December 29, 2011

Complain Complain Complain

That’s what I do these days. Well ok, I have always complained about one thing or the other at any given time (the reason I have this blog) but I think I have even more complains in UK than in US. As a friend put it loosely for me:

“If you are moving from India to UK, you are moving from a developing country to a developed country but if you are moving from US to UK, its like moving from a developed country to a developing country.”

Ok not entirely true, but it does come close. My biggest complains in UK: snobbery and customer service.

The entire world complain about American being rude, blah, blunt and loud but seriously, I have never been treated so badly anywhere in US. My bank in US treated me so well even when I was a student and didn’t have enough money. In UK the bank which has my salary account treats me like dirt. I am the one saying all please and Thank you’s, crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s while they send me bulleted emails about things I should send them without any hi or hello or even an acknowledgement. I am their customer and not their employee, for heaven’s sake! So much for being prim and proper in England.

Don’t even get me started with the help lines. Do you know you have to actually pay to talk to a customer service representative? And the average wait time to reach a customer service representative is same, if not longer. My BP rises every time I need to call one of those numbers. Okay, I have got a plan on my mobile according to which I am only charged for my mobile minutes when I call them and not their ridiculous charges but my BP still rises every time I call them. Its just so unfair! Its not my fault that I need to call them. In most cases its their fault or their requirement (as in activating the credit card etc.) that I need to call those numbers and then I am charged for it! Seriously? Forget about the quality of service provided. I am already seething by the time I am connected to an actual person. Its not about the amount of money I have to pay but the indignation over the system. I don’t think I will ever be okay with this system. Call me spoiled American if you like.

And then once in a while you meet the famous British snobs. I had misfortune of sitting next to one such English gentleman in the flight from Houston to London. Unfortunately, I had the middle seat in the flight. This “gentleman” deemed it proper to dump all the stuff from his seat (pillow, blanket etc.) to my seat without asking me first or saying Thank you after. Then the stewardess gave me his breakfast while he was sleeping and he didn’t even as much give a smile, forget about Thank you, for keeping it for him. And then they have the audacity to tell me that Americans are rude. Seriously? (Ironically, on my other side was an old French lady who was friendly and polite).

Going off topic a bit, Why do all the women in London wants to look 25 regardless of their age. No seriously, why? The teenagers want to look 25 and women in their 50s want to look 25. How can everyone in a city be 25? What’s so bad about being young or being old? Me thinks London is as bad as, if not worse than, LA in that respect. Well, judging by what I know about the two cities. 

I have never lived in New York but I think Londoners are as bad as, if not worse than, New Yorkers when it comes to brand name obsession. I have never understood that obsession. May be its just my upbringing. I am still an Indian middle class girl who can’t accept throwing money on things you don’t need, and definitely not for sake of brand names. I have perfectly good bag that serves its purpose. I don’t want Louis Vuitton and such. I will be actually scared of owning anything like that since they are so ridiculously expensive. I will keep them in a safe place and continue using the one I have. Don’t take me wrong, I do appreciate quality and will like to have a good quality product but not necessarily an acknowledged brand name. But then, of course, I have to deal with the fashion snobbery for my choices. (Did I mention I miss US? Well, I do. Big time).

At times, I feel like I am trapped in a shallow, arrogant, rude, gossiping society. Thankfully, I do have a nice set of friends in London so I am getting along. Hopefully I will settle down soon and start accepting the life in UK. I will stop complaining so much eventually. After all, I didn’t like US during my first six months there (I didn’t have a credit history or a car back then. If you know US, you would know how difficult it is to survive in US without either). But for now, I don’t like London.

December 8, 2011


I was mailing a friend with an attachment using gmail. As usual I forgot to attach the file. And this popped up:

Gmail is scanning my messages now!! I mean its a useful feature and everything but I kind of feel exposed and vulnerable now. I know with onset of social networking sites everything the personal boundaries have shrunk. People no longer mind posting very personal messages on the wall for the world to see (I have been guilty of that on few occasions as well), but a machine scanning my personal mails is kind of scary. What if they are reading all my private messages? There is a reason I am using mail to write them and not Facebook...

November 22, 2011

London, here I come...

Okay, I am making it blogosphere-official. I am moving to London. Tomorrow. After about seven months of turmoils, the ups and downs, the uncertainty about the future, living the life out of a box (well apparently that will continue for another month though this time I will have two boxes, I mean, suitcases), moving from hotel room to hotel (I kinda know how nomads feel) in cities I didn't know anyone, I am now moving to the next adventure: LONDON.

Good thing about London, I have loads of friends there. I already have invitation from three different friends to crash at their place while I look for an apartment.   And of course, it is nearer to home ( I haven't gone to India for 4.5 years now. I am finally homesick).

I am still sad about leaving US. Not as sad as I was when I had to leave Stanford but still sad. I never got a chance to form a bond with Houston. But still, I do have friends around. I have a great support system in place here. I have to again start from scratch: Get to know people especially new colleagues, make friends, get used to a completely new culture (second one this year, first being the Canadian culture: I was stuck there in summer for five months due to visa issues), the new system and the big city (did I ever mention I hate big cities?),  and the worst part is to do all this while getting mocked for being rude, ignorant American (which technically I am not. I still have my Indian passport: Mera Bharat Bhi Mahaan). Oh well, so much to look forward to...

P.S.: 1.  Hopefully I will be able to be a bit more regular with blogging once I have settled down in London a bit (= find an apartment and get a working internet connection). So sit tight for the adventure of rude, ignorant American in London.

2. A fair warning: There are still a lot of things that can go wrong from now till the Thursday morning (the day I land in London). With the luck I have had lately, anything is possible. Last seven months have taught me one thing very well: Never say Never.  Nothing has been working out as planned for seven months so I have become very reluctant to commit to anything. For example, I had cancelled all my utilities (electricity, phone, cable etc) once before about a month ago only to get them all reinstated within two days. I have cancelled everything again today. Let's hope it sticks by this time...

October 9, 2011

The Rules of Life

Today as I was sorting through old things, trying to decide what to keep and what to throw, I found an old diary of mine. A diary from late 1990s when I was just stepping out of my teens. The only thing that’s written in that “locked” diary are 17 rules of life. I started reading them, thinking it would be some corny, mushy stuff I wrote, stuff that teenagers, or rather I believed in back then.

Well I was right but somehow, those rules don’t sound too bad even now. May be I still need to do some growing up. Anyway, I have decided to throw away that diary so I am copying those rules here, just for future reference.

Basic Rules of Life:

1. Get as many laughs as you can. Life is too short to be wasted and getting depressed.

2. Never take life or yourself too seriously. There are 4 billion people on this Earth and you are just one of them. So…how important are you anyway?

3. The truth is like an injection. It hurts then it makes things better. Don’t try and hide the facts from yourself. Be brave and accept your faults and facts just as they are. (I do live by this rule. I didn’t realize that’s where I got it from).

4. Be optimistic. You might have some flaws but you can always overcome them.

5. If the situation is out of control then just wait and watch until they are better again. Always remember “Time waits for none. Time changes for all.”

6. If the situation gets worse then simply move on. An end to a path does not mean the end of everything.

7. A firm mind leads toward a definite path and can take you out of any problem. It gives a clear perspective and helps you think in a mature way.

8. Be patient. Frustration arises when you ignore the time factor and want the results instantly.

9. More important than being the best is doing your best. If you had put your heart and soul in whatever you were doing then there is no reason to feel depressed or despondent. Not every one can come first. Accept that there are others who are better than you.

10. Always be ready to help others. And help everyone, even the person who are not good to you. For if you don’t then there would be no difference between you and them. (I did apply this rule for a long time in my life but eventually I rejected it. Learned this lesson very hard way)

11. Always appreciate other’s talent. It makes you a better person. Never be  hesitant in giving compliments to others.

12. Never gossip. Before saying anything bad about someone, reflect on yourself: Are you any better than them? (Ah, that’s why I feel so guilty whenever I do gossip!)

13. If your expectations are not fulfilled, analyze your expectations whether they are justified or not.

14. Avoid pride. There are always people who are much more talented and more fortunate than you are.

15. The most important thing in life is “SATISFICATION”. Just be glad for what you have and for being the wonderful person you are. (Doesn’t the last part contradict the Rule 14? Hmph. Teenagers!)

16. Be ready to apologize when you have done something wrong. There are some people who are too precious to loose.

17. The true measure of success is not your bank balance or your position and status, but the type of relationship you share with people close to you, the time you spend with them and the amount of ‘happiness’ (not money or comfort) you can give them.


I am not sure why I wrote them down. Just remember coming out of a lot of sadness while writing those. Either way, that was me in 1990s…

September 29, 2011

Thursday Challenge: Golden

Well almost. BTW, it’s a sunrise picture, and not sunset, in Calgary downtown…


This picture is posted as part of Thursday Challenge: Golden.

August 29, 2011

Being Green

Okay I have a big time problem with this ad:

Why you ask? I am so glad you did. This advertisement implies that electricity is a “pure” source of energy because you see it comes form an electric outlet. But do they show how electricity is actually generated? Because news flash, electricty is not produced in their wall and supplied to the wall socket. Let’s see how the world energy is produced.


Well what do you know, 87% of world energy comes from, wait for it, fossil fuels (coal + oil + gas). Actually about 30% of it comes from coal which actually produces worse green house gases than the petrol you use for your car. And let me not get started with the environmental impact of nuclear energy and for that matter, even hydro-power.

The best solution, you ask? Well lets all stop using electricity or any kind of technology. Let’s go back to the caves. What, can’t do that? Then stop screaming environmental impacts and how much you love this planet.

Like it or not, the Earth is currently over populated by human species. That is enough to destroy the natural balance of this planet. And then we have our luxuries and comforts that we can’t survive without anymore, which makes a bad situation worse. So unless you can give all those luxuries up and are ready to live in a cave without electricity, technology or even so called basic necessities, there is no point saying that you love this planet and care about the “environmental impacts”, the “environmental foot-prints” etc. Those are just fancy words.It can make you feel good but they don't mean much. So stop using them. If you do want to do something then save electricity, lower the heating system a bit (if possible don't use it at all) and for God’s sake, stop reproducing like, well humans. (Can’t think of any other species in the animal kingdom that grow faster than them humans. They surpassed the bunnies long along..). Its not much and it will definitely not save the planet. It will just slow down its demise..

PS: I realize the chart above is for world energy and not electricity per se. Well the electricity  statistics is a bit expensive for me at the moment (they are asking me to pay! The nerve on them..). However, the past data suggest that the statistics for the electricity generation is slightly better but still about 67-70% of world electricity is produced by fossil fuels and about 15% from Nuclear. Again not very environment friendly, is it?

August 28, 2011

Weekends Fun: The moon, the sun and everything else

Well I have missed posting these for past few weekends. So what have I been doing over the weekends? Taking pictures, of course. However, I have been experimenting a bit these days. Something that you tend to do when you are all by yourself without any friends or foe in a strange city. So here are some of the results:

The first picture is a combo of two my experiments: night photography and panoramic pictures. This is the Calgary skyline in the night time:

The night I took the above picture was the night of full moon (the night of Rakshabandhan). As I crossed the Bow river to return back to my place, I saw this amazing scene. Obviously I had to take the picture. The river looked simply breathtaking!


Two weeks later, it was time for the new moon night. So I took this picture this Friday (well nearly new moon night, I am not sure I can take picture of a new moon).


Next picture is of the sun rise. I woke up at 3:30 AM on a weekend, drove 2.5 hours, stood in freezing cold to take this picture. It’s the shot taken at the moment the first ray of sun hit the top of the mountain. Trust me that moment was worth all the effort.


The next is picture from few moments later. (Blogger is messing with my colors for some reason. It was beautiful. You have to take my word for it.)


One more panorama before I leave. This one is taken on the road in Banff National Park..


That’s all for today folks! Catch you later…

August 11, 2011

Random thoughts

- Is there something called photography block? I have been taking pictures but somehow they never come out the way I want them to be. I see them, delete them and go back again to take some more pictures.

- Why do almost all the comedies in US revolve around a male lead actor who is a douche bag, who, miraculously, is married to a beautiful woman who for some unknown reason tolerates him? Where is the comedy in seeing the douchebags messing up things and then boasting about it?

- Speaking of comedies, why is it considered funny seeing a man dressed in woman’s cloth? Why then, by the same logic (whatever it is), isn’t a woman dressed in man’s cloth considered funny? What’s so funny about it?

- How can anyone ever justify the looting hooligans of London? Why is media even trying to justify them? How do so called deprived youth be satisfied by stealing HD TVs and designer clothes? Is that what they are deprived of? They should all be sent to Somalia and they would know what deprivation really mean.

- Speaking of Somalia, what is with Indians and charity? Why don’t they ever donate? Seriously, few bucks out of your pocket won’t make a difference to you but it can make huge impact in someone else’s life. Please donate.

Oh well, I have been meaning to write all these as posts for past two weeks but carpal tunnel syndrome is raising its ugly head again. So I thought of simply posting these thoughts.

July 26, 2011

Weekend Fun: Banff National Park

The weather forecast for this Saturday was sunny with 40% chance of rain. So I  decided to go to the mountains and take some pictures. The day started with some clouds but they didn’t look ominous. Actually they added a nice tone in the scenic route. 


However, it did not last. It was soon raining cats and dogs.


However, it did clear up and it was a beautiful beautiful day after that. The clouds shifted and you can almost see the blue sky. The fresh tress, the road, the clouds and the mountain - everything together made it almost magical. It was so hard to leave any one spot and move on to other. It was so hard to stop clicking pictures. How many times in your life do you see such a beautiful scene unfold in front of your eyes?


It was simply gorgeous. Needless to say, I had a terrific weekend.

July 20, 2011

July 16, 2011

The Deathly Hallows-2

Spoiler Warning

And the saga ends. The saga of Harry Potter. The story of an orphan who longed for his parents. The story of a boy who kept losing the people he loved. A boy who had the responsibility of the whole world on his shoulder. The boy who lived. The boy who willingly died for others.

The Deathly Hallows was the saddest book of the Harry Potter series. From the death of Dobby to the death of Fred Weasley and finally, to the death of Harry Potter. It was one emotional ride. The movie was every bit emotionally challenging as the book. The entire audience was sniffling yesterday when they saw the bodies of Remus and Tonks, when Snape died, when Harry went through Snape’s memories especially when Snape found Lily’s dead body, and when Harry Potter said

“There is a reason why I can hear the Horcruxes. I have known it for sometime now and I know you do too.”

Thankfully it didn’t elaborate on Harry’s journey through the forest.

The movie started with You-know-who taking the elder wand from Albus Dumbledore’s grave while Harry sat in front of Dobby’s grave with the tombstone that said:

“Here lies Dobby, A Free Elf.”

The trios breaking into Gringotts Wizarding bank and their escape on a dragon was beautifully pictured. The massacre of wizards when You-know-who heard the news was something I didn’t imagine when I was reading the book. It was one of those moments when you realize how brutal and scary You-know-who really is. It was re-emphasized by the way he murdered Snape. 

The movie is brilliantly made and very well directed. I wouldn’t say that it matches up to the book, no movie can do that, but it is the best a movie could have done.

Having said that, I should also mention that I didn’t like the epilogue. The three teenager by no way look older. They look comical especially when kids clearly few years younger to them call them mom and dad. I think they could have either skipped that part entirely or could have done a better job with it.

In all, a great movie. Try to watch it in 3D. The 2D version is slightly out of focus, at least it was in the theater I watched it in.

P.S.: Pardon my grammar today. I am always confused about which tense to use when writing a report, review etc.: past or present?

July 15, 2011

Smell the Roses


People in cold countries, like Canada, can’t wait for summer. They talk about beautiful weather, about taking time off to visit some beautiful place in the mountains. And yet, they refuse to admire, slow down or even look up to see a beautiful day passing them by. I took the above picture of Calgary downtown from a +15 walkway. I simply couldn’t pass this scene without taking a picture. Most of  the people (not all though) who saw me taking this picture gave me a look before passing by.

To be fair, this is a narrow view of the scene, the actual scene looked something like this:


I stopped in my tracks when I entered this walkway. Beautiful, isn’t it? At least, I thought so. Am I only one who thinks this is beautiful? Why don’t other people see it? Even if I am in a hurry and such a scene present itself, I will slow down and will not take my eyes off it unless I absolutely have to. Why don’t anyone else? No really, why not?

July 14, 2011

Thursday Challenge: Vehicle

Copy of SanatCruz-Monterey_055-1

This week’s Thursday Challenge is Vehicle. This is a shot from a Harley-Davidson store. Hope you like it…

July 12, 2011

Being a Friend

So by now you must have heard about Ghulam Nabi Azad’s big mess up. I have been following the news on various sites. One of the common comments that I have come across on such site is:

“He is a Muslim, what did you expect?”

And that’s where they loose me. Its just not the comments on the internet, some of my friends make such comments whenever there is a Muslim involved in whatever controversy. These people, for some reason, don’t make similar remarks when we discuss [baba] Ramdev, or Shiv Sena, or Narendra Modi, or Babri Masjid demolition, or Gujarat riots. To top it, their main defense for any arguments against such prejudice:

“I have Muslim friends.”

Honestly! Apparently, having Muslim friends makes it all okay. They can say anything against Muslims because they have Muslim friends.

Coincidentally, I also have Muslim friends. The reason I argue against such stereotyping is because of them. Because I know my friends are far better than that (and the reason they are my friend). Because I know they don’t stereotype me and put me in the same category as Ramdev, or Modi (thank God for that). And most importantly, because they are my friends. No one speaks that way about my friends in front of me, without me jumping in their defense. And yes, when people stereotype like that and make insulting statements about a community, they are insulting each and every member of that community, including my friends and their own friends. Don’t know about them, but I can’t stand by and let somebody insult my friend.

P.S.: 1. I am, by no means, defending Azad’s statement. I am very upset about it as well. He is a complete moron.

2. Yes, I know stereotyping is a common thing and we all do it. I guess its human nature. What I don’t like are people vehemently defending those stereotypes and start making hurting statements. They need to learn the line between doing something for fun and being hurtful.

July 5, 2011

Narcissist Me!

Ramble warning (Don’t say I didn’t warn you..)

Recently I started two photography projects, 365 grateful and a-self-portrait-a day. Well, the main aim was to keep myself busy. The secondary aim was to improve my photography.

The first project, 365 grateful, lasted for about 15 days. To be honest, I was pessimistic about it since beginning. Why, you ask? Well, firstly, being the sarcastic, pessimistic person I am, I don’t think I can find something to be grateful for, for an entire year! And soon I was taking picture of chairs and shoes. No honestly…


Secondly, it’s a 365 day long project. If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you would know I have a history of not keeping such long commitments (just search Project Snapshot or Tuesday Tag on my blog). I have commitment issues, I guess. So project that has “365” in its title is certainly not going to continue for long…

The second project “a-self-portrait-a day” has been going fine for past 39 days now. Actually, it’s a slightly deviated version of more popular project “365 self portraits” but I didn’t want two projects with “365” in its title so I changed it to “a-self-portrait-a day”.

Anyway, I started the two projects some time in May. I have been posting the photographs on my FB profile since then. However, initially I didn’t make the albums visible to my friends on FB. However, after about 15 days into the project, I changed the settings. After all, what is an artist without an audience? (Isn’t that’s why we blog instead of writing diaries like good old days?)

Recently, I changed the settings of the album (album self portraits, of course) back to be visible only to me. Well, the change happened after I read this post.

Okay, to be completely honest, my first hesitation about sharing the albums publicly was due to the same reasons voiced in the post. “A 100+ photos of only me in different poses, photoshoped, tinted, altered and what-not”. But again, as I said, an artist do seek an audience, so did I. I wasn’t comfortable putting those pictures on the world wide web for every Tom, Dick, Harry to see. So I chose Facebook as my platform. At least I know people in my friend’s list and I can block the ones that I feel uncomfortable sharing those pictures with. I think that way Facebook do provide a great platform.

Anyway, at the moment I am not sure whether I should or shouldn’t share my photography project, namely, “come and see a 100+ photos of me and only me” with anyone.

On one hand, the project has been an inspiration, a motivation in my otherwise not-so-good-days. It makes me think about things other than my problems and be creative. I am not sure how long will the project last without an audience. I have learned quite a bit about photography while doing the project.

On the other hand, I am inclined to agree with Priyanka here. Why put 100+ photos of myself in different poses for people to see?

Either way, its me caring about other people’s opinion which is unusual for me. Well it happens. The bigger question here  is: Am I really a narcissist? 

July 4, 2011

Social Networking

Oh no, I am not writing about 100 ways the Facebook annoys me or the things that are wrong about Facebook and all those things. Neither am I going to write about how Google plus is going to change the status of Facebook nor am I comparing different social networking sites here. My post is about why these sites have started to scare me. Oh ok, not really scare but I now have a new reverence for them.

Let me start with a completely different aspect of social networking sites, namely research. Yep, you got it right. How many times have you seen a news about Facebook that starts something like

“Research in Blah Blah university suggest that Facebook/twitter/MySpace/insert-any-other-social-networking-site affects ….”

Do you realize how much research has been fueled by these social networking sites ? Just search for number of books written on the social networking sites in recent years. I found a list of about 400 research papers and books including master and PhD theses on the topic.

Social networking sites are a hot topic (or at least, they get more coverage in media) of research in anthropology, psychology, communication, market research, language, political science (with recent middle-east uprisings, it will be a hot topic in political science research in coming days), and of course, IT.

I know, a lot of us make fun of these social networking sites, some refuse to be on it while others use it reluctantly, but let’s face it. They are here to stay. They are changing our world with each passing day and none of us know how. They are becoming more powerful with every flash mob or political rally getting organized through them. Everything around us is changing to accommodate them, from our web browsers to our cell phones to the advertisements. Hell, I follow my chiropractor, my apartment complex and even my (ex-) office building in Stanford (yep, even buildings have profiles on Facebook).

Few years back we joined these sites for fun. But now they are turning into serious business. If the trend continues, in few days, it will be impossible to live/function without a Facebook profile. And that my friend, scares me. How about you?

P.S.: Its just my opinion. I don’t have any substantial data to prove that there is more research done on social networking site. May be some day, when I don’t have anything else to do, I will compile that data…

July 3, 2011

10 Day Challenge: One Picture

…of me, that is.  Well here it is.

This is a self portrait. I was going for the expression of “messing up” in the picture. I think it looks more like sneezing. Well, what can I say, I am a lousy model.

Me_41_101Well that brings us to the end of this challenge. Hope you enjoyed it!

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Two Songs, Three Films, Four Books, Five Foods, Six Places, Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

July 2, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Two Songs

Are you kidding me? TWO songs? At least let me talk about two albums or two music directors or two singers or something. No, just two songs then.

Okay then, I am simply going to post the two songs stuck in my head right now. Sorry, I can’t do more than that. I hope you like them:

1. Sathiya Ye Tune Kya Kiya – Love

Ever since I wrote yesterday’s post, this song has been stuck in my mind. I don’t know why. I was simply thinking about the 90s music when this song popped into my mind and has been stuck there ever since.

Sathiya Ye Tune Kya Kiya

Rendered beautifully by S.P. Balasubramanyam and Chithra, this song was one of my favorite back in 90s. Although I didn’t know Chithra back then, she became one of my favorite singer very soon.

It had an added bonus of having Salman and Revathy in it. Both them were my favorites back then. Actually, Revathy is still my favorite, although I can’t stand Salman any more.

2. Tumhe Ho Na Ho – Gharonda

Tumhe Ho Na Ho

This is one of my all time favorite song. Did you know this song was sung by Runa Laila? An amazing singer who didn’t get enough credit.

The movie is Gharonda, one of those low budget, great movies made in 70s. Just watch the song to see how realistic and low budget they were. No artificial airs, no extras dancing in the background, nothing that a common couple wouldn’t do.

So all in all, it’s a great song with great lyrics, great music, and simple picturization.

That’s all for today.

All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Three Films, Four Books, Five Foods, Six Places, Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

July 1, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Three Films

I recently did a post on movies. Its so hard to shake it off while writing this post. So as inspiration from that post I will write about three movies representing the three decades of my life. Fair enough?

1. Disco Dancer: the First Decade


I grew up in 80s. The decade started with Amitabh’s era turned into a Mithun Chakraborty’s era with some Sridevi and Anil Kapoor thrown in. The movie that most vividly represents this era for me would be Disco Dancer. I don’t like that movie (the reason for its absence from this post) but it does represent that decade.

On a side note, I think the 80s were the worst era in the Bollywood music history, unless, of course, you compare it to the current times.

2. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge: the Second Decade


The 90s saw the rise of the three Khans and romantic movies. It was also an era of Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol. The actresses were a strong figure in the movies in this era. Even though they were still jobless or were doing some non-descriptive jobs, they were still had a powerful presence on the screen instead of just being the girlfriend of the male lead. The story revolved around them.

If I have to pick one movie from this era it would be Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. I consider it as the most romantic movie of this era.

In the music scene, this was the one of the best era for the Bollywood music. It was not the Golden era but it did come in a close second. The success of the movie depended on the success of music album in this era.

3. Om Shanti Om: the Third Decade


The 2K decade was the decade I lost touch with the Bollywood. If I have to write about this period, I would put it as the decade of the cheap comedies. Not that this decade didn’t have any good movies(Dil Chata Hai, Black, Taare Zameen Par, Hum Tum) but the majority of the movies were in the genre of cheap comedies. This era also saw the new phenomenon in Bollywood: Remakes. I can write and write about how wrong that is and how much I loathe it but I will be digressing from the point of the post.

As I said, I have lost touch with Bollywood in these past few years. The only movie I can think of, which represents this era, is Om Shanti Om, although I found this movie to be better and more bearable than the most of other remakes and cheap comedies of this era (whatever I have watched). I think the presence of Kiran Kher made all the difference in this movie.

In the music world, this was the era of item numbers. The success of the movie depended on the success of the item number in the movie. The item numbers became so popular that by the end of the era, the famous established actresses made guest appearance to do an item number. I think that’s what most of the actresses were reduced to in this era. Item numbers. Again I am describing the trend and not the exceptions.


These are simply my opinion of the three eras and my choice of movies to represent each. I hope you like it. That’s all from me now.

All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Four Books, Five Foods, Six Places, Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

June 30, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Four Books

Today’s challenge involve picking four books. Well, I am not entirely a book worm who has to read every written word ever but I do enjoy books. So today I am listing the four more influential books of my life. Well, at least they signify a change in my reading pattern…

1. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators:

card (1)

My reading life began with these books. Well, unless you count the kid’s magazine Nandan and Archies. I found them in the Children’s library which I joined to get access to Archies. I picked them as experiment and fell in love. I tried reading Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Secret Seven but kept going back to the Three Investigators. I guess it had something to do with the fact that I had a big crush on Pete Crenshaw back then.

For the longest time I thought that Alfred Hitchcock actually wrote this series. I still can’t figure out why do they have to put Alfred Hitchcock’s name there.

The picture above is the business card of the Three Investigators.

2. Pride and Prejudice


This book was my introduction to classics. I got the abridged version of Pride and Prejudice as my 16th birthday present from one of my neighbor didi who used to be an avid reader. It took me a while to start on this one. The language, the theme was so medieval that it demanded a lot of patience from the 16 year old me. The first two chapters were a torture for me but once I got past them, the story became so interesting and may be I got used to the language, I got hooked.

This book opened a whole new genre of books for me. To date, classics are my favorite genre in books.

3. Harry Potter


I resisted these books for a while since I considered them to be kid’s books. Come on, a book about magic and wizards. Honestly, I had never read books on magic before this so I didn’t even know what I was missing. My then room-mate insisted that I read these books so I started with the borrowed copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The rest is history.

Apart from the Harry Potter being the amazing books, they reintroduced me to the young adult fiction. After Harry Potter I proceeded to read His Dark Materials, the Chronicles of Narnia, even Twilight series, Percy Jackson series, the Kane chronicles and the 39 clues.

4. My Sister’s Keeper


This book was my introduction to Jodi Picoult. Before this book, I had read a few so called social-issue-novels but was never impressed by any. Somehow none were engrossing enough. Jodi Picoult’s books are a different class in its genre. She knows how to engross her readers, churn their inside, and make them think.

That’s all for now.

All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Five Foods, Six Places, Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

June 29, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Five Foods

1. Maggi


Truth be told, the first time I ate Maggi (I was about 6 or 7), I hated it. But I made my mom buy them for the cool games they promised in exchange of 5 wrappers. Then I ate the fried Maggi at a friend’s place and the life-time love affair started.

2. Peanuts


I have always loved peanuts and anything related to it. I will eat peanuts till I am sick and may be even after that. Someone needs to physically stop me from eating peanuts.

3. Bhindi (Okra)fresh-bhindi

I can eat bhindi day after day, week after week, month after month without getting bored. Though I like my bhindi slightly burned. Actually I like a lot of things on slightly burned side.

4. Chicken

tandoori chicken

I have attempted to become a vegetarian multiple times in my life but I love chicken too much to be one. Not that I eat chicken every day, just once a month or so, but I can’t give it up. I have stopped trying now..

5. Rasmalai


Well a food post has to have a dessert item too, isn’t it? I have a sweet tooth but my favorite dessert of all time is Rasmalai.

That’s all for now. All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Six Places, Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

June 28, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Six Places

Six places..hmmm. There are so many lists I can make for this one; Six places I want to visit, six countries I have visited, my six favorite places to take pictures etc. But let me make it personal. I am talking about my six places that I where I have lived or have had some personal connection to:

1. Roorkee
IIT Roorkee’s administrative building known as Main building

Well I wasn’t born here, neither it qualifies for my native place. Our family moved here just after my birth (I was 4 months old) as my Dad got job in University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee) as a lecturer. So even though its neither my birth place or my native place, its my home-town – the place I grew up in. In fact, I grew up in the University of Roorkee campus.

I didn’t it know then, but I was privileged that way. Life on a university campus is very peaceful, very different from normal life. We had access to all the university facilities as Olympic size swimming pool, indoor Badminton courts, tennis courts, campus library. The fees, if any, were nominal. Life was great!

Also, for uninitiated, Roorkee is a small town in foothills of Himalayas. Its now falls in the state of Uttarakhand.

2. Chennai
marina-beach wallpaper
Chennai’s Marina beach

The first time I left my home-town, I ended up in deep south, all by myself. Honestly, I was scared and excited. Well I was young enough then to take it as an adventure. The only word of Tamil I knew was ille.
Those were great two and a half years. I learned a lot about south Indian, in particular Tamil culture, made some great life-long friends and gained a bit of weight.

3. Barmer/Jodhpur
Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort and the blue city

I never lived in either of these cities. However, I worked on Barmer basin for 2.5 years. Part of my work took me to the field in Barmer. Since Barmer didn’t have an airport, we always flew to Jodhpur followed by a four hour drive to Barmer. However, depending on flight times, I usually got a half day break in Jodhpur. I visited Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort on most of those breaks mainly due to some companion who had never seen the fort.

We had our main field work in Barmer, which meant I have travelled through most of the district, talked to local villagers, visited their home, visited schools, as well as climbed the sand dunes in 35-40 C temperature. Oh, the memories

4. Edinburgh

Again, I never lived in Edinburgh but I have visited it few times. The company I was working for during my stay in Chennai was based in Edinburgh. So before I visited Edinburgh for the first time, I had heard a lot of stories and praise about the city. But the  city didn’t disappoint me. It’s a beautiful city. I wish I could live there at some point.

5. Stanford
Palm drive and the Stanford quad

From Chennai, I moved to Stanford for my PhD. It was love at first sight. Although I must say, I hated US (not Stanford) the first six months of my arrival. They have this circular logic of credit history. You can’t have one if you have never owned a credit card, rented a house, buy a mobile. But you can’t have/buy any of these things unless you have a credit history. Go figure.

Anyway, I spent six years in Stanford. It remains my favorite place in the whole wide world. Its my place. The place I go to touch bases and recuperate after any major trauma. Last time I visited India, I couldn’t wait to go back to Stanford. To be home. I was pretty sad when I had to leave Stanford.

6. Houston

Last year I moved from Stanford to Houston for my job. I have been here for about 8 months now. I am still working on building memories here. So nothiing much to elaborate here…

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow.

All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Seven Wants, Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.

June 27, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Seven Wants

Oh, this is an easy one. I want everything! See so simple. No? Okay let me try again. I want world peace and eradication of  poverty and sickness from the world (an excerpt from my Nobel prize speech. What? I am more likely to win the Nobel prize than win a beauty pageant!) Okay fine, I will write down seven things. Here it goes;

1. Hassleblad H4D-60

For uninitiated, it’s a medium format camera with 60MP sensor. I can’t even start to describe all the features of this beautiful camera. The only two cons of this camera: 1) it weighs about 1.8 kg and 2) it costs about $40,000.

hasselblad_h4d_2 (1)

2. Server and accessories

I would like to build a server from scratch one day. I don’t really need it but I do want it. Oh yes, I do. It will be nice to have one for post-processing my photographs faster as well as storing them in the server. Oh yes, while I am at it, I would like the Eizo FlexScan T2351W monitor and a Canon Pro9000 Mark II printer.

3. House

I want to buy a house with about 5-6 bedrooms, a game room, a dinning-room, a breakfast area, a living room, an entertainment room, a sun room, a big kitchen along with a basement that I can convert to a gym and a nice backyard. Also enough money to decorate my house exactly the way I want it, without cutting corners. Hey, you are the one who asked what I want!

4. Vacations

Oh there is a whole list for this section: all the places that I would love to visit in my life time. A cross country drive in US and Canada, drive across/train trip Europe, to visit Egyptian pyramids and river Nile, Peruvian country side to Falkland islands and it goes on and on. tourism

5. A New Wardrobe

Oh, how I would  love a new, stylish wardrobe. An outfit for all occasion, whether its casual or formal, evening or business. Instead of me standing in my closet (oh yes, I have a walk-in closet in my apartment) with multiple clothes and yet nothing right for the occasion.


6. Health

This one is pretty important to me. I don’t like being sick. I don’t like having back pains. Anything that stops me from exercising or going out, I don’t like. I like to be mobile at all time. So being healthy is really important to me.


7. Happiness

Yet again, the obvious. Like every one else, I do want to be happy.


That’s all for today, All the images are linked to their source.

Previous posts on 10 Day Challenge: Eight Fears, Nine Loves, Ten Secrets.