© Santosh Subramanian – Some rights reserved - Under Creative Commons

Friday, October 02, 2009

Taking a Break!

I am increasingly finding it difficult to maintain 3 different blogs (1 official blog - on the office intranet & 2 other on blogspot). A time has come where I need to take a break and relax while paying full attention to the most important thing in life - Family.



I would not be posting anything on this blog for alteast until the end of 2010. I hope I would be able to comeback recharged - with increased rigor by then. I would still be posting on grinbear with my photographic experiments - but with a reduced frequency.

I wanted to take this time to extend my thanks to everyone who took time out to read and sometimes even post their comments and opinions against some of my ruminations & rantings.

See you all in 2011.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To all drivers!

Anyone who had had a very close encounter in a road accident knows that all it takes is a few milliseconds to change your world, your family's world & even somebody else's world. I & SH had had a very close shave in Feb 2003 at Bangalore and the only reason we survived was helmets - The helmet almost broke into two and my head was intact... Apparently most of these awakenings/self-realization come only when one personally go through such a trauma because words, in any language, does not have the power to translate all that trauma into paper/web/media.

Drive Safely, Wear Seatbelts, Use Helmets if riding a bike! You are saving your life and may be a lot many others too. Nobody thinks high of you when you are speeding!

Watch this video & this is one of the closest that I have seen where the author/director has been successful in translating the trama - I dont know if it is just that I am able to correlate to it well..

Watch it here...


Friday, August 14, 2009

Rats - For a novel protest!

The pay-scale of top executives has recently invited a lot of debate and anger in the common public, especially after the US government had to bailed out a lot of companies, contrary to their general capitalistic stand on market and industry issues.

In February this year, The US President Obama branded Wall Street bankers “shameful” for giving themselves nearly $20 billion in bonuses as the economy was deteriorating and the government was spending billions to bail out some of the nation’s most prominent financial institutions. He had proposed a cap of $500,000 for the top executives whereas here is what some of the top-notch Banking guys pocketed in 2008.

Kenneth D Lewis of Bank of America - ~ $9M ($20M in 2007, down 58%)
John J Mack of Morgan Stanley - $1.2M ($41.4M in 2007, down 97%)
John G Stumpf of Wells Fargo - $9M
Vikram S Pandit of Citigroup - $38.2M

And
Rick Wagoner of General Motors - $14.4M in 2007 (I am wondering, for what!?)

I am no judge of executive salary & whatever reasons they have, I am not planning to break my head on that. There had been a lot of protests and debates around this topic here, especially since the public money is being used to salvage the drowning organizations.

But here is a very novel protest that appeared in Wall Street over the last week. This one moved location to the doors of company to company (most of them Banks - in the Financial District where Wall Street is) everyday!



Courtesy for the statistics: - A New York Times Project

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Toy Story...

Act #1
Driving back home from office along with little one.
Started at 4PM since it was a Friday

LO: Daddy, Can we go to the store?
Me: What do you want to buy?
LO: I want to buy a baby toy.
Me: You already have a lot of toys to play with. What toy do you want to buy?
LO: Just… a baby toy… please?

I decide to go to the store, double it up with some pending grocery shopping.
Since SH would anyways take another 3 hours to reach home.

Act #2
Grocery shopping done, she did not get the toy from the Food Mart. Little one is hungry (time for evening snacks) & my mind worked a plan [LOL]. Mc Donald’s has a kid meal package that comes with a small toy. And she already has two suitcases full of toys that gives me Goosebumps when I think of packing up.

Me: Let’s go eat a burger? You must be hungry.
LO: No… I am not hungry daddy. Let’s go to this store (pointing to the nearby store in the shopping complex) & buy a toy
Me: Alright. Are you sure you don’t want to eat anything?
LO: Yeah…

Act #3
Little one picked up a miniature school bus from the store, and we are walking out to get into the car.

LO: Let’s keep this toy in the car & go eat the burger. OK?
Me: What??!
LO: Let’s KEEP this toy in the car and go EAT a burger… (Slow & loud – just in case if I didn’t understand… LOL )
Me: You said you were not hungry… just a few minutes back.
LO: Well, I am hungry now.
Me: OK. We can carry this toy with us. Let’s eat & then we will go to the car. OK?
LO: Okay.

We head to Mc Donald’s & she is particular about the kid meal with the toy!

Act #4
At home, me describing what happened to SH. We are having a hearty laugh over it

Me: ഇവള് നിന്റെ കൊച്ച് തന്നെ. നസ്രാണി ബുദ്ധി. സമ്മതിക്കണം.
SH: അത് കൊണ്ടു അവള് പെഴച്ചു (ജീവിച്ചു)പൊക്കോളും. അല്ലാതെ നിന്നെപ്പോലെ ആയിട്ടൊന്നും കാര്യമില്ല...
നിന്നോട് ഇങ്ങനെത്തന്നെ കാണിക്കണം... പിശുക്കന്‍...


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 4 - Disney's Magic Kingdom


Since I raved sufficiently about Magic Kingdom in the last post, I am not going to repeat that again here. Day 4 was one of those short days where we decided not to have the second entry to the park, instead decided to catch a longer sleep, & hit the pool in the hotel. It was also one of those days where the afternoon rain continued until late evening & killed the excitement.

As planned earlier, we reached the park at 9AM promptly after the sumptuous breakfast & hit the Fantasy Land. Since we had spent a good 4 hours in the same park last evening, we were pretty much comfortable with the layout & have even thought of where to go & what to see. We started off at Ariel’s grotto where my little mermaid met the Disney’s little mermaid – Ariel. She was in a shock for a minute (never expected a competition with the real look & feel), and then was a little shy to talk to the real Ariel. After a photo-shoot session with Ariel, we decided to move on to see the Snow White’s Scary Adventures – This was a dark ride where people rode in small cars though a location with visual effects where the scenes from the Story of Snow White are depicted. One particular scene that sent a chill in the spine was at the final stages where the evil queen trying push down a large boulder down on to you... just before the lightning strikes her down, and that – was scary! We went on to see the Many adventures of Winnie the pooh (Another dark ride with a story of Winnie, Tigger and their friends) before heading towards the Mad Tea Party.

The Mad tea party was fun & it is probably the one that little one enjoyed the most. We were all sitting in the small cars shaped tea cups and it starts rotating. The speed & direction of the spin of the cup can be controlled by the individual riders of the cups & believe me, it was real fun! Little one wanted to get onto it again & even went on to stay in the queue again. It took a while for us to explain to her that there are many more things she will miss, if she decides to hang on to just one ride. Little one came up with me to ride a racing cart on the Tomorrowland Speed Way & the interesting part was that she was managing the steering wheel & I was in charge of accelerating & breaking! It was really funny that after a little while, she lost interest in driving & wanted to just get off the car because of the bumpy ride. We went on to see one of the most popular attractions of the park then – It’s a small world. It is also the name of one of the very famous Disney tunes. It has probably become so famous because they play it continuously as a background score in the theme park. The ride features a large number of audio-animatronic dolls (~450 in number) in the style of children of the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity and singing the ride's title track promoting a theme of global peace. In the 15 minute ride which you sail on a small boat, you probably come across most of the cultures in the various countries across the world.

We decided to have our lunch in the Columbian Style Harbor restaurant on seafood delicacies & some rest before heading off to the Mickey’s Toontown Fair. The Mickey’s Toontown Fair was probably the most crowded place inside the park, especially because they house the attractions such as Mickey's Country House, Minnie's Country House, Goofy's Barnstormer, and Donald's Boat. This place stood the testimony for children that the characters like Mickey & Minnie really do exist and you are actually visiting their home while they were away in the Court House meeting their friends, taking photographs & signing autographs. We went on to see Minnie’s house – the living room, her kitchen, study and the backyard. What amazed me most was the attention to detail that the designers had – in building the house, linking each and every aspect of the design to the stories that they had published earlier as books & animation films.

It was almost 2 PM by that time and the heat had already started to take its toll on us. But little one was very energetic with ‘Give me more!’ attitude. So, we went on to the Goofy’s Barnstormer which is a covered play area for children and let little one discover and play there while I & SH decided to sit in a corner bench watch her making new friends & playing together. She played for almost half an hour & from her face we could make out that she is dead tired and will crash down anytime. We took the WDW Railroad train from the Toontown station to Mainstreet USA and then the Monorail to the Ticketing Center & the Tram to the parking lot to drive back to our hotel for our nap. Little one already went to sleep in the Monorail (we weren’t surprised!) and it had already started raining by the time we reached the hotel.

It was still raining when we woke up at 5 and then we decided that we will stay back for the rest of the day rather than driving ourselves too much to fall sick & ruin the vacation. A nice time in the swimming pool and a home-made dinner followed.

End of Day 4!



Sunday, July 05, 2009

Feel at home - for a change!

Fourth of July calls for a lot of celebration in the United States on account of Independence day (July 4, 1776 from the British). It is a federal holiday and it is marked with a lot of fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics and concerts. And if we are in town, we never try to miss the nearest fire works that starts shortly after sunset ~ around 9 PM.

This time, we had a birthday party to attend in the evening and managed to scoot just in time to get to the venue at Florham Park, NJ only to find that the parking lots were full! There was a policeman controlling the traffic, walking up to each of the cars in the queue telling us that there is no parking space and we might have to turn back & look for alternatives... We had the expectation built for little one and were disappointed that we had to head back home or find any other viewing spot - which I had no clue about and the show will start in another few minutes!!

We did some roaming around & finally decided to go home and while passing through the Columbia Turnpike, by a very low-lit open space, I thought I saw a bunch of cars parked there. We took a chance to take a U-turn & get back to the open space. There was not a bunch of cars, but scores of cars, each of them neatly parked on the right side of a road, winding through a large open grass land and families waiting outside their cars, some in their beach chairs, some sitting on the bonnets of their cars waiting for the display to start!! We got a spot at the far end of the line, and a couple of more joined later, behind us.

I sat on the bonnet of the car, while SH & Little one leaned on to the door, waiting for the fireworks. It was a large grassland (with some swamp somewhere - I could smell it), unused space, sounds of cicadas piercing the night, no street lights and some mosquitoes too (yeah!) and I started getting a very familiar feeling... a very close feeling that I use to get when I go to see the fireworks early in the morning at Pariyaanampetta Pooram or Elavathikkal pooram near my ancestral village!


What a spectacular place to see the fireworks than this one! We were actually happy that we did not get a spot at the venue. And for a change, I decided to watch & enjoy the fireworks with my naked eye - so decided not to pull out the camera, hence the only photographs are etched in my mind!! ;)

We realized later, while returning home, that we were near the runway approach of Morristown Muncipal Airport & that explained the open space with no trees or construction!!