A moo point, basically …

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Posts Tagged ‘travel

Shackled Identity

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The first time I read this news, I was horrified. Such pervs deserve to rot in hell, I think. No excuses whatsoever. Of all the ridiculous things people do, pedophilia has to rank right up there (that’s one of the reasons why I was a bit hesitant to post this joke).

Then I was horrified all over again, when I realized that this fellow is THIRTY years old. Old enough, one might think, to have forged an identity of his own, no? And yet, the newspaper thought it necessary to point out his educational background while reporting the news. It’s pushed me back to the whole ‘double-edged sword’ ‘identity crisis’ ‘stereotype trap’ line of thought – I want to disassociate myself from him as much as I want to be shareeq in this guy‘s happiness.

It also reinforced my dislike for all forms of media/ news coverage, but that’s a different thing altogether.

Ahem.

Ed: Good show Dwivedi! Respect, dude! 🙂

Ed2: The GreatBong has a post on the similar topic here.

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Written by sujaybedekar

July 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in arbit, IIT, US

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Matheran in the Monsoons

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Here’s a thirteen step process to having a super awesome one-day trip to Matheran in the rains.

zero. Check what the MET department guys forecast the night before your trip. If they expect it to be bright and sunny, go ahead with your plan.

1. Sleep late the previous night. Sleeping early is quite irrelevant as your adrenaline rush will carry you through the entire day anyway. Let your last prayer before you sleep/nap be that it rain moderately the next day.

2. Rise early, really early (like 4 am). This is important, because you’ll end up spending around an hour trying to wake up other people and getting hold of stuff like umbrellas (redundant), jackets (pointless) and plastic bags (somewhat helpful).

3. Catch an early train to Neral, get down there. Don’t get too excited by the view from the train, you’ll end up wasting valuable battery life. Take a pee break at Neral station, it might very well be the only one you get for the next three/four hours.

@Neral station

4. Ensure that you aren’t too attached to your camera (emotionally, that is – straps are recommended). There’s a good chance it’ll get screwed. Same goes for mobile phones and watches. Take a camera along anyway.

en route to matheran

5. Walk the walk, talk the talk, feast on the fabulous scenery.

walk the lineroad

6. Follow the road, get off the road, follow the toy-train tracks, climb a few rocks, roll off the grass, get onto the road. Repeat. You’ll have around 10 km to perfect this loop.

green top - bouncy pitch

on track

7. Stop at every broken pipe, every waterfall and every curve overlooking a gorge. The waterfalls get better the higher you go, so you can rest assured that the level of awesomeness will keep going up.

blow

fallwater

water curtainwaterfall

8. Carry plenty of miscellaneous stuff to eat/drink. If you order beverages at roadside stalls, ask them to tone down the sweetness a bit, else you’ll end up drinking sugar syrup with a hint of tea.

break time

9. You’ll get tired, wet, slightly bored and fairly demotivated as you climb the steep slopes. Don’t give up – these are signs that the end (of the climb) is near. If all fails, play random games. Those help, sometimes.

games people play

10. There’s a 3 km walk from the main entrance of Matheran to the ‘untouched’ civilization which resides inside Matheran. Walk it once – the horse poo and red dirt which cling to your shoes will be sufficient encouragement to take a horse ride when you decide to return.

inside matheran

11. Do not see any of the Wilson/Monkey/Pinky/Ponky/Sunset/Sunrise Points; refuel, ‘refresh’, buy chikkis and catch the first equine taxi out of the place (ridiculous-looking hats are optional). A trip to Matheran is a bit like the pursuit of happiness, as some wise fellow has put quite eloquently – the fun is in the journey, not in the destination.

horsing around

12. Catch a Maruti Van taxi down the slope – it’s always better if the brakes work or the ride can be a bit bumpy (albeit quite fast).

13. Go home and take a hot shower. Go to bed – you’ll need it, especially if you followed step #1.

Disclaimer: This has not been tested on babies or animals or their babies. Results may vary from the pictures shown. Side effects include nausea, vertigo, leg-strains and urges to blog about such experiences.

Written by sujaybedekar

July 14, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Moral dilemma

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There’s an app in Facebook called ‘Cities I’ve Visited’ in which people can show off all places they have traveled to. For me, this app has raised a moral dilemma –

On my recent trip to the land of infinite opportunities and shady mortgages, I took a week off as mentioned earlier and roamed around Northern USA, which turned out to be not quite the best travel plan due to the infinite snow I encountered wherever I went. And it is the ‘wherever I went’ part which is the bone of contention … the stumbling block … the main hurdle … the faltering step … the cause of the dilemma.

On the face of it, I am now a well-traveled man, having been to Minneapolis, Fargo, Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, Ann Arbor, Detroit, New Jersey and New York City (phew). But the following table tells a different story –

Place Visited Time spent in all
Time spent in Bus station/ Airport/ Train/ Broken down car
Edison, NJ 5 hrs Train (2 hrs)
Minneapolis, MN 18 hrs Airport (3 hrs), Greyhound bus station (3 hours)
Chicago , IL 6 hrs Greyhound bus station (5 hrs), Car (1 hr)
Marshall, MI 2 hrs Broken down car (2 hrs)
Detroit, MI 4 hrs Airport (4 hrs)
Dubai 4 hrs Duty Free (4 hrs)

One might scoff if I give naivety and inexperience in planning such trips as an excuse for such a sucky outcome, although in my defense the horrid weather conditions were partly to blame. Nevertheless, I would like to resolve my dilemma which is giving me such sleepless naps –

Am I allowed to flaunt the aforementioned places on the Fb travel map?

Nb: I always thought dilemma was spelled as ‘dilemna’ … but firefox spellcheck thinks otherwise

Written by sujaybedekar

April 4, 2008 at 6:01 am

Posted in new york, travel, US

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The Emperor’s Club

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Bagel and cream cheeseAs I sit at my desk with a nice and warm Bagel-and-cream-cheese and a cup of hot Mocha, still reminiscing about the wonderful burger-and-fries I had last night, I am forced to remind myself that New York is so much more than the food. Yes, you have pizzas and pastas and antipastas and salads and sandwiches and sushi and shrimps Big Whopperand beer and onion rings and Paninis and other ancient sanskrit grammarians … I forgot what my point was.

<pause for a quick bite>

So anyhoo, New York and Mumbai are so alike, it can get a bit freaky. It is heartening to see poor and homeless people here – i know that didn’t come out right, but still – it is heartening because it gives me hope. It gives me hope, that in these troubled times, we americans need to stick together. We cannot allow divisive forces to be divisive. But we cannot disown the divisive forces, because they are the reason why we exist. And everybody needs some divisivity in their lives. Now is the time for change. Will-I-am says it, lots of other people say it. If George Bush was the Decider, Obama is our Liberator. It’s amazing to see the amount of rhetoric generated on racism, black-blue-purple-white-ebony and people of other hues during election season. And this is just the primaries. Wait till the secondaries come up *rubbing hands in glee*

Man that Barrack dude is one smooth talker. If I was an American citizen, I would vote for him just because I’ll be glad to not have someone in the Oval Office who uses words like ‘misunderestimated‘. This, even when my gut tells me that McCain will win eventually (my predictions, archived for future ridicule or adulation).

But then, I digress. So I’ll get back to summarizing the great insights you can get when you stay in a new city for less than three weeks and are cooped up in the office for 12+ hours and resting at home for 8+ hours. Once you get past the food, you realize that NY can be a bit of a pain-in-the-neck, especially if you stare at all the tall buildings here. The engineer inside me marvels at these awesome structures while the arithmeticist tries to count the number of floors in each skyscraper. A trip to the top of the Empire State Building in daytime and the Rockfeller Centre (Top of the Rock) around sunset is, in my opinion, necessary to give you a feel of the enormity of the structures here. This kind of compensates for this bad habit people here have of calling the ground floor the first floor (totally unnecessary and extremely confusing).

You turn on the TV, and you see mainly 3 types of advertisements, which essentially summarize the American lifestyle (apologies right away for being too generic) –

1. Exercise equipment/ Gymming classes: There are two categories of people here: those who are thin and like to believe what they are eating is very healthly when they consume anything that’s green, thereby creating a problem for St. Patrick’s revellers; the other is the category of people who have breakfasts equal to the size of people mentioned in category one. It is hence not surprising that the variety available in clothes sized <=S and >=XL vastly outnumbers that in the ‘Indian’ sizes – M and L.

2. Cars: The distances are so vast and the public transport system virtually non-existent (especially when you leave the metros) that a car becomes a necessity. The roads are pretty good and the traffic is orderly even when crowded, which makes driving a stress-free activity. And it is fashionable to have HUGE cars. If you can’t have a large car, the only other option is a Mini Cooper -the unfortunate intermediate sedans are more or less reserved exclusively for taxis.

3. Credit: You can get credit which is specially customized for anything and everything- from houses and cars to holidays to something called ‘the purple pill’ to bridal wear – which is quite ironic given the current credit crisis. I strongly believe that ‘An excellent credit profile‘ is one of the must-have items on most kids’ Santa lists here. A survey showed that most people when given the choice between paying off their credit card bills and their mortgage bills preferred to pay the card bills lest their credit profile gets screwed, irrespective of whether they actually have a house to stay and enjoy the benefits of their spending.

(I shall gloss over the fact that I’ve watched a bit too much of TV; although in my defence, the weather hasn’t been too encouraging for strolling around on the streets)

Now that the official part of my US trip comes to end, I’m getting all pumped about the unofficial US visit part, where I will be essentially going around North-North east US as follows –

NY – Minneapolis – Fargo (Cousins) – Champaign (UIUC people) – Ann Arbor (UMich people) – Detroit – NY.

US Sojourns

Woo hoo!

Written by sujaybedekar

March 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Posted in new york, news, politics, US

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