May 29, 2007

It's raining!!!

A lovely cloud cover in the evening followed by thunder and lightning eventually leads to heavy rains lashing the city. Such evenings are perfect to remain inside the cosy comforts of one's home and welcome the monsoons and not to roam around the busy roads. On Friday evening, I got stuck for about 2 hours waiting for the rains to stop, asking every auto driver to take me to my place and finally, with one auto driver agreeing, little did I know the mess is not over yet. There was a huge traffic jam and the auto driver refused to drive further. Thinking it's just another half a km, I started walking. A few steps further, I noticed this waterlog; knee feet deep it was! With no other route to take, I started walking, with my heavy bag lurking on my right shoulder. I managed to cross this pool of water and rushed home. Never make the mistake of hanging out in the shopping malls or multiplexes like me on a rainy night.

It's been raining movies as well. In the past week, I've been a watching a lot of movies. Spiderman - 3 is ofcourse, part of this list. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Well picturized action sequences, a pacy flow of the story and superb acting of Peter Parker makes it worth a watch. I didn't enjoy the ending, with the friend Harry sacrificing his life and the sandman turning out to be a good guy, all of a sudden.

I've been a fan of Tom Hanks, ever since I watched Forest Gump and Cast Away. So my hubby didn't have to convince me so much to watch "You've got mail", a slow, romantic movie. I loved this story of how 2 people who have met over internet become friends and how they are enemies in their real life. Some of the dialogues were witty and interesting.

Last night, I was feeling tired and no mood to surf through channels. When hubby switched over to DVD to watch a Hollywood action movie, I didn't resist (which I usually do!, Can't stand the dishyum dishyums) for a change. I was sifting through the newspaper when the titles were being shown. Then he explained me what the story is like. BTW, this action flick is "Face off". Somehow, I got intrigued by the story and watched it with no distractions till the end. It is a very interesting movie, indeed. The two protogonists have acted brilliantly and they fit in their respective roles very well.

There are some Hollywood movies which I have never watched till the end. After 30 minutes or so, I usually fall asleep. I have watched the first 30 minutes of the lord of the rings (Part I) 'n' number of times but could never go past that time. The same goes with the Matrix as well. But thanks to my hubby, I've started watching more Hollywood movies these days. Hopefully, there will be a day soon when I understand the matrix :-)

May 22, 2007

Masks

I opened my journal last night after a long time and scribbled for 15 minutes. Posting the contents here.

How I used to love writing! I always used to be proud of my handwriting, flaunting my neatly written course notes to my friends and teachers. And these days, I hardly write. It's been a long time since I heard the screeching noise of the fountain pen talking to the white paper. I realize that this noise has been completely overshadowed by the crackling keyboard and clicking mouse.

This week's Sunday Scribblings topic is Masks. This term brings to my mind the kind of masks superheroes wear all the time. I always wonder why superheroes wear them, what makes them so special. After giving quite a bit of thought, I understood the significance of masks in superhero stories.

When the superhero takes off his mask, he is none other than us. He looks exactly like us - his eyes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin are the same. But we fear the super hero in ourselves; the hero who is capable of doing extraordinary things, who can change the world, who can make a tremendous difference to himself and others. Yet, we fear to face him and end up wearing the mask of an ordinary human being - the one who sticks to limits defined by others, the one who doesn't dare to think beyond the ordinary, the one who is content with what is available and not venture into distant lands beyond the horizon.

There comes a day in everyone of our lives when this mask of an ordinary person that we wear will be torn into pieces and we realize our full potential of becoming a superhero. On that day, we don't need any masks. We are ready to face the world, go beyond the horizon and realize that a superhero is present in each one of us. That day will come in our lives. All we need to do is keep our eyes wide open and watch out when the superhero is being awakened.

May 13, 2007

Second chance

How would you feel when you had taken a 3 week vacation, where all you had to do was to roam around the city, spend the evenings visiting new places, wake up late with no hurry, eat at new restaurants and realize the minutes of the clock moving slowly? Don't you want to experience it often? Don't you love to give a second chance? This topic has brought back those wonderful memories I got to experience in Dubai last May. 3 weeks of a complete vacation! Most importantly, I returned with a fresh mind and took a very important decision in my career. Vacations do help to give clarity in your thoughts, think from a new perspective and provide a break from day-to-day schedules. I wish I could have such a vacation every year, where I'm totally away from workplace and get to see new places and meet new people.

I guess this is the best time to share my Dubai travelogue I had written for my office magazine.

Dubai - A friendly city for everyone

I was really looking forward to my 3 week vacation in Dubai. My husband and I boarded Air India and after 3 hours, the sprawling Dubai airport greeted us. Tall buildings on either side of a well-laid road, different kinds of cars moving at a very good speed but strictly following traffic signals, beautiful parks at almost every junction - Dubai impressed me within the first few hours since I landed.

At temperatures soaring above 45 C, Dubai was at the beginning of summer in May 2006. The shopping city, the city of gold - Call it whatever you want. But this beautiful city can be a host to anyone by catering to the different tastes and likes. The city of Dubai is divided into two parts - the traditional Dehra and a cosmopolitan Bur Dubai, thanks to the creek that runs through the middle of the city. The commuters cross this creek everyday using the water taxis that cost just half a dirham (equivalent to six Indian Rupees).

If you are a shopping freak, there are a number of malls worth visiting, especially the City Center, Bur Juman and Lamcy Plaza. City Center also has a multiplex, so you can catch a movie after a busy day of shopping. There are many electronic showrooms like Lulu Center and Jumbo electronics where you can get good deals. Bur Dubai caters to many computer showrooms, especially in Al Fahidi Street.

A good place to unwind and relax is the well-maintained Dubai creek park. There are many families who manage to have a picnic every Friday in this park. As you might know, Friday is the official weekend in Dubai. The 45 minute cable car ride is a visual treat that covers the entire stretch of the creek park and gives a wonderful view of the creek. Another nice park is the Zabeel Park where you can spend a few hours amidst greenery. Jumeirah Beach is a clean, crystal clear beach where you can go for a swim or just watch the waves and spend a nice evening. A water theme park "Wild Wadi" with many adventurous rides is also worth a visit.

If you are interested in knowing more about Arabic culture, the heritage village is worth a visit. It depicts the lifestyle of traditional Arabs, the houses, the utensils they made use of etc. The Dubai museum also portrays a conglomeration of Arabic culture and traditions and shows the various stages of growth of this city. You definitely need more than two hours to have a look at this museum.

Many travel agencies organize a three hour City Tour that covers the important places by bus including the King's Palace and the famous 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab. The highlight is of course, the Desert Safari. A couple of hours from the city is where the desert safari begins. It is an amazing and fun ride on the jeeps that pass through sand dunes of different heights and shapes. The ride ends somewhere in the middle of the desert for us to take a superb view of the sunset. A short camel ride in the evening, Henna designs, Arabic coffee, belly dancers and a sumptuous Arabic meal are the other interesting aspects of this trip. If you are a non-vegetarian, the dinner will definitely be a feast to your taste buds.

As far as food is concerned, there are many Indian restaurants like the Woodlands, Sukh Sagar, Saravana Bhavan etc and also places serving traditional Arabic food like Yahala. Commuting through the city is easy, thanks to air conditioned public buses and taxis. But the traffic situation gets worse during the peak hours. With respect to climate, June to August are the peak summer months when it becomes difficult to go around. The shopping festival happens in January every year when the city is at its best.
If you are planning for a short vacation abroad, then make sure Dubai is on your list.

May 8, 2007

Blissful

Two places where I love to hang around in Bangalore are Crosswords, the book store and Planet M, the music store. Though Crosswords is not as spacious as Landmark, it's such a peaceful place to browse through books, sit down for a few minutes and read a couple of pages before deciding to buy a good book. It's not very crowded as well.

Planet M, though very crowded and a noisy place has a quiet corner for Indian classical music lovers. When I visited last weekend, there were hardly a couple of people in this section. What a pleasant and serene evening it was, listening to my favourite Hariprasad Chaurasia's flute and Zakir Hussain's tabla being played in the background and browsing through a nice collection of Carnatic and Hindustani classical music. The traditional Indian music has such divinity and tranquility in itself that regardless of the kind of raagas, it mesmerizes the listeners' ears. I don't understand the kind of raagas or other intricacies of classical music but when I listen to them, I forget the world around me and I enter a different world altogether.

Though I'm a big fan, I'm not a regular listener of such kind of music. The television and the numerous FM channels are occupied with repetitive film music. I've got tired of listening to the same old songs again and again. I'm looking for something new and fresh to my eardrums and at the same time, suits my taste of soft and slow music. I'm looking at revamping my music collection and take on a new dimension of interest. Right now, I'm listening to the Hindustani instrumental album "The valley recalls". It's soothing and a perfect way to spend a slow afternoon.

May 6, 2007

How forgetful and irresponsible!!!

I wish I could shout at certain people like this! People who forget to bring a pen when they visit a bank. Yesterday, I had to go to a bank to get a demand draft. It was crowded and I had to finish off this work soon to catch up on some other appointment. I was waiting for my turn after filling the DD form. A guy came near me and was asking for my pen. This is not the first time this is happening to me. Whenever I visit the bank, there would be someone without a pen and would borrow it from me.

My turn finally came and I went to my counter. While talking with the banker, a girl patted on my back and was asking for my pen. I got very irritated and replied that I can't lend as I need to sign the form. She had a handbag but not a pen inside. I don't understand how someone can forget and borrow from others with no regret whatsoever. The worst part is that they don't bother to return it back. When will these people ever realize their mistake?

Ocean

I love to observe the vast expanse of the waters, the distant ships and the roaring waves. I also wonder everytime how it would look from the horizon towards the coast. For boatsmen, it would be the end of their long journey. For cruisers, it would be a pleasant sight to see a new piece of land.

The topic "Ocean" reminds me of my first-ever sailing trip in the Pacific Ocean when I visited San Francisco on an official trip. I didn't quite understand the intricacies of a sail boat. I was watching happily when the sail was set and we were ready to go on a 36 hour trip in the Pacific. Crossing the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, our boat was sailing smoothly, with the coast still within the reach of my eyes. A perfect evening it was, with the sun setting in the background and the sky reflecting different colours of yellow and orange! After a light dinner, I dozed off on the wooden bench inside our boat.

A cold weather woke me up early in the morning. I walked up to the open area, to witness a calm blue sea. It was just the sea on all four sides, with no land to be seen and no waves at all. A thick fog engulfed our boat and it was a scary sight. I couldn't bear the cold for long, so I came back to the cabin and continued my sleep. I woke up in between and went out to see the eerie, quiet sea again. With no swimming experience, I was scared. I tried to churn out all negative thoughts and went back to sleep, this time for hours together.

We returned back to the coast around midnight. I felt delighted to see the glimpses of the coast and the brightly lit city. Though it was a different experience, I faced a slight trace of sea sickness for a couple of days.

Exactly a year later from the sailing trip, I visited Maldives, an amazing group of islands and a pristine clear Indian Ocean. The most exciting experience was a trip in a submarine. I was thrilled to see the enormous number of creatures under the ocean. It is quite believable that the most number of living beings are present out there. I got to see different types of fishes and interestingly, the star fishes and sea horses.

One of the items in my wishlist is to play with penguins. A visit to the Arctic Ocean might fulfill my wish ;-)

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