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.