Be-CAR Again!

Posted November 16th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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I am not a superstitious person. But I was convinced that my car is jinxed.

The very first time I took it to the parking lot in Charlottesville , the tire gave away with a loud bang…loud enough to make me think the whole car was about to blow up. So there we were ..Subha ( the nervous instructor who was more scared that Atha would yell at her than the fact that we were all alone in a deserted parking lot miles away from other people…with a broken down vehicle) and me ( feeling half smug and with an “I knew it” expression…always knew that cars=trouble).
I should have known then that was just the beginning..and disowned the car pronto but foolish me chose to believe the soothing words mouthed by people far less percipient than me.

It behaved beautifully for a few more days allowing me to get on with the farce of learning driving and acquiring a permit to display my skills to the unfortunate people in Virginia. But it started its mischief soon after when Subha,Atha,Seejo and myself went on a drive to nearby Scotsville and drove itself straight into the welcoming arms of Bambi. Now some might blame the deer for sauntering across the road at that moment but me: i know better…It was another of da car’s effort to make my life more exciting. In the process it managed to wreak its hood, and a few other of its body parts and making me spend good money trying to make it in a running condition.
I should have disowned it in the mechanics shop then but i was stupid enough to listen to the so called experts( read Atha and Seejo) and bought that contraption back home.

To be fair to the car all its antics were not major ones. There were also a few minor scares in the next couple of months like some of its innards falling off on the road during a casual drive ( which we stashed away in the boot deciding that if the car runs without it, it probably does not need it), some weird noises emanating after it acheived a certain speed and other sundry things. The radio stopped one day and then them some rubber linings of the window joined the metal part in the boot.
I should have tried to sell it at that moment but I was naive enough to listen to Atha who said that these were minor troubles a second hand car brings and that the car still runs well enough.

I finished my graduation,got a job,shifted to Maryland. I managed to drive to work for a few days before it was upto its old tricks again…And the car is intelligent enough to choose the right day to perform its mischief. One rainy evening when i was trying to drive home…the darkness and rain already made driving a big challenge when the front right wheel decided enough was enough and got itself punctured leaving me stranded on the road…I dragged the car to a nearby parking lot and waited for Seejo to get me home
I should have removed the license tag and dumped the car right there but I was gullible enough to get fooled by Seejo ’s observations that it would be illegal and irresponsible to do that and his promise to fix the wheel

Finally called AAA and towed the car to Seejo ’s apartment and left it there till the weekend to repair the wheel. But some intelligent management person was appalled by the anesthetics of the car and thought (rightly too) that with a mangled hood and punctered tire the car was in no state to be driven and very kindly asked the towers to tow it far far away….I know the car wanted to get itslef towed away…don ‘t ask me for logic..just put it down to the famous feminine intuition!!
Which meant i had to go to the junk yard on Monday morning, help Seejo fix the flat tire ( it joined the rest of the innards in the boot: more parts of the car seemed to be in the boot than ON the car), and PAY 118$ to get the car out of the towing people.
I should have said “to hell with the money , you can keep the car”, but I was moronic enough to think that the car befitted a better death.

I decided that the car had given me nothing but trouble and it was time to dispose off the car. Luckily, there appeared a buyer on the scene….an laid off from work software professional who had just got a new job and had no money at all….Sold my car for half the money that i bought it for…bad tire,broken hood and all…. Now let that poor guy suffer….

As for me i am carfree and carefree again!!

Official Trips

Posted November 15th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Back from my whirlwind (and first!) official trip to North Carolina ( where I saw my first patient study) and then to Virginia ( where i attended my first IEEE conference).

The patient study was at Wake Forest University and went exactly as all patient studies go….Nothing works the previous night…the hardware conks off, the software hangs, the machine parts don ‘t fit and everything is a big chaos…Stay awake till late night fixing all the bugs and get up early early next morning ( it is curious that docs are early birds and engineers are night owls)
The patient study was interesting and luckily for her and unluckily for us the tumour proved to be benign.

Then drove up to Norfolk,Virginia with David and Irving to attend the IEEE -MIC conference. First thing we did was to go for the reception at the Nauticus…which had food and more food and still more food and an IMAX show..I had three posters in the conference. One as a first author, second as a second author and third from PEM Technologies. I was so thrilled to find my GUI up on the poster…Noticed that there were very few Indians in the Medical imaging field and those that were were in the field of image reconstruction .

I met Mark after a long time and there is something about him that still makes me feel awkward and gauche and like i have not been working the previous two weekends and he is going to yell at me for that..

Reached back late Thursday night . The rest of the group is still at the conference so here i am surfing away…..

Current activity : Trying to decide an apartment in Philadelphia
Current excitement: Counting days before leaving for India.
Current Reading: Red Earth and Pouring Rain
Current Tension: Should i buy a new car?


Posted November 6th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Uncategorized
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Isn’t it funny that most questions in a language start with the same letter …These are the basic questions in the languages i know
Why is this so???

Point to ponder for the day………….


Posted November 5th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Deepavali….the festival which has my name….
Its been several years since I really celebrated Diwali…In fact for the last couple of Diwali’s I have been in US celebrating it by having dinner at an Indian restaurant as a reminder that it is Diwali…and also for the fact that most Indian restaurants serve some kind of complimentary sweets. This year was no different …went to the local Woodlands, had a dosa…ate the complimentary mithai and went back home.

The Indian websites are spewing good cheer and festival sentiments…Sulekha has been publishing several people Diwali memoirs. The Indian Diaspora is nostalgic about sweets, new clothes, lights, fireworks, and simply the festival atmosphere….Somehow Diwali has lost its charm for me. I am counting it as a part of “growing up”.

Sweets are nice but I always found that at the end of the Diwali week we had lots and lots of sweets in the house which none of would eat/ My mother would ask us to finish it off …we would be saturated with sweets and then we had to forcefully feed it to the guests in our house so that the sweets would finish before it went bad…Luckily we had a good supply of guests that frequented our house….

New clothes…stopped buying new clothes for Diwali a long time ago. Somehow figured that it was better to wait for a couple more months and get one for my birthday

Crackers: loved that at a point of time. Then grew up and realized that they
1) Cause noise pollution
2) It is literally “blowing up” money
3) Made by child laborers especially in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu
So stopped that custom as well

In spite of this I must admit that there was something special about the Diwali atmosphere…most people around looked good, smiled a lot more. My colony transformed into a magical land with almost every house having its own lighting in the balcony. I remember going around the colony with Priti and Priyanka and giving rankings to the best lighted house.

Undoubtedly the best thing about Diwali was that it got as a vacation…In our house Diwali preparation consisted of more that “spring cleaning” and “sweet making”. We had to go on our annual Diwali trip. Both my parents loved traveling and so most Diwali’s found us going off to some trip or another. Gave us a chance to see Diwali in other states as well. One of my best memories of Deepavali is driving in rural Rajasthan/Punjab border and seeing all the village houses lit up with the same kind of diyas. Or lighting crackers in Delhi. And what I loved best about Diwali vacation was the fact that even after it ended Christmas vacation was just around the corner…

Whew I seemed to have written myself into a Diwali mood

Happy Diwali people…And let there be light!!

Beware of the Sniper

Posted October 9th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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There are crazy people and then there are crazy people. One such guy is on a rampage in the Washington DC area in a bid to exterminate some fellow human beings. He is a sharp shooter all right…5 dead from 6 bullets, definitely cunning because no one has seen him although he shot 5 of his 6 victims in broad daylight, possibly insane for the victims are unrelated in any manner and positively scary for the getting out of homes is a terrifying ordeal.

The initial area of crime was less than 5 miles from my office. It has featured as out main lunchtime conversation for the past 3 days. Everyone has an opinion on the psychology of the killer( Middle east terrorists , drug addicts, a crazy ex military man, criminal serial killer are all the various psychological profiles we have come up with) . But the bottom line is that it is scary as hell. Rockville was one of the towns in US with a low crime index. On an average the city had just about 10-15 murders per year. In one day a crazy sharpshooter ruined the crime statistics of the city increasing the yearly average by 25%. The only clue that the cops have is that the man possibly has a white box truck with a broken back door. From then on i have realized that every third vehicle on the road is a white truck and when I observe the parking lots it seems like every second vehicle is one.

From the recent killings it seems that the guy is getting bolder and venturing farther from Montgomery county into adjoining Virginia…Though that seems like a relief to me ( and to other Rockville residents ) it kind of unleashes a fresh wave of terror among the residents of other neighboring cities and states. What is funny is for me is that coming from a city like Bombay, which has a soaring crime rate and murders and shootings every other day one still felt safe walking about the roads at night…Its funny how much terror a couple of random shots can create in a peaceful town.

Books :

A Suitable boy : Finished that one….wonder why nobody made that into a Hindi tele serial . There is
enough saas bahu stuff , a couple of extra marital affairs, a few romances and even a nautch girl?s story
and whats more it drags and drags and drags!

Arranged Marriage : Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni A great find this author.. Excellent stories about
Indians settled in US.

Movies :

Ek Chotisi Love story : Fell for the publicity gimmics and got this movie. The story idea was good,
there was a few scenes really well directed,lot of glitches in the story and an obvious body double. IMO
a lot of hue and cry about nothing.

Highlight of the week:

The highlight of the week was a great dinner we had at a restaurant called Memsahib. The ambiance was great…dimly lit interiors, low seating arrangements , lots of cushions around the seat and enough space between the tables. The menu offers you a fixed 7 course meal and it is served elaborately and with great style beginning with the server pouring water in the old Indian tradition to wash your hands. The food was excellent, the best Indian food I have ever had since I came to US. Each course was brought on the table, we had enough time to finish the course and relax and talk before the next course made its appearance. Its not a place to go if you are looking for a quick bite but if you are looking for a place to relax and spend 3/4 hours with friends and you are in the Washington area I recommend Memsahib!! But the highlight of the place was that it featured a performance by a belly dancer. Seejo and Atha ( with whom i went ) got a chance to shake a leg with a gorgeous girl gyrating gracefully (oops alliterations galore).

Empty Week

Posted September 29th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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This post is intentionally blank

Have a nice week guys!!!!



ReReading A Suitable Boy : I think will take ages to finish that…


Road: Vivek Oberoi confirmed that he is worth drooling over. But the camera sort of stuck to Antara Mali’s belly ring.


Check out the new news tab in Google news….Its good stuff!

Quote of the day!

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I say nothing.

Weekend at Chicago

Posted September 6th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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It almost seems like a new phase in my life. Finally I have bid good bye to Charlottesville my home for the past two years…and have arrived in Maryland ( to Seejo’s place) with half my luggage and a lot of trepidation. My new job starts next Tuesday (10 of September)..aptly on Ganesh Chaturthi. I had 2 weeks of relaxation time before I started my life as a career woman.

Pulkit, Aparna and me at ChicagoHere is the description of a long postponed trip to Chicago. I had been meaning to go there for the past two years …only put off by the fact that Chicago is insufferably cold for half the year. Anyway this trip was planned to be something like a get together for my D.J Sanghvi friends. Initially everyone seemed enthusiastic…only to peter off in the end. What started like an deluge ended like a trickle but the trickle was pleasant enough! In the end it turned out it was only Aparna, Pulkit and me.

I loved Chicago. It had all the charm of the big city which I missed sorely coming from a little village called Charlottesville. Big buildings, traffic, lots of cars on the road, huge shopping arcades, seedy neighborhoods, lots of restaurants, public transport, local trains…..the whole lot! In fact as Aparna was taking me about I felt more and more like the poor country cousin come a-visiting to the big bad city. Aparna was very amused at my reaction most when I exclaimed “Wow so many taxis together” when I saw 4 cabs at a traffic signal together!!

The first evening was spent in seeing around the university campus….eating at a Mediterranean restaurant and gossiping. Aparna took special care to pint out all the seedy looking joints and all the places where her friends were mugged, about to be mugged and escaped mugging….Seemed to me at the end of that spiel that the UIC students probably didn’t get much time to “mug” but just ran around trying to escape potential muggers (hehehe silly pun!!)!!

The next day she left me to the tender mercies of her friend and left blithely to the lab. Preyas and I ended up in a Thai restaurant trying to make casual conversation till we discovered a common interest reading and several favorites. Ismat Chugtai, Javed Akhtar’s poetry and P.G Wodehouse. Isn’t it funny how easily conversation flows especially when you can talk of books!!! Evening found me and Aparna in downtown taking a look at the famed Sears towers and then sat on the banks of the lake Michigan seeing the lights of the downtown. Dinner was at a famous place…an Italian restaurant called Pompeii…Why famous?? Cos it is supposed to be an adda of the famous Chicago dada….the Al Capone himself!! The food was good…and if that was the reason Al made it his regular hangout place I only can commend his intelligence ;-)

If Chicago turned out to be a moving experience it was undoubtedly due to that night…for Aparna moved her house that evening and me fresh from the experiences of moving my house assisted her. We spent a good part of the night lugging suitcases and bags and trash bags filled with stuff upstairs to her new house.

Pulkit reached the next day and then we went on a cruise to the downtown. The highlight of the Chicago trip was definitely the cruise in the Lake Michigan with the tour guide pointing out many of the city’s architectural wonders. Ofcourse the Sears towers was the prominent amongst them all ..with the guide repeatedly assuring us that it was the tallest building but one in the world ( the one is the some tower in Kualalampur, Malaysia) Most of Chicago city was devastated in a fire in 1871 and therefore several buildings in downtown were rebuilt. Almost all buildings are built along the sides of the Lake Michigan such that all of them give an excellent view of the lake.

Michigan avenue also boasted of a incredible street which has huge shops on either side ( with suitable prices of course) . We decided to go up the John Hancock towers (after sampling cheesecakes from the cheese cake factory at the base) The view was indeed fantastic….We could actually see 4 different states from the top ( atleast we could make out the lights that corresponded to the small description given on top!!) a good view of the Lake Michigan with tall buildings surrounding it…almost like out Marine Drive in Bombay…..Ended the day with dinner at a Greek restaurant in Greek town!

Another enjoyable trip was to Devon, the mini India in Chicago. Gorged ourselves on Indian chaats and snacks, windowshopped at boutiques offering the “latest in Salwar kameez designs”, chatted with an voluble Indian cabbie on the way home who was delighted to find a Desai amongst hus. He was a Patel , he hastened to inform us and asked us about how Bombay is, how Pune is, whether Bal Thackeray is the same and whether there are jobs for people over 30. Pulkit enjoyed a heart to heart with him while we sat there snickering , giggling and trying to stifle our laughter.


Thanks to the influence of my roommate Atha, there is this sudden interest in Bengali books and authors. My current reading reflects that…Last two weeks I have been reading

Her Stories : Collection of short stories by Bengali women authors
Three Companions : Three stories from the father of Bengali literature Rabindanath Tagore
The unknown errors of our lives: by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Short stories set in America featuring Bengalis.
The Ice Candy Man: Bapsi Siddhwa .Finally got around to reading that book.

More Rabindranath poems!
Finally my ex ex alma mater gets a website…..check out the profs in each department….. funny funny funny
And educative website for the week… is some dope on the history of Chicago!!


The Naxalites
Starring Mithunda and Smita Patil describing the Naxalbari movement of 1966. The movie ended on a funny note though….didn’t justify the movement nor did it criticize it. Or may be I just missed the point the director wanted to make.

I am Sam
Liked that one….

Ghaire Baire
Continuing the bangla theme….Satyajit Ray directs a story by Tagore…Starring the Ray favorite Soumitra Chatterjee….

Hap Hap Happy Week

Posted August 20th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Punctuality was never one of my better virtues so i am not going to bother to apologise for a late post …… However i have one hell of an excuse….

So tell me guys how do these sentences sound …..??

Dear Ms. Narayanan,

We are pleased to inform you that your paper “Analysis Of Position-Dependent Compton Scatter In Scintimammography With Mild Compression” has been accepted for presentation at the 2002 IEEE Medical Imaging Conference (MIC)

Compared with……

Congratulations Deepa…you did a great job for your Masters defense. We think you you have done a lot of work and your presentation was clear and confident.

Or this…

Dr. Weinberg and I finally discussed and resolved all issues. I will e-mail you an offer letter by 5:00 pm today.

During the past two weeks i heard all these statements…My cup of joy truly runneth over….

My paper has been accepted for a conference. I defended my Masters thesis …successfully too and i got a job offer. It was the interview that i described in my last mail….The position is sort of like post doc (read lots of work on a low salary :) ) at Fox chase Cancer Center with three months training at Bethesda,MD .The best part is it is hardly 10 minute drive from Seejo’s house so I am even more thrilled…The nature of work is pretty similar to what i have been doing so far. They do mammography too however with a PET detector.

Right now i am hovering somewhere between seventh heaven and cloud nine….More when i hit terra firma…


Posted August 17th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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It was 9/11 again last week. As I changed channels on my T.V all I could see were the images of the world trade center collapsing from different angles. The many “miracle survivors” were invited on the talk shows..they re-lived their tragedy…many of them breaking down and weeping copiously and America wept with them. Several other people in far corners of America took the day off from work to sit with their families….Others simply couldn’t work on such a day….May people prayed especially hard that day…american flags waved from most houses, offices and cars. It was the anniversary of the national disaster.

Try as I might I really cannot feel the anguish of the people here…Don’t get me wrong I am definitely sorry for all the people who perished that day and all the people who mourn their dear ones. It’s not something I ever want to happen…..but again its impersonal. Every person has their own views of their national disasters. For me the worst disaster I ever experienced and the day i shall always remember is the December 6 and January 6, the anniversary of the Babri masjid demolition and the Bombay riots respectively…That to me was probably the worst tragedy to strike in India and especially Bombay. The reason that I feel that way could be because i was in the thick of the riots.

So this 9/11, I was thinking about the riots, its victims and its repercussions. In the last few years i have heard several stories of people who saw atrocities, committed them, escaped them or are still haunted by them. Some of these are ghastly, some are trivial but these memories are what associates many people with those days of rioting. Here are some of the stories, I heard …

Atul’s story :

I was in my fifth semester engineering. We had our exams and my center was at RAIT,Vashi. We did not think the riots were that serious and we didn’t bother to check whether the exams are being held or not. My friend Milind and I were on our way to RAIT. That day buses were not working properly. We decided to take a bus to Bandra and catch another bus going to New Bombay from there. When we reached Bandra we saw that none of the buses were running. At that time the only thought was my exams and the scare of KT. So we decided to take a cab to Kurla thinking that once we get near Mankhurd we can always get to RAIT.

Our can driver was a Sardarji who promised to get us to Kurla..Unfortunately the route he chose was through the areas which had active rioting. As we were going i saw a car which was still burning ..I didn’t even want to think whether it actually had somebody in it. Far away we could see the smoke from other burnt cars and houses. There was a huge crowd gathering in front of us. They were Muslims holding swords and other weapons….The Sardarji told us to duck down in the seats and remain hidden. We did that and we could hear the crowd demanding the Sardarji to answer “Kyon Sardarji kya unlogon ne jo kiya woh theek kiya..Masjid tod dala”,The Sardarji said “nahi saab bilkul galat tha”. Pleased by the answer they said “theek hai tum sardarjee hai isiliye chod dete hai…par aaj band hai…gaadi mat chalao”

Sardarji assented and told bas udhar tak jaakar rok deta hoon

As soon as we went past the mob there was stone throwing…one stone came and hit the rear windshield of the taxi. Turning behind we saw that the police had already cordoned off that area and were trying to control the mob. The Sardarji dropped us at Kurla station and scared we ran away from that place..We reached RAIT late ,found that exams were postponed .We stayed over at New bombay for two days ….we were too scared to come back. Looking back i can only thank my stars that the can driver was a nice guy and a Sardar. Otherwise……..

Shyam’s’ story.

I was in 10 standard when the riots took place. Our area was a predominantly Hindu area so we did not see much trouble. It was relatively calm and quiet. At school too we were pretty much oblivious to the tension outside….busy preparing for our prelims. One of the guys in my group in school was Shadab. He was a roly-poly guy…fun to be around with. Soon after the riots he stopped coming to school. We later found out that he along with his family had moved away. At first we wondered why he did that….later with the typical callousness of school boys we forgot about him. Our lives were busy our board exams, results ,junior college and the twelve standard boards, admission tension and then engineering.

3 years back I met Shadab again in the local train. After cheery greeting and a few friendly swears, we exchanged information about our current education . I asked Shadab then”abe yaar tu dasvi ke baad gaya kahan….dikha hi nahi” and Shadab replied “You know i stayed in Jogeshwari. We were the only Muslims in the building. During those times it was so difficult to stay there….We only had to open our doors and somebody would be swearing at us. We were fed up of hearing all those insults...dar lagta tha bahar nikalne ko…..isiliye hum bandra shift ho gaye jahan hamare log rehte hai

It was an awkward moment ……..i didn’t know what to tell him. All i knew was that Bobmay was divided into “hamare log” and “tumhare log” and it was religion that divided it and it was the riots that perpetuated that division…

Meenaz’s story ( told to me a few days after the riots when i asked her why  she was wearing the same clothes for more than a week..and that too not the school uniform)

Sab kuch jal gaya….bas yahi baaki hai. Why are you looking surprised….It was these dange u know. My father you know is a taxi driver….he thought there would be trouble so we went to our khalla’s house…We stayed there for a week…Jab vapas ghar aaye to dekha ki poora ghar jala diya hai….ghar se bahut cheezen gayab hai..…Luckily we are all alive.

Did i see anything ….oh yes i did…

All our neighbors were not this lucky….several people were wounded….suna ki kuch gunde ghar mein ghus aaye aur bahut peeta mere bajuwale ko. I also saw a young girl running away trying to save herself while some louts were chasing here….pata nahi hindu the ke mussalman. par humara to sab kuch chala gaya…..

agar mere paas bandook hoti to mein aaj har hindu ko goli maar deti....hmmm may be i will spare you Deepa ….

Asma’s story ( She was on the phone with me on the day of the riots)

Asma: Hello Deepa ?

Deepa: Hi Asma…everyhthing ok there?

Asma:(weeping): I am so scared….there is a lot of noise outside…I can hear lot of people yelling. I am scared

Deepa: Arre don’t worry , these are probably just one of those awara guys out to scare people….u relax. I assume you have shut your doors

There is silence for some time on the other end….in the background i can hear arguments and in the far background noises made by the mob outside.

Asma : My abba is not listening to us ,,,,,there are people fighting outside..He wants to go and pacify them…He says samjhate hai ki jhagda nahi karna hai…i am telling him not to go and he is not listening….(sobbing more ) Deepa he has gone out…I am frightened….i hope he comes back in….

Deepa (confused ): He probably knows those people….nothing is going to happen he will be back soon see

Suddenly there is a loud noise .Although it sounds muffled through phone i can make out that it sounds like a gunshot.

Asma (screaming): Thats a shot….kisine golimaara…..pata nahi abba .…(she is hysterical now….)

Deepa: Asma don’t cry don’t cry….

There is a sudden click and the receiver is kept down…..

It took me all of 15 minutes to recover my guts to call her back again just to make sure her dad is safe….

Fortunately he was…..He saw the guy who was shooting and the guy who was shot…but came inside before the mob took over.

Sanjay’s story

Riots….haan yaar solid lafda hua tha….chee par yahan par kuch nahi hua….ekdum shanti tha…It was really boring you know. But then we organized watches,,,,public raat ko baithta tha…guard karne ko..kuch hota nahi tha…par phir bhi….pathar jama kiya tha…

Hum logon se socha jaate hai kisiki ko hull dete hain par phir kuch kiya nahi……………….Woh peeche ********** street pe kuch logone ek katlu ka dukaan loota…glass vaas tod diya..par uske siva kuch hi nahi hua…Electronics ka dukaan tha…phir suna public TV radio sab utha rahe the…Jaana chahiye tha kuch apun bhi le sakta tha…par phir main to dar gaya baba..isilye gaya nahi …..main bolta hai parle ekdum boring jagah hai…yahan pe kuch nahi hota…..

.....and these are stories I have heard first hand….I know there are countless others….more horrifying more thought provoking, more callous……still…..

Most names have been changed…..

Mad Mad Week

Posted August 11th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Its been a MAD MAD week so far and the weekend just provided the fitting crazy finale. I had an interview on Monday…and Tuesday!. Before you think i am being inundated with interview calls let me clarify that both were interviews for the same job. The offer was a joint offer from a company in Maryland and a hospital in Philadelphia which meant I had to be interviewed twice at both these places.

The first interview was fun. It meant starting the week at the absurdly early hour of 6.30 a m when Seejo dropped me at the local Shady grove railway station. From there i took hhe local metro up to Union station, DC and then the AMTRAK (Acela express) to Philadelphia. The Acela express is one of the faster trains in US doing an average speed of 150mph. It felt almost like being in a plane , just it was more comfortable( read more leg room). And ALL the people were dressed in their business formals which had me thanking all my lucky stars that i decided to wear formals for the interview :-) .From Philadelphia station it was another local train which took me to Fox ( yes that’s right F-O-X ) Chase where the interview was…I won’t bore you with the details of the interview..Suffice to say it was not that bad! I reached Fox chase at 11 am and 2 pm found me reversing my way back in the same manner. Made up for my lack of train journeys in US in a day…6 trains in the space of 12 hours…Hows that for a Mumbaikar???

Tuesday bought forth another interview..Luckily this was in MD about a 10 minute drive from Seejo’s place so I could command chauffer service to and fro from the interview…now if only the interviewers were this accomodating!! Reached Charlottesville at night with Atha resuming his chauffer duties from the charlottesville greyhound station,,,,Boy!!! Do i have a nice set of friends!!!

Spent the rest of the week trying to gently persuade ( like beg, plead, sweet-talk,flatter ) Mark into correcting my thesis. I have to get it across to the committee by Monday evening which means in that time Mark had to understand what i had written, correct it, send it to me and I ‘d make the corrections and then he would revise it again!! But all my efforts were in vain…like the true last minute guy that he is he was impervious to all my charm for the week and finally just has started looking at the chapters….

Its Sunday evening 7 pm and we are at work …Oh well there is always the night .Whats the fun of deadlines without the last minute rush



Bought two books at the Philadelphia Amtrak station while waiting for my train…Old habits die hard ;-) ..Read both within 24 hours!

The bluest eye: Toni Morrison : Its an ok book but somehow all the books of African American women authors are beginning to seem repetitive to me. Alice walker, Maya Angelo, Toni Morrison all have different writing styles, different means but somehow the basic stories is the same….and it is depressing as hell.

Sexing the cherry: Jeanette Winterson by Priya’s recommendation…Its a terrific horrific mad bad crazy hazy book….Go read it if you haven’t and then tell me about it!


Seejo’s DVD collection was richer by an old Amitabh movie this time…

Naseeb: It was one of the earliest movies I have ever seen so it had a lot of nostalgic value. But then again seeing Shatrughan do all those macho hero stunts was definitely worth a repeat viewing!

Paroma: Aparna Sen directs Rakhee in this movie regarding an extra marital affair between an older married housewife with a young photographer. Not bad.

Saaz: Nice movie with again older woman younger man romance …….J


While we are on interviews here is a list of stupid questions asked my most interviewers,,,,Needless to say I was asked most of these too

Quote Of the Week:

A perfect method for adding drama to life is to wait until the deadline looms large.

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby, Procrastinator’s Success Kit

Just an end note:

This post is truly different from the previous mails. And that is because I am typing this mail sitting at my house. Atha just got a new comp for himself …So i am going to be online all the time (Can i hear people saying…so when were you offline earlier??)