Sunday, April 15, 2007

mount bonnell !! knell on the knoll!!

Sitting unshaven, watching “Batman Beyond” or sometimes “Friends” was becoming my heartbeat when we just thought of going to a place called Mount Bonnell. Wat the hell..a tourist spot!! Though there was something within me which was telling me not to go but still I had nothing better to do. We fired some printouts for the route, just 9 miles away, 20 min drive!!

Ok..we got out of bed, in a second we were in car and on our way to one of the oldest and highest points in Austin. It has a lake which has been a tourist attraction for ages. There are houses next to the lake or infact in the middle of the lake and people do speed boating there. This was the quick piece of info which Google gave me. The funniest piece of info which I got is that there are 99 steps to the top..theres nothing funny in it..isnt it!! But its said that these steps have enchanting qualities and if a couple climbs them once they fall in love, if they climb them twice they get engaged and if they climb it thrice they are destined to get married…Is there any place like this in India. Our Bhartiya sanskriti wont even allow any such place to exist where u can fall in love and then dnt get engaged..or get engaged and then dnt get married…Hawji hawji aunties will gather all arnd u!

With the map in my hand I was sitting in the front trying to guide Uma but here we were…lost in the jungle. This was the hilly part of Austin and had pretty good vegetation. Nowhere to go, no one to ask. We set back to start from where we thought we faltered and god saved us. Though we were trying to return to some place, we again lost track and reached Mount Bonnell.

What an amazing beauty. A big big lake, with a big big bridge over it. Speed boats cruising, houses besides the lake. Infact there were some houses which were surrounded by lake water from all four sides, where were the foundations? Or were they boat houses kinda things standing on Bamboo sticks!! How do they bear the notorious thunderstorms of Austin…

There was nothing much to describe except few bike races which I saw on that highway! Or a gang of Harleys which I tried to capture but they were bloody so fast that I got only one blurred thing in the camera!!

Pictures have been uploaded at…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ohhhh I just love her her more than U

Guess wat guys..she never leaves me…wherever I go god somehow makes me come across her…She always stays up there but dnt kno why she always come down there too!! I am not saying that I don’t love her..infact I know ...I guess I am born for her..She is indeed my first love, my first gal frn …My mom used to tell me that when I was abt to be born…my dad took my mom to watch a football match and a ball landed at her feet which infact my dad kicked away but I guess that was where I made the first touch ;) ..but who knew there were many many more to come!!Yes guys I am talking about soccer as they call it here…and football as it is popularly known as!!

Yesterday after a hectic day I thought of unwinding by hitting this free gym in the housing complex..went there…found no one n that’s why I went out for a stroll. I was walking when I heard this thump…it was like my heart beat…n I knew it was a football kicked hard…I ran in that direction!! Reached the ground and saw a whole bunch or guys and GALS playing soccer…man o man…I was so happy… But I didn’t have any soccer kit with me….and there were loads of players who were already playing…I waited for a while..but no luck..
The flood lights were On…the ground had more dew twinkling than sky had stars..and I was loving to sit there idle doing nothing except just playing with a small football lying outside this ground…n then I hear this guy shout, tumble and he was lying flat on the ground! I thought gone…he was just one of those who tend to get injured on the field…BIG DEAL!! But it was a big deal…they didn’t have a substitute and guess who was called in…yeahhhhhh no prizes for guessing!!

I ran in ….5 minutes on…was running like a mad guy..they were using their lingo to call for passes…before I cud decipher wat they were talking a miss pass landed at my feet…3 men to dodge…and a gal as well…and the ball was in the goal!! I didn’t kno I scored the leveler and the game ended in a draw…I was invited to join this league. When I got into the details I was told this is IBM Club soccer team..they have an grouping of 16 teams..the better off players go to A league..and the ok ok kinds go to the B league!!
Each league has 8 teams…who compete once in a week and it’s a proper formulated game that goes on!! I played for a B league team who had a continuous losing track of 8 games in a row..and I broke the jinx..captain was an Indian! He invited me to join the team! I thought…why B league..why not A!

Got the contact of A league…pinged the guy at 4:00 pm today and he told..come on the ground at 8:15pm with ur soccer kit!! Now where do I get a soccer kit from..loads of PMR junk to dispose..I thought today’s game is gone..while I was consoling myself..trying to dig my head into the box…incame one of my team mates..he asked…there is this sports store called academy where there is a sale going on only for today…I am going there..can u take care of my work…I jumped off my seat…with each breath I was thanking god…my each heart beat was a hymn in thy praise!! I jumped in his car…went there..n in 15 min and 25$ I had a pair of Puma soccer shoes, a pair of adidas socks and a pair of adidas shorts. That was a steal!!!

I finished off my work at 7:30pm. Ran home like a dog…reached there by 7:45pm…took some breaths..changed clothes..left home at 8:05pm and I was on ground at 8:15pm…panting sweating already tired…I met the guy who invited me to the ground…he asked…why are u so sweating..everything OKIE…I just handled it nicely…told him just had a warm up jog..did some I m sweating…he said..Man o man…u seem to b a pro…only I knew how much under the ground I was!!

Game started…game ended!!

I scored a goal..header from a free kick!! We won 2-0 …I was on the team’s list which is more than nirvana for me!! Nothing worth mentioning abt the game...except..the captain called me their team's Ronaldinho!! I am not all that toothed or dark or I ;)

Ohh god..why am I so addicted to her..nvr let me get rid of her!! If I am Ashish..she is my HASHISH…she gives me the best high...I love her the most…even much more than….

Sunday, April 8, 2007

happy waala easter

Easter, n half of USA was closed, half of the other half was celebrating weekend but still whatever was remaining was enough for us to motivate out of beds to break the ennui!!

We did fitaelgiri. Now wats fitaelgiri..its a game…n the first rule of fitaelgiri is that u don’t think about fitaelgiri, the second rule about fitaelgiri is that you DON’T think abt fitaelgiri..the third rule is that u just roam arnd without any purpose. Petrol is cheap here but still not cheap enough to be wasted like the way we did..Thanks to Uma for his kind gesture to show me some real beautiful places!

Ok no money to guess that I watched “fight club”. No aspersions on its standing close to Usual suspects, Matrix etc in Thought of going to some places known for electronics goods, shoes etc etc…everything closed. Still me n Uma ventured out. This time I took the camera along..thank god! I always had this desire of showing the readers what I am seeing…coz I kno they cant see through my eyes which already have glasses and are colour blind..
Here is the set of pics taken and few videos with U certificate…

PS: each pic uploaded twice by mistake…no patience to delete each one separately..plz bear with me…and yes I am not trying to ENFORCE any thought by two pics!

The pictures are self explanatory n even videos shud b but still let me jst tell smthng abt them..

This first one is a view from my balcony, capturing majorly a road that comes out of a college and which bears screaching tires and zooming modified four being Sunday captured nothing but a white lancer at moderate speed!! Will try to gather sm big ones later!!

These ones are special..they show wat I tried to describe in heaven o heaven writeup…video speaks clearer than words..

An hour well spent..n do watch Fight club..its not at all an action movie!!

Friday, April 6, 2007

heaven o heaven !!

Just when the lyrics of “comfortably numb” were coming true for me I found company!! My days were passing like months..getting up at 8:30ish..reaching office by 10ish…lunching outside by 12ish..coming home by 6ish…n then sitting at home munching and watching online movies! This monotony was getting on me!! When I was abt to commit suicide there she came!! Though she was round but still I have always loved such things on this was colourful still naked..sparkling clean and even the tag wasn’t removed. It was nothing but a volleyball! My office mates were going to play and I joined them. I really didn’t kno that wat I saw cud have really existed..

The ground was behind our office n I never knew that. The road which we took to the ground was a B E A utiful road..straight out of an NFS game..meandering, rising to a height at such an angle that you can’t guess whats there besides the top..and then a steep steep slope.. My colleagues told that they call this place Switzerland..but I wud say they wudn’t have been exaggerating if they called it “Stairway to heaven”. Simply amazing!
Just imagine…lush green ground on both sides which stretches till horizon, sparsely placed trees with blue and yellow flowers on them, cool breeze gushing through, clouds and sun playing hide and seek..and amidst all this..a Mercedes SUV cruising on a meandering rising sloping road…I LOVED IT

And then we reached this ground..I couldn’t have imagined that IBM cares so much for its employees. A lush green ground..with flood lights enlightening your mind more than the ground. There was a big football ground, 2 baski courts, 4 lawn tennis courts and our destination..the sand volleyball court! Infact I should say, beach volleyball court. We were 6, so 3 a side game of beach volleyball! Diving, jumping, taking the shots in air and talking in hindi!! Cracking our kind of non veg jokes, MC-BC, etc etc!!

This evening’s setting sun burnt a mark on my mind like no other candle could have done. I LOVED IT.

Besides this I didn’t do much today, except changing Uma’s car’s flat tyre and ya..forgot to mention!!
I went to a gas station..and guess wat came behind our car. While Uma was filling gas in his car, I was busy appreciating her. And infact I didn’t kno which of the two ladies was more beautiful. One was a lady, I guess Mexican/Latin. That wheatish white skin which was not at all exposed. Wearing normal clothes, a short t and a fitting jeans with those cowboy kinda shoes. Must b 6ft tall and I bet she can beet any Aish etc hands down. And the other lady with which she came was short, may b 4 ft tall, wearing black with shades of fire on it. The alloys were yellowish and her name was porshce carrera 911 gt! Pheeww…when she roared…I got an……man o man!! A carrera n that too modified…thushar I missed u so much!! Man it was straight out of our NFS..copy paste kinds!!while writing this I still can see it taking that super sharp cut so smoothly n then before switching off the engine taking that last deep breath…vrrrrroooooooom!!

In a nut shell, a day well lived…I love u god to have sent me to this planet as a human!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

the hair raising day!

Pheww…2 days have passed by and still I am dizzy during the day. Now I am deciphering the correct meaning of daylight saving: Send a person from India to US and make him sleep throughout the day to come over jet lag. As a result he won’t be using most of the day light, hence daylight saved. See I am still the same!!
Zehers apart, let me begin from where I left. The apartment where I am putting up is located next to a busy road, a road that connects Austin City College to other parts. So this road mostly sees zooming cars and bikes. Talking about cars n bikes, I would say I have finally seen them all. Porsche, Pontiac, Lamborghini, Hummer, Harleys, Hondas etc etc. So many yet so less. Right now when I am scribbling this page I can hear a Harley throttling outside. Ooops I digressed…the apartment is a big 2 bhk, with carpet flooring, superb kitchen equipments, fully furnished bathroom, and jumpy pumpy beds. In simple terms I would say it’s a luxury apartment by any Indian standard but an ordinary one by US standards. This comparison itself shows that India is way behind USA, and its just the beginning.
On the road to office, I saw the most disciplined sense of driving. At each junction driver stops, check for the clarity of the road and then make a move. Though I found it tough to get accustomed to the right hand side driving norms, but Uma has become proficient in handling his automatic 1990 Camry. The epitome of discipline on roads is that on a road with no barriers the cars come till the junction to take U turn. Also even to walk across the road one has to press a button that will show u a green signal to walk by.
Simply impressive.
The office here reminds me of the forwarded mail about Google office. This office is no less than that. You have everything from a snack to personal workspace to unlimited supply of whatever you want. Discussing issues over pool table and having coffee in the lush green lawn are just in the routine here. I was not amazed that we don’t have all these facilities in India. Just imagine if you have an open rack of stationary items in your office which is supporting a table full of snacks, chocolates etc would you let the supply guy out of business? There is a simple printout sticking on the wall stating that one has to put 20-30 cents in a box each time you feel like picking any of this stuff. Though there is no one monitoring that supply table still people generously do what has been stated.
In gist, this country follows the rules. I haven’t seen a policeman on the road, no guard in the office or at parking, no manager sitting over your head. People understand their responsibility and live up to it and this is a major difference between us and US.
By no means I m looking down on India. But the culture and heritage of which we boast is hardly reflected in the way we live where as this country is a silent knife, which cuts through the mountain and never boasts of achieving a milestone.
The work speaks for itself….Hence proved here!
PS: Right now I am in an impressed state of mind so there is everything goody goody flowing out…wait for me to settle down …I would leave no stone unturned to find out the hidden worms!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Bangalore to Austin

The sun never used to set for the British but when I got a feel of it, my senses went for a toss. Staying awake till 2:00am was never so easy coz the opportunity waiting at the doorsteps of the huge Air France plane was indeed golden. The plane was huge, the seat was comfortable, the screen was small but the software running on it was stunning. Besides the expected movie, song, etctainment stuff there was a Geographical scanner on the screen. This section kept me busy for most of the time on the flight. It had 3 sections one of which showed the time details about the source and destination, altitude which was no less than 9km and speed which was 900kmph for the better part of the flight. The second section was a camera which I think was fitted just below the noose of the plane providing a live telecast of each passing landmark or watermark. The third was the most engrossing section which was a simulated map that showed the current location with respect to the source and destination. This map always kept me busy coz most of the time I was busy guessing the country based on city name.
Air hostess came clapping in the aisle to wake us up and the landing was announced. I was just reminded of the eunuchs who are part of celebrations in India, I guess she was no less. Out of the small window I saw a huge new world. We were about to land in heaven, which humans call Paris. A landmass surrounded with mountains which were beautifully encarved by clean sinuous roads that had small Porsches and Corvettes zooming on them. Though the clouds hazed the sight of Eiffel Tower but still I could make out that it is indeed tall. Plane landed and drove for around 2 kilometers post landing. Before reaching the airport it drove over few railway tracks and passed under a flyover as well. A state of the art Airport with 6 terminals and I had to stand in a constantly moving bus for 40 minutes to reach the second terminal. Though hanging in this bus was any day better than hanging out of the 207 in Bangalore. A series of security checks and I was ready for the next flight.
Again a jumbo plane, same facilities but this time it had newer movies. So in a flight duration of 10 hours from Paris to Atlanta I saw 4 movies, 3 of them being my all time fav Rocky.
Clearing the immigration check in Atlanta was a nightmare. I had to make an effort to stand in a kilometer long queue, with variety of languages penetrating the ears most of them being French and German. Achtung monsieur. The heaviest task was to keep the eyelids lifted and on top maintain the cool for the immigration interview. Finally cleared it easily and boarded the train to the destined terminal. Don’t be amazed to imagine that the port was big enough that stations were connected by an express train fast enough to make you feel 3 to 4 g.
I thank my seniors and my college who taught me to survive through night outs. With my brain dead body I was sitting at the terminal waiting for the final flight to Austin. The scene at the airport was no less than a Hollywood flick’s filler scene. An old fat lady sitting alone, white skin being exposed by all, few people in compromising positions, those yankee kids, huge darker guys and gals talking in their super distinguished style and amidst all this me sipping cold black coffee bought for $1.60.
Air Deccan operates bigger planes than the final flight from Atlanta to Austin but on Deccan we don’t find the type of gal that was sitting next to me. Why did destiny curse me? When my brain was already sleeping and body just waiting to get in a position to dose off this gal sparked a conversation. I was going to Austin for work and she was going to meet her mother’s fiancĂ© and attend her brother’s marriage.Plz dont assume that I exchanged mother and brother in the former sentence. She dropped out of college and was working with her boy friend in a hotel as an aide. Now post break up she is looking forward to continue the finance studies from where she left. With a small smile on my face that was trying to hide the real amazement I didn’t realize when I dozed off. The plane landed with a jerk and the gal shrieked. I laughed, bided adieu and got in Uma’s Camry. The journey ended when the sun finally started to set for me. I was in no state to admire the cars and roads which I have always seen on the NFS screen. Just fell on the bed and I guess I didn’t even change position in night but had no idea that the next day is gonna be a hair raising one.