December 31, 2010


Dearest 2010

You have been very nice to me and I want to thank you. You are one of the most special years in my life. During your reign, I finally fulfilled my long time (in fact, longest time) dream of earning a PhD. Ever since I came to know about PhD (at the age of three) accompanied by the fact that my Dad already had one, I dreamt of earning one. However, during the course of my journey to PhD, I almost quit the voyage. during those dark times I thought I will never fulfill this dream. So you see, I will always treasure you as the year I fulfilled my dream and finally, finally, earned my PhD. I will be always grateful to you for that.

I know not many people will thank you as your reign also saw a bad economic recession and a high unemployment rate, so it becomes even more important for me to remind you that not all of us hate you. I will always remember and cherish you.

Sincerely yours


My vote

Asian Window is asking me to choose between Munni or Sheila for the favourite item number.



After watching both the videos I have decided to vote for Waka Waka instead. Mind you, I am not a big fan of Western music but if you are looking for the item number of 2010, I think Shakira in Waka Waka takes the prize. Don’t you think? I mean just watch her move (for whatever small time window she does move).

Waka Waka

December 27, 2010

A Christmas Story

Oh yes, the apologies first. I disappeared but guess what, I had a great Christmas weekend. Even you can’t make me feel guilty at the moment so stop trying.

What did I do for Christmas, you ask? Well I went to Baton Rouge and New Orleans (both in state of Louisiana) to visit my best friend and her family. Before I plunge into my ramblings, I should tell you that she and her family are originally from New Orleans, actually they are from the area that was destroyed by hurricane Katrina in 2005. The neighborhood still bears the mark of that catastrophe, so does their family. Oh yes, also they are not Indian. None of this is important for my rambling but a little background doesn’t hurt, does it? Specially when it hung over my conscious (hurricane Katrina, not the Indian part).

The best part of the Christmas was, of course, the kids (her two daughters) and their excitement on the Christmas morning. The second best thing was meeting her extended family. If you have seen the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ you might have some idea what I am talking about. If not, then may be you have seen a big family gathered together during a wedding or some other ceremony. As for me, they reminded me of my Nani’s (maternal grandmother) house as it used to be when we were kids. All the chattering, screaming, gossiping, joking and teasing, along with lots and lots of food.

We reached there at meal time (I can’t tell you whether it was dinner or lunch, just that we ate). And as I have seen time and again in our own India, all the women were in kitchen, heating everything up, serving the plates for kids, elderly and men, while the rest of them (kids, elderly and men) sat around, chatted, joked and laughed. Finally, women also sat down and ate.

The surprise came after the meal. Now there were men all around, cleaning up, taking out the trash, brooming and sweeping, disinfecting, folding tables, cleaning dishes while women sat around, chatted, joked and laughed. All of this was automatic. As if it was the most natural thing. As if it wasn’t a big deal. That was only thing that made me realize that this was an entirely different culture. Wish we had that in our family.

The worst part of this Christmas was, of course, saying goodbyes on Sunday and the drive back. The second worst thing, well I wouldn’t call it bad, just disturbing: for the first time in my life I met someone with Alzheimer's disease. A sweet, old lady, and soft spoken too, except she was not making any sense. She had no idea what any of us were talking about, though she wanted to participate in the conversation. But as she couldn’t make head or tails of our conversation, she became progressively agitated and confused. It was pretty sad but there was nothing any of us could do to help her. Honestly, if this ever happens to me, I would prefer euthanasia. I know medically you are alive till your heart beats but personally I believe that life ends when brain ends. What’s the point of life when you are not you anymore? That reminds me, I have to get a living will done. Perhaps, I will put it in 2011 resolution list.

All in all, it was a great weekend. It was worth 12 hours of driving with shoulder pain and bad traffic.
Hope you guys had a great Christmas as well.

P.S.: I hope this post covers for my absence for past few days. It is a long post, after all.

December 23, 2010


I knew it will come to that one day though I confess I didn’t think it will be now. What am I talking about? The internet addiction recovery program. I kid you not. There is now a company, reSTART, that offer rehabilitation program for internet addiction. I checked the common symptoms and it seems I am not addicted or may be I am in denial. How about you?

P.S.: Been sick for past two days and hence no post. Going to Louisiana for Christmas so most probably won’t be able to post again. Not sure how much internet connectivity will I have. So if you don’t hear from me: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 20, 2010

Stuck in my head…

…and my iPod. I usually have problem moving to other song once my iPod reached this song. So I had it on repeat for the whole day. Even though I haven’t heard it for past few hours now, I still can’t stop humming it. Needless to say, I am absolutely in love with this song. Although you have to stop watching the video to enjoy this song completely..

Do you have any such song that you simply can’t let go off?

December 19, 2010

The Zoo

Ever since I moved to Texas, I haven’t gone out to take pictures. Yesterday I broke that spell and went to the zoo. Well, they (the zoo) had their first “photography day” yesterday. Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t very cooperative yesterday. It was freezing out there and hence almost all the animals were quite inactive. The cloudy morning was yet another drawback. Still I did manage to get some nice shots (at least I like them). Here are few, the ones I have manage to post process so far. Let me know what you think:


Title: Playful



Title: Watchful



Title: Camouflage

Will post on my photoblog, that is if you are interested.

December 18, 2010

December 17, 2010

Sexism in Advertisement

I was browsing around when I came across this one:

What do you think?

December 16, 2010

Burned or Buried?

Well the actual question was:

“What do you think happens after we die?”

But my thought train took a wrong turn and I instead ended up thinking about funeral costs and funeral services and such nonsense. But during all this thought process I realize how unique background I come from. Most of the world, that is most of cultures around the world, bury their dead while our culture, or more precisely Hinduism, insist on burning them.

Before you jump the gun and start defending either method, I am not writing this post to discuss the philosophy or religion. I am just wondering that if given a choice, would you liked to be buried or burned after death? Would you like to have a grave site which your loved ones can visit  and grieve, miss you and carry out imaginary conversations; or would you like to be burned and have your ashes thrown in a river so that they can, or rather should, move on with their lives?

The first answer that pops in my head is obviously, being cremated. But that’s simply because I don’t want my loved ones to grieve for me. Actually I don’t want my loved ones to grieve. Period. Its worse if I am the reason. But does my desire of them moving on, really help with their grief? Isn’t it equivalent of me telling them to internalize their pain and pretend to be normal and happy? Is that what I really want? But does having a place to grieve and remember help them with the grieving process? I think so.

My favorite uncle passed away an year and half ago. I didn’t attend his funeral. Hell, I was told 2 days after his funeral. I cried, I grieved, I felt awful but I didn’t find closure. He was a photographer and I bought a D-SLR camera for him as a surprise gift. I never told him that. He never knew about the camera. He would have loved it. I still have that feeling of unfinished business. I don’t have closure. I never got to say goodbye and I really wish there was a grave, a place where I could go, pay my respects and say goodbye.

What do you think? Do you want to be burned or buried? As for me, I think I would like all my loved ones to be buried so that I can go there and be with them but I should be cremated. Sounds selfish, isn’t it? May be a bit hypocritical too but I really don’t want them to cry for me.

Just a thought train…

December 15, 2010

Laser Light Painting

I got my new green laser pointer today. What did I do? I did this:




How I did it? Well, the procedure is described here. People do amazing stuff with laser pointers. May be some day, I will do something cool like that but this was my first attempt. You know, first experiments. These simply show the enthusiasm of getting a new toy to play with…

December 14, 2010

Give a damn

Pardon my language, but that’s the name of this campaign: we give a damn. It’s about workplace discrimination, hate crimes, bullying at school, suicide and such issues faced by gay community. They have a heap of advertisements but I particularly like this one:

Give a Damn

They are adorable.

And yes, I give a damn, if you pardon my language. Hope you do too…

Link via Joe my God

December 13, 2010


“Where are you from?”

That was the first thing she asked me. I was putting my bag down in the seat next to her. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a long kurta. So yes, that was the first thing I registered about her: she is Indian or rather, from Indian subcontinent, but I didn’t expect the question. The first thing, even before a courtesy smile, even before our eyes met. I wasn’t even looking at her. I didn’t or rather couldn’t respond immediately, instead I looked at her and she repeated the question:

“Where are you from?”



She was taken aback. A moment later she added:

“I am from Pakistan.”

I gave her a small smile not because it made a difference to me but because it did to her. After a moment’s pause, she sprung the next question:

“Are you a Geologist?”

“No, Geophysicist.”

Now she was completely disappointed. I made an excuse and walked outside knowing full well that I will be sitting next to her for next five days. Isn’t life peachy?

P.S.: 1. In her defense, I later learnt that this is her first time outside Pakistan, so I think her shock of meeting a person from India is understandable, however, boat2that doesn’t excuse her reaction to me being a geophysicist. Neither does it excuse her rudeness.

2. The difference between Geology and Geophysics is similar to the difference between Biology and Physics: they both fall under the subset of science, however they are very different from each other. More importantly, people who excel in one doesn’t usually excel in the other.

3. I am in a class this week (today was the first day. That’s where I met her). When I was three, my mom told me that Ph.D. is the highest degree one can earn and once you get that, you don’t have to go to classes anymore. She was so wrong.

December 12, 2010

One liners


  • My computer just beat me at chess…but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
  • Slept like a baby last night…. Waking up every 3 hours crying for food.
  • One day your prince will come. Mine just took a wrong turn, got lost and is too stubborn to ask for directions.
  • Dance like no one’s going to put it on YouTube.
  • Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature is winning.
  • I want to merge MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and call it: MY FACE YOU TWIT.
  • Don’t you find it funny that after Monday(M) and Tuesday(T), the rest of the week says WTF?
  • I dream of a better world...where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.
  • If your relationship status says, "It's complicated", then you should stop kidding yourself and change it to "Single".
  • Be nice to nerds, chances are you will be working for them.
  • Have you ever had a fly or small bug land on your computer screen and your first reaction is to try and scare it with the cursor?
  • Hi, my name is Damimeve. The 'mime' is silent.
  • Do you know what really makes me smile? Facial muscles.
  • I hear there is scientific proof that birthdays are good for you... the more you have the longer you live.
  • I just read a list of 'the 100 things to do before you die'. I'm pretty surprised 'yell for help' wasn't one of them...
  • TEIAM - problem solved.
  • Top Tip Of The Week: When going through airport customs and you are asked "do you have any firearms with you?" do not reply "what do you need?"

Source: Link1, Link 2.

December 11, 2010

December 9, 2010

Left vs. right?

So I was filling out the form to renew my passport. Answered all questions to best of my knowledge and, of course, I finally reached the end of the form where they ask to sign the declaration. You know where they ask you to swear the allegiance to India. At the end of all that declaration they ask you to sign or put your thumb expression. And right below that there was a statement in parentheses which is the reason for this post. It says:

Signature/ Thumb Impression of applicant

(Left Hand T.I. if male and right Hand T.I. if female)

Left hand for male and right hand for female? Why is that? I tried googling it and there are some very ridiculous explanation from “because those are the ones most used by each gender” (Really? Are they telling me that all the males are left handed and all the females right handed?) to “It is a government rule. Rules are rules. Can’t change it”.

Not a single proper reason why is that so. Does any one know? And how do they know if the thumb print is right hand’s or left hand’s?  I know its not a big deal and it doesn’t matter, I am just curious. 

P.S.: Yes I signed my allegiance to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. Hopefully they will reissue my passport soon enough.

December 8, 2010

Something Nice

This post is inspired by PB’s post, Passport-Photobia.

So last Saturday I went to get my passport photo taken for getting my Indian passport renewed. My first stop was Walgreens who refused to take the photo as they supposedly can’t change the dimension of photo in their system (in California they did!) but they pointed me to a place where they do. You know, the place by the cemetery. I kid you not, the gates of cemetery and this “place” are almost adjacent. The reason I use the term place instead of studio is because it is a house (quite creepy, if I might add) and not a studio. You actually need to ring a bell and wait for someone to open the door.

Anyway, so finally it was time for me to get my picture taken. And here is the verbatim instructions from the photographer:

“Don’t smile but think about something nice.”

“Sit up straight and think about something nice.”

“Look at the camera while thinking about something nice.”

At this point I wanted to tell him that if he introduce me to Mr. Something Nice, it will be easier for me to think about him. As soon as this thought popped up in my head I almost smiled. However, unfortunately, I had a pretty bad mouth ulcer that day so the moment I started smiling, I winced and precisely at that moment the camera clicked. He took one look at the shot and went again:

“Think about something nice again. We will take 3 photos and then choose one. So look at the camera while thinking about something nice.”

Which resulted in some more wincing on my part. It took 10 minutes and I think about 15 shots before we could get a decent shot. With the amount of pain I endured in the process I am sure I have become passport-photobic. At least, I have been scarred for a long long time.

December 7, 2010

Is it just me?

Somedays I am okay. I am confortable, even confident, in my own skin. Then other days I loose all that. The funny statement that sounds funny in my head, doesn’t come out right and loose their pun in the process. My confidence level plummets and I just can’t carry myself well in the social circle on those days.

It usually happens when I among strangers or in some hostile situation but at times it is simply associated with my mood or simply the stress level in my life. I know all those things does affect one’s personality but does everyone else get affected like I do? Or is there something wrong with me? Do I overreact to stress and need a better way to manage my stress level? Or do I simply overanalyze my actions? Does anyone else faces this problem or is it just me?

P.S.: You guessed it. Last two days have been such two days. Hopefully it will get better with coming days.

December 6, 2010

December 5, 2010

Cultural Shock

Its been three months since I left my beloved California, or more precisely the bay area, and moved to Texas and yet, the cultural shock hasn’t worn off yet.

Like the other day, I was in Ikea and walked in a family arguing in one section. As I entered, they left except a man and a teenage girl who were still arguing. My back was towards them and all of sudden I heard a bang. I turned around to see the girl getting herself away from the walI while her arm was still twisted at the back. Before I could recover from shock they were gone. I can not forget the look on that girl’s face.

Then it happened again when I went to a Toyota dealership to get an oil changed for my car. I was sitting in the waiting area with other customers when I heard someone shout “F-A-G”, followed by some laughter. I looked up to see a group of employee (most probably car-salesmen) climbing down from the second floor to our floor, looking smug as if they just cracked the best joke ever. (I felt sick in stomach)

Never in my six years in the bay area have I encountered any thing that was even close. Now it seems like a daily occurrence. Did I mention I hate Texas?

December 4, 2010

Saturday Shots: Sunrise

                                                                                                                            (Click to enlarge)
Title: Scenic
Location: Lake Tahoe, CA
Date: 2008

December 3, 2010

Today’s Prompt…


If you could erase one type of animal from the face of the earth, what would it be?

The first one on my list is human beings. How about you?

P.S.: 1. Do I need to explain the reasons for my choice?

2. Please don’t say cockroaches.

December 2, 2010

I have got issues

Dear fancy/sports car driver/owner

I understand that your expensive car comes with a powerful engine, great traction, amazing brakes. However, when you are trying to show off your car’s great capabilities to the rest of us by changing lanes at will and trying to squeeze in tight spots while cutting me off, you forget that unlike your car, my car or the car in front of you doesn’t have those powerful engines, amazing breaks, or great traction. So, you see even if your car can go from 0 to 100 mph and vice-versa in whatever seconds, my car or car in front of you can’t do that. Hence, there is a great chance that you will be in an accident and worse, you will hurt people like us when you have that accident.

And if by some miracle I am not hurt, I promise you I will cause you a lot more pain than those scratches on your car. Trust me on that.

Sincerely yours,

December 1, 2010

I am doing it

NaBloPoMo, I mean. Whether I will succeed or not is yet to be seen.

I just spent two hours (at work) to get the documents sorted for applying for renewal of my passport (still Indian). Have I ever mentioned how much I hate paperwork associated with visa, passports and such things? Well, now you know. This, by far, is the worst one yet. For example, they have written in their instructions and FAQ that I need to attach three 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm passport size photograph. And when I printed out the form, it says 2" x 2" photograph. Can someone tell me which size photograph should I take? (I know both, just in case). I am utterly and completely frustrated at the moment. I hate paperwork.

Anyhoo, coming back to the NaBloPoMo. As usual, they have a writing prompt and today's writing prompt that says:

If you could stop your body from aging at any point in your life, what age would you want to stay at and why?

Really? I mean, I have always been told that I look young for my age. People usually don't believe when I tell them my age.  I can enlist the disadvantages of looking younger than you are (people doubting your "wisdom" is the most prominent one). Do you really think I want to look even younger than I am at any point in my life? I really doubt that. So I guess my answer would be: Thank you but no, thank you.

How about you? Do you want to stop your aging process?