Tuesday, October 31, 2006


So while I was in Canada, Cingular screwed up somewhere, and apparently people trying to call me and access my voice mail to leave a message were getting routed to my "retrieve messages" number and got to listen to my messages instead.

Double-U Tee Eff is all I have to say. Now I like saving some really crazy messages others might have left in a drunken stupor, mad fit of rage or the like. They're really fun to listen to many days later when you need a laugh. Guess what? Lot of people have been laughing over the past few days.

And no, please don't reach for your phones, after all those callers who might've called me and enjoyed listening to my voicemail, atlast one had the decency to tell me about the snafu (in an email- he also left me a voicemail about it, but apparently someone else got to it before me, and so I never heard it!) ; I called cingular and they admitted to a bug and fixed it.

Now, if you use cingular, you might want to call your own number from another phone and check. And if you ever called me drunk or left an angry message on my voice mail, sorry pal. You need to sue cingular for emotional damage and hurt caused. :p

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back with a block

I had a fun trip to Canada and back. The visa interview itself was uneventful and smooth, and it seems like the US Consulate also has lost hope of me finishing my Ph.D anytime soon, they extended my student visa for the next five years! Hah! :-)

And now I have bloggers block. I was storing away bits of my trip to blog about later, but I just cannot get myself to write. Ottawa was fun and Montreal was very beautiful. I'd love to live in Montreal, actually.

I will write more later. For now, let me leave you with snippets of an "interesting" conversation I had during my trip.

place: At the duty-free shop in the Departures lounge @ Atlanta airport

sign at entry to shop: "a valid boarding pass is needed to enter beyond this point" and a young lady (30-ish, at most?) manning the sign.

Lady to me: Now lemme see your boarding card
Me: *Shows her* I am looking excited and happy, I guess just because I was excited and happy!
Lady: Now, whe'you goin'??
Me: Ottawa, Canada.
Lady: Canada? Now, wait wait, isn't Canada a part of the U.S?
Me: (I didn't get that memo!) err no, it's a country by itself.
Lady: (Now she thinks I am pulling a fast one on her) No, no, I remember, Canada and Puerto Rico are a part of the United States, you can't go in here!
Me: Canada is really a country by itself. Puerto Rico is a US territory, yes, but not Canada! (I must've been smiling now, more out shock at having this conversation than anything else)
Lady: No, no! you can't go in here. Wha'you wanna buy? cigarettes???
Me: I just want to look at the perfumes. *Smiling imploringly*
Lady: (convinced that I'm trying to slip by) No, no, (laughs). You a smart girl now!
Me: Look, I need a visa to enter Canada, it's a country by itself, really!! And there are only international departures at this concourse, aren't they?
Lady: Shakes head and laughs me away. Jeez!!
Me: (I wanted to say, I want to see your manager ;) ) but instead, I played the birthday card. "It's my birthday, will you please let me by??". Because at this point, any geography lesson would be lost on her.
Lady: Let me see.. is it really your birthday?
Me: show her my drivers license.
Lady: Laughing. Okay, now, you can go then, and Happy Birthday!
Me: Thank-you. And you really need to believe me, the Canadians will be very upset if they hear you say that Canada is a part of the US.
Lady: More laughing.
Me: siigh.

They need to put the map of USA on all drivers licenses.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two girls and a futon

AR: Where is it?? I can't see it.

TGFI: Here.feel on this side here..can u feel it? It's on the underside and the hole is outside. So we've to go through this.

AR: Yeah i feel it. Let me try.

AR: *grunt urrgghhh* not happening!

TGFI: No no, we cant do this sitting down. We have to lie down and do it.

AR: I'll hold, u turn. one of us has to hold.

TGFI: Can you move a bit I can't see. You're blocking the light

AR: Is this better?

TGFI: Yes. *urrggh grunt*

AR: Here, why don't I turn , you hold

AR: Wait wait, someone also has to hold the arm while doing it.

TGFI: Ok. Lets try it,

AR: Am turning. Can u feel it?

TGFI: No I can't. I don't think you're turning it properly. Is it inside? Are you sure?

TGFI: ouch! thats my finger!

AR: sorry!

AR: *urggh grunt* i cant find a comfortable position to lie down and do this.

AR: Here I am turning now can u feel it?

TGFI: Yeah i think u got it now. Turn turn

AR: yeah i can feel it. Don't let go now.

AR: *swears*.

TGFI: Tired already? Who'll do the other legs??

At this point the two girls trying to put together one of those "assemble it yourself" pieces of furniture are literally ROFL-ing thanks to the above dialogue. Any hope of accomplishing this task is lost thanks to the giggling fit that has taken over. Tears streaming down our eyes, the futon falls apart. Luckily, the door is open and my next door neighbour passing by hears the commotion. He's a bit alarmed to see two girls apparently crying over an unassembled futon, and gallantly offers to help. We gladly take up the offer, futon is assembled and sanity is restored, as the three of us achieve the task with minimum dirty talk. :-)

Calling Green

Greensatya's was one of the first few blogs I started frequenting, before I started blogging myself. If it is at all possible to miss someone on the blogsphere, I really miss him. His blog always had intelligent opinions and tid bits of info on the latest on-goings- often the first place for me to read about matters of current events in India, in the rest of the world, economics or such- which I am not typically clued into. Besides that, I guess we all warm up to certain bloggers' styles of writing, and I had really gotten used to reading and enjoying satya's blog.

He recently wrapped up in Finland and returned to India. I am sure he has a lot of things going on right now, as he alluded to in his commentspace a little while ago. But I hope he is doing well, and I hope he comes back to blogging soon, not only is he missing him , many of his readers are, too!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

From anti-Diwali to Happy Diwali!

So I decided to celebrate non-diwali today. Finally, I am feeling the pinch of missing six Diwalis and six Ganesh Chaturthis - my two most favourite festivals. Not having a single desi friend around this year just made it worse. The day started with my old neighbour uncle from Bombay calling me and telling me how much he missed me, especially now. :( . More Happy Diwali phone calls. The effect was neutralised soon enough when another good friend, also equally morose in her apartment in another corner of the US called and we bitched together on the phone for an hour. :-) After that, I really didn't want to take any more phone calls that said "Happy Diwali, what are you doing for Diwali???". So the day was celebrated by boycotting email and phone. I went out and shopped a bit instead, and then indulged in my favourite anti-depressant: work. It worked. :-) Came home, and saw a couple apartments in my building all lit up and stuff. Siiigh. So I decided to snap out of this crap. Showered quickly, dressed up, and lit diyas (well-tea candles) in and around my apartment. Yeah, at 11 pm. so what? Now I am making kheer. Happy Diwali again! :-)

P.S: And DesiPundit is back! yay!


Please read title of previous post in a sing song manner to the tune of

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

I KNOW how to punctuate, some folks don't know how to read between the commas. grr.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Home, sick again

Yeah. I know it's the whole Diwali spirit. I could see it coming. And being a part of the blogworld actually makes it worse now. Next week, the indian students association celebrates diwali night here. I will go to that, and that should be nice. My non-desi friends are great sports and will enjoy coming to them with me. But right now, am missing my desi friends a tad more. Been wondering why I never made an effort to integrate better with the desi community here. I guess, as long as I had my friends, it was okay, and then they left and I just didn't feel like making any new ones. It's hard to find friends of your type anyways, and I will admit I actually deliberately steered clear of the desi community because some aspects of it always put me off. I have been happy with the peripheral involvement I have..the occasional hindi chats at the bus stop and bumping in at desi events..so that way I still enjoyed the comfort of seeing my people...but could keep my distance - and that was a choice I made.

Ahh well. I have enough to keep me busy. As long as I steer clear of the happy diwali messages and phone calls (And blog posts ;) )I should do fine. For once, I want the weekend to come and go, as soon as possible, and then get on my flight to ottawa! yay!

p.s: Happy Diwali to y'all :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Bills, credit card statements, low interest rate balance transfer offers and discount coupons for pizza, oil-changes and groceries. The typical american life features a dreary mailbox -little inspiration for trudging down and checking one's mail. Growing up, I was a big letter-writer, and reveled in writing long letters to friends, pen-friends & grandparents, either on those blue "inland letters" (or aerogrammes for international mail. :-)) or on fancy stationery. I remember all the tricks my pen-friend and I resorted to to smuggle coins in the mail, well concealed to prevent them from being flicked en route, so we could exchange currency of our respective countries. :-) The whole experience of letter writing was completed by picking out stamps to stick on them and dropping them off in the red post-box. I always awaited the postman eagerly, and was famous for hounding him on his route daily. "pacchis by aath ke liye kuch hai?" Often the postman saw me approaching him and would start fishing out the whole building's mail from his brown bag to give me. :-) The clerk at the local post office would regularly alert me to new stamps that had come in and I would excitedly use them, with a request to the receiver to send me back the stamp. :p Thanks to this craze of mine, my mother had to ensure that the postman was given a generous "bakshees" every year during diwali. :-)

I kept up some of my love for "real" mail after coming here. It was a bit of a shock when I first saw how the clerk at the post office here used a plain bar-coded sticker in place of actual postage stamps on my outgoing mail. Since then, I made it a point to ask for "nice stamps" on my mail. For a while, I continued writing letters or just sending photos and other snippets of my life here that could be sent by mail. Slowly, this hobby dwindled. Instant messaging, phone and email conveyed almost everything and did it faster than letters, but not necessarily as accurately. Trips to the post-office now became a chore- only undertaken when tax-deadlines loomed large. Letters became restricted to when someone was going to India and I could send a letter through them. My mailing activities were reduced to postcards while traveling and the annual rakhis, birthday cards and such. Even there, I was starting to get tardy. For someone to whom remembering birthdays came naturally, wishing someone on their birthday started to become a "to-do" item on my list. I'd be lucky enough to get my phone-call in on time, within any time-zone, let alone actually plan in advance and send something in the mail. I've never had a single sheet of stamps last me as long as they did over the past many months. Recently, I mailed a friend his birthday present, again, a couple weeks late. The whole act of going to the post-office and sending the package out perked me up, as I relived the joy it gave me. For a normally reticent guy, my friend's overwhelmed reaction and excitement at receiving his present, albeit late, was even more heartening. I am going to do more of this now, I was beginning to forget how much I enjoyed it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Old rant revisited

decisions, decisions. Everything is such a deliberation, such a contemplation for me. AAaaargh!

move on already!

Desi Pundit bids farewell

The folks at DP have decided to shut down their wonderful blog, blaming time-constraints. I do not blame them at all, for am sure a job so well done must've been demanding a lot of time and effort.

So I'm sitting here, staring at the the bright yellow sun on the page. Furiously going through the archives...bookmarking each and every post i find interesting, funny, or informative. Lapping it all up, trying to file away as much as I can. Going about, leaving my last comments that say "Came here from desipundit" because, when will I do that again? In a way the timing is good, atleast I'll be spared of all the diwali posts and sit here feeling homesick. hah. i knew there would be something positive out of this.
And also, i guess, i'll spend less time on blogs and more time on my phd...eh?? :)

:( I am sad. So long, and thanks for all the fish, guys.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Home is

Another Selma-inspired post

Home is where I long to go back to at the end of a tiring day..or a string of tiring months..

Home is what houses my shower and my bed, which I miss dearly after a few days of separation..

Home is where I can laugh out loud, uninhibited, and home is where I can cry unabashed and still feel secure.

Home is at the end of that road, the way around which I can never lose.

Home is where I see people on the street..where I buy fresh vegetables every day..where I am a part of the crowd.

Home is where my music resonates, where my silence always finds company.

Home is where it's always warm.

On most days, I'm glad to come home. But sometimes, I yearn to go home!

Selma said "What is your perception of home? Do write and link me back. I would love to know". Me too! :-)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spies - Coldplay

Coldplay has been ruling my I-tunes past many days. Then last night I saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind" and have this haunting melody in my head since then. If you're interested in more about the hows and whys of schizophrenia, i shamelessly point you to my long post on this new science blog initiative started by a bunch of grad students (and ex-grad students) with way too much time on their hands. ;) Lots of cool stuff on there, and not all as long. ;)


In a haze, a stormy haze
I'll be round; I'll be loving you always, always
Here I am and I take my time
Here I am and I'll wait in line always, always

Of one night stands and jerks

The past week was a crazy week. Crazier than many that I've had in the past couple months. Mostly self-inflicted, so I shouldn't be bitching. But as a good friend once told me- what use is the blog if you can't bitch on it? So bitch I will, and merrily so. :-)

I can't do one night stands anymore. Until recently, I could pull them off which such grace, such flair. I remember all those long nights spent- sometimes on a whim, sometimes being pressured into them- but enjoyable, nevertheless. If it did get tiring, I'd always remind myself that it was just one night, and most of the times, it was all I had. That alone was enough to fuel me. There was some kind of joy in being up all night- the background music alternating between smooth jazz /instrumental and then some up-tempo stuff. Before I knew it, I'd be looking out of the window and watching the sky change, the sun rise. Then getting out in the cool morning with a heady feeling of accomplishment and taking the first bus home, when everyone else on it was heading to work. A refreshing shower, a hearty, caffeine laced breakfast, and I was ready to get back to work myself, all charged up. I functioned fine in the day, as long as some more caffeine and lots of water were consumed. Later in the evening, some attempts at keeping myself afloat in the swimming pool ensured that I only went to sleep at normal bed-time. And ta-da! my sleep-wake cycles were hardly affected.

Not anymore. My last few attempts at spending all night in the lab, with my first, second and third loves, have not fared too well. One time I managed to spook myself out with random weird noises I was hearing in the lab. At first I thought I had achieved the impossible by making the E.coli talk back to me; but soon realised it was the new building we had just moved into. Driving myself home in the wee hours of the morning was not fun. The following day saw me grumpy, incoherent and barely able to think clearly. No amount of coffee helped and going swimming at this point was a life-endangering risk. My sleep-wake cycles were completely out of whack and if you knew me, you wouldn't want to talk to me around then. It's too bad I cannot pull these off any more. OK, before any of you smart asses tries to say it, I'll put it out there, it looks like I'm getting old. Le sigh..:)

Rant #2: I hate it when people can't take for no for an answer. Why is it so hard to understand? I do not want you to come here, I do not want to see you. I don't care if I'm on your way to wherever. And I cannot spell it out any better without offending you. But I am not going to give in to being nice at the cost of my already dwindling sanity and much loved peace of mind. Sorry. GO AWAY. /rant#2

Such it is, this sad life o' mine. But there is exciting stuff too- am off to Canada next week for the same reason hundreds of sixth-year Ph.D students make their way there..to renew my student visa. As if it wasn't enough, having to explain to all and sundry why I am still in grad school after five years, now I have to explain myself at the consulate general of the united states of america. blaargh. As is always the case before I travel, I try to accomplish the world before leaving and I know the craziness will continue until I get into my car and drive to the airport. Traveling always excites me. In the little time I steal from work, I'm researching what to do, where to go, where to stay while in Canada. Until my wise friend warns me, "it's all of 4 days, tgfi, do not over-plan." Some of my best trips were the ones I made impromptu, no planning, just pick up and go. And I've faced some of my worst disappointments from build-ups generated by elaborate planning. But I guess with all this information so easily available, it's too tempting to want to find out the exact street my hostel is on and the number of miles from there to the museum. Sheesh. But how I love doing it! :-) Hopefully, I will have a more interesting post when I'm back. For now, the brain is fried and refuses to listen.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Oct 7th 2006

Woke up early for my standards on a saturday. Made breakfast. Listened to cartalk. LOVE those two silly brothers and their guffawing. Had long chat with a friend in India. Fixed bike. Went grocery shopping. Game day today. rowdies all over town. When I was driving back from the grocery store, insane traffic. And this girl in the car in front of me was brushing her teeth in the car. Then she opened the door at teh light and spat out. I was SO grossed out. Honked loudly. yuck!

Dropped off A and E to the game. Went to lab. Was stopped by a cop on the way ..for biking without helmet. Cute cop. :-) Started on new experiment. Very excited about it. It's all I thought of all week, and it started off well. *touchwood*. If there's anything I'm superstitious about in life, it's my cells and my experiments. I know, unscientific. But I am like that.

Came home, had dinner, couldn't stand all you buggers asking me to update. SO HERE YA GO!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Some (more) random

Yeah...it's that time on this blog again. Don't expect any sense in here. It's 3 am and i should be either sleeping or working. Can't do either because work puts me to sleep and I cannot sleep because i have to work. Therefore I blog.

I have been having too many George Costanza moments of late- where someone has irritated the heck out of me, and I come up with a killer answer only much later, after the incident has passed. Very frustrating it is. Then I go on and on, improving the response in my head, knowing fully well that it is a bleddy useless exercise. For the next several days, my eyes scour the bus/street/hallway for the offender. Just once, please, I just want to use my comeback line. Please show up in my line of vision..I'm pleading to any gods of people-bumping-into-you that might be listening. Never happens. Many many days later, of course, said person shows up, and all i can say is "HI! LONG TIME NO SEE! HOW ARE YOU!".


My definitions of friends, expectations from relationships..have all changed. Sure enough, one might say. We grow up. Inspite of all the cynicism I have accumulated over the years, small things still manage to leave their mark. Both positive and negative. I like it when the positive happens. It's nice to know that small things still make me happy. Some people still matter, inspite of everything. Some acts still brighten up my day, sometimes, even inspite of the person that did them! :)

On that happy note, I think I will go and sleep!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Terror levels

What's for dinner? Can I help you with dinner? Where would you like to go for dinner? Here, have some chocolate
Are you wearing that? Wow, you sure look good in brown! WOW! Look at you! Here, have some chocolate
What are you so worked up about? Could we be overreacting? Here's my paycheck Here, have some chocolate
Should you be eating that? You know, there are a lot of apples left Can I get you a glass of wine with that? Here, have some chocolate
What did you DO all day? I hope you didn't over-do it today. I've always loved you in that robe! Here, have some more chocolate