we couldn't make out if they drove over the tracks themselves of did little invisible hands actually helped them? We had to find this for ourselves. So we drove towards the tracks (and trust me, the tracks in front of us are at a steep upward inclination), stopped the engine and put in on neutral. Sure enough! We could feel our car smoothly moving towards the tracks, cross the tracks over to the other side! We were flabbergasted! Of course, there has to be some scientific explanation behind all this! We made a quick u-turn and tried it again. And yeah, it happened for the second time too! There were other cars there who were also trying more than once. I even saw some families peering closely at their rear bumpers for tiny hand prints.

It was quite an out-of-body experience for us, but I am sure there must be some valid explanation for this all. Still it was a fun thing to do! Once I got back home, I did more research and found people have posted their experience with videos and pictures and some have even carried out experiments and provided explanations too.

On our way back to Irving from San Antonio, we stopped at Bandera which is supposed to be the cowboy capital of the world. However, we didn't have enough time to spare to explore the town and the ranches there. We did however stop at a saloon where I tried my very first (and second) tequila shot. It was fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Life

When I first read about Google making available the millions of photographs published in the Life magazine over the years, I was quite excited.

Long years ago, our bookshop used to sell the magazine and I remember leafing through them when I was a kid. Later on, when I was in middle school, I too had caught the "autograph" bug. We all wanted to have the "coolest" autograph or memorabilia book where our friends could write nice things about the owner of the book. I wanted to decorate my auto book with collage of pics of good looking people. So, I turned to these magazines. Our bookshop had closed by then and we had plenty of books and mags at our disposal. I cringe now, thinking of how stupid I was to have cut up such rare mags for the sake of my silly book! Brother, if you are reading this, do you think we still have some of them left? Or did I trash them all??

Anyway, like I said, I was quite excited about the latest Google antics. I have been browsing through the beautiful rare pics. And today I came across this picture.


This picture is from a collection of pictures taken in an Air India flight in 1946. I didn't know Air India even existed in the '40s!! And check out the air hostess' uniform. Its so chic! I wonder when did they change their uniform to the printed saris? Of course, I then went to Wikipedia to quench my thirst for knowledge about Air India and was pleasantly surprised to know that the airline was in fact founded in 1932! Who could have guessed? But the Wikipedia article is incomplete - no mention about air hostesses' uniforms!

Find more interesting Life pictures here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Politics and Technology

Like many people, we too were glued to the TV on the US Presidential election night. While V actually watched the election coverage the entire time, I went missing for a while to my friend's place to watch an election movie Recount, which focuses on the 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore and the mess that was Florida.



I know CNN has been the frontier in the election coverage since past many months, going on and on, day after day, hour after hour - bringing panel of experts from all fields discussing each and every aspect of the campaign.



But on Election Night, I was bowled over by CNN - not by their extensive coverage or detailed analysis, but by the technology they have used. The "Magic Wall" in the CNN studio is a piece of technology art - a huge multi touch screen on which Wolf Blitzer and the rest where swiping maps just by a flick of a finger. Just by a touch they could pull our charts and numbers. And it was so smooth and slick.



But the best part of it all was when they went all sci-fi and Star War-sy by beaming up a hologram image of a reporter who was located remotely, right into their studio! My! That was impressive to say the least. They even managed to beam in Will.i.am!



Learn more in cnn.com about the Magic Wall and the Hologram.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Miracle on Lakshmi Puja


If this is not miracle, then what is?


All over the world today, people are celebrating Lakshmi Puja, worshiping Lakshmi - the Goddess of Wealth and look, the market's doing better after a long downward spell.


Happy Diwali
to all of you. May the blessings be with you, now and forever!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My top iPhone Apps

Its been almost 4 months since I got my favorite toy, the iPhone. V calls me an iPhone addict coz I am always doing something on it. And with the load of applications available, I thought I would list my favorite ones. The best part is that all these applications are free!

AOL Radio: Its an Internet radio. What's cool about this is that I can access not only my local radio stations but local stations of other cities as well. It also has two Indian radio stations (both from NRI radio) but they mostly play Telegu/Tamil songs :(

Facebook: With the recent upgrades, the Facebook iPhone application has certainly gained the spot of being my favorite. It includes a whole lot of features which makes it a good replacement for the full fledged web version. Wish Orkut too comes up with one coz browsing Orkut via the in-built Safari explorer can be a bit tedious.

FlyCast: This is another Internet radio applications with radio stations categorized by genre/hits/era. They too have wide variety of stations including one Bollywood station. Infact I am listening to it right now and they are playing Suraj Hua Maddham from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.

Fring and Palringo: Fring is an instant chat client on which I can set up not only my Yahoo, MSN and Gtalk account, but also the Skype account. The most awesomest feature is that I can call my contacts through it - no talk time used! Palringo is a similar client where you can set up your regular chat accounts. You can not talk directly using this, but one cool feature in this is that you can send voice message and pictures to the other person. The picture can be from a saved one or taken directly using the iPhone camera.

Google (Mobile and Maps): The Google iPhone search includes Google Suggest which is very useful and accurate. Now, if there's an argument among my friends, its just a matter of few clicks to in/validate one's claims. The map application has a built-in GPS which has helped us a lot at times when we go exploring and (in)conveniently forgotten the GPS back home.

Midomi and Shazam: I had once written a post on Midomi. Both these applications listens to the song currently playing in your vicinity (you can sing or hum to it too) and it will find that songs in its huge database and tells you which song is playing, who is the artist, etc. It even provides you a link to iTunes store for you to buy the song. I have tried it a few times with Hindi songs, and they have that too in their database!

Now Playing: For a group of movie buffs, this handy application helps us find the show times and reviews of movies running at our nearby theatre. V found this very useful when he was staying in NYC for a few days with a friend and there within a few blocks you can find lotsa small theatres that show movies normally not played everywhere else. He ended watching some nice French movie.

Pandora: This is an iPhone application of the popular Pandora music service. Those of you who are unaware of Pandora should definitely check it out. Once you register (its free!) you choose a song to play and it will automatically create a playlist of similar songs. As you play songs from the playlist, you can mark it as whether you like it or not and it picks up future songs based on your choice. The more you play songs, the songs played will be more to your liking. And you can create multiple playlists.

Save Benjis: This application, as the name suggests, help you save money. (Benji stands for Benjamin Franklin whose picture is on all US$ 100 notes). All you need to do is enter the product name or bar code and it will list stores selling at products and the its price on each of them. We find this tool very useful like recently we was checking out this nice Corelle dinner set in Target and we entered the bar code and lo! found out it was cheaper in Amazon and they had more variety too!

Stanza: Stanza is an e-book reader. Its database includes a wide selection of books. I am currently reading Jane Austen's "Persuasion" which I somehow missed reading earlier. Downloading an e-book takes a few seconds and the font size is easy to read.

You Tube: What more can one ask for when one can watch a video on-the-go? Imagine getting to watch Rock On!! videos in the car on our way back from the theatre right after watching the movie! I have troubled my friends in recent road trips by playing them "Jimmy Jimmy Aaja" songs from Disco Dancer and by M.I.A. I think they liked the Bappi Lahri version better :)

Alright...so the above are my favorite useful applications. Now below are few of my favorite games.

Aurora Feint: This is one of the coolest games available for free. Though initially it felt like Tetris and Bejeweled but as I played on I realised its more of a fantasy RPG game with crystals to collect and levels to gain and hidden powers to unleash. Great music and great graphics!

Dizzy Bee Free: This is a cute game with cuter graphics. The aim of the game is to help a buzzing bee save his friends from evil monsters. The free version has few levels and we had so much fun playing this game that we are thinking of buying the full version which is modestly priced at just $2.99.

Labyrinth Lite Edition: This game makes most use of the iPhone accelerometer. You tilt the iPhone to guide a steel ball from one end of a maze to the other without dropping it in the many holes along the maze. Slick graphics - the maze looks like its made in a wooden box and when you roll the ball, it makes sounds that actually feel like the real thing! Neato!!

Sol Free Solitaire: Out of the many free solitaire card games available this one's my favorite since it has neat graphics and games like Klondike and Spider. My favorite is its Demon game which is quite tough to break. I play this trying to up my overall score but mostly end up lowering it even more. :(

Space Monkey: Another cute game I recently discovered. According to the info, its free only for a short while. Like Wall-e, this cute monkey is left in space to collect trash. The more trash you collect, the more levels you cross. I have played only a few levels till now and now I have to play a yo-yo with one hand while collecting trash with my other hand and feet. Hours of senseless entertainment! :) This app is free only for a limited time, so get one soon!

Tap Tap Revenge: This is the iPhone version of the famous Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero in which instead of dancing or playing the guitar, you just tap the beats. If you get tired of the default songs provided, you can download more songs and whats more they even have a challenge mode where two players can compete and find out who's the best tapper!

Apart from the above mentioned games, there are many more free classic games like Sudoku, Pegs, Hangman and other board and word games. The list can be endless.

Apple App Store: And last but not the least. The Apple App Store has tons of apps, most of them free and they are adding new ones everyday. Their very own iPhone application is a great way to browse through these apps, and check out their ratings and reviews and download them right there. Their Top 25 list makes it easy to find apps, that are popular and it is by using this feature that I knew about most of the above apps, hence this app itself makes it to my favorite list.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chatter

I have always considered my childhood to be blessed. I had lovely dresses to wear, most of them stitched by my mom. She has a wonderful sense of style and was great with her hands. I remember us poring through "foreign" design magazines - me pointing at the prettiest and fluffiest of the dresses, and she trying to figure out if she can replicate them for me.

I had no complaints regarding food. Though like a typical kid, I used to hate most subjis, but provided I had my favorite Nepali tamatar ko achaar (tomato chutney) to dip my index finger and mix it with rice, I used to gobble up everything obediently. Due to tonsillitis, I was not allowed to have ice creams - had them only when we were out of town, like in Siliguri where the weather was warmer. Once, my doctor told me I can have ice-creams provided I heat them up first. I thought that was a great idea!! So what if it was a little bit warm! Silly me!

I had plenty of friends, both in school and home. Most of my "home friends" were my classmates - so I was one of the few lucky kids to have the same kid as my "home best friend" and my "school best friend". I had plenty of toys to share them with too. I feel extremely blessed that my earliest friends, right from the KGs are still in touch and we are still very close friends.

I used to get most of the toys that I wanted - maybe I knew when to limit my demands. Throughout my childhood, I only remember one incidence of me crying over some toy I wanted. We were in Nepal and I saw this toy sewing machine with which you can sew woolen threads over pictures of butterflies and flowers. I fell in love with it but my parents refused to get it for me. They tried to explain to me that it was expensive and how anyway at the Indian customs they would not allow us to take it back home and they will keep it for themselves. I cried and sulked the entire time we were at the mall.

But most of all I feel blessed because my childhood has been full of books. From the time I started to learn to read, I have been surrounded by books - starting right from the colorful nursery rhyme books with pop up cut outs. I remember as a kid I was always hungry for books. Apart from the books I used to get from the school library, I had also joined our local library. But that was not enough, so I used to get books from our bookstore too. At that time our bookstore was closed for business. I have always been a timid child, shy to go anywhere alone - not even to buy bread or milk from the nearby store. But to get those books, I used to gather up all my courage and hike for about half a mile, go to the store, unlock to big heavy locks, open a door panel and enter the room - the musty smell of damp books welcoming me. The books used to immerse me in world of fairies and goblins and robbers and secret passages - thanks mostly to Enid Blyton. From childish stories of Noddy to Famous Five and the Faraway Tree to more "matured" Malory Towers and Nancy Drew. From children classics like Tom Sawer and Moby Dick to Emma and Pride and Prejudice. I used to read them all. Book lovers themselves, by parents used to encourage me to read books. They had me and my brother subscribed to magazines like Wisdom, Reader's Digest and my all time favorite, Target. Target was a teen magazine published by the Times of India group. And then of course there was Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha comics. I don't think you can find many people of our age group who can imagine their childhood without these comic books. They were not only fun to read but each story had a moral.

Recently I came across the Amar Chitra Katha website which took me back to those good old days and hence the chatter. The website's pretty good though I wish they had some more on-line content to read apart from the story of the week.

While we are in the topic of books, there's another interesting website I'd like to share with you. WOWIO has hundreds of e-books which are free provided you read them on-line. You can find many of the favorite classics titles. Explore a bit and who knows, you might just discover some great new writers! Let me know if you come across a good read.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Check out my new license plate!





Ain't that cool?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Save Diki

As per my daily routine, I was scouring through the local Sikkim news sites when I came across this article about a girl with kidney failure who needs financial help for her transplant surgery. You can get more details from the article below.

If you are willing to help, please leave a comment and I will give you more details on the hows, or else you contact Pema Doma directly at the phone no. provided in the article below.


Kidney patient needs financial help
Staff Reporter GANGTOK, July 28:

No
body knows what’s in her fate. But with both of her kidneys damaged, Diki Sherpa still has a will to survive.
The 26-year-old is a resident of 9th Mile in East Sikkim. Her father, Namgyal Sherpa being a simple Buddhist monk cannot afford the expenses for her transplant, though the donor is her own mother.Like all other young girls of her age, Diki had dreams of a productive and purposeful life till the year 2000 when she fell victim to life-threatening condition of kidney failure.
Mr. Biswadeep Dutta, who runs a hotel in SN Banerjee Road in Kolkata, has been her guardian angel. The Samaritan has been her caretaker providing her food and lodging in this unknown city. He runs around to pull all his sources together so he can help this ailing lady.
It was informed that just when all appeared lost and Diki was to be packed off to Sikkim on July 12, a family from Taltala gave her shelter. The Duttas had been frequenting the bodyguard lines to meet Diki ever since they learnt about her from doctors in Sikkim during a trip there in Sikkim in the year 2007.
Presently under treatment at Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Kolkata, her final hope is kidney transplantation that costs Rs. 4 -5 lakhs. Despite her mother Pramila Sherpa’s willingness to donate one of her kidneys to Diki, the major factor has been financial constraints. Dialysis has kept her alive which she goes for every Thursday but it is only a temporary reprieve.
To add to her determination to live, the Sikkim Students Association of Kolkata, an association of Sikkimese students studying in Kolkata has come forward to help collect funds for Diki. “When we saw the people of Kolkata helping Diki after her case was reported in one of the newspapers, we too wanted to help her out,” said Pema Doma Sherpa, External Affair Manager of the Association while talking with SIKKIM EXPRESS today.
She further said that the rickshaw pullers, banana sellers, police constables in Kolkata teemed up to assist Diki financially. Back in Diki’s hometown, the student association is leaving no stone unturned to collect maximum funds for the patient’s kidney transplant.
“We want all the people of Sikkim to respond over the matter and chip in few rupees as Diki desperately needs our help. We hope that taking positive points from our initiative, the Sikkimese people will contribute heartily and make sure Diki Sherpa lives, Pema said.
Diki desperately needs more Samaritans to come her way. Only her medicines and dialysis bills amount to Rs 3, 250 a week. A year’s postoperative care will cost another Rs 2 lakhs not to mention the amount need for transplant. So far, the association has managed to collect about five thousand rupees from the students in two days, she told SIKKIM EXPRESS.
Although, the fund collection is unsatisfactory, Pema said that people have started donating some.
Those willing to extend a helping hand to Diki can contact Pema Doma Sherpa, External Affairs Manager of Sikkim Student Association of Kolkata or call her at 98743-50109. The lists of the names of the donors will be published in SIKKIM EXPRESS.

Sikkim Express:TUESDAY, JULY , 29 , 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

My new iToy

Months of waiting, 3 stores, 1 Starbucks coffee, 1 free bottle of water (courtesy: Apple) and 5 hours later, I finally own it !!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Air India?? Never again!!


My flight experience have always been, let's say, somewhat unpleasant. This time, my wedding trip to India was no exception.

Initially, our plan was that I'd fly to India a week before V. I, the bride, would require more time for my bridal shopping than V who had anyway done most of his in US itself. I now thank my lucky stars for making us change our plans and travel together. Else, I don’t know how I would have gone through the ordeal by myself.

Who hasn’t heard bad reviews about Air India? Dirty and old planes, unusable restrooms, rude air hostesses and the fellow passengers even worse and the most common of all, flight delays. The only good thing about Air India that we've heard was the extra luggage allowance (which we didn't need), Indian food (which we didn't care for) and cheap prices. Cheap price...yeah, that's what they got us with! With our plan to stay in Paris for a few days on our way back from India, the stop over charges made our flight tickets very expensive. The cheapest fare was offered by Air India and with a brave heart, we booked our flights.

Having reached Newark hours before the scheduled boarding time, we found that our flight was delayed by 3 hrs. No surprise there. Now we worried what if we go somewhere to spend the time and came back only to realize our plane took off on time?? So me made a quick stop at a friends place and returned back to find out our plane had not even arrived!

As we waited at the gate, we could feel one of the Air India staff eyeing us. He soon approached us and without even touching our hand luggage he said we need to check in our carry on since they were too heavy. I was like What the...!! When we pointed out that he hadn’t even lifted our luggage to weigh it, he tried to cover up by saying our carry-ons are too big. I then pointed to a few of our fellow passenger's luggage which were even bigger! We told him we have important papers with us and there is no way we are gonna check them in. He then asked us to put all important things in one bag and check the other in. When we said that we'll be travelling separately (I was travelling to Calcutta from Mumbai) he finally let it go.

In the wee hours of the morning, our plane arrived. As with most Indian flights, even though they call out the passengers to board as per their seats, everyone jumped in to go ahead. It took a while for the staff to get the passengers to somewhat organize. After a while we finally found ourselves inside this gloomy stuffy plane. The seat covers looked centuries old and in the name of entertainment there was this single screen in front of the plane. I didn’t even bother to try on the headphones to check if they worked. Little did we know that our ordeal has not even started!

Everything we heard about Air India was true. The restrooms were dirty and smelly and nothing functioned properly. The food was bad. In fact the desert (sewai kheer) smelled bad and sour. The entertainment was zero. Luckily our weeks of hectic preparation paid off and we slept through most of the flight. During the flight we met a fellow traveler and his trial was worse than ours. He'd flown in to Newark from Michigan on Wednesday, four days ago. But his flight to Mumbai was cancelled and since then he had been trying to get to the next flight. But since all flights until Saturday were overbooked, he had to wait for four days to get into this one!

Our flight had a layover in Paris where we were not required to get off the plane. We reached Paris "on time" and we waited for it to take off again. After an hour wait in the stuffy flight with no AC, they announced that the flight was delayed due to technical difficulties. We were probably stuffed in for another 2 hours or so when they announced that our flight to Mumbai was cancelled!!! They asked all American citizens to get off first for hotel acco while for the rest of us, they'll try to get transit visas. Luckily for me and V, we already had visas for Paris. So we got off along with the American citizens. I am sure the remainder of the passengers had to go through much more than us.

We were probably stuck in the Paris airport for another 3 hours, standing in the long queue, when we were finally allotted a hotel room. The strangest part of it was that there were no Air India staff at the airport; everything was taken care by Air France staff. And to tell you about the behavior of the "American citizen" Indians there...well, that'll be another post! A rumour floated that they had discovered rats in our plane in Newark itself and the plane had been declared unsafe to fly. But since Air India flights had been behind schedule since Wednesday, they took the chance and let it fly but in Paris, they were not allowed to fly further!! It was past 9pm by the time we reached the hotel. We were too tired to even think of touring Paris then. Next day we left for the airport early, hoping to get good seats. Seems like everyone else had the same idea and there was this long queue at the gate, well before the boarding time. The behavior of the people there too... well, that not only shocked me, but disgusted me till end. But again, that’s another story.

On landing at Mumbai, I said a hurried bye to V and went off to catch my connecting flight to Calcutta. The one day delay had already made me miss my appointment at the US Consulate in Calcutta for my visa stamping, but that was the least of my worries. When I finally reached the domestic terminal, I found that I'd have to deal with more rush and crowd. I finally reached the counter only to find that I was waitlisted!! Those **ing Air India people had not bothered to make reservations for my connecting flight. I soon found out all my co passengers taking connecting flights to elsewhere were in the same situation.

Just 15-20 mins before the Calcutta flight took off, we were confirmed. I have to say though, the Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Calcutta was such a relief after that horrid AI flights. And the food was awesome!

During my stay in India, I had to take a few more flights after the wedding too. And yeah, had to face some or the other situation there too. My return flight to Paris and then to US was quite uneventful, thankfully! But this whole ordeal made us vow....AI - never again!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can you hear the bells a-tolling?

On the 7th of May 2008, me and V will be tied in holy matrimony. We are both leaving for India on Saturday, 19th April and will return on 26th May. I am looking forward to the trip with both excitement - owing to the pending marriage and dread - owing to the tight schedule and hot weather there. The wedding is to be held in my hometown in Sikkim followed by a reception in Pune.

The last month has been hectic to say the least. I had to complete all my pending official work before my vacation. A few weeks ago I fell sick and had to skip work for almost a week. This resulted in me putting in extra hours everyday for the next couple of weeks. Every day after work, me and V have been scouring malls and stores trying to find the perfect suit and the perfect shirt to match the suit and the perfect tie to match the shirt and the suit! And thats mentioning only his suit. We had so much of shopping to do that I am sure I will need a month to recover from the fatigue. Mind you, I love to shop! But in the last month we have seen so many stores and mostly the same store so many times, that I have told V that I wont shop for one month after the wedding :)

Sadly though, that's just one part of the shopping for me. Once I reach India, I still have to buy everything, saris and jewelries and shoes and wat nots! Not to mention the travelling I would be doing! One positive outcome that I can hope for (apart from being married, of course) is that I might manage to shed a good few of my extra pounds!! :D

Its already Wednesday and I just have 2 more days to complete my packing, which let me add, I am yet to start. I am in complete panic mode. With some more shopping still pending along with a visit to the hair parlor and attending a farewell party for a friend, I do hope that I manage to get everything done on time.

So friends, until we e-meet again, enjoy and have loads of fun!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Copycat!

A couple of days ago, I found myself with some free time. Not being able to think of anything else to do, I decided to do a little bit of ego-googling and this is what I came across.

Check out the writing in the post. Sounds familiar? That's an outright copy of my blog's description! Maybe I should take this in the positive sense and feel good about it, the fact that someone copied me. But I just can't help feeling outraged! If I can feel this way for such a small thing, I wonder how these musicians and movie makers feel when their work gets plagiarized.

Friday, March 28, 2008

One hour can change the world

Tomorrow, Saturday 29th March at 8:00 pm local time, is the Earth Hour which is an international event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Households and businesses around the world are encouraged to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening to promote electricity conservation and thus make a statement about climate change.

Read more about this event
here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Maine experience

The Start

We decided to go to Maine for the President's Day weekend. So on Friday after work, we bundled up everyone in two SUVs and off we went for a long 12 hrs drive. By the time we entered Maine, we knew we made the right choice....there was so much snow everywhere! Even in the wee hours in the morning with temperature below 0 degree Fahrenheit, our spirits were soaring high.

Upon our arrival at Rangeley, we finally found the cabin that we had booked after a long search. When we entered the cabin, our excitement level went up. Not only was it better than in pictures it was cosy and clean, kept like a home with the kitchen fully stocked. By then the sun had already risen and we were awarded by the amazing view from the back door....we had a beautiful frozen lake as the back yard!


Day 1

After a good rest of few hours, we headed to the nearby Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort where we headed towards the beginners slope. But the moment we put on the skis, we realized this was going to be way tougher than our last experience. Maybe it was the good quality of the skis, or maybe the skis here were waxed better - maybe because the snow here was natural and not machine blown, or maybe the slope was indeed steeper than in Pennsylvania where we had skied last, but none of us were able to ski here at all! The moment we put on the skis, we were sliding down without any control. Man! That was scary. I finally gave up. The worst part was that there were kids, as young as 3yrs old or even younger, who were zipping and zooming past us!

In the evening we went to a cozy restaurant called The Gingerbread House in a nearby town of Oquossoc. We enjoyed scrumptious food while a couple of deers grazed outside. Back in the cabin we set up a crackling fire in the fireplace and we headed out of the backdoor towards the lake. But the fiendish minds of few of my friends stopped us in a few minutes as they attacked us with snow balls. We were all soon involved in a heavy snow fight until everyone was out of breath.


Day 2

The next day was bright and sunny and much warmer. We headed towards a town called Stratton where we had rented snowmobiles. The guide lead us to a lake nearby which was completely frozen. The snow was soft and fluffy. Initially V drove the snowmobile and it took a little while to get the hang of it. Soon we were zooming across the lake. We were amazed at the size of the lake. On the map the it looks pretty small but when we were there we realized how huge it really was. It felt endless! After a while I wanted to try my hands at it. Having never ridden a bike before, I was initially apprehensive. But soon enough I overcame my anxiety and we were racing against each other. It was so much fun! The ride was fast and bumpy...specially when I was sitting behind V, I could feel the bumpiness of the ride - half the time I was in the air!

Whenever I was sitting behind V, I was taking pictures and videos. We went over big bumps and few times I almost fell down. Many times V scolded me to be careful, put away the camera and to hold on tight. One time as he was scolding me again, a HUGE bump emerged in front of us out of nowhere and we had to fly over it. Later on my friends related how it was almost a perfect stunt from some action flick. As we went over the mound of snow, I felt myself flying in the air and as we came down, instead of landing on the sled, my leg hung out. I felt my leg being dragged and I panicked worried that my leg will go under the wheels. I frantically gestured for V to stop. After examining my leg, we were both relieved to see nothing happened. Having learnt my lesson, I kept away the camera for good and we continued at a much slower space.

Once we got stuck while climbing over a mound of snow. I had to get down so the V can pull out the sled. The snow was deep, it came up till my thighs and a little bit of snow went inside my boots. It was then that I realized that I might have been hurt more than I had thought. Even a slight movement and my ankle hurt. After a while it was time for us to return. By then it was getting dark and we headed back to the cabin where I was pampered by everyone. While some massaged and bandaged my leg, some friends made an awesome feast of fish fry and chicken biryani. Yumm!! We had a nice lazy evening and the next day it was time to head back home. All through the journey I had to lie down. Though by the time we reached home the swelling had reduced, it was still painful to walk, so I had to take the next day off from work. My leg's much better but though its been over 2 weeks since the incident, I am still limping a bit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Family time

I recently came across this new networking site, Geni.com and I am hooked!

What's so special about this site is that unlike other networking sites with focuses on friends or colleagues, this one focuses on family.

You can create your family tree and invite your family members who can help expand the tree. It is 'n' dimensional and can really grow! But even though the tree can grow humongously, it is so wonderfully maintained that you will not be overwhelmed by it.

Its not even been a week since I started my family tree and already it has over 300 members. Through the tree I now can easily remember my cousin's wife's name or remember their kids birthdays! Not only that, I got back in touch with a distant cousin whom I knew when I was a kid. Another good use me and V got out of it is that it is now easier to understand each other's family and the new relationships that we will both be getting into.

Well, like I said, I am hooked. Why don't you try it out too?
www.geni.com

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I recently finished reading Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was a good book and quite un-putdownable.

The story revolves around the lives of two women - Mariam, an illegitimate daughter of a rich man married off to an old abusive husband when she was very young. And Laila - a rebellious and intelligent daughter of an educated progressive father. It is about how their lives intertwine, the sufferings they go through which eventually become the bond that strengthen them. It gives you glimpses of the history of Afghanistan, from the Soviet era to the rise and fall of the Taliban.

It is a sad story and my heart went out for the two women. The horror and pain these two women have to endure, reminded me of Princess, a biography about a Saudi Arabian princess which I had read more than a decade ago.

Even though I found the story gripping, there are times when I felt the story to be dragging along. Other than that, the book is extremely well written, the characters are strong and well defined and the story is heart wrenching. I definitely recommend it!

PS-> Anyone seen the Kite Runner movie yet?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Waiting on the World to Change


Lets start the new year with this wonderful song.