Sunday, 28 December 2008

Happy 24

I grew another year older and I'm thinking do I like 23 better or 24 -- you know, number wise? Of course 23 has the obvious edge of being a prime number and having consecutive digits, but 24 brings in its own charms. The hours in a day, a popular TV show, 8 x 3 ... you know, good stuff. Next year I will be 25, and there are only two good things I can think of that number: five square and it is the legal drinking age in New Delhi (but no, nobody checks -- well except this one time -- and I have friends who have gone to pubs in Delhi when they were in the 9th grade. Yes, I keep good company).

Leaving that thought, I would like to recount the highlights events of the past year in my life:
  • Jan: Borrowed a guitar from a friend and started learning the instrument.
  • Feb: Bought an awesome guitar of my own -- I dubbed it Black Jazz (my bike is named Shadowfax). I still practice on it.
  • Apr: Faced heartbreak. Fun times. Registered for the GRE to get distracted.
  • May: Fulfilled a childhood wish of mine: Rayban Aviators. Sadly, I lost them in a month's time.
  • Jun: Rejoined the gym with a resolve that I would pursue it for at least 6 months and reach a normal BMI. Visited Goa in the monsoons. Not the right time to visit India's most popular tourist spot, according to many, but we had a fun time and the port wine was worth it.
  • Aug: Lost a considerable amount of poundage. Now that "the ideal weight" was no longer a goal, I started training for a half marathon.
  • Sep: Gave the GRE (V: 660, Q: 770, A: 4.5, if you are interested. No, I didn't score 800 in quant ... kill me!) and TOEFL.
  • Oct: Ran my first half marathon in beautiful Oregon.
  • Nov: Was deeply saddened and disturbed by the Mumbai terror attacks. Still don't feel the Indian government has learnt anything. Ran my second half marathon. This time though it was unofficial and on a treadmill.
  • Dec: Fell sick after a long long time, due to which I had to take refuge in Delhi. I lost considerable amount of stamina. I'm slowly regaining it back though -- I ran a 10k today . That is my birthday gift to me.
I'm looking back at this list and I'm thinking, "Hmmm .. Not bad." Wonder what the next year holds.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Few random things

  • It puzzles me why news channels have background scores for all their stories. Another irritating this is that they end up looping feeds. Few days back I saw a trailer of the Akshay Kumar starrer "Chandini Chowk To China" as a news story! When I thought it was over, they did a rewind + play. I got to see the whole damn thing again! Why?
  • There are lot new dividers on the roads near my house. They serve little purpose, but end up occupying road space and causing accidents -- I saw a Safari rammed into it yesterday morning.
  • There was an attempted burglary at the Mother Diary near my house. This happened at around 9:15 PM. The perpetrators came on a bike and shot (!) twice at the attendant. He managed to evade one bullet, but ended up getting the other in his hand. Scary.
  • Traffic in Delhi has increased, although it's not become as bad as Bangalore.
  • I went to a mall in Noida called "Great India Place". It's sprawling and has four floors. Interesting part was, as a friend pointed out, the same mall had 4 different Reebok stores and 2 separate Levi's stores. Wonder what their business startegy is?
  • Most parks near my house have been converted into "walking" parks. They have uneven concrete strips laid out for people to walk upon. As TOI pointed out few days back, this leaves out little space for children to play. Jogging on the concrete strips turned out bad for my feet and I have some pain in my right foot. Didn't go running today as a result of that.
    Give me back my old parks,
    which were plain dirt and grass.
  • I have got pastries from Wenger's in the fridge which I plan to eat now. All mine ... yay!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A disapponting run

I went to Nehru Park today. After a week of illness followed by a week of inactivity, I wanted to get back to running. I was worried that I won't be able run for long -- I had a dream the other night on the same lines. I reached there at 10 AM and ran two loops of Nehru Park's joggers' track, with a a one minute break after the first loop. Total time taken was 31 minutes. Main point being I was exhausted after the run and I had to break in between! I know I was sick. I know have to take it gradually. I know it takes time to recover. But I just don't want to accept the fact that a couple of week sickness can easily erode my efforts.

I plan to go at it tomorrow. Let us see what happens.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

No check-in baggage

This time I had to rush to Delhi. Few of my friends thought that my recent illness could be indicative of typhoid -- which, fortunately, it was not. But it got me scared enough to take refuge at home sweet home. I only packed a single air-bag. Two shirts, two jeans, two jackets, one sweater, my shaving kit and medicines. Talking of medicines, I had taken a bottled syrup for my illness. I had put it in my bag, knowing that it was not allowed. I thought I would run a social experiment to my benefit. Either the security guys would catch sight of it, or they would let me pass and give me the opportunity, like many media journalists these days, to show how lax the security is despite the terror attacks. They did find the bottle. On explaining that it was medicine for my ailment, the security incharge suggested, "Yeh aap pi lijeye" (please drink it). I considered the offer and decided not to. Instead I donated the bottle to them -- they could drink all of it.

Anyway, I had packed very little into my air-bag and that was going in with me on the flight. I hate carrying bags which I need to check-in. I don't remember when I last carried any check-in baggage on a domestic flight. There are few reasons for this.

I hate waiting. On any journey I'm just looking at when the next phase will get over. When I start from home, I will be waiting to get to the airport. When I get to the airport, I will be waiting for the airline to start boarding. Once inside the flight I will be thinking when the plane is going to take-off. Once taken off, I will wait for it to land. Once landed I will be waiting for the seat-belt lights to go off -- which not many people do; they happily decide to take down their luggage while the plane is still taxiing. Now once out of the plane and in the destination terminal, the wait for the luggage is the last straw. Not only do I need to wait, I end up worrying whether my luggage got lost or damaged in transit. It never has, but I always do worry.

So here I'm with things from just one bag. I have loaned heavily from my Dad on the clothes front. I miss not having my running shoes, my garmin forerunner, my guitar -- I would never carry that on long journeys though --, my music player, my books and a lot more. They should let people carry more luggage in flight!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

When I'm sick ...

I have not been too well for the past three days. Other than feeling weak and miserable, I have been watching TOO many things. Here is a listing:

1. The Office
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. House M.D.
4. Big Bang Theory
5. An Inconvenient Truth
6. Ironman (second time, totally worth it)

I'm not going to list how many episodes of each TV show I watched (5 and 6 are in fact movies), instead I'm going to present the total duration as reported by Winamp ... 24 hours and 21 seconds.

I have nothing left to watch. Fortunately, I'm well now.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Death by a thousand cuts

With all the media attention surrounding the Mumbai attacks, it's very easy to miss what happened in Assam today. Five people were killed in a train blast. What action is the government taking? I wonder if it will even make tomorrow's newspaper's front page.
Every life is valuable. The Assam incident is NOT "small and isolated". India needs to give an equally strong reply, irrespective of the number or stature of the victims. Otherwise we, as a nation, are slowly going to perish.