Saturday, 31 December 2005

This time last year...

... I was on my way back from a totally INSANE trip to Goa. :-<MI'd gotten over early, and I woke up very late in the afternoon of 28th December. Met a couple of my wingies, still a little sleep in my eyes. We decided we wanted to go to Goa. On bikes!! We managed to coax (read browbeat) a junior to complete the group of four, and set off.
Tragedy struck early when we realised we'd travelled roughly 30 Kms in the wrong direction, towards Pune instead of Goa. We'd left the comfy confines of the campus at 5 pm, by 11 in the night, with an already sore butt, hands freezing in the cold wind, my friends choosing to fall asleep while driving, I was convinced that I'd made the biggest mistake of my life, yet :P.

70 hours later, the tally stood thus: 24 hours on the way to Goa, 24 on the way back, 2 hours sleeping on benches off Anjuna beach (where we were unceremoniously woken up by the prodding of cops, who for some vague reason turned all sympathetic and helpful when they found out that we were poor students from Mumbai who'd come to see the wonderful Goa and hadn't managed to find any acco :D), and the meagre balance we spent zipping around from beach to beach on our bikes! I so totally loved every moment of it!!!

I was back in time to spend New Year's Eve with friends, and Natural's ice cream :D. Much has happened in the one year since. Some of those friends are celebrating New Year in NY, some are sitting at home. In this past year I've visited the sandy beaches of peninsular Malaysia, the rocky beaches of Hokkaido and the brilliant fjords of Norway, but I wish I'd had the chance to go back to the sunny, dreamy beaches of Goa (NOT on bikes :P)!!

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

Big city life.

I'm just not cut out for it. There are too many people, too many buildings, too many cars, too many bits and corners you'll end up knowing nothing about, even if you spend you entire life living there. While I'm sure these aren't exactly life-threatening matters, the matter to me.
See, I grew up in this small town. Well, it was a small town when we first moved there.. then it became a big town. And then a few years before I left, it was officially declared a small city. But I digress. The good thing about Asansol was that it was essentially small. I have, on occassion, managed to cycle from one end to the other (east-west along the G T Road) in a single afternoon. The other good thing was that my Mum considered it small enough to let me roam around with zot constraints. Which is far from what I can say about Kolkata. My dad sold his bike before moving here. Primarily to prevent me from getting myself killed (read: riding a two wheeler in Kolkata traffic).
And now that I finally have a proper 4-wheeler licence and have absolutely free access to my dad's car, that same Kolkata traffic has managed to make me hate driving!! Something I'd have found downright ridiculous under almost any other circumstances.

What I really hate about my current state is that I can't go running around the streets. I'd get run over, or choke on vehicle fumes. I can't go kick a soccer ball in the field nearby when I feel like it. There is no field nearby. I can't go hang out with my friends when I'm bored of sitting at home. Everyone I know is somewhere else, spending New Year with their family or at work/college.
Birds in flight.
Okay, so I did spend the last four years in Mumbai, and totally loved it. But that was different. That was more like living in an island of sanity, and looking out onto the insanity of the rest of the city. And I knew people there!!!

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Life?! Don't tell me about life.

Yes, I feel like Marvin. Manically depressed that is. No particular reason why I should though. Had a pretty nice Christmas, spending time with lots of relatives at my grandparents' place. First time I made it to such a get-together in 5 years. But at some point during the trip to Shantiniketan this thought struck me: Life's like this long long road. In the four days since then I've driven over 500 kms, and have been struck by the startling similarities time and time again. The beautiful stretches of smooth tarmac, the sudden potholes. The green canopied paths, the suffocating traffic snarls...
Right, so a belated Merry Christmas to everyone. I'm currently mourning the first Mood I I've missed since 2k1. Especially so, since I missed it by just 4 days :(. But then, I did have a great time attending Poush Mela :D. If only everything hadn't ended up happening at the same time :-<.

I am Turkish!


What Snatch character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Interesting thing is, I was kinda hoping I'd be Turkish! Okay, so the description might not be a spot on match, but it's cool nonetheless :D.

PS. Matches my haircut too :P.

Thursday, 22 December 2005

The usual bunch of feelings...

The rush of warmth when meeting old friends. The sadness of leaving again. The pure relief of being back home after a tough stretch. Of course the length of my hair (or lack thereof) was an immediate source of amusement to everyone, from friends who'd come to pick me up at Mumbai airport to my Mum when she saw me at Kolkata airport /:).
This was my most lukhha visit to the city in a while! What with the Panama Consulate choosing to dispense with my paperwork in a record single day. But I'd landed up at a particularly busy time for everyone else - placements. So I had time enough for a nice solitary walk around the campus. Okay, so I'll not go into all the memories that it brought crashing upon my head... But these images I'll share.
Ironically, I spent my last night in campus in the room I used to call mine till about 6 months back.

Monday, 19 December 2005


I don't seem to have managed to shake off the after-effects of my 8 weeks of School in Norway yet :(. Got to Mumbai very early yesterday, instead of late the night before, thanks to Lufthansa's ability to delay everything that can possibly be delayed. I'm eternally grateful to Vinod and Mandel's Broth for taking the pain of waiting forever and eventually lugging me back to campus.

It's good to be back. The temperature outside is warmer than my room in Asker (central heating notwithstanding). Don't know when I'll be back here, so I'm making the most of my visit :D. I wish this crappy perpetual tiredness will let go of me for a while though...

Friday, 16 December 2005

Open book...

I'm giving a test. Right now. It's open book, open notes, open net... And it's a practical. I'm working at a bloody XEON workstation, but it's still taking ages to run the jobs I've submitted. Not surprising really, given the huge volume of data I'm shoving down the processor's throat. Processing GBs of data every second seems to be a necessity instead of a luxury. And I thought the Pentium 4 HT was cool /:).
HA! One job's finished \:D/, now to submit another. Then more time-pass.....
-- some hours later --
It's finally over. Hopefully my last day in the Oslo office for some time. I have another twelve hours before my flight. I went to see off yet another one of my friends, it was still daylight then, at 2 pm. By the time I got back, the sun was long gone. What it left behind was a golden twilight.


I wonder why some people like walking alone. To aviod intrusions into their thoughts? 'Cos they like nature more than other human beings maybe? Is it that they are afraid of getting used to company, and it'll feel really bad to lose it? (The 'if you have nothing then you have nothing to lose' policy.) Or is it merely because noone else wants to walk with them? Hmm. Some food for thought while I prepare to put yet another nightout before an early morning flight.

The last time I did that,... :) ah, now that was one of those days when I sincerely thanked God for the wonder that is Yahoo! Messenger :D.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Wake Up!!

That's something I always find extremely difficult to do :(. Especially when I'm up against a deadline! My 'late for' list got another entry this morning when I was woken up by a friend after the morning bus to office had arrived and I still hadn't showed up at the lobby. And this wasn't the first time.
Good thing is, I always manage to find people who do wake me up (barely on time). On board the Trident (my ship) the steward in charge of cleaning my room eventually made it a point to land up to clean my room at 1150 instead of 1200. Just to make sure I was up in time for my midday shift :D. The height of course was when I missed half of an end-semester exam in college. A wingie was kind enough to drop me off to the department, but I was so psyched out that I wasted another half hour sitting at the table. (My hand was shaking too much for me to be able to write :P.) Yes yes, I passed. The next day I had my cellphone ringing, my comp blaring and batchmates screaming from the adjascent wing well in time for the paper :). I miss campus. And my batchmates :-<.

EP '01 @ IITB

Sunday, 11 December 2005

'You said, "So go!.".....'

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.
- Friedich Nietzsche
Saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again tonight, after quite a while. Reminded me of the time when I first saw the trailer and went like: 'I have to see this one!'

That's what it looked like when I woke up Friday morning. Pretty promising huh?! Especially when it'd been snowing for pretty much the whole week. Add to that the Christmas party we had at the end of the day. It was really something to see senior people in the office go totally nuts on the dancefloor :D. Great start to my last weekend in Norway!

I figured I'd go trekking in the morning. On a Saturday morning, the time which on previous weekends I've religiously spent sleeping! Yeah, life on a Saturday morning hasn't changed much for me. Just the scenery: from my hostel room back in college to my cabin on board the Trident, sailing around the Sea of Okhotsk, to my room surrounded by a foot and a half of snow in Norway... So I skipped out of the party early. Bade goodbye to friends who were leaving, having finished their respective courses, and went to sleep early!

Been up since 7.45 am watching fresh snow-fall :(. Okay I did that till it was clear I wasn't going trekking anyway.

Saturday, 10 December 2005


So, remember me saying that I wanted to buy the sequel to The Simoqin Prophecies?!! And crazylilthing wasn't kidding when she said she knew Samit Basu personally! The details are as follows:
visit for info on the new book and more
visit for The Manticore's Secret page at Penguin Books India.
And this means I can buy it when I get back home for my break later this month :D!

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Random thoughts

It's fun walking in the snow. As in while it's snowing. Better than walking in the rain, in that you can brush it off, unlike rain water.
There's lots of kinds of snow. Lightly fallen snow, stuff that lays in an almost translucent layer, easily brushed away. Trouble is, it more often than not disappears in a tiny puddle of water before long. Then there's the hard crinkly snow. Beware of playing with this kind 'cos it's perfectly capable of bruising you! Then there's the hard packed snow. Mostly after it's been snowing for a while. And loads of people have walked over it. I don't like this kind of snow. Wouldn't recommend falling down on this stuff, which can easily happen, since this is also the most slippery. The kind I like the least is the slushy, muddy stuff that's left lying on the road by the indifferent cars. It isn't even white!
I really like the freshly fallen fluffy snow. It's soft. When you walk through it, it feels like a luxurious carpet. And you can make perfect snowballs with it!! But nothing beats flakes of snow softly floating down from the sky. It settles ever so lightly on your outstretched palm. It isn't even too cold. I can see it float down my window now. I think the word I'm looking for, is ethereal.

Fragile flower

Monday, 5 December 2005

All in a day

What's common between a friend of mine from college, a colleague at work, another colleague's son, my current boss's estranged elder brother and the King of Thailand?!! They were all born on the same day! Yeah well, different years of course! Actually maybe not even the same day... What is 5th December in Thailand might very well be 4th in Germany or the US of A.
I forget why exactly I found this extremely amusing a while back.

Sunday, 4 December 2005


There are these times when I just feel like crying out loud. Actually it's more like screaming out loud. I'm alone in a fairly decently soundproof room. I probably won't scare anyone out of their sleep at 3 in the morning. But on second thoughts, I don't. Scream that is. Now I'm hungry. Again.
Was flipping through channels on TV as usual. Saw Mark Ruffalo in some movie I didn't immediately recognise. (Of course, there are lots of movies he's done that I hadn't ever heard of, but I didn't know that till I looked up IMDB.) Anyway, point is, no movie has had me stuck to my seat (or the channel) all through the way this one did. I must have missed just the starting credits. But with no commercial breaks I didn't know the name. Turns out it's called You Can Count on Me. If anyone has seen and liked My Life Without Me, I suggest you look out for this one.

Friday, 2 December 2005

I am

Spinning out of control. Slowly, very slowly picking up speed. Until eventually, I don't know why, how, when.
But it all happened anyway.
There’s too much work and I’m spent
There’s too much pressure and I admit
I got no time to move ahead
Have you heard one thing that I’ve said
And all these little things in life they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days
And I can’t last here for so long
I feel this current it’s so strong
It gets me further down the line
It gets me closer to the line
And all these little things in life they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days
Will all these little things in life they all create this haze
And now I’m running out of time I can’t see through this haze
My friend tell me why it has to be this way
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days
Running Out of Days
- 3 Doors Down

Sunday, 27 November 2005


This tag thing is infectious! One of these days I think I'll come up with one myself (as soon as I come up with a bunch of sensible questions :P). But for now I'll just follow up on Akshi's posting on books, favourite and otherwise.
Two books I like:
The Lord of the Rings - J R R Tolkien: I love fantasy. And LOTR is fantasy at it's grandest! I love the elaborate world Tolkein created, especially the awesome detail! Every now and then I find myself wishing there really were elves somewhere :).
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas: This book, to me, has been an eye opener. It blurs the simple black and white of good and bad. Kicked the shit out of me by showing how the devil exists within the best of us. But left my heart aching at the end in a way few books have.
Two books I've read that I think are unusual for some reason:
Trust Akshi to come up with something like this.
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov: It's just so real in parts. And then of course the robot will start talking. I was also extremely surprised with myself for feeling terribly, terribly sorry for Dr. Susan Calvin. I haven't felt that sorry even for myself! Ever!
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller: Had I not read this book, I would not have believed it was possible to inject so much sarcasm into a book and still make it impossible to hate.
Two authors I like:
J R R Tolkien: For a very obvious reason! He created Middle Earth!!
Isaac Asimov: Dunno why, just like the way he writes :).
Two books I dont like so much:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Philip K Dick: This one plain scared me. It's just so wierd. This book sucks even the hope of normalcy out of you. The worst part is that it's gripping, and even though I didn't want to, I kept reading till it was over. I think I've mentioned this in some previous post...
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams: This is the fifth and last book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The end in this book just shattered it for me. I couldn't believe how it could all end like that, in a puff of smoke! I had gotten quite attached to Arthur Dent actually :-<.
Two books I own and am fond of:
Treasure Island - R L Stevenson: This one belonged to my grandfather. It's one of those extremely old hard bound copies. And I just love reading it again every now and then.
The Adventures of Tintin - Herge: This isn't one book, I have some twelve of them I think. The sheer joy they have given me when I was younger - :D.
Two books I'd like to buy:
This keeps changing fairly frequently, since I'm more of a compulsive reader.
The sequel to The Simoqin Prophecies by Samit Basu, whenever it comes out. Desperately want to see where he's going to take the story.
Damn! Can't think of another book I'd like to buy! The City of Joy was on this list for a long time, then I bought it. Ah yes! There's The Silmarillion (JRR Tolkien), I've read it, but would love to own it.
Hmm. That took longer than I'd expected. Let's not get into the possible reasons :P. Tagging Hema and Beerbal, though I'm not sure if the latter will respond anytime soon... One lives in hope.

Saturday, 26 November 2005

Oslo: Christmas Lights, Lassi and Tandoori Chicken!

I was just given a fright by melting ice in a glass. I guess it's awfully quiet in here. So quiet, my own breathing sounds like a loud wheezing. Lie down flat and close my eyes. Clamp a pillow on top of my head for good measure, and in a little while I can hear my hear beating. Thumping dully, and thankfully, regularly. I feel the blood rush into my face, the ears growing warm till it's uncomfortable. I'm upside-down.
Last night I thought I felt the tiniest flakes of snow settle on my face. I was planning to sleep early. I was hoping it would begin to snow more heavily overnight. And that when I woke up in the morning I would see the world covered over with a white blanket.
Instead, I took the hour-long bus ride to Oslo. Someone said they'd put up Christmas lights on the streets already! And sure enough all the streets from the National Theatre - Oslo University area to the Oslo Sentralstasjon were festooned with lights. The magnifiscent buildings had lights all over. And there were Christmas trees. All lit up and everything.
Near Oslo S we found a rather spetacular setup: a tall thin strip of artificially set up snow. And people were snowboarding and skiing down this. At the bottom the inclie was turned up, so each person ended up in a leap 10-15 feet into the air. Of course not all of them managed to land on their feet again, but it's snow, so they weren't exactly in the danger of breaking their necks :).
Oh, there was this guy filming the whole thing, and he'd found himself a rather nice perch:

After that when some others in our bunch began feeling really hungry (I'd already had dinner), we headed for this bit of Oslo called Gronland. And I could not believe my eyes when they spied this restaurant called Punjab Tandoori!! I really hadn't realised I was missing Indian food so much :D!! A tandoori chicken and a glass of fine lassi was all I could fit in, sadly :(.

I was actually hoping to stay a while out in the city. But I think I underestimated the cold a bit. And then it had to start raining of course... more like sleet actually. So we just headed back around midnight. No snow though. That would have been just perfect I guess....


Somebody somewhere said: "Anxiety is excitement holding it's breath". Wonder what he'd call excitement choked to death.

Monday, 21 November 2005

Pain and fear...

...are undoubtedly the most potent forces of all. One engenders the other. And most of those who do not fear, have simply not felt enough pain. I say most. For when the pain grows beyond an undefinable limit, the mind refuses to recognise it's potency any longer. But few, I suspect, would ever have lived to feel such pain.
Me? Oh, I'm scared alright.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Lazy days

Life seems to have slowed down. Days are beginning to sort of melt into each other. And I rather suddenly realised that the week was over this Friday evening. Dropped plans of going to Oslo yesterday and instead stayed in for a movie marathon.
Of the six, two deserved special mention, I thought. One was the slightly nerve-wracking drug trafficking drama, Layer Cake. This movie is one of the few I have seen with to-be Bond Daniel Craig. And one rather interesting thing about the movie is that in all of two hours you never get to know Craig's screen name. And if, like me, you have too much time on your hands and easy net access, a quick search on IMDB will lead you to the entry: Daniel Craig ....... XXXX. Throughout the movie you come across lots of interesting characters. Mostly given to crazy, highly suspect, but refreshing bits of advice, about life in general and drug trafficking in particular. All in all, a couple of hours well spent :D.
The other is this recently released movie called Duma. It's about a cheetah cub that finds it's way into the care of a little kid. Now unlike most other movies that I have seen with a similar theme, Duma refuses to dwell on the details of how the boy and cub grow up and grow close. Instead, the story skips ahead to how Xan embarks upon a journey to return Duma to the wild. It's a heart warming story to say the least. And the cinematography is truly breathtaking, in a wild kind of way.
Hmm, so I'm sitting in Norway, an hour's walk away from the southern fjords, with nothing better to write about than movies. God I'm bored! The cold might have something to do with it... Stay out in the open for too long and your mind begins to grow numb. Of course it's not too cold yet. But today I saw the dew on the grass frozen into tiny spicules, sparkling in the oblique rays of the sun. Cracks on the pavement shone with trecherous ice. Serves as a reminder that snow is not too far off. Then it'll get cold in earnest. Brrrr.

Thursday, 17 November 2005


Yeah I hate being forced to dig into my own head trying to come up with answers for questions like 'What's your favourite movie?' or 'What kind of food do you like the most?' or 'What do you like most in a person?' or 'Make you personal top 10 hitlist: people you would choke to death with your bare hands if you could get away with it.' Well, you get the idea. Anyway, so now I get tagged by Hema and have to figure out how to answer not one, but six such questions....
Seven things I would like to do before I die:
  1. Travel to every continent. (That includes Antarctica.) Present count: 2 down, 5 to go.
  2. Drive the Ferarri 550 M Maranello. Once. The last Ferarri with the V12 Testarossa!
  3. Own a Honda Fireblade. (I'm realistic, so not a Dodge Viper GT.)
  4. Learn to speak German.
  5. Be God for ten minutes. Don't want the powers, just the perspective. (I'm not sure whether I'll be able to handle it for longer.)
  6. Make sure I have made my will :D
  7. Love someone with all my heart and (here's the catch,) be loved back.
Seven things I can do (and some of these, I actually LIKE doing):
  1. Listen to others. Especially when they are cribbing /:).
  2. Drive. I am an automobile freak.
  3. Be the butt of jokes, and get my leg pulled no end. (I don't really mind it when friends do it.)
  4. Run. I'm slow, so I prefer long distance.
  5. Utterly confuse anyone who actually tries to understand me.
  6. Eat. Usually lots, and pretty much anything.
  7. Take people at face value. At least until they prove beyond all doubt that to trust them would be suicide.
I also like to swim :).
Seven things I cannot do:
  1. Fly.
  2. Tell somebody that they are ugly in their face.
  3. Handstands.
  4. Console someone who's crying/otherwise disconsolate. I'm usually pretty clueless in this situation, and repeated encounters of the kind have not resulted in improvement.
  5. Cook.
  6. Force secrets out of people.
  7. Sing. (Well, definitely not as well as I'd like to.)
Seven things I say the most:
F***, this is like a whole list of unprintables! So the next seven:
  1. Giveup!
  2. Neways.../Anyway...
  3. Hmmm/Hmmphhh
  4. AWESOME!! (Which has given rise to the term 'kray-awesome' :D.)
  5. I mean.../As in...
  6. ...that...
  7. Awww cmon!!

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex:

  1. She's gotto be cute,
  2. Have a sense of humour,
  3. Be slightly crazy,
  4. Be at least as intelligent as me. (Trust me, that's not too big an ask.)
  5. A sensitive nature would be really nice.
  6. Dependability.
  7. Honesty.

The list is roughly in the increasing order of time the quality would make me want to spend with the person.

Seven celebrity crushes:
Heh that's easy!

  1. Priyanka Gandhi. (That's long long before she got married to that businessman :(.)
  2. Steffi Graf
  3. Gabriela Sabatini
  4. Princess Diana
  5. Michelle Pfeiffer
  6. Neve Campbell (don't think Wild Things, think Three to Tango)
  7. Andrea Anders (Alex in Joey)

Phew! Now who would I want to inflict so much pain upon that I'll tag him/her in turn? Well, Akshi should be lukhha enough! :D

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

I believe in God

Just saw the Czeck Republic score an awesome goal against Norway. Might have been the world cup qualifiers, but I'm not sure. That, of course, has nothing to do with my faith in God.
Today has been a surprisingly clear day. Saw the moon in the morning. It was setting, but it looked bright and clear. The temperature fell rather suddenly from 10 degrees to around 3. I think I've successfully busted the widely believed myth that cutting your hair radically short makes you susceptible to catching a cold. My head's been perfectly fine with hair all of 4 mm long for the last three weeks now. That is including the extra cold and wet week at Kristiansund. No cold. Not even a sniff.
Driving in Norway during winter is a rather nasty task. The sun never gets very far away from the horizon, and falls pretty much directly into your eyes whatever the time of the day (as long as it is day that is, roughly from 8 am to 3:30 pm).
Oh yeah, went to the mall today to get some groceries. Yeah well, I'm living in a hotel, but skipping out for a midnight snack is becoming a little difficult in the cold. So there's this really nice ice-cream shop right at the entrance of the mall. Reminded of a me of a certain bit of ice-cream on a particular chin that's celebrating it's 23rd birthday today.. I ended up getting myself a scoop of the weirdest looking flavour on display. Turned out to be mint with chocolate chips. Was pretty nice actually.
Last weekend I'd managed to pain my friends here into taking a 45 minute walk to visit one of the many lakes around Asker. It was a nice walk. The countryside was pretty much the definition of rolling fields. Spent a while sitting on a tree stump by the water watching a dog alternately lapping at the water and having it's neck tickled, by me.
I figure, belief in God can't be conditional. That kind of belief tends to be somewhat fragile. It's not like one can hold God responsible for not fulfilling prayers. And prayers too often end up remaining unfulfilled, at least to some extent. I prefer believing in God as a sort of an incidental to living. Leaves me more at peace with the world. And God.
ps. Norway have still not managed to equalize. And yes, it is a World Cup '06 qualifier.

Monday, 14 November 2005

Back to reality

It's been three days since I got back to Asker from Kristiansund. And I cannot find a way of putting down in words the pure exhilaration of those five intensely busy days. What shall I say? The days were tiring, yes. Cold, intensely. The rain gave us company on many an ocassion. And whenever it did, a perfect double rainbow accompanied it! I don't know which got to me more, the joy of driving a boat through the driving rain, or the picutre-postcard like town laid out on the various islands that make up Kristian-sund: the Straights of King Kristian.
In particular of course the most fun I had personally was the guided tour that Dag, our Norwegian instructor (an absolute bear of a man with a sing-song accent and an air of complete indestructibility about him) gave us of the Fjord the first day we drove out the boat. That first time I drove very tentatively of course. I don't know how many of you would have driven a boat before, but let me tell you, if you think tons of experience with any other kind of vehicle would make it easier for you to drive a boat, you are in for a rude rude shock :D!!
With Dag. (I'm just there for scale :P)
Another day I particlarly enjoyed was the time Dag allowed us free reign of his beloved workboat! I won't remember it so much for the fact that I managed to make the boat go leaping across the water by swerving real hard at high speed, but because that's when I figured whoever said women were safe drivers needed some sense to be knocked into them!!

My crew on the small boats!

Today it was back to the grind of daily lectures. I had a rather hard time trying to stop my mind from wandering off, back to the clear blue water through which you could see the sandy bottom, the salty spray flying so fast that it made your face sting. To my short, eventful visit to paradise.

For more photographs from Kristiansund: Fjord-landet.

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

I haven't got any pictures so for now, words will have to suffice. Today I saw something so breathtakingly beautiful that I coudn't wait! I have heard of the beauty of snow-capped mountain peaks. I had even seen them in pictures. But let me tell you, nothing beats the real thing. Nothing even comes close!
On the flight from Oslo to Kristiansund, we flew over the range of mountains that run pretty much all through the length of Scandinavia. After take off the aircraft pulled up above the swirling clouds that had caused us to much trouble for the last week. After a while when I noticed a different kind of white that seemed to peep from amidst the white sea of clouds, at first I couldn't believe my eyes! Soon however the mountains with their white-tipped heads were unmistakable. With the vast valleys all wreathed in white, the craggy tops overlooking lakes sparkling dazzlingly in the sunlight, whisps of clouds casting dark shadows on the mountainsides, it was simply the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on!
The best part was of course when the fjords came into view! The tall peaks fell away precariously into deep gorges, and all of a sudden there was the wonderful landscape of alternating mountains and long narrow streaks of clear sparkling water. I simply cannot find enough superlatives to describe it :(. Let me just say that when Douglas Adams wrote that the creator of worlds had done his life's best work when he designed the Fjords of Norway, he wasn't exaggerating one bit.
Right now I'm feeling thankful for just about everything under the sky. It's all so B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!!
On another note, quote printed on a beer glass in a steakhaus in Asker:
'Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.'
- Benjamin Franklin


The other day we decided to go watch a movie. There's a multiplex pretty close to the hotel, but we had trouble figuring out if they showed movies in any language other than Norwegian. To our delight, they did! What somewhat dampened the delight was the choice: Flightplan or The Legend of Zorro. We chose Zorro, and a couple of hours later we left the theatre reeling from the overdose of absolutely pointless and consistently irritating loudness! But hey, at least the seats were good!
Tomorrow (that would be today actually) I leave for the small town of Kristiansund on the North Sea coast. The reason's a week-long workboat course. That would be a refreshing break from 8 hrs of lectures for five days a week! I was beginning to slip into my college time habit of nodding off in class :D. I hope the weather there's better though. I'm getting a little bored with the rain now.

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Weather report

I thought I'd just be honest with the title :D.
The Sun has finally chosen to show it's face! After four long days of intense fog, late sunrises and early sunsets, I finally woke up today to find the sky already lit up. (Usually it's just a dingy damp grey.) Of course that means the temperature is about to nosedive again, but I don't really mind. These last few days it was soaring at around 10 degrees above! And this morning it was already down to 6.
Anyway, despite the poor visibility, over the weekend we chose to undertake some rather ill-advised strolls about the countryside. It's quite scary actually, full fledged daunting Roman churches jumping out from behind the screen of fog barely a hundred yards away. Not to mention the sprawling acres of graves in the adjoining cemetery...

Friday, 28 October 2005


It's funny how a person behaves with various people. There may be a common recognizable strain in the behaviour that sets the person apart from all others, identifies him as unique. Then again, maybe not.

Take Henry and Edward for example. Amy thinks Henry's an absolutely charming chap! Caring, considerate, sensible.. in short the perfect guy to have around when she's feeling a little low. He's sure to get her back to her chirpy self. According to Pink, there could be no one more irritating, self-centered and downright boring than Edward! Now all that's perfectly cool, till I tell you that Eddie and Henry happen to be the same guy. Now the fun part in the whole thing is when you have a clear third person view of the whole picture as Eddie/Henry's good friend Kris :D.

It's so difficult to know people these days. It's not so much that you find hidden depths in them that you didn't know exists, but the fact that the stuff hidden in those depths seem to invariably be dark and forbidding. It's a rather scary world out there...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005


Barely one day at Asker, a small suburb of Oslo, and I experienced my first snow fall! Well, it was also the first heavy snowfall of the season, and the countryside that was earlier dry and colourful, suddenly turned white all over!!

A day later, with the sun out again, and the sky a bright blue, the landscape is ravishingly beautiful. Too bad I'm stuck in classes for eight hours a day (which is pretty much all the hours of daylight). Oh, but it's so much fun watching snow slipping softly off the tree leaves!

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Of delayed flights and aerial traffic jams!

So I decided to put a nightout at home before catching flight last night. True to form, fell asleep as soon as I got into my seat. Trouble is I slept through breakfast! And by the time I woke up the flight steward very nicely asked me to wait for the next meal!!!
And at London there was a huge delay due to air traffic control! It meant that the pilot gave nice aerial tour of the city while circling near Heathrow airport, but I was stuck smack in the middle of the bloody plane!! Couldn't see a thing :(!! And then had to wait in queue for the next flight to take off! Reminded me of how cars in Kolkata keep edging each other out while getting into a single lane road!
Most interesting thing though was when I noticed two air crafts flying underneath our aircraft (in this flight I had window seat)! The tiny specs of blinking light heading huge smoky trails that stay hanging in thin air!! I was kicking myself for not getting a picture of that!
Norway seems to be a nice place (though I've barely been here for 3 hours :P). Most importantly, I figure I can survive the cold :D.

Friday, 21 October 2005

Days go by. . . .

I'm bored. It's been raining almost continuously for the last three days now. The sky is perpetually cloudy, and it's getting a bit chilly. And I have to finish up my left-over shopping for my upcoming trip to Norway (yeah I know I shouldn't be complaining about the Kolkata chill under the circumstances). It's not fun. Not with knee high water in some places, the dampness, the muddy, sloshy, slippery, crowded market. Oh yes, it's still crowded, people hurrying up to catch the last of the leftover Durga Puja sale offers.

My boss seems to be nice, he took the trouble of informing me that winter has already hit Oslo, and that I better be ready to deal with some heavy snow. And ice. He also informed me that the taxi service from accomodations to the office has been suspended, so we'll have to leg it. In the ice and snow.


Have been listening to Switchfoot (that's a band) these days. Don't have any mp3's yet, so hanging on to Yahoo! Music and VH1. I strongly suggest you try and watch the video of Stars. It's nice. Has people flying around. I think. It's a little difficult to make out actually. But the music's good :).


Was browsing through some pics I've been taking through my window and this one turned up and made me smile.

Friday, 14 October 2005

A Godess, a car and a few stops down memory lane.

So finally I'm back home. Left home early in the morning of the 8th, and promptly banged into a minibus on a crazy one lane street in the city. Six days and over 600 Kms later I had to go give the car in for repairs and I must say other than that one glitch the trip went like a dream. I was with my family during the Puja after a gap of four years and it felt good to be back!

Parents, grandparents, uncle and aunt!

For the most part the roads have improved a great deal, the 4 lane NH 2 lets you cruise at 120 Kmph and still feel short of a gear! Of course the highway and long flat roads aren't a place for the diminutive Alto, but in the narrow dusty tracks which we took to find old zamindaar families around Shantiniketan who still keep to their family Durga Pujas, it was perfectly at home!

Several villages and family 'mandap's later we decided it was time for some city flavour and took a trip to the city of Durgapur 50 Kms away. As the sun set, the lights of the huge, glamorous community Puja's strove to keep the gathering darkness at bay!

Eventually I headed off to Asansol to be a part of the final idol immersion festivities in my old neighbourhood. I was really saddened to notice that the huge seesam tree that used to stand smack in the middle of the pandal had died some years back and had left the place looking too clean. And empty.

The same pandal, the same idol, but no same old tree.

Everyone I met seemed to expect a 16 year old in my place. And some of the other 16-year-olds I seemed to remember had somehow morphed into serious 22-year-olds who I could hardly recognise. Well, most of them had simply disappeared. It was eventually up to the evening's traditional display of fireworks to cheer me up. Which it did, considerably :).

As promised, I've put up some pictures of the Godess, the pandals and the trip on my photoblog.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005


Connecting to the net after 4 full days! That's the longest such stretch since my trip back from the Trident, the difference is, here I had at my disposal a supposedly serviceable BSNL dial-up link that simply refused to connect. Till now that is.

There's just one more day to go for this year's Durga Puja to conclude. In the last few days I've relived at least a bit of the flavour which I was afraid I'd lost completely, but it's not the same. Actually I don't think I expected it to be just like old times either. Still, I must say the enthusiasm is infectious! Will post some of the many photographs I took once I have a more reliable net connection. (Which I suspect will only be once I get back home in another three day's time.)

Now I'm looking forward to another long drive from here (that is Shantiniketan) to Asansol. The road's an absolute dream, at least by local standards!

Friday, 7 October 2005

Festive season

It's that time of the year when every Bengali's heart beats to the rhythms of the 'dhaak'! It's the time for Durga Puja, the greatest festival in the Bengali calendar (and that's saying something, given the huge number of festivals in the Bengali calendar :D). And here in Kolkata the preparations have reached a fever pitch. The pandal (you can think of it as a disposable temple made of bamboo, cloth and whatever else the builders deem befitting) near my house is all but complete.

Maa Durga
With just one more day to go, it's not just pandals being finished in a hurry, people all over the place are rushing to complete their Puja shopping. In the heart of central Kolkata, the throngs of shoppers have all but obliterated any sense of discipline in the traffic. Traffic Police are rendered helpless as crowds simply refuse to part and allow vehicular traffic to ply on the roads.

Amidst this frenzy, I feel oddly left out. For the last four years I have been living away from home and now, I can't seem to be able to get back into the groove. Maybe it's just because I've never been in Kolkata during Puja. Tomorrow I'll head back to where it all began for me, to my grandparents' place and to my earliest memories of Durga Puja. And from there I'll be off to my earstwhile hometown, Asansol. I recall the fun we used to have in what seems to be such a long time ago, fond memories. Well, tomorrow I'll see if it all comes back to me!

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

The Kolkata Taxi

Currently they maybe seen in their 'yellow with royal blue strip around the waist' avatar, but this was not always the case. There was a time when most of the city cabs were just yellow. And then again there was the time when all of them were half black and half yellow. However, one thing that I haven't seen change in these past two decades is the fact that the taxi's themselves are invariably the Hindustan Motors Ambassador.

And today the wisdom in this dawned on me as I sat in one of these behemoths as it carried me over the sea of potholes and tramline ruts that passes for central Kolkata thoroughfares. I was imagining what would happen to my teeny-weeny Alto if it were to face such a situation. Very possibly it would have disappeared right into one of the gaping manholes that appear suddenly in the road! (Oh, the manholes have covers and all, it's just that they form depressions in the road whose depths can be measured in feet!) The Amby of course had no trouble negotiating these minor hurdles, and why not, the suspension is the one used in most TATA six-plus-wheeled trucks!!

Monday, 3 October 2005

Blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!

Seems like bad weather has a sure way of following me around. First on the ship, then typhoons hitting Tokyo, then depression over Mumbai and now an even worse depression over all of southern West Bengal with Kolkata smack in the midlle of it!

Been stuck in the house, thankfully my cousin's visiting, so it's not so painful. He managed to finish Max Payne 2 in under twenty-four hours, with me watching out to see where the bullets came from every time he got killed :D. It's good fun actually, and we found some interestig things about the game. For instance, suppose you are stuck on a ledge one floor above the ground, leaping face forwards is a sure way of getting killed, however, if you fall butt-first, not a scratch!!

Also found out that people try extremely vague names for their blogger accounts! I was trying to give my cousin an example, and had to go through usernames arbit, aarbit, aaarbit, till I finally found aaaaarbit available!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Old movies

Everyone has favourite movies. Movies they watch once, and are touched by what they see. And then are compelled to see them again, and again. It's probably why reruns never really go empty. Of course since these days we can watch movies on comps without stepping out of our rooms (in my case my bedroom), watching old movies is a really great way of passing time.

It's not just the movies all the time. It's the people who you watched it with. Every once in a while you will come across a bit of dialogue that reminds you of what a friend had said when (s)he was sitting by your side, watching the same thing. A lot of times it's just the movie though. Especially with people like me, who watch a lot of movies alone. On a comp. I know it's a little pathetic in a way... sometimes you end up wishing there was someone else with whom you could share a laugh. . .


A friend mentioned the other day how when a lot of stuff's happening in life we dont really have the time to think about it. It's only when everything's over that you sit back and go over it all again in your mind. When I sit back and go over the last four years, I wish I could just go back and live it again from the start. Sadly enough, life's not a movie. I know it's cliched, but it's true.

--This is especially for Lksdy: that's what the sunset looks like from my window. A little more, and the Sun is lost in the haze.

Monday, 26 September 2005


The full meaning of the word often escapes most of us. But I think the feeling that hit me with full force as the plane lifted off Mumbai airport, and banking wide out over the Arabian Sea, turned back and passed almost directly over the Powai and Vihar lakes, gave me a pretty clear picture of exactly what it means.

I'm rather embarrassed to say that it actually took me a while to get my bearings right and spot the tiny grey buildings for what they were: departments, hostels, the guest house. . . I imagined I could see myself walking down the roads, hurrying to classes or labs. Or strolling by the lakeside. The tall Sameer hill looked ridiculously small from up there. The vast Powai lake lost much of it's expanse at a height of 20 thousand feet.

The familiar landscape was gone in seconds. The memories lingered for so much longer.


A lax flight staward led to an uncleared table in front of me. This in turn hindered me from accessing my cam which was under the seat ahead of me. Thus went my first sunset from the sky :(

Diary of a home-bound sailor.

11th September - 05:43 am

I can't possibly make blog entries right now for the simple reason that there's no way I can connect to the net. So I'm doing the next best thing, making entries anyway with the intention of posting them at some point of time in future.

-Friday, 9th September:

I did make it to breakfast on friday morning, but missed the sunrise. I went up to the helideck as soon as I saw light filter in through my port hole though. Only to find dark clouds stretching the full length and breadth of the sky. I waited, sure that I would see something at least that spoke of the sunrise. After waiting for an hour I realised I'd been mistaken.

Incidentally the crew transfer happened a couple of hours earlier than scheduled, so my last few minutes on board the Trident were furiously busy, trying to make sure all my luggage was packed in waterproof bags, the stuff I'd borrowed was properly returned, etc. The trip across to the Toisa Mariner was pretty swift, the transfer boat ripping through the swells and often flying off a particularly large one to land back on water with a somewhat alarming thump!

Lack of sleep finally caught up with me and I slept like a log in the afternoon.

-Saturday, 10th September:

Started reading a copy of Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy that I'd borrowed off a friend. Slept the major part of the day while the rather substantially smaller size of this ship amplified the rolling and pitching pretty alarmingly. Watched the Sun set, well, till it disappeared behind some clouds that is. But by then I had had enough of the insanely cold wind freezing the left side of my body anyway.

16 hours of sleep in a day can make sleeping in the night a pretty difficult thing to achieve. So I chose to read the book instead. And ended up finishing the first book out of the four. (This is the ultimate edition with all four books in one.) Turned out to be a pretty cool read.

By the time I'd finished I could see light shining through my port hole again! And sure enough the sun was just breaking through in the east! So I finally caught my first sunrise on a ship. And on this momentous occasion I chose to make myself a breakfast of cold-coffee and sandwiches with mayonnaise, cheese slices and a rather dubious looking something called Danish Morello Cherry Extract. Now I guess I'll turn in, and hopefully wake up for lunch :P.

12th September - 03:24 am

-Sunday, 11th September:

I didn't wake up for lunch. In fact I did wake up, but the desire to just turn over and fall asleep again was so strong, I chose to give in :D. Woke up late in the afternoon instead, feeling ravenously hungry.

Spent whatever time was left in the day watching the swelling sea smash against the Mariner's bows and rise up as tall white sheets of fine mist. In fact I was spending as much time looking over the guard rail as ducking under the flying spray. Didn't quite succeed in dodging all the time though.

Somehow, sunsets seem to be a lot colder than sunrises...

Oh, we shifted back one hour today, difference between Sakhalin time and Japan time. Should be reaching Wakkanai sometime tomorrow, or maybe early day after. Looking forward to setting my feet on solid land for a change! And also to sleeping in a bed that doesn't move :-<.

Fun fact of the day: seamen (at least on this ship) have holidays on Sundays, and only the officers and engineers work!! So technically, if the ship starts sinking the Bo'sun might very well go 'It's a Sunday, I won't start the lifeboat'! Or maybe not.

13th September - 12:05 am

-Monday, 12th September:

Caught the sunrise again, and rather remarkably, came across an abrupt stretch of land on the starboard side. All this was early in the day,before I went to sleep. By the time I had woken up a couple of hours later, a thick fog and driving rain had blanketed the surroundings. We reached land in the afternoon! Once the ship had pulled alongside the jetty, we went for a walk, on solid land after more than a month! The rain was a bother though. Spending the night in the Mariner itself before catching my flight for Tokyo tomorrow. My last night in a bunk for rather quite a while I think.

Saturday, 17 September 2005


As of this Friday, I have finally been certified a graduate :D.
The sinking feeling that gradually dawned on me was that arguably the most fun time of my life is officially over, and in some ways, life can never get better from this point on. That same feeling hits home all the more as I see-off friends who had come down for the Convocation.

Thursday, 15 September 2005

Back to Bom!

After 4 long days in the crew boat and another two days flying all over the place, I'm finally back in Mumbai! And the rain was there to bid me a warm (and very humid) welcome. When time permits, I'll post some stuff I'd put down while in the ship.

Thursday, 8 September 2005

Going home!!

I'm supposed to anyway.. tomorrow morning. But all of today and as far as I can judge in the darkness, all night, a dense fog has descended all around us. Visibility has been reduced to barely a hundred metres or so. It's not very cold outside, surprisingly, just depressingly clammy.

Pretty much all day I've been thinking about the trip. What I'd expected against what it turned out to be, if it was tougher or easier than I'd thought it would be, stuff like that. It seems though, that I'd sort of forced myself not to expect anything in particular! I say this because now that I do know what it's like, I can't for the life of me find anything in my mind to compare it with!!

Okay, that's not entirely true. I keep comparing my life on board this ship with my last four years in hostel. And the similarities are pretty amusing. For starters the late to bed, late to rise schedule :P. Mess food, and bitching about it (regardless of actual quality), trying to fit in with seniors, feeling like a freshie even at the end of a month.... And yes being ordered about. It's apparently a custom on board that the offsigning crew clean the siesmic operations area (instrument room, back deck, gun deck etc) for the next crew to come in. So yesterday my boss asks me to get started with a mop and I confidently laugh in his face, assuming that he's joking. A few minutes later I see several other members of the crew get into action with dusters and mops! So today I obediently finished up my 'quota' of cleaning while my boss could hardly contain his 'I told you so' smirk all through :D.

Come to think of it, I couldn't have hoped for a better trip. My colleagues here hardly give off the 'office' and 'corporate' feel that I was very afraid of. On the contrary, they actually treat kids like me (trainees) with a great deal of familiarity. Soon you're work buddies, and they'll be recounting experiences and cracking jokes with you. Of course they won't let go of a single chance to take your case, and Richie, my boss for the longest time here is a superb example of that! But as I finished my last shift a few minutes back and bade the guys goodnight, I realised this might be the last time I ever see them. It filled me with a little bit of sadness. Somehow the trip reminds me of a long train journey. You meet people whom you are sure you will never forget and just as surely will never meet ever again.

It is very important to say the final good-bye though, and there's always the hint that maybe, maybe it's not so final. The world after all, is not such a big place :).
Happiest moment on the Trident! (Off it actually :D)
I guess this will be my last posting for a while. What follows is a 5 day journey, disconnected from all the world for all practical purposes. Oh, and I'm planning to stay up all night, hoping to catch the sunrise! (And breakfast :P.)

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

Eternal sunshine in a spotless sky

Horrible take on a terrific movie, but I couldn't find any better way to describe the scene that lay spread out before me today as we were lowered down to the sea on te work-boat. (YES!!! Two days in a row, sunny sky and boat rides >:) this is the good life!)

My successive outings have been a continuous learning process:
Day 1: Never wear a wrist watch under an immersion suit, the supertight (they are supposed to be waterproof) wrist bands tightening on top of the wristlet makes it bite into your skin and after a while, the pain is unbelievable!
Day 2: Trying to do accomplish any act requiring dexterity is impossible with gloves on. Since the work has to be done, and you can't afford mistakes, ignore the insane cold and the numbing icy water for just as long as it takes to finish the job. (DO NOT forget to put the gloves back on, you don't wanna feel the blood slowly recirculating through each minute capillary, it's excrutiating.)
Day 3: Wear proper headgear, normal hard hats tend to fly away while you are enjoying the fresh air on your face.
Day 4: Wearing safety glasses keeps both the wind and the salty, stinging, tear-bringing water out.
So getting to the actual ride, I have never seen the sea as calm as it was this afternoon. Of course that means no spray and minimal pitching. Neil and Stan took this opportunity to catch some shut eye.

Today I also received my final appraisal from my managers onboard the Trident, so now I have officially accomplished everything I'd come here to do! Yippie :D. And I just noticed that I'm yet to put up a decent picture of the ship on this blog!!

The Western Trident


I've been meaning to write this for a couple of days, but keep forgetting somehow. Philip K Dick SUCKS! Bigtime. The book (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) is totally psycho! That's one author I'm swearing off. I lay reading the book, couldn't let go, there were just a few more pages to go, I kept telling myself. And by the end of it the clock was showing 5:30 am, I was sitting on my bunk, dazed and utterly confused! A sensation very close to panic was coursing it's way just below the surface of my consciousness. Every time the guns went off, the ship swayed, I swayed with it, and the dull thump of the shot kept jolting my harried nerves in the most unpleasant manner :(. I can't really remember if I slept after that. I was early for work the next day though.


I couldn't not post two snaps of today's sunset, it was so gorgeous! Some more are there on my photoblog. (Heh, I know, this is almost a photoblog itself, but the other one has just pics :P.)

Before it slipped behind the clouds...

...and then it peeped out again!

Tuesday, 6 September 2005


My third trip in the small boat, and yes, finally the Sun was shining! I realised that leaving behind my safety glasses had been a mistake, the glare was blinding. The light is so bright that you cannot possibly look up at the sky (any part of it, even far away from the sun), and the rippling waters below do a brilliant job of making sure you are squinting hard to see anything at all. But in a while I could feel one very major difference, with the sunshine, the cold was much less pervasive. The wind was still biting, but when I got back today, it took me substantially less time to thaw :D.
Having gathered my bearings in the previous trips, and the confidence that under most conditions it wasn't too difficult to stay within the boat, I decided to take my camera with me. The aim was to capture a bird floating on the water, but I was deprived of that pleasure. But looking at the prop-wash of the work-boat I couldn't but think of the similarity between the waves we left behind and the splashing tail of a diving whale!

Ya I know, it always looks better for real than in pictures. What to do. But today I gained renewed faith in my camera. The sea was choppy and spray was raining onto us within the work-boat. Especially on me since I chose to stand right up front at the bows :P. And I had the cam in my hand for the most part. Despite the copious amounts of sea water that splashed on it, my cam was working just fine! Of course it helps that the micro sized lens is so much easier to guard :D.

We should never start counting the days! Since I started counting the days that remained for me to sign off, that is all I've been thinking about. And I tell you, it's such a pain to keep finding your thoughts turning to the calculation of the number of hours left, and then trying to reduce that number by underhand means like deducting hours spent sleeping etc.


What I'm passing off as today's sunset :P :

Monday, 5 September 2005

Bubble wrap!

So about 2 or 3 months back, when I was back in campus and was hurtling through the myriad requirements of joining work, a friend of mine used to pain me with this theory. You see, at that point of time all I knew about my job was that I was to go looking for oil under the sea-bed. So Bolli's theory was that the process to be used for the above purpose was to send off people on boats with oil tanks, with warnings that they will be shot if they returned without their tanks full!
And that wasn't all, in deference to it's status as the world's largest seismic company, Bolli credited them with one major sophistication in personnel safety: bubble wrap! Each person would be provided a huge sheet of bubble wrap, which would serve the dual purpose of bouyancy, as well as air supply (the air within the bubbles, in case you are bewildered ;) ).
As it turned out, this theory (thankfully!!) isn't in practice :DD. But while tinkering around in the workshop today guess what I ran into!! Giant sheets of bubble wrap :)). And while standing there nostalgically bursting the giant bubbles, my thoughts ran back to those days of midsummer rains, the green campus, the shining sun! Just three more days to go, and I can't wait to be back!
Oh, and today's sunset :).

Sunday, 4 September 2005

After the sunset

The wind has come down to manageable levels. I'm finally done with all training related work for this trip. Work's still suspended (we had to stop yesterday 'cos of the inclement weather). That left me with pretty much the whole day and nothing to do. So I tried to make myself useful. (Read: went out to the back-deck, looked around while crew members did what they did everytime the weather fucked us up.)
Haven't had too many opportunities of lazing around on the backdeck early in the afternoon, when the sun is at it's highest in the sky, so I made the most of it. Entirely unbidden, a few thoughts came to me. As I looked out, my eyes scanning the horizon, I was met with a view not too many would have enjoyed. Absolute desolation. No man or man-made object in sight with the exception of the ship on which I stood. An image came floating back to me. The last sunset I'd seen from my window back home. The difference struck me. In that image there were houses, trees, water tanks and all the rest that you would find in a settlement. And I remember having cursed them all, for not allowing me an untainted view of the sunset. To quote M: 'Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony'. Nothing blocked my view today.
I had the sense to not feel dejected. True, for a month I have been living a life rather extreme, away from all civilization (though not cut off from it, thankfully!). Working with no weekends, no exceptions to the daily schedule of midday to midnight. But with that comes the fantastic world where human activity is of no significance. The waves rear up their curled heads. The wind swoops down n snatches off their tips! White spray. There might as well have been nobody watching. I felt like I had intruded upon the interplay of powers way beyond my grasp. Not everybody was welcome into this world. Not everyone got the chance to be a part of it in their entire lives. Believe me, when I say it's cold here, I mean bitter in a way you cannot imagine, unless you have felt it seep through any amount of clothing and slowly chill your very bones!

My Orkut 'Today's fortune' said: You are going to have a very comfortable old age. :D. But I guess one should think about it every once in a while, old age that is. . . Nah! not today.
After dark I got back to my desk (had to, the wind was picking up again, and I had no wish of taking a dip in the sea). I was aimlessly pottering about the net when, entirely accidentally, I stumbled upon a blog I recognised! And thereafter onto others. The hours went by in a flash, a fresh cup of coffee and 3 slices of a delicious cake every hour significantly assisted the passage, I may add. Incidents rejvinating memories, bringing a smile on my face. Pictures opening flood-gates of recollections, leaving a slight ache in my heart.
Ever noticed how music seems to superimpose itself on the reading it accompanies? Today it was Third Eye Blind. I still think of The Count of Monte Cristo whenever I listen to Summer Sunshine. . .
A while back I was pleasantly srprised when I heard the soundtrack of 'Bunty aur Bubly' blaring from the instrument room music system!! It was clearly for me, 'cos none of my colleagues underatand a syllable of Hindi :D. I like my workmates, most of whom are senior to me by over a decade. Despite that, they have a bright sense of humour, the movie has been topping the UK charts it seems :)).

While resizing pics for uploading to the blog, I noticed that I manage to resize and save a picture using just a sequence of keyboard shortcuts:
>select pic >'Win menu' key >h >p
>Ctrl+w >40 (%) >Tab >40 (%) >Enter
>Alt >f >a >' (brevity is a virtue) >Enter
And voila! I have a pic small enough to upload quickly over the rather shaky sattelite net connection :P.

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Blowing in the wind

It's been a rough day. Not specifically for me, but the ship. We have run into some bad weather. Or rather, given that we have been in pretty much the same place for about a month, some bad weather has run into us. From early afternoon the wind had picked up, and was steadily blowing at 30 knots (which is pretty bad given that a normal strong breeze is closer to 10 or 15). Knowing fully well that there wasn't a chance in hell of the slightest glimpse of the sun I went up to the deck. And for the first time this trip, was scared.
At over 70 Kgs, I'm not exactly lightweight, but for the first time in my life I was afraid of being physically blown away. But once I got over the initial shock, it was pretty cool, actually. The ship was pitching pretty wildly, i.e., one moment the bow is pointed well above the horizon, and the next, it's plunging straight into the water! It did not help that wind was blowing across from port, which meant that you had to independently counter the pitching and the blast of the wind. I wonder why this trip keeps reminding me of a roller-coaster. I'm afraid that if and when I do get the chance to be on an actual roller-coaster, it might prove to be a let-down.
I found a slightly sheltered spot and was at once greeted by a pestrel, flying very close to the ship and at almost exactly the same pace. It took me a while to figure out that the birds were probably taking advantage of the protection offered by the ship's superstructure. Every few moments one more bird would join up and before long there was a full squadron of them flying alongside.

Friday, 2 September 2005

Looking from above

Google is GOD! Well, I have had multiple occassions to say this, but this time the reason is Google Earth. Yes I know it was originally Keyhole that started up with the concept of the online 3-D map of the whole planet, but lets not get into propreitory issues.
Currently Google has a free version of the software which I downloaded today, and have had a fabulous time locating the different places that I've been to. Sadly though, the satellite coverage over India isn't too great, clarity ceases to increase with a decrease in altitude lower than 20,000 ft. But it still gave me a prety good view of Mumbai, parts of Kolkata (including Dum Dum, where I live!) and also of Asansol, a small town located roughly at 23 degrees North and 87 degrees East, where I was born!! :D
But I was really amazed by the view I got of Tokyo airport.
And this, it could be me sitting inside that plane, mine took of from the same runway!

Thursday, 1 September 2005

On even keel

Blogging has become pretty much a part of my daily routine these days. Every night, once I'm though my shift, I'd religiously log on to my dashboard. And amazingly enough there always seems to be something to write about. So I'm a little surprised today. I seem to have had a very neutral sort of a day. Didn't manage a boat ride, missed the sunset, almost missed lunch 'cos by the time the steward had woken me up it was already midday :(. (The phenomenon of ignoring my phone alarm is not a new one.) But I've logged in, and now that I have a blank screen in front of me my fingers seem to be typing in stuff with no apparent need of my mind...
I finished reading I, Robot last night. I was right, it did not dissappoint. As with every Asimov book I have read before, when my eyes finally rolled of the last word, I felt a sense of equilibium. There was an immense sense of loss. Of an ending. But the beauty of the world described within refused to let me feel entirely sad.
The sun was out today, and the sky was a clear blue and the sea a deeper shade of the same. It reminded of the same time yesterday, without light there's no colour, simply shades of gray.
There are times when small things can get you down, and seemingly minor gestures get you back to normal.
About the sunset. As I said I'd missed it per se. But what I managed to see did have it's own calm elegance.

Wednesday, 31 August 2005


I don't know what to say! I feel really terrible about allowing myself to get depressed yesterday. Okay I know that sounds a little warped, but get a load of this: I have a wonderful day on Monday, end up feeling at the top of the world. And then yesterday, plunge into the deepest gloom in a long long time, simply because nothing seemed to be happening. And this morning it was almost as if fate was reproaching me for gross ingratitude, 'cos there I was again, out on a small boat! :D
Well, it was actually much better than two days back. This was a nice quick trip from our ship to the chase boat lying a few miles away, to transfer a passenger. And I had nothing to do other than grab the rail, wedge myself firmly at the bow and enjoy the ride! The sky was grey, and the sea a considerably darker shade of the same, but the world wasn't totally sans colour, the brim of the sky was touched with a light clear blue. It was just as cold as the other day, much to my deligt for some reason, and it started raining as well! Now, I'm not the kind of guy you will find standing out in the rain just for the fun of it, but out in the open sea, with the white spray from the boat's prow drenching my water-proof immersion suit, it was about as ideal a situation for rain as possible.
The sea was different today. The water was less choppy, but the swell's were much huger! I don't quite know how to explain this, you have to see it to believe it! But instead of metre high waves crashing against the boat, we had the sea turning into a huge undulating mass that carried us with it. No jerks, just smooth upheavals, if that makes any sense. And there was the usual company of curious birds flying low within a cable's length of the boat. And though I still didn't trust myself with my cam in the water, one of the guys, Dave had taken his along, and here's a pic.

Later in the day, I was coming up from the gun-deck from some errand when though the starboard hatch an extraordinary sight greeted me. I ran for my cam, and rushed up to the heli-deck. The sky was ablaze. It seriously was. Imagine a huge comet! With the sun at the edge of the horizon as the head, and the tail streaking out, sweeping along the horizon in a blinding arc. I saw my whale-watcher friend clicking away merrily with an SLR, but this time he had chosen his Canon digital SLR, I couldn't even ask for copies. He smiled apologetically at my cam. But I'm not too unhappy with my pics either. They don't come even close to doing justice to the spectacle I witnessed today, but will serve to refresh the images blazed across my mind.

PS. At the end of my shift, I got the best card I've been given in many, many years! And that made today even more special :).