Monday, August 29, 2005

Vivek writes an article...

Writing my thesis was easy... because I exactly knew how I wanted it to be. I had my thesis written in my mind before I typed my first page.

Writing my Langmuir paper was also easy... as I knew what my advisor wants from me. I had my thesis as a guideline, and a very strict advisor to edit my work.

Writing my PhD SOP was a bit difficult... because there were so many things to be written and main task was to fit everything in a page and half.

But writing a 2-page article from a thin- one line idea was something I never imagined I could do. I know my worth when it comes to doing something like that. I surprised myself when I agreed to write an article for the bi-annual newsletter of LRI-GSEC (Lerner Research Institute- Graduate Students' Education Committee). In one of the meetings, someone suggested that I should compile an article related to the experiences of a first year student at LRI. And believe it or not, I did it.

Here's what I wrote. Read on:

My Entry to the Crystal Maze

1: First day at LRI:

I enter Lerner Research Institute for a departmental tour, and one of the graduate students walks us around the LRI building. That girl seems to be the happiest person in the world, and when asked about her experience at LRI, she sounds like there is nothing else in this world that can be more pleasurable than LRI. I trust her for that.

My first thoughts: "Wow.... this place looks cool!!" I mean, coming from an academic research environment, LRI is like coming from a filthy bachelor efficiency room to Buckingham palace. "Ummm... this place seems to have a lot of money; the infrastructure is indeed excellent... And I will get free coffee as well, and free stationary... and free parking, TGIFs, picnics, parties, tickets to cedar point…Yup baby! This is the place to spend my next 5 years".

2: Honeymoon time:

First few days at LRI are really cool. The departmental staff seems to be very cordial, and gets most of the paperwork done in first 30 minutes. But still, I wait at the main entrance every day for first week or so for someone else to come, look suspiciously at me, and then let me in. The reason: It takes about a week to get my badge activated.

After a few days, my boss goes for a 2-week conference in Europe.... Since I am a newbie and am yet to begin my experiments, my daily schedule is somewhat like this: come to lab in the morning, pretend to read books and understand new concepts, read papers and ask a few questions to seniors, go to library and print papers, go to food courts. And have food, then go to library to take a nap, come back to my lab at 4.30, say bye to everyone, go home, play tennis. I never have had such a good 2-week holiday in my life.

3: First bombshell:

For first few days, my daily attire is jeans and a t-shirt. After all, I am still a student. One day, I come across a gentleman. I don’t know who he is (I later on discover, happens to be the administrative-in-charge). I say customary hello and exchange pleasantries etc. He doesn’t seem to be too pleased with me. I wonder what’s wrong... is it my face, or am I having too much of coffee. I am totally confused. AND then first bombshell comes my way. He says “Denim is not allowed in LRI campus. You should be in formals from tomorrow".... Oh boy... What will happen to all my torn-jeans and all those favorite t- shirts?... NO.... Someone is taking away my student-hood from me.... what should I do...

That evening, I go in my panic mode, and to JC Penny to get some khakis and shirts...

4: Trouble starts:

Well, soon, the honeymoon gets over and the "real" thing starts. After the first meeting with my advisor, I get 38 papers to read, and my desk is full of papers, books, research notebooks, and what not! And I have no idea of what they talk about. Everyone in my lab talks as if I am born with the knowledge of the research concept, my advisor talks to me in a language that is Greek to me, and I am supposed to come to that level by reading all papers!!!.... Problem starts...

Now I attend 4 meetings a week, spend most of my time under the hood and fill up 2 pages of lab notebook every day. It’s been a while since I have played Tennis.

5: Life comes back to normal:

Soon things get nasty... workload increases 10-fold... I want my boss to go for a 2-week conference in Japan... but this time around, all conferences are in nearby cities... He comes back in two days.

Nowadays, its just me, my work, my coffee, and my lab notebook... terms like chilling out, having a break, being tired, taking a day off, working out in a gym are out of my vocabulary. :(... I begin to realize that that’s what life really means... Nowadays I read journal articles in my free times, I read philosophy as a past time, my friends consider me as a junky waste... and my parents have given up hopes on me.

These are a few typical initial reactions of a first year graduate student at LRI. Jokes apart, the research activity and combined output at LRI is of so much of high quality that a new student typically gets overwhelmed seeing everyone so hard working, so knowledgeable and so thorough in their work... To start with, he/she has no clue about the cutting edge technology, has no experience of applying text-book knowledge to a practical use. Typically, what a new student needs is a mentor, who could guide him/ her in his initial research and answer a few basic questions, a few new friends with whom he/ she can have some fun while at work, a group of people with whom he/she can have daily lunch, and a boss who understands that people have life beyond research. It takes a while to get used to everything here, but once he finds his own small space in this horizon... things get easier and better.

So far, the first few months at LRI have been really satisfying and I look forward to making the next few years special ones in my career.

Vivek Raut

Monday, August 22, 2005

Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia

This one was on my "to do" list since past 2 months.... Almost finalised one in July... 10 people in Cleveland had actually said YES (my self-experience says that it takes on an average 21 e-mails to bring 6 people together in Cleveland. So imagine how difficult that was !!)... but then when it came to booking the trip... a few people backed out, and whole idea flopped.

So when Nigamath and Divya mentioned about rafting in one Asha meeting, (which was the first one for me) I saw a slim ray of hope somewhere. I liked 2 things about Asha-Cleveland chapter in the first meeting itself: 1: they all go out for a sandwich or so after the meeting. 2: they are a cool group, and don't pretend to be too busy :-).

Anyways, so we fixed 19th, 20th and 21st August to be the rafting weekend. We decided to do rafting with Songer as they offered us the cheapest rafting deal. A few of us decided to go for the Upper New river, and the rest of the gang (7 of us) decided to venture in the lower New river, which offers level 4 and 5 rapids.

A few facts about the New river. After the Nile, the New River is the second oldest river in the world (and hence the name), and it has world's second longest suspension less (single arch) bridge across its gorge. (the longest is in China, which is just 4 cm longer). It is 876 ft high. Every year, on a Bridge Day, hundreds of BASE jumpers and nearly 200,000 spectators are gather on the bridge and celebrate the largest extreme sports event in the world. The New River Gorge Bridge serves as the launch point for six hours BASE jumps. Just being there on the bridge and going beneath it was a great feeling in itself.

Anyways, so we started a long 5 hour drive at 4pm on Friday from Cleveland. Nigmanth, Divya, Himanshu, Rohini had left on Thursday itself. 6 of us (Bharadwaj, Ramya, Vishal, Dipit, Amita, me) left on Friday (we work very hard, we hardly get a day off during weekdays :D. :D.) Driving was hardly boring as we had lots of things to talk.

We reached the campsite at around 11.30 pm. Our Thursday gang greeted us with loud cheer and lots of stories to tell. We quickly set up the tent and went to bed (or sleeping bag ??) soon, as a hectic day of rafting was coming up.

On Saturday, we had delicious Masala Tea and spicy Pohe for breakfast. A very tasty and hearty breakfast set the day for us. After taking bath and packing up, we were ready for rafting. After a short ride to the starting point, at 11.30 AM, we were ready for 6 hours of rafting with our rafting gear, a huge 9 person raft and Megan (our instructor).

The New river gorge is East America's most popular white water river. Lower New River has an enormous volume of water coursing through a narrow canyon. The water creates a friction along the bottom and sides which generates big, oscillating waves, making for exciting rafting.

The entire 6 hour rafting experience was worth every rapid and every minute. Rafting has always been fun, challenge, and excitement And this time it was no different. Every time a rapid comes up, one feels a moment of excitement mixed with a bit of fear factor, one gets ready to face the worst and enjoy the best, quickly praying God with a hope of not falling in the gregarious current of water. But after all the high intensity action, that one moment of victory and joy makes you feel proud of yourself. That, I believe is the biggest and the happiest moment in rafting. When you look back at the rapid, and those thundering waves going up and down, you get an idea and a feel of what happened in your life a moment back.

We had a lot of fun in water, with many of us swimming in between rapids, and a few of us trying hard to swim. It was a very satisfying rafting experience for me, but my first rafting experience in the lower ocoee river would probably be the most cherishable one for me... may be because it was my first attempt with rafting, and also because our guide Lydia was too cute n sexy.

Some Brownie points for Songer: They have a very well maintained campsite, with excellent facilities. The restroom are spacious and very clean , with hot water bath facilities. The rates are reasonable and all the guides are friendly and helping. I would definitely recommend you to check them out if you plan to do rafting in this part of the world.

Saturday evening was camping and campfire time. We had a very delicious Rajma-Rice, and spicy masala rice (courtesy Himanshu) for dinner. It was indeed very very tasty (I swear you wont get a better rajma-rice even in the 5 star restaurent in Mumbai). We also had some sweet corn and some barbecue grilled lemon pepper chicken with that. After dinner, we had one small walk around the campsite and then we played cards till 1 AM. It was nice and cold, and overcast with occasional drizzles- a perfect atmosphere for outdoor recreation. For once, missed my monsoon trekking days in Sahyadri. Hope I can get those happy days of my life once again :(.

Anyways, plan for Sunday was to visit the ISKON Vrindavan temple in West Virginia, and also the Palace of Gold. Its a very well maintained and a very nicely developed place and one should definitely visit this place once. We had a nice time there and the 4 hour drive was worth it.

On our return trip to Akron, we had dinner in an Indian restaurant in Canton named Bombay Sitar. Its a fine place for some nice Indian food. I liked their rotis a lot.

So after almost 800 miles of drive, 2 nites of camping, and 6 hours of hardcore rafting, we were back to Cleveland with lots of cherishable memories, tons of fun, some Kodak moments, broad smiles, tanned skin and soar ankles( and for me, 9 new friends). It was a very nice trip.

Next on my task is a nite trek. Its been a while since I have done a nite trek on a full moon nite... there is no more pleasure than a nite trek with just a handful of friends in company. I don't know when that will happen, but I am looking forth to it.

I also want to do Kayaking sometime in my life. I was getting jealous of all those kayaks who were having so much of fun that day... I guess kayaking would be one ultimate pleasure. I know, for someone like me, who doesn't know swimming for nuts, (people have written articles about how they saved me!!!!) it is stupid to think of kayaking... but... there is always an hope!!

Click here for group photos. There are more coming. My digicam is broken, so have fun guys and girls. You will see some human beings in these photos because they are not taken by me :D.

Its been one hell of a summer so far: india trip, trek to himalayas, lots of travelling, a hiking trip, a rafting trip, couple of summer trips... its been fun. Am hoping to have more fun next summer.

Ok, Now I am Signing off!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Washington DC trip

Well, this one was planned a long time back. The occasion was Neil's wedding. Neil is my distant cousin (son of Dr. Madhukar and Lalita Thakur, who happen to be my mother's mama[maternal uncle]). The wedding was on the 12th, and I was invited. So booked the tickets and a rented car a month back. Since I was going after a long time to DC area, also thought of meeting some of my long lost friends.

My flight from Cleveland was supposed to take off at 7 PM... but was delayed by 2 hours.... I was all prepared for such delays and had a bunch of movies with me to see in spare time. So it was time to see Shaw shank Redemption. Believe it or not, I was yet to see that movie, wanted to see this one since long long time... but never got 2 spare hours for it. Its a gem of a movie.... liked it a lot. Would put this one along with Forrest Gump and The life of David Gale, two of my most favorite movies. So the waiting time at Cleveland was very well spent.

After reaching DC and renting the car, drove to Richmond, VA to meet Rohit Sawant, my undergrad friend. It was nice to meet Rohit after 2 years, and first time in US. Apart from old memories, we discussed whitewater rafting in West Virginia... He did one a couple of weeks back and I am planning to do it this weekend. Saw the DVD of their rafting, which was really cool. The lower New river in WV provides level IV and V rapids, and am really excited about coming weekend.

Anyways, next day drove from Richmond to Washington DC for Neil's wedding. It was a very well planned one, and only selected few were invited. Got to meet mama, mami, Dilip mama, Sachin, Netra tai, Sanjay, Nikhil and everyone else after really long time... precisely after 2 years. Last time we all met was for Netra Tai's wedding in June 2003. This pretty much summarises all the relatives I have in the United States, and its a different feeling altogether to meet your loved ones after a long time.

The wedding itself was a class affair, which started in a traditional maharashtrian way, with all mantras and other customs... and followed by a banquet. Had a lot of fun and lot of food as well. It went on till 12.30 AM.

Then drove to Ajinkya's places in Manassas, Virginia. This was kind of unplanned visit. I actually had called Pramod Shanbhag, to see if I could meet him. But he, and a few others were going to meet at Ajinkya's place... So it was kinda Clemson reunion. Apart from Ajinkya and Pramod, there was a strong Clemson gang of Srinivas, Nilu and Bhargavi. Most of the time was spent in exchanging movies from one laptop to other... There were 6 Clemson engineers and 4 laptops.... So there was very active information exchange on Saturday nite/ Sunday morning. It was nice to see so many Clemson people together after long time.

Next day morning, had Indian masala tea with croissants... and we watched the Ashes test match between England and Australia. This Ashes series is shaping up very well and is promising to be a very absorbing and exciting one. Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell were in full flow, and it was good (and very rare) to see Mcgrath and Warne being hit all over the ground so mercilessly.

After a quick photo-session, had to say good bye to them, as I had another brief meeting with Het and Rohit in Washington DC. Wanted to spend some more time in Manassas, as they all were heading for miniature-golf. May be next time.

So Het, Rohit and I had decided to meet at Union Station, Washington DC. It was kind of VESIT reunion. In Rohit's words: "Had a good time since few old memories came up which made us laugh a lot. I hope we will be able to meet again once Binu is up here and makes some plan to Visit the East Coast here"... am looking forth to meeting my old gang.

Anyways, so after very hectic 2 days, 400 miles of driving... I was back to Dulles airport, only to realise that the plane was an hour late this time. Since one hour was not sufficient for a movie, it was Tom and Jerry time... which of course of full of fun.

Now am back in Cleveland, and back to work... but am already in the rafting mood. Am looking forth to coming weekend in West Virginia.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Japanese dinner at Pacific East

Who doesn't like free food?....

My roommate Siddhartha has a Japanese guest from Japan in his lab for some project related work. They were planning to go to a Japanese restaurant and (since it was not very close to our apartment, they needed a car,) Siddhartha asked me if I could join them. I accepted the invitation gleefully. There is nothing more fascinating in this world than to get free food at a nice place.

so we chose Pacific East. It had some good reviews online and was placed at a very neat location. Pacific East has a neat ambiance, a mostly blue space, nicely offsetting the red wood tables and chairs. The place has a vast menu, listing dozens of sushi options plus just about any vegetable ever grown in Japan as well as many tempura, yakatori, udon, don buri, and teriyaki. Service was exceedingly polite and efficient. It was my first outing at a Japanese restaurant, and I must say that I was not disappointed.

I found Ritsuko (Siddhartha's guest) a very well mannered, confident and a charming lady. I must say that she has been a wonderful ambassador for her country and her company. It was nice meeting her.

Anyways, so Ritsuko was there to guide us for ordering food. Pacific East has huge list of items on their menu.. and for a first timer, its indeed a huge task to understand whats going on. It took me a long time to figure out what is good and what is not. Finally ordered Miso Soup (Soy bean soup with been curd, seaweed and scallion) and Tako Yaki (Octopus balls) for appetisers, Oyako Don (chicken with egg on rice) and chicken Katsu (similar to breaded chicken strips) as main course. Ritsoku had Hiya- Yako (cold bean curd with flakes and scallion) and shrimp Tempura. Sidharth had Oyako Don, and Tempuras.

Food was good. Tried to have it with those sticks, but could not. So requested for fork and knife and enjoyed this new delicacy. Now onwards, Octopus will be one more addition to my list. They actually taste pretty good... similar to shrimp. I really enjoyed the Tako Yaki. Rest of the food was good.

They also served some Japanese wine at the end.... it was really good and mellow. Liked it.

All in all, had a good Tuesday evening.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Allegheny Camping and Hiking

Ever since I shifted to Cleveland, I was getting increasingly uncomfortable to see no mountains in and around Ohio. Even feared for a few days that I will have to give up my passion for hiking and camping, and will have to take interest in singing and cooking, etc (:D, :D).... and the thought was scary enough. Surprisingly not too many people hike in Ohio and surrounding states, as its generally a flat land. Come August and I was getting desperate to get out of Cleveland, go to some dense forest and have lots of fun.

So we had to go east to find a thick jungle. And we got Allegheny National park. Vivek, Devyani, Meghna were interested in camping, so we finalised 6th, 7th August as the D-day. I also invited Aniket and Abhijit from Ann Harbor, Michigan; and they were glad to join us. I have known Aniket since past 7 years, and had a few treks together in Maharashtra. We both came to US in 2002, but it was not possible to meet up, as I was in the Carolinas. So I was also keen to catch up with him. Abhishek is also a very avid hiker and has extensive experience of hiking in Maharashtra as well as US.

Allegheny National Forest has a rich variety of outdoor activities to entertain you. There are several trails, ranging from very easy to difficult ones. Also, there are over 600 camp-sites and other recreational activities. Amongst many trails, we chose the Minister Creek trail and the nearby campground, as it was described as a difficult trail in a thick jungle and undeveloped area, which sounded interesting.

Since I have met them 20 days back, I have always found Vivek, Devyani and Meghna full of enthusiasm, a hearty laugh and something to chatter. Devang and Amit also fall in same league. So all in all, an interesting weekend was in offing; with guaranteed non stop entertainment.

On a sunny, hot Saturday morning 8 of us (Abhishek, Aniket, Amit, Vivek, Devang, Meghna, Devyani, me) left Cleveland in 2 cars. Together, we had around 60 music CDs + 8 talkative people... so the 3 hour long drive was hardly boring.

As we came closer to the national park, the forest grew thick, roads became narrower and full of curves. It was a roller coaster ride for a while. As we reached the campsite, we realised that all the sites were full. Now the option was to set up our tents at another campground nearby (which was available, but was a bit too commercialised. We were looking for somewhat more primitive), or away from the campsite, in the woods at the Minister Creek. We chose the second option.

One good thing about Allegheny is that you can set up your tent anywhere in the jungle, except near the trails. It proved to be an excellent choice, as we had even more fun away from the crowd, just by ourselves.

By the time we set up the tents, it was 5 PM, and it was time for relaxing. We started with some chips and salsa, and some beer. The topic of discussion for the evening snack was Andaz Apna Apna and Hera Pheri.... :D.

The main challenge for the evening was to set up the grill. Since we did not set the camp at a normal campsite, we didnt have a proper grill to grill our food. So we fabricated a temporary stone grill, put some charcoal in it, topped with a couple of layers of Aluminium foil. It took 8 engineers and a lot of engineering innovation to set up a grill. But we did it at last (this situation was similar to a sardar joke: it took 50 sardars to change the bulb... 1 to hold the bulb and 49 to rotate the wall, and yet they failed. I am glad that 8 of us did the job :-).

Conclusion: we are not sardars. We can do it ).

Anyways, soon our burgers and chicken breasts and veggies were cooking on red hot charcoal. We also started a campfire side-by-side and put some potatoes and veggies in it, seasoned with Mexican seasoning. It was a very delicious dinner, and it tasted even better with some fine red and white wine. I must mention that the chicken I had on that evening was one of the tastiest I have had ever.

All this while, our topics of discussion varied from Cleveland, Ann Arbor, US, India, football, cricket, baseball to Human beings, animals, Aniket Joshi and Siddharth Dutta. Aniket (who claims to get loads of spare time because he is a full -time research student at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor) tried a lot to prove his point that U Mich is a superior research place, but his efforts fell short against 6 Case researchers. Later he tried to crack some jokes from his "improv" club; however, one must say that he needs to improve. Having said that, this trek won't have been even half enjoyable without Aniket. So keep it up buddy.

It was dessert time by then and we had some marshmallow roasters for dessert. After so much of food, a deep sleep was inevitable.

Next morning, after having the breakfast of apples and doughnuts, we started our hike. This almost 7 miles hike is full of huge boulders and lots of ups and downs as well as streams and trees. It was a very enjoyable 4 hour hike. We did a bit of rock climbing, a bit of tree climbing, some apple picking, lots of relaxing and some walking.

On our way back, we had a late lunch at the Pepper-mate Restaurant in Warren. They claim to be the best family restaurant in Warren. Well, considering their food, I would say that Warren families need to improve.

Anyways, it was an excellent weekend overall. It seems that Allegheny will be my second home in Cleveland in a next couple of years. I would definitely recommend you to visit that place at least once. Its cool, and all the trails are worth the effort. I am already planning another camping trip in Fall Break later in October.

Please click here for camping pics.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Baseball game

I guess I surprised myself when I went to see the Indians Vs. Yankees Baseball game yesterday.

I like the concept of baseball, as its close to cricket; and i have been trying to understand its rules etc. But never got a chance to follow the game closely. Life in Clemson was too busy to follow baseball in addition to other games.

Couple of days back, Vivek asked if I would be interested in joining him and Devyani for this game. It sounded a great idea.

Its a great experience to be in the ground and see the game live. It was my first such experience, so thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a strong 35-40 thousand crowd, and we were in the top rows. the screen was rt in front of us. Vivek helped me to understand the game; and it was very easy after that.

About the game.... in one line: "Cleveland Indians are a bunch of idiots". They were leading 3-2 till the start of the 9th Innings. Yankees hit 2 home runs in the 9th innings... went 4-3 up.. and then got all 3 Indian hitters in a minute. It was a huge let down at the end. Something I would expect from the Indian cricket team (because Indian cricketers do not carry brain on their shoulders when they go out in middle and play. If you observe closely, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra look mentally retarded when they bowl and are hit for 2-3 fours in one over), but not from the Cleveland Indians...

Bob Wickman messed it all up. MLB has a good cover-up article:

"CLEVELAND -- Bob Wickman knows how precarious life as a closer can be.
After recording saves in the first two games of the series against the Yankees, Wickman's attempt for a third was wiped out by ninth-inning home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi on Thursday night.

The solo homers turned a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 loss, preventing the Indians from recording their first sweep over the Yankees at home since 1970.

Instead of recording his 30th save of the season, Wickman was saddled with his fourth blown save in 33 chances.

When it was all over, Wickman knew where to place the blame.

"I let the team down," Wickman said. "If it wasn't for me, we would have won three games."

Wickman, who leads the American League in saves, said pitching for the third night in a row wasn't the issue. It was more a matter of making bad pitches. After he retired Gary Sheffield on a fly ball to start the inning, Rodriguez crushed a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left.

"I was trying to throw it down and away," said Wickman. "It didn't go down and away. It wasn't where I wanted it, but it wasn't the worst pitch in the world."

The 2-1 pitch to Rodriguez raised some questions from the Indians. Plate umpire Bob Davidson called the close pitch a ball, drawing a long stare from Wickman and some yelling from manager Eric Wedge.

"There were a couple of questionable pitches late," said Wedge.

"It was tough to tell," said Wickman.

Wickman (0-3) retired Hideki Matsui on a ground ball, but Giambi, who also homered in the fifth off Kevin Millwood, took a 2-1 pitch to right.

"He hit a slider," said Wickman. "It's the first home run I've given up on a breaking ball all year."

Millwood held New York to two runs in eight innings. John Flaherty also homered off Millwood in the second.

Wedge had no second thoughts about pulling Millwood, who threw 94 pitches.

"It was tough, but Kevin had worked hard," he said. "He did a great job. That was enough for him. Wicky has been great for us. It was one of those days with Wicky."

Millwood, who allowed eight hits, struck out eight and didn't walk a batter, supported the move.

"I was done," Millwood said. "I used my last bit of energy in the last inning. If I went out for the ninth, I would have been real tired. I felt like I was pretty much done after the eighth. I wouldn't have had much on the ball."

Wedge chose to credit the Yankees.

"A couple of pretty good hitters got us late: A-Rod and Giambi," he said.

Wickman also credited the Yankees.

"I felt pretty good," he said. "I just didn't make the pitches. They make you pay when you make a mistake. Guys who hit home runs make you pay when you make a bad pitch."

Down, 2-1, in the seventh, it looked as if the Indians were going to pull this one out. Casey Blake walked to start the inning, which ended the night for Yankees starter Shawn Chacon. Alan Embree came in, and he walked Grady Sizemore. Coco Crisp sacrificed the runners to second and third. The bunt paid off when Jhonny Peralta's groundout off Tom Gordon scored Blake to tie the game.

Travis Hafner, who hadn't played since getting hit in the face by a pitch from Chicago's Mark Buehrle on July 16, grounded a 2-2 pitch through the right side to put the Indians ahead, 3-2, in the seventh. Hafner had missed 17 games with a concussion.

Flaherty's homer, his first of the season, came on a 2-0 pitch and landed in the bleachers in left. Giambi homered to right to lead off the fifth.

The Indians were unable to cash in chances in the second, third and fourth innings, but they finally broke through in the fifth. Blake led off with a single, but Sizemore hit into a double play. Crisp singled and scored when Peralta doubled off the wall in left.

All in all it was a great experience though. Enjoyed it a lot. A great game, fairly noisy crowd, pizza, and beer!!... Great experience!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Being a part of AID was one of the most satisfying experiences for me at Clemson. Got a very fantastic friends to hang around with, had lots of fun, and also got some experience of event management in the USA. More important than that, learnt a lot about my country , India. There was a lot more to India than i knew before being a part of AID. The way I think of my country may not be same as the way others think of it; and more importantly the actual situation may not be exactly the same.

We often talk about India being a developed nation by 2020, and India making leaps of progress in IT; but there are millions of people in India who are yet to get the basic knowledge of health care, self-dependence, and education. That's when I decided to be involved with a non-profit organization. I am probably an infinitesimal factor in the development of my country, but still I want to contribute in whatever small way I can. That feeling of doing something for my country gives me a lot of self-satisfaction.

Anyways, AID doesn't have a Cleveland chapter. However, Asha (better known as Asha for Education) is fairly active here and the Cleveland chapter does lots of events thru out the year. Asha for Education is a secular organization dedicated to change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change.

I have been attending past couple of Asha meetings. Its cool. Its almost same fun as we used to have in AID meeting at Clemson. Hoping to be more involved with Asha in future months, and also get to know some of the members. We are organizing classical Indian music concert by Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan with his sons Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bhangaash on the 17th September. Am looking forward to it. Last few Indian classical music concerts have been a great experience. This one would be no different either. Lets see how it turns out to be.