Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Things to do

I remembered quite a bit of things that I need to do as soon as possible:
  • Mail check to friend 1 for DVD writer
  • Mail check to friend 2 for CDs
  • Fix the vacuum cleaner power cord
  • Read books
  • Renew books borrowed from library
  • Mail check to California State
  • Contact my piano teacher/practise playing
  • Talk to friend 3 regarding formation of band

No watch today!

I have the habit of wearing my watch everyday, but recently the band around the strap broke and the strap started clinging to its life. Unable to see this thing happening to my watch, I decided to give it some rest today and didn't wear it. I was hoping that I won't need to wear it because I can look up time on my computer since I sit in front of it all day. That's what I believed, but I have already looked at my wrist several times hoping to find out the time and met with disappointment everytime. It has become such a habit that I have to keep looking at my wrists. I think I do it subconsciously. I don't learn that there is no watch today. What do you call this syndrome?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Passion vs practicality

Would you start a company that you are passionate about or something that would sell well to the public, but you may not have enough interest in? I think you should definitely do something that you are passionate about. When you do that, you won't really worry about the amount of money you make - you'll be satisfied regardless of that. You'll be fully focussed and not distracted and wouldn't care much for a vacation since work is like vacation! Nice thoughts, but very difficult to put it in practice. More importantly, you need to figure out what you are passionate about! You may be 'interested' in various things, but they all won't qualify - movies, taking a hawaiian vacation, etc won't qualify as ideas for a company :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Busy Busy Busy!

Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy

What else can I tell you? There is too much work to be done I am afraid I won't be able to do anything else for a while. It is biting.

I had a great weekend at the Bay Area, visiting my friends and all that. Lots of good food and great conversations. Nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend

This is probably my 8th thanksgiving weekend in this country. Somehow I have never tried to combine this with an India vacation or something. Most of the thanksgiving weekends, I have done nothing:

Thanksgiving 1998: I remember sitting in the lab developing web pages. I was only two months into this country at that time and sadly, didn't have anybody to go and visit. All my friends had plans, more importantly they all had relatives here. Not me.

Thanksgiving 1999: I didn't do much either. I think I was doing my internship with my prof's company at that time. I remember one of my friends visited us, in the middle of his MBA at Wharton. I had so much work that I didn't get to spend any time with him. It was all ok at that time because I was going to take my first India vacation the following month.

Thanksgiving 2000: Absolutely no idea either. My best guess is that I was working very hard on my M.S. thesis at that time since it was due in December. I remember doing a lot of experiments in the lab, trying to wrap it up. My first nightout was done when I was writing my thesis! I somehow managed without putting a nightout during my undergrad.

Thanksgiving 2001: Yes, my first trip to the east coast. I went to Philly, to visit my friend who was still doing his MBA at Wharton. A few of us gathered and I made my first visit to New York and New Jersey. Nothing like getting together with a bunch of undergrad friends. Things are always different with them. I took the famous "fall tree in princeton" shot near my friend's apartment in Princeton, NJ during this time. I had just bought a really nice camera - canon elan 7e and I was practising shooting with it. In fact, the three of us bought the exact same camera and lens. I was having quite a bit of fun with the camera. It cost about $900 at that time. I took pretty pictures of NY in the night. We visited empire state, liberty island, grand central station, etc. roamed around the island quite a bit. It was just a couple of months we all witnessed the destruction of the two World Trade Center buildings. So I never got to see those :-(

Thanksgiving 2002: I think I was still lazing around in LA. I went to Joshua Tree National Park, around 100 miles east of LA with a couple of other friends. It was ok, nothing spectacular. They were feeling pretty cold, so we left around 4pm or so. I guess that park should be visited during spring so you may get a chance to see a lot of desert flowers. Nothing much happened apart from this trip.

Thanksgiving 2003: I was married by this time and I didn't have any clue about it during the previous thanksgiving. This thanksgiving was the first one with my wife. We had also just moved to San Diego. I had my first experience of shopping during black friday! Since I didn't know about the general craziness around this time, I casually ventured into circuit city at 8 am thinking that I was early. I could walk out only with a 48 pack AA battery pack! Some batteries are still left BTW. I remember buying it for only $5. We were otherwise getting settled in the new apartment.

Thanksgiving 2004: Nothing again. We didn't do much. We did some early shopping this time and bought a bunch of things. We got screwed in one rebate. Otherwise, we just lazed around at home, enjoying the four days. Sometimes, just relaxing at home could be a great feeling!

Thanksgiving 2005: We are driving to the Bay area to meet so many friends. The plan is to start driving tomorrow morning at 4 am - don't know how this is going to work out. We shall see. While coming back, the traffic is going to be pretty bad. Can't help that. There are really a lot of people to meet in the Bay Area....thanksgiving is probably the ideal weekend to do that. Most of them will be there.

Edit: Nov 28th 2005 - the day after the thanksgiving weekend:

Traffic on the way to Bay Area was fine - it took me exactly 7 hours to reach my friend's place in Sunnyvale. Had a great time there with my wife. We met quite a few friends there, had tons of good food. While coming back, the traffic onto 152 E was pretty bad, so in an instant, I decided to take the 101S itself. It took me 8 hours and 15 minutes to reach San Diego, for an additional 55 miles on 101. It wasn't that bad, though I lost about 45 minutes in traffic on 101, just 10 miles south of the 152 junction.

Thanksgiving 2006: God knows!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Karma and Prayers

Yesterday I volunteered to type out an entire booklet on "Prayers" written by Swami Dayananda Saraswati. My wife wanted me to photocopy it, but I thought I might as well type it out fully so that I may get a chance to understand what it is about. I have been trying to understand life from a different perspective other than religion, prayers and karma and have come to some conclusions so far. After reading the prayer book I found that my understandings were not fundamentally any different from what the book conveyed.

The booklet talked about Karma and how it affects our everyday lives. But the book also goes beyond this birth and talks about previous births and the karma we might have done in those births. What it doesn't explain is why we sometimes end up doing the wrong things and what decided our fate in the first birth. Karma is another way of saying that we are responsible for our own actions. The western theory on this speaks about it in a rather detached way - the fundamental assumption is that they talk only about this birth and they don't extrapolate bad times and good times to the papa or punya done in previous births.

As far as the western theory goes, I fully agree with it and would like to embrace it. I am responsible for my own actions. The one thing that puzzles me is the fact that we don't have a choice over our parents. What then decides that some person be born in Africa with AIDS and some person born in a Royal family with so many resources around. Immediately after they are born in their respective places, they are subjected to different environment, which includes thier parents, siblings, immediate family, the weather/climate, culture and what not. None of these are obviously under our control, but then go a very long way in shaping us up as we grow. This is explained by the Karma theory - it says that to be born in a Royal family or the like in this birth, you need to have done some punya in the past birth. It seems like a model to explain things. It goes one step further and says that you can neutralize the papas you've done in your previous birth and this birth by praying. It made a very important point which I have realized otherwise as well - it said that people pray only for themselves. They may pray for you, but at a more subconscious level, they pray that they be happy as a result of you being happy. "Selfishness" is a very crude way of explaining this.

Luck is something that I have not been able to explain with my existing knowledge. Some people end up making lots of riches while some people suffer, even if they start out from the same starting point. One can argue that the starting point is not quite the same for two individuals because you can ultimately find a point where they were quite different - it may come to their births - they would have had different parents, different environment where they grew up and different values. That's where my understanding is weak. One may even argue that getting the riches is not a goal to have and that it may be devil's temptation. This can be a good road trip conversation. Never ending is our quest for understanding why we are here in the first place.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The artist in me

In my childhood, my natural talent was to draw and paint. I used to draw all the time, wherever I was. I made a lot of sketches, a significant number of them being sketches of Gods. Any parent would have felt the need to encourage this kind of a kid, considering how crazy I was about art. Hence my parents admitted me in Santhanu's Art Institute in Chennai. I was to learn all the lessons by correspondence. It was a 24 month course or so, in basics of sketching, cartooning and painting. I took it up with great interest. I did the course with great zeal and dedication. Each month the lessons would arrive by mail - I'd open it up, practice all the lessons a couple of times, follow the instructions and draw them myself. I'd then send my drawings to the institute, again by mail. A few days/weeks later, the teacher would send me the new set of lessons along with the old ones corrected. My teacher was of course a great artist himself - being the famous Santhanu's son and all that. He was very encouraging and often appreciated my interest. I remember the monthly fee for this course was only Rs. 19! Imagine that - a precious art form being taught only for about half a dollar a month. Quite amazing, isn't?

I participated in some drawing and cartooning contests and won some prizes, but was not very proactive about it. In the summer holidays, I would take up a theme and draw enough to fill a big chart paper (a few feet by a few feet size). I would paint my sketches very diligently and produced many nice paintings. I used to flaunt them to all the guests that come home and to my friends in school :) I kicked ass in the diagrams that needed to be drawn for biology classes. I remember my friends never used to believe that I only drew those accurate pictures of a cell with all its details (nucleus, plasma and what not). Not to forget the map of India - this I have done many times.

My favourite painting was that of a landscape. There are these mountains behind this river. The river had the reflections of the pine trees on the opposite bank, a boat. There were telephone wires, with love birds sitting on them. There were of course other birds flying. This came out pretty well. Then I made a painting of the late chief minister of TN, M.G.R. So many more. I did become somewhat complacent during the middle of the course and was not faring well, but nothing to worry. I caught up. I passed the course. In the end, my father and I went to the art institute in person, for the first time. After all, I had to see who had been grading my sketches :) He was a warm and soft guy and was very polite. He encouraged me to take up the next level (I think), but then I somehow didn't end up doing it. Don't clearly know why.

All this was going fine. I was probably studying 6th or 7th grade at that time and my drawing teacher wanted me to give all of my paintings to her so that she may display it in some exhibition. Needless to say, I was excited and gave her all my precious paintings. When she was supposed to return them back, she didn't. The reason she gave was "all your paintings were spoilt in the rain, I think".

I got furious and trying to control my temper and rage. How could she be so irresponsible. She was supposed to be a drawing teacher for God's sake. I can never forget when she told me "you're young - you can create more paintings". WTF does that supposed to mean? I couldn't take this crap at all. Imagine how much time I had spent drawing those paintings. My parents couldn't take it either. These are some of the most unpleasant experiences in my life. My father came to the school and talked to the principal and complained about their irresponsibility. This war dragged on for a few days - we were demanding the return of whatever paintings that were left over, damaged or undamaged. The principal (she was a lady) got all so offended by my father's remarks but somehow realized that she was helpless. I think she must have put some pressure on the drawing teacher. She summoned me later and yelled at me saying "Bring your father....tell him that I have some of your paintings" as though we were the culprits. I hated her.
She gave back some paintings/sketches, but by then I was clearly a new person. I had changed. I had lost interest in drawing. From then till today, I'd produce only a few sketches - I had somehow given up.

Time of course healed this experience and I got to concentrate well on studies. I'd just display my talent in a very subdued manner by volunteering to do calligraphy, etc. At some point though, I took a sudden interest in just sketching and cartooning. I'd draw all the ads for 7UP and a few more. I am not sure where they are now. After coming to the U.S., this thing wasn't even in my mind. I was very inspired to pick it up again after my roommate started sketching and painting left and right. I didn't follow it up with full vigor though I did end up sketching some decent stuff. Escher's "reptiles" is one among those :)


Yesterday I had a major realization. I wouldn't quite call it an epiphany because it was not an intuitive realization. Somebody had to articulate so well something about me that's been holding me back all these years. Worse yet, I have been actually proud and arrogant of having this quality in me and in a few instances, may have even recommended or advised others to embrace this. That quality or attribute if you will, is Perfectionism. Right after this realization, so many things fell in place - I have not been prolific, much to my disappointment and I have not really progressed much in my musical and photography pursuits. I don't buy some cool things because I can't afford the 'best' one. You know, things like that.

I guess at some point in my life, when I was still emotionally dependent, I may have been perfect in something and achieved good results. I also guess that thing stuck on me since then and I somehow refused to think otherwise. I have always been a perfectionist, with or without my knowledge. When I came to my full senses several years back, I realized that I was and still continued to be. I never questioned it. I didn't feel the need to, since somehow I felt it was helping me. This blog will mostly attack being a perfectionist, but I'll still put down my thoughts to justify the benefits of being one.

"There is always room for improvement" is what a perfectionist thinks and doesn't stop until he/she achieves it. This is actually not humility but actually a manifestation of egotism. It is very true. The world is an imperfect place. If it were ideal and perfect, we'd all be very productive and produce thousands of movies every year and produce many million paintings, music albums and what not. Think of the body - the human body or any other animal's body is a great design - it is just a combination of atoms and molecules in a unique way that gives the body a soul and the functionality. The body is able to do so many things - it has energy of its own, it can walk, run, jump, sing, think, speak, dance and what not. But it is all a collection of atoms that is doing these. So, could you call it a "perfect" design? I am afraid not. The body has its imperfections - we fall sick, we age, we are vulnerable to so many diseases; we have only five fingers in each limb though we might have found a use for the sixth one had it existed. The point is, the design of the body is near perfect in an imperfect world. It is designed so that we may appreciate the beauty of actually designing something rather than waiting till we get the perfect idea or get the job done perfectly. We were not designed not to fall sick at all, but designed so that our body at least has the ability to fight the foreign germs. The design of the body was 'stopped' at an interesting point and here we are, walking around with that body, doing so many productive things.

Consider the plight of a movie director, say Mani Ratnam. I am pretty sure he will be able to make a movie a month, for the number of ideas that he has. But then, he makes only one every two years. Demanding such a tight schedule for himself would imply that he is a perfectionist. He is actually not. He has learnt to deal with the logistics of making a movie, that may have at first seemed to limit his creativity, but he has realized that that's what it takes to actually come out with a movie. He was meant to be a creative animal and he has come up with nice ways of exhibiting his creativity, though it may mean that he is not very prolific. Am I being clear? Trying to be a perfectionist will limit your productivity. You will never finish that movie if you intend it to be perfect - you might rather live with creating ten relatively imperfect movies, which would at least open a channel to the world to see what you are all about. The best examples corresponding to this context are those low budget movies that became a big hit - movies like Autograph - the director didn't have the greatest technicians at his disposal, he didn't have the greatest music for the movie, yet he managed to give a great script/movie that overshadowed all the other imperfections in it. In the end, the director will be remembered for the movie and not for falling short on shooting in exotic locations.

Given a chance, a painter will never lift his brush off from the canvas - he'd like to keep painting and improving it, but then he wouldn't be able to produce many paintings this way. In fact, some imperfection may be even necessary to tell you that it is a painting and not a photograph. If you look at some of the greatest paintings, they may look extremely realistic with regards to their color composition and the subjects, but then there are always things in them that make them a painting and not a photograph.

I've heard a lot of people say that Ilayaraja is a perfectionist. I truly believed them and may be it's because of this that I too held on to being a perfectionist. Digression start: did you notice the world perfectionist beneath itself in the last two sentences - I have been noticing this happening quite a bit recently. Digression end. Actually, thinking about it, if Ilayaraja had been a perfectionist, he couldn't have been so prolific. He has composed music for over 850 movies. How could that be possible if he had not been compromising on certain things? Actually, what he is, is a perfectionist on a lower level, namely, he is a stickler for bringing out the recording as close to what he had imagined, but then he has not been a perfectionist in constantly changing the tune to make it better. He just let himself create and as a result, we have thousands of songs. The recording quality is not always great, but he kept moving on, making way for the new songs. In other words, if he had a really professional orchestra at his disposal that could read his mind reasonably well, he would have far less complaints. Now, that was a major realization.

It may be that perfectionists allow too much of their mind to interfere with the work of their heart. That's my line, dont' steal it :)

The whole analysis applies to playing an instrument, dancing and everything on this planet. Cellphone is a great work of engineering, but it has its imperfections. It is like chiseling out a statue from an imperfectly shaped stone - the stone just looks better later. In other words, you have liberated the statue from the stone. The statue is still made of the same stone, but then looks much nicer now.

Now, I begin to look around and analyze others' lives with the same perspective. Some people are naturally prolific - they don't make a conscious effort to be like that. They are inherently not perfectionists. That's why they go about giving shows all over the country, composing music for hundreds of movies, writing so many articles for the newspaper, enjoying all the latest electronic gadgets, etc. You get the idea. Not being a perfectionist has something to do with 'living the moment'. There is definitely a knot somewhere between the two.

Now, not being a perfectionist may suggest that you don't set yourself high bars. How are we to defend this argument? This requires more careful analysis. Being a perfectionist is bad, in the sense that you may be very critical of yourself and your work. If you consciously realize not to do this, it is possible to still hold high ideals and a high bar for your work. It is like allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes and gradually build up your efficiency of creating great stuff consistently. To illustrate this with an example - let's again take Maniratnam. What would he do, considering that there is not much out there to satisfy his perfectionist attitude? If there is little-than-expected resource in cinematography, he could write a stronger script that goes well with it; if there is no great music source available, he could look at pushing songs to the background or playing them only for a short while; if the logistics take a long time, he could develop means of becoming more efficient. Nothing here is intended personal or to offend anyone, so read this for what it is worth. This paragraph may need some more elaboration. I seriously wonder what Mani would do if he doesn't have a good music source or a good cameraman. As he has demonstrated many times, he will just get the best out of whatever he has. He somehow has that skill. He must be a great manager that identifies talent very well. There has to be lot to learn from him.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Nov 19th: The phone wife told me to call this guy Chandru....we picked up and it was Chandru! Only this morning I was describing this phenomenon to my other friend at UCLA. Amazing, isn't?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Parents knowing stuff

There is some discussion about whether your parents know enough to advise you on critical things even when they may not possess the knowledge to do so. Somebody has written a really long blog on this topic and in general the person has attacked all the people that listen to their parents before making critical decisions in their lives. I don't think it is a bad idea to ask the parents what they think before you make a critical move in your career or personal life, however little they know about both. My argument is that parents have seen you grow and would have identified where all you excelled at as a kid and may know what your heart truly wants, though we all spend so much time trying to kill our heart and its passions for want of more money or fame or security.

That's where, I think parents may be able offer a unique insight. They may be able to tell you that you are an artist at heart when you are confusing yourself on whether you should choose Management Consulting or Investment Banking. It may come as an epiphany, if carefully considered and objectively evaluated. Of course not all parents are sane. So my argument assumes that parents are sane and would have always wanted a better life to you than what they've had. You know every parent would want this - their kids should go to a better school and lead better lives. Has this really happened though? I mean when we have the time in the world to write such blogs and think so much about our careers and what not, aren't we forgetting several things: our parents have given us immunization against diseases like chicken pox, polio and what not, which is what makes us the healthy individuals that we are. Health is wealth, first things first. We can't do much without being healthy. All the dreams of starting a company or growing up to be manager blah blah won't happen if you are bedridden all the time or if you are crippled. Of course, you can do anything with determination, but let's not get into that.

I claim that independence is not so much in being able to make decisions but more in holding yourself accountable for the decisions you've made. In other words, a person who can decide for himself is not so much of a deal compared to a person who stands by his decision and is willing to face any consequence that may arise 'cause of his decision. At the very least, he should be willing to learn from the experience if it turned out to be a bad decision. So, all people that can decide for themselves - you aren't doing that big of a job. Sorry.

Parents somewhat reflect what we will be when we get to their age. After all, they have gone through so many things. They may not have been as educated as we are, but they had the insight to give us decent education and show us the door. Showing the door! How many people can actually do that? Without showing the door, how can one walk through it? So, they have also worked and they have had aspirations, some succeeded and some failed. They also would have bought houses, lived with their in laws, had kids and what not. They have done a tremendous job. So, shouldn't there be something in what they have to say. I mean we could take them and objectively evaluate their opinions and then chooose to reject them or to incorporate them into our decisions. In the end, a man or a woman decides for himself, even though they may claim that they do certain things for their parents or family. People all make decisions solely for themselves.

Listen to this: we hear stories about how a man tortured his wife for 8 years before she suddenly decided to leave him.....I would actually blame the man just for the first month - the remaining 7 years and 11 months - the wife is to be blamed - for taking so much crap from him. She could have done something about it. I am sure she had choices - she could have run away from him long back, or if she thought jail would have been a better place, she could have killed him. If she didn't have the courage, it somehow becomes her fault. You get cheated once, the cheater is the get cheated more than once, then you're the fool. I know it is easy to say these things, but that is what can explain the problems in your life. You make a decision and make yourself accountable for the consequences. The decisions may be bad, but then, you'll have to be open about accepting it after objective evaluation and giving it a fair shot. Nothing much will result in being shortsighted and jumping into conclusions because your life didn't pan the way you wanted it to. Analysis and accountability are the key.

Ultimately, Buddhism will tell you that desire is the root cause for all suffering. There is no contest there. Fully agree. Some others may tell you that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and humans have been here for a very very short time compared to the life of earth itself - so does anybody really care if you score a goal in Sundays' game?

Maui Pictures

It's time that I post some of them. I haven't done anything with those pictures yet. I haven't shared them with anybody. Thanks for being patient.

I uploaded them first and then on second thoughts deleted them 'cause I think they are somewhat decent for me to try selling at some point. I don't want any stealing! I don't have control over it at this point. Sorry!


I don't know what's with this company. They seem to have never ending ideas and more importantly lots of energy right now. Looks like they were very thoughtful and determined on executing a neat plan. I hope they keep up the momentum. So the people who joined Google few years ago must be really lucky. They have good chances of going up in the career ladder as well as making tons of money. The stock just hit $400! Isn't that amazing? In a world where every other stock is trading around $30-$40, there is Google which trades at $400 and above! Quite an amazing accomplishment. Now there'll be people who analyze Google and tell others how to run a company and be successful. Who cares now? I'm sure it just worked out very well for Google and they didn't plan on releasing Google Base or Google Talk when they started it. Rather they seem to have been open about it. They made the search really popular, got the people hooked onto it and now introducing various other products people might find interesting. Those who can vouch for the searching power of Google, will of course trust all the other ones, though Yahoo may hold a big dominance in the email and chat space. Regardless Google's market cap is now some $119 billion or so, more than twice that of Yahoo!

So, basically anything can sweep the world if properly marketed? Am I right? It has to be something that people subconsciously look for, though. Simple thing like searching the billions of websites!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Making money thru blogging

Seems like I am quite late on this blogging thing! It seems to be EXTREMELY popular! It is the new form of publishing, journalism, blah blah and yada yada. Anyways, there are some sites that measure the worth of your blog. Since I haven't made my blog public, mine is worth very little. The more sites that link to your blog, the more popular your blog becomes and the more worthy it is. I think that is quite a ways away. Firstly, it seems to be that I should be doing something related to management or the like (entrepreneurship, etc) to be a really popular blogger! Apparently people are already feeling very guilty reading blogs during their day time and this is taking significant toll on the amount of productivity lost. I didn't know all this. I thought blogging was slowly catching up and as always, I was very late! But may be as always, I'll also become an expert. and may be as always, it almost doesn't matter if you know this or not.

I think in general blogging is more like a cathartic experience. Instead of wasting your random thoughts, you might as well pen them down. Who knows, may be you can get something from these random thoughts one day. You could 'connect the dots' :) But then typing on the keyboard seems monotonous. I prefer writing with a pen, but then I am not as fast. Your mind is always faster than both typing and writing down. But what this does to your mind is that it holds it in place, while you are typing or writing. For instance, I can't be typing here without thinking about the blog! I have to be concentrating. The moment, I think about something else, I lose concentration and I won't write anymore. So, the point is to actually keep writing or typing without stopping. This will make sure that you face very little resistance from your Censor while typing or writing. I have consistently made a mistake in spelling 'typing' in this blog and I had to go back and correct it. I always type 'typic' for some random reason.



Speaking of longetivity, a tortoise has just completed 175 years and is currently residing in an Australian Zoo. Apparently, Charles Darwin picked her up from Galapagos islands. The longest a human has lived so far, that has been documented is 122 years and some 164 days. That's quite a long time. I am not sure I'll enjoy being around for that long. The old inevitably make way for the new. That's how the world works, whether we like it or not. Even Steve Jobs says that death is the ultimate reality. We all are united there, whichever path we may choose to take.

So what would it be like to live for 175 years? Seinfeld once talked about living just for 35 years, when the average life expectance was around that number - you'd get your license when you were 8, get married when you were 11 and so on. Let's examine this situation - you have all the time in the world to do anything!

You can afford to fail a class a few times "don't worry, I got plenty of years to pass" :)

You could slowly get your drivers license - no need to get it at could wait till you are 35 and decide not to clog the road until then.

One could get back to school at 45 or 60 and attend kindergarden or 2nd worries. Plenty of time to graduate and find a job.

May be you can think about doing an MBA and switch careers at the age of 80. Oh yeah, the average age to do an MBA would then become 75 and the spread will be like from 25 to 105! So, the 25 year old can not only learn business from the 105 year old, but also everything about life starting from birth to death :)

The 401k early withdrawal penalty would kick in if you withdraw anytime before 100. After all you got 75 more years to use that money up, so shouldn't you be saving?

Early retirement would mean retiring at 120. Until then, you got your chance to become a millionaire or a billionaire.

Women could still have children after 60. After 80 would be considered a little too late and may have some medical complications.

You got all your 50s and 60s to find a bride or a groom and that'd be normal. Of course there will be some people who do it very late and may end up looking for a mate when they are approaching 100.

The person selling tickets at cinema theatres would still be 15, the guy who tears up the stubs will be 135.

People would still clearly remember all of American History. Some others would think that there have been too many wars when they were around. In fact, people might be able to completely quantify green house effect over a couple of centuries!

"This house is 150 years old - it was bought by my father who is still around".

But the technology growth might be too much to digest for some individuals. They might have been around when Graham bell invented the telephone....they probably couldn't take the cell phones with video service.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Craving, Suffering and Choice

This is the topic of a speech at Stanford. Lot of Medical scholars and Buddhist monks hold a discussion. A humourous line from this discussion:

If you are going to be run over by an elephant, then it is good to have a sense of fear, but the fear that comes from constant feeling of insecurity means that the mind is not functioning in an optimal way :)

There is an easy way and hard way to end suffering. But suffering is a part of human condition - there is an old French saying that "He who is laughing hasn't heard the bad news yet" :)

Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage

I don't think there is a big difference enough to argue for one over the other. Firstly, if some love marriages work, it is solely because of those two people involved in it and not because of the fact that it is a love marriage. The same thing holds good for arranged as well. In fact, sometimes, when you think about it, arranged marriage can be a little bit more objective in its evaluation and choosing of the partner than that in love marriages ,where the chances of getting blinded by love are quite significant. Men and women are fundamentally different regardless of the kind of marriage they go through. Decent understanding of the opposite sex is necessary to ensure a successful life. This can come about both in love and in arranged marriages. Some people that have gone through love marriages will strongly vote for the same and they'll claim as though that's the only way to get married. They probably don't realize that "it doesn't matter". What matters is whether you are able to understand each other and sustain a nice relationship.

In love marriages, both parties put up their best behavior until they get married. I'm not saying that they become bad after marriage, but they become 'themselves' after marriage when the day to day reality strikes them. During the phase of love, the woman tries to be very much like a man, which impresses the man of course and the man constantly does cheesy things and tries to be like a woman friend to the woman, which of course impresses the woman big time. Imagine this: is this a guy's trait: buying flowers to appease his girlfriend? I'm sure this thing lasts only till they get married. Or also imagine this: Is this a girl's trait: making sense while she is feeling highly emotional. Both of these violate the fundamental nature of each sex. They won't be able to sustain this 'mode' for a long time. Most of these last only until they live separately. "Moving in" does something to the relationship. You know some people say - do whatever you want, but things will be very different if we live within four walls. I would agree with them one hundred percent.

Our Indian ancestors probably realized all these things and they decided that some basic things are only necessary to 'enable' the success of a marriage. So they decided to look only for the very fundamental things that form the foundation for the marriage, namely, the background of each person, their educational qualifications, their culture, tradition and their involvement in arts and a few other things. The rest is completely left for 'unfolding by itself'. For instance, it will definitely help a couple if they speak the same language. This doesn't guarantee effective communication, but the chances of understanding each other are higher if both of them in the pair are from the same culture and speak the same language. What guarantees effective communication is the art of 'listening'. Two people can make their marriage very successful even if they are from different cultures and speak different languages if both of them learn how to listen to the other one.

What I think is that the chances of one of them getting hurt is much higher in the case of a love marriage than in that of an arranged marriage. Because only the 'best' of behavior is displayed by the individual parties before they get married, it comes as a shock when they reveal their true selves. In the case of an arranged marriage, things are a little toned down - not too much liberty is given before marriage to fool around with each other and consequently, a great sense of attachment may not build up before the individuals have their first fight. They both rather grow together in their likes and dislikes and have a better chance of perceiving each other's shortcomings right from the beginning.

Much of the world doesn't believe in arranged marriages. Let us just talk about Indians, in fact, just select Indians. I find that people sometimes blindly say that they'd go just for a love marriage or just an arranged marriage without giving due consideration to the other one. What I feel is that they are shutting themselves off from one other wonderful door by being closed about the other form of marriage. Some people think that it is better to fall in love and then get married - I am pretty sure that they won't know what's in store after they get married. Also, most parents from select communities insist on their kids getting married after they are formally introduced to their future spouses. This kind of attitude severly limits their kids' opportunities of leading a very successful married life 'cause the parents almost always look for partners only within the same community and it may well be the case that the community has several social restrictions which prevent an individual from being very broad minded or accepting, in which case unrest in the marriage is right around the corner.

Marriage between two people, they say, is also a marriage between two families. Whether this relationship works better in arranged marriage or in love marriage is highly subjective and upto debate. I'll think about it and write something later.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Back to Monday.

This weekend was normal, regular, unexciting or however you want to call it. Also, whether it was exciting or not is entirely subjective. All I am trying to say is that it lacked the busy atmosphere I was in the previous weekend with two shows and all that. Friday night started out lazy - we were actually wondering what to do, after quite some time. After debating about watching Zathura, which I myself was not that enthusiastic about, we had some Maggi and went over to our friends' place for watching the India Vs Sri Lanka Cricket Match. I think I already wrote about that. On saturday, I was trying to read a book, when I happened to see Swades running on some Asian Channel. That was it, I was hooked to that and couldn't read, even though I tried. So, I ended up watching that movie in the afternoon. I was supposed to pick up my bike, but it wasn't ready.

We then decided to go to Balboa park to watch the Imax movie called "Mystic India". We went there in time and got the tickets. We couldn't get the greatest of seats, but it was decent enough. Regarding the IMAX movie itself, they might have as well called it "Mystic North India" or something to that extent. Such things don't sell that well with me - they say India India and all that, but most often than not, it refers to only North India and its culture. What people typically overlook or what people from other countries have come to know and believe of India, almost always pertains only to North India. The southern four states are somehow excluded from wide discussion.

I guess, we could take some blame for that since, if somebody from the south came forward to make such movies, people outside would be well informed about what's happening in the South as well.

For instance, they were discussing about all the festivals in north india and their costumes, their way of marriage blah blah. There was no talk about festivals like Pongal and what not, which represents a major festival for all the farmers in the south. They could have at least hinted at it instead of concentrating too much on Holi and the 'chariot pulling' festival and all that. No offense here, but I just wanted a rounded and wholesome view of India, especially when it is being presented to the outside audience. There were so many Americans and others at the theatre - they all seemed like they were quite curious as to what India is all about. Shouldn't we give them the true picture? What's all the B.S about unity in diversity - they ultimately talk only about the North. Hello, there is something called the southern peninsula! There could have been some mention of Mahabalipuram, Mysore Palace, Sabari Mala, Tirupati and all that.

I once attended Rahman's concert and the compere was stupid enough to mention that music has no language barrier, particularly when the show was filled with only Hindi songs of Rahman (lot of them even dubbed from original Tamil songs), barring just a few. I guess Rahman was under some kind of pressure may be because the sponsors of the show were all Northies and they wanted only chayya chayya stuff.

Enough of that. I might already be offending people here. So, an exclusive disclaimer from me: PLEASE DON'T TAKE OFFENSE. I take pride in being an Indian as well as a Tamilian. Just like anybody else, I am attached to the place where I grew up and I am attached to the language that was spoken at home in all my childhood and the stay with my parents. It'll be like that for anybody, wherever they are from. I fully acknowledge that. For the same reason we all fought with the British to gain independence, I feel the need to go through another struggle for freedom - the freedom to actually express and tell the outside world what a wonderful culture we have in the South. I'll keep an active eye on this one and will grab the slightest opportunity to contribute.

So, we went around Balboa park after that. We returned home with a DVD - No Entry (hindi movie). I read for sometime and then crashed. The next morning, I was expecting my friends - one of them had returned from Bay area just for the weekend. She didn't turn up finally and the other one came along anyway. I had some interesting discussion with him about Ilayaraja and gave him some songs to listen to. After that, we watched No Entry. It was a decent comedy. We then proceeded to watch "Majaa", in the theatre, a tamil movie starring Vikram. The movie was so so only. I won't recommend it. There were only fight scenes and nothing else.

Next thing we did was to return the DVD back, come home, have dinner and sat down to watch Ilayaraja's concert in Chennai, that was stored in Jaya TV archives. They had this scheme where you could pay just $2 and then watch the channel for 8 hours straight. We choose that. It was an amazing concert. Amazing would be an understatement. You need a new superlative word to describe the concert. It was Ilayaraja left loose. He openly made friendly attacks on others, including his own children :) I guess the drummer was Sivamani, going by what I have seen of his drum arrangements before. Oh boy, does he know how to play drums! He is quite impressive, again, needless to say. The whole orchestra did a great job. Hariharan screwed up in a couple of places. Shreya Goshal also screwed up a little bit, by singing, "...kaanada ondrai thoduthe", instead of "...kanada ondrai theduthe". But she could correct the problem by the end of the song and there was some criticism and appreciation by Ilayaraja. He unnecessarily pulled in Saroja Devi's name into this :) Anyways, everyone seems to have had a great time that night. It was a very long concert. We started watching at 8:45 PM or so and of course my wife dozed off after a few songs. I continued watching and finally crashed only at 1:30 AM. I think all the interviews in the middle made it a little longer. SPB, Chitra, Shreya, kartik - they were all awesome. Anyways, I am somewhat saturated to write more about the concert at this point. But you get the idea :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Raed tihs... yuor mnid rokcs!

Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Tahnks, Rob Reid for frowradnig tihs one... I'm ipmesrsed. Good lcuk wrtiing a comupter prorgam to do taht!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Activities this weekend

Yesterday, after a long time, I got to play ping-pong/table tennis. I hadn't lost that much touch, considering that I have played it after almost two years. So had my opponent. We both entertained each other quite a bit. So, I was wondering what to do last night. I originally thought of watching Zathura, which had just released, but didn't feel quite upto it after some time. My wife made some Maggi (instant noodles of India :-)). We had that and visited our friend, who suggested that we watch the India-Sri Lanka match on his computer. He had somehow subscribed to that site which was offering live feeds. It was ok. It was kind of slow. In the middle, we were distracted to have some snacks and watched about 45 mins of this movie called "ullam Kekkume". Since the story wasn't going anywhere, I decided not to watch it any further.
We continued to watch the cricket match for sometime until I felt very sleepy. We returned home after 12:45 am and crashed. Kind of woke up late to day - very late by my standards - 8 am! Anyways, after having that good sleep, I was wondering what I'll do this weekend. I had given my motorcycle for service. I'll pick it up today. I'm supposed to meet my friend who has come from Bay Area, just for this weekend. I'm supposed to give some songs to my other friend 'cause he wanted to listen to Ilayaraja. We will watch Majaa tomorrow. I will read some more books. My rate of progress with the books have been very slow since I am trying to assimilate as much as possible on every page. I'd like to follow whatever that is written in the book.
Looks like the reviews of Majaa aren't that great. Regardless we could always watch it for Asin. That reminds me - my friend also had a video of Asin's interview on some tamil channel. We watched the whole interview yesterday. I was very impressed - Asin was speaking tamil without much difficulty. Looks like she does her own dubbing, which is very impressive! She is originally from Kerala and her mother tongue is Malayalam. So, she didn't have any difficulty in picking up tamil, seems like. She has already acted in quite a few movies. Two of her movies were released for Deepavali - Sivakasi and Majaa. Good progress, but whether she can be the next Simran remains to be seen. You know first it was Amala, in the 80s, then Kushboo in the early 90s and Simran in the late 90s - early this decade. They all then vanished after taking up family responsibilities. They always do that. Anyways, people also stop accepting them beyond a point. I'd say that Simran left on a high note. I am not sure if she'll come back to acting.
Anyways, I'll keep you guys posted on what actually happens this weekend. Hopefully something exciting.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Songs of Ilayaraja I'm thinking of recommending my friend...

  1. Raja Raja Cholan, Kannan Vandhu Paadugindran
  2. Ninnukori, Songs from Agni Natchathiram
  3. En Vaanile
  4. Mood Kapi
  5. How to Name it and Nothing But Wind
  6. Songs from Guru
  7. Songs from Siraichalai
  8. Rakkama Kaya Thattu, Thalabadhi
  9. Mouna Raagam BGM, songs from Mouna Raagam
  10. Songs from Hey Ram, Punnagai Mannan
  11. Songs from Anjali, Nayagan
  12. Valayosai Gala Gala
  13. Mumbai Xpress
  14. Eeramana Rojave (Va va anbe)
  15. Endhan Nenjil from Kalaignan
  16. Meera, Oh Butterfly
  17. Poongatru Pudhiranadhu from Moondram Pirai
  18. Kodiyile Malliyappoo from Kadalora kavithaigal
  19. Ilangathu Veesudhe from Pithamagan
  20. Nethu oruthara Orutharu
  21. Poo Malaye thol serava
  22. Paruvame Pudhiya Paadal
  23. Songs from Michael Madana Kama Rajan

Deja Vu

Have you ever had Deja Vu? The distinct feeling of "I've been here before". This has happened to me multiple times - it's very intriguing. I can never predict the next moment when this happens, but everything that I sense, I'd have gone through that exactly sometime before in my subconscious mind. It lasts for a few seconds only. It is quite an experience. I would really like to know why that happens. That may suggest the existence of some supernatural power, I think. Otherwise why should you really be able to relate to that situation 100%, without having been there before physically? Something like this happened to me during our Tamil Drama that took place on Saturday, while we were setting up my keyboard behind the stage. I should make an effort to document this thing the next time it happens. Will it vanish completely, if I document it? May be!

Edited on 11/14/05: One more deja vu happened this morning, when I was having breakfast and talking to my wife. I told her too :)


This is something that I have suddenly developed an interest for. It will be a lot of fun to read somebody else's mind or to be able to laugh at somebody else's actions, particularly when they are wrong. What I mean is, the capability to immediately pin point that something will end up wrong if it is begun like this; this person says these things, therefore he could be having such problems, etc. Experienced Psychologists and Psychiatrists (I don't know the difference) must be really special people. I guess if you go to them and start describing your problem, they'll immediately ask you to fast forward 'cause they would have heard it hundreds of times :) And, they'd mostly have the solution for your problems. I think such principles apply to management and entrepreneurship as well. Imagine a guy starting a company knowing exactly what to do and what attitude to have and sense the future of his employess based on their current behavior. I guess this is what people call "organizational behavior". He will be a good manager, if he is able to immediately sense or read his employees' minds. (Disclaimer - you can replace He with She as you like). I would definitely like to read some books on Psychology. I once had a friend who studied Psychology and went ahead and started doing her Ph.D. I have absolutely no idea what she is upto these days.

What do you think about these combinations?:

a) A psychiatrist man and a regular wife
b) A psychiatrist woman and a regular husband
c) A psychiatrist husband and a psychiatrist wife
d) A regular husband and a regular wife

I claim that the least interesting lives will be led by the couples that belong to the category (c) 'cause as Seinfeld says, it is like two magicians trying to entertain each other. One pulls out a rabbit from his/her pocket and the other pulls out a dove! You could have some fun if you are able to read your partner's mind and amuse him/her with your psychiatric skills, but what's the big deal if they're reading your mind when you are reading theirs :) No fun here.....I already know all your tricks baby :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dull Day

Today has been rather dull. This has to happen once in a while. Otherise life is not considered normal, I guess. I can't breathe, can't concentrate, can't sit, can't stand, can't do nothing. Stress accumulates pretty fast. I know it is going to have a negative impact on my health - it already has, but it is only getting worse. No cure for stress?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Weekends of San Diego

It was a great weekend! Two shows! and grand success!


The weekend was busy starting Friday evening, when I headed out for the Tamil Play rehearsal to a school in 4S Ranch. Everyone came there and there was a full rehearsal with the audio and video cues and lighting cues and all that. It went on well. It felt like a big family, really. We had pizza for the dinner. We finished past 10pm and loaded the keyboard in Ramesh's car. That was the most painful part - the loading and unloading of the keyboard. It is really heavy and everyone was really surprised at how heavy it was. Anyways, I went back home, tired. My wife had been waiting for me. The next day was the day - our final show at Escondido California Arts Center.


We arrived at the center at 11:30am and began setting up the various things. I got a bummer that I wasn't going to be visible to the audience. So, I was a true back stage guy. I set up my keyboard and there was another bummer - there were going to be no lights for me to play. I of course revolted and got a couple of table lamps for me to play. Then they closed a curtain around me such that I wouldn't be able to see the play happening - I didn't even think twice, I just removed it. I watched the whole play from the side, and hence couldn't see the vidoes and all that. It started off very well. It went at great speed for the first four scenes. I was supposed to play a filler between scene 4 and scene 5 and I started doing it, but there was no sound from the speakers! I didn't realise that that's how it has been for the past scene as well. I played a lot of stuff but the audience didn't hear it. So then the technicians came and try to repair the glitch adn it was taking way too much time, so they had to announce intermission. Right after 4 scenes, there was intermission in a 17-scene play!
The audience got restless as usual, but my problem was fixed fortunately. The guy blamed my keyboard but he was just blabbering. Then another problem occured - the projector failed. May be it got over heated or something, but it stopped functioning as well. Two things going wrong at the same time was just sheer bad luck. Anyways, they found a work around - I think they bought another projector within that short time. Things were fine before the intermission was over. We resumed and my keyboard was heard properly. The second half didn't contain much work for me, but I played some fillers between the scenes. It had a good reception. I received a lot of appreciation from various people. I don't know why though - I died preparing for the tamil light music show that happened in January, but didn't get any response at all for that. That's how life is I suppose - people don't really care when you want them to and vice versa.
So after the show, we packed our stuff, dumped it in the van and headed to the director's house. We had dinner waiting for us there. Lot of people - about 60 of them, including the cheif guests and all. That dinner was a lot of fun - good food and lots of appreciation, toasts and what not. It all felt like a big family. I enjoyed it. It was past 10pm when we headed back home. The director later came and dropped off the keyboard after everyone left their place. Nice. I was tired though, both from the day and from lifting the keyboard.


The next day - we had this NETip thing. One of the singers came in the morning, a little past 10am to come and grab my keyboard. He fit that in his car and drove off to JCC, where the show was being held. I followed him and we reached there approximately at the same time. We did a rehearsal of the song and it was already 11:45 am before I could leave for my friend's baby shower party. We also managed to get a gift card from GAP before we went there, so it was very hectic. My friend had planned a surprise birthday party for his wife. So, they were out when all the guests gathered at his place. He had planned it very nicely. When she entered the place, she was shocked and surprised to see so many people inside, with the house neatly decorated and all that. There was lot of food, sweets and what not. She was totally taken by surprise and never thought her husband could have managed a party of that magnitude! Unfortunately, we had to leave at 1:45pm, so we just got to talk to everyone, eat food and dessert. We don't know what happened afterwards. There was supposed to be some kind of game and all that, but we didn't get to do it.
So, we got back to JCC a little past 2pm and did a small rehearsal in the green room. It came out well. I had kind of made up my mind not to worry about the quality any further. The singers were also good, they had improved quite a bit since we started rehearsing. I set up my keyboard behind the stage and ours was the very first program. I played without mistakes and the anthem came out very well. Then I moved backstage and watched the other events until the intermission. There was a guy who played piano and sang simultaneously - he is of Indian origin, but was born and brought up here. He did such an amazing job of playing the piano - I was very jealous. But I've been through this feeling before when I met other great pianists, so it was not all that entirely new and by the end of the show, I was over it. He is a composer and has released albums and all that. I should try to do it one day. You know, I may also be capable of doing it. That's what I am supposed to tell myself (Artist's way) Ha ha. I had a tough time getting the keyboard back in my car. It is an expensive piece of equipment and I can't be careless about it. We got it and headed to California Pizza Kitchen along with some 40 other people. Had a great dinner with some good company and headed back home at 9pm. The same guy came home and helped me put my keyboard back on the stand. I didn't get to wear the veshti that I was thinking of wearing during the show 'cause I didn't have much visibility. Our song was less than a minute and I didn't want to go through that trouble. So I didn't care all that much. But I do want to wear the south Indian attire at some point. I would very much love to wear the veshti. We crashed at 10pm and here I am, at work again :)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Busy weekend ahead!

My weekends are getting busier and busier, to an extent that it needs great management. Yesterday night, I was out for three hours, in preparation for the music for the Drama and for discussing logistics. It seems very elaborate and I am not all that prepared for the show. I am just going to improvise on Saturday afternoon. I haven't done much practice for Sunday's show either. Somehow there is no time. I feel sorry for not being able to spend that much time with my wife. The situation should dramatically improve after this Sunday, but me being me, it is difficult to say upfront whether the improvement will actually happen. Anyways, my monster keyboard has to be shifted first, for the tamil drama. That'll happen sometime today. The keyboard weighs more than 70 pounds, may be even 100 pounds or so. It has to go with the stand and since it doesn't have inbuilt speakers, that needs to be brought as well. The sustain pedal has to go with it and so must my headphones and samples. It is a big task to move this beast. The funny thing is, after the tamil drama is over, I'd have to move it back to my place and move it again for the NETip show. It is going to be comical at best, this weekend. I wouldn't have rested and it would be time to get back to work again on Monday. That's the problem about having two shows back to back. But the flip side is the opportunity to meet people and make friends. So, you have to do so much. There was indeed a time in San Diego when I didn't know anybody. There are quite a few people now and hopefully, they should all continue to be there. I'll continue my writing later.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

First week of November

Things are getting heated up at work. It is also getting dark early these days. I've come in my motorcycle today which hasn't been serviced in a long time. It only has around 6K miles in it so far, so that's good. I haven't really used it in a year until my wife started going to classes. Anyways, last night I sneezed so hard that I was going to have another round of cold. I felt normal this morning though. I hope the normalcy continues. Today, we have to attend a dinner and I have to practice for the Tamil Drama as well. My friend's parents have come from India - they haven't been here at all. It'll be good to see them. There are more pista cakes waiting for me at home today. I know I'm very selfish when it comes to sweets - I don't really share them with anybody.
Anyways, there are only a few more days left for the shows. It is kind of easy to get through the tamil show which is 2 hours long, but I feel that I may make some mistakes during the NETip show, where I have to play only for the national anthem, which is under a minute! Regardless, I got to meet some new faces through the NETip event, which is great. They'll hopefully continue to be in touch and will make my friends circle in San Diego a little bigger.
I'm supposed to go for a walk everyday, but that has never happened. I haven't read the "Vein of Gold" book by Julia Cameron. I read some of "7 habits of highly effective people", but listened to the audio tape fully. It seems very interesting. Let me see where I go in life. I am very much looking forward to the future to see what it holds for me. It will remain a mystery for the most part - I have to deal with some ambiguity, but need some kind of direction. Talking to people and reading definitely help.
Vera enna vishayam? I'll probably go home in another few minutes. Continue work tomorrow. There are too many things to do tomorrow as well. See ya!

Couldn't help laughing at this one....

I like this piece

1:04 pm Gioacchino Rossini: Barber of Seville: Overture

Philharmonia Orchestra / Carlo Maria Giulini

EMI 68202

It is playing now on KUSC.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Deepavali Today

I should have been in Chennai right now. That's where the fun is. This place is rather dull. All I did was to wear a new shirt and come to work at 8:30 am. This evening we might go to temple. My wife has made some kind of pista cake, which she claims is good. I am sure it will be. Confusion reigns supreme. Anyways, I am missing the firecrackers, the atmosphere filled with cracker smell and the paper trash that fills the streets. I miss getting up early in the morning, around 4 am, taking an oil bath and starting to fire crackers. I miss those TV programs in the various channels. I miss eating sweets throughout the day. I miss the excitement of wearing the precious new clothes during Deepavali in Chennai. I miss so many things. I don't quite qualify to complain 'cause I have not taken any measures so far to go there during Deepavali. I guess it was not that high of a priority for me, even though I claim it to be. Somehow the atmosphere in Chennai also seems rather dull today. I didn't have any jubilant conversation with my parents or my brother. "What can I do, you please tell me Madam".