Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A drive up into the clouds

Two weeks of non-stop crisis management at office managed to achieve what a couple of months of rational thought couldn't – it was time to say ‘enough is enough’. I was on the verge of a burnout and a break was desperately needed. A friend in Boston gave me a good idea. I had to rent a nice car and drive up to my favorite place in the North East – New Hampshire – a state that has an official motto that goes ‘Live Free or Die!’ The right theme for my little getaway.

I had my heart set on renting a Hummer H2, the American elephant, but the bad economy has supposedly affected Hummer rentals so much that rental companies have chosen to dispose their Hummer stocks off. A few frantic calls later, the 2011 Camaro was chosen as the ride. I had to settle for a stallion instead of the elephant. The emotion this car evokes among people and especially the fair sex was nicely demonstrated by the lady at the Hertz counter. This lady who welcomed us with a bored look quickly enquired about our relationship (two guys renting a sports coupe, couldn't blame her) and was all smiles once she realized we were only friends.
My friend and I set off early on a pleasant Saturday morning. Traffic was normal and we hardly shifted from the fast lane. This beast has a 3.6 litre V6 powerhouse that churns out 312 horse power and we had to exercise a lot of restraint in order to stay within the speed limit. However hard we pushed this car, it was always ready to take more. Shifting lanes and overtaking was a breeze, such a difference from my daily commute on a 2000 Toyota Camry.

We reached the foot of Mt. Washington a little after lunch. This peak is the tallest on the east coast at 6288 ft. It’s an eight mile climb (by car) and the car has to travel on low gear all the way. About 30 minutes later, we were on top of the peak, a mile up, literally among the clouds. The view was breathtaking and the gentle breeze made it difficult to believe that the fastest wind speed recorded on earth was here- an unbelievable 231 mph! As I sat there on the top, surveying the world, I felt like the master of the universe one moment and felt totally lost the very next moment. I suddenly realized that in the grand scheme of things, I am nothing more than a speck of dust. At that moment, all ambient noise turned into a mild hum, all the people around me vanished and all of a sudden, it was just me and the universe. I must have sat there for 15 mins, but it felt like a lifetime. A sense of calm and peace had settled in and for the first time in months, my mind was totally blank. The purpose of the trip had been achieved.

A few photos later, it was time to head back. My friend was driving now; we whizzed past other cars and reached Boston late that evening. We dropped the car off and as I sat inside my ten year old Camry, it felt strangely comfortable. My dinner that night felt tastier than usual and as I closed my eyes that night, I felt the same calm breeze and the same sense of peace that I had felt on top of Mt. Washington. I don’t know if a part of me stayed back there or a part of Mt. Washington came with me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My new pet!

All, meet 'Samrat' (The emperor), the latest addition to my family. I decided to adopt him as part of the 'Gou Bandhu' (Friend of the cow) program initiated by our Guru, Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji of Ramachandrapura Math.

This gentle giant is more than 20 years old, stands over 6 ft at his shoulders and has horns that extend more than 4 ft! He is the pride of the Gou shaala. He is now leading a retired life at our ashram after a long career of pulling carts in Ahmedabad.

There are over 500 such cows that need our help. You can adopt a cow at a measly Rs.50 a day! Please contact me if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Air Travel

I couldn't help but ask these questions to myself during my recent travel from JFK to namma BengaLuru:

1. Why do the airline staff at airport counters take their jobs so seriously? All they have to do is to check whether I have a valid passport and a valid ticket. Why do they have a supervisor walking around giving them instructions and looking all serious? Why do the staff have so many problems in doing this simple task? Do they have such a screwed up IT system? or are they exceptionally stupid?

2. The airlines charge me exorbitantly for every extra kilo of baggage. Why don't they pay me back if I carry less than the specified load?

3. Why should my carry on baggage be of the exact dimensions specified and be under 8 kilos? As long as I can lift my bag and load it in the storage area and as long as it fits, what is the airline's problem?

4. My laptop and cellphone seem to 'interfere' with the flight's navigation systems but surprisingly, the flights entertainment system which is strikingly similar to my laptop doesn't seem to affect the flight in any way.

5. Why aren't the three point safety belts installed on flights in place of the two point safety belts? The two point belts have been found lacking (even harmful in some cases) in automobiles and replaced with three point belts long ago. Are the airlines too cheap to get these belts replaced, but put on a show of caring for our safety?

Friday, March 05, 2010

What grinds my gears....

People on chat saying "Busy", "Do not disturb". Go invisible or log off, morons! It's just an arrogant way of saying "I am important, you will have to wait if you want to talk to me". Nobody gives a s**t.

Google Buzz, Twitter - what the f**k is all that about? Why should I tell people what I am doing now and what do I care about what others are thinking about? People, these are just ways to pump your already bloated egos - '11 followers', '100 followers', feels good, doesn't it? Again, trust me, nobody gives a s**t.

People going on a rampage because some 33 year old chap made love! Miserable lowlifes, get a life. I don't know what the people were pissed about? I think the reason is more of "damn, why didn't I think of this? I could have been in bed with an actress!" than the so called "betrayal of trust". By the way, I do consider that chap enlightened. He does know how to live life!

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Global Financial Meltdown

Part II of my earlier blog never saw daylight... and nobody (including me) cared. So to hell with that. Let's just move on....

With the global financial meltdown affecting spending everywhere, I wasn't surprised to see these things in NYC the other day, and it's called 'Interceptor', no offence, but what do they plan on 'intercepting' with this?

But then, wait a minute. With NYC traffic, this might actually be their best bet at getting someplace real quick! And they must be getting something like 100 miles to a gallon... They might really have something here... :)

Maybe it's time to give autorickshaws to all our mamus.