Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Old is Gold..!

nostalgic snapshots in b-n-w, sway as they hum

holding on to some and losing out on some

funny feeling in the gut, strange and unclear

seems objects in rear-view mirror are closer than they appear

Networking Not Working

Social networks are the order of the day. Since the time internet fever caught up and broadband connections were made available in common households the world has found a need to connect (which is good!). So the social network sites became very powerful. You found some, some found you, and before you knew, almost everyone you knew and perhaps would you smile at when you meet, was on your friend’s list. But then you started noticing that you were getting repeated scraps from people who are on your friend’s list but not exactly “friends”, asking the same “hey! How are you?” How many times do you want to answer the same question when you know they are more concerned about the number of scraps they can boast of (apparently commensurate with popularity quotient) than any concern to your good health or the lack of it? And then you get automatically logged on to some messenger and then someone wants to chat too. You have matured (“aged” was the first choice of word) a little, have no patience for chatting, so-what if you accepted a friend request from the person in question. So then you found out there is a brahmastra available which you took pretty long to figure out - the life savior “invisible” mode. Now you can log on with ease without the fear of getting caught and do all the browsing you want.

You are basking in the glory of having fooled this world and in some time you realize if you are ignoring the world, the world is not taking any particular interest in you either. Out of sight out of mind you see. Ah! This is not working too well now. So you start writing into scrapbooks here and there, comment on photos that were uploaded like six months back. You don’t even get immediate responses. You are perplexed why every one has decided to close doors on you. You avoided some but you did not really avoid most. So the prized answer finally comes out in someone’s reply - “by the way I don’t come here too often. FB is much better”. When you get a similar answer from three different people, you know where the world is concentrating these days. So you too try to go to FB. But then the realization strikes, not the entire world this time. Be careful. Since you consider yourself quite a techno savvy person, you know account creation is just a few steps. You immediately create an account and click on all the buttons that appear and will create no delay. So your account is ready, but by then accidentally, since default was checked, you ended up announcing your arrival and sending invites to your entire contact list in the mail service you are using. So everyone in the world not only is aware of your arrival, also has a request from you to add them as a friend. They oblige, and you have more than a hundred friends before you remember logging on next time. Good job, lucky you.

By the way FB is complicated.


So this friend of mine who was travelling out to UK goes to the security check in gate and produces his passport to a nice looking airport staff. Her immediate comment - this picture is old. (Not that it was a problem, but just a comment). This guy is not one of those simple ones who will leave it at "yes" or may be something more humorous like "young days" or something like that decides to take his shot at momentary flirting (how long can you spend at that counter anyway??), wears his best smile and asks - so which
me do you prefer? Pat comes the reply - neither.

7000 miles in the air were spent tending the bruised self esteem.

(Man in context: thank me for not sharing your name with all :) - pay the price if you don't :D )

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Watkins Glen

Three people. All breaking into sweat. Out of the long walk, or the panic button!?

A: This looks like some animal crap.

R: Yes it does indeed.

A: And this is not a small animal. It is.. something big.

K: RReally!

R: Oh..!...! What do you think which animal would it be?

A: Oh come on now, I haven’t carried out a research in animal crap. Match the following. Right side animal names and left side images of their crap. All I know is it has to be some big animal!

This was some real conversation taking place when we recently went hiking at Watkins Glen, a State Park in upstate NY. There were two trails available. We just picked the map and realized one trail was substantially longer than the other. What satisfaction would you get in coming back from a place you went visiting specially and not going for the best? At this point best was somehow proportional to longest. After walking for about an hour we realized that we were walking on a trail which had growth on it. Straight away gives an impression it is not walked on in some time. Woods were getting denser, trail narrower, and atmosphere quieter. This is when we came across this big mass of animal and dung and the conversation above took place. In this adventure group of three people, Kusuma was getting nervous but she didn’t want the first one to hint a retreat. I, not particularly scared, but getting uncomfortable with the trail, asked Rachit, what does the map look like? How far are we from the end? We need to walk back also. And I feel we have come very far. It does not even look very interesting from here. What do you say?

Rachit was the tour guide who had carried out the research on the place and came up with this plan of coming here and hiking. He had heard a lot about this and seen some pictures as well. So he knew this place has a treasure of natural beauty that we can not afford to miss, especially after coming 100 miles from home on a Saturday. He had resistance written on his face.

I did not want to disappoint him. He was in a spot. I decided to make it simple. See lets walk for like 5 to 10 more minutes. If this place still does not make any sense to us, we will head back. Both of them agreed. Rachit happily, and Kusuma succumbing to the majority.

As we walked further about for five minutes, we met a fork. And sorry we could not travel both, and be three travelers we stood, and long as far as we could, to where it bent in the undergrowth. There was no chance of taking the road less traveled by as both looked equally fair and not traveled by in the recent past. Decision time again and here I came forward to say this was it. We need to head back. I could see disappointment on Rachit’s face and thus had to tell him that we were really uncomfortable to proceed any further, not enjoying any more, and hence we give him an option. Either he comes back with us or goes further alone. We did not intend to walk further distance any more. As this conversation was taking place, we heard a hoarse sound in the woods. This was some animal. And was not a horse. We froze for a second. The sequence we were walking in right now was Rachit first followed by me and Kusuma behind me. As soon as we heard that sound, Kusuma jumped in and stood between me and Rachit. In such panic situations, I have this strange habit of laughing. I immediately broke into laughter, but was keeping it very controlled because if there was an animal, I did not want to draw its attention. We immediately turned around and started walking fast, almost running. I later deciphered that sound had to be a goose. But that did not deter us. We kept walking back, faster than ever, and were getting breathless. Rachit asked on the way back if we could go on the shorter trail at least now. Ofcourse we can! I did not want to disappoint him any further. It was a beautiful place anyway. Hiking was going good too but for this terror towards the end of the first trail. We were nearing the shorter trail, also called the Gorge trail and we could hear people now. It was a relief to be nearing civilization of sorts. And then we embarked on to the shorter trail. As soon as we started on this trail, we were climbing down steps which took us near the lake. As we descended our expressions from tired and distressed changed to most joyful and excited. What a sight it was!! What a beautiful sight!! We came to a tiny bridge made of rocks with stream underneath. High rocks on both the sides were giving it an effect of hills and these rocks were perfectly decorated with trees all over. There were small waterfalls and small fountains every fifteen twenty steps. The gorge was narrow, weathered and beautiful. The sides looked like the ridges of Grand Canyon. Ofcourse not that grand but still quite a sight .It was absolutely breathtaking. This trail although shorter than the other one was not short at all. We went through the gorge, passed small bridges, small tunnels, one spiral ladder like tunnel trough a cave, rainbow falls, water fountains, different moods water. Soft at some places and thunderous at others. For the most part we kept going down towards the landing of the gorge passing through all these different beautiful points, and then the journey upwards began. We saw stars in daylight while climbing back up. It was not a pleasant journey up because this time it did not meander through the gorge but was a steep walk up. And this wasn’t a short walk. Way up was dreadful. Somehow made it with the last lap being cleared with Jai Mata Di and Jai Bajrang Bali.

Was a fantastic trip! The adventure was from for over actually, but more about it some other time. I do not want to dilute the high of Watkins Glen by sharing the episode that included an adventure of a different kind. Hence more later!