Tour Tidings '08: The Dessert

What better than the videos and photos of the oh so beautiful North East for the dessert?
Photos are on picasa.

Videos follow.

Movie #1:
Presenting the first movie made by yours truly. It's an edited compilation of the videos taken when dad, mom, sis and myself visited Haridwar during the latter part of the North East expedition.
video

Tour Tidings '08: The Main Course

The adventurous resignation to the impossibility of returning safe and sound.
The Boro (of the Boro militant fame) for a driver cum guide.
The fight to the death for the front seat.
The vain attempt to figure out Assamese accented hindi by changing back all ‘z’s to ‘j’s and several other combinations.
The realization that it gets better with time, quite effortlessly.
The rendition of early morning Buddhist hymns.
The transportation to the world of the Lord Buddha.
The warm welcome smile.
The heated football match in the numbing cold.
The worried expression at kids playing hide and seek at the edges of fenceless houses on sloping mountains.
The scary feeling of dying of frostbite.
The childlike grin from feeling mature on being wished, “Good morning, madam” by the receptionist.
The sensation of awe, admiration and appreciation for Nature, at its best.
The view of three holy rivers demanding respect in their every drop.
The eco camp hut with Velcro for doors and windows.
The morning nature walk with hornbills for company.
The hundred beaming fireflies during a perfectly unplanned power-cut.
The waiter with a strangely emotionless, irritating mechanical yes for every question, clarification and suggestion.
The laughs at dad’s pathetic Hindi.
The proud grins on being complimented my better hindi-accented hindi.
The whole lot of memories to last a lifetime.

This day, last year

I found this little word doc hiding somewhere in my laptop today written one year back.

Nine year old 1: “Hi.”

Nine year old 2: “Hey, listen. What do you want to be when you grow up?”

1: “A cryptologist.”

2: “A what?”

1: “You know… a cryptologist.”

2: “What do cryptologists do?”

1: “They decode coded messages.”

2: “Wow! Sounds interesting. What will you have to study to become a cryptologist?”

1: “Mathematics and Computer Science mainly.”

After witnessing a conversation like that between two nine year olds, only a dimwit would sit idly and do nothing about it. I guess I should at least record it. How many children would have heard about cryptologists, leave alone spell it correctly, at that age? Where is the world heading?

You guessed right. She read ‘Digital Fortress’ by Dan Brown. I was amazed too. It’s not like she read it for the sake of reading or for putting pseud for the book was not bought for her in the first place. The book brought for her was good old Nancy Drew which she finished in just a few hours.

“That’s preposterous! How will she understand that high a level of English?”, you ask? It turns out that she has a remarkable command over the English language and manages to read the book without too many visits to the dictionary. Well, she probably didn’t understand ‘Fuck’ but she was thoughtful enough not to ask anybody or maybe the suspense of the story made her skip every occurrence of the word.

The other day, I got a text message.

“07/07/07 07:07 am. 7 days/week, 7 janma, 7 seas, 7 phere, 7 wonders, 7 colours. Why 7?”

I meditated on this all morning but couldn’t figure out a satisfying explanation. Googling didn’t turn up anything substantial either. That’s when I asked this to her almost completely certain that she would have no idea and would appreciate my processor for having come up with such a brilliant question. Pat came the reply – “Because God created the world in seven days.” She knows that too! And that too a belief attributed to another religion.

Recently, at a medical store she was overheard saying in hushed tones, “Doesn’t that look like the fake medicine they showed on TV yesterday?” Oh! Come on! Spare the news atleast!

That brings up a strange question. Will such a generation reach an age when there will be nothing left to learn? Freaky!

Keybored

After a long, long time, I decided to use my laptop, just to see if it was still in working condition. And what do you think I saw? Pressing j produced a ‘k’, k produced a ‘;’, and l did not show anything. The keys were all mixed up!

I wouldn’t stop until I knew exactly what was going on. So I opened Word and decided to try out each character on the keyboard. Suspense and excitement filled up as I pressed each key. Click! Click! Click!

‘8’ didn’t turn up anything; ‘=’ donned a shift to left function while ‘\’ donned the shift to right function. It was all a total mess. But how? I haven’t heard of anything remotely close to this before. The on-screen keyboard came to the rescue but it was not even close to charming. I, naturally, gave up on the laptop.

But what do you know? It was all right the very next day. Weird. Very weird. Maybe the keys wanted change. Maybe dust had messed everything up. Maybe a ghost was playing tricks. Maybe they just got bored of having to do the same old function every single time. No wonder they call it the “keybored”.

Voila! - 2

A header that I have been thinking of for sometime now. The fact that dark font on light backgrounds is easier to read had been haunting since my previous pitch black layout so here's one keeping in mind. I feel so relieved now. Although, it seems incomplete somehow and I know not why. Any ideas?

That's me in the picture, by the way. :)

Related Post: Voila! - 1

Made You Laugh

Out of the blue, he asks me to suggest possible additional features that the system could be incorporated with. Gulp! I hadn’t thought of that! I had just given him a basic report on the product to be designed and had included all the necessary features, the requirements and specifications. The system under discussion is a queue management system which is basically the type used at banks and reservation counters etc.

Was he not satisfied? Well, he has taken a printout of it. Think! Think, lady, think! I can’t recall exactly when I started blurting but here’s how it went.

"Why not make two prototypes? A low - budget alternative, perhaps?"

"Why waste on a printer when printed roll with a stepper mechanism would suffice?"

Boy, was I on a spree!

Some more technical talk (both ways now) later, he came up with the idea of adding an extra function to the keypad for the employee to be able to select a particular customer. “But, sir!”, I interrupted as he was explaining, “That would lead to bias and corruption!” Er, what did I just say? Blame it on the hangover of reading Tehelka.

And that’s when he laughed. I made him laugh.

Tour Tidings '08: The Starter

I'm back! And, I have one question for you. Have you been to north-east India? If not, do so for it is an experience of a lifetime. After 7 nights and 8 days in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as a part of the packaged tour titled Mystic Arunachal Safari, I'd say I insist. The mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the greenery, the fog, the altitude, the winding roads, the safari, the food, the animals, the people, the war memorials, the cold weather, the icy water and the culture will leave you spellbound. I assure you. It feels like being a part of a typical Nat-Geo programme. Amazing, I tell you. Truly amazing!

Driving up and down winding roads on the edges of the Himalayas passing in and out of white cottony clouds and clutching life in one’s hands as visibility reduces to a little over one meter on a road half absent owing to landslides, overlooking the dark abyss shadowed by fog on one side and of which only a hazy outline remains amounting to having to guess the angle at every curve.

Tempting, isn’t it?

PS: More details, photos and videos as and when I finish transferring and organizing some infinite stuff from all these memory cards.