Monday, December 31, 2007

A movie and a couple of books..

We caught up with some friends on Saturday, had lunch at Salaang Pass Restaurant on Fremont Blvd. and watched "Taare Zameen Par" later. I don't know which to write about first so will go with it chronologically. Salaang Pass turned out to be a gem of a restaurant, thanks to Prashee for introducing it to us. We used to watch movies regularly at the Park Theater right across the restaurant but never paid attention to it. The food turned out to be amazing and Subhash and I are sure to go there again. And again;)

Now to the movie. I was a little curious about what the movie would be like, being Aamir Khan's first directorial venture and went with no expectations or information about the movie whatsoever. And it turned out to be a real gem, I believe almost everyone in the hall cried at the climactic scenes, which I will not reveal here. Hats off to Aamir. I was never a great fan of his when he was the "chocolate-faced hero" type but now with every movie he seems to experiment more and improve with every one of them:) I am happy Bollywood is finally daring to experiment.

We spent the evening at Borders. For at least this past half year, we have found this a very nice thing to do on weekend evenings. Whenever we have the time and leisure for it, we visit the local Borders store and spend some 2-3 hours there browsing through books. I simply love going there with Subhash. We each pick out books, according to our own taste and browse through them, each at our own speed. Thanks to these Borders outings I have had glimpses of the JFK family portraits, spent a "Year with the Queen", admired the World Map countless times (;) ) read through the very many Jane Austenish books, caught a couple first chapters of very many Agatha Christies and so on and so forth. This weekend was a double bonus, we spent Saturday afternoon @ the Varsity Borders on Stanford's Campus in Palo Alto and Sunday evening at the one closer home. It was splendid!

Well, that was one weekend well spent :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


We had to go to the friendly neighborhood USCIS office this afternoon for "having our biometrics taken". Which in other words means, we had to give our fingerprints (now we can't escape from a crime without being given away by our fingerprints;) )

We arrived, Subhash's appointment was @ 1PM and mine was @ 2. The guard tried to be a little nasty in asking me to wait one hour and saying he won't let me in @ 1 PM. Which was a little funny considering that the place was empty.

Well anyway, Subhash got done and it was my turn. After all the finger prints, it was the turn of the web camera. I had to get my picture taken. And the most unthinkable of things happened to me. The lady actually asked me to remove my "bottu" (which is another word for vermillion/tilak/bindi). I was infuriated. I asked her if I had to and she was like "yeah, you have to" with a type of I-cannot-help-it-I-am-so-sorry expression.

For a moment there, I had a good mind to walk right out of that place. But I didn't want to over-react. But maybe I wasn't? I have been here ~6.5 years and I have been stared at and asked funny questions (a lady at a Border's Store actually asked me if I was sick and why I was wearing the Tilak, I thought, what a stupid female, and I let it go at that) but I have never been asked to remove it. For me, (you can call me old-fashioned for this), it is an essential part of my attire. I will not lie and say I am the quintessential "Bharat Nari" or anything like that, but I have never gone out without wearing my bindi. If for nothing else, just the fact that I don't like the way I look without it. I have been wearing it for more than 2 decades now and I don't think I can get "un"-used to it at all.

That I had to do this today, infuriated me. Maybe I am over-reacting, but then maybe I am not. Whatever happened to freedom!

And the funniest part was, Subhash had one on his forehead too (a real tiny one) and she never asked him to remove that! Well, there seems to be no end to the weirdness in USCIS and its practices!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A (small?) misunderstanding

I was driving back to work from McCarthy Ranch the other day. I saw this Acura zipping criss cross on the street, ahead of me. We stopped at a light and the sticker on the bumper grabbed my attention. It said something along the lines of "If everyone wanted an eye for an eye, the whole world would be blind" But what was more fascinating is that it had a picture of Gandhi on it and read M.K. Gandhi.

Going by how this guy/gal was driving, it didn't seem like he/she would be anywhere close to "Gandhian". Recklessly and aggressively and even rudely cutting ahead of everyone on a local road that maxed at 40MPH. I was amused. Then I thought, maybe he/she misunderstood what the bumper sticker meant;) Instead of realizing that it was meant to prevent reaction from your own self, maybe this person assumed that it told the world not to react to whatever he/she did? ;)

So instead of learning not to react/honk/respond when someone else was driving bad, it seemed the person was telling everyone around to be Gandhian and not react to his/her "taking an eye".

Well, well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Decided to take my Honda for a spin today. I knew this song was in its CD magazine somewhere. It had been a while since I listened to it. Another good one from Keeravani, a little less popular though. The movie (Aithe) and the song (the lone one in the movie) didn't receive as much kudos as they deserved is what I always felt:) SO much so that the Wikipedia database for Keeravani doesn't show this movie at all. Sigh! I am beginning to doubt if I was mistaken about the music composer for this song...

Anonymous just let me know this:

Kalyani Malik is the one who should be credited with this song.


Aaja Nachle

Caught up with some Bollywood after a loooong time with the girls a couple weeks back. Watched Aaja Nachle. Most of them thought the movie was OK. I thought, both the movie and Madhuri were good. Actually Madhuri was amazing. Her age showed though, but that is what made it all the more amazing. She seems to have lost a lot of weight and the agility with which she danced was mind blowing. Kiran will be really happy to hear this coming from me, but anyway, hats off to her! She was simply superb in the movie:)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ohh California!

An article in Forbes:

Drivers in San Francisco enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge, with scenic stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway to the south and the rural shoreline to the north.

And they pay for it at the pump.

There, the average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached $3.546 Wednesday, up from $2.524 a year ago.

Ten Most Expensive Places to Buy Gas
Rank City
1 San Francisco
2 San Jose
3 San Diego
4 Sacramento
5 Los Angeles
6 New York City
7 Buffalo
8 Seattle
9 Miami
10 Chicago

Top 5 cities of the top 10 in California? And why you ask? Read on...

What's more, the difference between, say, San Francisco and Houston is more pronounced this time of year since California requires cleaner fuel year round. Texas, like many Southern and Midwestern states, eases up on such requirements during the winter months when consumption slows. California's higher environmental standard increases refining costs, which get passed along to the consumer.

Huh. The price you pay for living here!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What is latest?

Lot of things to write. They just kept piling up. Some significant events occurred past week, and I finally made time to pen them down!

Subhash's parents left last week. When they reached home back in Hyderabad, we heaved a sigh of relief. We were a little worried about their really long layover of 20 hours in Singapore. They made it in good shape, my parents informed me after they called on them. I am glad that their trip went off really well. I had been planning this for a year and a half and I am really happy it went as per schedule like clockwork, all that travel within the US and the weather (Can you believe it was 85 in Chicago/Madison when we were there in October?!!!!) et al :) But the house feels terribly empty now and I have been totally working round the clock this week and its just plain "routine" again :(

So what have I been up to. To begin with, taking a class for my CCIE. I should have done this a long time but never got around to it. Just too much work otherwise. But I figured I can never get away with that part, so decided to just do it, work or no work;) The first day was a shocker, instructor informed us that the class is indeed 9.30 AM to 9.30 PM (I thought it was a typo in that email, waa!!). I have been trying to get out by 7 PM at the most, but its just too much networking for one day. Routing and Switching and v4 and v6 and QoS and Multicast and all the good things! I am surprised I am not yet tired of it. Maybe I was made for a tech job after all ;) It is a good thing though, I am learning a lot :D

Other than that, well nothing much. Feels like this week has been split into neat pockets of time into which all my day-to-day tasks are fitting perfectly except there are no pockets left to do anything else;) Hopefully next week will be better.