Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - 2011

Here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

May the next year be everything that you ever wished for and more....

See you all in 2011

BTW: I clicked this at Times Square a couple days back-- missed the ball drop by a few days :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Glass Castle

Just finished the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. An inspiring true story that tells you that no matter how bad your situation is , there is always a way forward. The pic above is from Jeanette's second book - Half Broke Horses(which i have not read)but i think the cover is more appropriate to the Glass Castle. Jeanette is the one with the cat in her arms in the pic above.

Four kids grow up in abject poverty in Welch, a coal mining town in WV. Their survival instincts and dreams of getting on in life get them to "parent" their parents and push them for a better life. When all attempts fail , one by one the kids make their way out of Welch to find a niche for themselves in the world.

Most of us donot realize that the mere fact that we are sitting in a heated house today is something that raises us to a level that many ( i wont put a % to it as i dont know the %) in the world do not have. There is so much to be thankful for in our lives. Highly recommend reading...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kenya Nov-Dec 2011

Jumbo everyone. ( That is the Sawhali word for greetings) We made a trip to Kenya this winter and clicked this at the Thompson Falls on the outskirts of Nairobi. This is where the fabled Olympic Kenyan runners practice.. infact we did catch a glimpse of them jogging past in the distance while I was running to find a washroom ( I have a future - would'nt you agree)?

& that is the Thompson Falls.. its not going to solve the worlds energy problems but it was a pretty sight.. bad camera NOT bad photoghrapher.

I needed a typical African picture - acacia trees, Giraffes, and the undulating african savanah streatching away to the horizon-- well i almost got all of it -- almost

We crossed the equator too a couple times and got educated on a curious phenomenon-- In the northern hemisphere, water draining vertically downwards from a vessel drains with a clockwise circular motion and anti clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Dont tell me you knew this - we were never taught this AT ALL, right through grade school

We hobnobbed with the cheetah's

rode an ostrich

Fed a Kelly the Giraffe.

Incidently these Rothschild giraffes live in the backyard of a Kenyan resident. there are only approx 600 of these beauties left and this guy had 9 of them

.. and danced with the Masai

any one wants to see more pics???

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Walk through Eden Woods Park

This afternoon I took a walk through Eden Woods, the park opposite our home. Soft snow fell , the ground was untrodden below me and with Robert Pirsig's famous "Zen & the art..." in my ears, it was what some people call -- 'living the moment'

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Will it be a Do-it-Yourself World?

Today if you want to do your plumbling or put up a shower door, where do you go? In earlier times you went to the yellow pages and called a tradesman. Today you go to Youtube or Home Depot, get the knowhow and attempt it with a fair degree of confidence. If you need technical help in an enginerring or a High School subject , you go to Khan Academy and get upto speed while Salman Khan ( The man behind Khan Academy) doodles you out of your confusion. I had mentally accepted this style of education and jested with my friends that I was Youtube educated but i was not prepared for what I saw in a Staples store today ( pic above)

If DIY books exist on seperation and Divorce , it truly reflects how volatile our relationships are becoming. This ties in well with what i had been reading about communities who inhabit the Canadian Northern provinces. As the ice cap recedes due to Global warming, the Innuit men stay back at home as they wait for the ice to thicken on the waterways before they venture out to hunt. As they stay home longer, frustration seems to rise and it gets directed at the family. Obviously relationships get strained. Did you ever have an inkling that Global Warming could have this kinda side effect? We all have heard that rise in sea levels could make islands like Maldives disappear, but this was a new one.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like in the future. Could it get even more modular? Say for example, your car stalls. The message on the dash says " Fuel pump faulty" . You go to the auto store , pick up the right part and the installation direction walks you through the install process. I think the Swedish furniture chain, Ikea started this with their DIY furniture. Suddenly there was an explosion in the consumer market place as goods started being sold in a semi ready state. Not only that ...If you need to file your taxes, a software wizard speeds you through the process. Furniture, electricals, house repair, gardening ... are all DIY now a days & I suspect it will get even more of a DIY world as the world tightens its belt as a result of the last recession. Then where does this leave all our specialist. Will they disappear? I suspect we will still need them but only for the really heavy stuff... surgery ( I doubt you can do a heart by-pass as a DIY) , car engine repair, complex litigation and so on.

For those of you who would like to get initiated to this new world , i suggest you go get yourself a tool kit today but try and stay away from the books in the pic above.

PS:Talking of a DIY world ... some of you may recollect years back , taking apart our mobikes and then while attempting to put it back, we seemed to have an unreasonable number of spare parts left over. The mechanic who was called to "fix it" went to work with a smug grin on his face-- a grin we would have loved to wipe off his face with a shiner to his nose.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Friend Anand

Anand passed away on Dec 05, 2010 of a massive stroke to the heart. He was a shade over 50 and still played squash.In fact from what I gather he was on his way back from his morning game. Does that make any sense? Staying in shape apparently does not guarantee a long life-- so what does??!!

I first met Anand during our degree course in 1983 and soon found a common bond in the game of Squash.Besides our daily game , the most memorable ones were the ones we played after a series of exams. Those were specially extended hard hitting and punishing games after which we sat exhausted in a pool of sweat, happy without a care in the world. After we finished the degree course , I never ever found a squash partner of Anand's caliber. The few times we met post our pre-mature retirements, he did mention that he was still playing and I did experience a twinge of envy , but i was very happy for him. He was just such a guy you would want to see happy always & share some time with and have him as a friend.

Anand & I once did a motorcycle trip from Pune to Mhow with a stop over at Devlali. We both rode different Yezdi machines and as it so happens in long distance rides, riders get seperated due to traffic & road conditions.This being before the cell phone era, I always found Anand waiting for me a few kms ahead with a worried look on his face. He always had this considerate streak in him which in those days i found irritating but today I can not, but respect.

His innocence and simple nature endured most of us to him all through our degree course and beyond. Most evening during the degree course, would find us congregating at some one's house. Anand would amble in help himself to a drink and somehow be the source of all the merriment and laughter. At one such occasion I recollect he had wanted gin and somehow picked up a bottle of vinegar. Anand being Anand did not notice this till I went back tothe kitchen and realized what had happened. Till then Anand was oblivious and happy with his "drink".

The last I spoke to Anand was around the middle of Nov this year after a long time. The tele conversation lasted for an hour and we laughed a lot recollecting mutual friends and incidents of days gone by. We ended the call promising to keep in touch, little realizing that this was the last call I would ever make to my friend.

Today Anand is no more. He died doing what he loved best ie playing squash. Our hearts go out to Neena and the kids , Karan and Raman. We wish them strength in these trying times. All of us have lost a great friend & like I read in an email from some one -- he was a true Officer and a Gentleman.

Rest in peace, Anand.