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.

June 26, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Eight Fears

Hmm..I think this is going to turn into things I don’t like instead of actual fear. I am not really afraid of many things in life. I am uncomfortable of quite a few things, so that’s what I am going to enumerate today

1. Claustrophobia

250px-Claustrophobia (1)

The fear of enclosed space. I am not sure but I think I might have always had it but I didn’t know it. However, the half an hour that I spent in an MRI machine brought it out. I had never like the elevators but now I try avoiding them completely. As a result, now I know that I can climb up to 8 floors of a building but that’s pretty much my limit.

2.  Breaking-neck-phobia

ie3_pb_somersaultAs I mentioned earlier, I have a big phobia of breaking neck for as long as I remember. I don’t know what was the source of this phobia but as a result I have never been able to do somersaults or a headstand. If you think you never need to do one as an adult, then I recommend never to join a martial art club. We had to learn to roll which was one of toughest thing I had to learn during Kenpo Karate. I almost cried a few times.

3. Financial dependence

iStock_000006831593XSmallI am completely and totally scared of becoming financially dependent on any one. As a kid I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up except that I will be working and be financially independent. That was a big deal for me then and as it is now. Not that I think being a house-wife or stay-home mom is bad, its simply I can not do it. May be I have some trust issues…

4. Flying Insectsa_bugs_life_5

I wouldn’t say I have a fear of insects but I don’t like insects that can fly, especially if they fly straight to my face. Even if it’s a butterfly or a lady bug. I don’t like insects flying towards my face. Period.

5. Horrifying showscraigslist-crimeNo I am not talking about horror movies and shows. I am talking about shows like Criminal Minds, Law and Order SVU etc. It also includes most of ID (Investigation Discovery) channel shows. The reason these shows scare me is that they are usually based on some real life criminal case. It can actually happen to me or someone I know. That scares me a big deal.

6. PredatorsZoo_0447_2I have a decent amount of respect for all types of predators. Whether they are big cats, or prey birds, I admire them and keep a safe distance from them. They are after all capable of tearing me apart, if they please.

7. SpeedspeedI don’t like fast speeds. I am kind of scared of driving too fast. You will always find me in the right most lane driving either at speed limit or below it. If I will ever get a speeding ticket, it will be for driving too slow.

8. Losing

Yes, like all humans, I am also scared of losing people I love. Again, it’s a given, isn’t it?

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow.

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

June 25, 2011

10 Day Challenge: Nine Loves

Okay, the second day of 10 day challenge and it doesn’t get easier. So here goes the list of my nine loves:

1. PhotographyCamera_1
Well number one is no brainer. If you know me, you know I love photography. It has been a passion for a long time, even before I had a camera. As a teenager I used to quote photography as my hobby with added subtext: “I don’t have a camera yet.”

2. Exercising
Me_28_100No honestly. I go into depression if I can’t exercise. It can take any form though, swimming, biking, playing badminton, practicing martial arts or simply working out in a cardio class. I love the sweat after exercising and that feeling of being completely physically exhausted along with all the aches and pains of a physical activity.  Its so exhilarating.

3. Studying
Again, I am not kidding. And I am not talking about reading books/novels (which, incidentally, I also like) but actual course books. Call me a geek or a nerd or whatever, I have always always loved studying. I have known to forget to eat or even to sleep (no seriously, that has happened to me) while studying.

4. Musicals
I am a big sucker for musicals, both in movies and on theater. From The Sound of Music to Chicago, I love them all. From Fiddler on the Roof to Rent, I adore them all.

peanut-butter-image5. Peanut Butter
Actually scratch that. I love peanuts. Period. The warm nice peanuts (with shells), with chutney or lemon-salt-chilli combo on a cold winter day. I love peanuts and anything associated.

The peanut butter (crunchy) means same to me what chocolate means to most of the people around the globe. I simply can’t resist it. The peanut butter is the reason I love Snickers and Cold Stone creamery Mud Pie (thanks Rachna for introducing me to the second one!). I can even tolerate chocolate if it has peanut butter in it.

6. Stanford
Dish30_100The beautiful beautiful campus of Stanford and plethora of activities it offers, for me Stanford is and will always remain the best, the most beautiful place to live in the entire world. It was the first place I ever felt home after leaving home. I spent six years of my life, and I must add few of the most challenging years of my life, in that place. It holds a special place in my heart.

7. Geophysics
I love being a Geophysicist. I love my subject. It’s a fascinating world. Did you know i_love_geophysics_tshirt-p235755163736365859q6iv_400Geophysics consists of multiple disciplines like volcanology (study of volcanoes), meteorology and climatology, seismology (study of earthquakes), oceanography (study of oceans), hydrology, glaciology (study of glaciers), Geomagnetism (study of magnetic field of the Earth), Planetary sciences (study of physical characteristics of other planets)? It’s a diversified field with a lot of different applications. It’s a humbling experience to attend the American Geophysical Union conference, the largest Geophysical conference in the world, and meet people working in completely different fields.

I guess it’s the same for all the fields but some how I find it very fascinating to see so many varied application of a single subject.

Me_3_2008. Napping
I love to sleep. I can sleep for days, only waking up to eat and drink and then go back to bed again. That would have been my summer holiday routine, had it not for my mom. She wanted the beds made up and rooms tidied up every day for some reason.

9. Family and Friends
Well last, but by no means, least, I, of course, love my family and friends. It’s a given, isn’t it? Still, to make the list complete, I am mentioning it…

That’s all for today folks. All the images are linked to their source, unless, of course, they are taken by me. Hope you liked the list!

June 24, 2011

The Ten Day YOU Challenge - Ten secrets

Borrowed straight from Aathira’s blog, I am taking up the 10 Day you Challenge. This challenge seems pretty challenging. Let’s see how will I fare. So here goes the ten secrets:

1. I am very stubborn. Surprisingly though no one pegs me for being stubborn unless, of course, they get to know me. Apparently, being introvert and being stubborn don’t go together. 

2. I absolutely hate being pranked. Call me a bad sport or whatever, but I don’t get the fun of making fool of someone who trusts you. You see, most of the prank wouldn’t work if your “victim” does not trust you. So basically by pranking them you are telling them not to trust you. People actually enjoy doing that?

3. My most common nightmare involves being late for something, usually an exam or interview. In real life it means that if I am running late in real life, its like a nightmare coming to life. Needless to say, I don’t like getting late. Usually, I have to make efforts to be late.

4. I love to sing. However, it doesn’t mean that I am a good singer. It also doesn’t mean that I can sing in front of other people. When it comes to singing, I have a big case of stage fright. Even though I can now manage my fear of public speaking (actually I rather enjoy giving presentations now), yet I absolutely can not sing in front of other people.

5. I have a mental block against all the commerce subjects i.e., economics, finance, marketing, etc. (the only exception is statistics). I absolutely can not understand or retain anything related to any of those subjects. 

6. I like to eat ice-cubes. It can get very embarrassing in a restaurant but I simply can’t resist it.

7. I can’t grow my nails. Ever. No matter how cool it is or how much fashionable, I simply can’t tolerate long
fingernails. If I can’t find a nail-cutter soon enough, then I will bite them (as in nail-biting).

8. I am scared of breaking my neck. Apparently, there is no name for my phobia. The closest I could find was giraffeophobia: the fear of sticking your neck out. But I am not scared of sticking the neck, I am scared of putting wait on my neck, like when you do a somersault. 

9. I have been known to sleep talk and very rarely, sleep walk (only once). It usually happens when I am very stressed. But I do not snore.

10. I am secretly very proud of myself for finishing my PhD. No really. It was a rough journey and I almost quit it on several occasions. Thanks to my friends, I did make it through.

Phew…glad that’s done. Any other taker for the challenge?

June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset on Summer Solstice


The sunset on the longest day of the year was at 9:53 PM. It’s weird to take the photo of sunset, come back and go to sleep directly.

June 21, 2011

Travel Diary: Spring in Ottawa

As I said in one of my previous post, Ottawa in Spring is beautiful. Like all the big cities of the world, Ottawa is also situated on the shore of a river, the river Ottawa. The river actually forms the state line between two Canadian states Ontario and Quebec. So in the photo  below you can actually see the two states and the bridge that connects them. The boat or as we photographer like to call it, the foreground of the photo, is in Ontario while the red building, or the background, is the state of Quebec. Neat, eh?


Anyway, topic of the post is Spring in Ottawa. This spring in Ottawa was slightly different as there is currently a water ban in place in parts of Ottawa. As a result of this ban, this part of Ottawa had “weeds” everywhere.


But this unwanted weed made Ottawa even more beautiful. Don’t believe me? Here is my proof:


Sometimes, bad things aren’t bad after all, eh? 

Spring also means beautiful days awesome days. The blue skies, the white clouds, and perfect temperatures.



Add a bicycle to it, and we have a perfect day:


That’s all for my travel diary today! Hope you liked it..

P.S.: I started writing this post a while ago. I finally finished it off. Hope you like it.