Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oui Oui Oui!

Sometimes people, I think that my life is made for this blog. Those tidbits happen just so that I could have a post on my blog. You know, the things that happen, the way they happen, each day could be a post here. Thank God! I am lazy.

Consider the last weekend for example. It has been one of the most amazing, action-packed weekends I have had so far. It was a very special occasion. It was my best friend’s birthday. Varsha was turning 20 (she is err, ahem, 1.5 years younger to me) on the 20th (yeah T20 :P) and we decided to make it a special occasion, together, getting away from this zalim world to sea world, San Antonio. I was as usual super excited. So there I was all excited, planning things, buying lot of goodie snacks the entire week and as usual, not working.

Friday came and so did Varsha. And there were customary greetings on seeing each other - “HEY, HI!!”, “Kaisi ho!!”, “Tum dubli ho gayi”, “Haan tum bhi!” etc etc. We went to Walmart to get those last minute things. We were supposed to leave very early morning on Saturday. Yippee, we were super excited for this 5 hour drive and the prospects of seeing Shamu!

So we came home from Walmart and had the modest dinner I prepared. As was expected, I had not packed any of my stuff. My clothes were in the closet, my toothbrush was in the bathroom and my bag was no where to be found. And before I could even start to think where to begin my packing, it happened. Mother Nature called Varsha, a call she could not refuse and when she came out she turned the door knob the other way, the wrong way. And the door got locked! We looked at each other, then the knob, not knowing what to do or what to say or what to think. We were trapped outside! My toothbrush was inside, so was my perfume, my cream, my everything! We had to find a way out, rather way in.

You see, when two engineers are together, all they can do is screw up things and think of screwdrivers! So we felt that removing the knob itself from the outside would help us open the lock. And we drove the driver hard and all the screws were removed and before we could stop it the knob on the inside fell inside and the outer one outside. And in the middle was a nasty hole from which I could see my toothbrush, my perfume, my cream and my everything! With no other option, we decided that we would get up early, go to Walmart (thankfully it remains open 24 hours), get a toothbrush and paste and cream and perfume from there, use it there itself and then drive. So we get up at 4 AM and find ourselves being stared by all the Walmart employees. Never ever in my life have I realized the worth of a bathroom so much!

Finally we get on the road and forget about that entire ordeal! We were on our way to San Antonio. And we reached there on time – 10:30 AM! We had already booked a hotel there and were really looking forward to go to the bathroom. We go in very confidently and ask for our room keys. The front desk was a very kind lady. She looked at us and then the reservation and said almost apologetically that she cannot give us the keys. We were shocked and she explained that the checkin time is 3:00 PM and there was no other room available. We looked at each other and laughed!

Anyway, we used the hotel lobby rest room, got ready there and went to Sea World. It was so hot that day. I would have almost evaporated and after a few hours we decided to go to Riverwalk and see the rest of Sea World the next day. So we come back and go to our rooms and sleep! We were finally happy to have a bathroom and a bed! Aur kuch nahi chahiye tha life mein. We went to Riverwalk in the evening, took the cruise there, talked a lot and came back. I had some office work to do at midnight so I worked for a while and slept.

Only to be rudely awakened by a support issue at 6:00 AM. I worked for another couple of hours, had our breakfast and we were off to San Antonio. Sea World as usual was fantastic. Shamu soaked us, Viva wowed us, Sea Lion amazed us. After that great experience we came back to Dallas that night. The bathroom door was still locked and the maintenance would be available only in the morning. It was Varsha’s birthday on Monday so we thought we would stay at Veethi’s place that night! Veethi and family had gone to LA that weekend. And surely, she called up and said that they missed their flights and would be coming back late Monday night. So we had another bathroomless night in store for us. We came back to my place and used the apartment gym restroom. And thankfully next day morning the door was opened in 2 minutes by the maintenance guy who claimed he can do something about everything!

I had planned a couple of surprises for Varsha. Not surprisingly, none of it came to her as a surprise. One of the side effects of having a friend as great as Varsha is that there is no way you can surprise her anymore. She just knows me that well. While I can only thank God for giving me a friend like her, I also wonder what to do to make her special day a special one. It becomes tougher over a period of time. It is almost impossible for me now. Anyway, her other friends still managed to surprise her. She got a brand new phone, a wonderful dedication video, flowers and infinite phone calls.

We saw Ice age 3 that evening. A really amazing movie which finally got me over the Harry Potter shock! We came back home, more or less contended, very tired and we slept almost instantaneously.

And in the morning it was time for Varsha to pack stuff. She came, she locked the door and she was going back. Parting is never easy. It became more difficult for her because she was left stranded at the airport because of a delay. Varsha later told me that the airport staff joked something about the bathroom not working in the aircraft!!

Hey Varsha! Thank you for making this trip when you could definitely be having more fun with a lot of friends back in Iowa. And thank you for locking the bathroom door. I have a wonderful memory for the lifetime!!

God bless you and a very happy birthday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Baked Evince!

Once upon a time in India, on the 23rd day of the 7th month of year 2007, I did something which reinforced people's belief in my insanity. I did something which nobody thought I would ever do. I took a day off to finish reading Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows. It was released two days earlier, I had advanced booked it, waited till Sunday evening to start reading it and there was no way I could do anything else before finishing it!

Such is my love for Harry Potter! So with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince released today, I had to do everything to watch it the first day! And off I go and come back and end up writing this post. I could not stop this too.

Half Blood Prince is my favorite book of the series. It has so many answers, so much action and so much teenage romance in it that I still wonder how JKR managed everything in one book.

I don't believe there ever has been a movie which was as good as the book. Harry Potter movies are hardly an exception (Namesake is an exception). I also understand the problem with this because there is so much, so so much that JKR has written that I honestly think that each book would need atleast 2 movies to cover everything.

Honestly speaking, the Harry Potter movies had started getting better. When the Order Of the Phoenix was released, I thought the magic finally began! I was so much hoping that Half Blood Prince took the next step. But I was royally disappointed. I could not believe what I was seeing, rather not seeing. The events of the book were only referenced and never built up to cause any emotion. I had to remember what I had felt when I read the book. There was so much back story on Voldemort and Snape. They hardly showed anything. This book is about Tom Riddle and Snape. Tom Riddle got some screen space, Snape hardly any. The movie title just appeared to be a lame name for the contents of the movie.

This movie, in my opinion, is not even the most visually stimulating one as it has been claimed to be. Looking back, I now think that The Goblet of Fire was so very well filmed. The tasks of Triwazard Competition were filmed almost the way I had imagined them. The OOP rocked specially showing Harry as Nagini and the last confrontation of Dumbledore and Voldemort. I think HBP had much more scope of visuals in the entire series of Harry Potter. Sadly, except for the army of inferi and a few scenes like Katie getting cursed, nothing really matched to what was shown in the previous movies.

A secret I can tell you though. I liked the teenage romance shown in the movie, at least in a few places. I specially liked Emma and Rupert. But why devote so much screen time to it and end up forcing the characters to fall in love. The subtle emotions and connections shown in the previous movies were way better. They lost the plot completely when it was time to show the obvious.

In favor of the movie, I do not think I was bored in the movie. But I think there were completely misplaced priorities at the time of filming it. They gave much more importance to the romance of the characters and completely disregarded the importance of Snape and the Tom Riddle's childhood in the whole scheme of events.

Do I recommend the movie? Well you gotta watch it because you really do not have a choice. If you are a Harry Potter fan and if you have read the novels, you know you would go. If you are a Harry Potter fan and if you have not read the novels, well, you need to watch it to follow the series. Go watch it and curse it! I would not mind using Sectumsempra to curse it!!

Do not go and watch this movie if you have no interest in it or if you are just starting to read or watch the movies. Don't go just to give company to a friend! Honestly people, you need to be able to separate your veritaserums with felix felicis and dementors with patronuses to understand what the whole thing is about. Don't go with a friend who is a big HP fan and expect him/her to explain you things in the middle of the movie. It is very annoying!!

And I highly recommend reading the entire series. Nothing matches the magic of reading the books themselves. I am so glad I was so crazy about it. I had some of my best moments of joy reading it! And I am going back to reading HBP again!

P.S : All said and done, I don't think I will be able to resist myself from watching HBP in 3D. :D

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh Yeah! I got lucky!

Hello World! I hope you all are doing as great as I am!

Since I came back from Chicago, I have been telling anyone and everyone within earshot about the so so so very amazing time I had in Chicago over this Guru Purnima. I had heard so many Guru and Guru Purnima stories over these last few days in Satsangs, long Kriya sessions and blogs that I was very curious to see what actually happens. You know, Guruji says in Ashtavakra Gita that there is nothing much you gain out of curiosity. It is just the first stage of gaining knowledge. Even monkeys get curious! :P. Nonetheless, I was curious ki yeh kya bolte rehte hain log!?! And is there any chance it could happen to me too!?! The whole thing to me was something similar to playing Housie/Tambola or entering a lucky draw. You just never get it right! I play the game but can never seem to win it. :-)

So the day comes for me to leave. And I see how things start falling in place amidst complete chaos. Looking back I feel that just the fact that I was able to catch the flight was a big miracle in itself for I had lost all hopes of making it because of that issue going on for 6 weeks at work and which decided to bomb itself exactly the same day I was supposed to leave. But then this is something that happens all the time with all the people in all those IT companies. I did manage to reach Hilton@Chicago just in time to see Him.

Everything that happened after that was for me to see how grace flows. I was doing the Advance course and was in silence for most part of my stay there. But I am amazed how beautifully the desires were taken care of without me saying anything. Not one, not two but every desire that I had and even the ones I could have had. I would want to eat something and it would be present in the next menu, I would want to see someone and the person would be right in front of me in minutes, I would want to hear something and it would be said, I would want to say something and it would become obvious. Well, miracles are coincidences which happen when you want them to! And it all seemed business as usual. Tell me, how often does that happen to you?

But that is not all. I had moments of intense physical pain and euphoria at the same time. I had those moments when I was able to see my life in its entirety and not as a subset of my good and bad times. I was able to see that my life is not one event after another but the experience that those events bring. I was given the assurance from Someone who has the authority to assure. I have never been more relieved in life.

Miracle is not just getting what you like. The bigger miracle is to see your dislikes becoming your likes. I am fortunate I experienced that too. But for me the biggest miracle happened when I saw gratitude flowing out of my eyes when I saw how much I have been blessed with. Gratitude for those who brought me to this world, for those who did everything to make my life what it is and especially for those who contributed in me being there at that moment. All those years of worring and complaining vanished as if they were all lies and never existed. I just wanted to thank the world for just being. Infact, I almost crushed my friend (without who I would never have had taken this path) with my display of gratitude. In this world where there is so much pain, where the majority chooses to suffer, where it is so difficult for people to see the good in me and vice versa, I cannot think of a bigger miracle than seeing gratefulness and contentment oozing out from everywhere.

I had my moments of doubt before going to Chicago. I am so fortunate that I was able to see things beyond my doubts! Afterall, that is what adventure is! To go beyond the doubts and see for yourself. I am so glad I went for this adventure.

And yeah, I got that one look from Him which I had not even dared hope for!