Friday, December 31, 2004

Catching up!!!

Writing a blog after a lot of days.... 58 to be precise!!. A lot of things happened in these 58 days... trips to California, to Roanoke- Virginia, to New Orleans, to Atlanta, .... and a few things on personal front. As far as my future is concerned, I finally finished applying for PhD. So if all goes well from here, I should start my PhD in August 2005.

It was always in my mind to pursue a PhD. I kinda changed my field after I came to USA for my Master's. I was a Biomedical/ Electrical/ Instrumentation Engineer before and Clemson made me a Bioengineer. I liked this field... the concepts of Tissue Engineering and artificial implants somehow convinced me. I found this field to be very exciting and mesmerizing.... and that’s where a thought of doing PhD came to my mind.

I remember my last India trip, precisely one year back.... I was quietly sitting on shores of GanapatiPule... it was quiet... no one was around... had some leisure time and I was thinking about my future. "What do I WANT to do in life" was and has been the biggest question of my life. It’s not a question of "Can or cannot"... It’s more of a "Want to" problem.... anyways.... and a thought of doing a PhD seriously touched my mind. Before that I didn’t believe that I would be very happy doing a PhD... But I saw a dream... a dream of being a researcher... an inventor... a dream of doing something extraordinary... a dream of being THE best in this field.

I came back to Clemson with those dreams, and have been working towards making them a reality.

California trip was very good in that respect. I had gone there (to Anaheim, LA) to present my research. It was a good opportunity for me to catch up with some big-names in this field as well as to know what I exactly want to do. Those 7 days at Anaheim kind of changed me.... I was now convinced that a Doctorate was my ultimate aim... and it gave me a confidence that I CAN and WANT TO do it. “It’s all in mind"... ( no, I am not John Nash). After I came back from California, I spent 20 days on application procedure... had a couple of interviews with a few profs. And all that....

It was time for a big break then.... and New Orleans happened. It would definitely rank amongst my best road trips. Dsouza has written a pretty nice blog of that trip, I am pasting it here:

New Orleans baby:
”Just back from my New Orleans road trip. Was a fun trip. We (Vipul, Ankur, Jithu, Vivek, Korade, Viraj, Bonda and myself) left on 23rd night from Atlanta and reached New Orleans by 10 am the following morning. We checked into Sleep Inn. At around 2 we ate at an Indian restaurant called Tandoor. We just missed the lunch buffet and we were discussing over the table that we need to go somewhere else cause we were really hungry and we wld have spent atleast 25-30/person since the dishes were pretty expensive. The owner did sense that she was gonna lose business and so she gave us a a fat discount. Shld say the food was very good. :) We then went to Harrahs - New Orleans most famous casino. I did gamble a bit on the slot machines- lost all my money. Ankur did lose $20 on the roulette table. Korade and Bonda $20 each on the Blackjack table. Place seemed decent but think Las Vegas wld be much better.We then left for Bourbon Street - the hippiest street down south. Bourbon lived upto our expectations. The place was crazy. a string of clubs and party joints on both sides of the street. Variety too - live blues, jazz, rock, pop... We drank the "handgrenade", which was advertised as the most powereful drink on bourbon street. Yes now I know why... Ankur and Vipul got drunk lol. We then decided to eat some New Orleans authentic food- cajun(pronounced k zun) specialities. The food was just ok. I ordered the dish which was the combination of Jambalaya(sausage and rice with cajun seasoning) and Crawfish etouffee (a soup) and fried beans. We then started pub hopping. Of all pubs we visited we really liked the one which had a live rock band. The band was really good. They also played our favorites- sweet home alabama, american girl,...A bit of Led Zepplin too. We were a bit dizzy, thanks to the handgrenade. Beer on Bourbon street is very costly, $6 for a glass of beer. Drank beer for a while. We then started fooling around with the shot waitresses and tricked each other into buying /drinking shots. Now we were in the what I call the "Happy" state. Danced for a while. Left the bar without Bonda and Korade. Bonda was trying his luck with the bartendar. Bonda has this never die spirit that I am pretty impressed with :)

Woke up at 12 the following afternoon. Ordered Chinese food which was pathetic. We then thought we shld visit the Honey Island Swamp. We reached there at around 5.30 and it was pretty dark then so we drove back to the city. Went to Bourbon St again. Ate at Royal Rizou(not sure if it was Rizou but name was french) . Oysters is a New Orleans speciality so decided to order fried oysters(we dont dig raw oysters and sauce). I ordered steak sandwitch which was good. It was a long time before the food was served to us. Our behavior in that place got worse over time- Ankur made some Indian tea for himself and drank it from the saucer like we used to do in India. Bonda ordered some brownies and eveyone swooped down on it like vultures. Everyone in the restaurant was looking at all this... kinda pretty surprised - these guys had immaculate manners 10 minutes back and now... In all that commotion Vivek dropped a hot sauce bottle on the floor and now the floor was red lol. We left the place and started pub hopping again. Viraj and myself decided to listen to some live jazz, so we went to a Fritzels - an european jazz bar. The rest were enjoying in the bar we were last night. Dunno much abt jazz but it sounded great. The others now wanted to listen to jazz too. They came in, ordered the costly beer ($8 for a beer) , since it was a minimum 1 drink bar and had just taken their first sip when the band stopped playing hahhahaha. The band was done for the day. Hard luck... They were pretty pissed off and whenever a bunch of drunk guys get pissed off it isn't a grt site. Ankur then went on stage and started fiddling with the band equipment. Bonda wanted to kiss the waitress and was asking ppl to pay him $10 if he does go up to the waitress, ask for a kiss and gets it. We started fooling around on the street. Walking backwards in the middle of the street, moonwalking, shouting and a lot of things which I can't mention. We left for home at round 3 am.We had decided to leave for Clemson as soon as we are back We started our drive back at 4.15am. Reached Atlanta at 1pm the following day. Ate at Minerva. Rested at my place in Atlanta for a couple of hours and then these guys left for Clemson. I have taken many trips and should say that this ranks one among the best.”

It's been a good break for me.... and I am gearing up for some hard work, my mind says so... and "It's all in mind..."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Falls Creek Trek and Camping in Smokies

Falls creek trail:

It was Saturday and we were all set for an exciting, adventurous hike. I don’t know why I chose this trail... Not much information is available about this place and hardly anyone goes there. But then what’s the fun in having a safe, predictable hike?... so thought of having some adventure.

This hike is weird, its crazy and its mysterious. First of all, there is no defined trail as such. That means wherever you go, it becomes your trail... you just have to remember how to come back. The jungle is dense, thick and it leaves no space for sunrays to reach the ground. Everything is wet, and covered with moss. The wood is spongy and the moment you step on it... it breaks down. The space is filled with unpleasant smell of rotten trees, uneasy wetness and some weird noises made by insects. And in midst of it, flows the creek... which transforms into a waterfall every now and then.

It was fun to walk thru that. We lost our way quite a few times, but the creek helped us in keeping track with the direction. The view of the waterfalls and the creek itself was quite amazing and slippery at a few places and gave us plenty of opportunity to show our trekking skills.

After 4 hours of hike, we were back with innumerous bruises, muddy clothes, tired body and very fresh mind.

All in all, its an excellent place for an experienced trekker, especially if you like a bit of spice in life; but i wont recommend it some an armature.

Photos are available here:


After a very hectic trek, I was not too keen to go to smokies on a very next day, but ISA needed someone who could drive a van. One of my friends asked if I could do that..

One really can’t say no to smokies. It’s my fourth trip to this Blue ridge Mountain range... and i am not yet satisfied. How beautiful can nature be!!!.... It’s almost like heaven. This place reminds me of manali. This place looks similar to what bhimashankar jungle looks in july-august and the panoramic view as beautiful as harishchandragad's konkan kada.
It doesnt get much better than this.

If God asks me "when and where would you like to rest forever"... my answer would be: " if it's smokies or harishchandragad, I am ready to die even right now". I dont mind living at such a beautiful place rather than living in lifeless cities.

Had a lot of fun in this trip. There were some weirdoes who were at their craziest best, and kept people laughing for 2 days. It was fun... a lot of fun.

Hope to have couple of hikes before winter starts.

Photos are available here:

Friday, October 29, 2004

barber and haircut!!!

Its been a while since a barber has touched my hair. In past 2 years, I have visited a saloon only once!!

No, no.. I am not planning to act in Aamir Khan's 'Sun- The Rising'.

After we (Sunil, Naren, Deep, me) came to Clemson, we realized that cutting hair outside every 20 days would be a very expensive affair ($12 for a haircut??.. nah....$12 x 50.....600 Rupees... mad or what!!!... was our first reaction..eddam desi eshtyle). So we thought of trying it out at home. First few haircuts were a disaster (invariably we would wear a cap for next 15 days... our apartment had around 10 caps at one point... as everyone would need one) but slowly we improved ourselves. Apart from a few hiccups:

One fine day Naren messed up Deep’s haircut with a huge patch at a very inconvenient spot. After that Deep hasn’t yet dared to try it out again. He prefers a professional barber instead. On another fine day, I by mistake created a dent on Sunil's head and for a month he was a bald headed gentleman.

Apart from that its been a smooth and fairly exciting experience. After Naren moved out, it was just Sunil and me who would cut each others' (upper) hair. I guess we have become fairly professional barbers now... and reliable too. It’s been one memorable experience, and one more very useful thing I learnt in life after coming to Clemson. Sunil is any day better than a professional barber.

The reason I remembered all this: I badly needed a haircut a couple of weeks back. I finally decided to go to a barber as sunil was busy with his thesis defense and I didn’t want him to spend his time cutting hair. So, I went and I almost entered the barber shop...

Man, I was shit scared to let someone else cut my hair. I came out of that shop almost running.

I am going for a conference in LA, California in couple of weeks and I DONT want to be bald at the conference. I am used to give instructions in hindi... and cant simply imagine telling an american "cut short from sides, shorter from backside and slightly long on upper head... i want slope also"... what if he doesn’t understand what exactly I want??... and what if I dont get a satisfactory haircut?? ..."slightly short on this spot....and this much here... and that much there"... nah.

Finally requested Sunil to take some time out, and thankfully he obliged.

I dont know how long I can avoid a barber... as we are unlikely to be in Clemson for too long now... but I will be extremely scared when I enter the barber's shop next time... whenever that happens.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

About changing yourself and the world

"you must be the change if you want to change the world".... its not as easy as it sounds. We had one Gandhi... who tried to change the world by this principles... he changed himself and then asked people to follow him. He was great... Alas, he was killed for his own principles. United States had one Martin Luther King... he also mate same fate.

Take India or US or for that matter any place... things are going worse. For todays hip-hop and party generation, you are a fool if youare principlistic. In today's world; Gandhi, and MLK would have been thrown in mental asylum. Today's world is of Laloo, Bangaroo, Dawood, and Mallika. How can you even think of changing this world?

Forget about India as a whole... take examples in our family,community and neighborhood. We have so many individuals, whom we respect immensely, because they always followed an idealistic approach. They say " we should do this.. and we should do that...". We look forward for their guidance. We hope that they can bring the difference in our society. But these same individuals have ridiculously spoilt kids... they are hopeless, they don't even know how to live a respectable life, they don't even know their own culture, they are completely out of control. If you can't bring the change in your own family, how can you even think of changing this world?.

Forget about changing the world... its not easy even to change yourself. Its extremely difficult to stick to your principles, especially when we are living in a materialistic world.

Today's world is all about money, name, fame and party. People party 4days a week. Do they even have time to think about those so called 'principles' and 'change one has to bring within him/herself' ??. Love, dignity, faith, trust, commitment, relationship.... all are materialistic gains. I have seen closest and best of people changing for money and these so called materialistic gains. How can you change yourself, if you are living in such surroundings?

I am not being negative here., as I know there are people who are different. I myself beg to differ from today's 'chalta hai' attitude. I just wanted to put forth a point that its not easy to change yourself and to change this world.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

We Indians

These are my personal views about the article in Economic Times (the article is pasted at the end of my views):

1: Some examples cited in the Economic Times article are very true (ladies entering the swimming pool in saree and people hogging on the freebreakfast, etc.). It ridiculous to see someone of your own country behaving in an obnoxious way, and thus tarnishing his own as well as his country's reputation.

2: I also agree that a lot of Americans, Chinese and African Americans are worse than us when it comes to running behind free stuff.

Having considered these two points, one, however, CANNOT justify their irresponsible public behavior. If a certain thing is wrong then it IS wrong. Hogging on a free breakfast is NOT justified just because some American also does it. One has to remember that you are always representing something: be it your country, community, company or your family. One has to always behave him/herself, because your behavior determines the reputation of the entity your are representing. This this even more significant for a developing country like India, which is still trying to find a prominent position in world affairs.

One simple example: After coming to US, a lot of people complain that 'south Indians badly smell of food'. It does not mean that EACH AND EVERY south Indian smells of sambar and rassam. But a few DO. And those few people tarnish the reputation of entire community.Americans, Europeans do not differentiate between a south Indian and north Indian. For them, Indians smell of food. Thus, only a few individuals are good enough to make people believe that Indians smell bad, which, as a matter of fact, is not completely true.

Even Chinese small badly of food. But that doesn't mean that our south Indian brothers are doing well by doing free publicity of our Indian delicacy.

When I read the article, I took it positively... with a message that one has to behave himself and try to be an ideal ambassador for our India. I agree that one single individual cannot change the things....But he can always try from his side, can't he?

Original Article:


In a resort, the world is somewhat easier to place. The Japanese see others through a Japanese handycam. The Americans pretend to be friendlier than their president. The French flirt with your wife if she is not British. The Ukrainian will not mind indecent behaviour, for a fee. People from all nations steal the bathrobe. And the Indian? The country's hospitality industry lets out a sigh and flight attendants roll their eyes.

There are unpleasant memories. The middle-class Indian is travelling to the upper reaches of good life and he is feared today by all in the business of standing with folded palms and salaried smiles.

He screams at the hotel staff to secretly ensure good service. He mistakes the waiter for his domestic help back home. He tries to eat everything in the breakfast buffet, because it is obviously profitable that way. His wife is in the pool in a saree, mixing water sports with modesty. And his we-two-ours-two kids are all over the place.

"The new Indian traveller wants attention, he wants slavish respect, he wants to own the place, he wants to swim in the pool in his VIP underwear," says Poonam Sethi, Radisson Hotel's director of sales and marketing. On international flights, he asks for "souvenirs", washes his hands in the plate and snaps his fingers to call the stewardess. "One guy even tried to open the aircraft door thinking it is the toilet," according to a flight attendant.

Cabin crews of international airlines that fly to India are specially briefed about the Indian. "The flight is going to be demanding," is what an air hostess is told by her chief during Cathay Pacific's pre-departure briefings on the Hong Kong-Mumbai flight. "We are clearly asked to be generous with liquor because Indians would want to drink a lot when it is free. If an average international passenger has two drinks during a flight, Indians have four."In her eight-year career, she has seen Indians make bhel from onions and other things brought from home, bathe and smoke in the toilet, and hide under a blanket to flout the seat-belt rule. One man even asked her, 'where is your urinification room?'

"Indians are so feared by the cabin crew that the highest number of sick leaves happen just before the Hong Kong-Mumbai flight," she said. Rupert Bray, the country manager for India, Nepal and Bangladesh was not available to confirm this phenomenon.Part of the high-end leisure industry's grouse against Indians finds its genesis in selfish commercial interests. A suave white man at the breakfast buffet, who does not raid all varieties of food, is more profitable than the experimental Indians. Tips influence the world view of waiters greatly. But even the hotels who claim to suffer the onslaught of the middle-class Indian, admit that he is precious during the lean periods.

Rattan Keswani, senior vice president, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, does not sympathise with the grievances of high-end resorts. "If you offer those prices, those people will come," he says. "You can't make money out of them and regret having them at the same time." According to him, "the Indian business traveller is a very mature individual and so the Oberoi in Mumbai for example, has no trouble dealing with him at all."Mr Keswani's views are not shared by all.

For several Indian resorts, sales meetings are treacherous confluences where the middle-class Indian male arrives at a wonderland called 5-star, leaving his regulatory wife at home.During such conclaves in Rajasthan, resorts are wary of men from Delhi. "Even during lean periods we try our best not to take conferences from Delhi," an executive of a high-end hotel chain says. "The men are rude and leery towards the female staff. They are insufferable," he adds.During the monsoons in Goa, it pours Indians. Sales, marketing and, of course, HR conferences spill over all facets of high-end resorts. And Scot Adams' men come to life. A photographer, who used to run a boutique in Goa, remembers a sight in a Panjim resort. "These guys were by the pool but didn't know how to swim. So, they brought buckets from their rooms, filled the pool water in the buckets and poured it on themselves," she said.

An Indonesian girl hired by a Goan resort to perform Balinese massage is tired of middle-aged Indians who want, "sex massage". Her understanding employer has told her that if a customer uses the word 'sex' a particular number of times, she could walk out of the room. The chef in the same hotel explains: "When the off-season comes, our boss comes around and tells the workers: Gentlemen, the season has changed. The foreigners are gone and the Indians have landed."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

How to mess up your nite

I came home at 1AM, and realized that I didn’t have any clothes for tomorrow. So decided to do laundry. Logically speaking, it should have been over by 3 AM, which was fine for me.

(I have shifted to Lemans recently, and I had no idea about the laundry machines there. They look innocuous, so I thought they would be similar to ones in Village Green. I had also asked my friends in Lemans.. they were happy with it and said that... $1.25 for washing, and $1.00 for drying would be sufficient. Still, as a precaution, I took quarters for 6 dollars. Now read on...)

1AM: went for laundry.... realized that the washer was too small for all clothes to fit in. So used two washers. Which means I used 5 quarters more for washing... little worried if I had sufficient quarters...Came back to my apt. and talked to Sagar for a while about life in Lemans.

1.45 AM: went to check if washing was done. Saw that all the foam was still intact, and unwashed. Put some more coins.... again a long wait of 40 mins... Went to Nikhil Rane's place... Talked with him for a while about free food at harcombe.

2.30AM: washing was finally over. I had only 4 quarters left. I am little worried... but dryer seems to be good.

3.05 AM: went to check if clothes were dry... and realized that they were still wet, not even close to drying..... hmm... seems to be a long nite

3.10AM: ... oh!!!! i dont have any more coins.... what to do.... i cant leave clothes like that... they will stink. I have to get some more coins.

3.15AM: went to old laundry to get some coins from coin machine. 20 mins walk at midnight. Great experience.

3.30AM: started dryer again... praying that this time they should be OK. Ate 2 apples to keep myself awake.

4.15AM: clothes were still wet. Put a few more coins..... Another 45 minutes....

5.00AM: clothes were about to dry... but little wet.... 4 more coins... 45 more minutes.. Can’t even sleep... can’t even stay awake. Stage of extreme frustration.

5.15AM: Lemans is!!@!#!$#!#$@%@#%@%@$% ? (BAD)!!!

5.45AM: its almost morning... clothes are finally dry. I am almost dead.... and ready to sleep

* Total cost for laundry: 9 dollars
* Lessons learnt: don’t be a fool to leave village green and come to lemans
* Lessons learnt: never sell your car just because u need money to go to India. It’s horrible to walk for 20 mins at 3 o clock in the night to get a few coins.
* Lessons learnt: Never trust people for their words.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Marathi chat

(If you do not understand marathi, please don't read this. I am sorry, but kindly adjust).

tushar_save (11:57:52 AM): ya saheb ya...
viv1512 (11:58:05 AM): arre alabhya laabh, aaj apan ekdam prakat kase zalat?
tushar_save (11:58:11 AM): apale ya kolishtakachya mayajalat swagat aso
viv1512 (11:58:25 AM): dhanyawaad
viv1512 (11:58:40 AM): sagle kahi kshemakushal?
tushar_save (11:59:28 AM): Arthat swami...tumhi-amhi astana desh dev an dharma kshemakushal asalach pahije
viv1512 (12:00:06 PM): kay re... bebandashaahi baghun ala ki kay
tushar_save (12:00:35 PM): nahi mitra nahi
viv1512 (12:00:51 PM): ani kay mhantos
viv1512 (12:01:05 PM): ikde yenyacha chance ahe ka?
tushar_save (12:01:09 PM): Marathi , hindi and engraji madhe apan bolat ahat. aple bhashadhnyaan prachanda ahe.
tushar_save (12:01:38 PM): Time time ki baat hai pyare...ek chance tera ek mera
viv1512 (12:01:40 PM): good joke
tushar_save (12:01:47 PM): but bad PJ
viv1512 (12:02:06 PM): so aajkal kay navin mohim?
tushar_save (12:02:50 PM): Jeevan ek sangharsh aahe ani toch mala navya navya mohime var pathavto..
viv1512 (12:03:10 PM): bas bas bas.. mansaat ye.
tushar_save (12:03:26 PM): evadhyat?
viv1512 (12:03:56 PM): arre ikde sakal ahe. he sagla vachlyavar sakalchi pahilya dhaarechi ghetlyasarkhi vatte
tushar_save (12:04:47 PM): shant gada dhari bheem shant..aaj ek tar shukravaar aahe ani tu pahilya dharechi vaigare bolun mann vichalit karu nakos...
viv1512 (12:06:22 PM): mann kara re prasanna sarva siddhi che karan....
tushar_save (12:06:24 PM): peeun daru hoil sarv jag hey prasanna
tushar_save (12:07:24 PM): mitra aahes ka?? ki tula MURCCHA yevun to behosh jhalas?
viv1512 (12:07:56 PM): brb
tushar_save (12:08:16 PM): 'brb' mhanje kay re bhau?
viv1512 (12:12:29 PM): be right back
tushar_save (12:12:55 PM): ok ok .. i will also start using that..
viv1512 (12:13:10 PM): see.. u learnt something today from me
tushar_save (12:13:53 PM): dhanyawad mitra..jeevan ek shala aahe ani apun tyatil vidyarthi.
viv1512 (12:14:48 PM): yes, shalaa co-ed ahe, tyat mule ani muli pan astat. te jara soyiche padel
tushar_save (12:17:23 PM): aso aso..baki bol...

Monday, September 20, 2004

World of cricket

Cricket..... One word, one sport...and so many sweet memories associated with it. There are people who hate cricket or who don’t follow it... but there are cricket lovers who love this sport more than anything else. Cricket surely has its own charisma. You love cricket or you hate it, you cannot ignore it.

Cricket is not all about technique (otherwise Manjrekar, Artherton, and Boycott would have been gods of cricket). Crickets is not all about grace and style either... (Otherwise Mark Waugh, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and David Gower would have ruled the cricket world). What makes cricket more interesting is the application of technique, absolute determination and grace to achieve something more than normally expected from a cricketer (that’s why Steven Waugh, Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, Hyden are great... because they are so determined and focused at their play that they cannot go wrong). Very few cricketers are abundantly talented (a few examples... Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Akram, Kallis and more recently Andrew Flintoff. I had almost included Ajit Agarkar.... but he himself doesn't know how to utilize his talent. He wasted so many opportunities.. I feel sorry for him)...

Still... cricket is a treat to watch. It’s been a while since I have seen a cricket match, and I miss that dearly. Last time I saw one was the India-Australia test series in December 2003. After the fourth test... I was a big big fan of the artistry of VVS Laxman... he was very very special in that series indeed. I was thinking about that series a few nights back... and thought... these memories; and not a few individuals; make cricket a truly great sport... there are so many of them, and if you are an avid fan of cricket... you would also recollect the thrill associated with such moments. A few instantly came to my mind were:

* Anil Kumble coming out of pavilion with a broken jaw... with bandage all over his face, to bowl to Brian Lara: It was one of the most unforgettable moments for me... India-West Indies test series... Indians were loosing the grip on the game... and Brian Lara was slowly getting in his own mood. His wicket would have given India a victory, but sadly no bowler was looking dangerous. And all of a sudden this guy comes out, when no one expected him to... he had a big fracture in his jaws. He came... he bowled... one can imagine how much pain he would have suffered.. And all that for one wicket... of Brian Lara and for India. Hats off to Kumble.

* Tendulkar hitting Shoaib Akhtar's first ball for a six over covers in 2003 world cup: India-Pakistan match in a world cup.... whoever wins goes to next round... whoever looses goes back home. Akram, Waquar playing their last world cup... out there to prove that they still are the best...Akhtar wanted to bowl the fastest ball...and India needs more than 275 to win the battle. It doesn’t get better than this. Does it??. Indian batting had performed poorly in all the previous games... their supporters back home were furious.. Some of them event attempted to attack players' homes. It was indeed do or die for Indians. A pressure cooker situation.. Akhtar comes running like a horse... and bowls (or throws) to Sachin... I can never forget the way crowd erupted at that moment. India won that match there itself. Memories of Miandad's sixer were erased from our minds. Akhtar has never been at his best against us after that.

Some other unforgettables:

* Warne's first Ashes ball to Gatting: Ball of the century.
* The entire 2001 India-Aus test series: Harbhajan's hat-trick and 32 wickets, VVS Laxman's epic 281 at Eden Gardens, and his partnership with 'the wall' Dravid. India didn't loose a single wicket on 4th day of the match. Isn't that amazing?
* Jawagal Srinath's 6-21 against South Africa in 1996 at Ahmedabad. It was indeed a master-move by Tendulkar to bring Srinath on, on a dead-as a dodo-pitch.
* India-Pakistan series in 1999: India should have won Chennai test. It remains one of the worst failures of Tendulkar's career. It was a shameless act by Mongia, too. And of course 10 wickets for Anil Kumble at Feroz Shah Kotla. It was Sunday.. And Kumble-Harbhajan pair was really giving a lot of trouble to strong Pakistani batting. Last wicket was Wasim Akram :c Laxman b Kumble 37. Laxman caught that bat-pad catch, umpire Jaiprakash rsaised his finger, and thats it!!! No one can forget the celebrations after that. It was a great achievement from a man who can't turn a ball for nuts and still calls himself a spinner and takes all 10 Pakistani wickets.
* If you have seen 'cricket classics' on ESPN-star sports, you can't forget first India-Pak match held at Sharjah: India won it by 38 runs after scoring 125. Full marks to Sunil Gavaskar, for his captaincy and some amazing catches he took in slips.
* And of course 1983 world cup win
* Speaking of catches.... Do you remember Ajay Jadeja taking Border's catch in 1992 world cup?... and a Ganguly's catch taken by James Kirtley in 2002 Natwest series?... it takes a miracle to do something like that.
* One more catch I clearly remember was in 99 world cup: Lance Klusner to Robert Croft.. croft hits a full blooded shot... jonty rhodes leaps in the air, stops the ball in the air, and takes an unbelievable catch...and his feet are still in air. I clearly remember... Bill Lawry was the commentator. He said just 3 words, "He is special". It says all.

There are so many more... these memories make me love this game of bat and ball.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Yesterday, the great Ramaswami was having a look at the cultural map of India that we were planning to use for the publicity of 'Day with India'. That map also included Pakistan and Bangladesh, as we all share same culture. This is how the conversation took place.

Ramaswami: This map is wrong!!! We should change it.
Vivek: Why?
Ramaswami: This is for 'Day with India' and not for 'Day with Asia'.
Vivek: But this is a cultural map, not a political one.
Ramaswami: And what is this?? What IS this!!!
Vivek: ??
Ramaswami: There is a dark black line in this map!!! change the map. (looks at it again)... Oh, actually this is LOC (he pronounced as Yel-Wo-See)
Vivek: Yellow Sea????..... Are you mad?.... how can you have Yellow Sea in Kashmir??
Ramaswami: You are a fool. Where else will you find Yell-Wo-See in India??
Vivek: you are a %^$#@&^!@#

Now whos fault was it?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Finally...scored some runs!!!!!

Being from Bombay, India; cricket is in my blood. Cricket is a passion for me. I have even seen Bangladesh Vs. Zimbabwe game (No.. I didn't completely see the Holland Vs. UAE game.. that was too boring, I slept mid-match).

I started playing gully cricket since I was 5 (earlier I used to hold the bat in wrong manner... with left hand at the bottom, and right hand on top :D... I am a rightee) and I guess I was good at it.

One of the most enjoyable things I did after coming to Clemson is playing cricket. The "South India Vs North India" matches were really played with the passion and instincts that we have for the India-Pak matches.

I happened to be the opener for our team (that was largely because, A: we were short of players and there was noone to open, B: I potrayed myself as a professional opener... sometimes I blaber anything , especially when I am under the influence of... you know what). My scores were 0, 0, and 0. Balls faced.... 1,2,and 2. First time... caught behind: ball swung too much and the bowler was good. Second time: it was a very good yorker and I didnt have a good grip on my shoes. I fell down. Third time: ball hit a wrong spot on the pitch and.... I was bowled.

It was very shameful. For a next few days, I had tough time to openly roam around in Clemson. I used to come home very late to avoid people directly laughing at my face... you can imagine the situation. It was like falling on face. Cmon, I was not THAT bad a batsman... trust me. I wanted to prove that. And was looking for a nice opportunity to prove that I can do it.

We play cricket on Friday evenings ( means... they play regularly, I go sometimes). Last week, I went after a long time. We played 3-9 overs matches. And I have decided that I will not open again in my life. First match: went in with a score of 4 in 5 overs... we scored 39... and I had a decent contribution. Second match: We had 69 to chase... I scored a duck again!!!... Cmon I was under the pressure of scoring runs and ball was swinging and some old habits take long time to go. We lost both the matches.

It was the third game.... We had to make 47 to win in 9 overs to win... and when I went in we had made only 17 in first 6. Srinivas Cherukpalli was at the other end. 30 runs in 3 overs... Srinivas and I hit a four each and it was 20 in 2 overs. And guess what... we did it... with 3 balsl to spare.... My contribution was a six and 2 more boundaries.... It was indeed a great feeling for me... Felt as if I also can do something in life. Even I can score runs.

And now no-one can call me a choker.

Finally I am happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Research on Roaches

Well well well... we have plenty of opportunity of a great case study here. Roaches are integral part of our apartments. They share our food and they are a very good source of proteins for us. They are very loyal and will never leave our apartment in any case. However.....

However, I have some questions about roaches; please help me in solving these mysteries:

1: why a cockroach doesn’t die in microwave?

2: are they vegetarians or non-vegetarians?

3: where do they go in daytime?

4: what do they do when we don’t cook for a couple of days?

5: how can they eat all podis (south Indian spices), but not red chilly powder?

6: how to mass kill them?

7: do they eat only from one apartment or travel from one apt. to another?

8: what is their reproduction rate?

I haven’t yet found answers to these Qs.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Twin falls trek

Who says South Carolina is not beautiful????.... Think twice before you say something like that!!!. Go to Twin falls if you want to see sheer beauty of South Carolina.

I never expected that this tiny hike will be so beautiful. Sudhir, Aarthi, Arvind and Maghna were planning to somewhere this weekend. Arvind asked me if I want to join them ( I am very greedy when it comes to trekking... so I also happened to join them). I thought it wont be such a bad idea to go to twin falls this time as I had heard that this place is close by and is a good place for an outing, even though it looks very innocuous.

Pickens county, the entire scenic SC.11 highway is like a paradise. Its like a dream coming true, for someone who always dreams to be close to nature. The entire area is lush green, very refreshing and very picturesque. Its beautiful.

Twin falls is an easy hike into the Eastatoe Creek Gorge. The hike itself is a very pleasant trip through the woods. And when you see the falls first time, you sense the kind of excitement that you are going to experience in a next few moments. Twin falls just invite you towards themselves. And you start walking towards water. But beware, rocks are extremely slippery!!! and you never know when you might fall on your face or butt. Sudhir was nicely demonstrating various methods and ways to fall down, he did it 3 times ( Do ask Sudhir about the experience, if you see him next time). Otherwise, this place is very nice. We could go right to the base of the bigger fall and managed to put our heads right underneath water falling from over 70 feet. It was free back kneading :D. When you see gallons of water pouring on your head from 70-80 feet; its fun, isnt it!!!

On the way back, there is a small pond when one can swim. Water is very clear and not that deep also ( I cant swim for nuts, still I managed to survive). All in all, it was a very nice hike.

And just to make it a perfect day, we had exquisite indian dinner at India Palace.

Who says Clemson is boring??

Chk out these pics:

Sunday, August 15, 2004

end of summer trek

Went to a triple trek this sunday with apna clemson gang. chk out the pics:

Covered lower whitewater falls, turtleback falls and rainbow falls. I am going to turtleback and rainbow falls for 3rd time now. I guess I am in love with that place.... such a beautiful place, and its close to clemson also. When I go there, I forget all my worries, problems, and i get that smile of mine back on my face.

I dont know why rainbow falls mystifies me so much. but i go to a different world when i go to the base of the falls. when i see water pouring down in front of me from 200 feets.... spraying water droplets all over the place... its thrilling. everytime i go there, i try to go as close to the falls as possible...its very challenging. there comes a point where the droplets hit you so hard that you cant move an inch... wind is extremely strong, the sound is deafening, water hits you hard, you cant see for nuts, and you cant move. man... it doesnt get much better than that. when I go beneath the falls, there is a stragne mixure of emotions in my mind... there is a feeling of doing something great in life and at the same time, when i look gallons of water pouring down in front of my eyes, i sense the challenge coming up in my life... the challenge of mere surviving.

i will surely recommend you to go there if you are around clemson... at least once... to experience the thrill. this is definitely the best place i have been to after coming here in Clemson.

And dsouza and pal refuse to mature ( chk this pic: and piyush keeps behaving like a teenager.... it was laugh riot all day. Just an example:

We had stopped at Subway to grab a sub. That guy asked Piyush if it was here or to go.... god knows what Piyush heard, but he answered "here you go".

All in all... had some adventure, a lot of fun, some excellent food and 11 great people as company.

God, I hope, I am not asking for too much, if I ask for such treks every now and then. Am I?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

How I spent money (and time) this summer...

It all started with a ' start of summer' trek to Tallulah falls.

1: Tallulah falls ( with Kedar and his CISA gang).... $ 11

2: Rainbow falls ( with Krishna, Vipul, Korade, Ankur)... $ 6

3: Charleston, Myrtle beach (with Sagar, Nikhil, Abhijit)... $90

4: Whitewater rafting, Galtinburg, cherookee, rainbow falls, athens, atlanta ( with Amol, Ashish, Avinash, Ranjit)... $250

5: Six flags ( Clemson public)... $ 75 (including 30 dollar dinner at Minnerva).

6: Atlanta (with Piyush and Jithu)... $10

7: Bought shoes, shirt, etc. for my defense.... $ 87

8: Got my thesis printed.... $150.

9: personal misc. expenses: $120....

Its all going to end with another 'end of summer trek' to whitewater falls.

Man.. I rock!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

dreams dreams

It has been my dream since past few years. Dont laugh at it. I want to be a part of the Lonely Planet (I guess its now known as Global Trekkers) crew.

I used to see a lot of Discovery and National Geogrophic back in India. My those days were full of treks and stuff like that. There was this program called Lonely Planet, which used to be telecast on Discovery everyday, and they used to show different cities, regions and countries every day (lateron, they started a new show called Travellers). I never skipped that program. I still remember, one of the anchors was Ian Wright and there was one more, I guess her name was Shilpa Mehta... They used to present that program pretty well. I always wanted to do something like that in my life... just roam around... travel, travel and travel. (read Ian Wright's interview here:

How fascinating it would be to just keep travelling all over the world thru-out my life. I guess I would be really happy if I can do that. Sometimes, I feel like leaving everything behind and just setting off... just going places without bothering about anything (If anyone can sponsor my trips, then that would be great). And when I start thinking about it, I forget everything else and keep thinking about it like a maniac, for hours and days.

Dreams, dreams and dreams... I know they dont come true... but if God grants me one wish, then I will ask him to bring my this dream into a reality. I wont ask for anything else.

Will it come true?... or will it not??.... I guess not, but I still am hopeful about doing something like that in life. Who knows, one day might do it as well.... Who knows... I dont... Do you?

One of those days...:(

Why does it happen that a day justs start off at a pretty good note and then the entire day goes well; and sometimes you know by yourself that its not going to be your day. Why does the start of the day have so much of an effect on our mind?...

Today seems to be something like that... I just want to be within myself. Feeling very gloomy and dull. Dont want to talk with anyone. Dont know why. I could not sleep last nite... I dont know why. Not that something is bothering me... in fact nowadays I am enjoying my life as much as I can... I can for once say that I am happy.

I was so happy yesterday... and day before...

I had my graduation on saturday. Never thought that it would turn out to be such a nice day. I had never felt so happy and content in my life so far... Then came sunday, which I spent reading a few books. Monday and tuesday went off well as well. I am acting ( not again!!!!) in this CISA welcome party skit. These small things keep me smiling. Not that I am doing something great, but I always used to enjoy being on stage. I remembered my school days. I guess our AID skit was pretty good. At least we all performers enjoyed doing it. We ourselves laughed a lot during that one week of practice and I bet this one is going to be better than the last one.

I want to enjoy my life... but at the same time cant afford to give too much of time to my other interests.... have my future to worry abt and given my luck history, i need to work hard towards it.

Why does it always happen like that? Dont know whats going to happen. Hope I get back to normal soon.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I am graduating...

Tomorrow is my graduation day.... I came to Clemson 2 years back with a few dreams in my mind and tomorrow one of them will come into reality. I am very excited about it. I guess it will be thrilling to walk on the podium with graduation gown and then to receive my degree from the president Barker.

Its a wierd feeling of sorts. Sometimes I feel... what have I done to celebrate this occasion?... afterall its part of life... I mean if you complete all your coursework and research, you will get your degree... whats so special about it..I mean.. why should I celebrate it?.. .. So far, for me, its just another day... somehow I am not yet feeling the graduation blues.

However I am looking forth for August 7th. Just because I am seeing everyone else so excited. I want to be a part of their happiness, and I want to share my happiness with my friends. You know, sometimes you feel great just to make others happy. I will see some of my friends after really a long time , so that will be nice. Am going for lunch with Dr. Jim and Joyce and then for dinner with Madhuri and her parents... lots of food.. I am happy and all geared up.. am skipping my dinner so that I can eat more :D

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A list of hiking places I have been to

Its been on my wish list since past 5 years... to maintain a list of all the places I have hiked. Am trying to list them... will elaborate on my website lateron.

1: Manali- rohtang pass- bias kund trek:

it was my first trek. Directly to himalayas... Actually had just taken my SSC examinations and had 3 month break. My cousin was going for this trek ( his father, my uncle, is an avid trekker and an excellent photographer). When he asked me first... as usual... I laughed at him. Afterall.... why to walk 15 kilometers a day when you can reach that same place by a jeep in an hour.... I mean .. why , rt??... It was not logical for me that time. But then accompnied him for his daily practice sessions ( means carrying 3 liters of water and 3 volumes of world book and walking 6-7 kilometers a day) and somehow I liked it.

Those 20 days I spent with 39 other equally crazy guys are amongst the best days of my life.

2: Treks in sahyadri:

a: from karjat:

bhimashankar ( twice)
dhak beheri ( 3 times... once lost our way)
peth ( twice)
matheran ( one tree hill point)

b: from kalyan:

naneghat ( many times)
ganesh garad
gorakhgad ( 3 times)
harishchandra gad ( twice)

c: pune region:

lohgad-visapur ( twice)
rajmachi ( twice)
kondane caves
dukes nose

d: kasara region:


e: konkan region:

sarasgad ( twice)

f: near mumbai:

g: satara


h: treks in USA

yellow mountain park trail
tallulah falls ( twice)
table rock falls
rainbow falls ( twice)
turtleback falls ( twice)
wildcat falls
great smokie mountain park trail
raven cliff falls trail

3: rock climbing

clemson ( we actually have a rock climbing wall)

4: rapelling:

panorama point, matheran
dukes nose

Want to do many more....

I like trekking ( hiking, as its called here in US)... I like to spend tranquille moments with myself in nature. I like to get wet when it rains cats and dogs. I like to shiver in cold. I guess I am at my best when I am out in a jungle. Many of my friends would agree to it. I visited many of thsoe places more than once... I guess that is in my desiny ( that I keep going to same places again and again)... but each one was a distinct and memorable experience. I had some weird friends... Ashish, Chetan, Amol, Avinash, Kaustubh, Bhushan, Mayuresh and Amit... to name a few... who were equally fanatic about trekking. Many of these treks were unplanned, decided on spur of the moment.

I sometimes sorely miss my trekking days in India. I guess those were the best days of my life...

Monday, August 02, 2004

A conversation...

Today afternoon, I was sitting with Gati and a few others outside the Fernows street cafe. I know Gati fairly well, so there was no need of introduction etc. Here are the excerpts:

1: Topic of discussion: Environmental Engineering... how easy/difficult the coursework is...

Vivek: So Gati, whats your background?
Gati: tables, trees and street!!!

2: I was trying to log in using my university ID on someone else's laptop, and was unable to do so... I tried to use a different server, named as CU.ROOT.B:

Vivek: yaar....kucch jam nahi raha hai... its not letting me log in.
Gati: Arre you have misspelled the server name... It should be RAUT ( my last name) and not root.

3: Topic of discussion: Laptops... how good/bad they are.... I was going to tell a funny incident.

Vivek: Agar kisika CD chal nahi raha hai to wo kya karega??
Gati: Elevator lega ya fir jump karega!!!!

I am still not sure if that was meant to be funny or she just said it like that. But noone had expected that.

Thanks Gati for making me laugh though.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Addicted to orkut

Man I can't believe I actually spent more than 16 hours on orkut this weekend. Never did so much of hard work during exams also!!!

Agar maukaa mile to Dsouza aur Bhulawala ko tapkana hai ( cant write this in English as when I did that last time, this site blocked me for using a threatening language!!!). They introduced me to this orkut stuff. I ignored it first, but then Nikhil and Asawari also added me. I had a look at this stuff and liked it.

I got to know about many of my friends in junior college as well as engineering whom I knew well at that time but had lost touch with them since past 4-5 years. It was very nice to know about their current status. Orkut is very nice in that aspect... you get to know what one is doing in life, if you know that chap. In fact, some communities and a few testimonials written for some of my friends are really interesting.

Orkut is addictive. Believe me, it is. I have sent invitation to 180 odd people, and yet my best friends are yet to be invited. Lots of stuff to do...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I wish...

I wish I was good in writing... sometimes feel as if I want to express myself... just I just cant do that and feel suffocated at the end of the day :(. I will still keep trying. I am not the ones who give up easily. One day... I will be a good writer.

One day!!!

There is one beautiful chick sitting in front of me... man... she is stunning!!!! I cant take my eyes off from her *****.

I will try writing stuff sometime later. Not possible now. C ya for now.

Monday, July 26, 2004

probably a last blog!!

Man!!!!.. these blogs suck bad time!!!!!

I tried to write something a few times... but then thought: whos going to read it?... even if someone reads it, is that going to make sense to him?... why should it make any sense to him when he has no background of whats going on at that moment???...

I guess I am too lazy to put new blogs every day. I will definitely come back when something really interesting happens in my life.

I promise!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

An urge to do something for them...

Last Saturday, I was looking at a video made by Aarthi when she visited a village in India that we [Association of India's Development (AID)- Clemson Chapter] are sponsoring ( Visit:, if you want to know more about what we do) . I felt bad to see some of the kids who were badly malnutritioned and were in a sorry state. Worse part was that their parents were not much bothered about it.

It really makes me think about my country.

When I was in India, I was never concerned about looking beyond myself. I was very happy enjoying my day-to-day activities. Its a general attitude amongst many of us... why to bother about things that are not directly related to us?... I was one of those.

It was winter of 2001... some of us started discussing about children in remote villages in India ( mine is one like that, even though I rarely go there ) who do not get any kind of exposure of today's world. They are denied an opportunity to get quality education just because their parents do not have that much of money/ they do not realize the importance of education. Many of such kids waste their lives in doing odd jobs in their villages. We thought of doing something about it from our side. Afterall, its not a fault of those children that they are not sent to school.

Most of us were in our early 20s that time, had just passed out of short,  we did not have too much of monetory support. But still we started a Student Adoption Scheme (SAS)... to help some children with their education ( books, school fees, uniforms,  etc). We collected some money from people we knew and they thankfully trusted us. Our ideas were clear and we knew what we were doing. In it's first year, we sponsored 10 kids, and we were very proud of ourselves that we were contributing in some way towards our community. 3 years back, SAS was a huge success in itself.

Then I came to United States. SAS is still going strong, this year we sponsored 48 students. Sadly, being in USA,  I am not of much help to them today.

first blog

I dont know why I am typing this stuff!!... Normally speaking, I am too lazy to write something about me and my life everyday. First of all, being at a place called Clemson, nothing spectacular happens in life anyways. On top of that, even if something happens, say, for example, I go for a date with a girl,  and she slaps me afterwards... why the hell should I let everyone in this world know about it?... I mean.. why?.. right?

But then I have couple of friends, who have nothing to do nowadays.  They are useless people. So they write these blogs, and on top of that they send it's link to everyone who exists on mother earth ( english translation of dhaarti maa!!!). So I had to read that, and I liked it. I mean, nothing extraordinary about it, but its fun to read about whats happening in someone else's life, and I thought that it would be fun to write such stuff too.

So I thought "why not me?".. I mean... not that Bush and Kerry are going to read it... but... lets try.. what say?