A Mini Reunion

Posted May 22nd, 2010 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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PHOTOS

DSC_5430We had a mini-meet up with a few friends from our undergraduate engineering school last week at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia.  The tulips were still in bloom, the gardens looked pretty, the fountains looked beautiful and we all had a wonderful time.  I am heavily borrowing from Sarika’s email to our e-group describing our get-together but here are the highlights of the trip.

It is always great to catch up with old friends, so that was undoubtedly high point of the entire trip.

  1. The tulip garden was extremely colorful and looked splendid. The photographers amongst us (Ashu, Seejo and budding talent Sarika) clicked a lot of photos.
  2. I got a completely unexpected (and rare) call from Vidya after a long time, so everyone got a chance to catch up with her as well.
  3. We stayed over at Ashu & Niral’s place on Saturday night, and were amazed by his exquisite works of art (they were too beautiful too be called mere photographs).  Ashu also regaled us with anecdotes of his second career as a photographer.
  4. Enjoyed watching Vania running around the house, and Pooja trying to be all mom-like! Continue Reading »

Reunion in NYC

Posted September 18th, 2004 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Meeting old friends is always pleasant. This time five of my Engineering college friends from Bombay met at New York city for the weekend. It was almost 5 years since we had last met, all together. We were all working now, in different fields, some within the same branch of engineering and some in totally unrelated fields. Personal lives had changed too. I was married, two others were recently engaged and looking forward to a wedding next year, one was recovering from a failed relationship and another was a swinging single.

New York is a fun city even if you are alone but when you have a reunion, it really cannot “funner” than that. We walked around New York , stayed up late and chatted about old memories , created a few new ones , discussed our careers and our future options, talked about life in America . We watched each other surreptiously for changes, either outward changes or in attitude, mentally contrasted the present friend with memories that we carried in our heads.

It was a fun weekend. I am looking forward to some more reunions …sooner the better!!

Till then here are the memories of this one.

After a long long time…

Posted April 14th, 2003 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Isn’t there something cool about old friends meeting??

This weekend Vidya and I talked late into the night with total disregard to the time, roamed around the streets of Philadelphia as though it was apna Mumbai, flouted traffic conventions and leaped across the roads at whim, went on a horse and carriage ride, met Vidya’s ex colleague ,ate out, discussed inlaws ( to put it in a politically correct perspective) , giggled over our worser halves, missed the rest of our V-V group, saw two movies again…(dil chahta hai and saathiya) , oohed over Vivek Oberoi, forgot stuff at home and consequently missed trains…..finally managed to catch a train to Virginia, drove around the beautiful Virginia landscapes, saw Luray Caverns, saw a belly dancer show ,re-gossipped about our engg class, indulged in nostalgia , , , and then parted early Monday morning with plans to meet again….

It was one helluva weekend….Vidya and I met after a long time: after almost 3.5 years. We did meet briefly for 2 days in Dec 2001 , but then we had Eashwer and Seejo with us so it doesn’t really really count!!! When we were doing our B.E, we were together for most of the day….We used to meet at 7.30 in the morning on the Bombay Central platform to catch our train to DJS, be together the whole day…come home in the evening, stand outside her building for an hour discussing the day and then go back home to call each other up and talk some more. And of course there were plenty of sleepovers ostensibly to study but spent talking about everything else in the world other than studies.

We made up for the past three years in these three days!!

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.

Books

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.

Websites:

http://home.earthlink.net/~shubhrasudha/tagore.html
More Rabindranath poems!

www.djscoe.org
Finally my ex ex alma mater gets a website…..check out the profs in each department….. funny funny funny

http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215480/
And educative website for the week…..here is some dope on the history of Chicago!!

Movies

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….

Duke

Posted March 11th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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This weekend was meant to be a relaxing weekend. Sit at home, see a couple of movies, catch up on reading etc. I reached home Friday at an unbelievably early time of 5 pm. Generally the junta reaches my place at around 9 pm which gave me 4 hours of free time to do whatever I want. Relaxing has become synonymous with a bathtub for me nowadays. So I filled in the bath tub ,picked up a book ( currently reading Gore Vidal.. he writes novels based on American history ….)and lay there soaking myself in warm water till Vrushali had an urgent need to answer natures call and banged on the bathroom door till I had no choice but to come out .

After that dressed in a salwar kameez…( a rare ocassion..) and was wondering whether to cook or not when Siddharth and Subha landed up at my place with a suggestion that we go down town. Unusually pleasant weather was the reason offered. Seejo reached from MD around that time and vociferously supported the idea.

Downtown was already lit and tables were placed outside the cafes indicating that spring was around the corner. We went to a small Mexican eatery ,sat outside and yakked away. The topic of discussion was “what would be the first thing to  save and buy if you had a job”. I said books,( ofcourse!) Subbu said ( Bose audio system),Siddharth voted for a projector, Vrushali for a sports car and Subha for a better car! Seejo by mutual consensus was out of the reckoning cos he already booked himself an Audi, furnished his flat and bought his audiovisual needs.

After dinner we headed home, Siddharth and I took a detour to the local Blockbuster to pick up a few video cassettes. Picking up a cassette with Siddharth is a tough task ,cos while I head for the comedy/musical/drama sections he opts for only one section-the martial art section. I must have watched scores of Jackie chan and Bruce Lee movies with him, discovered that Bruce Lee is a different person from Bruce Li and cooked up hundereds of excuses for not watching the latest Jet Li movie. Today however we compromised ..Let us look at the thriller section : Both of us wanted to watch a Hitchcock movie…but problemo..catering to that public waiting back home is difficult..Seejo had warned us “No black and white movies” .So we picked out a Cary Grant movie “To Catch a thief”.

Enjoyed the movie!

By the time we hit our beds it was past 2!

However Seejo got up early next morning….and decided that weekends are meant to be for traveling. I refused the bait saying I prefer to relax! But By the time I could convince him about the “joys of a relaxing weekend” he was already on the phone with Siddharth ( who was only too eager to leave C’ville ) Together they decided to go to West Virginia…I said No..I already was there less than a month ago….Ok then Duke (in North Carolina was the next suggestion). I refused again….its not an interesting enough place but by that time both of them had guilt tripped me into thinking that it would amount to a criminal offence if I wasted one perfectly nice day sitting at home. Then again there was the irresistible lure of driving on the interstate which was offered to me.

By the time we tried to call Atha ( who was already in Duke ( his best friend stays there))Subha, Vrushali, Neelima and Amit Naidu also decided to accompany us. Morning ablutions, sundry chores, and minimal breakfast later we were all set to leave by 1 am. Duke University was around 220 miles from University Of Virginia. Seejo drove for the initial 70 miles and then I drove for the next 70 miles or so. The roads were almost empty so it was not much of a problem. I had great difficulty initially to maintain my speed at a constant 70mph. It kept fluctuating from 60-80 mph and even dropped down to 50 when I had to take turns. But more about driving later…We reached KD (atha’s friend)’s residence at around 7.30. Sat for some time, chatted and since our lunch was negligible went off to an Indian restaurant to have dinner.

Now a little facts and figures about Duke!

Duke Universtiy,University of North Carolina,Chapel hill and NCSU are all situated within 30 miles of each other. All three are high ranked good universities. Together they also form one of the famous tech areas in East coast called Research Triangle Park.

We walked around the area around the main street for the UNC wallahs, went to this place called “international tea center” ,which atha descriped to me as a “non alcoholic pub”. It had a female in salwar kameez yelling( for lack of a better word) an ila Arun song. While people around cross legged around small tables and played games ( carrom, checkers) some were dancing in the aisle, yet others sitting on a mat drinking “chai”. I loved it. Seejo was grinning when we came out of the place. Says” I never thought I’ll see something similar to the Osho ashram in North Carolina!!!”.

Then for the “piyakkads” in our group we went to an alcoholic pub and sat around watching them guzzle 24 ounce glasses of beer!. Reached back at KDs place around midnight. I went upstairs to meet Anjum then ( Anjum is my class mate).We caught up on some old times, exchanged the latest news we knew about everyone…..

Then went down again and saw that the whole junta was watching Filhaal..

Slept at 2 am .Got up around 9. Formed a queue to finish using the bathroom and went for the Duke tour. Duke is famous for two things

the Duke Chapell:

Duke Hospital ( the best med school in America)

We went around the latter and inside the former and it was impressive. The tower of the duke Chapel stands 210 feet tall. It is made of grey stones .The interir has 73 ft tall celings and six stained-glass windows representing women of the Old Testament.

Next stop was Jordan Lake a huge lake 14,000 acres of water. There was a beach kind of place around the lake….and we sat there for some time playing Dumb charades etc ,clicked a few Patel snaps .

We started the drive form around 4 pm with me at the wheels. Driving is definitely not a fun experence especially when you have Seejo sitting next to you shouting instructions. Seejo ‘s idea of a good driver is one who wins the Grand Prix while at the same time setting records for cautious driving. And let us just face it …I am not a world class driver….yet!!

Anyway I did understand the thrill people get in overtaking cars and speeding and zipping through traffic.

The huge truckers which hurtled dowm the free way was scary and even more scarier was the idea that I had to overtake them! But I survived and so did my passengers.

Today is Monday morning

I am back at the lab…..pretending to work!

Anagrams

Posted January 30th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Uncategorized
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Advisor went and changed Masters thesis topic for the nth time….

Decided to take a break and let him decide what he “really really “ wants me to do!! So came upon this site in an idle surfing spree and decided to play with words as my advisor plays around with my life!

Anyway scroll down to see your name in all its jumbled up glory….

Here is some Anagrams for you!!

Priti Sahasrabudhe : Is sharp but airhead
Aparna Sapre : Appear as ran
Vidya Venkatasubramani : Variant Abusive Mad Yank
Siddhi Shah :D id hashish
Pooja Gandhi: Oh! Adjoin gap
Pulkit Desai:Alike Stupid
Kunal Gandhi :Ugh! Anal Kind
Ninad Patenkar :D rank a neat pin
Ketan Mane:Meek an ant
Seejo Sebastine:I obese sane jest
Dwiti Narayanan:Award an inanity
Supriya Madangarli:I am a slurry and a pig

Christmas Trip

Posted December 31st, 2001 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Am back from my “looooong vacation” and here is the description!!

Here is the details on my Christmas trip….
Seejo and I landed at Las vegas on Thursday night.

Early Friday morning we decided to see Vegas attraction outside of the main city. These included the Hoover Dam,Lake Mead and the Red rock canyon. Hoover Dam is a large dam supplying electricity to 3 states in US. It certainly was large. We took a helicopter ride to see an aerial view of the dam and that was what impressed me. Lake Mead is an artificially created lake. To see a strect of bright blue amidst the dry rocky Nevada desert was wonderful sight from above. From there we went to see the Red Rock Canyon. The red rock canyon is a mountanin range which not surprisingly is red in color. It was pretty good sight to see. Basically all we did was to drive around a route which had various overlook points to see the ranges from different spots.

Aparna landed in Vegas that very evening and we went to the airport to pick her up. Then all three of us went on a tour of the “night life” in Vegas. Las Vegas is just what you expect a “sin city “ to be.Glitzy Glamourous and Great!! . Las vegas is actually a desert surrounded by mountains on all four sides. The heart of Las vegas is the “strip” . It is one road with all the big hotels and casinos are …All these are brilliantly lit with flashy neon signs .All hotels have a residence area,a casino are and shopping arcades. The shopping arcades pander to the richjand the famous and all most any branded shop can be found there, Each Hotel has also some attractions ..like s free show or something. Most of them are developed after a theme. For example there is the Venetian ..having the ambience of Venice. You can have a gondola ride in an artifical canal and the main piazza is decorated to look like it is one of the streets in Venice.

The Luxor is shaped like a pyramid and the inside is also like the streets in Egypt ..Most of the interiors in each hotel leaves you dumb struck..Because they have tried to make it a replica of the streets in that city. There was Ceaser with a Roman Influence ,Alladin with the Arabic influence,Paris ,New york with their charm. etc.

The hotel we stayed was called the Stratosphere. It is built like a tower and is presently the second tallest building in America after the WTC went down. The “attraction” here was a ride called the BIG SHOT. On top of the tower there is another structure like a mini tower. The ride seats you around this second structure about 1000 ft up in the air and then takes you up with an acceleration of 4 G . so basically you are out in the open and you can see entire Vegas before you and then it drops you down with 0G . you get a feeling of floating and it is terrifyingly scary!! But definitely enjoyable,

We gambled a lot using slot machines and even won about 60$ .Did a lot of window shopping. Basically gambled a bit n each casino …almost like well since we were sightseeing here let us give something back to the casino …!!!

Early next morning …by early I mean the ungodly hour of 4.30 am ( which is even more significant in the light that we slept at 2.30 am ) we set out for a drive to San Diego. With Seejo driving and Aparna and me alternately sleeping and chatting we reached San Diego about 10 am., San Diego has one of the most famous aquariums in US .The Sea World had ,other than the usual display of fishes , a lot of shows. There was a whale show, dolphin show, sealion show, a few rides etc. There were Arctic animals like walruses, white whales, penguins etc. Then there were simulated rides which take you on a helicopter ride to the arctic etc.

From San diego the next stop was Los Angeles. We met up with Vidya and Eashwer there. Vidya looked a little thinner and eashwer looked a little fatter than I saw them last.

After dinner we went to see the Santa Monica boulevard. It was one of the happening places in LA cos it is a street which has live musicians street acrobats etc. It was almost dark when we reached there and we were tired and sleepy so we didn’t really enjoy the ambience a lot!! Then back to the hotel where Vidya ,Aparna and I sat talking for some time ,called Siddhi and Pooja back in India ..talked to Pooja ( didn’t get siddhi online) .It didn’t feel as though we were meeting after such a long time….The next day ,Aparna Seejo and I left the hotel early in the morning and drove around the Malibu beach area. (Vidya had already been there the previos day to see the Malibu temple ….All three of us were not really into temples so we decided to bypass that and take the scenic route) The Malibu beach area also houses some of the rich and the famous guys …It had huge houses which we were sure belonged to the Hollywood stars and Aparna and I had a good time assigning houses to different stars!! Especially when a complete stranger asked us totally out of the blue whether we saw “Oceans11” and smirked at our nods. We promptly made him the director of the film and were gloating the whole day that we met a Hollywood director. On second thoughts..he could have been the producer as well….or may be even the spot boy!!!

California has this amazing landscape of having cliffs on one side of the road and the ocean on the other. The drive was beautiful and we really enjoyed the fantastic view. Our next sstop was the famous “holly wood “ sign which we see in movies .Seejo ‘s earthly ambition was to photograph that sign so off we went trying to find a vantage point to photograph it. After seing that sign ..”which actually is ust the letter Hollywood “ on top of the mountain….. we went to see the Walk of Fame.

Walk of fame is this street in Hollywood which has the names of all stars on the street. If i remember right Julia Roberts picks up Richard Gere in Pretty Woman on that street!! The entire road has these star shaped structure with a particular stars name in it stanped across the sidewalk. There are also imprints of their footprints and hand prints. We didn’t have much time to see there cos we had to reach Universal Studio where Vidya and Eashwer where waiting. So after taking the mandatory Patel photographs we went off to Universal Studio.

Universal Studios has this tram tour which takes you around the studio with precreated sets. They have facades with European ambience, Mexican bars, etc. They even show a few speciall effects. My favourite one was that of the earthquake when the train is in the station. You see sparks of electricity and you are certain that the entire thing is going to explode.Meanwhile half the station is come apart due to the joltings and then there is a sudden flood which comes out cos the water tanks are broken .somewhere across you can see a opart odf tha station has caiught fire. Definitely Great. They let you into some of the tricks they employ while shooting.Like you feel the hero is jumoiung onto this huge ocean when actually it’s a small puddle of water!

Other than the studio tour there were several rides and shows. The two best shows were that of the Water world and the Wild West. In water world they actually perform most of the stunts we see in ta film’s climax live. YOU see shootings and acrobatics and vilian bombing the place up and people somersaulting all across the stage. It was wonderful to see . Wild west was another show in imitation of the western movies and that was really fun!! TO see these trigger happy people go shooting each other was great.!

Universal Studio also had a few other rides .Basically all rides were just the same but each had a different amnbience and hence a different thrill …Like the ET ride which made you feel that you had actually reached a planet somewhere …and the Jurassic park ride strewn with dinaousrs everywhere . Then there were a few shows like the 3-D terminator show which was great. It was a 3-D cum live show , so you had people running through the theater. And they had seats which could move you if there was a sudden landing un the film our seats would give a jerk…if there was water splashing on the screen you could feel a spray on your face…It was great!

Next day was Disney land .We were lucky in a way cos it was Christmas eve .Disney land also thas the same kind of shows,rides and 3-D film but in a very cute setting. It was very enjoyalbe to see Sleeping beauty’s castle,Pinochio,snowwhitle and seven dwarves etc. The rides were not as great as in Universall studio ,but perhaps they were beginning to apll after three consecutive days of rides…But as I overheard a visitor say “Disneyland in Christmas time is magical”. There was a special Christmas parade with all the farily tale characters .You sit by the road and see the fairy tale characters we know so well dance by. Snowhite,Cindrella, the little mermaid,gingerbread man,mickey and Minnie ,and finally to end the parade Santa claus with his elvwes and reindeers.

The next attraction was the fireworks, It was a fifteen minute show above Sleeping beauty;s castle and it was wonderful. Quite the best thing I saw in the entire three days.

Colourful rockets lit the sky forming different formations and converting the sky to a fantasy place .

It was good bye to LA and to Vidya and Aparna.Aparna was going to go to SFO to Vidya’s place and I was planning to go to Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon is in Arizona the desert state of America. It’s a drive through nothing ness..On both sides of the road there is anothing to see other than a wide expanse of land with mountains in the distance, We reached William,Arizona(where we were going to stay) just as we despaired of ever seeing civilization again . We had a quick nap before we set off to see the grand Canyon.

The first glimpse of the Canyon is indeed awesome. It was snowing the previous night so the canyon had a sprinkling gof snow at the top. Grand Canyon was really grand. It was amazing to think that a river caused this maginficient structure,we drove around the place ,pausing appropriately at all the outlook points, clicked a humungous amount of snaps and oohed and aahed at the right spots .We drove back to Las Vegas that day evening.

2 days left to see Vegas in….we went in the gondola ride.strolled through every possible casino .saw the beautiful fountain show at Bellagio,the volcanic eruption at Mirage ,the pirate battle in Treasure island.

That ends my description of the trip. Reached home to see Mark’ s mails overcrowding my inbox!!

Austin Adventures

Posted August 22nd, 2001 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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The news this time around is my Austin trip!

It was rather a hurried trip because I could not spare much time ..Rather my advisor could not spare much of my time!!! I reached Austin on Friday evening and Anjum and Pulkit were at the airport to receive me.. and so were a couple of their friends ..Pallavi and Virat. We went straight from there to see Dil Chahta hai….Unfortuntely we were late and the tickets wee sold out..But that itself was an amazing thing for me to see a houseful theatre swarming with Indians J.We resolved to come there the next day and set off towards the univ area.

After dropping rest of the public at the respective houses ,Pulkit gave me a tour of Austin downtown by the moonlight!!! The university of Austin is situated right in the downtown area with the University Tower facing the state capitol, both of which were illuminated beautifully. The capitol in Austin is grand and actually bigger than the one in Washington D.C.

The next day we went to see a few sights in Austin…..The Austin tower …we went up the tower to get a birds eye view of Austin.The Austin tower is something like the center around which the university is built ..It’s a pretty tall structure and although closed to the general public  at any time we could up in a guided tour..The guide did babble a bit about its history and the quality of cement used to build it etc but all in all it was pretty cool…. Visited the O Henry museum..actually dragged Pulkit to the O Henry museum..He barged into the house asking to speak to Mr.O Henry ..The museum curator loved him and insisted on telling him the entire story of his life …which fascinated me but am sure bored Pulkit to death …O .Henry lived here and was actually takem to prison ( where he wrote almost all his works) from Austin..It was a pretty small house and had all the artifacts they had collected of him like his books ,his desks ..etc…

Another must see sight in Austin according to the guide books is the colony of bats near the down town,,,Pulkit gave me a look that suggested”Finally she has gone of her rockers ” when I mentioned bats but as he was trying to essay the role of a perfect host had to take me there. To my obvious disappointment and to Pulkit’s not so obvious relief the bat colony seemed to be depleted and unlike the “millions and millions of bats which the guide sites suggested there were just about a hundred or so) Still the Colorado river by the night,framed by the Austin skyline  was a pretty neat sight .In the evening Anjum, Tejas,Pallavi Pulkit and I went to see Dil Chahta hai… Really liked the movie…The fun part was Aamir Khan is related to Anjum and Tejas said that the girl who played”Deepa” ( the only thing I hated about the movie…couldn’t they find any other name) was his cousin…This prompted me to adopt Akshye Khanna as my cousin and Pulkt claimed that the second girl on the left in the third scene in the first dance sequence was his long lost sister !! All in all FUN movie!

After that we went to sixth street ….the “place to be in Austin” …..Most of the guys  would have loved this place ..It is a street with pubs and pool parlors  and occasionally you might even run into a sozzled First Daughter!! ;-) Many of them have live music bands like jazz ,rock etc and Austin does live upto the name of being the LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL …It’s the alive place in Austin and the party goes on till 2 in the night!! Oh yes that day we also went to a bookshop where we get books at half prices…Great place I HAD to buy a few books and Pulkit in his newly found status of earning good money rashly promised to pay for them ..and he did pay dearly for that promise!!

The next day we went to Dallas ( which is a three hour drive…) .Texas is such flat country compared to the hills in Virginia ..nor is it that green..Although there are fewer African Americans there it has a large number of Mexicans. And I thought Public displays of affection( smooching, kissing making out!!) were much more here than in Virginia!!

Met Vijaya and Sundar.( my classmate and her husband) Vijaya had made lunch with kheer for dessert! With them we went to this chaat place where Pulkit insisted on asking the Chaatwala…what kind of water he used and where he got his water from..much to the embarrassment of Sundar..He was trying hard to pretend he didn’t know this person!

Coming back was fun though….With my sense of (mis)direction and It being Pulkit’s almost maiden ride out of Austin…we got lost in Dallas downtown several times..We reached this godforsaken place and then Pulkit got down to ask at a gas station about the directions.We were told”This is not a good place to be on foot, mate”.Apni to fatli ..jhat se car mein aur phat se car chalu!!  Dallas has these flyovers in layers ..almost like 5 layers and would you believe it we passed through all of them in our quest to get the right road!…….Although we manages to see the Dallas skyline from all possible angles …it was a relief when we finally reached back home..tired and worn out at 3 in the morning!

Next morning a brief spell of shopping and me back at the airport!

I left Austin on Monday morning ,,,and now its back to work…

Anyway back to courses and research and dreams and plans of the next vacation!