May 10, 2015

Evening Walk

Pictures from my mobile during the evening walk.


Trying to use mobile to write posts. Let's see if it works..

May 8, 2015

Party Names

So yesterday was general election in UK. This is the first time I have been in UK for a general election and unlike other countries, an immigrant such as myself (not a citizen or a permanent resident but on work visa), I have a right to vote! Not sure I agree to that law but am not dwelling on it in this post.

As I logged in today morning to check on the results, I was surprised to find quite a few more political parties listed (I never got any communication from them in my constituency so guess they didn't have a candidate there). Two party names caught my attention:

I am not making this up! I really do like manifesto of Monster Raving Loony Party but I don't think I am going to waste a vote for satire. But surely wish I could..

P.S.: I am glad conservatives are back in power. What can I say, I am a hard core capitalist.

May 6, 2015

Warning Label

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/auntyacid
I think mine would say:

How about yours? What will it say? 

May 2, 2015

Racist much?

A scene from London underground train this Friday. Its rush hour so people are quite literally squashed together. An idiot, and I must specify - an Asian looking man, gets in and does  not take off his back pack which in the crowded train means he is bumping everyone around him with his bag and occupying place of 2 people instead of one. Another passenger, this time a white guy, ask him to take his backpack off quite politely. This idiot turns around and calls him racist.

Racist! Do people even know the meaning of thag word or is it a white looking person says anything to a non-white person is racism? In the mean time the non-white person can hurl abuse at a white person and yet not be a racist (yes, that happens quite often too)?

Racism is discriminating other human based on their race. In my experience,  we Indians are one of the racist race. We have a "name" for each and every race (chinki, kalu, gora) and we openly hurl them at people who look different than us. We do this not only in India but even when in their country. And yet we call others racist! By what right?

We discriminate solely based on skin colour within our race and outside our race- white being good, dark shades are treated badly. Not that we leave fair skin alone. A colleague of mine, who incidentally married a French woman, hurls such bad abuses for white people when he is amongst Indian crowd. Somehow, it makes him cooler with Indian crowd. It makes me want to vomit.

Yes, racism is alive and well. But I think its more prevalent amongst us than others. We are so openly racist and yet if you say this to an Indian person they look at me as if I am mad. How can an Indian be racist? You see, only white person can be a racist. 

May 1, 2015

Thank you very much, Ms. Barkha Dutta

"Statistically, the instances of sexual violence are higher in US and UK than it is in India", she said.
Yes, because women are told not to report the crime in India. Police refuse to write a FIR of a rape. The women are shamed into withdrawing their complains. Of course, statistically, we have a lower instances of sexual crime in India.

"We had a woman leading us as prime minister four decades ago." she said.
If Jawahar lal Nehru had a son instead of a daughter, it would not have been so. Indira Gandhi "led" India not because we were liberal towards woman but because we wanted the 'pseudo-royal' family to lead. We also had Rabri Devi as CM and not to mention, Pratibha Patil as President. They paint more accurate picture of most women in politics in India.

"We have paid maternity leave", she said.
And gender discrimination in work place. The country where they can say openly, "We do not want to employ girls" and can walk away with no consequences what-so-ever.

"We do not have debate over abortion and reproductive rights." she said.
Because we know woman don't have any rights. We have female infanticide instead.

February 10, 2015

Long time..

I miss blogging. I do. I miss the support system that blogging provides. So here is an attempt to restart a dead blog. Let's see how things go...

I guess New Year would have been a good time to start again but this year I delayed my resolution by one month to make sure it's not just the post-holiday guilt/excitement. I delayed joining the gym as well. I started this Monday with first-ever Pilates class (am still sore).

My life situation at the moment, well frankly, is not so good. While the world is celebrating low oil prices, oil industry as a whole going through redundancies including yours truly company. We haven't yet been told who goes or who stays because, as per UK law, we have  months of consultation period. Frankly, it's a torture. I would rather get to know now instead of three months of uncertainty. But then we can't change the law, can we?

Having said that, it's quite interesting to see how people's behaviour change when they are put in such a stressful, uncertain environment. The political correctness, the friendship: everything goes out of window. Guess, tough time is good time to measure a person's character.

Well, that's all from me tonight. Hope to be back here again soon.

March 25, 2013

Photography Challenge 4: Transportation

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Finally, here are the pictures for the challenge 4, Transportation. I took them over last weekend, however work kept me very busy for the rest of week so haven’t been able to post these. So here they are finally.

To be very honest, I was completely out of depth for this challenge which made it extra, for lack of better word, challenging. I planned two different approach for this challenge. First was straight forward, take picture of various means of transportation. However, I didn’t have complete faith on this one. So my backup plan was to go to the London Transportation Museum. So here are mixed pictures from my two adventures.

The first picture is from London Waterloo station (No, not the one in the battle of Waterloo. That’s in Belgium). It is a big station with trains arriving and departing every few minutes, making it a desirable spot for taking pictures of train.

 

 

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This next picture is at the Bank station, also know as the city or the square mile. It is a major business and financial centre. Throughout the 19th century, the City served as the world's primary business centre. I kind of like this picture among my “out-on-street” pictures. It shows six different mode of transportation (car, taxi, bus, cycle, pedestrian and underground station) along with the traffic congestion in the heart of the city of London. What more can you ask for in a transportation themed picture?

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Next are the pictures from the London Transport Museum. Let me start by saying that it was a great experience to see the museum although I think £15 is a bit too much to ask for entrance. Especially in London where almost all museum are free to public.

Anyway, as I was saying, it was a great experience. I learned so much about something I use almost daily. Did you know that the first underground railway was opened in London in 1863, only 60 years after the first railway journey? Did you figure out that they were steam engines running in underground tunnels? I didn’t till I was in the museum, imagining how stuffy and awful those journeys must have been? True, I could have gathered all this information from internet sitting at home but the experience of seeing those engine models as well as those rail coaches in front of you while you are receiving this information is something different. For example, look at the way underground coaches looked in 80s

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The next picture shows a map of crossrail project currently under development (the future). The first train for crossrail should run in 2017.

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The last picture is again from the London Waterloo station. I just liked the way the clouds in the background gives a dramatic effect.

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That’s all for today. I already have pictures for the next challenge. Hopefully, I will be able to upload them some time this week.

March 15, 2013

What’s your most prized possession?

So an Italian photographer, Gabriele Galimberti, did a project, Toy stories, in which he compiled photos of children from around the world with their prized possessions, their toys. He travelled around the globe to get these pictures. Have a look at these amazing pictures. I love the way he has placed kids and neatly organized the toys around them.

Looking at these wonderful pictures, I had two interesting train of thoughts.

First, being a photographer (amateur), was how differently I would have taken these pictures. I hate people, especially kids, posing for my pictures. I guess the project would have been a disaster in that case.

Second thought was what if I was one of the kid photographed, how would have my picture looked like. Growing up I didn’t have many toys. Whatever few I had,  were broken, courtesy of big brother. The only possession that I treasured above everything, which was my constant companion since the age of six, was a bicycle. It was my way to freedom. Any problem, any thing bothering me, I will pick up my bike and would go for a long ride. Well, living in university campus and next to army cantonment area had its advantage: Long, safe roads to ride your bike. I do not remember any other toy or thing whom I treasured as a child.

A corollary of the second thought train was what if I was asked to put out my most prized possession now. Would I be able to choose as easily now? I know one of my most prized “toy”  has to be my camera. My smart phone is also very dear to me. My laptop? Hmmm. I know I would miss it sorely. But I guess I can manage with my smart phone for a while.

The prize of my most prized possession will go to my external hard drive that stores all my photos, my music, all my data including my PhD and master’s thesis and everything else. If something happens to it…well, let’s not talk about it. That hard drive is my life. Literally. Remember the story of the magician who transferred his life to a parrot? Well that hard drive is my parrot.

How about you? How would have your photograph looked like if you were the photographed kid? How different it is from your today’s reality?

March 14, 2013

Missing Photography Challenge 2013

Being sick and ultra busy with work made it impossible for me to meet deadline this weekend. I intend to finish the challenge this weekend (if everything works out). My apologies for tardiness.

February 25, 2013

Photography Challenge 3: Weather

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As luck would have it, his time I haven’t been able to go around to take a picture. I have been feeling under the weather for past couple of days. Add to it bad weather (snow and such), it was quite hard for me to go out to take pictures. Yes, ironic. I know. So this week I have only one picture to share which I happened to capture before my misery days started. Hope you enjoy it.

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I call it a cloudy sunset. Hope you like it. Until next time…

February 20, 2013

Really?

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No seriously. ‘Who?, how?, why?’ are the normal question that pops into my head when I see such photos posted by someone in my age group on Facebook. I understand when aunties or my mom do such a thing. They are new to Facebook, internet and the world of cynicism. I even understand when teenagers or my nephew post such random stuff. They are too young to be a cynic.

But when someone my age living in the same world as mine post such a nonsense, I am completely lost. I can’t make an excuse for them. Okay I can make one excuse. They are trying to stay positive. Other than that I really don’t understand how can anyone actually believe in this nonsense.

Or is it just me? Am I too much of a cynic while the world is happy, positive place where people actually begin their days with a grateful heart? Am I the only one who starts her day with a groanful heart?

February 13, 2013

Surprise Endings

SPOILER ALERTS

So in past two weeks I have watched four movies, King's Speech, Hugo, Midnight in Paris and Black Swan. I liked all of them except the last one. Dark Swan is a bit darker than my taste in movie.

(Images linked to their source)

All of these movies had a different story line and a very different ending than the usual movies. However the movie that really surprised me was Midnight in Paris. I, more or less, expected endings of Hugo and King's Speech. I didn't know what to make of Black Swan from starting to end so no comment on that one. But Midnight in Paris was supposed to be the safe movie. The rom-com with happy ending. You know the one where boy and girl fight, then realize they are in love a bit too late and then everything turns a-okay somehow.

Midnight in Paris started with an engaged couple who are in Paris for a trip and ends with them breaking up. It also ends up with the protagonist (the hero) realizing the pointlessness of his dream and finally giving up on it. And yet, the ending of the movie has that feel-good quality. Strange, huh?

It just made me think that how we have been conditioned by our movies to think that a good ending, a happy ending is when the couple ends up together. An ending with a break-up has to be a tragedy, isn't it? We should feel sorry for him or her. But Midnight in Paris made me think about how a break-up can sometimes be a good thing. A new start perhaps. Hence we don't feel sorry for the protagonist but instead feel the relief when he ends that dead-weight relationship.

Rarely a supposedly rom-com makes me think the way this movie has done. Nice movie. At least I liked it.

February 11, 2013

Photography Challenge 3: B&W - Greenwich

As in Greenwich Mean Time.  Yep, been there, done that. Although, I must say I was quite impressed. I didn’t think it will be any good. I was pleasantly surprised.

Before I go any further, let me tell you how difficult this challenge had been for me. I have been quite busy with work lately which has resulted in Carpal Tunnel syndrome to flare as well as my back ache is back. I still somehow managed to get to Greenwich this Friday before the weather took an ugly turn.

Since I have pain in my both hands, I am keeping typing to a minimum this time though i would have love to tell you stories about royal observatory, Maritime museum, Thames walk in Greenwich, Old Royal navy college, Cutty Sark and others. All I can do today is show you few of the snapshots of my exploration in that part of the town.

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Above: Thames walk in Greenwich. You can see the O2 arena and part of Canary Wharf that forms part of London skyline.

Below: Another view from Thames walk showing Canary Wharf.

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Above: Old Royal Navy College from Maritime Museum.

Below: View of London City from Royal Observatory.

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Above: Maritime Museum. Yes they have Ansel Adams exhibit on at the moment. If my back wasn’t hurting as bad it was at that time, I wouldn’t have missed it. Never thought I will walk away from Ansel Adams exhibition. (Yes I cheated a bit on this one. It is not entirely black and white. Had to make sure that you can see the ship in the bottle.)

Finally, my favourite picture of the trip. This is an entrance to Greenwich foot tunnel which is a pedestrian tunnel crossing beneath River Thames. Yep, you heard me right. It is a pedestrian tunnel that goes under Thames river to the other side. It is an under-river bridge (I totally made up that word). Do you know the most amazing part? It was built in 1902! Amazing, huh? I had to write this one down. I was quite impressed by this.

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Until next time. BTW, I would appreciate a few comments now and then. If you could please…

January 28, 2013

Photography Challenge 2: Night Photography–London at night

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Photography challenge this time proved to be very challenging. Reason, you may ask? Oh well, nothing more than poor old fate, I guess. For some reason, every time I tried taking my camera out this time, it snowed, sleeted and rained HEAVILY. The temperatures were sub-zero most of the time, which meant condensation on the lens, ruining any chance of taking a “Night” photograph (the lights looks awful if there is condensation on your lens).

Long story short. I had few very clear shots in mind when I set out to do this challenge. I did manage to capture a few despite all the adverse condition but not all the different ideas I had in mind. I will try them out some time later.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my shots for the Night Photography challenge:

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Since I have been complaining about the weather, here is a picture showing the extent of snow. And yes, its a night time picture (see the street light in the background?). Don’t be fooled by the brightness of snow.

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This is a picture of Piccadilly Circus (circus here refers to circle and not an actual circus) at night time. This is basically a junction of roads with neon lights (like time square in New York). And yeah, it is one of the posh place in London. It is part of London’s West End (It has now become the most expensive location in the world in which to rent office space, just FYI).

This picture has been inspired by +Trey Ratcliff’s picture of Piccadilly circus. Not as majestic as his work, but I did imagine this to be a night picture unlike his.


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The next image is of the famous Regent street. It is a nice (read expensive) shopping place. This is a picture taken from the Piccadilly circus (yes, it is in West End). Interesting fact about Regent street: Every building in Regent Street is protected as a Listed Building, at least Grade II status, and together they form the Regent Street Conservation Area (from Wikipedia).

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Last, but not in any means least, this is Buckingham Palace at night. The picture didn’t come out the way I would have liked. Partly due to the reason that it started to rain at this point and my camera lens had started to form a layer of condensation (see the street lights). Some day, I will get a better shot than this.
That’s all for tonight. For the people interested in visiting London at some point, here is my little map showing the relative position of the Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly circus from my last stop during my last trip around London. (I have these maps for my reference. I would like to take my friends around London without getting lost as I tend to do more often than not.):

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I ended my trip at Westminster bridge (Big Ben and House of Parliament). Buckingham Palace is about 5 min walk from there and Piccadilly circus would be about 10-15 min more. That is, if you can get there without getting lost.

January 17, 2013

Why I don't like 'The Big Bang Theory'?

I am, of course, talking about the series and not the actual event. I am a firm believer of the event itself but I am not so sure about the series. Don’t get me wrong, like almost everyone else, I love the antics of Sheldon Cooper, adore and root for Leonard Hofstadter, and really not sure what to make of Howard Wolowitz or Rajesh Koothrappali. And since it revolves around physics I get quite a bit of references as well.

And yet, I am not too big a fan of the series. My biggest problem with the series being the depiction of “the geeks”. Honestly, Hollywood need to get over with their concept of “geekiness”. As if US is not already struggling with the epidemic of bullying that they have to add to it? The depiction of fairly smart, even genius, people as the social oddity is quite unfair.

Most of my friends are PhDs or engineers or equally well educated. Trust me, if you met any of us, you will not put us down as socially awkward. We are highly successful, confident and happily married (most of us, anyway). None of us dresses or look the way we are depicted by our dearest Hollywood. Most of us don’t even wear glasses (we know about the existence of contacts, thank you very much. I am, of course, referring to all the geeky ladies depicted in the series). Some of us are quite attractive. Most of us have interests beyond sci-fi movies, comic books and science projects. Few of us are good at sports (surprise, surprise), others are good artists. Some of us are more indoor types while others prefer outdoors. We are like any other random group of people you can find except, may be, a bit higher average IQ than the other groups.

So why do Hollywood insist on depicting all of us as socially awkward at all time? I may tolerate them depicting us like that in teenage school drama but depicting grown ups like that is like killing every smart student’s dream that they will ever be socially accepted. They can have successful careers but they will always remain a social outcast. Is this really the message that they want to send to the future brains of their society? Seriously?

All I am asking is to have just one cool, popular and attractive geek? Just one role model to inspire all the smart youngsters out there and not make them feel like losers. Pretty please? (And no, a geek getting a pretty lady is not what I have in mind).