Crazy world... insane thoughts
It's like the title says...

it's still not over

Friday, November 28, 2008
50 hours on....
The fire rages on!!!

The Taj situation is still unresolved. The NSG is still attempting to clear the Taj. Speculation is rampant on why they're still waiting to execute the final attack. I believe some people are still trapped and the terrorists are well entrenched well.

I pray...
Today a senior from school was notified deceased. He was with his wife at the Oberoi. I didn't know him personally. But the pain is there.
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38 hours and counting!!

Friday, November 28, 2008
Actually it's been over 38 hours now. The end is still nowhere in
sight. The hostage drama is still unfolding and I'm sitting glued to
the tv set.

The blame game has already begun. People call it an intelligence
failure. They question our ability to handle such situations. I ask
them bit one question - could all the technology of the west prevent
9/11 or a 7/7?

I see the funeral pyres of our soldiers being lit. Of the innocent bystanders caught in the cross fire.

I have been an unofficial student of intelligence warfare for the last ten years or so. It would have been close to impossible to predict and forestall this attack unless we had HUMINT in place. That again is
a very tall order here.

India is the number one target for terrorist attacks in the world today accounting for 10% of global casualties in 2007.

We need to put on a strong front and take the war to the homes and families of these terrorists. Call it an eye for an eye. I'm willing to fake a few lives and play my part. This is war.
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The early Memories!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008
I've been tagged by the Goddess and here's my two cents worth!!

Your oldest memories (not necessarily in chronological order):

Being informed that I had been given a great 3rd birthday gift .... a lil sister (she's born 3yrs and a day to my birth).
Getting beaten up by my sister Tina when she was 2 & I was 5. Yes - the same birthday gift.
Running helter-skelter on dad's ship.
Always paing more attention to the girls when playing doctor- doctor!!!

What were you doing ten years ago?
That would be me at 21.
So i was in the final year of engineering. Making plans for getting out of college, finding a job and hitching up with the sweetheart from then. I was definitely having a great time with loads of masti and very lil in terms of academic output.

Your first thought in the morning:
If I had a gun - i'd go and shoot those terrorists myself!!
A part of me dies everytime there's an incident like this .
If you build a time capsule what would it contain?

My 250gig portable HDD
My Mac
The letters that sups has written to me
The albums I've made with memories from all phases of my development
My superman underwear

This year…
I'm gonna work with a clean mind and heart.... for this last month of the year!!
Next year I plan to have a blast!!
What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?

Time to tag some folks here.
- Supriya
- Keshi
- Johnnyyyyy
- Rachita
- Arnie
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One drop of blood at a time

Thursday, November 27, 2008
A nation of a billion souls is dying..... one drop of blood at a time.
This time it is the Deccan Mujahideen in Mumbai. Earlier it was the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen in Guwahati.
We watch it on the idiot box, read it on the internet and I wonder if any place is safe. Is there any safe time to do anything. Leopolds  (AKA LEOs) was my favorite hangout in Mumbai. Today it is the scene of a terror attack. For me - terror started in 1993, when my ICSE papers finished and the bombs went off outside. I haven't been much useful thereafter in this fight.

90 folks dead, 275 injured this time around.

The end is nowhere in sight.
It hurts!
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Arjun in Germany - Part 3

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The snow covered ground.... it's my first time

Saturday, November 22 – The finale is near
09:00 AM
A low business day as most of the folks prefer to go elsewhere and have some fun. We are at work as usual. However the crowds are low - so I get time to chronicle the last few days. This is the day when most exhibitors visit each others' stands and get to understand the competition!!
Not too many footfalls so I have time for a DONER KEBAB from HALL 2. It’s a long cold walk , filled with the cold wind blowing across the RHINE. Chills a man to the bone... and baldness ain't helping too much here!
It’s close to pack-up time as the show end at 5:00 PM exactly. Many of the exhibitors have already started the task of taking things apart. We’ll wait for a bit since there ain’t too much packing to do.

Our neighbors from ACCUTECH
 The DIAGNOSTIC trio - Jatin, Shivy and me!!
Pack-up completed. We’re on the way to the hotel to dump the luggage, lighten the load and then head out into the city. I guess we shall have some shopping, some hot wine and a great time for one and all.

I did some of that special shopping which I’d been looking forward too. Stuff that I would not have been able to get my hands on in India. I finally got my Indiana Jones style hat!!! I caught up with Jatin & Shivy at the Galeria Kaufhof. She’s busy shopping for the young ones and is going frantic since she doesn’t have a sure shot estimate on their clothing size. In any case it took us an hour to get things done and J M is now with droopy eyes. SO we part ways and I head out to have a lebanese dinner - sheesha, beer , shwarma et al! They retire to the pleasures of an indian dinner at the Shalimar restaurant and then onwards to the hotel.
I love the hot wine that they serve at the public stalls. There is a life in this place that I have seen in my home country only at times like Ganpati, Durga Pooja. It’s full of mirth and gaiety. Everybody seems to be having fun - old & young. I really liked the scene of 2 couples making out at the tram station - one was sixty plus and the other was under twenty. I return to the hotel all alone and this time there is no Nitin bhai waiting for me - he’s already probably home!!

Sunday, November 23 – Homeward Bound
10:00 AM
Yippee - it’s a sunday!! It’s a holiday and we’re also heading home tonight. It’s really chilly today and when i decided to take a walk along the river Rhine... i didn’t jnow what i was putting myself in for. The view was amazing and so was the cold. The wind bit through all that I had on me. The ears turned red and my head began to hurt. I rushed back to find Jatin and Shivy at Starbucks so I could borrow her muffler.
Breakfast at STARBUCKS!!

Chilling at the RHINE!!

12:00 PM
Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are behind us now. We are feeling the extreme chill and there’s nothing really to do here. Everything and I mean - everything is shut in Dusseldorf. So we decide to head to the hotel and prepare for the journey home. Time to checkout - 1:55!!!
Face off!!

 Walking tourism
2:30 PM
Reached the airport and checkin is a breeze. Clear the security check and I am hauled up by a guard for carryng that bottle of perfume in my hand baggage. Then it’s time for some of that duty free shopping - a bottle of Hennessey and Mint Baileys will do for now for me and chocolates for everyone else. A quick lunch with wine and I’m all ready to go home.
07:00 PM
Been sitting in the flight for the last 2 hours. The snow has turned the airport white and the the flight ain’t going anywhere. The laptop is out and I’m trying to get some stuff done. Our connecting flight leaves in 45 minutes from Munich and I doubt if we will be on it.
08:45 PM
We’re still on the runway and they’ve given us chocolates and water. I guess that in these extraordinary circumstances - that’s the best that can be done. No one (including the pilot) is sure of when we can leave.
10:00 PM
5 hours in the plane and we’re finnaly getting de-iced for the flight to Munich. Nobody nows what’s gonna happen to us there.
11:45 PM
Landed in Munich and we’re at the special service desk for the 40 of us going to Delhi. So they’re putting us up at the Kempinski at 7oo Euros per night!! We’ll fly Austrian airlines tomorrow to Vienna and then onwards to Delhi. This is one good adventure. Ok - and I finally get to rollick in the snow. Now that’s a milestone for me.
 I love snow!!
Munich Airport

I'm not carrying extra clothes... so that's all I get to wear!!

Monday, November 24 – Home at last
11:00 AM
Done with the flight to Vienna. We await that last boarding call that will take us home.

01:00 PM (CET)
It’s a long flight and the blonde next to me is more interested in her boyfriend than in baldy!!
11:30 PM (IST)
MERA BHARAT MAHAAN and an hour after landing we walk through the GREEN channel - unchallenged!!
I call Supriya...
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Arjun in Germany - Part 2

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Wednesday, November 19 – Medica Day 1
7:00 AM
Time to get ready and head out for some real’s really cold here but we are well covered. The trains are full choc-a-bloc and it’s almost like being in a Mumbai local with the difference that people around you are mostly fair skinned!!
The room with a view from the Hotel Quadenhof
 All dressed up and nowhere to go
10:00 AM
The first inquiries are in and business has begun
 Our Stall - Hall 3 - F10
6:30 PM
Time to head out for some of the good times. The crowd is worse since everyone gets off the exhibition at the same time and most head in the same general direction. I get the train - the rest of them will have to wait for the next one. The train is a tight fit and the PYT behind me has her head on my shoulder...just for that one instant before the wedding ring kicks in.
City Lights - Jan Wellem Platz

8:00 PM
Got some of that shopping done. Mostly clothes, a few knick-knacks and a LEGO for my photography. Germany is frightfully expensive and I’m only looking for stuff that I wouldn’t get back home. Also - most of the shops shut their doors at 8PM and are pretty strict about it.
9:00 PM
Quick couple of drinks at this bar and the England-Germany match reaches an end. When in germany cheer for the germans... even though they lost!! The highlight was a pole dance by this woman in really skimpy clothing right at eye level. Quite an eyeful that. It was a pleasant surprise... though nothing more came of it!! The feet are sore from all the walking and i do believe it’s time to call it a night. There’ll be more exploration to do in the days ahead.
Try the local ALT (beer). This one is the most readily available!

Thursday, November 20 – Familarity
7:48 AM
I’ve chucked the coat tie routine for something more practical. My trusty red sweater and formal trousers! I’m at the booth in a hurry - so i can avoid the traffic and finish the pending job of entering yesterday’s visitors into my database. Makes the followup kinda easy.

10:00 am
There are a couple of good looking stalls around us with some good looking women in them. I do believe that SLOVAKIAN women have great faces, some POLEs have good legs (Though not so much in the facial dept) and then there are the Spaniards.... overall 9/10!!!(no pics here.... cos I must remain the married man)
Time for a hot dog lunch (American style) with extra mustard and a beer to wash it all down!!
06:30 PM - 11:00 PM
Time to call it a day and head off to ALSTADT. That’s the area where all the fun is and the shopping too. I get to the shops after negotiating a lot of hardships and traffic.... to realize that they’ve shut. I did like going into the 4 storeyed bookstore (with all texts in GERMAN). One observation is that the GERMANs are quite open about their sexuality and it’s not uncommon to walk into a convenience store and see lots of softcore stuff located quite conveniently.
4 storeyed book case.. and nothing for me to read (no comprende DEUTSCH)

Friday, November 21 – Tourism
07:00 AM
I left the hotel even earlier than yesterday. Lots of work to complete. In fact i was among the very first to enter the exhibition hall at 8:30.
Our Journey startpoint - Gerrasheim Rathaus! No scope for sunlight here.
 The long tunnel to Hall 3
10:00 AM
I’m still all alone. None of the others have come in as yet. I worry. and place a call!!
10:30 AM
The trio walk in. Jatin’s bag had been misplaced the night before and the polizei had to be brought it. Trust the germans with their organized effectiveness to locate the bag and email Jatin in the morning that they’d found it.
06:00 PM
Work as usual for the hard working folks from J.MITRA!! I leave early to catch up on some leftover shopping from yesterday. Maybe this time I shall be in with some luck.
 The menu card at the roadside PUB.... nothing roadside about those prices!!
Great shopping ideas... but the prices are pricey!
9:00 PM
Hunger and thirst pangs. Time to try out the local beverages. This time it’s a HOT WINE which is like - WOW!! I’ve got on my new jacket and a local OLD lady takes a shine to it (hopefully not me). She’s obviously drunk a lot already. I oblige her with one photograph before hurrying off to a rump steak dinner and some of the local ALT. It’s started snowing... and this is my first time in the snow. It is windy at the ALSTADT (very close to the river RHINE) and the flurries race in to meet the unready traveller. Guess it’s time to head home.
 My JD & COKE!!
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Arjun in Germany - Part 1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
MEDICA - the worlds largest medical exhibition. Our Company is an exhibitor here.....

Our story begins a day before!!!

Monday, November 17 – VISA TIME
08:30 AM
The entire family has been granted visas for the visit. Arjun is the odd one out since it’s his first trip to the EU. The visa fellas at the German embassy had graciously granted an interview date for 2nd December 2008 against a scheduled visit from 18-23rd November. How perfectly bureaucractic!!
The fates have intervened and repeated requests have shifted the date to the day before the travel. Interview time is 45 minutes away.
09:45 AM
One look, one puppy face,a play of a smile and the visa is granted. Though he will have to return in person to collect it at 2PM. Methinks it was the glasses and his Mohandas Karamchand gandhi look that finally clinched it!!
05:00 PM
Arjun quits work to finish that last minute shopping. It’s funny how all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle come together when ONE key piece falls into place. Suddenly all those plans switching between limbo and reality are in motion.
Onward to the land of BEER!!

Tuesday, November 18 – The longest day
07:00 AM (IST)
The longest day has begun... literally!! Arjun & Co. are gonna be up for the duration - working both India Standard time and Central European time!!
The day begins with the regular airport hustle bustle and looking at the way things were streamlined - Delhi airport has finally got things right. They did have to pay an excess baggage charge of Rs.25000 (Twenty five thousand) though!

09:50 AM (IST)
The flight is off - on time and Arjun has managed to sweet talk one of the cute flight stewardesses to shift him to an extremely comfy seat (it’s still in economy class). His partner is a long haired beauty from the land of Singh..... It’s MR.SINGH himself!!
09:02 AM (CET) (GMT+1)
Breakfast is done and the details are getting hazy. Drooping eyelids...zzzzzzz
02:30 PM (CET)
Time to board the flight to Dusseldorf. LH863 it is. We’ve gone through the customs formalities and the security check... ironically they didn’t even check me - just waved me through.
04:30 PM (CET)
The flight has a touchy landing just about missing a filght that was about to take off. The pilot informs us of the same quite matter of factly.
We are leaving the airport when the policeman catches us and asks to inspect the posters. He claims we should have declared them... duhhhh.... paper posters!!!

05:30 PM (CET)
We reach our hotel, the Quadenhof after a long traffic snarled drive. It is a nice and homely place, quite different from the regular CHAIN hotels that we’ve become accustomed too. It’s run by Willi and Rosie an elderly couple who’ve been running the show for over 25 years, There are no bellhops and the like so we tote our luggage to the second floor by ourselves. The bathrooms are tiny (miniscule actually) and the place hasn't been aired in years!! The soaps need to be changed and there's no water jug!! Time to get out.. and start things rolling!!
06:30 PM (CET)
We’ve to get to the MESSE area where the exhibition is to be held tomorrow. The stall must be completed and our Indian contact Mr.Jignesh Patel awaits us. However the rain and cold weather had other ideas as we braved them (for over 35 minutes) waiting or a taxi. We will not be using the taxi service after this, It is far to burdensome on the pocket...25 euros form the hotel to the airport - gives a man a good heart attack!!
07:30 PM (CET)
The stall is done and now the tired foursome is looking for a way home (hotel) with some food on the way. So we take a train from the LTU ARENA to HEINREICH HEINE ALLEE (ALSTADT) and voila - there is an alley filled with PUBs and each advertising a dirrent ALT (Beer). Keeping in mind the dietary requirements of most people concerned, PIZZA HUT is chosen as the venue ... along with the a Half litre of beer!!!
Getting the stall ready for the big day
Nitin Bhai is really chilled!!
 Jatin & Shivy - fagged out but smiling!!
09:30 PM (CET)
The end of a tiring day... and lots more to come!!
 Waiting for a train at the NORTHERN ARENA station to take us back to the hotel!!
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Keep the faith!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sometimes it's easy to believe that the lord has turned away....
.... That he has shown us his back!!
It's so easy to let the frowns crowd our face and the tears begin their journey south.
We cry when we could be smiling!
It's then that I remember to keep the flame alive....
... and see the light within!!
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Vice and ME!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
...a practice or habit considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness and corruption.

I love my vices
I revel in my wickedness
I thrive on sin
I am .. despite my faults.
Maybe you don't.

But they're an integral part of me and tend to color my character in shades of grey - no blacks and whites here!!
My vices are not intended to disturb others. But I can't help it if you get in the way.
My consicence allows me a stretch of liberty and I utilize it.

One may like it - or one may lump it.
Mostly I wish that peace be upon you.
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A lil bit of this and a lil bit of that

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
These last few weeks have been a potpourri of events at work. They've kept me tongue tied, feet tied, blog tied and basically kept me away from my favourite activities such as having fun.

No doubt this medicine (hard work) will serve me well in the long run and keep me free from illness in the world of financial crisis. But it's still medicine.

I am planning to go to Germany come the 18th November, but that plan is currently in a bit of a conundrum as the German embassy (peace be on their souls) has granted me a visa interview date for 2nd December. It seems there has been a speeding up of their parallell universe vis-a-vis my own. So they're so far ahead in time that I seemed to have missed the boat :-)
Well hope floats - so i'm hopeful (though not too enthu about it that things will resolve themselves and I will still go).
Actually I'd much prefer to stay here!!

The winters are coming in and the warm clothes are coming out. The weather however is still a lil bit of this and a lil bit of that - hot and cold remix - involving a lot of clothing confusion.
I wore my first sweater today (a half sleeve one from school days) and lo behold - i was on display at work as everybody was like - "is that your start of winter announcement"?

My creativity has also been wanting to do a lot... but i've just felt that wee bit lazy and hence residing at square One.... I've been thinking of doing a lit bit of this but not really ending up anywhere near that!!
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Knowing me!

Sunday, November 02, 2008
I assume / presume I know me.
So everything should proceed according to plan. But I surprise myself sometimes.

I had planned a day out (on Sunday) since wifey as earning some brownie points at work.... I had this whole day planned out.... yet I stayed home... doing HOME IMPROVEMENT!!

Most time I want to explode like a fire-cracker when my ranking superior prods me. The NORMAL me.. would let him have it. But  I exercise restraint (mostly), put on a smile saying I will do the needful and then proceed ahead bye willfully letting go! One day I shall atom bomb him!!

I like appreciation (esp when I get the job done in an out of the way manner). I don’t dig pesky bosses who sit on my shoulders and pee into my ear. It sets me off. They feel the whiplash - but persist!

I like getting things done. It’s just so me. So why do I resist persuasion and that pushy attitude to get stuff done. I know it’s got to be done. But I don’t like being micro-managed.

I like to finish stuff in a timely manner. It gives me a sense of security and satisfaction. But sometimes I just leave stuff to the last minute.

I shout at some individuals (sometimes) and then forget that I was angry .. about 5 minutes later. I can transition from anger to nonchalance and vice versa without the slight angst associated with inertial frames. I don’t keep much in the mind - never believed in vengeance. The good lord is always looking over such stuff. So I surprise myself when I somehow recollect a vague incident from a time long long time ago and use that as a basis for being vindictive.

I’m not what I was sometime back...!
That sometime could be a decade, a year, a month... or a duration of a few days. Change is so fast and complete.. that there’s no time to sit and contemplate!
I did love it though :-)
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Arjuns Tryst with the camera's Fan Box


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    traveling life's quaint paths and making my own destiny...

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