Weekend Flashback

Posted June 29th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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I am cheating a bit this weekend because I am writing about my last weekend.But I can justify my actions ( I always can…..) This week was quite uneventful and by the time i finished all the first things in the week there was no place for what i did last Sunday!

Seejo,Seejo’s friend, Ashu,and I also went to an island in Maryland called Chincoteague. Have any of you read the book Misty of Chincoteague by Margureite Henry. Its about a couple of kids who try to capture a wild pony. I read the book when i was a kid. It was the first “pony tale ” I ever read and thats when i started reading a lot of horse/pony stories. Black Beauty and a lot of other ” Horse stories for little girls”.

I always thought that Chincoteague and Assateague were fictional islands.I was totally surprised and thrilled when i realised there actually exists a place called Chincoteague and that it really has wild ponies. And what was more exciting that it was only about 3 hours away from Seejo’s place. Ofcourse I insisted we go there this weekend and thats how Seejo,Ashutosh and I headed over to the islands. The attraction was the wild ponies. Legend has it that these horses were being transported from Spain to south America when the Spanish galleon capsized near the islands and these horses swam to the Chincoteague and the nearby Assateague islands and settled there. Ofcourse there is a more plausible story that these were horses tamed by the local farmers etc. but the first tale is definitely the more romantic one…..

Other than the wild horses ( which we caught a glimpse of) there were a few other wildlife to see. We did some birdwatching and we tried to identify the birds with the help of the pamplet given to us when we entered the place. The highlight of the trip was definitely the lunch. We had our lunch at a local seafood restaurant. Sea food buffet . It had fish,shrimps,crabs and more fish. All types and sizes boiled, grilled, fried or curried. Two different kinds of crabs and a spicy crab soup. Chicken and pork and hashbrowns for the not so fishy people.And cakes and apple pie.

It was pretty good ,even for a person who is not into seafood at all. The funny part was when we retuned to our table with plates laden with crab legs. Now these were not ordinary crabs, they were snow crabs and eac leg was about 20″. We  stared at the legs wondering how on earth could we eat them.Finally asked the waitress for tips. “sure I’ll show you she said.” Grabbed the legs broke them at one joint,cracked them again at anothere joined and pulled the bones out. Next she inserted a fork through the crab leg and slit the crab leg ,similar to the manner we slit open a letter. Inside there was a fragment of a white gooey mass which was the crabmeat.

Truthfully, it was too much trouble for a small pice of meat which according to Ashu tasted like “salty sevaiyan”. When the waitress did it it seemed quite simple but when I started to do it,I realised this was one of those tasks which requires some inborn skill. After a mental sorry to the poor crab I broke its legs at the appropriate joints. However slitting then apart was another thing altogether. And even after I  managedthat, I never could get the crabmeat in one piece. Made me crabby as hell (hahaha)

This week was a peaceful week. Mark was busy with a lot of stuff and i was busy trying to get a committe for my defense. And trying to accelerate my pace in writing the thesis. And wrapping up the experiments.And teaching a new guy here the ropes. And job hunting………..

This weekend we had an unexpected guest. A girl called Sabina from U.K who is on a solo world tour landed up at our place courtesy Subbu. She is just doing one of the things that most of us dream of and few have real hopes of actually doing it. She plans to see U.S and from here she is flying to AUstralia and then Bali ,Singapore and the Far East ,India and then back to England. All alone …isn’t that coool!

Books

Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham.
(I need to read some new books.People why don’t you give me suggestions on what to read/what are you currently reading? Preferably soemthing fun)

Websites

www.short-stories.co.uk (Pretty goos stories,,,one of the sites that makes you wonder…gosh how come i missed this one)
http://indianbloggers.blogspot.com/ ( painstakingly compiled list of Indian bloggers. Some of them is real neat stuff)

Movies

Naram Garam (Swaroop Sampat looks so good….and Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt are as good as they were in Golmaal
Bombay to Goa (I saw the movie for the first time….would you believe it)
Tango and Cash

Vegetable/Fruit of the Week

Our secretary made some rhubarb jelly and got it over to taste. Never ever had rhubarb before. It tasted exactly like aamla (gooseberry). Apparantly rhubarb looks similar to celery than to the berry. It has a nice tart taste. I am going to head for the fruits aisle first the next time I get my grocery.

R.I.P

My poor phone. I was taking one of those leisurely baths combined with some bathroom cleaning and i took my phone into the rest room. I was gathering all my stuff while coming out of the restroom ,after finishing my cleansing activities when the phone slipped out of my hand and………….. and………………….and.,…………………..”chullu bhar paani mein doob gaya”. Its conked off and i feel handicapped. So all those who have been trying to call me up thats the reason. THe phone at home is still working……

Weekend Number 1

Posted June 24th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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This week ,there was a lot of “firsts” in my life.

On Monday I had my first job interview. It was a phone interview with X systems, a company based in __land dealing in medical software. Unfortunately more software than medical. Applying to XS has become a routine procedure in the life of a desi grad. Its like this after 12 standard you do B.E and then you do MS and then you apply to XS. That’s because they are one of the only companies who are actually expanding these days. So almost everyone applied to XS, that is all but me.

Their selection process consists of a phone interview in which you and a glib HR guy compare the weather in your home town v/s that of __land. Next step a written test, whose questions haven’t changed in the past 5 years. Almost every other person here had the answer key. And if you manage to copy the answers which you have mugged up accurately on their test paper, they call you to __Land to give you a tour of their company and try to impress you with a few power point presentations. And then they reject you.

Atleast that’s the trend I have noticed so far. Some unlucky ones drop out after the written “test”. Knowing all this I was not very eager to add my name to the growing list of resumes at their website. However I did and the next thing I know I was called for a phone interview.

As a special treat I didn’t get an HR person. The person who called me was a technical person who discussed the weather and the life style of people in __Land and the fact that X employees get their own offices with walls and doors . I spoke aa bit about my current research, impressed that I live , talk , breathe and spout code and expressed great eagerness to live in the arctic climes at __LAnd . In short I did it all…..All I can do now is ti wait for the next step…..if any!

That was my first interview in US.

However more firsts were in store for me. I ended the day with my first visit to the doc in US as well. It was my left eye that was the culprit. Monday night on wards it was blurred and irritating. By Tuesday I couldn’t go near any kind of light. I couldn’t switch on the light in my room. I could not walk to my lab because the sun was blinding me. It was quite a task to walk to the lab with my eyes closed. The moment I reached the lab, Sasha took one look at me and reached for the phone directory. “ You have to see a doc “ , he screamed. It was probably my bloodshot eyes. And that’s how I went to the doc.

Or so I thought..Turned out the first person whom I thought was the doc turned out to be a lowly attendent taking temperature and blood pressure and a routine eye test. The next person called herself a nursing practionier. She made me roll my eyes, shined a torch at my left eye ( which was pure torture) and then poured a yellow fluid into my eye and did the torch thing again. Finally she concluded that there was no scratch on the cornea ..although I have extreme sensitivity to light. Ah! You don’t say……

Reached home early , switched off ALL the lights, drew the curtains to avoid the street lamps , wore goggles while opening the fridge and cursed Mother Nature for choosing just that day to amuse herself with a few sparks of lightening. Each time the lightening struck there was a sudden illumination in the room and my head would start throbbing again. Finally I grabbed the cell and dived under the comforter where I talked and slept and stayed till the morning.

Another first I notched up this week was my first football (oops Soccer )match. The Brazil England quaterfinals. Till now I had managed to let teh soccer mania pass by without watching a single match. The fact that Vrushali took our TV and VCR helped.But I did watch the quarterfinals and am glad i did it. WOuld have been criminal to miss that Ronaldinho goal.

Oh yes there was another first in this week. My fame as a writer of SOP has spread. Sasha came up to me and aksed me “I heard you write”.

I looked at him blankly…
“SOP’s I heard you can write them well.”

Well, uh I muttered. He wanted one for his cousin in Russia who wanted to do her Masters in Politics. I was really sorry to decline the offer. I knew zilch about Russian ploitcs and much less about Russioan education. However I did send him a few of the SOPS I had written and an offer to prrof read his cousins.

That’s the week

OH! And Atha and Subha are back……….

Books
Bombay Ice
Movies
Khel
The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Twisted ,embellished history. But Devgan is cool and so is Sushant who played Sukhdeo. Its funny to think of their characterisation. Bhagat Singh as a strong slient type, Sukhdeo as the cool guy with attitude and Rajguru as a bumbling joker. Wonder how they really realy were….
Websites
http://www-chaos.umd.edu/misc/ ( we were trying to select a vanity plate for Seejo’s new car….the current favourite is LRDRNGZ (Lord of the Rings…..remember Audi’s symbol is 4 entwined rings)
www.bombaydreams.com. ARRehman’s musical extravanganza… Too much of a repeat of old songs

Weekend Buzz

Posted June 9th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Contrary to my current email tag line( I once thought I made a mistake, but I was wrong), I did make a mistake. In my top five mail ,two weekends back, travel got the top spot for being my favourite thing about the US. Mea Culpa….There is something that I love about the US more than the travel. Much more. For people who know me it doesn’t take much of an effort to guess what that is….for I spend half my life with my phone!

Incidentally that was one of the first things that attracted me about the US of A. Somewhere during my final year of engineering when I was making those “difficult” choices of what to do with my life….an uncle suggested Masters. I didn’t take it seriously but then he tempted me with the statement, “ Did you know that local phone calls in US are free?”.
Paradise….that was my first thought.
I am not saying that THAT was the major motivation in coming to US. Just the thrill of being independent was definitely somewhere on that list ..so was the oppurtunity to travel..they were all there perhaps somewhere above the idea that I should study….
I applied for MS in universities. And I reached the US. Of A. It was perhaps very charactersitic that on my maiden shopping venture in Walmart I blew up a whopping $50.00 on a phone. And those were the days when I was still mentally converting dollars into rupees. And I haven’t ever regretted that purchase…A few people here were amazed at the time I spend on the phone….I blamed it on the “numerous relatives” I have here….notwithstanding the fact that apart from my sisters in DC and San Jose …I hardly talk to any of the other members of my clan infesting the US.

A year later ,I felt that time had come to move on….I bought a cell phone. And spent even more time talking on the phone. On most days I leave the lab around 9 pm. Which is perfect timing cos that’s when my night time cell phone minutes start. By the time I have reached the bus stop I am already chatting with either Aparna or Seejo or Pulkit or Subha. With cell phone came the added advantage of 3-way calling….Now Vidya,Aparna and I could all chat together. Which is fun…

Last weekend we tested technology to its maximum capacity.Aparna and I were having our ususal weekend call ( which is different from our usual weekday call) when I suggested adding Pulkit in as a three way call.. Pulkit was duly added and after a few more minutes we grew ambitious…so we decided to rope in Ketan (Aparna called him) ….So there were the 4 of us discussing the past adventures we had in DJ and planning future trips to meet up and then we wanted to expand our horizons further…and so Ketan called Kunal and there were all the five of us yakking away for some glorious confused moments……Never really aprreciated the power of techonolgy before that…

People often ask me how can I manage to talk so much on the phone. When relatives used to get a busy signal at my home phone , they sighed and tried after an hour…Sometimes I wonder myself..I never ever had the problem of lack of a topic. Last month I was checking my remaining minutes. With 2800 weekend minutes you wouldn’t think I could use if all up, could you? To tell you the truth , I did get a shock when I realised that I have used up 2100 minutes…well if you convert that to hours it is well ummm …..35 hours….I couldn’t have possibly spent 35 hours on phone that month….Nah!!!…..My cell has another feature that provides me with lifetime use of the phone….Checked that I have used 300 hours , which converted into DAYS gives me 12.5 days….I have spend 12.5 WHOLE days simply talking on the phone….And that does not include the time I spend “chatting”. Also discouting the time I talk with my home phone…and the office phone…..and the India calls

I passed a few agonizing moments trying to justify that shocking number. Then I pacified myself…they probably charge double time for 3 way calls…Yes that must be the reason ….or probably they gave me a used phone….

And that’s that…Its no use thinking over things that can’t change …things I don’t want to change…..

Books:

Works of Roald Dahl
Harry Potter Series ( 6th time )

Movies:

When a man loves a woman (senti senti senti stuff)
Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (2nd time)

Websites:

http://www.palace.net/~llama/poetry/
George sent me some Adrienne Rich’s poems and I was hooked. A search revealed some more poems at this site.

Excitement of the Week

Seejo’s new car. The silver AUDI A-4
check out the snaps of his car…Spent the entire weekend putting the car through its paces…
After a lot of pleading i even got a few moments at the wheel…