Food Tour Of Greenwich Village, New York City

Posted August 17th, 2013 by Deepa and filed in Food, Travel
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NYC Trip1We spent the last weekend visiting friends in the New Jersey area and took the opportunity to see the Greenwich Village in New York City.  We have been to New York City several times but have always spent most of our time visiting the main tourist destinations in Manhattan. This time we decided to skip that and do something different. While doing some internet research on local attractions, I came up on a site that offers food tours for Greenwich village. Intrigued by the idea of a food tour, I explored some more and found out that there were several recommended food joints in that area.  After some more Google searches and reading a couple of food blogs I came up with my own itinerary for a food tour of Greenwich village.

My friend Pooja lives in New Jersey so, we took the train from her place to 9th Street Metro and walked down a few blocks to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. At the entrance of the park is a large Arch modeled after the Arch de Triomphe in Paris. The park is dominated by a large fountain in the center but surrounding it are strolling areas, gardens, play-area for kids, benches and an open air chess tables.  It was fairly crowded with locals and tourists relaxing, reading, eating, playing and enjoying the open air band. Annika was enthralled by the drummer and spent quite a bit of time dancing to the beats.  After spending about half an hour there, we crossed the garden and entered Macdougal Street where our food tour started in earnest. Continue Reading »

Postcards from Indy!

Posted August 17th, 2013 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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I had the opportunity to visit Indianapolis for a conference (American Association for Physicists in Medicine) earlier this month. Annika was suffering from croup – a variant of bronchitis that affects the larynx and the trachea. She had fever, sore throat and a weird kind of painful cough making her cranky, miserable and irritable.  Seejo was smart enough to have an official trip scheduled  right around the same time.  So I was left to take care of a sick and clingy child all alone, leaving me angry, miserable and irritable.By the time Seejo returned after three days, I was ready for a break.

Although Indy hardly ranks as a top tourist destination, I was really looking forward to the trip to Indianapolis — to unwind, relax and sleep!  I reached Indianapolis on Monday morning and took the cab directly to the conference venue. I had never attended an AAPM meeting, so I was looking forward to learning the hot topics that physicists are buzzing about, their current gripes, and who they like to take potshots at. I find that one of the most interesting aspects of any society meeting is  the clear demarcation of “us” and “them” in that field. Since I work in a very cross disciplinary landscape , these distinctions always fascinate me, mainly because in most cases I group them together.  For example,  I learnt that the biotechnology industry clearly believes that they are different from (and really competing with ) the Pharma folks, the breast radiologists separate themselves from the breast surgeons although they attack the same disease, the data managers love to take potshots at the clinical researchers and QA, the nuclear medicine radiologists are quick to point out the difference between them and other radiologists and so on. And in this case the clinical physicists clearly look down on their brethren who do low energy solid state work. Continue Reading »

More conversations…but it is war time

Posted March 24th, 2003 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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Its more than a week since war began. And unlike Iraqis, the life of most Americans goes on almost untouched by miseries of the war. Except for the families of the troops that are stationed in the Middle East, the daily lives of most people here have hardly been disrupted. In fact from here it almost seems like a war between two totally unrelated countries. CNN got an interesting event to cover, protesters got a chance to protest…for the war, against the war…and the good Samaritans started making collections for “our boys out there”. And yes there was a fresh topic to discuss at the lunch break.

There have been some interesting conversations I have had with some of my colleagues here….most of which seem like statements culled out of watching too much CNN.

Some people actually believe that the war is being fought for altruistic reasons. I talked to a lady about the then impending war against Iraq, she said that she was against the war …As she put it “Why should our boys go there and fight to make someone else’s life happy? The Iraqis should learn to take care of themselves”. Till then I didn’t believe that it was possible not to mention Iraq, America and OIL in the same breath.

Some view it as completing unfinished business….Saddam should have been “finished off” in 1991. Its 12 years late now…. but better late than never. And of course most of them believe that Saddam was responsible for the 9/11 blasts. When it was pointed out that America had actually helped Iraq during the initial phases of Saddam’s “career”, the response was “I don’t believe that maaaan.,…I heard something like that too but of course the government could not be that stupid…what could they have been thinking of”
Touching , I tell you this faith in the American government.

Just one person admitted that oil “could” be one of the reasons that the war is being fought but then “We have got to have oil right….I mean oil is almost as important as food…and after all that’s been the way of the world…might is always right”

Some want to find those weapons of mass destructions fast. It took a Canadian research scientist to explain to this American guy that Iraq with all the sanctions and difficulty could hardly make any major WMD’s . So it’s going to take some time to discover what is not there in the first place. …Because you see if there is nothing the Americans will have to plant something there wouldn’t they?

I don’t support the war. I think the America’s “We can do it but you can’t” attitude is pathetic and I am disgusted at the total one-sided description of the war by the American media. And I am amazed at how the media can manipulate the thoughts of the American citizens and essentially brainwash them into believing that Osama=Saddam =evil=must be killed.

But on the other hand I did have a colleague here who was an Iraqi citizen. He was an Armenian by birth and was brought up in Iraq, did his medical school there and later was stuck there unable to get out of the country. He told me the tale of how he managed to escape from Iraq in the middle of the night along with his two sisters. He had to pay 1000 $ per person to reach Jordan where he worked for 2 years for an American visa. He said that on account of his last name, which was a prominent non-Iraqi name, he was routinely harassed by “Saddam’s people”. His house was searched constantly, he could not go out of the country, there was really no Internet access and even the e-mail sites were government controlled. When I asked him “Is Saddam really that cruel?”, this was his response “ If that man can turn off the air that you are breathing, he would do it”.

Hoping for peace.

Best of Times…..Worst of Times

Posted May 26th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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I don’t want to write what I did this week for the simple reason that I didn’t do anything other than routine chores. So I am going to talk about something else. This weekend is a long weekend here because on Monday the Americans celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial day is a day when Americans honor the people who died fighting the Civil war. I am not sure whether now the  ’honored’ people have extended to being war victims. Long weekends hold special charm for the Americans. Not that they don’t for Indians but we have so many more holidays. What I find funny about American holidays is that they shift around?..

What I mean is that most holidays, other than Christmas, New Years and July 4, always are celebrated on a Friday or a Monday so that there is a long weekend. So Memorial Day is not celebrated on 27 May but on the last Monday in the month of May!  But sometimes they take things too far.Like Washington’s Birthday is celebrated on 3rd Monday in February. It really doesn’t matter whether that actually falls on 22 February, which was his real birthday! But they changed the day to President?s day and continue to celebrate it ???

Well Indian festivals also change days but then they don’t follow such a logical approach? Remember the frustration when you realized that Diwali or Holi falls on a Sunday. Although American holidays are far less fun (other than the clearance sales held by the major super stores) they are far better structured.

And that gives me a topic for this email:

In one of the mails I had written when I first came to US I had listed the TOP 5 things I hate and love about America?.

That was when I just came to America and my favorite things consisted of the availability of fruit juice and the fact that there is unlimited Internet and automatic doors that open in front of you.  The things I deplored was the lack of newspapers and absence of mumbaiyya slang. Now that I am a veteran in America here is a fresh list

TOP 5 things I like about America

1.         Ease in travelling from one state to another. And the fact that you can afford it on even your student salary. And the fact  that you can even consider travelling to Europe.

2.            Research . You do feel that most of the work is unique and directly applicable to people.

3.             Food! Different cuisines aaccesible and affordable ( lets not consider the pounds that come along with it!)

4.            Attitude of people here . People are generally pleasant to you. Who doesn?t like a friendly smile? I like the fact that people  here treat all workers with respect. Like the waitors or the plumber or the bus drivers. How many of us wish our B.E.S.T driver a good day and thank you ( I guess they would yell at you saying ?bas zyaada shanpana nako karu?). I admire the don’t care attitude of the people here and the fact that they can switch anything from hairstyles to careers to life partners at any time.

5.         Natural beauty. It?s a huge country and hence encompasses a lot of geographical freatures . Canyons, mountains, forests, lakes, beaches… 4 distinct seasons and each of them is beautiful, the freshness of Spring, the colors in Fall, the snow covered landscape in winter and the pleasant warmth in summer. Obvioulsy I hate not having the rains..but one can’t have it all , can they?

WORST 5

1.      Terrible public transportation other than in major cities. A car is a must and the fact that I have seen the weirdest of accidents here (deers and numerous upturned vehicles doesn?t really make me feel thrilled about driving)

2.            Attitude of the people here. Excessive formality .  Very few people would take kindly to a just a drop in visit. And this sort of formality extends to work as well.  I mean a lot of thing depends on your presentation. Your matter may be zilch but half the battle is won if you have sugar coated it enough. Of course it wouldn’t work for ever?!! Also most Americans are pretty self-centered. I mean the average American does not think anything beyond their country. It is as though the world begins and ends with the boundaries of America.

3.            Weekend night activity . Have to say it. I am sure this is not true of a big city but one thing I really really dislike is how the whole place looks deserted at night.  Yesterday night , Atha and I thought of going for a walk at night…Atha is normally a cautious person and warned me against it. But I was reckless and insisted saying that after all there were two of us. But a few steps later I realized that both pedestrian and vehicular traffic were so scarce and it was far better to retrace our steps back home. Even in a small place like Charlottesville, we have to be wary of muggings and shootings. And try getting a midnight snack or go to a decent restaurant after 10 pm. I can’t make up my mind on what to eat and my stomach can’t start producing sufficient gastric juices till its past 10 and by that time all the restaurants have a big CLOSED sign on their doorstep

4.         The do it yourself attitude. It might be ideal or whatever but give me my kachrewali-bai who takes my trash out and the maid/manservant who sweeps the house and the dhobi who washes and irons my clothes.

5.         I hate the sight of old ladies who seem to need help even to stand trying to push these huge carts alone at the stores or the feeble grandmothers waiting to greet you at Wal-Mart ???(but perhaps that is a good thing that they can be independent even at that age??)

Disclaimers

This is my observations after being in Charlottesville. People can agree or disagree.!!

Notice that I just mentioned what I like and dislike. I have tried not to compare the two countries ( other than the subconsious ones). I really didn?t want to say I like US because of its clean roads, when it is the same dirty bylanes that make me feel comfortable back home. I am not saying anything about the fact that I like the festivals at home and dislike its absence here. Or you can earn more money in US whilst you have your family in India. Those are obvious. Everybody knows that.

Books

·           Lincoln  : Gore Vidal

·           Ah! But your land is beautiful:  Alan Paton

Movies

·            Namumkin : Another Hrishikesh Mukherjee film.

.            Riding in Cars with Boys : Review …Bah!

Websites

·            http://www.holidayfestival.com/USA.html  :      Learn More about American holidays!!

·            http://rinkworks.com/said/                         :Totally terribly amazingly incredibly funny!

·            http://www.rinkworks.com/brainfood/discrete.shtml  : And something serious!!

TOP 10…

Posted August 30th, 2000 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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In tradition with all the countdowns here is a list of my top 5!!

5 Things i love about America!!

1)     The automatic doors! Absolutely the best thing! It really feels very welcoming and you feel really royal when doors open in front of you!

2)      The libraries..Till now all the authors i have given in Search have always returned me some answer!

3)      Fruits and Fruit juice ..plenty available and as cheap as drinking water!

4)     Of course the free internet..how can i miss that!

5)      Labs …really cool and everything available and soon! no wait period of 1 month!

5 things i hate about America

1)     no newspapers…yahan pe woh habitich nahi hai

2)     Have to have a car for roaming! and the roads are uphill downhill most of the places…so walking is tough!

3)     U go to a restaurant and try to find a non carbonized non alcoholic drink….no way!

4)     Everybody seems to be alone …its like each man for himself!

5)     No baambaiyya Hindi!!! no sick jokes …That’s bad