Thursday, July 28, 2011

FB Post - Funnily True

Funny post on one of my facebook friend's page...worth a share! J

Q:Where is the largest old age home in India???

A: Delhi!....its called the Parliament house!
Comment - Moreover, its probably the only old age home where the inmates get salary, car, personal security etc etc!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Openings at CBI?

These days the news channels are full of ONLY scams in India. Corruption has taken places to such a great extent and in all offices and departments and fields, the Indian public can’t do much than just watch! Every day I watch the news; they show evidences against the corrupt leaders; these leaders shamelessly reply back saying they are innocent and the blame games goes on and on. There is no end to it. They try to set up a committee to fight corruption; the govt. tries to blame the committee for N reasons. At the end of day, corruption is all that survives and continues to grow.
Corruption has become part of our life, our being; we don’t see it as a mistake. Instead it is just an effortless way of getting things done! Every scam, murder, blast have CBI probes these days. Every time I see breaking news on TV channels – Supreme court orders CBI investigation in blah blah case; High courts orders CBI..UP govt. orders CBI…Mumbai blast…CBI! The thought that is stuck in my head since a week is – how busy the CBI officers must be! There are tons of projects to investigate and crack …all high profile projects….quick results are a must! Are they hiring?
No kidding at all! Really, do they have enough sincere, honest and smart officers to handle so many cases? The pressure I can’t imagine! Never until now had I thought about CBI officers, a detective’s life! In the 90’s we had the IT boom…should we have CBI boom now? I am sure they need more work forces to solve the never ending list of investigation in the current govt’s rule!
This picture below has been circling through the email forwards. Pretty cool what it says – Makes us wonder where is our country headed to..!!!!
Here is a summary of all scams since independence. These may not be the only ones. These are the ones that were caught and brought to the notice of the public.
In total, this is coming upto Rs. 910,603,234,300,000, which is equal to USD 20.23 trillion. With this huge amount, India will become a super-power overnight and can permanently kill all social problems mainly poverty and unemployment.
Take a detailed look at the list. Great work by the person who compiled it.
Forward this to all Indians!! Others also have a right to know where their money is going..

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RIP Amy!

What a sad start of the weekend! I was totally shocked to see the news of the death of Singer Amy Winehouse. I knew of her drug abuse and drinking addiction...but to know she actually died of all that, what a shame! All that money can't buy some peace of mind and satisfaction. And neither could her family help her? Very sad to such a talent go to waste! Above all, a life lost to addictions! Rest In Peace Amy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Article - Why My Father Hated India

I got this article in the email. I read it! Read the comments too for the article. And now I want to just share it than comment, as it is an issue that will last till eternity; issue with infinite layers of politics, sufferings and endless fight! There is no right or wrong; the politics that took place during the partition brought years of misery and war, leading generations to suffer. Opinions now don't matter!


Actual article - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304911104576445862242908294.html
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Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice."
My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.
Mohandas Gandhi visits Muslim refugees in New Delhi as they prepare to depart to Pakistan on Sept. 22, 1947.
Though my father's attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.
To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan's animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.
The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India's Muslims would realize their "political and ethical essence." Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.

Wagah Border Face off
Every day at sunset, Indian and Pakistani guards on the Wagah border face off in a militaristic flag-lowering exercise called the Beating Retreat Ceremony. WSJ's Tom Wright reports on India's effort to tone down the bizarre display.
Iqbal's vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India's Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.

This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.

But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.
In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.
Rex USA Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, in May 2009. He was assassinated in January 2011
Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.

But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.

Pakistan's existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.

Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.

But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.

As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet's utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.
The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with "strategic depth" against India.
In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba's 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.

The army's duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.

This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country's wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.

The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India's sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal's unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father's tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.

This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan's obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
—Mr. Taseer is the author of "Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands." His second novel, "Noon," will be published in the U.S. in September.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle...Made in India

It sounds hilarious..but this woman is really good at classical Indian singing! Loved the video! I wonder which show this video belongs to...my personal favorite one is Kerala "Twingle Twingle" J

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jai Ho FM

I had fun watching some of my friends performing the JAI HO flash mob in Seattle. I wish I was there when they performed this...or that they did this a few months ago! I remember my Micheal Jackson Thriller performances on the streets of Seattle. Nevertheless, still support and love them!

2 CELLOS - AWESOME TALENT!

I LOVE these guys! I wish MJ was there to listen to them! IS it just me getting that sudden rush in the nerves, when these two play? And I love the way they talk..cute accent! (Watch them on Ellen)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Butterflies

Common Mormon
First weekend with our new carJ! Unfortunately, I had a tiny but very painful knee injury on my trip to Baroda. So places to visit this weekend were to be analyzed. There are tones of choices to explore around. Living in Electronic city, Tamilnadu is right there…a few miles and you are across the border into the neighboring state. We decided to go to Krishnagiri dam. I don’t have the pictures yet; we happened to take our almost-new Nikon L100 camera with us and my husband got some cool shots of a helicopter  (the fly) and couple of butterflies in the park around the dam. So next day we decided to go to Bannerghatta butterfly park.
Blue Tiger
Suddenly, out of the blue we both got caught up on this photography. We studied a bit online about butterfly photography. I had an idea of having perfumed objects to carry and attract butterflies. Online studies shattered my idea L. Apparently they won’t be attracted to artificial scents and bright colors scare them away. Butterflies need sunshine to get charged up and flutter around. So morning times are good to capture them in the lenses. Of course, you need real good camera to capture clear pictures from a distance.
Common Lime Butterfly
It is weird that Indian tourist places charge for cameras. It is obvious tourists will click pictures! So the ticket for adults is 25/- ($0.55) and the same for a camera.
Common Lime Butterfly
The place is one of those enclosed botanical parks with varieties of butterflies and flowers. When we reached the place, it was 11am and the butterflies were totally charged up and fluttering all around the place. So difficult to get a still picture! Most of the butterflies seem hurt with feather torn in edgesL. But beautiful creatures!
I recently watched this movie - From Prada to nada; in this there is reference to the flower Bird of Paradise and I got to see it in the park!!!! I instantly remembered the scene in the movie and may I say this real one was so beautiful and more colorful than the one shown in the movie!
Bird of Paradise
We took numerous pictures and I am sharing a few good ones here! Butterfly shooting is real fun..and they are gorgeous creatures. The caterpillar form is nothing compared to the butterfly form!!! The small presentation on the life of butterflies, metamorphosis etc was like going back to school. How sad that such beautiful creatures live just 7 days of life! 

Common Crow




Later in the day they were so tired from the heat probably, they seemed exhausted to even move or fly. Tried helping the one below, out of the human walk way in the plants.
Got me one


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kabirvad

River Narmada
Last day in Baroda, we planned to go to Kabirvad, 80kms from Baroda near the city of Bharuch city. It is an island on the river Narmada. We started after 12 in the noon so we hit the humid weather just for a few hours. The weather was not that bad or maybe I just started getting used to the hot humid weather. On reaching the place, there is a small boat ride to the island. We took are tickets & waited for the boat to arrive. In the meantime we bought star fruit – first time for me, they taste like pears, very juicy & crunchy. But the shape is very interesting and tempting to buy and eat :D
Motor Boats at the banks
Getting into the boat was a bit scary as the boat guy (..can’t call him sailor) was busy collecting water in the boat & pouring it out! Yikes! Well, we had no choice & we got into the boat…we as in 20+ people! The boat ride was really quick like 5mins. The ride is very exciting with water all around. I guess the super hot desert-like weather of the state brings that thrill to see so much water! It was fun, water splashing in as the boat cruised through! Oh that’s how the water got into the boat! Eureka!
Star fruit

There is a cement walkway from the water to the island. We went straight to the banks of the river. Too tempting and we got into the water right away. Oh we’d already bought a big ball to play in the water. The water is not very deep but very muddy. The volume of the water is very good for shallow waters…I bounced in the waters like a rabbit! What fun for a non-swimmer! We played for a longtime. The crowd was so much better than what I had experienced at Muthathi. Very decent boys in the waterJ. The banks have local people with carts of tea, roasted corn. A hot cup of tea after playing in the water was so refreshing.  Also saw a camel; it should feel so awesome to see so much of water!
The gigantic Banyan tree

Bats in the tree

Roots from branches into the ground
Then we walked to the kabirvad entrance. The instant striking scene is of hundreds of bats hanging upside down on the banyan tree. It must be crazy traffic at night on the island! From the entrance itself you see the gigantic Banyan tree which is the main attraction here, covering an area of 3.7 acres. According to legend, it is at this place that saint Kabirdas meditated and the tree grew from a meswak stick (used for brushing the teeth) that was thrown here by the saint. There are hundreds of roots coming down from the branches & going into the ground. Many of the roots are protected with long metal cubes. Other added attractions are the lotus shaped marble temple, it has a marble idol of the saint. The surrounding area had cows and buffaloes and most interestingly monkeys! The Langurs. People were feeding them kala jamuns. We ate our home packed lunch at a distance making sure the monkeys didn’t catch a scent of our delicious food.
Lotus shaped temple of Saint Kabirdas
We started back to return and the cement walkway I mentioned before was all flooded with water. I really have never seen a flood before but the water was rising fast! We got into the boat quickly. Drove down to a dhabba – something I have always wanted to do. We ate delicious Kathiyawadi cuisine. Got to see a small traditional Rajasthani puppet show.
The Langurs
Flooded walkway
Traditional puppet show
To summarize about Baroda – super hot & humid even in July; pretty dusty and dry weather; cows on street are like dogs, they are all over the place and in large numbers and they have very artistic horns; every second tree is a Banyan tree hence the name of the city Vadodara/Baroda. My husband had a point to say about the people – nobody really gets pissed at one another here. If you say something out of anger, people just smile and nod along & move on instead of starting a fight, something about the Mahatma left in the state?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MEN - grow up already!

Funny incident in the elevator at work! I was waiting on my 2nd floor to go down to the ground floor. The elevator stopped with a decent looking man in it. The “G” button was already selected, so I didn’t bother to press any buttons. The man seems too concerned if I was ok with the selected buttons. I was polite enough to nod with a smile saying it was fine.
Like always, I stood straight looking ahead at the metal doors. He grabbed the emergency phone receiver and said “I keep myself busy in the elevator, with phone calls!” He said it in a very lame, movie style! I could do nothing but drop a forced laugh like uh ha ha!
The elevator touched the ground floor and before the doors opened the phone rang and he answered, “Uh oh..umm nothing… just testing!” I tried so hard not to burst into a loud laughter! How stupid to pick the phone & then get a call from the maintenance guys!! I missed my favorite girlfriends to enjoy the moment! I would probably still give him points to dare and talk to me! I generally carry a mean/ angry/ attitude look on the face to keep away such men (old growing-up tactics)! Some have guts but still fail at it, miserably!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Akshardham - Gandhinagar

Day 2 in Baroda, we decided to go to Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar. Being at home with parents we obviously started late. 6am was the plan for any trip, when we left it was 11am! We started off in our 5 seater Omni taking the express highway to Gandhi Nagar. It took us about 3hours at a good 90kmph speed on the highway. It was a good day with cloudy weather, however the weather was so humid, anytime we stopped the car; it felt like we were in the hot over air room again! Go go go…keep going don’t stop!


Beautiful carvings on sandstone

When we reached it was almost 2pm. We ate our home-packed lunch outside the temple premises in our car. Apparently, after the terrorist attacks inside the temple in 2002, the institution doesn’t allow any belongings inside the temple. Which means no camera, no mobile– hence no photos…at all L big disappointment!  But then it also means that the readers should really come visit this place! It is magnificent architecture.
The temple is build in the memory and to worship Lord Swaminarayan who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Narayana, during the period of 1781 – 1830. The majestic, intricately carved stone structure stands amid sprawling gardens. Six thousand tones of pink sandstone were used in building the monument which is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The intricate carvings on the pillars, walls & the ceilings are simply outstanding. On entering the temple, we see a huge 7 feet high golden statue of Lord Swaminarayan.
On the 1st and 2nd floor of the monument are the museum that have preserved the belongings of Lord Swaminarayan such as clothes, bed spread, hats, his room replica, hair, bones and ashes from cremation and teeth and nail bits when he was alive. Devotees preserve these, believing they still hold his spirituality.
Coming out of the temple there are two other attractions;
  • Mystic India - the video presentations of his teachings and small clips of a movie of his biography.  Ticket Rs. 45 per head
  • A 45-minute laser water show depicts the story of Nachiketa from the Kathopanishad. The show, the longest of its kind, features the use of 4,000 nozzles, 2,000 lights, over 100 pumps and 12 fireball throwers. Ticket Rs. 75 per head.
Note: The temple is free for visiting.


Lord Swaminarayan
The water show was really splendid worth the ticket price. It displayed the story of a young boy Nachiketa and his dialogue with Lord Yamaraj – God of death; discussing the meaning of life, death, life after death.
Here is the official trailer video of the laser show.


A few personal disappointments! The Mystic India video was very beautiful showing Indian culture and people and celebrations. It actually made me feel like why I would ever leave my country which has such a rich ancient culture. We are good people with vast mysterious interesting history. Or living aboard will make me miss so many, actually infinite little things. The video mentioned the history of Indian spirituality which was quite interesting and I was totally hooked to the video. But as the video came to an end, people just stood up and started walking out, to the extent that I had to stand up and watch the last 5 mins of the show. It was sad in a way that my own people are not fascinated by the country’s history and magnificent culture. I wondered who is the target audience here then. I am neither too religious not spiritual, but to know of ancient Indian history was very interesting. Great day! This should be check on the Indian bucket list.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baroda

This weekend I am visiting my in-laws in Baroda, as my father in-law is retiring after 34 years of service J. What an achievement! One company, One job for last 34 years. We couldn’t imagine that yeah? We switch IT companies every 3-5 years looking for better opportunities with respect to projects and pay checks!
When we landed in Baroda, stepping outside the plane – a HOT weather air blow hit us. Inside the plane was so cool, in fact cold too that I thought I should have got my jacket. Even after walking for 5-10 mins the hot weather just stays and I realized my skin is burning from the heat. It wasn’t sunny yet, but the air itself is HOT. It literally feels like we are walking through a hot oven air filled room! Clearly the Bangalore heat & Baroda heat are extremely different! The skin is always wet from perspiration! The tap waters are hot by default. So even the cool water bath is a HOT water bath. A bath doesn’t refresh you here! Your skin is still wet even after a bath! How did I forget it was super hot here? Duh!
We had a great time surprising my father in-law on his last day at work. An emotional moment when he suddenly saw his two sons behind him; it was a woooohoooo moment! Lots of pictures and sweets and best wishes!
Now plans to see places around Baroda over the weekend. Let it rain Oh God! Please bring down the temperatures here!
By the way, Baroda is also called Vadodara. But I got to know only yesterday that the name comes from the ample Banayan trees in the city. Banyan tree is called Vad tree..hence Vadodara.

Rrrrr RITZZZZ!!!

Last night was a special eveningJ. We bought our first new car – Maruti Ritz Zxi!!!! J After a lot of research on our needs we landed with this model. Its small and compact, fits exactly 4 adults! Perfect for the super-crowded Bangalore streets.

Our new car - Maruti Ritz Zxi

My husband and I are fond of travelling, seeing new places. And there are tons of places in India to see, even for Indians. It’s a vassssst country with infinite surprises and magnificent beauty of people, culture, food, history! Roaming on bike is fun only for short distances, plus it’s not comfortable for both the rider & the pillion rider. Around Bangalore there are tons of places to drive down and explore, in a span of 3-5 hours!
This little car will take us around everywhere for short or long distance trips, there will be music, comfort, speed and sleep for me J. I remember in the US, I would guide my husband using the GPS. Of course we don’t need that in India.
At the temple
We collected our car from the dealer and went straight to the Ganesha temple nearby.  Remember? Always start any task by praying to Lord Ganesha first! J We had the priest perform prayers for our new car. He drew the holy signs of Shree, OM, Swastika on the windowshield. Showered flowers & rotated the incent sticks around the hood of the car. He kept mumbling some holy mantras all the time. Then came the coconut and we cracked it. Coconut and Bananas as offerings!  We went into the temple and the priest said some mantras in our names and the keys were given back to us.
So eager for more trips and more pictures and hence more blogs!!!!