Thursday, December 22, 2005


Mary's boy child Jesus Christ,
was born on Christmas Day,
And Man will live for ever more,
because of Christmas Day!

To say that I'm not a very religious person would be an understatement. In fact, if not for my Mom who has made my habit of going to Church every Sunday a regimen after much gentle coaxing in the form of ear-pulling, I might almost be an agnost. For eleven months of the year that is. Then the Christmas season comes around and it err.. does things to me. Things that my Mom would have never imagined possible. I clean up my room. I don't have as much of a problem getting up in the morning. I smile a lot more than I usually do. I greet people I've never met... and the list goes on.

Of all the fond memories that Christmas brings to my mind, decorations are the most striking. Every year my sis and I ask Dad for money to buy decorations. We normally get what we want. After all Christmas decorations are a far nobler cause than chocolates. After much haggling we decide on what to buy. "Shopper boy" (yours truly) is dispatched with disdain to do the actual purchasing and we then get down to the task of putting the decorations up. This is where the fun starts.

Obviously one can't start hanging things randomly all over the place. So we sit around and brainstorm on possible arrangements. Now this is not as easy as you guys might think. If I want the Christmas tree in one corner of the room, it would turn out that Nish would want it in any corner but that corner. If Nish wants the "Merry Christmas" sign on the wall facing the main door and the "Happy New Year" sign on the wall parallel to the door, I want just the opposite. If I want a diamond steamer arrangement across the ceiling, Nish wants a rectangular one. If Nish wanted to twirl the streamers before putting them up, I would want them straight. I must reluctantly state here that she gets her way most of the time except when she loses her temper and lets out a piercing scream, in which case Mom comes over and settles the issue in my favor to punish her for screaming. (*rubbing hands in glee*)

Of course some ridiculous proposals are vetoed at the very start by mom and dad.. like my proposition that we put up the longest hanging we had in the middle of the room where it would hit the heads of everyone taller than 5 feet. (All I wanted was to stand under the hanging and jump up and touch it with my head *hurt look*). Or the one where I thought that the TV and the refrigerator could do with some decoration. That proposal didn’t last long either.

The actual menial job of "putting up" everything, I'm ashamed to say was done by my sister. My role was restricted to holding the stool on which she was standing. Now before you begin to ridicule me, I would like to explain the logic behind this. Both of us had not grown to our full height then and quite often the height of one stool was insufficient. So we ended up putting one stool or chair on top of another which resulted in a highly unstable setup. Before your scorn for me intensifies, let me draw your attention to two facts. 1) I weighed more than my sis. 2) I was stronger. From 1) and 2) it follows that it would be safer for both of us if the lighter person got on to the "contraption" and the stronger person held it to prevent it from toppling over. I don't know if this logic appeals to you, but thankfully it did to my sister and she dutifully climbed up whenever needed.

Setting up the crib is perhaps the most herculean task of all. Work on this starts over two weeks before Christmas when we spread mustard seeds on soaked cotton. The figures of the Holy Family, shepherds, magi and animals are placed among the greenery after the seeds have sprouted and reached a size of about three inches. After midnight mass on Christmas eve, the 'baby Jesus' doll is placed in the center and our Christmas kicks off!

One last thing.. I NEED a break.. from studies, from work and most of all from computers of any kind. So I am now taking off for a vacation.. NO Internet, NO emails, NO chatting, NO online gaming. I'm off to gallivant around the country with my sis.. Take care everybody..

I wish you a Merry Christmas;
I wish you a Merry Christmas;
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings I bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring me a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring me a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring me a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer

I won't go until I get some;
I won't go until I get some;
I won't go until I get some, so bring some out here

I wish you a Merry Christmas;
I wish you a Merry Christmas;
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


"The discovery of two large pieces of the Titanic's hull on the ocean floor indicates the fabled luxury liner sank faster than previously thought, researchers said Monday."... is the gist of an article that appeared on a few days ago. 5th December 2005 to be exact.

You can find the original article on CNN here..

Close to a hundred years after the tragedy, the Titanic still fascinates..

A tentative timeline for future findings about the Titanic and their corresponding news clippings follow:

April 18th, 2055
Scientists discovered yesterday that the iceberg that struck the Titanic was actually not an iceberg but a meteor that crashed into the earth around 1000 years ago. Matter embedded in the hull tells researchers that this meteor was made of a strange element that has not been discovered yet. The porous nature of this element enabled the meteor to float. There is an on-going search for a suitable name for the element. Unfortunately, though 'titanium' is the most logical name, it already exists. Most scientists are currently leaning towards 'titanicium'.

September 7th, 2082
Recent studies of depressions on the ocean floor have refuted previous claims made in 2005 that the Titanic split into two before sinking. The size of the depression indicates clearly that the Titanic was still in one piece at the time of impact. This of course means that she sank much slower than she was thought to have in 2005. However, the reason for the existence of the two large pieces remains unknown. A twenty member research group, funded by a twenty million dollar grant from the National Science foundation (NSF), has been formed to determine the reason for the split and the possible time-period of its occurrence.

October 11th, 2091
The members of the research group sanctioned to investigate the reasons behind the split hull of the Titanic nine years ago, are said to be divided in their interpretation of what exactly happened.The first group proposes the 'Earthquake theory' which claims that the split was a result of an undersea earthquake that occurred in the vicinity in the 1940s. From the surrounding damage and effect, seismologists estimate the earthquake in question to have been atleast 8.1 in magnitude on the Richter scale. The second group proposes the 'Blue Whale theory', which claims that a blue whale pair migrating south to mate and have babies in the warmer water collided head on with the wreck of the Titanic and caused the split. 'Two distinctive dents' are quoted as proof of this occurence. The sharp edges around the dents, seem to indicate that the collision occurred relatively recently, probably sometime in the 1980s. An additional one million dollars have been sanctioned to resolve this issue and bring to light the actual happenings.

November 14, 2093
Late last afternoon, markings on the hull revealed that the name of the Titanic was not really Titanic but "Some-very-very-very-long-name-like-this". The markings are too faint to be sure of the name. It is thus surmised that the popular name Titanic reflects the size of its name and not the actual size of the ship. This discovery resolved long-standing doubts in the minds of scientists about the authenticity of the 'largest-ship' claim. These doubts have been lingering ever since intense underwater research seemed to indicate that the hull did not seem to be big enough for such a claim, even if the two pieces were put together.

July 8th, 2094
John Cameron, grandson of James Cameron has announced plans for "Titanic II" scheduled to be released in the summer of 2097 exactly one hundred years after "Titanic" hit the screens. This movie will take into account recent findings since the original movie was released. In addition it will be by far the most expensive movie ever made. This time the ship itself will not cost as much since it will be smaller. However, 'titanicium', the element the meteorite was made of is considerably more expensive than ice and so will cost a mammoth one billion dollars. In order to increase the footage of this extravagant meteorite set, the movie will include a scene in which 'Leonardo di Caprio' and 'Kate Winslet' look alikes make out in a cave on the huge meteor. This is already hyped as the major attraction of the movie. Something to watch out for!! Speculation is mounting on whether the much acclaimed sketching scene of Kate Winslet in the nude will be reproduced in this version of the movie. Only time will tell. Keep your fingers crossed.

The movie will also talk of the split of the Titanic after its sinking where 'Rachel Weisz' and 'Brendon Fraser' look alikes will take on the roles of 'researchers', who during an intense making out session, chance upon the true reason behind the splitting of the hull of the Titanic. There has already been a lot of controversy over which theory will be used. At the current time, it is rumored that John(to his credit) favors the 'Earthquake theory' over the 'Blue Whale theory'. However, it is almost certain that the ending will be finalized only after the concerned research group submits its report in late 2096.

And I thought I had nothing worthwhile to do.. :D

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Big Apple

I just love it up the Empire State Building. Makes me feel like I rule the world. (Though I played no direct part in it's construction.. err.. no indirect part either I think, but wouldn't be able to tell for sure.. :D) Getting up there is very easy. Just follow the simple steps outlined below...

  1. Stand in a queue to enter the building. This queue is the fastest moving. Thankfully so, because you might just add to the architectural beauty of New York by freezing into ice-men/ice-women if the wait were even a wee bit longer.

  2. Stand in a queue to clear security. Remember to hold your pants up while removing your belt. Also, note that you will be asked to turn on your laptop to confirm that it is not a bomb. This step kind of puzzles me. What if turning it on sets off the bomb or better still triggers a timing mechanism? DO NOT turn it on if it IS a bomb. Or atleast make sure I'm not in the vicinity before doing so.

  3. Stand in a queue for purchasing the ticket. Shell out 14 dollars.

  4. Stand in a queue for the elevator to the 80th floor. This queue moves at an agonizingly slow pace which is surprising given the fact that everyone in the huge building is packed into the elevator at one go. Atleast, that is the impression I got when I had to stand with my face pressed into the back of this enormous man and my hands and legs stretched out at unnatural angles. To it's credit the elevator was fast else I might have died of suffocation.

  5. Stand in a queue to have your picture taken in front of a picture of the Empire State Building. I wonder if they realise this could be done anywhere.. in India, on a ship or on the moon dammit.

  6. Stand in a queue for an elevator from the 80th to the 86th floor. Get crushed again.

  7. This is it! Step out for a view from 1050 feet above ground level!
Yes, it was worth it but only just. Something has to be done about all that waiting time.

New York during the Day.

New York during twilight.

New York in the night. (Taken on an earlier trip.. I'm really proud of this pic)

This is the pic I was talking about.. in front of the picture of Empire State.. lol.

Times Square!

A trip to New York never fails to bring back memories of good old India. The same old dirty streets of Chennai, the same bumper-to-bumper traffic of Bangalore and more people than you would find around Charminar in Hyderabad. Random incidents:
  • I walk upto a guy and ask him directions to a certain parking garage. He looks at me scornfully and turns away to attend to something else leaving me wondering if I'd said something wrong.

  • A guy bangs into my friend and then glares at him as if it were all his fault! Contrast this with an incident near my university where I was looking over my shoulder and collided with this girl so hard that she fell down. Even as I helped her up, SHE was apologising profusely though it was clearly MY fault!!!

  • We had a rushed dinner in a Punjabi Dhaba that reminded me of the numerous 'fast food' centers in Chennai. And err.. the restroom was messier than the ones that could be found in the bus stand and railway stations back home.
It's amazing how bad incidents can make you nostalgic. (sigh)

This last picture is for Silverine, the girl whose dreams I'm haunting in my nice new crew cut.. hehe. Please note that if you look carefully enough, you should be able to see my scalp. That's short enough don't you think?... :p

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Vingt faits aléatoires sur moi

NO! There are no prizes for guessing what that means..

I was flattered into doing this tag when Neeta said "It'll be fun to know stuff about ya". (I know.. Flattering me is easier than tying your shoelaces.. there's one fact for you.. ;-)). She was right about it not being a tough task. Having lived for over twenty years now, it wasn't all that difficult to come up with a measly twenty facts. Of course, the facts would be more random if I jotted down my observations over a long period of time. However, I have tried to avoid stating obvious facts about myself like "I love driving", "Yes Minister is my favorite book" or "I love travelling". Here goes..

1. I like to think most people are good at heart by the simple logic that if there were more bad people in this world than good people, the world would have been destroyed long long ago..

2. I think anti-viruses are a pain in the.. err... I just format my system once in a while..

3. I will eat fruits only if there is someone around to peel the skin off for me and cut them into little pieces that will comfortably fit in my mouth. Bananas and seedless grapes are the only exception. Mom, I miss you.. sob..

4. Trust is important for me. I cannot emphasize just how much.. I hate it when people ask me for something and then keep pestering me about it. They should trust me to get things done. I also dislike it when people mistake my intentions. Either TRUST me or just stop talking to me.

5. The hair on my head is denser than the Amazon Rain forest. My hair has another peculiar quality. It represents the perpendiculars to all possible tangents that can be drawn to the surface of my head. (For the non-mathematically inclined- My hair POKES). Hence the nick name 'Porcupine'. You definitely do NOT want to run your hand through my hair. Several people have had to pay for their affection by going around with bandaged palms for a whole month.

6. No one has beaten me yet in scrabble.. :p

7. I like being alone sometimes and don't understand why people find this more difficult to understand than even the most complicated physics theorems.

8. If I talk pleasantly to you all the time you're probably mistaken in assuming that I'm a great friend of yours. If on the other hand I argue a lot with you and keep making suggestions for your betterment then I probably care for you a lot more than I could ever put into words.

9. I have never had a crush on a celebrity. Only on real people I happen to meet. Or atleast talk to.. ;-).

10. I need two pillows to sleep. One for my head and one to hug. (Though one will probably suffice after I get married... ;-)).

11. I mess up my desk pretty often but I can't bring myself to make a mess of my bed.

12. I tend to get attached a tad too easily.

13. I speak at a speed comparable to the good old Concorde of the yesteryears.. I have to make it a point to slow down when compering so people can actually catch atleast 50% of what I'm saying.

14. I can be a bundle of contradictions sometimes. For instance, I want a wife who would make me coffee every morning, pack a nice lunch for me and return home before I do in the evening to welcome me. Yeah.. Who doesn't? The problem is I also want someone who can kid me around, fight with me and take sarcastic digs at me. There's your contradiction for you.. :D

15. I find it very hard to say NO.

16. I love having a lot of credit cards in my wallet, though I don't have the heart to use them very often. I've got some beautiful designs. One of my university, one of a lightning strike and a transparent one.

17. I dislike most computer games. Real time strategy games are an exception though. I once played Age of Empires for over 20 hours at a stretch! But those days are gone.. sigh.

18. The last time I watched television for more than a few hours at a stretch was during the first innings of the World cup 2003 finals. TV has been a strict no-no since then.

19. I have spent more time collecting/downloading songs than actually listening to them.

20. I normally like to plan well in advance but find some on-the-spur-of-the-moment decisions adventurous. We discussed going to New York over a late dinner today and we're leaving in 4 hours from now! I better catch some shut eye now...

But before that.. I've got some unfinished business to attend to.. (laughs devilishly). I regret not tagging anyone the last two times. This is where I get back at my previous taggers.

I hereby declare..