Saturday, April 26, 2008

Watch this video...

Then tell me...Are you a donor? And if not, why not?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lest we forget

Interesting how I never made it a point to go to the dawn Anzac service every year while i lived in Auckland (i did a couple of times but was never regular) - but when here someone invited me to come to one, I jumped at the chance. So there I was up at 5 in the morning to get to the 6am service in downtown Chicago, and I'm really glad I went. Was beautiful to listen to the Ode of Remembrance and the Last Post, and to really think about the people who fought out there, for families that lost their sons and their husbands so far away from home.

At the service we ran into a Vietnam war veteran who said he goes to the Anzac service every year because he is happy that at least some war heroes are paid respect to. He said it disturbs him when people ask him why he fought a war - 'hate the war, not the warriors' he said. How true.

I am no fan of war, don't get me wrong, but I have immense respect for soldiers. To put your life in danger and go out there to fight for your country, there is something incredibly honorable in that. Perhaps I am biased. My dad spent 18 years of his life in the army, and I am so so proud of him for it. And well, it was an unfulfilled childhood dream that I would step into his shoes one day. I sometimes wish I had.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Random ramblings

Do we really understand the significance of things in life? Could it be that one moment that seemed entirely insignificant could then go on to shape the rest of your life? A split second decision that you didn't think made any difference changed everything for you...and perhaps you don't even realize it? Is that fate? Or just random coincidences? Do parallel dimensions get constantly created every time you make a decision...if so then wouldn't it be interesting to see the effect of those decisions?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What is happening to me?

Does it ever feel like you end up doing the very things you dislike in other people? And then you start to dislike yourself for it. All my life I could never stand negativity and cynicism - yet of late I find myself being that way. Am I losing my positivity and innocence? A friend once told me that I look at the world with rose-coloured glasses - but I think I liked being that way. Suddenly I feel like I'm losing that and seeing something entirely different. Pray, why is this happening to me? Is age finally catching up? Is it because I am finally out of the protective world that home was? Or maybe it is just a phase...please let it be just a phase. I don't want to add to the already too big list of cynics in this world.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The great supermarket conspiracy

What is it about supermarkets? Are there many people in the world who can actually walk into a supermarket and walk out with just what they came in for? Every time I'm there I seem to come home with all sorts of random things that I didn't know I need - or even wanted! Yesterday I set out with a mission - I needed four things for a dish I was making - just FOUR things - and that was all I would get. But as soon as I walked into the supermarket I started looking at something else and for five minutes had no idea what I had even come in for cause everything else looked really interesting. But I woke myself up from the trance like state and set about my task like a soldier - and actually managed to pick up just the four things I needed (though I had to fight off the temptation to buy anything else - my mission would be unsuccessful) - and made it all the way to the check out counter. So close. And then I saw it. "Exotic Chocolate" - chocolate with really weird flavourings and fillings - salt, chili, even bacon! And for some reason I saw myself pick up the chili flavoured chocolate (my mission all down the drain) and put it in my pile of things. *sigh* Why do I even want chili flavoured chocolate? I dont really. Especially not one that cost me $8 for a tiny slab. So here I am with my exotic chocolate - yet unopened - just so it can remind me of the great supermarket conspiracy and how I got trapped into it.

As an aside - I forgot to wear my watch and looked around for the time, but couldnt find a clock anywhere. Is that just that one supermarket or do supermarkets like casinos not have clocks either?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

City on Steroids - Shanghai

I had seen a lot of pictures of Shanghai (and Mission Impossible 3) before and I guess I knew it was a big city with buildings everywhere. But nothing could have prepared me for Shanghai. Looking down from the tallest observation deck in the city as far out as the smog will allow you, all you can see are really tall buildings. I mean of course, that in itself is not new - but considering just 10 or 15 years ago, so much of this didn't exist, the city completely stuns you. In the past few months at business school, I've heard India and China talked about in the same breath (albeit everyone does mention that China is ahead as of now) - but I still expected China to be more or less like India. But the infrastructure in China just blew me away. Nothing in India (in any of the cities I have been) can compete.

But then, my perspective on that is that to build a whole city in a communist country is not the same as even building a single structure in a democracy. And well, while Shanghai is amazing, and it would be a dream to achieve something like that in cities in India, I wouldn't give up democracy and freedom for anything. Even if because of it India does take time to play catch up. But this discussion for another day. For now, back to Shanghai.

Our first night in Shanghai was spent on Nanjing road, which is basically a street made of neon lights. The lights are completely blinding! My first meal in Shanghai was interesting to say the least. I ordered a dish called 'Chicken with Capsicum' and when I did, the waitress said 'you want chicken with peppers'? Of course, I said yes assuming that like it would be here, peppers = capsicum. Apparently the translation got lost somewhere, and whoever had written the english menu assumed capsicum means chillies and I received a dish which was 50% red chillies!

Most of my time in Shanghai was spent walking around the streets, shopping, seeing more big buildings (including the interestingly shaped but not-so-appealing-to-me TV tower). I also found out that they were in the process of building the tallest tower in the world - but before they could finish it, the Taipei 101 was built, which will soon be surpassed by the new structure coming up in Dubai - making the one in Shanghai the 3rd tallest.

Some of the interesting things I saw: Old couples practicing ball room dancing in the park; a lot of people practicing martial arts or traditional forms of dance in the park; people stopping you every five minutes on the road asking if you want to buy a rolex or a prada bag (one of these women actually followed a guy in our group around for a long time trying to convince him to get something, anything!). Oh and I rode on the Maglev train - 431 km/h!! But just didnt seem like that big a deal while you are sitting on it. Though it was cool to get to the airport in 7 minutes!

Shanghai was just a brilliant city - buildings, food, shopping, nightlife, people. I was so so impressed. Hats off!


Spotted a really cute guy yesterday at the movies...not that I approached him or anything - but I think I totally blushed when he looked up. Suddenly felt like I was 15 again (and considering I'm turning 25 in a month...well that's interesting!) :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What an amazing trip!

Back from my trip and my promised travel log has still not happened. But what a trip it was - Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul - each city amazing in its own right. Shanghai for its crazy neon lights and huge buildings. Seoul for its people and food. Beijing for all the history. Every moment was more memorable than the other. But I would say my highlight of the trip was seeing the Great Wall of China. What an appropriate name! It really is breathtaking. Every time I go to a site that is known the world over I realize that the world wasn't joking. The Eiffel Tower brought out a strange sort of romance from within me (completely unexplained). The Tajmahal practically brought tears to my eyes (to think a husband could love to wife to that extent, and to remember that he spent the last years of his life in imprisonment just staring at the Taj). The Great Wall just left me breathless (and not just because I was too unfit to climb!). What a structure - to think it was built all those years ago - and here the world is competing to build the tallest structure. I don't anything will ever compare. That's a little something about my trip for now. More coming up. Hopefully!