Archive | October 2012

Trails of Sandy – only getting worse!

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update (10/31) : For all the New Yorkers who are out of power, good news is that NYSC (New York Sports Club) is now open for public to use the amenities/services for free. For more information – Click Here

Please pass it on to people whom you know want to charge their phones/ take shower/ relieve stress etc.

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As much as I wished this has not happened. But Sandy did left a trail with a total of 65 (Caribbean), 33(United States) that includes 18 deaths alone in NYC.

It is worth appreciating the efforts of United States in acting on it and taking this storm seriously and tried their best to ensure the safety of the people. It turned out to be much worse than expected, NYC Manhattan is totally flooded with water, no electricity to 750,000 households, subways filled with water causing transit turmoil, trouble to patients in hospital that needed to be evacuated. Yes, you sure can get these facts on any news channels across the world. And the estimated costs with so many businesses shutting down, air flights cancelling, power outages, damages to homes, parks, cars and many more is as of now 26+ billion dollars, yes you heard it right.

The place where I work is damaged, flooded with water and estimated time to fix is not known yet, water started cascading back into the rivers/oceans.  It means I’ll need to work remotely for rest of the week (a blessing in disguise) may be more depending on how soon they restore the transit services and buildings ready to operate with power. Besides, my whole team have no power or internet connectivity in their respective areas, and it might take few days to restore.

They need a lot of volunteers of any capacity in NYC  – register here

I am not able to reach any of my friends here in NYC, NJ area, the calls are directly going to voice mail, possibly out of power. I hope they are doing well. On that note, I could not thank enough of what “Red Cross” is doing in providing shelter to people is just amazing.

This morning was quite calm, bright and beautiful.

Bright and Beautiful after Sandy’s gone from NYC

Fall is done! Sandy made all leaves fall off the trees.

Leaves piled up!

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Hurricane Sandy : In Preparation

Mother nature! Whom we have no control over but still strive to escape from it’s aggression. Here we are in NYC facing this again in a span of 1 year. Last year it was hurricane Irene that did not hit but now she is back with a bang!

Satellite View of Sandy’s Wrath (src: google images)

Welcome Sandy! (and please do not take any more lives – is that all I can hope for)!

In preparation to face the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, like everyone else in NYC..I have prepared a to-go bag with all important things in it. I have the bag so ready to jump out and go to safe place in any case if they announce the mandatory evacuation in our area.

They have shutdown NYC MTA (trains and buses), closed down all the stores and Hurricane Shelters are open for people who want to be safe than feel sorry.

Click here to find out if you or your friends/family are in safe zone .

More details here

Nothing will stop the normal flow of lives in other parts, ..Obama is back for his presidential camping in Florida tomorrow.

To all my dear New yorkers and others who are declared under “Emergency States”. Please stay safe.

Map View (src:google images)

P.S: I just got a message from work that, I do not have to show up at work tomorrow.  Relaxation in Disguise?

P.S: Winds are gushing at 85+mph right now, lower Manhattan is flooded, and many other low lying areas are flooded. This is worse than anticipated. I hope people find a way out of these flooding and stay safe. [on a side note, i still wonder how the reporters risk their life to be there and share the news]

Punjabi Sword Fighting

Ever heard about Punjabi Sword Fighting? I knew about sword fighting but not particularly to “punjabi’s sword fighting”.

I was talking to friend of mine recently as he mentioned about “Punjabi Sword fighting”. After reading the blog pointed out to me, I found the whole idea to be innovative and totally hilarious. I could not stop laughing at it. I found it too funny and told him it is definitely going on my blog.

The reason why it became popular on reddit and now an urbanslang too because the white Mexican (corrected by the author of the reddit post) guy wanted to marry an Indian girl from Punjab and the girls father has asked him to do Punjabi sword fighting with him and win his daughter away to marry her. Apparently, this guy freaked out and started to find ways to avoid it altogether. His posts and updates for suggestions became so popular that when you type punjab in google search, it prompts you with punjabi sword fighting! Check yourself out.

Punjabi sword fighting
(src:Google images)

So here it is for you to read it and laugh your heart out.

Click Here – It’s on reddit  – Totally hilarious!

I don’t think it is still the norm even in rural parts of Punjab, India.For the people who are hearing this for the first time. Punjab is one of the state in India and some of the communities had this tradition and I assume it is still going.

Some more info here on wiki

And my friend defends the fact that, every father is protective of their daughters and if he ever had a daughter, he would buy a Samurai Sword. I forget to ask why particularly samurai one? must be some attachment to Japan!

anyways this left a smile on my face and I hope it does to you as well.

Say NO to Caffeine!

For a great morning
(src: google images)

Statistics shows that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. (Src: Havard School of Public Health )

If you take a quick peek at Harvard’s website listed above, I am not quite sure if they are promoting Coffee to people, for obvious reasons benefits over weigh drawbacks. Besides, anything in extreme is not good for body. Even extreme water intake is not good either, it causes water intoxication. (Want to gain more knowledge: Here it is)

I’ve just had a cup of coffee from Star Bucks of course, not sure if this coffee is making me less appetite or none of foods are invoking my senses. My body tells me that it’s hungry and my senses do not agree to eat any. Lame analogy. I know.

Anything as long as in limits is good for health. Be it exercising, drinks, food, work, love etc in simplest terms, all the tangible and non-tangible products. (Look up the difference here)

Oh.. I guess I am trying to generalize the concept but let us stick to Caffeine consumption. The day for me is incomplete without having a pinch of caffeine through any possible means.

Some of benefits and caveats (Src: Here)

Small amounts of caffeine are found to provide the following benefits:

*Can benefit people who are at high-risk for liver disease.

*Increases muscle strength.

*Increases metabolism by breaking down fat, freeing fatty acids and forcing them to be burned. (Caffeine is the most active ingredient in many diet pills.)

*Increases pain relief medication effects.

*Increases mental faculty.

*Reduces asthma symptoms.

Excess Caffeine – Too much caffeine can cause an array of problems including:

Restlessness, Irritability, Anxiety, Heartburn, Headaches (sometimes severe), High blood pressure, Sleeplessness, Rapid heartbeat, Nausea

Caffeine Comparisons here.

is it worth?
(src: google images)

Are you addicted to caffeine as well?

Addiction for me is to not able to spend a day without consuming it. So, I think I’m totally addicted and trying to withdraw from it. My withdrawal symptoms are making me consume more caffeine instead. The day I decide not to take coffee..is the day I take loads, may be 2-3 cups.

I have no idea why I am so addicted to coffee, the only benefit I get is – it increases my brain’s efficiency at designing solutions or solving issues at work or to kill the time when I am bored doing mundane tasks.

Fact is that, we can achieve anything and everything without getting addicted to anything in the world. But we follow the trend set by some X person and the whole idea of “Coolness” comes from being part of that “bracket”. It’s like taking pride in carrying a “Louis Vuitton” handbag although they look trashy (at least for me).

Ok, I am no different either, why should I spend $4 on small cup of coffee at star bucks. It’s simple – human beings are crazy! (Now, please do not make me feel guilty by mentioning about how people in poor nations get by day with less than $2). Oh, I am helping American Economy by spending my earnings right here!

So for all my dear blog readers, I request you to try and reduce your coffee intake (well: this affirmation is more for me than for rest of the world.) and replace it with alternatives. Don’t you think, “Health is wealth” right?

I just looked up caffeine alternatives: there are just too many to list. I decided to replace this drink with green tea without caffeine. It not only helps you improve your overall bodily functions but gives bright skin over a period of time. Mind you, it demands persistence and perseverance from you.

Any takers?

P.S: I do think about lives dependent on coffee business alone, but facts are facts right?

Smile your way out…

….and I did while walking out of office into elevator and I remember running into this random stranger couple of times in the past and he speaks up and says –“ you’re always happy and cheerful, I have had seen you few times and every time you have a huge smile on your face, You’ve got great attitude”.  Absolutely, one of the best compliments ever today.

Smile Please (src: google images)

I smile back (“yes again”) and politely tell him and thank him for the wonderful compliment.

And quickly add “I am too excited for the chocolate coffee and very happy that I’m making star bucks richer everyday by killing my determination of avoiding coffee altogether.”

He bursts out laughing.

Yes, I just spoke to a total stranger in the elevator.

Smile at it’s best.. (src:google images)

Smile sure do have tremendous advantage, if you smile enough and laugh often, it keeps your stress levels down, improves serotonin levels in brain (yeah, these are called happy hormones) and cannot deny fact stated by one of Irish proverb.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. — Irish Proverb

Smile Please (src: google images)

And haven’t I mentioned I came across when I visited one of the city in southern part of  India. They have “Laughter clubs” for the same advantage. If you happened to visit “Hyderabad, India” and “Lumbini or Indira parks” in morning times around 6 or 7 am, you’ll get see the wonder! “People gather and laugh out loud..very loud“.  Whoa, I just found something interesting while looking up to provide you with information – It is also called as “Laughter Yoga”. I guess you might have this in your city too. If you like this idea and not in your place, you can always start one. You never know what would be your next favorite thing is.

Looks like a pretty big organization. Click here  for more details.

And sometimes, smiling your way out is much easier than showing around other not-so-pleasant-emotions.

Remember …
(src: Google images)

P.S: are you smiling at my pictures? they are not mine, I am not sure what it has got to do with Yellow color and smile.. they get along well! I wonder why?

Playing Games exhibits Inherent qualities – isn’t?

Base Ball with Kids (src: google)

Have you ever watched random people gathering and playing a game?

If yes, have you realized that there are many qualities you can see that each person has? I think every participant in the game possesses at least some quality, especially you would get to see an initiator, creator, team leaders, cheer leaders, commitment, hard work, team spirit, excited participants, and their attitude towards winning and losing in life or at game.

Base Ball layout (src: google)

Well, if you have not observed ever..it’s never too late, check yourself out and you will at-least relate to the qualities of each player mentioned above. Let’s not beat around the bush – alright – coming straight to the point, I’ve happened to go to an family event of a friend of mine, they had so many kids who were ranging from 5 to 20 yrs decided to play Base Ball game. I guess,  I was the only oldest one out there to be excited to participate in the game.

I walk along with them to the park, and I’ve had no idea how this game is played (on a side note: Not a huge fan of watching sports) , anyway they decided to catch me upto the speed with some general rules and I was told when my turn came – hit the ball as far as I can and when I am on team, I need to run from one pole to another pole before they hit the ball at pole. That’s my understanding! so far so good.

Since it was a friend’s family event and I’m meeting every kid out there for the first time ever (You can imagine how fun and exciting it would be to match up to their energy levels.. trust me it wasn’t easy for a non-sporty person like me).

Baseball in the park (Src: Google)

Below are some of the qualities they have exhibited while playing:

* Two people who are in their late teens decided to be team leads for their respective teams. (Leadership trait)

* They started picking people for each of their team – (Interpersonal skills), if they know the person & abilities they would blindly have them in team.

* Some kids were too excited to be in certain teams and they made sure they were in those teams ( go-getters)

* Although, picked by team mate, coz of shortage in the other team, some of them shifted/shuffled around to spread the evenness of the skill and age. (Team collaboration & team spirit)

* Like me there were other new kids decided not to be biased of team to be part of, picked by one particular team mate (Generous)

And we started playing the game; I was trying my best to play but definitely could not catch up to the speed of those highly-energetic kids. Yet, I was welcomed, was given a chance to play and enjoyed the feeling of winner and loser. We played 3 rounds and won only one game that implies losing in finals. Absolutely, great experience.

Goal?
(Src: Google images)

And I wondered, these are the very same qualities that we exhibit in life or career. Every kid should be made to participate in games.. any kind , indoor, outdoor in groups. That will teach multitude ways of looking at life to survive in the competitive world. I could only wish, if I have had those opportunities growing up. That’s why every thing around makes me genuinely curious and part of me wants to explore those possibilities.

Don’t you think so?

P.S: Life is a game.. Play it! aaaha!

Why does it hurt?

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

“There are no good-byes, where ever you’ll be, you’ll be in my heart.” – Ghandi

Today my manager announced about her last day at her firm in few weeks. I am excited and happy for her new job yet I’m sad coz she is one of the best manager ever I’ve had through out my career. I look up to her.

Farewell
(src: Google Images)

Here it goes, every time I change the projects or people go away who were close to me while working, it hurts and leaves me in pain for few days. Some times depending on the association with the person the sadness remains much longer or perhaps that part of my relationship with the person goes missing.. part of me goes missing. She is one such a wonderful person. At the same time, I’m glad for her move.. I wish her the best and hope to work with her in the future.

And it is also worth mentioning about another person from work who was not part of my team but accidentally bummed into him coz he took over my cubicle that I was attached to. He ended up being one of my close buddies that I can rely on and till date I still miss ranting about my daily activities in general to him.

These associations are for a short while and happened to me numerous times. It is still difficult to accept that I’ll not get to see them every other day or may be ever. I bid farewell to them with utmost sadness and hope to meet them sometime in the future. On the other hand, I do get to meet new people and well the cycle repeats.

It happened umpteenth times and yet wonder why on the earth do I get emotionally connected with these associations?

Why am I not indifferent or insensitive in-spite of this phenomenon?. I am not ready to accept the reality of life, which we just have to walk alone on this planet and cherish only those wonderful memories from all these associations one comes across. Thankfully, I do not anticipate the end at the beginning and that makes everything look wonderful. Think about it, we know we are going to move out of this planet anytime yet we are hopeful and work hard to make a beautiful life here.

I love being hopeful, love to get excited about small little things, love to share and spread the joy no matter what I am going through in my life, I promise you that you’ll see only a beautiful, joyful and cheerful world as long as you are around me. If you see some other things too.. well you know.. After-all we are human beings just like any other with all emotions tied into it.

This blog post is dedicated for all those who were part of my life for shortest-while at work and were the most beautiful beings ever I met and spent part of my life with them.

Dear readers/visitors –  I would love to hear back from you of  how would you cope up with these short-lived-associations in life?

P.S:  Your suggestions might help me in looking the same thing from different perspective and make me feel less sad about it.

Straight vs Swing style in Guitar

…why am I talking about these slang words here..absolutely no hidden meanings.

Guitar – up Closer

I have lately started taking guitar classes for fun and I’m supposed to be learning Rock music eventually. So, when I strum it, it should sound straight, meaning the strumming is supposedly sound shorter, crisp and in even tone.. but in reality no matter how hard I try, it sounds like a swing. Swing as in, the frequency of the sound is bit extended like “Jazz” music and very uneven. It might be a lot to do with my sub-conscious memory perceiving swing style with ease than straight or It could be because of my cultural background, the type of music I have grown up listening to etc.. that’s what my logic says.

My instructor praises me every time I do bit better (well, they can’t be critical about it, they got to generate revenue -isn’t? it is a marketing strategy) , the guitar school that I go to is supposedly one of the best one out here. (Click here)

So, I try hard, very hard to play on my acoustic guitar ..yes but only in the class room. Once I’m home, it takes a back seat. Sometimes, I wonder my learning is inversely proportional to the money I’m spending on it? Probably, a hope that.. some day soon I’ll fall in track and unfortunately I still wait for that day to shine and bless me.

I boasted so much about this Guitar learning to everyone around only to be slammed by them later. One of my friends demands me to play it, when I did play – it sounded so terrible (it would soon get replaced with ‘Terrific’) that they had to stop me from playing. They gave me a “small talk” on “Guitar Basics”. The only way to improve is – to play it right and play it everyday for at least 30 minutes.

Neck and body of Guitar

Music is lot to do with muscle memory, your hands need to learn it to drive you sub-consciously. In fact, the music players are good at math and they have longer life times, it’s only because your new paths are formed in memory and as long as they function properly, they will do their job well. I’ll some day write about neurology in lay man terms in some future post. For now, let’s keep it simple.

It’s time for me to get back and start strumming straight.. I need to PRACTICE!

And for those who are interested in learning but cannot afford or cannot make time out to go for a class physically. Check this website out, it has great lessons for beginners. Click here. and they are FREE!

Playing music, is such a stress reliever and I bet you’ll totally love it.

What are you waiting for, go ahead and give it a shot.. some times we never know how much we like it until we hit the Chord!!

Happy Playing!!

Superficial Thoughts

How deep can one go given a problematic situation of another’s life?

Think of anything else?
(src: google images)

It is very difficult for anyone to understand the breadth and depth of the pain of what other person is going through. I can definitely empathize with the person but definitely cannot feel as much intensity of it as them.

I also realized over a period of time that my brain is designed such a way that even when a major problem arises; my brain automatically shuts off after some time.  Before it shuts off, my brain simulates exhaustive thinking of so many “what if’s”, “if only’s” , “wishes”, “lots of crying” and “impulse to call some dear one and speak heart out” and then vroom.. it goes off into sleeping mood for “re-energizing” and at times cycle repeats for few times before it makes peace by accepting reality. I never realized about the extent to which my brain can accommodate my emotions and could not less appreciate this amazing engine of the human body.

Attitude defines everything..
(src: google images)

I always thought, world is filled with nicest people and beautiful things until I was hit, real badly with amazingly 360 degree turn around of my perceptions towards the world. Although, news channels, papers and stories from close buddies did inform me about the meanest and selfish people and certainly I was warned about it much ahead of time and always. But, I had so much pride of my judgment about people whom I choose to associate with to an extent that I never realized until I faced the sweetest poison-ers you can ever imagine thinking of.  I was so blind-folded that I did not realize their actions meant something menacing to one’s life until so late in the game that it not only brought down my self-confidence that I was so proud of but also created a dent in many of my close relationships with my dear friends and families. This hurts!

Luckily, I am not stuck hanging in there for long, I accept the reality, stop asking myself with a common question- “why me?” and move on with head on shoulders. I dislike people sympathizing with me. I think Life as a game; some times it’s fun and exhilarating and at times difficult and exhausting. And I decided to play the game well. I deliberately thank all the people in my life who have helped me directly or indirectly in shaping my personality.

It’s never too late
(src: google images)

I digress. My thought process has always been shallow, may be that is why it helped me focus on other things well but also caused irreversible damage. If someone tells me something indirectly – I really cannot decode it, this sometimes helped but most of the times it kept me in dark (you can say – Innocence at it’s best). And, if I look back and understand what every one meant at different stages during my life – I cannot believe how I even put up with them. May be that is why I was able to make friends so easily and I still do now …but with caution.  It is very difficult for me to find negative qualities or bad intentions in other person. I am not quite sure if –because the way I brought up? Did I get lucked out all the time? Or haven’t had enough experiences in life that taught me lessons hard way? or was it the case that I cannot accept the reality? Or is it just my brain takes only positivity even from the meanest person you introduce me to.

No wonder my friends find it difficult to convince me about some personalities they already knew about. I try to find logic in every action – but after all we are human beings and there is no logic for every action.. may be there is.. may be there isn’t!  I heard some one saying – love begins when logic ends.. and it is a Mystery! Science is where logic is.

Life and the Universe – Interrelated
(src: google images)

Even, in this post – I think I am superficial..I barely went in depth of the very topic I choose to write about. My brain just doesn’t want me to go any deeper. If I do think deeper, every thing seems like “we are result of cause and effect factor of Universe” and there is no hope, no future, no beginning and no ending, it looks like a flat land with no-where to go. Or a deeper understanding of things makes you see any and every problem human faces is next to non-considerable at all. Oh.. wow, this attitude makes me eligible for becoming one of the spiritual leader and I can totally brain-wash my followers and become rich and popular *winks*.. a good idea isn’t?

Now, you tell me what do you think makes sense to you?

P.S: I can’t stop laughing of how my brain processes the information. After all, Attitude is the name of the game!

Hudson River and High Line Park

Heard about it for zillion times, watched in movies for several times and yet never really took time for a nice long walk along Hudson river. Finally, the day happened to be yesterday and although a chilly weather, decided to step out with a friend and it wonderfully turned out to be one of the most beautiful walk throwing in bit of adventure and curiosity. A Blissful evening.

Sunset and Hudson Lake

Along the river, there were many people exercising, biking, jogging and surprisingly practicing kayaking and floating in the water despite such a cold weather. (don’t get too surprised.. It’s a sailing school and they were all taking classes.)

Sunset & Helipad

Sailing School and Activities..

Sailing School on Hudson Lake

She is balancing it so well..

Learning to balance on the water

For those who want to take a walk along Hudson river, get to 42nd St and 12th Avenue and walk in an decreasing order of street numbers, It is beautiful path with pier’s, extended docks, beautiful views with water waves hitting the surface, cold breeze and few restaurants.

Water Wheel attached to Docking Station

View from extended Docking Station

 

As we walked along, there my curiosity led me to climb random stairs and found this wonderful treasure hidden in this vast concrete jungle,  It is called “High Line Park” , they turned the old railroad on top of the road unto a beautiful garden and path.  If you are a nature lover and would like to find some serenity in NYC, that’s the place. I came across this one at 10th Avenue and 23rd Street intersection in Mid town Manhattan (area well known by Chelsea). It was too dark and I could click only couple pictures…Check back later time.I am planning to go there again.

Park High up above the road..

Oh well.. this is not on the ground, it looks like it but actually it’s 15-20 feet above the road.

Lighting is just wonderful

This park is extended for about a mile or two and a wonderful place to take a walk in this concrete Jungle.

Where to find: It’s anywhere on 10th avenue, from 23rd to 14th St and beyond too, Check the website (Click Here) for more information. You can take E train (blue line) and get off at 42nd/34 St/23st/14st and walk towards water.

That is the border of Manhattan EAST &%$#@

And this is supposed to be first picture of this post but well, it’s not so good to talk about NYPD (New York Police Department). Here is the picture captured while walking towards the lake.. looks like a battle field in concrete jungle.

Police on horses.. NYPD

And there were local coffee stores on that high line park . It is something worth visiting. I discovered so late that I’ve missed such a beautiful place being in NYC.  Happy Walking!!