Monday, November 05, 2007

Planet Earth-Rocks!

This is what I have been enjoying the past week:The splendidly awesome Planet Earth- The Complete Series, (BBC Vidoes). Takes you through an icredible journey of the planet-nature at its most beautiful, wildest and remotest. It also makes you realize how intricately interconnected life on this planet is but how stupidly we dont pay attention and mess up the environment we live in. Anyways, I dont mean to "lament" but I say everyone buy it or get hold of it and watch it.

A testimony from the narrator of the series David Attenborough: "This new series is more a celebration of our planet, not a lament about the state of it. It shows what is still there. In some areas, there is no doubt we are doing damage to our world but, at the same time there is a vast amount of unchratered and untouched wilderness. This landmark series takes viewers to the world's highest peaks, deepest caves and most remote deserts. The footage is simply without parallel".
At Branes & Noble it is priced at $75 but amazon.com has it priced at $85 along with another series called The Blue Planet-Seas of Life.That's a pretty neat deal. Might make a good early christmas gift for self :).
ENJOY!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tagged Myself!

Found an interesting “tag” post while browsing through some blogs. For lack of anything better or interesting to write I decided to tag myself and reveal a bit.

Injured yourself
Long ago, when I was five or something. I was standing at the door waving at my dad who was leaving for work. A strong wind blew the door shut which cut off a portion of my left index finger which I had unknowingly placed between the door hinges. My mom poured some antiseptic, stuck back the little piece of finger, bandaged it and rushed me to the doctor. The piece was stitched back and my hand was in sling for weeks. All credit goes to the doctor’s sewing skills, even though the finger is intact and healed completely, it is slightly twisted serving as a permanent reminder of that unfortunate, painful day.

Been in love
There are people I like beyond any logical reasoning. I suppose it must be love.
PS: Someone please define being in love.

Been violent
A couple of times I have thrown a few things around in an attempt to dispense my anger when words and reasoning failed me.

Drank too much
Thanksgiving 2004. I can’t remember how many glasses of wine and sherry I had but I do remember passing out and getting up hours later with a horrible hangover.It wasn't a happy or fun experience at all.

Experienced bliss
Typically when I am traveling alone and find myself in the middle of nowhere. But to be more specific, when I was working in a project and I was staying with a tribal community close to a forest, far, far, far away from the maddening crowd.

Did something you shouldn't have
I screamed at my mom for asking too many questions. See, she was just being concerned for my future. I feel a bit guilty and bad now. Oh well….hmmm.

Created art
If amateur oil painting can be defined as “art”, then yes I dabbled in it briefly in my undergraduate years.

Surprised someone
No…not really. I don’t think I am good at giving surprises.

Bought something expensive
I spent quite a bit on clothes while I was in India for summer. *guilty*

Played a practical joke on someone
Oh no…not my scene.

Felt nervous in someone's company
Yea…anytime I am with anybody I have a secret crush on although it is a combination of nervousness, shyness, awkwardness along with an overwhelming feeling of joy and affection. Strange I tell you.

Felt beautiful
Yea…when I am alone in the middle of nowhere. lol!

Felt unattractive
Yep..when I make more than a couple of trips to the dessert bar at the restaurant :D

Threw a party
Well, if cooking food for friends and chatting into the night can be called a “party” then yes…just four weeks back.
Everyone loved my cooking *wink*

Were the centre of attention
Yea—four weeks back, for a brief period. It happened to be my b’day and a friend had brought a cake. They made me light a candle and cut the cake. It was a lovely surprise although a bit embarrassing!

Felt betrayed
Yea…but better left unexplained.

Lied
I try my best to avoid lying, I only lie to avoid others getting hurt or when it is for a harmless cause. That's really not too often.

Were scared
I was in high-school when my grandmother became seriously ill and the whole family had gathered at our ancestral home. The next day she passed away and that night all of us cousins were asked to sleep at our eldest uncle’s house which was about five minutes walk from grandma’s place. Before we left, one of my cousins decided it would be cool to get us all into one room (we were around 10 of us in the group, the youngest being in second grade) switch off the lights and exchange ghost stories. Being bit of a scaredy cat, I was not particularly enjoying the stories especially the last one my cousin told which was on this ghost lady in white. It almost scared the crap out of me. So finally it was time to leave and we all had to walk through a rubber estate with only a torch light showing us the way. I was walking with my cousin, the expert story teller, when he suddenly pointed out and exclaimed "look there’s that lady in white!” and I instantly reacted by closing my eyes with a loud scream and started crying hysterically!! It took quite a bit of reassuring to calm me down and stop my crying. The incident was left unreported to the elders but none of us kids slept that night. My poor cousin was beside me through out, apologizing and reassuring me :D. I was fine by next day and it almost seemed ridiculous but I had never felt such terrorizing scare in my life before.
What a night that was!

Felt glad to be you
Yea…most days :D

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Return

Here I am on top of the world, surrounded by the misty green mountains, almost kissing the clouds enjoying those few moments when the moon’s about to depart awaiting the sun’s glorious arrival, listening to the schoolboys whistling….is how I would have liked to begin. But, here I am, holed up in a concrete apartment, staring at the wooden wall with the Gujju art work and the collage on the signboard, listening to Fools Garden-Lemon Tree and wondering ….

Now that I have a beginning, a rather dramatic one, I am not quite sure how to continue.
But an attempt is an attempt is an attempt….?!?!
Ok …so here I am (I am repeating myself), back from “apna des” struggling to get back to routine, although I don’t really have one :D! I am back from spending two months in India and I miss mother, I miss certain places, I miss certain moments I have had, I miss someone here and there and I miss the status of not missing anything and anyone while I was there. So, how foolish can one be to return? But then I suppose someone wise would have described it as being realistic/ practical and I take comfort in considering myself wise.Anyways….. couple of months left to officially graduate and after that what’s in store…the Lord definitely knows. I wish to work but the challenge would be to find my kind of work *scary*.For now, I am working with my professor with a short trip scheduled for next month. I am also prettying up my thesis to present it to grad division. Hopefully they will approve (fingers crossed).And last but not the least in my sad attempts to relive my vacation I am occupying myself watching Indian movies (tamil movies to be precise. My romance with the language continues!) and listening to music as loud as legally possible! Perhaps just a coincidence, but I am also reading The Inheritance of Loss and if I may share a line I encountered...“could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss? Romantically she decided that love must surely reside in the gap between desire and fulfillment, in the lack, not the contentment. Love was the ache, the anticipation, the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself”*sigh*

Monday, August 27, 2007

To The Lord

Although you belong to all the world -lord
I wait with silent passion
For one gesture, one glance from you.
Borrrowed and modified from Buddha Bar II-Desire
(PS: I have been tripping on some of the Buddha Bar tracks ever since someone introduced me to it. Even made plans to buy them while in Bangalore but the cost of each cd is more than 2000 bucks....way above what my pockets could afford. But...there is always later...when I might strike gold or get inspired to rob a bank. Until then youtube-long live!)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Back

I am done!! Finally!! Defended my thesis day before yesterday and got all the important papers signed. I can sing and I don’t care about my lousy voice. I was in full armor (imagine one of those ancient English soldiers geared up for battle) and defended my work with all my might . The turn over for the presentation was better than I expected. Besides my committee members, there were a couple of other professors from the department, a few folks from the industry and agriculture extension services and a couple of my friends.
It has been quite a tiresome, nerve racking semester and I never got a break after my finals as I had to focus full time on completing my thesis. My professor had suggested defending in august when school reopens for fall but I wanted to finish up all the crazy part before I headed home.
So, fixed my defense for this month and gave up on sleep, food and friends .I survived the sleeplessness, the lack of food and like to believe that all the good friendship survived in spite of the complete disconnect with friends. A couple of them did wonder where the heck I was since I got messages that read “alive or dead?” and “I am disappointed in you. How can you not make time to say a simple hello”..etc.
Anyways…such a relief to have done with the defense which was the scariest part of all. Celebrated on Hefeweizen, Virginia Slims and Greek Food! My professor’s treat.

Planning to tackle a list of ‘other important things to do’ such as :
Get tickets to get home as early and as cheap as I can.
Stock up some chocolates for cousins, nieces and nephews.
Try and catch a couple of nice movies
Finish the two books that I bought sometime back. I had started reading one @ of one page a week. Hope to pick up some speed and finish it and the next one.
And last but not the least get back in touch with some nice people I know…
That’s it.
The defense is OVER!.....Yipeee!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"This Used To Be My Playground"

I just finished dinner. Cooked some frozen chapattis and heated up some pre-cooked palak paneer. It tasted pretty ok….. I could hear finger licking and lip smacking and it also brought back a lot of memories. My mom makes the best paalak paneer . It used to be such a treat to discover it was paalak paneer and chapattis with curd (I love curd with chapattis) for dinner when I got back from school. My school days re-defined routine (trying to avoid the word boring). I lived in a nice residential colony in the suburbs. There were a couple of us friends and we all went to the same school and later to different colleges but remained friends. We used to go to school together, come back together and after a quick snack we would take our bicycles and cycle around our small world. Those were the regular days. The exciting days were the festival breaks, the summer vacation (woohoo!!) and the one day school picnics (well, the only ones I was allowed to go). Once school closed, we would head to the public library and I would get a stack of famous fives, hardy boys and nancy drews and read them almost all day, everyday (yep even in high school), much to my parents annoyance. For some reason my parents thought only studying school books qualified as reading habit unless it was the encyclopedia! I am thinking if it was in the US, the school authorities would have called social services by now and have had a “discussion” with my parents for being discouraging.

None of us had any boy friends (well parents would have skinned us alive if they knew that we even knew a breed called “boys”) but we all had our respective fantasy crushes. For a long time I was in love with Julian (famous five) and remained loyal to him till I discovered Star Wars and Harrison Ford. I never felt like falling in love with real people and real characters until much later in life but by then I had also figured prince charming is a myth and so is unconditional love. The pain of knowing…damn!


Now imagine the power of a couple of frozen chapattis and pre-cooked packaged palak paneer to bring back all these old memories . I miss my childhood, I miss my school days, I miss the feeling of being in a small comfortable world with the only thing that bothered my silly little mind was an impending class test and the only two emotions I was truly familiar with was joy and occasional sorrow.

So much has happened since then. All my friends have moved on with their respective lives, none of them live in the colony anymore, except their parents and like me they all visit. My dad passed away, and mom is getting old and tired. I seem to be drifting through life encountering lot of people, getting into a lot of situations, wanting to get out of a lot of situations, seeing and hearing too much, learning some, unlearning some and experiencing emotions of varied type and intensity,- some logical, some illogical, sometimes wondering if I am depressed or is it just a sad phase, sometimes scared to express happiness for the fear of getting jinxed and a whole lot of other emotional crap. How and when did everything become so complex and weird? Whatever happened to the comfortable familiarity of two emotions –happy, sad. Oh man!...I want my routine (boring) childhood back. I want my life in the suburbs with my parents, my cycle, my school friends and home cooked palak paneer and I want to fall in love with Julian all over again. And , it is not a strange coincidence that I am listening to Madonna's "This used to be my plyaground".

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An Idea.

An idea of a lazy sunday spent indoors.


Friday, March 16, 2007

I Google Earth

By now I am almost convinced of my obsession for the Western Ghats (“the cloud mountains’) and what else would a person obsessing over something do other than spend even more time obsessing over it. That doesn’t sound very healthy but since that is not the point of this post I shall proceed.

I am sure almost everyone has heard of Google Earth. Well, like almost everyone I too had heard of google earth until last weekend, when I spent a sizeable amount of time downloading and exploring it. I never expected myself to remain engrossed in it for hours but that’s exactly what happened. I started off exploring some places in Kerala/India and had fun locating my parent’s place in Cochin. Once that was done I had the fabulous, brilliant (if I may say so) idea of checking out the Western Ghats and boy was it fun!! I was a lost soul with no track of time or reason and went on an awesome virtual tour (actually I could see things beyond the maps..hard to explain so pardon me) . Now I have a blue-print (green-print rather) of my travel route when I land myself in homeland.

The maps I saved aren’t the best quality but at a specific “zoom range”( ignorant of a more accurate technical terminology) it highlighted some of the places I am keen to visit. One of the cool features is that, if you drag and click yr curser on the points shown on the maps, images of the place pops up and gives you an idea on how the place really looks( not in the blog but the actual maps). Kakkabe is a place where one of my friends (the wannabe herpetologist) has been to a zillion times and cannot stop talking about. He says it is important that he take me there else my life would be incomplete or something in those lines: D.


Madikeri and Tholpetty equally gorgeous, atleast from the images( google earth pop-ups). A trip to Tholpetty is a possibility since I plan to go to Waynad and the place holds some lovely, lovely memories.
Ooty and Ketti Valley is on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu part of the Western Ghats but due to some technical goof up on my part I could not get them to appear in the next map.

Can you believe I have never been to Ooty!! How many schools and colleges in South India do you know that hasn’t made atleast a single trip to Ooty? I cant remember precisely why I never visited Ooty but I am pretty sure it’s because my parents didn’t allow me (When you are a kid, adults can be such a pain in the **** and when you become an adult, you realize what a pain in the **** person you have become!).

Returning to the original topic- Google Earth-Keti valley! Check out the picture of Keti Valley that popped up on Google Earth when I clicked the curser on the spot. Looks magical doesn’t it? I checked Wikipedia and the description almost melted my heart.

KetiValley


Kodaikanal, I have been to a couple of times but don’t mind visiting again. Annamalai, supposedly the “ meeting point of western and eastern ghats” and Valparai, with its “vast land of forests” I have heard and read so much about, it would be almost tragic if I didn’t pay a visit . Also, it would be extremely arrogant and impertinent of me if I ignore home base. There is Marayoor , with all its mystery, Silent Valley, which isn't silent anymore, Eravikulam, with its “high altitude grasslands interspersed with sholas” and Anaimudi the highest peak in S.India to name a few, all awaiting my visit :D(sometimes I like to flatter myself).

I know I have only covered a miniscule of the entire majestic WG but this is a start.

I also checked out Gangotri and went all the way to Mount Everest. Trust me it’s amazing up there! U can also view in a different angle (as the map below) which makes it more interesting. (In the map below, the white spot is Anaimudi and you can almost see Valparai and Pollachi at a distance). When viewed in this angle Mt Everest looks awesome since it is the tallest peak(*should have saved a pic*).
Now got to get back to real world with real problems and hardly any melting moments. You only sweat here: D and I turn into a sad whiner. Sorry about that.

(All images-src: Google Earth)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Just A Thought

Only A Thought

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happenings

Past two months…. not in any specific order...

-Taking a class on Int Ag Systems . I call it the United Nations class. There are 8 of us, all from different countries. The class is fun because we all get to talk a lot. We talk about our respective countries, poverty issues, gender equity, existing livelihood & conservation models, policies and everything and anything that is going on and what all can be done .We are one heck of a motivated group and we have been even meeting outside class hours to discuss possible R & D projects. So…anyone with a load of funds and wants to make a difference-please get in touch.:)


-Got to spend a week in wilderness (well almost), away from “urban” life. It was fun, peace and fresh air all rolled into one. Stayed with my friend K and his family. I was there collecting data for my project. Visited a whole bunch of farms, talked to the local farmers, attended a couple of meetings and the best part, helped K with harvesting fruits which he sells at the farmers’ market, every Friday. Besides selling fruits, K used to be a photographer with the Associated Press and has traveled all over the world, is a farmer, a pickle maker which he bottles and exports to Japan, a local farm activist , a research associate with the University, a certified chef and the world’s funniest guy. His house is a big mess and he never locks his house because he believes – “people should live the way they are supposed to live” and he also has the best kitchen in the world with a mind blowing view of the ocean. K LOVES Indian food and we had the awesome-st time cooking Indian food. He also invited a professor for dinner one day, who works at the university’s local extension office and is into the “slow food movement”. They all loved my dumb dishes so much, K wants to hire me as the chef for the new restaurant he plans to open next door. So..on the whole a great week spent with a bunch of geeks , with a potential future career option.


-I received the most interesting, lovely mail which listed out all possible synonyms for my name and this came from the "lord of the gods" himself. No less! (Oh lord! I live in a world of geeks and I love it! )


-Visited a local farm with a friend to talk to the farmer and help out my friend with some experiments she had set up in his farm. We were collecting soil water samples and talking about future plans. She told me her dream job is to work for the government, on coastal management looking into water quality and pollution control. Then it was my turn and I heard myself telling her that I would like to work with a Non-Profit organization which focuses on biodiversity conservation, livelihood and community development. At the risk of sounding pseudo-idealistic, I don’t want to work for an organization where monetary profit is the ultimate goal and an indicator of success. So.. anybody out there looking for a new recruit with the above objectives---please do not hesitate to get in touch.:)


-Re-read parts of Amitav Ghosh’s “The Hungry Tide” and can’t stop day dreaming about me visiting the Sundarbans and the possibility of a romance happening there. Lol!


-I had a not too recent post, in my blog, on this dvd called Mountains of the Monsoon and a book on the Sahyadris called Sahyadris: A Vanishing Heritage, both by Sandesh Kadur. I found them while googling “Sahyadris”, in the middle of the night. Got the biggest and the coolest surprise when da-man himself (Sandesh Kadur) left a comment in my blog. It was a goosebumps, meet-a -celebrity moment et.al for me.


-I was reminded and am burdened by the knowledge of how ignorant I am of my own spectacular, tiny little state in the south of India. All I did was visit Rauf’s blog.


-Got invited to a friend’s place where dinner was served and the menu was ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream. It was pretty cool (literally!). I have also started walking to school with the intention of losing some weight.


-A friend got back to "regular" life after a long/brief ( relative) stint with joblessness, getting drunk, travelling, girls? and rock-n'-roll. Nopes he isn't a rock star but a wannabe herpetologist who trips on rock music and recently landed a job in a company that deals with post-production activities for Hollywood movies. This also means, besides a regular job, with regular pay, with regular timings, he is also online quite regular. His first question to me (online after a long time)was -"So tell me how many times and with whom all did you fall in love or had a crush on while I was gone?" :D

-Had a good reason to laugh-out-loud (lol), when quite out of the blue, received a mail from my college freind R ( back home) who married her high-school sweetheart( for real!) and has a little daughter. She told me how she is under tremendous pressure from different sources to have a second baby. To make matters worse, her husband's younger brother and wife recently had their second baby! :D

-M and her sisters are planning to visit me and cheer me during graduation and take me back with them to chill out. I am sooo bloody excited ! Now all I need to do is graduate...dammit!


- And in between all these "happenings" Jr and K continue their valuable contribution towards maintaining some form of stability in life.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Masti Ki Paatshala!

A collage of some small and big things that caught my attention in school besides class discussions.
The building with the big concrete sculpture in front is the art department.My favourtie in the whole campus.It looks amazing after the sun goes down and the lights come out. The studio is the huge room on the first floor with glass walls. With the lights on you get to see all the easles and canvases with finished and half-finished paintings by art students.Unfortunately, none of the after dark pictures came out well.

My shadow, I thought,looked comical. My head definitely ain't that big :)

PS: I ain't that tall either

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Still Awake.

It is past midnight. Just finished sending an email. Was also plugged into raga.com, listening to songs from Guru (yet to see the movie). I already have a favourite and listening to it for the fifth time.

The lyrics go...
"jaage hain deer tak
hamen kuch deer sone do
thodi se raat aur hai
subah to hone do
aadhe adhure khwaab jo
pure na ho sake
ek baar phir se neend mein
woh khwaab bone do"
-Gulzar (Chitra & A.R.R)

How lovely, how appropriate! (Anybody who cannot read or understand hindi-it's alright. Just know that they are lovely).

And now -I must go sleep...I must go dream :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"The Universe of Possibilities"!

"She remembered a study which had shown that there were more species of fish in the Sundarbans than could be found in the whole continent of Europe.This proliferation of aquatic life was thouht to be the result of the unusually varied composition of the water itself.The waters of river and sea did not intermingle evenly in this part of the delta; rather, they interpenetrated each other , creating hundreds of different ecological niches,with streams of fresh water running along the floors of some channels,creating variations of salinity and turbidity. These microenvironments were like balloons suspended in the water,and they had their own patterns of flow.They changed position constantly, sometimes floating into midstream and then wafting back towards the shore,at times being carried well out to sea and at others, retreating deep inalnd.Each balloon was a floating biodome,filled with endemic fauna and flora, and as they made their way through the waters,strings of predators followed trailing in their wake.This proliferation of environments was responsible for creating and sustaining a dazzling variety of aquatic life forms-from gargantum crocodiles to microscopic fish.
Now as she sat in the boat , thinking about these connections and interelation,she had to close her eyes ,so dazzling was the universe of possibilities that opened suddenly in her mind".

Src: The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh