Sunday, December 25, 2005

Never watch news when u r alone :-(

Yes...Take this as an advice. Never ever watch NEWS when you are alone expecially in a big, quiet house.
Last week, I came home late from office at about 10.30. I finished cooking at about 11 and was having my food. I switched on the TV. I was too tired to change channels. I just wanted to have some sound in the house. The local news was being broadcasted. It was the weather report...So the news was going to end. Suddenly there was a warning news at the end of the news report. It said there was a man on the loose in the area near mine and they were warning people to be careful. I was scared to the core seeing that news. I was cursing the TV channel - who was going to see the news at 11.30 in the night, why did they want to warn that time of the night. I quicky ate my food, dropped the vessels in the sink and fled to my bedroom. I locked it and went to sleep. A small noise upstairs or the wind blowing outside - I was wide awake. Finally, I managed to go to sleep. But after that I made it a point to never watch news channels especially in the night :-)

Trip to Mt.Rainier

This post has been pending for long and I got to pen this down only now. Anyways, better late than never :-)
It was my second weekend in Redmond. I joined Arun and Raghuram in their plans of going to St.Helens ,a volcanic mountain about 100 miles south of Seattle. We started at 8 in the morning as it was a 5 hours drive. The drive offered some real breathtaking scenes - snow capped houses, lands covered with snow looked as if they had a blanket of white over them. We were about 55 miles from St.Helens when the roads started becoming tough.

The snow hadn't been cleared properly and there was a huge lump of snow all along the middle of the road. Ours being a short car, it was really difficult to progress.

On the way we saw this lake which was totally frozen that one could walk over it. It was truly a wonderful sight!!

We went a little farther and then owing to the roads,decided that it was just impossible to go furthur. It was already noon and suddenly someone suggested the idea of going to Mt.Rainier instead. Still disappointed that we couldn't make it to St.Helens , we started driving back. All of a sudden at a particular point, the car started skidding even on applying the brakes. It was skidding over the ice and the steering wheel was turned to the left just in time. The car stopped just short of the cliff below. One look below, I was feeling nauseating. Oh my god! Then we chained the tires to prevent any more catastrophies and proceeded furthur.
The road to Mt.Rainier was much better and well cleaned. We proceeded to the Paradise point in Rainier. Once I reached there, I knew why it got its name. It truly looked like Paradise!!

The wonderful hue of the sun over the snow covered mountain and the pine trees all over made it look so beautiful.

We proceeded to scale the mountain. Initially, the snow was not fresh and was hard. It was difficult to climb. But as we proceeded towards the top, the snow was soft and fresh and was so inviting.

Especially near the trees, the snow was about hip-deep. It was fun to sink into the snow and later come out with great difficulty :-)

We spent a lot of time there in the snow and then decided to go to the Jackson observatory before leaving. The observatory was also good. They had telescopes with maps beside which described the name of every peak in the range.

The observatory also had other general information about the mountain. It seems it takes a person two days to scale the entire mountain.

It was 5 PM already and it was beginning to get dark.We started back as it would be dangerous to drive back in the dark. I reached home at about 8.30. At about 9.15, I was fast asleep :-)

BTW, today is Christmas... Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Apartment at Redmond

Some photos of my scary :-( cum cosy :-) apartment

Friday, December 16, 2005

Beyond the boundaries: My first travel abroad

Hi all...back after a short pause. Was busy preparing for my travel. Now that I'm here in my warm office, I'm going to pen down my experiences during my first travel abroad [I've got some comments about me being very verbose and so will try to make this post crisp :-)]. Read on...
After the initial hassles in my visa interview, I finally got my visa approved. I want to take a moment here to thank whole heartedly the good samaritan (I dont even know her name) who helped me outside the consulate when none came forward. I had a empty bag and the security outside wanted me to hand it to someone else before stepping in. They even didnt allow me to drop it in the litter outside. I was looking for someone who could hold it for me till I came out [I did not have even 5 minutes for my scheduled time] and none offered to help me. This good samaritan appeared from somewhere and took the bag from me and told me not to worry and to go in. When I came out I did not even thank her properly due to issues I had in my visa processing. Hey, if at all you come across this post, thanks a lot!!
Things were being done at full speed - booking tickets, arranging for my accomodation, packing - and Amma and Appa also arrived at Hyderabad to give me a send-off. Frankly, I was feeling really many different things - immigration, customs blah blah. How was I going to go through all this?
My flight from Hyderabad was on December 3rd at 3 AM. After bidding goodbye to my parents, Yams and Shika I proceeded to get the formalities done. I was relieved to find someone else from my office also there. The KLM flight to Amsterdam was the most tedious part of the journey. First, the timing was very odd and second itwas really cramped. I was just more than happy to alight at Amsterdam. The view of Amsterdam from above was just awesome, the waterfront and the greenery looked so neatly arranged just like out of a building set :-). I did not have time to go around the Schipol airport as my first flight was delayed :-( At the Amsterdam airport I realised there were 5 people who were taking the flight to Seattle that day from my office. The connecting NWA flight was much better. It seemed more comfortable or maybe just because it had a personal entertaiment system it appeared so ;-) I finally landed at Seattle at 3 PM on 3rd. [My watch was still tuned to IST and the time was 4.30 - I couldn't believe that I had travelled for 24 hours continuously]. Only when my head hit the bed in my apartment did I realise how tired I was but I was told to resist sleeping till 9 to overcome the jetlag.
So its been a week now and all jet lag gone. It gets pretty cold in the nights but my apartment is so cosy and so I don't know about it much :-)

[I guess I didnt keep up my word of making this short ;-)]

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My first LIVE cricket match

As the title suggests yesterday I watched my first Live match, 'Live' in the real sense :-) It was the first match of the India-South Africa series and the venue was the 'Rajiv Gandhi Stadium' at Uppal in Hyderabad. It was pretty tiring and that too for a person like me who detests cricket[The sole cause for this is my brother who never used to switch channels when a cricket match was on :-(] it was truly a difficult experience.
It was a team outing and we started from our places at 6 in the morning [Its still a surprise to me as to how I made it]. Our Qualis was the first of the three to reach the stadium at nearly 7.30. As we neared the stadium, the traffic bloated and the Qualis was nearly crawling its way through it. We got down a little ahead of the stadium and started walking towards the stadium. Just then, the bus with the Indian cricket team passed by. It was the sight of a lifetime!!! Sachin was sitting in the front row calmness writ on his face. Beside him was Greg Chapel and two seats behind him was Harbhajan. We were surprised and also overjoyed.[Whatever you say, you forget for an instant that they too are ordianry indviduals like you :-)]. We waved vehemently to Sachin and he responded with a small gesture of lifting his hand.
We then proceeded towards Gate 5 and just as we were about to enter the stadium our attention was caught by a lady's voice - "We are from NDTV. Can you pose for a shot". Apparently,she was enthused seeing 20 of us in yellow shirts and black blazers who would make good and bright background for her news :-) We posed for the camera as she started off saying "Lagthaa hai kee saaraa hyderabad yahaan hai...". Believe me there were not more than 100 people around at that time. And then she handed over the mike to some people who were also posing for the camera and they started off -"Hum India ko jithayenge...aur phir hee chalenge...". I was smiling to myself hoping how these people were going to make India win when the 11-some were determinant in losing the match :-)
We entered the stadium and occupied some seats on the first floor. The stadium was still only half constructed and put up a sorry sight. It was too dirty and with cement and sand suspended in the air it was dusty too. After sitting for a while we began to realise that it was not going to that easy a job. The sun was shining brightly at its best and soon it was becoming difficult to sit. The players came to the ground for their warm up. We started preparing some of our banners. The one I liked best was "Team India - Your potential, our passion - Microsoft". P thought for a lot of time for a good slogan and came up with "We love Sachin". I couldn't control my laughter at the inventiveness ;-). At 9 sharply the match started, and much to our relief India was batting first.
It was fun for sometime but when the batsmen started leaving the ground as soon as they came in it started becoming a bit boring. After sometime it was impossible to sit in the sun and I came out to stand in the shade. It was too inviting that I didnt feel like going back again. The game was going on at a really slow pace. We went around to see if we could get some coffee when we discovered a really good place in the Ground floor. It was shady and the view was really good. In the final overs of Indian innings, the game became interesting. Harbhajan's unexpected yet awesome sixers were great. We moved to the front though it was sunny because we knew this spell wouldn't anyway last for long ;-)
Once the cricketers dispersed for lunch, we realised that we were also hungry. I had munched almost 3-4 packets of chips but still gelt hungry :-( I got some biriyani from the stadium. Nobody would believe that it was biriyani that toO Hyderabadi biriyani.Leave alone spice it didnt even have salt. I had to get a packet of 'KurKure' to complement it. And I got some appreciations for the great combination...even planning to patent it :-)
The south africans started their batting and the game returned to its slow pace again. We went in front in the hope of seeing something interesting. I and Pu went in front and started shouting Dhoni's name. At a particular point he almost turned to see who it was but then resited himself. It was fun As the game started to progress in favour of South Africa, the audience started taunting the Indians. This was the most irritating part of all. People praise their favourite and shout their names when they play well and if India starts losing they turn hostile. Gautam Ghambir was the unlucky one standing near our edge of the boundary and he too received many taunts. The mexican wave formed by the audience deserves special mention. It was very co-ordinated and looked awesome!!
Finally the match ended and we returned back home. I was so tired that I feel asleep as soon as my head hit the bed. However tiring it was, it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Yet another uneventful week

As the title suggests this was yet another uneventful week. Mostly it was the 'home to office back home' mundane routine. Apart from this there was a marriage of one of my colleagues which I attended on Thursday. As all other marriages in Andhra it was at night. Though we stayed only for a while it was a break from the monotony of life and I enjoyed it. [The food deserves mention here].
Also, this week deserves a special mention in bringing back my reading interests. I got to read two books - 'One night @ the call centre' by Chetan Bhagat and 'Harmful Intent' by Robin Cook [I've been unable to finish this book for the past one month]. 'One night..' was OK types and nowhere near to 'Five point someone'. Too much fantasy. The second book was really boring till half the book but was interesting thereafter.
The weekend was a bit better. On saturday, I got up at 11 (early for my standards and that too on a weekend:-)). Yamini had just returned from Pune and we had to catch up on the gossips for that week ;-). We then rummaged through her shopping from Pune and even had a mini catwalk with the models Ayesha and Shika ;-).Then we decided to go out for lunch and thanks to Yamini's grumbling stomach we made it much earlier than we expected. Went to Cook's touch...the food was really bad. So we decided to revive our spirits with desserts at 'Temptations'. However I resisted my 'temptation' in an effort to curtail the addition of a few kilos and was successful :-))
We then started our shopping with Hyd Central. After successfully covering every floor in Central I forced everyone to go to the food court. I wanted to have something the name of which I still dont know :-( [It resembles the 'pepsi' which used to be available in my school days. Just flavoured ice...but really yummy..slurp]. I searched through their menu and the display counters too but couldn't find it. So settled for a Cafe Latte. (I'm not mentioning the scornful looks I got from Yamini when she saw what I got). Not satisfied with the number of covers in hand we decided to go to Cherma's next.
Again we scanned all the floors of Cherma's and by the time we finished our shopping we were damn tired. The person at the counter in Cherma's told us that there was some scratch card gift concept and made me fill 6 coupons :-( We then came home and started deciding where to go for dinner. We decided to go to 'Aunty's house' [Its an awesome mess in our area and I dunno if thats the real name....I guess it is Yamini's name for it..anyway...sounds good]. Unfortunately it was closed. We then had dinner at 'Punjab kee Rasoi'. Was pretty decent.
On Sunday, I watched Ghajini [I've been waiting long to see this movie]. I liked it a lot...Surya was really smart!! and Asin too was at her best(lucky girl :-( )
So thats how this week ended....and its time for me to leave.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mistaken Identity

At last...into the world of blogging!! Mistaken identity - This is the force which led me to start blogging [something which I couldn't do for six months even when I wanted to :-)...]

A month back I received a mail from one of the managers in my company about my blog. He was very appreciative about my blog and quoted that it was really interesting. I was at first confused but then later realised that it was the blog of one of my name-likes and she was in the same city as me! And to add to the confusion we had a common friend with whom she had attended our company's annual party. She had written about the party in her blog and her sister had commented on it...and her sister was a name-like of another of my friends[Confused ?? :-) ] which added to the confusion. Even I was deceived into believing that maybe I had a split personality who wrote that :-D...It was too coincidental....

Anyways, alls well that ends well...this episode inspired me to start blogging and here I am writing my first blog...
PS : The blog which inspired me (my mistaken identity) :