Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hey All,

Wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New year!
May All your dreams come True and May you all be blessed with lotsa Good Luck to achieve all your Goals. May God Bless you all !!

With Love and Best wishes: Shradha

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ice Ice Baby!

The one thing that i was looking forwad to in winter was snow. Living in Pune, I have never experienced snow. Though it does get very cold but it was never enough to have snow. So this being my first meet with Mr. Snow ;-) I was very excited about it. I was really looking forward to it. Wanted to make snowballs and play around and make snow mans just like in movies. It did start getting cold in October and sometime october 25th we did have out first light snow. They were just flurries. They never even reached the ground.

But what I saw today was amazing.
Unlike rains, it makes no sound so I never realised it was snowing. For a moment as I looked out of my window, I was pleasently surprised. It was snowing. Slowly it snowed heavily and roads, lawn, roof tops, cartops were all white. Wow the site was so beautiful. Experiencing snow was worth it.

I was down with cold and sore throat but I couldn't stop myself from shooting the scene. Wore my gloves, winter cap, thick seater, socks shoes, took my camera along and risked to open the balcony and go outside. Clicked a few snaps which I have uploaded here. Also shot some videos as the snow flakes were attacking me. The temperature has been like -8 to -10 degreesC and with wind blowing, temp. was infact -14 to 16 degreesC. Right now its not snowing but temp. is -16 degreesC. The roads, car and roof tops still remain snow covered as the temp. favors the snow to not melt.. Looking fwd to some more snow to shoot and make ya, my own snow-man :-)

Some snow flakes on the floor. One thing i realised they all seemed to be in a symmetric shape. Shape of a flower, star .. infact varied shapes that too symmetrical.

Surprising isn't it?

One special pic. The snow flaked took the shape of a flower. It looked like a diamond flower ear ring :-)
Snap is not that clear.. but thats the best i could get !

The cars in the car park covered with snow. The road is snow-white as well..

A Final collage of snaps !!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is violence the only answer to violence??

The news came as a shock to me when a friend from India told me about the riots. Buses being burnt, trains being burnt. I wonder what ppl want to proove by doing such things. Did it benift neone? and now what Next ?? What did their anger finally prove. We as citizens have to suffer the loss.. shops broken down, or other property being destructed. Well finally the owners and we citizens have to bear the cost. Buses being burnt only adds to fewer PMT buses. As is it they r in the worst conditions and now with fewer buses, transportation will be affected. Cost of getting new buses.. well..who do u think pays for it.. yep its US!! we will have to shell out more tax i guess ..

I really dont understand if something unfortuante happend in Kanpur, why was the anger shown in Pune and more importantly, why destruct, scare people and make a nuisance of all ??

These people who are involved in such destructions are just a pain in this society and are truely unworthy people. Who are these people who behave in such cruel manner.. are the Educated people involved.. But again, would someone intelligent behave this way. Or is it the uneducated, illiterate people who just want to make a whole big issue ..
In any case, I really wonder what they have gained ??

For those who don't know what happened in Pune, in a gist, this is what the Indian Express had to say:
(of course this is just pune, there has been similar cases in Mumbai and other places too.. )

"For the first time in the twin industrial township's 36-year-old history, shops, commercial establishments and schools shut down and a 24-hour curfew from 6.30 am on Thursday morning was clamped on 14 localities.
Over 160 people were arrested in Pimpri-Chinchwad and booked for rioting, unlawful assembly, damaging public property and carrying arms. At least 91 buses of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Transport were damaged in the violence and the services were off the roads for most part of the day.
PCMT and PMT also suffered huge financial losses as their services were off the roads on Thursday. PCMT general manager Ajit Karche said two buses were completely burnt, while 23 were damaged and they had incurred a loss of Rs 17 lakh.
A PMT spokesman said 68 buses had been damaged since Wednesday and they had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 15 lakh.
IN the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt where violence continued corporates like Bajaj Auto, Kinetic Motors and Forbes Marshall suffered production losses due to low employee turnout.
Forbes Marshall director Farhad Forbes said production was affected as transporters did not operate throughout the day.
Forbes said they expect the disruption to affect 30 per cent of their monthly billing, as much of the supply is on the last two days of the month.
Bajaj Auto also faced similar problems. While employees of the first shift managed to avoid most of the transport problems, several people from the other shifts failed to turn up.
Small and medium businesses in Pimpri Chinchwad were not affected since it was a Thursday. There were broken windows and minor damages, according to Pimpri Chinchwad coordinator for MCCIA Sopan Bhor.
The mob started stoning PMT and PCMT buses. Then, they overturned a few carts. They tried to overturn a bus. Instead, they burnt the bus. All this unfolded over 45 minutes in front of the chowki. The emergency phone number 100 would not get through. 10 police personnel in riot gear come out and dispersed the mob. Not a single arrest was made. The crowd went back to the nearby slum after vandalizing property worth about Rs 1 crore. There were around 20 people in the hospital _ women with children, elderly people, some youth and a bunch of doctors. We were left speechless that such an act of lawlessness went unpunished."

Is it worth it..??
Did all the destruction serve any purpose other than disrupt our normal life and make us poorer wrt to happiness, peace and def. money after all, the expense has to be borne by us?
What can we do as responsible and intelligent citizens?
How can we put a stop to this Stupidity?
What is the role of politicians?? Do they even have a role to play here??
What is the next step... is violence the only answer to violence??
Will there ever be a solution to this problem???

Too many questions.. but will we ever have an answers for them??

As educated and responsible citizens I think its time we start to think about it and make a difference in the current state of the Nation. Is anyone listening ??

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is Gmail = Ev(a)il = Immora(i)l ?

Is Gmail becoming Evil. Is it goin against its own *Mission* statment of, "do no evil" ???

Google claims to use all our data and information kept with them for any future purpose. It will share any non-identifiable portions of the information with anyone they choose. Even if we delete any mail from our inbox or even delete our account, the copies of our data would still remain on their systems !! It brags about never deleting anything from day One. Infact, if the ownership of google changes, the entire accumalation of information will now be accessible to its new owners.

Hmm now how safe is that? Is google getting a li'l too creepy ???

Check out the following links for more ...

Google mail is evil – privacy advocates
'Delete your Google cookie before and after'

Two Poems close to my heart !

Thought I'd share the two poems that are really close to my heart. Both of them, I had first read in School. They are both special because, both say alot... They are very meaningful..and I have learn alot from both.

(By Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

And the other,

Death Be Not Proud
(by John Donne 1572-1631)

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Time for Alice to return from the Wonderland !

(... Part II, of Alice in Wonderland)

Six months just passed in a whizz. Another month to go before i leave this place and go back to my home. As happy and excited I am, I am equally sad. This has been "my home". I remember the empty apartment i moved into. And now its a comfortable home if not posh. I have built it up. Made the "house" to "my home". I am so attached to it now. This place has taught me so much. Firstly being alone, it has made me stronger. Made me wiser to make my own decisions. Made me bolder to be on my own. Made me cautious since I am now alone and also made me independent.

So many things in this place fascinates me. As simple as Food. Am not much a foodie. Or maybe i should say "was" coz today I def. am. So much of variety. Be it in brands and flavors, in price, in taste and in types too.

Ice-creams and Puddings are my daily doze of nourishments. I might have not cooked food some days and lived only on Puddings and Ice creams. All you guys staying in US, try out the Vanilla Pudding. Its awwwwesome! You have,
Cakes: Cheese cakes, regular cakes.. .. ah! mind blowing.
Bread: Garlic Bread, cinamon bread, Plain wheat Bread.. all so Tasty.
Juices: Oranges, Apples, Lemon, Cranberry and many other flavors i haven't heard of.
Oh the list can go on..Well, I tried my best to stay away from Indian food and try all these delicacies.

Let me tell you the Funny and amusing thing I have noticed here.. Its that, the healthier foods like Green leafy vegetables, Tomatoes, Sprouts, they are all hell expensive compared to the junk food like Puddings, Ice-creams, Chocolates, Cakes.
Puddings will cost you 97Cents for a packet of 4, say in Wallmart and around $1.75 in Giant Eagle if you take the store brand leaving the others which are def. more.. While cheapest tomatoes cost $2.49/lb and Green leafy vegetables $3 for a small packet!!
Its like cooking healthy food is a luxury :-) Here comes the Best part: Sometimes these vegetables would be on sale :-) Yes, Imagine Sale for vegetables :-). How funny is that! Yes, I have bought Tomatoes only when they are on SALE !!!

The poor here can afford Cakes, cheese, butter, puddings while in India butter, cheese and cakes are nowhere close to what a poor man has for his meal.
Maybe thats why people here are FAT. They'd rather buy these junk food which are cheap and tasty (and Fatty !!) :-)

Now speaking of People.. there is so much of variety here too :-)
US is definitely a country of Immigrants. "Americans" are people who basically imigrated. Only the Red-Indians are the original Americans i guess.
So you will see different kinda people here in terms of religion, nationality and origin.
What i love about the people here is their way of talking. So calmly and kindly. They would praise you for anything good you say and feel sorry for anything not so good that you say.
I remember, I was talking to a friend here and I happened to mention about something which unfortunately I cannot re-collect. Which means it was'nt really important. But she exclaimed, "Oh Shradha, I am So SORRY so-n-so happened". I said to myself, "Hey its ok.. even m not sorry.. so why r u.. cmon chillax !!"

Infact, earlier when anyone whould greet and ask how you are with an expression that they r so concerned, it really bothered me, coz (1) They were really not concerned and (2) it was so damn Artificial !
Of course, now I am used to it and you shouldn't be surprised if I start talking in the same way to a stranger !!

But yes, this is also a way of respect they show to eachother by greeting. Just that I wish they weren't that artificial! This again applies to some "few" people not all!!

Another Classy thing... Everybody here is very well dressed. Ladies in cool leather jackets, smart sweaters, beautiful clothes and high heeled sandals and boots. Wow it is very impressive that women take so much care of themselves even when they r old and above 45. This is unlike women in India. Lately people might be stylish but most of them would not engage in spending time in taking care of their beauty.
Ah! another common thing here is the mobile... Poor, rich and of course stinking rich! You would see many of the women busy on their Blackberry. Even old ladies busy on their cell phones playing games or messaging someone or else chatting away. This is not what you would see in India. Especially old ladies using cell phones so easily.
Also, many of them, young and old,
will listen to their Mp3 Players mostly iPods, or are busy reading books. So, basically everone in the Tram you see are busy in their own things. Hardly anyone gossiping or talking. Its a nice and peaceful journey in the tram even when it is over crowded.

Well anyways.. ya, i did feel this place uncomfy at the start, But now, I LOVE IT. I am used to living with these people. I dont miss having Indian around me. Infact i never missed that part from the start. I am Ok with living with what we called "firangs" as long as i have friends. And yes I have made some friends too. So its hurts to say Good-Bye. I will miss the people, the city... and also The food !!!
I wish i could take back some good things from here back home. The style of living, the ethics, the respect for eachother and respect for eachother's views,.... not to forget All the Fooooood !!!!

"Wonderlands" dont last forever .. do they ??
Looks like, Alice's trip in a Wonderland will come to an end.. soon. :-(

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Falling in Love with Fall !!

Hey, Its that time of the year, the first of its kind I have ever seen.. Something that is so beautiful and well thought of, by Nature. When most of the trees, from the traditional green, turn into different shades of Yellow, Greens, Reds, Pinks and Orange. The view is just so beautiful. This is the first time I am seeing what "Fall" is.. I am in Love with this season. Nature has indeed groomed the trees so very well for this season !!!

Its so colorful around. The trees around are in so many vivid colors. You will see Yellow, Bright Yellow, Red, Orange, some in shades of various Reds and others which are evergreen stay green. The hill sides covered with trees now make the hill look colorful. It looks like a colorful carpet over the hills. Soon every leaf from the tree falls off and the tree stands tall .. totally bare.

I am just amazed by nature especially the Creator or nature for such a great peice of work. I wanna capture every beautiful scene I have seen, in my camera. I was not very good at photography but my skills have definitely bettered with time. I have placed a few snaps here for those who would like to see the beauty of Nature through my eyes. Hope you see the beauty as I see them and appreciate them all.

About Fall ?? .... Well it starts smwhere around the month of October n goes till the end of November. December 1st is when the official Winter starts here in US. However, temperatures during Fall do fall pretty low. For me, Its already winter!! The sun rises at almost 7.00am and sets by 5.00pm. By 6.30pm its pitch dark !!

The temperature now is ranging from 5 to 6 degrees C as minimum and 14 to 18 degree C would be maximum. When it is around 18, it is nice and sunny and yet you feel the cold breeze blowing. Its very pretty cold but for a change its nice and warm. However, Its seldom that temperature these days. Coz, as soon as it gets this warm, you can see the clouds and soon there are showers and the temperature goes back to being around 4 to 6 degrees C.

I did get to see some extermely low temperatures already. It has gone to as low as -2 to -3 degrees C during the day and even noon. Its been like this for a while now. Though yesterday has been the lowest so far being -8 degreeC.
No, Its not snowing. Something that I am looking out for most. Infact even at that temperature the sun is out and its Bright, Sunny... Cold and yet so Beautiful.
Well its still bearable at -8 degreesC if the wind is not blowing. If there is wind, even a 4degreesC feels like -10 degreesC. Oh that becomes unbearable then.

Its like this, even at -8, it does feels cold.. yet comfortable and nice. But if the wind is blowing, its not really possible to appreciate the weather coz the cold air blowing most of the time is pretty harsh & severe and somtimes uncomfy to breathe too.

Everytime the temperature is in minus, I am all excited that finally I will get to see snow. But till now... not been really lucky yet :-(
Well, Ok, couple of weeks back there was a li'l snow shower. Flurries as they call it here .. and Yes, It was finally my first snow experience. Totally worth it and really very Beautiful. But am waiting for the real sno where i can collect and throw on someone ;-) and make a snow man!

And what I also got to see last week was, the Hail storm. This version was very much a true hail storm and not like the fairly light one I have seen in Pune at times. Here there was wind blowing strong, all leaves from trees flying in the air. Heavy rain which was now also accompanied with Ice. There was rain falling from all directions due to the winds blowing hard.
The wet roads with ice was making it difficult for the cars to drive smoothly. You could hear them screech. All the cars that were parked were covered with ice. They all were white. It was scary for the first time that i experienced it. But like i said before, totally worth it :-)

For now I am glad the temperature is still not at its the worst... its a long way before that happens !

The leaves that were once green,
are now turning to yellow, red with oranges & pink in between.
Oh dear, these leaves will soon Fall,
And leave alone the bare tree, to stand tall!
The new leaves will now come back in spring,
And Evolution will yet again begin !
So much in awe, I am, with the beauty that Fall brings us,
The hills, they all look as if covered with carpet with vivid colors.
Oh so beautiful are your colors o Trees!
Will say the same thing he who sees!
Soon winter will arrive and snow will have everything white-out,
And then its just White is the only color that we can see n talk about!
Autumn, Its surely Mother Nature's one of the Best creation,
something so phenomenally n so perfectly done!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Love is in the Air !!!

This one is dedicated to someone I know.. who is so in love with the love she has found :-) !

When in Love, everything feels so nice and beautiful,
Everything around feels so calm and cool!
You see Beauty in everything around,
Hear Light Music in every sound.
You feel the waves dance as the water flows along the Bay,
Hear the Tree's sweet wisper as they begin to sway.
The night looks beautiful with the moon shining bright,
and Every moment of your life feels so Right!

You try to see right in ever wrong,
see the beauty in the words of ever song!
Your Life feels so complete to have him around,
and just wanna be with him forever as if Time were No bound.
When he is around you are so cheerful,
Life just seems so Colorful!
Just thnking of him makes you smile,
and you Miss him if he is away for a while!

He brings Happiness when you are Sad,
Cools off your anger when you are Mad.
Is your strength when you are weak
Is your voice when you cannot speak!

You are so confident coz he is with you,
and I am sure he is lucky to have found you too!
Never have I seen you this way before, my friend,
I wish this happiness in your life will never end!
When I see you, that how love has changed you,
I am Happy for you and that you've found your love so True!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Yehi hai Right Choice Baby!

I was doing some research for buying a car for a friend of mine. Thought it would be good to share the li'l homework i did and hence this article.

Well lately, the Automobile industry has had a terrific boom. The automobile market in India has come long way today. Looking back I remember when we had only a few choices to make when one had to buy a car. Infact buying a car in itself was such a Big thing. There was Fiat, Ambassador and Maruti 800. My father owned a Fiat himself which he loved very much to sell for a very long time until we refused to sit in it :-( and he bought a Fiat Palio. Today I understand the attachment he had for the first he bought. I dont wanna sell off my scooty too. It is my first mo-bike. I have practically grown using it.

Anyway moving on.. what I want to say is... Today the market is so different. You have a whole list of cars you can buy from and a whole long list of manufacturers. Like, you not only have a choice to buy a car from its make but also depending on the Body Style. You have "n" choices if you want the Sedan, some more if you want hatch-back type of body style. Then you have vans, SUVs. U name it and we have it all in the market.

Frankly speaking, I dint study the auto market and the requirements/specifations much when my dad was buying a car. I did look at the various options in terms of their make since hatch-back was the body-style decided as it was suitable for my family of four. Also considering I had just learnt to drive, I dint wanna test drive on a big car with sedan body style even though i'd loved to have one. My dad of course did alot of research and we soon bought the Fiat Palio.

Today, market has much more to offer. Buying a car is not an easy affair at all. A friend of mine wants to buy car and asked for my suggestion. Knowing that its his first car and would be using it daily, that too in Mumbai, without any much research done by me, I was suggesting Maruti Alto all the time. I have read a lot of reviews and yes its the best amongst all. But for my own interest, I thought, lets take this one step forward and do an optimum research before comming up with a car for him.

Driving on the roads in a stylish car with posh looks, smooth engine to just sail you through, comfortable seats and some good music playing is what one would love to have. But this is not the only thing you would look out for when buying a car especially when buying a car becomes a requirement than luxury. Yes, I would give anything to get such a car. But when you want to get the best out of your car and its you first car, I am sure you will want to spend some more time and think about it.

Its defintely a game of matching your Requirements and Cost. Its a matter how u can fit in all the features u want an yet get it in a the budget you've alloted for it.
So as i started reading about various cars available today, I must confess it was getting more n more confusing with every next car specifications I read. So I had to restart and this time did it the right way!

I asked myself what kind of car i wanted.. Then saw various models the market had to offer. Now with all the specifications, I made a list of all the features I want in my car. Slowly all the odd ones were out and I think i made my selection.

So what is that I would look out for in a car:

1. Performance
2. Fuel Economy.
3. Low maintance cost.
4. Safety.
5. Comfortable for all to sit. Leg space and space to fit in 5 people comfortably.
6. Brand and its Support & maintance.
7. Resale value.

As studied, as of today the avilable cars for hatch-back are:
Tata-Indica, Hyundai-Santro, Maruti-Alto, Maruti-Swift, Hyundai-Getz, Ford-Fusion, Fiat Palio and coming soon: Chevrolate-Aveo.

Now for daily purpose when you go drivng to your office, first thing you would look out for in your car is fuel economy. Given the fuel-efficiency for the cars listed as per site "Carwale", the milage for all above cars are like:

This is for overall milage (average of city + highways)
Tata-Indica: Bearable but could have been better

Hyundai-Santro: Good enough
Maruti-Alto: Best
Maruti-Swift: Good
Hyundai-Getz: Not that good.
Ford-Fusion: Forget it!

Maruti offers the best milage. If you look closely (on the site), engine power is also pretty neat. In this case its Swift that gives that added advantage while Alto is lowest amongst all. Re-sale value for Maruti has always been the best or as per what i read what most people had to say.
Hyundai-Santro apart from lower milage, has another bad point which is seating space. The leg space for the seats behind is very bad.
Indica is more like a rough vehicle. Its not sophisticated. Hence out it goes.
Ford Fusion is worst in milage especially not worth for its cost.
Hyundai-Getz has good looks. Its stylish. But fuel economy is the lowest after Ford Fusion. And as we know, the word "but" negates the statement made before it, so now, looks don't matter anymore and out it goes.

So I think that the list has narrowed down to a choice between:
Maruti-Alto and Maruti-Swift.

Maruti has good service centers so support and maintainence is no issue there.
Performance for Alto is widely known. After Maruti800 became a National Hit in the small size cars long back, today Alto has got the top ranking.

Now considering the minimal mandatory features we look out in a car like:

1. Central locking
2. Child safety Locks.
3. Power steering.
4. Folding rear seats so that the space can be utilised for other purpose like loading the car wth baggages and stuffs.
5. Power windows (optional)
6. Tubeless tyres (optional)

Swift offers them all. Probably for Alto you will have to re-configure them and pay extra price.
So lowest model of Swift (Maruti Swift LXi) costing a li'l more than Rs. 4Lakhs has most of the features you would want today.
On the other hand, higher end model of Alto (Maruti Alto LXi - BS III) costs alomost Rs. 3Lakhs but has many features you would still want to have. Hence some added cost.

I remember, before i did any research, I kept "advising" my friend, "Go for Alto. Its the best.. cheap and good!". Also coz Sadly i never liked the looks of Swift, I was more inclined to Alto. Of course I don't know how much of my advise he would even take. But now that I had done a li'l bit of homework I think i can backup or justify the suggestion i make this time, than just give one based on the mere looks. I had sorted out what I expect from my car and what the market has to offer, had a good Price vs Features comparsion for the models. And with that, I can only say, "Go for Swift my Friend!"

For all those who wish to buy a hatchback car, a 5 seater, latest, stylish, comfortable and economical car, Swift is a right choice to make!

Btw, for all those who want to do some comparision and a good study of cars, i did find this site Carwale good. Its got some good tips to buy a car and also to carry out research for cars in your price range or specifications. You can compare the cars you like. This is for both Old and New cars it has to offer.
And if you want to sell a car, this place has got all the information for that too.

I had a wonderful time doing this re-search. Hope it was useful to you too!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Men have higher IQ than women ????

Hmm here is something that caught my eye.. thought i will put up the link here..

Click here for more ...

Well well well.... Whether Boys have higher IQ or not, I think its easier to believe and accept, Boys will Always remain Boys :-p

All in all, there are some times when women are much more superior than men while in some respects, yes, believe it or not ;-) men are simply outstanding!

anyway enjoy reading that article!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hello This is Ryan,.. How can I help you today....

Thanks giving is the next long vacation before i leave for India in December and so I thgt of visitng another cousin of mine. She stays in Atlanta.. So after fighting hard to get good deals, i finally booked tickets to go there after rates suddenly fell. I got the ticket. But it had some expiry date mentioned in the internary which i mistook to be 20th of Sept 2006 while it was for 2007. So puzzled what that expiry dae was, I called up the customer care of Delta service.

I dial, 1-800-...... and i get the automated voice asking me for all the details like confirmation number and others. After some 5 whole minutes of exchanging my info with an automated voice, she said, "If you want to speak to our revservation representative, please say-Representative "

I mumbled, "Thank God for small mercies" I was bored of listening to that lady's voice..
Anyway.. in no time, I am connected to a representative. So here is our conversation:

Representative (R): Hello, This is Ryan, Thank you for calling Delta customer service. How can i Help u today?
Me: Hi, This is Shradha Nayak. I just made a reservation yesterday and in the Iternary there is some expiration date of 20th Sept 2006 mentioned.. I am puzzled !

R: Well mam this means your ticket is valid for a year. It is Sept. 2007 and so for the whole next year your ticket is valid. If you want to change the date of flying, you can do so by issuing a new ticket against this one. The charges are blah. blah blah...
Me: Ohh Thank you. I mistook the date to be Sept 2006. Thank you for the infromation.

R: No Problem Mam. So are you an Indian?
Me: Yes I am!

R: Oh! Thats great me too!
Me: Oh is it!
R: Well i guessed from your name in the iternary.

R: So mam, u need'nt worry. Your ticket is confirmed and it is valid till next year. With a fees of just $50 you can make changes if you want!
Me: Oh ok. But thats ok. Thanks for the information.

R: You are welcome mam. So from where are u in India?
Me: From Pune.

R: This is yet another good news mam.
Me: ??? !!! ??? huh ??

R: I am in Pune too!
Me: Oh is it.. The call has reached a call center in India?? So is there a Delta customer service call center in Pune?

R: No mam, Delta has out sourced it to Wipro.
Me: Oh I see!

R: Btw, I am Rahul! and from your iternary your name seems to be Shradha.
Me: Hmmmm

R: You are in US as permanant?
Me: huh ??!!??

R: I mean, you are in US for long time?
Me: (in my mind: For whatever reason u need to know !!!!!!!! ) ugh! yes i have come on a project.

R: Thats great. So you flying to Atlanta.. Thats great. Have a happy journey! Enjoy your vacation!
Me: Ya thanks.. and Thanks for the information (this is the third time i said this sentence)

R: Take Care and have a Good Day!
Me: (In my mind: Hmm Thank God) Thanks, u too!

R: We at Delta will always like to help you!
Me: Hmm ok Bye!

R: Bye!
(disconnect the call)
Me: Phew!

Boy! I was so glad that, the conversation had ended, i got the information i needed and ya, that i could now get back to work!
Well it was good to know that the job is out sourced to India.. People get employed. But Its so sad to work at night shifts.. Poor guys.. And worst of all, They are trained to speak with that false American accent and worse to change their name.
I hear from so many Indians here that some Americans DONT like Indians. They dont want to interact with them and so these call centers are trained to speak with that accent to make the Americans feel at home !!!!???!!! How disgusting! They want cheap labour and they also wanna feel at home!
You cant eat the cake and have it as well !!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Welcome to Air Deccan - A FUNNY fwd I received

This forward makes fun of the Indian state of flights.. Bet its not that bad.. but the number of passengers and ya air crafts is definitely increaing there.. so quality seems to be degrading too..
Well talking about the increase in flights.. US Flights might soon face the problem of congestion too .. I have already expereinced 2 delays n cancellation of flights only due to air congestion.. so many flights in the air ???!!!??? Its comparable to the two wheelers in Pune !
It is also predicted that in some years every 5 mins, there could be accidents in the air :-o dont know how true this info is..

Anyway for now enjoy this forward..

" Welcome to Air Deccan

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

This is your captain PATEL welcoming both seated and standing passengers on board of Air Deccan.

We apologize for the four-day delay in taking off, it was due to bad weather and partly due to the search for a missing tyre.

This is flight 717 to Mumbai. Landing there is not guaranteed, but we will End up somewhere in India. And, if luck is in our favor, we may even be landing on your village!

We have an excellent safety-record. In fact, our safety standards are so high, that even terrorists are afraid to fly with us! It is with pleasure; I announce that, starting this year, over 30% of our Passengers have reached their destination.

If our engines are too noisy for you, on passenger request, we can arrange to turn them off. To make your free fall to earth pleasant and memorable, we serve Complimentary DHARU and Wada paaw. For our not-so-religious passengers, we are the only airline who can help you find out if there really is a God!

We regret to inform you, that today's in-flight movie will not be shown as we forgot to record it from the television. However, for our movie buffs, we will be flying right next to Kingfisher Airline, where their movie will be visible from the right side of the cabin window.

There is no smoking allowed in this airplane. Any smoke you see in the Cabin is only the early warning system on the engines telling us to slow down!

In order to catch important landmarks, we try to fly as close as possible. For the best view, if however, we go a little too close, do let us know. Our enthusiastic co-pilot sometimes flies right through the landmark!

Kindly be seated, keep your seat in an upright position for take-off and fasten your seat-belt. For those of you who can't find a seat-belt, kindly fasten your own belt to the arm of your seat. And, for those of you who can't find a seat, do not hesitate to get in touch with a stewardess who will explain how to fasten yourself to your suitcase. "

:-)) i hope Indian flights are not that bad as this post describes... And i hope i dont experience a flight delay as i fly to Grand Rapids today...
Yes me going there for Labor day long weekend to spend time with my family there.. looking fwd to it..

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fun with Notepad

This is something really nice and useful i read about Notepad..

You create a notepad .txt file. Give it any name u wish. At the start of the file, write .LOG
Thats it.. and save it and close it.
Next time u open it, it will open the file with the time stamp. You can see the time stamp appended at the end of the file with the cursur after the time stamps.

So now you can log events whose time you would like remember .. write notes and save them

Its cool.. its useful .. Try it out..

Alice in wonderland...

This is about my experience in USA. Hmm I will write this in parts... They are just my thoughts and are not in any order.. just as and when i feel it..

So here is part (I) :

As i finally landed in the USA after a journey of around 25 hours, I knew i was gonna be up to alot of surprises during my stay. And ya, USA has given me more of surprises till now than ever. From people: their dressings to their attitude. From infrastructure: facilities for everyone whether poor, rich or even disabled. Seasons: from the rains to the summer and now the fall. Their culture their thinking.. so different from what we see in India. I really felt like i was Alice in Wonderland.. so much to explore so much to learn and so much to appriciate...

Well, I am staying in my rented apartment. My apartment is in one of the posh localities of Pittsburgh with the main Shopping malls just around the corner. Very few of such apartments will you find here. Mostly people live with their family in houses: Small cottages/bungalows. Beautiful ones having the look of ancient houses made of stone and some even like castles.

These apartments are owned by a company and are given on rent. So mostly those who stay here are ones who don't own a house. Indians who work here, ya lots of them, stay in these apartments. Since they cannot afford to buy a house as soon as they arrive or like me they have come for a small assignment. For those who staying her for long, I am guessing after working for around 6-7 years they can think of buying a house.. again, if they are sure they want to settle here. So other than Indians, I think those who stay in these apartments are old couples. Those who have sold off their house and are ready to retire and no longer want to take care of a house. After all it is a Big job here..
Here is one thing that surprised me..
Mowing the lawn after the grass in ur lawn grows to a certain height is mandatary and can be punishable by law if not taken care of.. I have never heard of smthing like that in India.. There during rains, the buildings would have a whole lot of wild plants, weeds growing and noone ever objected.

One So good thing is, Here an average old person lives for at least 80-85 and yes they are pretty strong and independent even at that age. Here facilities for old people amazes me. There are the automatic wheelchairs for those who cant walk. The roads, the apartments and even stations: they are so well maintained and kept for the disabled. The roads are not a bit close to Indian roads. So clean and so good. One can easily maneuver their way themselves even on the wheelchair. The stations have elevators and even escalators to help the old. The
apartments have special car parks for the disabled and elevators. You can Grannys and Grandpas zoom away in their car. They need'nt be dependent on anyone.. Coz driving is so easy and Yes so systematic. Old people at the age of 60-75 easily move out in car. Now how good is that. I feel so bad for our grannies who are so dependant on their sons and daughters. A life like this would have been so Good.

Talking about roads.. Its Fantastic here. No "khadda" like pune roads. No potholes and manholes. I haven't seen dust or mud ever since i came here. Along the roads there will be lawn or trees. No land is left as it is. There will be a lawn or sometimes the wood shavings or even flower plants. The path to my office through which the Tram goes is through forest like area. Full of trees and flowers. Lawn and plants.
In Fact, there are deer and rabbits
roaming here freely. Ya this is something i was so excited to see. I have seen more deer and rabbits than cats and dogs. There are NO stray animals. But the number of pet dogs i have seen are less than the deer i have seen. In India, u see a deer and next minute he is shot.. :-D

Really feels like paradise. The infrastructure is so good. So well maintained roods, pavements, tunnels and bridges. Downtown is an area where there are intersections of 3 main highways.. there are double decker bridges and the way all the highways stand, its really amazing. So well studied and researched city for building up an infrastructure of this kind with wonderful roads and highways. The well maintained buses and trams. All automated to collect money from passengers and all with air conditioners. All so comfortable.

Traffic rules are followed so well by people. Even the roads are marked so well. Some lanes are there, only for those who wanna turn left at next crossings. You cant go there just beocoz there is noone on there and yet go straight. There are some emergency lanes which are used only by police or ambulance in case of emergencies. That lane has to be kept empty completely. I had never even heard of something like that before.
Pedestrians are given highest priority.There are fixed crossing where you should cross roads from. People drive very fast here. But at the crossings, they make sure they slow down and let the people walk. At some places there are buttons you press and vehicles are made to stop and then u cross. In India, If you cross the road and a vehicle comes, he definitely takes you to the other side.. way to far on the other side.. up in heaven :-) but here you will never see that.

Great isn't it !! That was only about the infrastructure and facilities. Living here is really like living is Paradise. All so goody goody. Life here is so much simpler. If i could get my family here and stay here forever.. i would def. not think twice of settling here. Or let me put it this way.. How i wish India was like this.. So clean, well systematic.. so easy for all... I wish i could take all the good things from here and go back to India and change India to be one like this..

.. to be continued..

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wikimapia your way through...

After coming to the USA, its become a habit to look into google map or google earth for any information required about the place. You wanna go to downtown by car, look into Google map, give the start address as your home and end address as downtown. Voila! all the details to get there is given. Even the exact distance is given, 0.1 mile means u have to go ONLY 0.1 mile.. 81feet means just that. not more not less :-D USA is vey well updated in Google earth or map. Every detail is given. I can even see my current house, Dorchester towers, Pittsburgh 15241 on it. I can even show u my flat there :-) Its that good.
However my actual home back in India is not found when i give the zip code or address to Google earth/map. I can see the building on google earth but that is by guesing. Hmm it might take some time for Pune to be updated on that with such minute details...

However, a friend of mine, Pradeep, today passed me the link to another site:
This one is a wiki. Some places are already shown. You search for yours and u can mark it. So now next time, someone else can see that marked on the map too. So i searched for my home in Pune and marked it :-) Here many places in Pune are mapped : Anandnagar, null stop, fergusson college etc.. Bhusari colony, Salunke vihar road is shown too.. Wow I loved it !

I guess its still new.. Not all places in USA is marked. I marked my home in Pittsburgh too..

You can have a look.. its cool..

Am Back

Yep m back.. after a long break..
Well I was busy with getting myself ready for my official trip... Am here in Pittsburgh.. landed here on 20th May... and then was busy setting up my home and making my empty house into a cozy-comfy home....

I am loving this life here.. Filing my kitchen with lotsa food stuffs for me to hog..
ya becoming a total foodie with all junk food.... taking care of my home ..
Cooking cleaning the house ya can be a pain at times, but after some hard work and my house becomes clean.. the smile on the face is priceless :-)
Enjoying the walk near the lovely gardens at downtown.. watching the sunset here .... Ohh !! its great here...

In a nutshell, Yes I am enjoying myself here.. work is
good.. and life is good except for the home sickness viral fever that keeps coming.. hmm but i am handling that well too.. u can check for snaps at
enjoiii !!!

Will write about my experiencces here and the great friends i have made...
hmm later though..

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Recent Trip to Udupi

This post is about my short trip to Udupi, my native place where i had been to, last weekend. Me needed a break from my work (hope my manager never gets this link) and also in general needed a break from the routine life i was living. My life was taking the shape of an erroneous program in C stuck in an infinite loop. void main()
for( ; ; )

Ok here you will notice that my sentences are as if i were speaking. I tried to be formal and goody-goody in my previous posts but thats not what i can relate to. I wanna write just as i get words in my mind. Let it just flow ;-) So you will notice in this post and i guess in all my posts from now on that the sentences are very casual and i might not even bother to write 'I' in caps. I'll leave it for u to assume it is that way. I might not use "I" and use "me" for describing myself.. like me went for trip. me did this or me did that... I wont be able to tell u what all changes i might make in english grammar as of now. U will see it as u read...

So getting back to my Udupi Trip... Let me start off .. ahem...i mean let me continue by telling you how my excitement was building. I decided to meet my relatives one fine day when realized that i wanted to get out of Pune for a much required break. I was to go alone to Karnataka since my folks were busy. I was not bothered. I was all excited to travel alone. I haven't done that before so twas all the more exciting or me. The journey to Udupi used to be a very long one before where it would take 22 odd hours to reach Pune. With the introduction to luxury buses, the time reduced to 18 odd hours and soon with the High tech buses the time reduced to some 14 odd hours. Today the time is 11 hours in the Volvo bus. Awesome!!! The bus is so smooth that you feel you flying. Journey is faster and better with no back ache, neck aches and leg sprains.
And all i had to do was get in the bus here, sleep as i have to take avomin. Its my savior since i have a bad motion sickness. The night passes like a second and early morning u r there. I have my maternal uncle waiting for me at the bus stop. So i dint have to do anything much other than sleeping. Ohh the movie they played in bus was Titanic. Ohhh Dint wanna watch it again so preferred sleepin !!!

So friday evening i hurry back from office after finishing all the pending work. My dear mom has packed my bag and kept them ready for me. I must tell you i went with just 2 bags. One for my clothes and one with some food, my purse etc. So its just 2 bags.. u'll realize why am stressing on the number later. I take the bus at 6.45pm Its supposed to leave at 7.00. But this is KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) bus. A Government bus, so u can guess that punctuality/time management and government buses do not go hand in hand. The bus was delayed by 1/2hr. But hey! i had no reasons to complain. After all i had to meeting to attend next day. Cmon, I was on a vacation.. i was to enjoy every moment. and more since the bus was so comfortable. Soon the avomin showed its effect so i dozed off. Saturday Morning, at around 8.00 I found my uncle waiting for me at Udupi Stop.

It was great to be with my relatives. I used to stay there for months when i was in school. It used to be our summer camp for so many years together. But as i grew up the duration of stay decreased. Hmm anyway Here i was in Udupi and all excited to meet all the relatives. Before that, lemme give u all a li'l general knowledge about Udupi. Udupi - then a small town and now a district is famous for being the abode for Lord Krishna. This place is famous for the Krishna Mutt. The kananakindi which is the window through which Kanaka das, a lower caste citizen gazed with eyes brimming with faith at the back of Lord Krishna's statue. he was not allowed in and so he worshiped Lord through this window. They say, Lord Krishna's heart melted seeing his faith and one day the statue turned to give blessings to Kanaka Das. From that day on, this window got the name Kanaka Kindi which means Kanaka Window in Kanada. Hmmm For more details you can check the links below:

And here in this very town, my parents grew up. My Mom is from hard-core town of Udupi while my dad from a town close by, at a distance of 40Kms or so, called Koteshwar. Koteshwar however is famous for the "Kotilinga Devasthan" which means the temple where there are Crore Linga of Lord Shiva. The main temple here is the temple having a crore linga of Lord Shiva. For now lets take a U-Turn back to Udupi.
Ohh!! Udupi has changed so much. Earlier it were a small town with shops and bungalows. Today it has expanded so much. It has shopping malls, Tall buildings and many other amenities you would find in Pune. Maybe not a Shopper's Stop or Westside but ya the shops are good enough and sell good stuff. I was really surprised to see the change. One interesting thing here are the bus facilities. Pune being so big and populated has one of the worst bus services. Udupi however has a great advantage on this front. The buses there are private. And so many. One after the other you'll find buses to various locations. The drivers however are rash in order to reach their destinations early. Thats their slogan.. "to take their customers home early" but ya at the cost of their lives :-) You can find express buses that stops only at big towns while regular one stops at every 5 meters think.

Most of the journey for me when i go from Udupi to Koteshwar is really very relaxing. You will see a very traditional south india there. Small houses, Coconut tress all around, rivers flowing below the bridge you cross. Fishermen walking, ladies with the traditional flowers on their head. Well combed hair. Men in "Lungis" :-) Of course not all :-) a few... Women with Gold and ya lots of them. Temples with people over flowing. Infact whenever you see many ladies hanging out together you can guess there is some temple near by. Thats the best station where ladies "Network" there.

Koteshwar is a small town when compared to Udupi. My paternal relatives stay there. This place was the same as before. Not much change in the place nor in the peoples mentality. Let me not get to that for now.
Sometimes its a pain to put up the smile when u meet so many people whom you might not even recognize and when they ask u.. " Did u recognize me? You were so small when i saw you!" Exactly.. if it were so long that i saw u last, then how am i to recognize ???!!!??? Then some go "Do you know who i am.. am your dads aunts sisters nephews sons wife" and i am staring at them wondering why dont they just leave me alone! Phew! No wonder i was glad to get out of there...

Back at my head-quaters, Udupi, I was busy convincing my cousins to go to then beach next day. After convincing my cousins a li'l they agreed for goin to the beach. When i was small I used to go to the beach very often with my grandad. After he passed away it had come down to zero. This time i made up my mind to go to the beach. And it was such a great experience i must tell you. Clean beach absolutely. Whitish sand. You'll find so many people in the water. Every age. Kids to grown-ups to Oldies. It was awesome. The beach we went was Malpe Beach.

So i did go to Krishna Mutt as well. The latest trend there is to give a rupee to the elephant there and Thud !! you get blessings by the elephant's trunk on your head ! Oh its kinda cute. I got it three times.
One would wonder what i was in so much need of that i required so many blessings. But the scene was such everyone around it had it 2-3 times too. Surprisingly lots of people giving elephant bananas dont get the blessings. The mahut has cleverly taught the elephant to give he "thud" when one gives him money. Hmmm smart mahout i must say. I wonder how he managed it. I heard before this elephant, there was another one whom the mahout hurt by putting something in his nose in order to punish. The poor elephant too in fear and rage ran helter skelter and damaged few shops and homes around the temple. Many people were injured too. The mahout then ran for his life and never returned. For no fault of the elephant was punished and then taken away. I just hope not all elephant see this. Rest all the days were full of visiting relatives and going shopping with cousins and soon i was coming back. Though the few days i stayed was hectic, I had a great admiring the town growing to become a city soon. The scene, the warm people, the beautiful temples. It was then time to come back. My granny sent me so many things with me. Like i mentioned i went with 2 Bags but i was back with 7. Yes 5 boxes added to my list. But just as how excited i was to go to Udupi, thats how sad i was to leave it. I had a great time. Will always have fond memories as i leave to come back next in another years time.

Here are few of the snaps with my folks in Udupi. And while i was staying with my artist brother, i learnt photography from him too. So here are a few pics from my gallery :-)