Sunday, July 10, 2011


Looks like my blog starves all though autumn and spring fed only in summers and on certain occasions winter. Inspite of pretty habitué bloggers around, old habits have died hard. I remember mentioning once to Anush to write about travel experiences for sure. Since then, he has religiously followed that doing photo blog post with nice crispy and descriptive experiences. Its me , who didnt keep up though. So I thought lets give it a shot and write a couple lines about highlights of events since last year.

Lets rewind the reel and go a year back , this is the start of 2010 summer, with me starting second year at school but apprarently still immature teenager according to my friends. I remember Chadhs making the statement " Even your kids are going to tell you, daddy you are too immature ". Recently, Chatar said too: " If only you can make me realize once that I am not talking with a kid!" !!", now that was hilarious.

Summer 2010

Summers kicked off with me moving to Atlanta for an internship with CISCO after finishing first year at grad school. Summer brings back memories of amazing stay with an undergrad from GAtech Alain and lovely homely weekends with Neha di. Every now and then, we would visit Alain's brother's place. He was a news reader in CNN and I could literally sense it through his smooth talks, " Yeah ! these folks are different". He had a huge farmhouse all to himself with two dogs, a cat, four chicken and two horses. News readers are paid hell lot of money, it should definitely be considered for a profession given the ability. Working only 3-4 nights in a week left him ample time to spend with his animal folks. His small dwelling sat in middle of his property with a pretty rustic outlook. The main spotlight though was a creek flowing around the property. I remember myself and Alain playing frisbee standing with our feet half soaked in that Creek. The goal here was to throw frisbee just in the direction of creek and not hit the surrounding shrubs . After all, he was training me all this time, he being a pro ultimate frisbee player. For other evenings, we would just go to a grass lawns besides the lake nearby our place and play frisbee there. This was later replaced with tennis after the day when I was insisting Neha di to play with me. To avoid it, she rather handed over hers and jijus rackets for the summer. Now that both me and Alain were amateurs having never played tennis before, it was quite an achievement to get the right serve across, feeding power in to it was a far fetched aim then. This turned out to be real fun, a little bit challenging though.

Alain was also a very peculiar guy to speak of, pretty astute. He quickly finished up all his internship work in like two weeks and after that it was just Starcraft both at office and home. Some times I used to wonder if we all humans are virtual characters for him and he belonged to the starcraft world. Everyday he would tell me about his new strategies to construct a smarter army adjusting the proportions of offendors and defendors. There was like a planned scheme behind his every move. He sometimes looked so enchanted as if he couldnot realize surrealness of all of it.

And how can I forget Mrs Garcia, Alain's mother who came to stay with Alain from Florida for the summer. So yeah, we three people stayed together. Such a loving woman, she made me feel like I was her second son. Some times she would just read from her recipe book and cook vegetarian food for me. Now that was remarkable, how many people would do it. She would arrange breakfast table for us everyday with toasted bread, cheese and fruits. Then when we would come back, she had dinner ready most of the time for both of us, we would just eat the whole of it quickly and leave for playing. She would just come with us and walk around.

Friday afternoons were lunch outings for all of us interns, we would go for different cuisines every week with our two buddies from CISCO choice select. These guys ensured that our stay at CISCO remains wonderful. For other afternoons we five - me, Alain, Jeff, Alex and Jon would meet at cafeteria and eat together.

I dont remember how much work I used to get done on Fridays as I would just wait for the day to get over and Neha di to pick me up from home. Jiju had gone for an internship with Microsoft in Seattle, so it was just me and Neha di back in Atlanta. We were a great company together having pretty much similar tastes and interests. We both get super enthu when it comes to cooking and baking. Now that she got married to a guy from Uttar Pradesh, she learnt new cuisines of the region. Let me mention a couple I ate-

Farra - sort of an Indian version of momos/dumplings filled with crushed wet chana dal.
Vegetable rice cooked with lots of spices.
Aloo sabzi with rice where aloo were crushed uniformly in to a thick curry of tomatoes.

She had a good expertise in making guju dishes too now that my chachi is from there. She made toor dal once with sugar and kokam ( a sour spice like tamarind ) together with fried aloo, one of the best combinations I have ever eaten. Withal, she also learnt himachali food from her grandmother and once made a nice tomato onion sauce to eat with paranthe.

She also got me interested in salads which I hated most as lunch when I came to US. I couldn't imagine salad substituting for lunch , it seemed so bland to eat just raw leaves and veggies. But there is much more to it than I thought. Putting a dressing gives a nice flavor to it and adding croûtons & beans makes it pretty much filling with all carbs and proteins. I have seen people adding feta cheese to it too. Recently, Anush suggested some nicer additions to it. Raisins, walnuts, peaches and oranges gives it a sweet taste and the vineger balsmic dressing provides a pretty tangy taste to it. By the end of adding all these ingredients, blandness is pretty much gone.

Some week ends we would not try making Indian but other cuisines like Mexican enchilladas , Italian ravioli etc. On baking side, Neha di had a pretty nice recipe book as big as Bible. She would measure everything in perfect proportions as the book asked due to which everything would come out just impeccable. We tried brownies, banana bread, couple of different cakes and cupcakes.

She also got me interested in running and gymming, I reached to 4.3 miles in 40 minutes by end of summer. There were other gym classes she used to take in week days like aerobics, stair step dance. Seemingly a blend of gymming and choreo, it got me pretty interested, only that I had other interesting stuff with Alain for week days.

We would just sit silent at times enjoying each other's company not being bored at all. Sometimes it is just presence which matters. Staying there felt like back home, I used to sleep tight like a baby.

Autumn 2010

Fall came with an advent of another trip. Summer hang over mode switched to planning mode, Labor day was over the corner and friends were coming from all over - Seattle, Austin and Sunnyvale to COLORADO. A single video conference did all the planning and booking assignments. The pack of nine was all set to go for a blast.

We rented a big cozy bungalow for three dazz with a wooden terrace looking towards mountains. The next four days were crazy, moving around doing photo sessions and sky sports in the day and daru & dance party at night. Tequila pong made drinking so much fun with junta missing shots more and more as it went on. Gills belly dance sent us to fits of laughter making the shoots much more harder. Harsh's amazing sense of humour was an icing over top of it all.

We tried couple of sky sports during the trip. The first one we did was a sky roller coaster on the tip of mountain. It was a simple pendulum which involved a free fall in the start so that the slacked string is taut after which it started doing harmonic motion with half time of top of abyss. This was pretty adventrous atleast for the first time.

We did 2 inclined railways where one took us to and fro up down a small mountain. This one was pretty old from 19th century. There was river rafting going on in the river flowing down the mountain but we ditched it for other stuff. The second railway was pretty long curving around many mountains with pretty scenic views all the way . Not that you could visually identify that but supposedly three states were visible from top. The last day involved ziplining where they hang you through the hook to metal rope and you cross between mountains. Looking scary at first place but it was fun at end of the day! We had a huge stack of photos to summarize the whole trip ending up on face book as Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

The squawk of work brought me back from vacation mode. The semester turned out to be pretty heavy with bulky probability and hefty signals. Weekly probability home works took hours together but the group discussions made it fun at end of the day . I made friends with naga, suriya and good oldie home work partner niki was there as usual. Now that I think of it, she took courses with me every semester and we became good buddies at end of it all. Being an undergrad from Maryland, she had so many anecdotes from there. Everytime she used to open a page from her memory and narrate something. I dont know how far she reached by end of our masters though. She should definitely give a shot at writing a book "Stories from Maryland'.
Now that I was not a fresh kid out from bachelors, stuff needed to be pushed down on the research side too. It was more of writing job with its roots from previous "courses with Anush" semester . I did 2 course projects with him and an extension of his previous work for the third. Thanks to smart him, we were able to finish offf stuff on time and this semester was time for sending them to press plucking low hanging fruits. It was an awesome experience getting hands on nuances of tech writing from him. I doubt I can ever reach to his level though. He is amazing at communicating ideas across, words just flow so smoothly through him. I would pay anything to be like that, seriously!

Back home, I was (and am) renting a big ( and bigger one next autumn) apartment with three other guys. One of these guys has been Anush again with whom I have been sharing the room. That's how I came to know the other two. Living with them has turned out to be pretty interesting feeling back to hostel with regular bakar sessions only that contexts and contents are changed. Each one of the them have their own pecularities when it comes to bakar.
Curveh , the ghatti guy (read it as Marathi if not familiar) is a hilarious yet pose as a "serious" guy, he would pull your leg with out you even realizing it, some times even if I do, I would still pass as the whole process is so much fun.

As he tells us, when he was a kid, he was taught three principles he has based his life on:
1) Be yourself (imagine an expression of Yo! with it)
2) If you eat meat and flesh, angels will die in heaven.
3) Never ever watch Indian team playing cricket, they will loose

He has a set of 11 friends spread all around the world , everybody whom ke knows and become friends with got to have some kind of kinship with these eleven. He has convincing theories about every existing thing out there in the world. God knows how many of them are true but atleast I take them at face value. Hats off to his persuasion skills!!! His eating style is amazing too, would cook his Marathi dal once in a week and eat it every meal for a week and then cook the same dal again next week!

Invincible in racket sports, he always has great tips to give when he watches you play. According to Anush, he is the standard for maturity whenever I have to gauge myself.

Second comes the filmy gult guy named Manohar , he has watched all movies released in Telugu, Tamil, English and Hindi. He remembers each and every dialogue by heart and can pretty much act each of them if you ask him to. He follows all spicy TV serials and magazines, if you ever need to know whats going on in life of any celebrity, you are approaching the right person.

Then comes Anush Moorthy whom I am always confused with when it comes to name and initials. Now that we work in the same lab, stay at the same place and have same set of friends, I end up bearing him all the time. :D . He is a pseudo ghatti guy , a tamil brought up in Bombay but hates himself to be associated with Tamil community. That is one tool I can always pull his leg with if nothing comes in handy. If he were given the choice, he would definitely prefer to be one of northern kin, probaby Gujju!

However like me, he likes to propose stupid theories and we end up arguing and trying to make each other believe what we think. We literally start blabbering on any random topic and find logic in it, now I know why a normal human finds PhD junta beserk! :D Welcome to grad life! ;)
He tries hard to crack jokes but they end up being PJ's most of the time. Watching sitcoms all the time hasnt helped a bit but got him closer and closer to Hansa from Khicdi. Nowhere to run, he has accepted cracking PJ's as his talent now.

On a serious note, he is one of the few guys I have met who shares my " trying out" passion. There is so much to learn just from observing him, the most remarkable from those being his time management skills. He will pursue all his hobbies, work as much as all people together in the LIVE lab but still free all the time. I always stealthily watch if he has a time watch like Hermione enabling him to be a parallel processor.

Lastly, we have our pseudo room mate Praneeth Netrapalli, common friends with me, Moorthy and Manohar. Pretty savvy guy, an undergrad from IITB and two year employee at GoldmanSachs , he joined UT two years back with me. This guy has got a natural talent with jumping and climbing. If you watch him do that, you can definitely believe that we descended from apes and monkeys! He has been my tennis , swimming and bakar buddy all this spring.

Spring 2011

My inflexible sleeping patterns flash out more prominently after my India trips, jetlag doesnt feel like leaving me for 2-3 weeks or so. This time, it was aggravated by another time zone change from Central US to Pacific time zone during jetlag recovery time. I was travelling to San Francisco for a conference on Human Vision and Electronic Imaging .

I met Kalpana there, the old star student of our LIVE lab, as foddu as Moorthy. Yeah he is the standard of tech fodduness as Curveh is for maturity. So I got Kalpana's company all though conference and got tips about future directions of my research not that I could successfully come up with something using them as of yet.

Conference place was right across sea side with couple of restaurants where I would go for lunches and enjoy the scenic view. A cousin from Sunnyvale visited once for a night sight seeing of SF now that neither he nor me had time during the day. Yellow lighted red Golden gate rendered me speechless, all I could do was appreciate the beauty of the humungous structure. No wonder, it is counted in the list of best architectures done by humans. Hats off to the engineers and architects who worked on it! Now I have to visit his bro Brooklyn standing on the east coast next!

After a couple of photo clicks with it in the background we went to Pierre 39 to walk around. Driving on lombard street was another fun activity I kept in reserve for next time!

Spring semester was packed with so much activity since the advent of it. The important highlight though was car hunt now that I was supposed to go to Atlanta for another summer. Funding from CISCO for a year came in a package with another internship for the summer. I didnt want to rely on getting a nice room mate as Alain again who would drive me down to work every day and wait for me when I am late at time after discussions with my boss neither did I want Neha di to do the pick up chore every week end. So I decided lets have my own conveyance to move around. This hunt was not at all easy as it looked like, was equivalent to taking a three credit hour course at UT!

I choose not to take a new car, as if I could have afforded it. Looking for a second or third or fourth hand car meant checking a whole load of stuff - less than 80K miles on the car, Japanese brand to have lesser maintainence cost in long run, clean car fax with nothing fishy, asking a friend to accompany you for test drive, a mechanic check up if everything else looks good. Preferably car should be bought from couple/family, they being not as rash as us youngsters. Then on top of it all, it got to have a reasonable price in your range. If car satisfies all needed specs, the deal was pretty much gone in a snap of fingers, so you need to be pretty quick. This meant looking for cars on craiglist as frequently as checking face book! Hard ain't it ?

Guneet, Moorthy and kd.kichu helped me through it with their expert comments while also helping me with test drives. On one fine evening, Guneet companied me for a test drive of black accord 2003 coupe v6 . She called for Casey Eastberg's accord 2003 as the one I have been looking for and that was it! Everything just fell through. We loved the test drive with Casey's post beer hilarious talks, car fax also came out clean, mechanic gave a green flag, chotu agreed to help me with extra needed cash, Casey was fine with coming to bank to exchange hands over money, Moorthy and Guneet were ready to take out their whole evening to get "my precious " home, so we were all set and there she was, standing in the parking lot of Century Plaza. So much for the hunt and everything was done in a day!

On a sidenote, due to CISCO not doing well in spring quater, they didnt extend internship offers and internship was cancelled! :D This was hilarious, so much effort for the hunt and she will stay in Austin for the summer. That's not happening! I got super motivated to search for another intern and gave a couple of interviews. Sony one didnt turn out well. However, interview with RICOH went pretty decent and they asked for another one next week. Long procedure huh! but what could a poor guy do, no other option than to wait. Next week arrived, second one went fine too and then they asked for recommendations. After talking with my professor, I got good news of acceptance on my birthday. I was all set for an internship in Menlo Park!

Another ordeal now was learning to drive and that too before leaving Austin, Moorthy and Guneet took all the effort for that too. They would take me for evening drives and also teach me to parallel park with their 3 point algorithms. Stupid me still got the license after failing four times! These guys made fun of me making a profitable deal of learning from driving instructors itself by paying eleven dollars for three trials. I broke a couple of rules every time and then learnt that they pretty much exist! Supposedly, I scared all instructors one by one at the test facility, everytime a new one would come insecure but what could the poor guy do ?No option than taking my test! They had a sigh of relief when one of their kind was kind enough to pass me. Miss shukla was on the verge of getting a "BEWARE!! ANISH MITTAL got a driver license" printed in Daily Texan, it was only when I told her that I am moving to California, she decided otherwise.

On Sports side, I moved to more physcial ones. Being a part of badi-phile group, we were doing it like 3 times a week.Other days Praneeth and Curveh would teach me the nuances of Tennis. As and when I do these sports, it makes me realise that arm strength is what I am lacking for any power shots.

Tuesdays and Thursdays were swim evenings with Stuart and Laura. For some reason , stupid right leg didn't feel like moving and poor left had to do all the work. Now that swimming needs a proper rhythmic movement, I couldnt move much ahead just with my legs, arms always had to come for rescue. Also, breathing requires body to be near water surface which becomes difficult with skewed leg movements making free style all more difficult. Hence I thought it to be a better idea to try a buoy between legs and float on back so that no breathing is needed. Even with buoys, floating on back was an ordeal that time but as Laura and Anush said: "Dont worry too much about it, it will come", it eventually did.

Next, arms were supposed to do a cyclic pattern in back stroke which was also destablizing me at the moment and I ended up throwing water on myself. So I rather started moving both of them together like birds flutter their wings. It sort of worked. I could do a couple laps which was an achievement for the start. Then slowly and steadily, I tried taking out the buoy sitting in my groin and swim without that. Once that was done, I also started picking cyclic pattern of arms. Just the swift leg movement is all thats needed here!

On research side, the semester proved to be pretty eventful too, I was supposed to finish my master by this semester. I planned to extend one of the course projects I did with Anush and finished work off by march so that I get enough time for writing thesis. But while fine tuning the work, I came across an interesting finding which worked briliantly. This caused a sudden turn in events and I decided to put this as my thesis. With Anush's and Dr. Bovik's help, I was able to make it better from sample statistics based application to model based one. I had to do couple of night outs to finish the stuff off. However, the night outs were not intentional, it was the excitement at times which kept me awake. I turned in the master thesis on time and officially got MS graduated!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

148 hours(II)

Such a breather, some plane finally took off with me and Gill in it. Heavy rosed cheeks of singaporian girls gave a full blown smile showing our seats and served hot wet towels to scrub off the fag of the day. I cosily took refuge on the middle seat taking turns between watching movies and eloping with Andre in his Autobiography Open.

The book was a real fun read especially when Andre walked me through all his grand slam experiences and opponent mind reading strategies .He started off the game hitting tennis balls all day thrown at him at full speeds by the dragon machine designed by his father. He would get strong bashing whenever the ball hit the net. He hated it and would do anything to foreclose it returning each serve impeccably. That explains why he was one of the best returners of the millennium. Pete, in contrast, was the best server.Need to read him to explain that. He made his career through hard work in contrast with Andre being a prodigy.The most intriguing part of all was Andre doing so well in Tennis despite disliking it to his core.

His book has emphasized one biggie everywhere - The attitude is what governs winning or loosing.He was so inconsistent attributed to up downs of his life. When he was happy,inspired, motivated and had faith in himself, he achieved the infeasible. His love stories with Brooke Shields and Stefanie Graffe were very amusing and engaging. How he started with Brooke just through fax for weeks when she was in Africa for shoots,no crushes or interests whatsoever but ending up in commitment. This didn't prove to be happy and understanding relationship though.Being in different professions and unable to enter each other's comfort zones, their inter personal chemistry got pretty messed up ending in a divorce.

Andre's solid crush on Stefanie Graffe got a full blown revival after his break up with Brooke. It's just that Stefanie didnt give him a damn before and he didn't push it hard enough before. Experience with Brooke gave him lessons in handling girls and winning four grand slams & Olympics confidence. The words of his coach "Only you and Stefanie have been able to win all grand slams and Olympics, you both are meant to be together" got engraved in his heart and soul.

His coach persuaded Stefanie's in to making her play a few shots with Andre as a practice match. He then takes off his shirt to show off his body and seduce her. He starts cooling down exercises with her on the net although never done before to chit-chat and watch out for her fair slim legs. Initially hesitant in meeting Andre in public,being committed to a German racer guy, she slowly starts responding to bait once Andre gives her a personal surprise birthday card.

His one liner of "we are meant to be together" gave the final requisite blow for commitment. She and the chartiable school foundation gave him enough adrenaline to ward off his hatred for tennis. He started playing professionally as a kid and continued his career till 36 years of his life given the fact that most of the tennis players retire at the age of 30. His whole life was irony.

The book also talks about how his family and friends helped him survive all fatal blows of his life and most importantly his trainer Gill. Once you have love and support, you can come out of any emotional abyss. That explains his come back again and again.

When I finished my trip with Andre, the plane had already landed with no skidding to my surprise on the icy -10 C grounds of Moscow . I was supposed to hop on and off the plane passing through so called farzi security check. Moscow airport seemed like one of the most ancient of its kind portraying the look of a black and white movie of 1950's.I felt like taking a time travel machine with Andre and ending up in the wrong millennium.

The lousy baggage check machine at security check point looked like the first most advanced of its kin installed by Stalin and never changed since. Nobody even asked to take out our laptops or electronics from the bag. Everything looked just like the ritual to appease the old beast machine watching out for Moscow.The tattooed russian girl was just sitting by the side of it,not that she could do anything if a situation demands so except saying NO to camera clicks, fearing that the people would know their crummy lousy security.

Every native looked drunken with red puffed eyes and were walking like live zombies. No wonder that most of the shops were selling liquor and cigarettes. May be that's the only thing they do after Tennis and Math.

As everything else, even the check in seemed like a formality. Singaporian airlines announced for business class boarding, but checked in every class together, carpeting whatsoever for the business class people seemed too far fetched lest they reach safely without a knock out.There was no concept of a queue. The boarding gate looked like the tip of a triangle, everybody converging towards it. No body would even care to apologize if they stumped on you while rushing through. Welcome to Russia!!!

The next move was made from Russian federation to Singapore, the second part of my journey. Russians seemed like carnivores with an acute shortage of vegetarian food. The only food I got was boiled brocolli and some oiled boiled squash and Zucchini. I can definitely scrap Russia for my to be in places list.Going in the city and watch out for the living style of this species would be fun though.

We finally landed to Singapore airport finding such a stark difference. The airport was heavily carpeted anywhere and everywhere and gyms, swimming pools and massage chairs sitting everywhere. Go to the information center and get access for free internet,What more do you want from a airport. No long queues for the check in as every gate had its own security check. I was curious how much money did they shell out for springing up the giant. Even had a well planned guided cultural tour of the city for the people having stop overs.

The government has ensured housing and jobs to every citizen. I presume a lot comes from serving at the airport itself and serving at coast. They claim to have the busiest port in the whole world. Like US, this country also doesn't have natives and a old history to talk about. Chinese, Indians, Malaysians and the mixed breeds make majority of the population. Even the city is organized as China Town, India town and Malay town but thats more due to divide and rule policy of british again. Now that seems to have dissolved more or less.

I came back to the aiport after a 2 hour city/country trip and just lied down on the massage chair for a while and got off only at the boarding time to find myself upgraded for the business class to adjust some family. I seated myself on the cosy big chair with Zen and the art of motorscycle maintainence. When the damsel came to ask for the drink, I ordered my favourite spicy tomato juice which goes with bloody mary mix name in states not making myself clear about the mocktail. I received a concoction of vodka and tomato juice instead for obvious reasons.Sip by sip the lethargy swept over only to find myself woken up in Bangalore by the noise of people getting down. The long awaited moment finally arrived.

PS: This is my first photo blog. Thanks to Anush and Michelle for inspiration.

Monday, December 27, 2010

148 hours(I)

The heat of the Inde trip was on. One by one I bade adieu to all my room mates. Packing up the work left overs all week, the day finally came when gill called to ride over the GREY HOUND (inter-city bus) and catch over the BA flight from Houston.

Seemed like a fine day and a good start with fresh brownies baked by Nani. Weather also seemed promising with sufficient warmth in the air. The bus took a country side route and we could see large people and fields driving large trucks. Thats Texas....

The hound didn't like running on the highway, so we got off his back and took a classy 15 $ bus ride from downtown. Asit tuned out, it ran for us only with no other passengers. Feeling loyal, spirits high, we hopped off the airport. The strangest of its kind, the airport had as minimal signs as they could go with. Problems began their jouney with us from here itself. We moved around in the lousy elevator checking different floors for the counter of British airways until one fine lady told us the way.

Dragging the trolley to the counter, screens with red words were blinking at us mercilessly "FLIGHT IS CANCELLED. No INDE TRIP for next few days, snow storm in full wave".

"Brothers wedding was all the motivation of making the trip, take us poor souls away from this trouble post of london. Send us through the gulf we even don't mind going via moon or mars if we reach to our Inde. This will be a chain disaster of all the upcoming plans to bangy, kurg and mysore. This is not what we wanted, we longed for a beautiful lovely vacation with the family beneath the woods in the middle of coffee fields."we remarked.

The kind angelica did all exhaustive searches and weather predictions to get as through as fast as possible. She finally came up with a flight 2 days later with Lufthansa that will fly us untouched amidst all storms eating up British Airways,Air France and KLM flight schedules. Sad,melancholy souls waited and waited for 2 days at Sheraton and when the happy night before the departure day came, gill just checked Luthansa for next day, eyes got a sudden roll over.

Multiple refreshes, multiple checks every minute, checks on different sites -all gave the same result. "Frankfurt is closed due to heavy snow storm, We apologize for the inconvenience caused.. The direction of the storm has taken as sudden turn."

"Are we spending quater vaction in Sheraton Houston itself?" Gill remarked.

Lord of Rings echoed on the walls of my brain
"But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow in the waters that was soon lost in the West. There he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-Earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart."

Then another echo came in....

"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil."

And so the swords were reforged and we prepared for the (hopefully)last battle of middle hoston boarding the bus for another grand slam. British airways lined all the broken hearts in queue whose sluggishness even beat the tortoise. It took them 7 hours to process 14 people. God knows if they were learning to operate the software or what.I was the first to sit down and munch on the left over novel but then everyone followed the suit.

The german girls even did some yoga exertions to keep their calm. When we finally reached, we received an awesome itinerary supposed to start after 2 days.

It seemed like a never ending journey of Gondor to Mordor. The singapore airlines would first take us to their home land not through PACIFIC but rather through ATLANTIC doing global bhraman locomoting over the old Caucasus Mountains of cold Russia then going over the top of our home land. The exit of the plane I never dared to use would have been so instrumental if only I had taken some sky diving lessons. Then a 7 hour hiatus for the next flight to Inde from Singapore. With no option left and too scared to take any european airlines, this seemed like the way to go.

The gladiators were again taken back to the three star cell. Seemed to settle down in our pseudo home, we started exploring other possibilites for food with only pasta as the pure veggie option for 2 last days "Can u remove the beef from the burger and replace it with guacamule" or "Can you take off the chicken peices from Quesadillas". Lets watch out for the work out options now that we are eating a lot of cheesy greasy stuff. Harsha and Pranav came to bail us out for an hour drive for beer and show us the city glamor. To our dismay, the clubs around looked pretty shady, so planned to come back. Though had a pretty good time chit-chatting over beer.

We left very early next day to get the first in line in case flight gets cancelled but finally stars took our side and this flight luckily was on time. Checking in seemed the best thing in the world at the moment .

PS:Credits for the namesake blog title stole from 127 Hours movie to my friend Pranav Bhandarkar. Name rings bells of a movie director but he is the Namesake of our gang leader Pranav Karve .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Inde Trip Dairies

Middle of the semester it was; no respite, assignments supposed to be finished till the end of spring break and some exams even. Sinking star of Hindu myths didn’t show any mercy nor would have the scorching heat of summers. Voila, the wedding ceremony of my sister was planned in the blooming springs of March me being summoned to Hindustan. The exhilarating climax of 2 weeks got over with a snap of fingers. Struck in a limbo, the kick of the semester brought me back.

The reel rewinds….

Packed with so much activity the trip set off the mark with the third night out (having spent 2 nights in travel already) with my friend Gogo munching original Indian cuisine from Bikaner after a long year.

Agreed boy that I had no muscle memory for bowling but still I anticipated tendons and ligaments to show some support at least. They betrayed me badly steering the whole bunch of balls in to gutter throwing Gogs in to rolls of laughter. The next flop show was a random sorry movie watch when we couldn’t get the tickets for Invictus taking our adrenaline to lowest levels boosted only by a boot of freshly brewed beer. The booz kicked in the anecdotist skills back in Gogs with him recounting each and every incident of Convo in great detail making me miss it more than ever. The flood gates were closed again only at 6 in the morning.

The fagged soul had no respite for the next four days due to incessant shopping for coming nuptial ceremonies. The fatigue of the day dissolved the jet lag so quick that I used to sleep like a baby in nights.

Different different yumm cuisines are still sitting at Nukkads (street corner) in Delhi .The outlook speaks of no renovation so forth but who cares when taste buds are happy go lucky.

Delhi is a hub of traditional wear with an immense pool to browse from. I picked Rajasthani, Bengali and Western wear but I pity them to have the fate of blooming once like a Star of Bethlehem and then sealed forever in the wardrobe.

It took 4 days to finish rather wind up as it happens to be a never ending hunt for the girls. The most hilarious part though was expending half of the time looking out for Parul’s JHUMKI (earrings).

The next few days started with the card distribution and believe me it was no easy deal when 1500 people are invited. I was wondering how we are going to manage really but then papa devised “Divide and Manage” making a troop of his friends’ sons to manage each and everything.

Small kids cry on the top of their larynx when they come at socials, so papa came up with an idea of KIDS CORNER to gratify the little ones making them feel at a gala rather.

The pack of six (friends) arrived to combat the chariots of the groom not to allow him just unleash our territory before accrediting us. (It’s an Indian tradition to cut the ribbon at the entrance and gift to sister and brother in laws ).

It was a perfect KODAK moment when the best man (me of course ihun ihun :)) escorted the bride under the shroud of fragrant roses with band beats making the moments in the ambiance. It felt like years just vaporized; the sibling I played around with was getting betrothed .And so the moment came when all the balloons kissed the sky and the garlands were exchanged. She became the wife of the man of her dreams.

The bride bade au revoir by throwing back the cereal (symbolizes wishing for prosperity back her parents home) .The awesome sense of humor of my cousin couldn’t let anyone tickle a drop of tear at the softest moment even when the hard hearted fathers cry like babies. And so the movie came to the climax ……..

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Passion of a High School kid III

Being air borne and surf as an avian was what he cherished. He used to love the time when his mother used to tell him stories as a kid about Icarus and his magical wax wings. He thought of never going near sun and loosing them like Icarus did once he receive them.

When he got certain that the magical wings were never fashioned again after Icarus fell, he sought other ways when he came across the story book read of magical broom used by witches. He asked his parents where he could find one but they would always tell him that he is too young to steer it not desiring to break the kid’s heart. He was content with collecting the stickers of the witch with broom for time being.

He was so excited when the stories of Harry Potter came and Quidditch became his favorite sport .He used to lay aside pocket money to buy the novel on the same day of its release and would teleport in the novel and race with harry on Nimbus 2000.He always used to wonder why he has not seen anyone playing it in Izmir.

Gone were the days of the fantasy kid world, he was an adolescent now and knew it was all fictitious except the air borne planes. Nothing like a personal air bike or broom exists for the matter of fact. He had to pinch himself to believe when his father got him an air bike instead of counter strike game as he expected. It was unheard of in turkey and his father got it shipped from Germany as soon as the product entered the market.

This was the time to call Cosku to fiddle around with the air wagon together. Cosku had pretty good knowledge when it came to land wagons but air borne would be a new challenge for him too. They will bend the air and cut through the sea of clouds.

After getting expertise in driving, he could ask Aylin for a ride too and it would definitely be the cool stuff Cosku was talking about.

When called, Cosku didn’t believe at first but he was amazed when he looked at it for real and they started trying to operate it that moment only. The vehicle need to be supplied with initial fuel for making up the thrust and but then it was supposed to use the heat from its surroundings to drive through. It took an hour before they could be airborne. It scared hell out of them at first when they couldn’t control the speed of it and regretting not reading about it first. It just cut across the wind like a blade but then Cosku figured out how to control the amount of heat absorbed and hence change the speed. It got soo much smoother and exhilarating.

Being a coastal kid, he started swimming almost before walking and then wind surfing but this experience was different, definitely different .He had been fantasizing about this for so long.He adored his father for the moment.

Bekir !!! Bekir!!!

Ohh Boy!! Wake up, you don’t want to be late for the first day of school, Cosku must be on his way for here already.