The LA/Vegas/Grand canyon- Anniversary post!

Warning Warning! Its a long long post…

This time last year – we were in Las Vegas!! So, I JUST had to write this post to mark the 1st anniversary of an amazing holiday we had. ‘We’? Yes we – 9 of us…

9 friends – 2 pairs, 1 girl,4 guys. What a group! I remember the day a new airlines was launched in Columbus and they were selling real cheap tickets – So everyone booked the tickets in a hurry for a May trip way back in March and then began the planning. We only had 6 days and everyone had a fav ‘must see’ place. So, over endless cups of tea, when it was snowing outside – we sat and planned. Beginning from LA-Hollywood blvd-walk of fame/Kodak theatre/Santa Monica beach from the minute we landed – we were on the run…

Universal Studios – Our first stop on the 2nd day. What excitement. the 2 hour ride turned us into kids.Very first ride being the ‘Mummy Returns’ (Check it out here-though there is a Utube video to just give an idea of how scary it really can be! - – all other rides werent that scary! Jurassic park ride was good too-especially the deep drop into the water in the end… 🙂 By the end of the day we were ready to drop off… Our legs just wouldnt hold us up and it was just the beginning of the trip! We had dinner at a nice Indian restaurant and just dropped into slumber the minute we hit the bed.

The next day was the drive to Vegas. We realised how hot it could get only then! While it was still chilly in Columbus – LA was hot but Vegas – HOT! (In all sense) Awed by the buildings in the afternoon sun – we were dropped jawed thru our journey into the various casinos… Met the rest of the group only that evening and went exploring until way past 1 am. Returned reluctantly since AP was insisting that we get a good nights rest before we get to Grand Canyon the next day…

So Grand Canyon it was – but we sure didnt start as early as planned 🙂 Reached the West rim at exactly noon and the group split with 5 of them wanting to take the helicopter ride. The 4 of us (couples) were satisfied with the Skywalk – It does get scary when you look down 3000ft below – knowing you are standing on a sheet of glass. Me being scared of heights – it took me 2 rounds with hubby to finally take a walk all by myself in the center of the skywalk – and exhilarating it was!! Took like a million pictures though it was sweltering hot and we didnt get anything to eat – just cooked corn for us veggies where as AP had some chicken with difficulty. The sad part was we had to leave the place by 6.30pm and there was still more than an hour for the sun to set- so we never did get to see that ‘awe inspiring’ Grand Canyon at all…Though we got back to Vegas by 11pm no one had the energy to go casino hopping at that time – and bedtime it was.

Next day was Hoover dam which is just an hour and half drive – so everyone was lazy enough to stay in bed until past 9 and then reached hoover only by 12 (again in that hot desert sun).Once more it was a lot of Photo opportunity and back in Vegas (the 2 couples) by 3 pm while the rest of them went ahead to see the sunset in Grand Canyon – yes! all the way again…

Rested for a coupla hours and headed to the Strip beginning with the Stratosphere. Have to admit the rides are only and only for the strong hearted. Even saw a coupla girls in tears on the X-Scream ride ! Though hubby and L – APs wife had taken the tickets for atleast 1 ride – me and AP being weak at heart – absolutely refused to let them go!! So it was only the observation deck for us and back… And then for ‘The Strip’ – managed to catch most of the shows – Bellagio,Mirage,Treasure Island/The Venetian… But the only regret is I couldnt get to watch any Cirque Du Soleil shows ( in the casinos. Sometime somewhere – It still remains a dream…

By the time we had walked thru the strip like 4 times and we were tired/sleepy/irritated and to top it off got to know that the rest of them who had gone to Grand Canyon had met with an accident – MAJOR!! but thankfully none were hurt.So they were all taken in by the police and then dropped to a nearby motel. Though they did assure us that there was nothing we could do going there – it did bring a little pall of gloom to our upbeat holiday. We only thanked the stars that no one was seriously injured.

The end of the Vegas trip it was time to get back to LA the next morning. We had to keep 4 alarms to wake up at 6am after getting into bed way past 2am the previous night!! Disney Land (DL) awaited us in LA!! and there was no way we wanted to miss a single ride!! So off we went and were in LA by 10am!! Thankfully both L and me went to sleep in the back seat of the car-oblivious of the speed. After getting the tickets postponed for the 5 of them who were supposed to return – we reached DL by 11.30 – too late by AP’s estimation – which was true 😦 We did miss a lot of rides but packed in as many as we could – each one better than the other…By 8.30 we had done enough rides that our voices had become hoarse but we still couldnt stop talking!! Reached the hotel only by 10.30pm by which time the 5 of them had caught up with us and waiting in the hotel. Had another session of discussion and got into bed later than midnight – again!

The Awesome trip had to come to end eventually! And on 31st we took the flight back to Columbus-back to hectic work schedules and deadlines. But the excitement and the activities of the trip kept us going like a ‘kick’ for another week – regaling the stories
to anyone/everyone who would care to listen!

And today-As I look at the zillions of photos of that trip – (5 cameras-can you imagine the number of photos? :-p ) I can recall every incident/every place we visited with clarity – and can live in this nostalgia, with a smile for another couple of days… THE most eventful/lively trip ever had…


Marriage – My take on what makes it tick

On my way back home yesterday there was this girl sitting next to me who was talking to a friend on the phone. From the single sided conversation I could hear i deciphered it was a guy and that the ‘girl hunting’ was on for him for marriage. And
this girl was giving him tips about what to ask and how to be on the phone with her.

Some of the tips went like this:

Hey! just be yourself na. You dont have to sound very funny – because you are a serious guy.
You dont have to tell her about your education qualification. All that would already been told. Just tell her you enjoy your work on Java/J2EE.
Dont bother about things like what her fav colour is – so what if its peach and urs is black. How does it matter? etc etc..

And I thought – what matters? An age old question, I know, for all those who get into arranged marriage. And everytime a topic like this comes up Im told that Im lucky I had a love marriage and didnt have to go thru the ‘girl seeing’ sessions.

That since I knew hubby for more than 7 years before we tied the knot it was easy for me… Well, yes. I knew him – he’d been my friend for 7 years before we got married. But I say this to everyone – no matter what kind of marriage it might be, its new and needs adjustments.(Hmm, wont digress here- will keep it for a different post)

So on that thought here’s what I felt really matters – what ever the marriage: (Maybe ask at the ‘first meeting?’)

1.Compatibility – yeah yeah i know – so you ask – whats new? When you know the person you are getting married to – you know the 2 of you ‘get along’ well. Isnt it the same as knowing both of you like the same things? Might not be the same fav color or same fav sweet(Oh! pleeaasse!how boring!). But more general things – like both like music (again might not be the same genre’), like travelling or maybe food.Something you can find out from the person you meet for the first time.. isnt it?

2. Envision the same kind of future – What if he/she wants to settle abroad but the other person wants to live in the same city as the parents to take care of them? What if one wants to buy a house and save and the other doesnt care about saving and wants to travel the world? (should I put this under compatibility?) If one looks forward to both working until retirement and the other wants to stop working in just a couple of years? Major life changing decisions…

3. Respect for the other person – Accept that the other person might be right, can correct you when you go wrong and accept it – even if the Ego doesnt permit (it doesnt – more often than not :-D) Respect the other person’s needs/opinions/decisions even when you might not agree to it? The person’s ideas ‘click’ and sound true – The very first time?

4. Willingness to Compromise – Am not just saying compromise – everyone does in marriage. But are you ready to compromise for THAT person? I wouldnt compromise on a LOT of things for others, the amount I do for hubby – and do it willingly. And there
are times that at the very first instant of meeting a person I put up my barriers and think – no way! Am not even listening to this person – under those circumstances who would think of adjustments and compromises?? Attribute it to – First impressions?

5.Finally – Good Looks? – Am putting this last – for me, looks being transient, as long as one does not feel embarrassed to walk beside your partner or introduce to friends – and like the person for who he/she is – is sufficient. If you do end up getting
hitched to a Miss World or a George Clooney clone – then wow!! I would just say its pure luck!! :-p

Hmmm, cant think of anything more at present. Any more inputs from those who’ve gone through/going through ‘girl-see-boy’ routine?

Listening to ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ right now.
‘… tujhe zameen pe bulaya gaya hai mere liye…’
How apt…

The Week and Kareena Kapoor?!

Meanwhile, I happened to glance at the latest The Week magazine and guess what?!! The cover story is all about Kareena Kapoor – her movies and men in her life!! I was aghast!

What with the Jaipur Blast and the China earthquake arent there enough serious issues to print than Kareena Kapoor’s life?!!

Well – Its completely acceptable if she is on the cover of any filmy magazine – Filmfare/stardust etc etc; but the cover page and cover story on Kareena Kapoor in The Week? Thats acceptable too if there wasnt much else happening around the world… and I do enjoy reading all these stuff about filmstars and their life but I guess there’s some kind of standard thats expected out of magazines like ‘The Week’…

What say?

Humanity – Lost?

There is nothing on earth divine except humanity.
The other day I was crossing the road and saw a blind man standing at the bus stop wanting to get into a particular bus. There were 3 buses, right there going to the same destination but the people were in such a pressing hurry getting into these buses that no one botehred to tell that man that the bus did go there. Forget helping him – everoen just rushed past him, nudging him so much so that he was struggling to keep his balance and not knowing where he was being pushed! Once I crossed the road I told that man that there was a bus that was going where he wanted to and was about to take him to the bus when suddenly someone getting into the bus realised that he could be of some help – came to us and took the blind man by the arm and told him that he will help him get to his destination. The rest of the people who had rushed to get into the bus not only bothered to look in our direction but even snickered at the good samaritan who offered to help! But why?

I dont understand. The poor man could not see-all he needed was some assistance in getting into the bus. He wasnt expecting anything more from his fellow beings. And he DEFINITELY wasnt begging!! How long does it take to tell that person that the bus goes to his destination or not? What does it take to take that man by the arms and help him into the bus before you? And if you dont want to do it why snicker at someone who did?!! Are you in such a GREAT hurry that you can stop for a minute to
help a person in need? It really pissed me off – why are people so embarassed to even look at that blind man? Does it make him an untouchable? He’s no criminal and its not his fault that he’s blind. What would all those people do if someone they love/care for someone in their own family was blind/deaf/ handicapped?

And why the general apathy towards anyone who is imperfect? Everytime I see someone on a wheelchair/with a walking stick or a hearing aid I thank God that he’s given me everything in its proper order and its right place. I am so fortunate to have everything thats taken for granted that so many people struggle without. The least bit I/anyone who calls themselves ‘normal’ human beings can do is help someone when they need it most. It doesnt take money to help a blind man/old man cross the road,
give way to a handicapped, cant we put soemone else before us even for just a moment? Are we all *so* selfish? Whats the biggest hurry in life? – all it takes is a little humanity. Does it need to be taught? Isnt it something what every human is supposed to have?

(Well – to add to it – In US They have buses where the platform can be lowered to the level of the footpath so anyone on a wheelchair/an old person can get into the bus without a struggle. They also have footpaths/entrances to offices which aer wheelchair friendly – I dont expect that to happen here over night- its only the attitude of the people that really puts me off)

“If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is
as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of
remorse as his own . . . how much kinder, how much gentler he would

A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.

My US Memories for the day

After a long time again today I remembered a lot of things about our stay in US…

– We were discussing a program on NatGeo about Plane Crashes and I remembered the flight to SFO when we were a few minutes from landing, we could see the bay bridge in a distance down below and suddenly it felt as if we were falling down! The plane lost 1000s of mtrs of altitude suddenly which scared everyone on board – that was the first time I really got a feel of how it could be if the plan were to fall down!

– Another discussion about Google Maps – I was asked if we used Google Maps in US to get the directions and distances. I remembered all the print outs we took on all our trips – especially the LA/Vegas/Grand Canyon (Oh yeah! the anniversary for it is in a few days-expect another blog on that 🙂 ) and also borrowed GPS from friends so we dont get lost… But the most memorable one is the time the GPS could not catch the signal and we lost our way in the alleys of Philadelphia which is known for its street fights.

– I had wanted to write a post on hubby’s arrival in Columbus but looks like I’ll just put it in here… We were taking about Bhendi ki sabji which made me recall that day he landed in Columbus. Like a very dutiful wife I wanted to prepare his fav dishes of Carrot Halwa and Bhendi fry. It being a Monday – I prepared the Carrot Halwa on sunday night slogging until 12.30 with no khoya and with low fat milk!! It took all of 4 hours to complete it (though well worth the effort as I did get good
feedback on it from everyone :-)) Well, back to bhendi – called mom and asked her the method of preparing it. Cut everything put it in the pan with little oil – basically did everything she had said and in that order.I waited and waited for the bhendi to get rid of its stickiness for more than 20mins – and when I opened the pan I saw that it had all burnt black and shrivelled. I was so disappointed – I didnt know what to do. Since I was confident that its a simple thing, I hadnt written down everything mom had told me… I called her immediately-it was 5-5.30 in the morning in Blore, and screamed at her! She calmly asked me the procedure I had followed and told me that I had forgotten to add tamarind water into the pan! Oh Shoot! And that had messed up the entire thing… Finally I only served him some curry with rice and the halwa – without the Bhendi Sabji… And the darling that he is – he didnt mind it a bit and was glad that I had atleast made an attempt at preparing something he liked! And even to this day he supports me and says that I cook well to anyone
who cares to ask!! *Grinn*

Akshya Tritiya – A day to pray for husbands?

Today is akshaya Tritiya – a day when whatever you buy will multiply. So far I had heard people buying gold on this day and worshipping Goddess Lakshmi for money and prosperity. But the latest that I’ev had to face – is to pray for the prosperity of your husband. Something new thats been introduced by the newspapers! So, there I was all set to pray to Goddess Lakshmi today morning on MILs insistance that she suddenly said – Itseems, today you have to pray for the well being and prosperity of
your husband. I was so shocked! There already are so many so called festivals to pray for the long life/prosperity/health blah blah for your husband and now they are introducing one more!! How typically male chauvanistic is that?!! :-O And pray why?

Is it that I will pray for my husband’s health/wealth and prosperity only on a couple of days in a year? I want all the men in my life – Dad,Brother,Hubby,FIL to be healthy/happy and successful/prosperous all through the year – and yes – in that order-(No health – nothing else matters anyway). Also if I dont pray on these days does it mean that what they do have now wont last? And well – I will pray for all these for my hubby say, who would pray for me? Would he be happy if I wasnt healthy/happy? Im pretty sure that none of them would be happy if I wasnt happy or healthy… But who insists that they have to pray for me? or for the women in their lives? Mom,sister,wife? Doesnt the same set of rules apply to them too?

Well, I do pray and I do believe in God and I know that with all my heart I want all these men in my life happy. Im also glad that I dont need to prove it to any of these men about it, just by praying on some media hyped day. Just like the Karva Chauth in the north now Akshaya Thritiya is taking on monsterous proportions of popularity and forced customs-all made out by the media and the business minded.Im sad that there is no authenticity to the whole thing and the actual meaning of praying has diminished.

(Wrote this on Akshya Tritiya but couldnt post it.)

To Wear or not to wear…

A lot has been spoken/written on the way women dress and how they blame the lady if she’s been raped or leered at that she invited the trouble just because she chose to wear whatever she wanted to. And I’ve always maintained that its ridiculous male chauvanism – again! that the men behave like animals and blame the women as the cause for it!!

But, on sunday night on our way back home at around 9.30pm we saw a couple on a bike – the lady was wearing thin sphagetti straped top which exposed most of her back and she seemed to be very comfortable though it was obvious she knew men all around her at the traffic signal were staring. For a moment I really admired the girl’s confidence to wear something like that and carry it off and still seemed nonplussed that people were staring. It seemed that the couple too stay somewhere closer to where we live and we kept seeing them at every signal after that. At one
such signal the guys on the bike were staring so horribly that finally the girl got conscious and probably told the guy and he moved the bike a little farther away from prying eyes.

That was when I thought that it might really be dangerous for that girl to be wearing something like that – on a bike and late in the night, travelling to a lonely area. Despite having a male companion I felt that it was truely not safe – coz you never know what lurks behind a hidden alley – in the dark! (Looks like I’m reading too many novels!). The girl definitely has all rights to be wearing what she wants – but she could’ve given a little forethought and carried a coat or a shawl with her so she could use that to stay safe atleast during the journey-until
they reach the destination.Or even if they were in a car away from prying eyes it would’ve been a lot more safer…

Its not a question of having the rights to wear what we want/like – I would still blame the men for staring/leering/whistling/flashing and what not!! but a little thought/care from our end goes a long way in protecting ourselves and preventing any untoward incidents which we might be unable to forget or even regret later all our lives…

Thunderstorms and Snowstorms

Its been pouring rain the last couple of days in Blore. And today I just managed to get into the bus before the clouds burst open and the winds blew in full force. It was a sight to see – all that raw power in the rain and high winds. On the way home I was thinking of all the storms that I’ve seen…

Way back in school-the school had just begun in June and Mom had come to pick me and Brother up in a TVS 50. Just as we started back it started to pour – hailstones and all and the TVS got water logged and just stopped. Nothing we did could start it again by which time we were already 90% wet. Mom urged me and Bro to run back home while she waited out the fierce rain and walked back home pushing the TVS along with our wet school bag…A very vivid memory of me and bro dripping wet and running back home 🙂

After that I guess I kind of steered clear of any such bad weather. But last year in
Columbus – Valentine’s Eve to be precise got stuck in the middle of a snow storm… It had been snowing since the day I landed a couple of weeks before and I was still fascinated by all that snow.Everytime we (with friends) went out I had to be brought back to the job at hand-I used to loose myself in all that snow. Well, on Feb 13th we were asked to leave office early as the storm was supposed to start around 5ish in the evening but by the time my friends and I could get out of the office it was well past 4 by which time it had started to snow steadily. There were 2 cars – R’s and A’s and I stuck with R with whom I went to office that day, to drop me back home. As luck would have it, we got stuck in the traffic jam. What usually took 25mins from office to home took nearly 2.5 hours and A who left with us took another route and reached home within an hour! To top it off R’s car had to come up with some trouble that day – Everytime we started the heater and moved a few inches (yeah we were just moving in inches) the car would start to whine loudly! We were soo worried that the car will konk out that we turned off the heater! In the snow storm – the snowfall consistently increasing,the traffic hardly moving, R frustrated that it had already taken us more than an hour on the same street (he had forgotten all about Hosur Road by then!) and I was freezing as we couldnt switch on the heater! Wow! What an experience. The best part was that I enjoyed it! *grinnn* yeah I sure did… all that snow I saw over the next couple of days – stuck alone at home with not even a mattress to sleep on, the evening that I spent playing in snow and the eerie glow of the snow caused by the street lamps at night…

Ofcourse add to that the threat that the power lines may snag and we might not have power-friends had told me that I would have to carry my comforter and go sit inside their car with the heater on! Wow! What thrill – fortunately didnt get that chance
🙂 Too good…

I Dont think I will ever forget that snow storm and am still besotted with snow-despite the experience…And missed being in Columbus this year where the snow fall was much higher – guess it was highest since 1920! Should’ve been there to enjoy it, is what Im thinking when friends there are cribbing… 🙂