30 May 2008

Facebook - My latest obsession…

I guess all networking sites are cool but I never really spent any time on them… Someone would send an invite, I would accept and that was the end of it…never used these sites actively to search for old friends or make new friends…
The first time I appreciated these was when one of my friends from BSF School, Jammu found a friend of ours on Batch Mates whom we had not been in touch with for 17 years.
Then a couple of weeks later I got a mail from a friend from Welhams…thatz like a friend from 19 years back…who found me on Facebook… since then I have got hooked to this site…we have our own group …the Welhams Batch of 91…and in one shot I have caught up with 35 odd friends from school…
Many posted recent snaps and as I looked at those snaps …I was like ….how some of us have changed over the years…To put things in perspective I loaded some snaps from our school days…I had them handy thanks to my blogging… In August 2007 I did one post on Hockey in Welhams (this pic is now the profile pic of our group) and then in September I did one on our social service activities.
I never thought I would meet anyone of these friends again…but recently B was in London and we caught up…next month S and A are going to be around…its wonderful meet up with such old friends…

29 May 2008

Dickens Unplugged

Last weekend went to watch the musical comedy show Dickens Unplugged based on the life and works of Charles Dickens. It was done so well… absolutely hilarious and made me want to go back and read my Dickens.

A less than 2 hrs musical journey through several books, it was at breakneck speed...you would get an idea when you see the list of books covered - Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities...
And all this is interspersed with hilarious biographical snippets from Dickens' life, with repeated hints to his obsession with the bludgeoning scene in Oliver Twist.

Amazingly, the cast consists of only 5 male actors who enact a total of 104 characters between them and don hats, crutches and wedding gowns to play each of the characters from Dickens’ life and works. They use an incredible mix of musical styles.

The play starts with an introduction by the 4 boys from California who call themselves “the biggest Charlie Dickens Tribute Band in Santa Cruz”…
Next is a scene from Charlie Dickens’s bleak childhood at the boot blacking factory...with 2 jovial numbers - 'Made by real children' and ‘Aint Goin Back To Blackin’

The cast then reproduce Oliver Twist with the song and dance numbers from Oliver! Thoroughly enjoying themselves until Dickens himself storms in.
“Oliver Twist is bleakly realistic” he admonishes them.
“That’s way different to the movie,” is the disbelieving response.

They literally gallop through some of the stories... the complex Bleak House reduced to a 30 second country and western song...Similarly for The Old Curiosity Shop...

David Copperfield and the song on Uriah Heep was hilarious...

Either before or after DC is a snippet about Charles Dickens complicated marriage and numerous children...There’s a wonderful scene in which Dickens asks his wife to leave and she manages to encapsulate all the resentments of 18 years of less than perfect marriage into one short blistering diatribe..."I am so sick of your sh*t!"

A quite chirpy 'A Tale of Two Cities' complete with a Guillotine scene with chopped off heads was really quite brilliant...

This was followed by a bit on Charles' Dickens final years… quite hilarious...as he enacts the bludgeoning scene in Oliver Twist one last time.... finishing with his rendition of 'I’m going home to have a stroke'

Christmas Carol is then given the full treatment with Tiny Tim’s crutch doubling as an electric guitar.

Overall...I would say quite a bit of silliness...but thoroughly enjoyable...

23 May 2008

Patricia Cornwell

A couple of weeks back I was depressed...my library had closed down for refurbishment. They did open in an alternative place...but only 3 days a week for a couple of hours. My library opened 7 days a week and on Fridays it was open till 8:00 PM!!!
I happened to mention this to my colleague and next day she bought a book for me. The cover was sinister and the name weird –Cruel and Unusual.
I doubted that I would enjoy that book...but I thought something is better than nothing...a couple of chapters and I was hooked. And a few days later I stayed up till 3:00 AM to finish that book...
Currently I am reading Blow Fly by the same author...half way through now. When I started the book I thought so many characters, different locations...how do they stick together...but as the plot unravels...it is amazing...
I have always enjoyed mystery books...whether it was Secret Seven & Famous Five as a kid, or Nancy Drew and Hardy boys as a teenager, or finally Agatha Christie, M M Kaye, Sherlock Holmes. Now Blow Fly has made me an absolute fan of Patricia Cornwell.
She’s a crime writer and both the above books are from a popular series featuring the heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner. They involve a great deal of detail on forensics - innovative but sometimes quite grisly…Gripping and horrifyingly good…
However, when I discussed her with another friend, she said she loved the initial few books but the quality has been dwindling…
Guess I’ll just concentrate on her earlier works!!!

22 May 2008

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach

I have read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach many times and each time this book manages to make me look at my career and life from a different perspective…
‘Great things come in small packages’ holds so true for this book, which is just a little more than 100 pages, many of which are up-close pictures of seagulls courtesy photographer Russell Munson.
Even though it is overly simplistic, it stays in your mind for always. A very heart-warming story about Jonathan Livingston, a sea gull…but unlike other sea gulls of his flock that just want to glide along, he wants to soar high like the eagles and attain speeds that sea gulls have never even thought about. He wants to perform acrobatics…he wants to attain perfection in his flying techniques…
He thinks that flying is for more than just getting some scraps for eating…
As others search for food, he keeps practicing and for this eventually he is labeled an outcast…
But he persists, till he finds more like him many years later. He then returns to his flock and slowly and patiently works on them till his ideas are accepted by others from his flock who then become his students…
It is a book that one can easily apply to our culture where change is dreaded and feared. Then someone with the vision comes along…the resistance, the criticism he faces. The difficulty as he tries to keep faith in his beliefs, how many a times he would have just wanted to give up…all these emotions are so well handled in this book.
This book is about discovering your individuality. It is for those people who want more out of their lives…
And as I read this book this time I couldn’t help thinking about A, who I met recently…he fits the bill of a JLS

21 May 2008

20 May 2008

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.

15 May 2008

The Yukon Song - Calvin & Hobbes

Today I am humming the Yukon Song....

My tiger friend has got the sled,
And I have packed a snack.
We're all set for the trip ahead.
We're never coming back!

We're abandoing this life we've led!
So long, Mom and Pop!
We're sick of doing what youve said,
And now it's going to stop!

We're going where it snows all year,
Where life can have real meaning.
A place where we wont have to hear,
"Your room could stand some cleaning."

The Yukon is the place for us!
That's where we want to live.
Up there we'll ge to yell and cuss
And act real primitive.

We'll never have to go to school,
Forced into submission,
By monst, crabby teachers who'll
Make us learn addition.

We'll never have to clean a plate,
Of veggie glops and goos.
Messily we'll masticate,
Using any fork we choose!

The timber wolves will be our friends.
Well stay up late and howl,
At the moon, till nightmare ends,
Before going on the prowl.

Oh, what a life! we cannot wait,
To be in that arctic land,
Where we'll be masters of our fate,
And lead a life that's grand!

No more of parental rules!
We're heading for some snow!
Good riddance to those grown-up-ghouls!
We're leaving! Yukon Ho!

14 May 2008

Mother’s Day…

Different countries,different days to celebrate motherhood...
Which means we ended up confusing our mom when I wished her on 2nd March and then a few days later on March 21 my brother wished her...and finally my sister surprised her on May 11th...

But I guess even if we celebrate Mother’s Day every day of the year, it is not enough a tribute to Mothers...Someone has rightly said MOTHER IS A VERB.

Everybody thinks that their mother is the best...and I am no exception...
She has been God’s blessing in my life and I want to thank her for showing me what I am made of, and giving me support and strength during really tough times.

Her life has been quite a roller coaster, and all her children gave her enough anguish :-(( yet her love for us is unconditional. It surprises me from where she gets her strength, positive outlook and optimism in the face of difficulty...

While many people would criticize the way she bought up her kids...I wouldn’t agree...we’ve all turned up just fine...

She is also my best friend…my confidante and I can talk to her about anything under the sun, knowing that she will understand, advice and not be judgmental...

Bottom line is MY MOMMY BESTEST!!!

07 May 2008

Explorer Day Out To Bath

To really know and experience a city is by taking a walking tour of the city...
Bath is considered the world's most perfect Georgian city. Moreover its a very compact city - the city centre being only a mile in diameter, making it very easy to walk around...So when I found the London Walk's explorer day to BATH I knew this was not to be given a miss...especially since it was on a Saturday!
Incidentally, Bath is England's second most popular visitor destination after London!!!

After a week of rain and drizzle, Saturday was a nice and bright day...and on top of that a brilliant guide like Richard...it was like the icing on the cake...

We started our walk along the Avon River then over the Pulteney Bridge. Designed by Robert Adam it is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides. The space in the columns of the bridge was also not wasted and the shops had the storerooms there...

From there as we walked along, Richard pointed out several sites and gave us a quick rundown on the history of Bath. All buildings are made of beautiful cream-colored limestone.

Finally we reached The Circus...It is one of the architectural beauties of Bath...Imagine a circle divided into 3 segments of 33 townhouses with a wide road in front and the centre is a beautiful lawn with trees...Its classical Palladian architecture and the inspiration came from the Roman Colosseum, but whereas the Colosseum was designed to be seen from the outside, the Circus faces inwardly.
There are 3 floors in each house and we can see three columns each of which is of a different classical order - Greek Doric, Roman/Composite and Corinthian. The frieze of the Doric section is decorated with alternating triglyphs and 525 pictorial emblems. The parapet is adorned with stone acorns. There is a story behind the acorns - Bladud was a prince who was banished from court on account of his leprosy. He settled on the outskirts Bath and became a swineherd. He used to take his pigs to a place where hot spring water combined with earth to form an area of warm mud, in which the pigs loved to wallow. However, Bladud observed that pigs that went into the mud with skin diseases came out cured, so he decided to try the mud as a remedy for his leprosy. The cure was successful and since pigs eat acorns we see the acorns here...ahha hahhha...
A house here recently sold for 7 million pounds...whew...its is considered one of the poshest areas to stay in England...

A short walk and we reached The Royal Crescent - 30 homes connected in a graceful arch. Servants lived in the top floor, with kitchens in the basement, and they would haul in water from an outdoor pump in the park in front.

The Circus and The Royal Crescent when viewed from the air appear like a giant circle and crescent, symbolising the sun and moon.

Bath's most famous resident is Jane Austen and 2 of her books - Persuasion and Northanger Abbey are largely set here and several of her other books reference life in Bath. We walked the Gravel Path, which finds mention in her books as we moved back towards the city centre.


Break for lunch where we decided to try the famous Lunn Bath Buns...and we were not disappointed...my Cinnamon Butter bun was absolutely divine...

Post Lunch we were to meet in the city centre, which has an ancient church, the Bath Abbey. Abbey Church Yard, in front of the church has lovely views of the church façade, the Roman Bath Museum and the Pump Rooms all around. Comfortable benches provide a good vantage to watch the street performers.
It was our lucky day cause as we waited for Richard to get the tickets for the Roman Baths Museum we saw Morris dancers. A Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. The dancers may also wield implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs.
Bath's as been designated as a World Heritage Site...its heritage is the world famous Roman Baths. Romans invaded England for a short period before they decided to return to defend Italy. They discovered England's only hot spring and built a magnificent temple and baths around it that still flow with natural hot water.
A museum has been built on the site, incorporating many of the original Roman structures and artefacts that reveal how civilized Bath's citizens were 2,000 years ago.
They had 2 audio tours - one was the normal one and some of the sites had an option for a children's audio guide featuring Roman characters and their stories. Richard recommended the latter and I found it to be quite entertaining...
Our last stop was a view of the Sham Castle - a view as Ralph Allen would have from his town house...its a sham coz there is no castle...it has only a front view and there is no construction at the back...since Mr Allen liked to show off...

02 May 2008

Rain

Do you hear the rain?
I want to turn off the computer
and call you to tell you
how it is raining
in the green centre of the day,
late afternoon thundering open
like heartbreak -
like we imagine -
but you are another illusion -
so I keep on typing.
- Malca Litovitz

01 May 2008

Mess Ups…

I work for a leading IT company… 40,000 employees worldwide…(Sarcastic look on my face)
This morning I received a pay slip in the mailbox…only it wasn’t mine…but someone else’s…
It had the company logo outside and without realizing it I opened it. I called my colleague and apologized profusely. Thankfully I know him well and he didn’t seem to mind…but I am feeling soooooooo bad…:-(
And am concerned…god alone knows in whose mailbox my pay slip is sitting?

Love & Friendship

True love - or true friendship? When the two are one and the same, we are blessed, indeed...

P & H - u two are blessed indeed....
and so is someone else I know!!!