Deepavali 2011 and the changing times.

Deepavali 2001

Woke up at 5:30am to join the kids army of the colony to burst the loudest patakas to wake up the locality with a bang. Beginning of the most awaited festival. Prepared for it from days before by buying huge boxes of fancy crackers, new clothes and sweets. Spent the entire day on the streets blocking vehicles and hopping from one neighborhood to another. Consumed so many sweets given at every house. Twilight meant lighting diyas and arranging them on compound and all around the house. Collecting dry fruit boxes and diaries that mom got at work. After the day’s excitement, spent the last hours on the terrace watching the night sky dazzle with delightful rockets.

Deepavali 2011

Woke up at 9:30am to the sound of a cracker burst by a dude somewhere far away in the locality. Had breakfast while watching national news on television. Had a single piece of cashew burfi. Spent the rest of the day working on project, tweeting, reading and sleeping. Sat by the window and watched heavy rain and thunderstorms in the skies while sipping tea. Skipped lunch. The sun will set in a couple of hours and I’m going to light as many diyas as I can and decorate the house, to keep a small part of the old times alive in my life. Also, if it doesn’t pour again tonight, I plan to stay in the terrace on a floor mat, covered up in a blanket and stare at the night sky forever, probably thinking about how Deepavali 2021 will turn out to be.


Rock Pigeons at Lalbagh

An early morning walk at Lalbagh by the lake is something that everyone in this city should experience. Especially those who’re consumed by the daily street smoke and other exhausts. This is one of my favorite spots in the park (walk straight down from the west gate) seized by rock pigeons who’re fed by the walkers / joggers every morning. A single clap and you’ll see them fly around a chopped trunk of a tree and return back. A beautiful sight to witness for a few moments.

The next time you spot a pigeon, know that you are looking at one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. They have been used as messengers, race birds (sold for $130000+), life savers at sea (since they can identify & differentiate colors), etc.

Note: There are 2 more related photographs on my photoblog – here and here.

Thank You, Steve.

I was woken up at 6 am today morning by a phone call from my sister. “Steve Jobs died!” came the voice from the other end.

Saying something profound seems silly now, after the insane number of tweets and status updates overflowing on the web. I have been an apple / Steve Jobs fan only from a few recent years unlike other geeks out there. But that’s the beauty of it all – you don’t have to be a computer science geek or a technology freak to appreciate and like apple. Steve Jobs made me realize that good simple technology is for everyone. I don’t have to belong to a clichéd tech community to talk about it and that feels good. I remember my first iPod – a silver shiny nano which I got at 10’th grade. What a minimal user interface and yet so powerful! Another memorable incident was my sister teaching my dad how to use an iPhone. “Just touch whatever you want to see, it opens”. Needless to say that he spent the whole day fiddling with it. My parents can now video chat with her and relatives just by clicking on the FaceTime button on the screen. No more wires to fix and control panels to open to figure out how to enable the microphone, webcam and headphones. How can technology be made so simple? Thanks to him, undergrad students now talk about entrepreneurship and new ideas. I’d been silently dreaming about a MacBook pro from a long time. Finally, when it was time to buy it, my BIL asked me why I’d decided to go for an apple product and not any other laptop. I would get a better laptop for high configurations at the same price. I might have seemed like being a trend follower at that time, but I’ve grown into it since then. You have got to use it to truly appreciate it’s effects on you.

It is extraordinary how so many people are thinking and talking about one man at this moment. It is great to sit and read all about it. Finally, thank you Steve, for that Stanford commencement speech.

Hall of Paleobiology

The National Museum of Natural History is located on the National Mall at Washington DC and is administered by the Smithsonian Institution. It hosts the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world. I was stunned every five minutes with so much to see and absorb all in a day! The hall of paleobiology was my favorite section in the entire museum. Never in my life I’d thought that I’ll get to look at the fossils of dinosaurs and other reptiles! This was when I started giving thought to evolution and have started reading more about it now.

Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw when I was 3 or something. I’ve also had dinosaur winding toys when I was a kid, and hardbound large size books about these extinct marvels. It was funny how I’d forgotten about all of this. It all came back to me that day – at the hall of paleobiology. I stood in front of the real life size fossils of different dinosaurs, trying to get their names right and learn about them. The following are some of the photographs of this section of the museum.

Their Fossil Lab was very impressive too. It was a huge room open to public viewing from the outside -with sound proof glasses – and was situated at the corner of the main dinosaur hall. We could see scientists working (without getting distracted by people gazing through the glass) and pieces of bones/stones/what not stacked everywhere waiting to be assembled.

Washington DC was the last city that we visited on our summer road trip in July. It is one of the cleanest cities that I’ve seen so far – with relevance to politics and administration at every few blocks on the streets. Do not miss to visit this museum (along with the other ones of course) if you’re there. Plus, the entry to all the Smithsonian museums at DC is free! I wish I’d seen something like this when I was a kid – I would have probably developed an interest in science & biology earlier and got some kickass ideas too. Other parts of the museum that I really liked were the Ocean Hall, the Hall of Gems & Minerals and the Hall of Bones where I got to see their Forensic Anthropology lab! It was all too much to handle in one day.