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!!