Practical Thoughts

Life Should be Easy

Friday, July 28, 2006

Why I love Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is one of the movies you can watch again and again without getting bored. I love the opening and ending scenes where the feather floats in the air and the background music.

I have seen it like 15 times now.Everytime, I watch it I notice something new. The best part about the movie is the way how Forrest Gump is a part of some hitorical event and how he does not know about it or its seriousness. Heres a list of things which are subtle and kind of makes the movie funny.

1) The Accent...The way he says "Life is like a box of chocolates"
2) Forrest was a descendant of Ku Klux Klan founder
3) That Elvis learnt his famous hip shaking move from Forrest Gump
4) Forrest Gump got college admission because he was abe to run in a football match
5) Meet President Kennedy and he says he got to pee. Hilarious
6) The character Bubba who knew everything about Shrimping business
7) Lieutenant Dan - His ancestors died in some american war or the other
8) Forrest shows his buttocks to President when he receives the medal of honor.
9) Its funny the way the mike becomes silent when he is called to speak about the war in Vietnam.What did he say about the war in Vietnam?
10) Being in the same Interview program with John Lennon
11) President Nixon and how he might be responsible for finding the watergate scandal
12) Lt. Dan taking care of Forrest's money by investing in a "fruit" company - Apple
13) Running across the country for no apparent reason
14) T-Shirt business from his face -Jesus style
15) Jenny his girlfriend gets a mysterious virus - AIDS??

The best emotion in the whole movie is the undying love that Forrest has for Jenny.

The way that feather floats at the start and how it flies off in the end...
Great Movie!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It happens only in TCS
Annual Revenue: $2 Billion
Number of employees: 50 Thousand
A Matrimonial Site: Priceless

Friday, July 21, 2006

Your Opinion Needed
I am travelling to India next month. I was planning to take a Lufthansa flight from Chicago to Chennai via Frankfurt. Got varied opinions on it. I created an online poll at Tezaa. You can see it in the sidebar on this page.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Whats the Point? How do you know who is who

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weirdest spelling for Sambar

Last week I went to an Indian restaurant in Minneapolis with my long time friend. As we were a bit late, we were asked to take all we can in the next 15 minutes as they going to take away the food. I saw masala dosa and it being my favorite, took 2 pieces of "sliced" masala dosa. Next to it was a dark and watery concoction labelled "Somber".

I was taken aback a bit by the spelling for the most famous South Indian delicacy - Sambar..a.k.a Sambhar. But "Somber" was just too much. I din't pay much attention to it till yesterday as I had nothing else to do..

Why would they have named it Somber? Some of the possible reasons..

1) It was dull in color and had a sad look to it..Hence Somber
2) That's the way Americans pronounce Sambar.. Hence Somber
3) May be the owner who seemed to be a confused Desi with a phony American accent thought that was the spelling...Hence Somber

If they named it so because, Americans call it that way, then we should have Pitsa Hut, US Pijja and Pisa Corner all over India...Right?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I filled my gas tank today at $2.999

With the middle east crisis looming large, I expect oil prices to hit $80 or $85 a gallon soon. That would translate to $3.50 to $3.60 per gallon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Enemy Inside the House.

Its 36 hours since the Bombay blasts. We have seen many platitudes coming from our leaders. And I am sure thats all we will get.
I've been following quite a few blogs about the bombay blasts and a lot of so called "Matured" commentators have advocated the government's line of "No Action" against Pakistan based terror units. They have said things like Pakistan is not Palestine. It would escalate into war. Blah Blah...

Yeah right...Haven't we been doing what these guys say? Haven't we excercised restraint all along? What have we got? Blasts in Varnasi, Delhi, Bombay, Srinagar, Bangalore...Our restraint has been misused by Islamic terrorits all the time. Because, we never back our words with action.
If Kasuri of Pakistan can say "Such actions would continue until India resolves the Kashmir issue", we know where the masterminds of the terror acts reside. We all know where Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar and LeT chief are.

What are we doing? Look at what the PM had to say

PM: "Your resilience and resolve will triumph over the evil designs of the merchants of death and destruction. Let me say again, no one can make India kneel"

Mr Prime Minister, We don't need statements praising Mumbai people and saying how tall they stand during the face of crisis. We need solid action against the terror camps deep inside Pak Occupied Kashmir. How long will we take things lying down?

India should look seriously at military options to avenge this latest and all past acts of terrorism. We will need to engage in a limited military action against terror units or safe havens inside POK. Some kind of act to inspire our people and to assure them that the government is not sleeping is what is required now.
When we have the enemy inside and deep inside our house, what we need is actions from India which sends clear and unambiguous message to those. We need actions which catch International headlines. I dream of the day when I would read "Indian Airforce takes out terror targets inside Pakistan". We need something to cheer and lift the spirits of Indians.

Hope we can see some real and assertive action on the ground from the government.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Time for Affirmative Action

I am not talking about affirmative action which our great Indian Politicians like Arjun Singh talk about. I am talking about taking affirmative and decisive action against the terror camps inside Pakistan. 174 people dead today in Bombay.Whats our great government doing?

Listen to what our Home Minister Mr Shivraj Patil had to say..." The Government had some advance knowledge that such an attack might take place. What we didn't have was the place and the time" ...

WOW Mr Home Minister, Aren't you ashamed to make a generic escapist type statement like this one?

And look what our Prime Minister had to say about who is responsible..

"Terrorists" Mr Prime Minister? May be it could be a group of chemistry students or may be some "People" were behind these blasts...

Look at Israel, what they are doing to rescue 1 soldier..1 soldier named Gilad Shalit. India has a population of 1 billion. Does that mean we can forgo a few hundred lives?

I as an Indian is looking for some kind of revenge to these acts of terrorism. I am sure there are many millions like me. But does this spineless Congress government have the courage to take any kind of action? I dont think so...Till then we are at the mercy of Islamic terrorists.

God save India!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Indianapolis Formula 1 Race - July 2nd 2006

On 7/2/2006 I realized one of my watch a Formula 1 Race live.

A month ago when I decided to go to Indianapolis, I started looking for airline and hotel deals in the expedias and travelocities of the web world. Nothing was available for a reasonable price. Flight tickets to Indianapolis were jacked up by all airlines and that was not an option. Hotel rates were dramatically increased by most hotel in Indianapolis for the July 2nd weekend and called it "F1 Rates".
So I decided to look at other options. Staying in Minneapolis, I had the advantage or the relative advantage of driving down to Indianapolis. Also I had used my best bet in hotels - Best Western !!! I got a room at a place called New Castle 50 miles away from Indianapolis for $66 a night. Pretty affordable when hotels in Indy were quoting at $210.

Anyway on Saturday morning, I started on my 640 mile solo drive from Minnesota in a brand new Hyundai Azera. This car has a cool 6 CD MP3 player. This was enough to last me songs for 1400 miles. It also had heated seats, a feature quite useless in 90 degrees heat. Anyway, I started driving south east at 8:30 AM on my long trip covering 4 states. The best part about this trip was that the US midwest especially Wisconsin is very very green and is pleasing to the eyes. After crossing into Wisconsin from Minnesota it was time to enter Chicagoland. For the first time in my stay in the US, I entered a Tollway. Then I realized the meaning of freeway and how casually the term was being used. Illinois has a lot of tollways which are not great and for all that money you pay, there are no rest areas too.

The weekend traffic to Illinois was heavy and so I decided to take a belt route west of Chicago. That too was crowded. Saw harlem avenue. Kept driving until I reached Indiana. Now Indiana has freeways with 70 miles per hour speed limit.I was so relived to see that. Having stayed for most part of my US life in Idaho and Utah where 75 is norm, 60 and 65 was like slow for me.Anyway after 12 hours of driving and changing a time zone, I was in New Castle, Indiana at 9:30 PM ET. Checked into the hotel and saw the repeat telecast of Brazil getting busted by France. Slept early and planned to leave to Indianapolis by 8:30.

The race was at 1 PM but they had lined up some programs from 11:30. But I decided to leave at 8:30 as the traffic would be horrible and parking would be an issue. Luckily I had bought a parking permit along with the ticket. I reached Indianapolis at 9:30 and there were cops on every intersection leading to the Speedway. The whole area was dotted with 2 colors...Ferrari Red and Renault blue. After Parking in the designated parking area,I started walking and I could get a glimpse of the crowd and the enthusiasm.

There were some pre-race events like some Porshe cup race etc. After that all the 22 drivers were paraded in vintage cars including a Ferrari vintage. At 12:45 the US national anthem was played and suddenly 4 F-16s flew past the speedway in a triangular pattern. What a bonus, I got to see F-16's too at no extra cost.

At 1, the race started like clockwork and Felipe Massa overtook the "God" at the first turn. The sound of the F1 engines was unbelievable and I got goosebumps.I realized why they were people selling ear plugs. There was an Indian guy next to me who was so excited that he called his mom in Chennai and put his phone on speaker and said "Amma, F1 engine sound kellumma..."...

While all this was happening, 7 cars were involved in multiple accidents right in front of us. This brought the safety cars onto the track and began the recovery and salvage operations. See the video on how effective and fast the guys are in salvaging the cars.

After the safety cars were withdrawn, the race restarted in full force with Ferrari 1 and 2 followed by Renaults. The power of the Ferrari in Indy was evident as the gap between Micheal and Fisichella kept increasing every lap. After Massa's pit stop, Micheal took on the top spot and he maintained it throughout the race. He was simply unbeatable on that track. The gap between the two Ferraris increased with every lap. This video gives us an idea how fast these cars can be.

This was the first time, that I was using a handy cam and that shows. But nevertheless I am happy that some of the magic moments were captured for ever by me. The picture quality of the video is not my fault. It was pretty good before I uploaded it to YouTube.

The crowd was excellent and was purely multinational. Lots of europeans...I saw many Indians too. The weather was excellent and it was burning hot. Beers were selling at 6 bucks and water at 3. Business and sport made their perfect unisen on that Sunday afternoon.

For me, it was an experience of a lifetime, when I saw Micheal Schumacher race first to the checkered flag. Till the morning of the 2nd, I had a slight guilt feeling that I spent so much money on this. But when I heard the engines roar and the scarlet red cars win and the crazy and colorful crowd, that feeling just vanished. It was money well spent and such experiences last a lifetime.