Friday, August 29, 2008

“How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar”

Crazy week, especially last two days. I had this user research study I was working on. Knew it the moment I heard about it that it was designed to fail. What do you do when you know things are to go wrong? Do you sulk? Complain. Blame others. Maybe even magically try to feel optimistic about things turning around. For this one, that’s what I did, fake optimism. Well guess what, sometimes it works. All you need to do is tell yourself during the worst time that next turn is good to be the end of this bumpy ride. We closed the study today, it wasn’t a 100% success but it dint fail either. In the end, noone was jubilant but none were upset either.

As I sit at my desk and look at the stats of this study, it reminds me of the class Robotics. My curiosity got me to take up the class. I wanted to know why no girl ever enrolled for that class. Robotics was pretty famous as the elective for brightest. It was a scoring subject as long as you understood it. I wondered what it would take for me to understand it. It was the final semester and no one would want to risk their grades. Only a fool wants below a first class or worst a KT in the final sem. Last semester is a weird time I tell ya. Time, when you are curious to step in the outside world. Time when you are glad those classes, those grades and assignments are over and yet the time when you know you would miss it all. So well, I could choose to not take up the class and wonder all my life what it would be like if I did. Or I could take up the class and either regret it all my life or tough it out. I did just what I did for this study. I choose the risk. I wasn't one of the brightest. I wasn’t sure I could make it through. All I thought then and now was – if I don’t try this now, I would never know what it’s like. And I sailed through. As much as I would hate to take up a class in robotics now, I am glad I know how a robot moves its arms and does all the magic he can. It sure was a stressful time but worth it I bet. So was this study, designed to fail and yet didn’t. Sometimes all it takes is a little faith and ambition to try.

I haven’t experienced as much life to comment. But there’s one thing I learnt from my dad, he never says so much in words but always makes this clear. If you give up something it’s going to bother you more than anyone else, for a long, very long time.

So now on to the next adventure, wonder how back country camping is like? Guess I'll just find out over the next weekend.

P.S A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Timeless times...

There are these times, when all I can think of is a string of words. Do they make any sense? Well I never promised this blog would make any sense,did I?

Sentences and such..Discussions through mornings. Music playing, liked, loud not so wanted. Cards on the table, yes it’s a pair, no, not yet, maybe next time. Spices and flavors. Complaints from neighbors. Rain and sun. Late mornings, lazy evenings. Sipping tea, tasting wine. Planning no plans. Driving no vans. Speed, speed, no stop sign. Movies and shopping. Stretch out your feet, look up the sky, butterfly, yes that butterfly. Meaningless fights. Silly jokes, silly times. Laughter just too much laughter. And then the goodbyes.

Those timeless times...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sheesh I am in this song wrap.And am so totally singing it. Singing it at work,singing in kitchen, bathroom, while watering plants (no they aint dying just by listening me singing-nope not yet).

I watched Umarao Jaan yesterday. It started with listening to some song on YouTube and then I just had to go watch the entire movie. Saw it over tea and then dinner. Jas was totally hyper (like that’s something new); he doesn’t like sarcastic, sad real life stories. He’s been asking this one question - What pleasure do you get out of watching such movies where 80% (or did he say 90%) of the time some or the other women is crying? I just reasoned,miss the Hindi soaps na(a 1000 year old woman living on. "Ba” was she or is she?) which Ma loves to watch. After watching the movie I had to call Ma and tell her stuff. Especially coz Jas just can’t stand the pauses and drama I add during story telling. Ma on the other hand was totally mesmerized. She hasn’t watched the movie yet and wanted to know whether it was shot before Aishwarya and Abhishek declared marriage or later. Don’t I miss those meaningless Cine Magazines sometimes?

So I told her the story and such:

Umrao Jaan Ada, what now? No its Ada, yes I know that's not the name of the movie but it’s like that no actually, in real. This Umrao no, she sings and dances all too well. Yeah the costumes were good, the makeup also, why you focusing on that? I am telling you the story no. So this Umrao is not Umrao she is actually Ameeran. Not Gareeban, Aaameeeran. Lil girl, but is kidnapped and then taken to Lucknow to Shabana. No, I don’t remember Shabana’s name. So I reaaaaally like the song Ab ke Janam. I like it just like that, nothing to do with you. But you listen no, this Umrao falls in love with Nawab Sultan. Its Nawab Sultan, no I am not wrong, they use both together, its the first name (Nawaab+Sultan).Ok ok, no Amitabh wouldn’t look good, he would look too old in the movie. Good they didn’t choose him. Hellooo, helloooooo.

Gosh! Ma still can’t stand a word against Amitabh. But this time she dint really bang the phone, it’s like someone out there knows and understands her feelings so the line just went dead. I never ended up telling her the entire story. But just chatting with her about this reminded me of good old days, when I returned home from a theatre and recited her entire movie story with dialogues and acting. She was always ready to listen, always with the same level of interest and enthu. Some relations never change, hence Agle Janam Mohe....if you know what I mean.

P.S: Next week, Friends arrive at Seattle = noise, laughter, poker and nonsensical chatter all the time).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gold in Olympics 2008

OMG OMG, we struck gold!!!!! Our own very first "individual gold medal" won by Abhinav Bindra at the Olympics in China. I am overwhelmed with pride. Want to do bhangda right now. And now on I vote shooting. Enough of cricket and cricket and more cricket. I mean I didn’t even know this dude Abhinav could shoot let alone the 10m air rifle. I am so celebrating. Can you believe eveyone of my friends on gtalk are offline. I just need to call everyone right now and share the moment of pride. Or even better, I am just going to spam people with this news.

Trust me, if you meet me tomorrow, whether you know me or don't, prepare to hear about the gold from Beijing.

"Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindosita Humara" :)

To self: Brain tag- 2008 the year of first individual gold to India by Abhinav Bindra.

Edited to add: OMG another buzz about this dude Akhil Kumar. Did you know about him? Me nither. Cool no?

Friday, August 8, 2008

A little story for all

Today has been all cold and rainy, like any other cold day here.Just that it’s been sunshine for too long, long enough for me to believe it might just stay. I drove to work today listening to “Tejonidhi loh gol”, bliss!! Stopped at a red light, can’t avoid looking at the person in the car next to me, can I? Anywhoo, there was this old lady in that car looking straight at the red light, and suddenly she dozed off. Yeah that’s right, at the steering wheel, she just slept. Woke up in a second, looked in the mirror to check her lipstick, acted just normal. The light turned green and I wondered if she was headed to the freeway. Hopefully not!

Two potted plants (my pets) which survived the bitter winter, one of them seems to be happy and is sprouting flowers. As I was looking at them yesterday, I remembered our balcony plants back in India. Mum would put potted plants in every spot possible so that we don’t enter the balcony or for that matter any balcony in the house. Her own little garden she calls it. I could never understand the pleasure she achieves in attracting mosquitoes, some other little insects which hover around green and a grasshopper at one time. While these thoughts circled my brain,a big fat honeybee started hovering on a little yellow bud. Bliss again! Ok Ma, know how it feels now, yeah and also know how many times I have said this. Yeah yeah I would know when I grew up and stuff.

Today I spoke to a best friend from India. The one whom I send senseless, annoying emails. Ranting, frustrations and more. She however, religiously replies to them with some completely unrelated topics and thoughts. Isn’t it wonderful to just have such friends? In one of her such emails is a little story, probably we all were read such stories as kids, but doesn’t harm to revisit them once in a while, does it? So here’s a conversation between two characters in the story:

The story itself is set in the pre-independence period.

A British forest Officer is talking to one of the local Indian Tribal man assisting and supervising the Khedda operations. He notices that the elephants, which have been domesticated earlier, are used to pull out the newly captured elephants from the Khedda pit. He also notices that the huge / heavy tusker is tied to a tree with a relatively thin iron chain. So he asks, “That elephant is huge, don’t you think you should chain it properly? Those chains are very thin. That tusker can break those chains by yanking and pulling really hard repeatedly".

The Khedda man replies, “When we capture baby elephants, we chain them. Initially they tug at the chains and pull hard and try to free themselves. Gradually, the frequency and intensity of the 'pull' decreases. One fine day they simply stop trying. Once they stop trying we don’t change the chains. The elephant is now growing up. It can break those chains with a couple of good pulls. You know it and I know it. But the elephant himself doesn’t know that".

This week’s thought: Keep trying. You will never realize how strong you are unless you try to break the chains. The day you stop trying is the day you are actually chained.

P.S: Thanks Sowjanya for listening always!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Random e-mails

There are days when random things happen at a rapid rate. Today was one such day, don’t I love such days? Somehow they manage to keep me happy. While work was exciting with meetings and such, I managed to listen to some of my favorite songs today. The Ipod managed to play the right songs. I stepped out of office for a meeting, much hoping that there won’t be any sun (you learn to set your expectations in Seattle, you see). But well, not always. Back in India, whenever the sky turned cloudy and wind started to bang our windows, I just had to go get a “butta” from the bhaiya near our home. Today was one such day here, of course with some sun. While all this is part of the usual routine so are the tons of emails which arrive in my inbox through our Indian Group. Usually it's some random about a garage sale, event, shared accommodation etc. Today for some reason it was sort of hilarious. Here are some of the emails, which made me choke due to laughing (slap your self if you don’t find this funny, maybe you are just sleeping)

1. Recently there was a murder-suicide incident in an apartment complex near our office. Some crazy freak guy shot his ex-wife and shot himself in broad day light. So here's the actual piece, someone emails this news article link to the group. Can you guess what would be a reply on this? I am sure no one can. A dude replies with concern- “Where they Indians?”

P.S: Article contained all the details (no one shot was an Indian, while several calls were made to 911)

2. Another hilarious email was by a dude asking for lawyer information. This guy managed to get a speeding ticket for jet skiing. So I guess a traffic police (jet ski police huh?) caught him and gave him a speeding ticket. Now as if this wasn’t funny enough, the dude sends out email to all asking for lawyer information to counter the ticket. In case you find yourself in a similar situation and don’t know what to do, some expert has replied – the jet ski speeding ticket doesn’t affect the driving record. Yeah duh!!!

3. If this hasn’t made you laugh there were tons of other emails, ridiculous in nature. I guess it’s just the Friday mood. A debate over the business week article “Trade talks broke down July 29 as India and China refused to bow to U.S. demands on agricultural subsidies” was one such. Suddenly there were too many people who grew up in poor villages replying. Someone believed that Indians and Chinese can eat every bit of wheat & rice surplus in the western world and can still feel hungry and emailed such. Just this statement made me laugh so much I tell ya. Indians will remain Indians wherever they go. Of course I am proud being one. Like Chetan Bhagat said “There is something cool about saying - I come from the land of a billion sparks.”

4. While the arguments and concerns about the agricultural subsidies were enough to spark patriotism, another mail informed the launch of Tata’s Air Powered Car launch. Impressed am I or what? I want one!!!!!

Now that I am hooked on to the group, find me sharing more stories and such. Funny or not funny, I still shall share.