Monday, December 29, 2008

Australia trip 2008

It was  a trip that I, Richa and my parents had been planning for quite some time. We all wanted to go there to attend my sister Apeksha's convocation ceremony. Unfortunately, Richa had to drop out because she could not get any leave. She had just joined a new company.

One thing I will admit here is that Richa was quite magnanimous in allowing me to go to Australia, knowing fully well that she will be all alone in India and will miss all the fun. I kept telling her that I will have a half-full/half-empty feeling there all the time, but she kept telling me to enjoy as much as possible in her absence. Richa, tussi great ho :-)

We took a Singapore Airlines flight to Melbourne from Bangalore. The flight was good, except that my mom and dad felt the lack of leg-space quite bothersome. At Melbourne airport, the customs clearance took a long time because Australia is quite strict about quarantine, and we Indians like to take our spices everywhere we go. 

I was quite impressed with Melbourne city. Lots of cyclists, very impressive train network, lots of trams, lots of buses and not too many people. There is a certain charm about trams. I don't quite know what it is. The fact that one ticket works for bus, tram and train makes it all the more convenient. We enjoyed the trip to Yarra river, Melbourne Sky Deck, the Salaam-Namaste bridge, and the trip to the Queen Victoria Market. We also went on the Great-Ocean-Drive to see the 12 Apostles, basically 12 pillars carved out by the Antarctic ocean from the rocky cliffs on the shore. Also took a helicopter ride around the 12 Apostles.

From Melbourne, we all went to Goldcoast - specifically - the Surfer's Paradise. Lots of girls in very skimpy clothes, the beach, the sun, the surf, the wind - this place is special. Add to it a lot of roadside eateries dishing out an international cuisine and you have really come to paradise. I specifically enjoyed the omelettes at the Mediterranean cafes - full of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives. Yummy. You have one, and you don't feel like eating anything till evening. The trip to SeaWorld was special - the dolphins being the star-attraction.

From Goldcoast, we flew to Sydney. Sydney is a bustling city, much more crowded than Melbourne. The ferry rides from Circular Quay (key) to Darling Harbour, and on the the Paramatta river were wonderful. I always thought that the Opera House was white in colour, but it turned out to be off-white in colour. Although we could not see much of Blue Mountains due the mist, the trip down to the rain forest in a Gondola and trip back up in a reversing train were pretty exciting. Incidentally, the train climb is one of the steepest train climbs in the world, if not the steepest. 

I enjoyed myself quite a lot in Australia, although I did miss Richa quite a lot. I must take her there sometime ...

Well - you all can see the snaps here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Give me time :-)

"You don't give me time..." is the constant crib that Richa has against me, and probably she is right. In my routine life, I am so caught up with the mundane daily chores - office, traveling, gym, TV news, sports etc that I hardly get to spend enough time with Richa.

A bit of a digression here - I was watching a show on TV quite some time back. AB was being interviewed by Semi-Girebal on her famous non-sense show. She asked him a simple question - "What is the importance of your wife in your life" - and he replied - "She has given me two wonderful children".

I was a bachelor then, did not even have a girl in my life, but I immediately retorted - "What non-sense? What about the time you spent with her? Does that have no bearing on your life?

Now that I am married, and now that I am in Sydney, I kind of realize that I am so caught up in the labyrinth of daily life that I probably don't spend enough time with Richa. Not that I don't want to but by the end of the day, there is hardly any time left.

I just hope that I can find ways to take some time out from my daily life, and create some memorable moments for us. One day, if-and-when someone asks me the same question, I hope I will not come up with that stupid reply.

Waiting to be back home

Right now, I am sitting in Gloria Jean's Coffee shop on Liverpool St in Sydney. Liverpool St is very much the heart of Sydney city, very close to the Town Hall Station. The time right now is 10:55 am on a beautiful Boxing Day, and today is my last day in Australia as I have a flight at 6:50 pm.

Since morning, I have been wondering how am I going to spend the rest of my time here. My family has gone back to Melbourne. The souvenir shopping is over. What next? So I found an internet cafe in Gloria Jean's Coffee shop and killing my time over here. And believe me, time killing is not over yet. I have to kill 24 hours at the Singapore Airport, as I have a connecting flight only the next evening. I might as well go out into Singapore and do some sight-seeing and take some Patel-shots :-)

On every trip, which happens to be a long trip for me, I have this great urge to be back home. When I was staying with my parents, all my trips were with them, so I don't know what it is to return back to them. When I was living alone, it used to be just-another-flight back home, and I used to be cocksure that I will have no interesting company on way back. It was always so, and it still is that way :-(

Things have changed a lot since I have been married. There is this strong urge to be back home with Richa, and the closer you get to home, the stronger the urge. The last journey from Bangalore airport to home will be the toughest of the lot. Fortunately, Richa will be there at the airport to pick me up, but let me tell you, its not the wisest thing to do - traveling 50 kms one way to pick me up at 10/11 pm when I can very well take a shuttle back home. Crazy it is, but I still like the idea of Richa coming at the airport - I get to meet here 2 hrs early.

Will blog about my Australia trip in detail later, with snaps and all. For the time being, let me just sign of with -

"Love you Richa"

Monday, December 1, 2008

The shallowness is abyssmal

Last night, one of the politicians went to meet the family of one of the martyr's. The family, politely at first, and firmly later, refused to meet the politician. After all, it is the family's prerogative whom to meet and whom not to meet. I don't find anything wrong in it.

However, there is something very seriously wrong with our political class. Imagine I go to a person's place to offer my condolences. However, instead of going with humility and sincerity, I go there with a pomp to show off or go there because everybody else has been there. I also take sniffer dogs with me, just to be ultra-sure that there are no bombs at that place. How would that person feel?

The next day, our TRP-hungry media, questioned the family and the politician. When they should have left the family alone, they went to needle the family.

Here comes the worst - our eminent politician says - "Not a dog would have visited that house had his son not been a martyr."

Where is humility? Where is humanity? Do you understand that someone has died? Do you understand that someone has lost his son? Do you feel his pain? Do you know what is the value of life?

How can you? After all, you are Mr. Politician.

Where is the government?

I was reading the latest post by Arun Shourie. You can read it here. As you read this article, you will notice in the 6th para that there is a link with the name Government. I accidentally clicked on the link and found this -

error 404 - not found

I do not know whether this is by design or by accident. Whatever it is, it sums up the whole situation. Where is the government?