Monday, April 18, 2011

Calvin Gyan..from Richa!


I got another piece of Calvin Gyan from Richa this morning. She had done some messy job that I was mad about. Really really mad! It took about 15-20 minutes of letting her know how mad I was with her..and reminding her of her mistake.  Right! maybe too much for a 4 year old, but, I needed to get my point across that it wasn’t acceptable.

She had tried to change the topic. She agreed to brush her teeth without any tantrums. She even put the paste on the brush and started to brush herself. When I offered to brush her..she insisted that she wants to do it herself. Usually, when I am not sending Richa to school, I let her do things herself. So this morning, I did let her brush herself.

She did really well. She managed to touch every teeth carefully inside and out. Brushed her tongue with amazing skill..I was happy for a moment. I complimented her and then went on again to remind her of the mess she had created…and how bad it was and how mad I was….

As I spoke to her looking at her in the mirror, she was watching me too, “Quietly”.

After listening to me for a while…when I finally shut my mouth, continuing to watch me in the mirror of the bathroom she said..

“Mama, you know why I am not talking?”

“Why?”, I asked.

“Because, I don’t want to use bad words…”, she continued.

“Mama, you know when we are mad, we talk bad words!”

It almost felt like my face had changed a few shades of colors. I just stood speechless, staring at my daughter not sure what to tell her.  As happy as I was with the choice she had made,  it reminded me of this strip from Calvin and Hobbes.


I knew, I couldn’t start to fight with her, saying I hadn’t used any bad/mean words ( well not exactly fight! but it could become so, by Richa’s definition )…, but, any word I now spoke would have to be better than the ones she had spoken. She had set a new standard.

As I struggled to find better words, to surpass the level that she had just set,  I relented and  continued to hear her out…instead! Her pearls of wisdom!

“Mama…you have to talk quietly..if we talk loud we talk bad words. You have a choice!” she said.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This morning…Richa came running into our room absolutely delighted and jumping around, followed by the triplets…

“Mama, I know Maddition! I know Maddition!”, she shouted.

“Mama, she knows addition!”, the triplets exclaimed.

“We taught her how to add”, they continued.

“RIcha, what is 5 + 3?”, the triplets asked her.

“Eight!”, she shouted with excitement and an electric jump in the air.

“How do you do that, Richa. Show me!”, I asked not trusting what the triplets were saying.

She opened five fingers on one hand and struggled with opening the other three fingers on her other. When she was comfortable with 3 fingers open on the other…she used her face to count each open finger and counted


“She said the number even without counting, you see!”, Papa said, thrilled at his daughter’s achievement.

“Ask her another!”, I said.

“Richa what is 4+2?”, Papa asked her proudly.

“Eight!”, she shouted back again, along with that juiced up jump in the air!

‘Mama, she computed 4x2!”, N said, trying to cover up for that mistake.

They turned to Richa and showed her four fingers open on one hand and two on the other and asked her to count…

Ofcourse, she counted 6…

“So, you see, 4+2 is 6 and not eight!”, N told Richa.

They, then gave her another computation.

“What is 4+3, RIcha?”, they asked her, hoping she got the concept of how addition actually works.

“Eight!”, she shouted with enthusiasm and that hysterical jump in the air!

“Richa, come with me…that’s not how we do it.”, saying that they took her to their room as I heard them teach her this wonderful concept called addition while I kept hearing the periodic animated shrieks saying


I can already see her feeling with Calvin here..when she feels that she just has to accept the answer based on faith!!! :-)))))  and ask to be excused for being a Math Atheist!



Or, she taking help from her 2 pets called Kearny, the Reindeer and  Egwin, the Cat! when she’s going to be a first grader..(Right! she named her plush toy pets again! And, Egwin the cat, is actually a white tiger which she insists is a cat and a dog other times! Cat, I can understand, but the dog part, I don’t see …evolution playing its role here!  Maybe, I have to just accept this based on FAITH! :D)





Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My first photomerging experience…



Stealth Bombar 2!


This blackbird located at the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum at Washington DC. My first (well almost!) photo stitched image..Panoramic view!

I managed to click a series of about 10 vertical the moment when no one was in front of that huge bird. without a tripod!  Very difficult to get such moments as you can see that people were already moving in from the right of the image.

Its a different matter that this new amazing capability called content aware allows removing stuff from the pictures like it wasn't even there...nothing like clicking what you want in the first place!

As amazing as it looked even in 2011..built in 1962 by lockheed, the SR-71 blackbird was used during the cold war period. This particular bird was supposed to be hit by the soviets.

Body made of titanium and paint containing particles that absorb radar rays...shows up on radars as tiny object.

The fundamental questions my kids had for the guide, like

You mentioned titanium, is it a metal..just like alluminum?

Why can't we use alluminum to build the plane?

why does it generate high temperaturs?

Why does titanium withstand high temperatures?

I'm so sure they had a ton of questions more! but, for the UNinterested guide who was more interested in dispersing knowledge to the people who can get all this on the internet!

I could understand their (my kids!) questions since they were just learning about metals in school. The little time that we stood along with the guide, their hands were always up, wanting to ask a question and the guide tried hard to ignore them..until the hands were almost ready to poke his eyes... :-)))

As basic as the questions were, could see it almost irked the guide who was talking about stealth and combat and sorties and the distance it could fly between refuel, midair refuel and its world records etc.

I was proud that they didn't fear to ask questions, and felt sad that there weren't guides that catered to kids. Kids do not care knowing about cold wars and the military expertise of a country.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Inertia – Part 2

The only place I knew, I could achieve my goal, was in water, while I swim.  I had achieved it in the past when I could swim without getting tired for long durations (that was 2 hours almost everyday!) without a need to stop, like I was in a state of rest..while being in the state of uniform motion too. ( Yeah Right! If I managed not to drown myself while I took that nap, as I swam. For one, the body is in a lying down position taking care of gravity, anyway! ).

So, armed with this new found motivation and some swim gear, like the nose clip without which I would have had a blocked nose keeping everybody awake at night, the ear plugs without which I would be hopping sometimes on the right feet and other times on my left feet, trying to get the water out of my ears, and the goggles of course, without whose impressions around my eyes..I couldn’t have convinced hubby dear I did swim. Ok! Ok! I know you know.  I land up at the lap pool only to find all the laps occupied!  There was one lap that had only one person. Yey, that was a spot right there for me!

I call out to the life guard, “Mike”, to ask his help with joining the circle swim lane.

“If you tell me to get him out, I will. I mean, I know you. I don’t even know him!!.” the ex-marine says coolly, like he owned the pool.  That was the moment I realized, I have a friend in this life guard :-) here!!

With his mediation, I joined the lane. I’ve been to the lap swim, not as regularly, of late but, I hadn’t seen the lanes as occupied as on that day.

“Wow, all these people, were hit by the motivation bug on the same day! I thought that I was the only one who got this idea of sleeping while you swim!”

I love swimming laps but, I hate, hate, h…, to share a lane with somebody because I end up injuring my inner elbow scraping it with the lane divider,  trying hard not to bump against people I share the lane with.

But, on that day, we were all motivated swimmers, so, those constant scrapes against the dividing rope didn’t matter. It was a different thing that my inner elbow had turned black and blue after the swim.

The first 10-16 laps are the most tedious ones. After that, every lap becomes mechanical. The body gets used to being in that constant state of motion. Other days, they are the most energetic ones too.  Depends on ones state of your mind. Then the eye starts to look for distractions inside the water, other than the floor of the pool! This is a very thoughtful time for me. 

As I swim..when I’m not worried about my technique or improving on my speed, I have nothing much to do with my mind! Nothing to look at, nothing to hear, nothing to touch ( I mean other than water! :D ). I get this whole hour of a vacant space in my mind. Actually no so vacant for, I am flooded with thoughts. Cool thoughts, not so cool ones. Some thoughts so clever and some so petty, sometimes thinking about my kids or hubby dear…or a misunderstanding that happened recently. Myriad situation, countless thoughts.  Sometimes, I write whole big blogs during this hour only to forget what it was about, after I’m out and sucked into the whirlpool of the day.

I was just completing my 13th lap when I felt this huge profile beside me from the corner of my eye who was swimming with such grace. Seeing that, my thoughts had just started to wander off, thinking about whales etc, You know, the ease, the grace with which they swim, in spite of their weight.  I had been approaching the end of the lap, just as the figure was too.  As I came close to the mark, the figure did a flip  (OMG! the flip turn! ) just as I was bringing my face up for the breath.  Suddenly, my face is splashed with a ton of angry water.  Lesson # 1 learnt this swim session. Always stay on the other side of the pool, away from huge graceful swimmers!  especially from huge graceful swimmers who do flip turns!

“Was this the 12th or the 13th lap?”, I thought. I had lost count.

I tell you, to keep count of your laps is the toughest challenge for a lap swimmer than the swim itself. Shouldn’t that friend of mine, I mean, the life guard, be doing that for me! I could see his profile above the pool. I could see him restless, not being able to keep himself occupied. Tough job being a life guard. He would take a seat but, soon he would be up and walking around the pool. Wouldn’t it have been so perfect, for him to keep count of the laps we were swimming. Whenever one looses count, just have to look up and ask him..

“What was my count, MIke?”

My lap count rule, if I miss the count, I start off with the lower number I remember, I was at.. Sure, this does makes me swim many extra laps. So, I started with the #12.  I had just finished about 20 laps and I was just considering stopping a minute to re adjust my goggles as my head was starting to feel the pain, when suddenly, the knees of this lady who was swimming in the next lane jetted out with all the force she had used to surge forward in water, towards my ribs.

As quick as my reflexs could, it helped me dodge that knee from my ribs, and I moved ahead.  Lesson #2 learnt..Make sure I don’t end up in tight spaces (you know when all the swimmers are at the same yard point of the pool!) and stay away from swimmers that swim like a frog! Stay away from swimmers who don’t keep their KNEES to themselves!

(Seriously, I think they shouldn’t allow swimmers to use breast stroke if more than one person is sharing a lap.)

After I saved my ribs from the big blow..I reach the end of the lane to mark my count..

“Was that the 19th or the 20th lap?”, I had lost count again!

It was a few minutes my partner, the one that I was sharing my lane with, had left. Just as I was starting to enjoy swimming alone in the lane, I spot another swimmer talking to “Mike”.

“Oh No!”, I think.

After he joins me in the lane..I start to scrap my elbows with the divider again!  Now, he turned out to be a very strong swimmer. Yey!. Do you know what that means, the current that is generated in the water due to his speed, helps me go faster too!  I suddenly felt that my swimming speed had just increased.

“Was that 29th or the 30th lap?”, I had unfailingly lost count again!

Its great to share lanes with such swimmers. Apart from the increased speed, it does another thing. It brings in the competition inside me. I start to race to keep up.  I didn’t even have to exercise any will power.

So, struggling with my count and reveling in the extra bump in my speed,  I manage to reach the 55th count. There were 5 more laps to go in this 25 yard pool.  I look at the clock and realize, it was about an hour and 20 minutes already! Clearly, way more than a minute for a 50 yard swim. Not a good time compared to my previous record of 1 min per lap (to and fro!). But, I had surely managed to “unsleep” myself through the swim and gotten a taste of all the 3 laws of motion too!

All in all, it did motivate me to go back to swim the next day and the next for the whole week. Today after a gap of 2 weeks, which I used gloating at the success of my swim that week, I am all excited to achieve this “Swim while you sleep” bonanza again! 

Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull my lazy arse to the pool next week! Please Gayatri, you can do it. You just need to stop finding reasons to no be at the pool. That is all it needs.


Disclaimer:  This blog entry was not a result of the thought that came on during the swim, no doubt about that, right?!! :-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inertia – Part 1

What a great concept, such a wonderful idea, as fundamental to physics that this fact is considered, I wonder how man survived without this knowledge before Newton one day, said ..a body will continue to be in a state of rest or uniform motion until acted upon by some external force.

Why?! even the fact that the earth itself is actually in a state of uniform motion,…and not static as it appears to be!  Where would the human race be without this basic knowledge?!

I had the joy of watching this concept in action today, in the most awe inspiring way. When I was made aware of this fact in physics school. I opened my jaw and had exclaimed “Ooooo!” and “Aaahhh!”.  It had made total sense. That’s why!  I hadn’t dared to jump out of a running bus or train ( if one travels by public transport in Hyderabad, or for that matter, any metropolis in India, we know, these opportunities presents itself by the dozens each day!) because I knew I could fall and get hurt.

I just couldn’t prove why it happens so, scientifically, until that day, in physics class when I got bitten by enlightenment, with Newton’s laws of motion. Particularly, the tendency of a body to resist a change in motion.

Anyways, all those laws were for inanimate things, weren’t they?! Sure, their laws of motion are affected by things such as  weight, friction, gravity. But, when we consider animate things like for eg..Humans. Especially human beings working out in the gym. How could one apply the laws of motion on these creatures?  I don’t think the same rules could apply here.

Although, I should add that one part of the law may still be applicable to us. The part, where we have the tendency to remain in a state of constant rest, because, I myself have had the opportunity to experience it countless times, when I settle down on my couch or bed..My body prefers to stays in that state, until its disturbed violently by external forces like my family…

Ask Hubby dear!! He’ll have a longer list to divulge. All those times he thinks, I am guilty off such luxuries, most of which I wouldn’t agree with of course! But then, he has a right to his opinion, isn’t it?! Its always what I tell him when I want to disagree with him :-) …

So, coming back to inertia, we know, it has a lot of factors associated with it, like body mass, resistance, force etc. But, what I saw on that particular day went beyond that. I saw this lady in the gym who was running on the treadmill, for more than an hour. What made it so amazing was that she seemed to be in a state of rest…as she ran on it for the whole hour and some more. What an inspiring sight it was.

If one noticed her upper body, it seemed to be in a state of rest..unless one noticed the lower part of the scene where, her legs were moving lightly on the treadmill, at a constant speed, that would almost have been true!

She was of a heavier set. Surely heavy, I would say.  SO, defying the law of motion, how could she manage to keep herself in that state of uniform motion/rest, for more than an hour?  Don’t more things come into play, when its the humans that are involved, especially when they are working out? I mean, other than her physical body mass, the momentum in her stride that helped her take the next…etc, shouldn’t will power and stamina also come into the picture here?

She had immense amount of all this, It was obvious. I was on a elliptical at a fair distance from her, glancing at her now and then.  I had gone an hour on the elliptical too. I had an inspiring sight to get me through that hour. Something like that should have fired up my will power to do more, right?! But, in an hour, I had wanted to stop. I was tired. The inspiration wasn’t powerful enough to invigorate me with this energy I failed to generate,  after a while. 

Isn’t that the reason why I go to the gym to workout? To get inspired by fellow exercisers and workout more, apart from the fact that its a state of the art gym… and the bonus of experiencing the steam room.

Feeling deplorable, I realized that I needed to prove to myself that I could be in a state of rest, while being in a state of uniform motion, as well!

This thought never occurred to me before, but, wouldn’t it be so cool, if we could take a nap, while we ran on the treadmill.   Our bodies could be in a state of rest, just like the lady on the treadmill,  while being in a state of uniform motion. As oxymoronic as it sounds, it would surely be cool if that could be achieved, like we were in a spa getting a manicure or a pedicure while we relaxed.

Actually, from what I hear now-a-days about the weight loss pods etc, the thought doesn’t seem as atrocious.  But, it would be like a chef who uses canned stuff to cook a meal.  That’s not a challenge! The fun is all in cooking the meal from scratch right!  So, wanting to achieve this constant state of motion, I embark on a plan that will be laid out and executed, in the next part!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

India Wins World cup after 28 years!


Today I post a link to a flickr photo blog that I had posted the day the Indian team had won the match after 28 long years. It had been a proud day for most Indians for whom this mattered. I just can’t help but repost the link here because I’d been able to freeze so many emotions that were unleashed that day.

As the match progressed, while it was exciting for me to watch the match, it was all the more exciting that I had my camera with me, and I was able to capture and freeze our excitement, our anguish, our candid expressions as digital files for eternity.  It was a great set of pictures that my friends loved too. We will now be able to go back in time (if and when we do) and reminisce about this day because of the pleasant memories attached with it.

Later in the evening, we celebrated “Ugadi” with renewed enthusiasm….brought on by the win, that morning. Dressed in our best, we replayed the slideshow of the pictures that were taken that morning…against the song “CHAK DE”. Pulled each other’s legs and cheered each other’s pictures.  All in all, it had been a fun day that’s going to be remembered for a long time.

A long set of pics..but, fun nonetheless.

Don’t forget to let me know what you did to enjoy this wonderful match in cricket history!