You will always be missed ddl

•November 2, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I found out today that a friend of mine passed away. He was an ex-colleague and moved to New York in May. He was so excited about living there! He was a loving, patient, wonderful guy way on the good side of 40. He was healthy and didn’t smoke. Yet somehow, in the middle of a city which claims to be one of the greatest in the world, with all this wonderful healthcare at hand this amazing guy full of vitality passed away of acute pneumonia.

I’ve cried inconsolably for most of the morning. I cried for the fact that I didn’t know that the last time I saw him would be the last time I’d ever see him again. I cried because I should have visited New York like I promised to when we last went out to lunch, because he would have been so excited about showing me the city he called his new home. He had asked all of us to visit and had told me his weekend guest calendar was filling up. I would have liked to have seen him smile with sincerity and empathy in his eyes, the way he always did. I cried because the world isn’t as bright as it used to be with him in it. I cried because on some level I didn’t keep in touch as much as I should have because I always believed he’d be back somehow. Back to the firm where he left tons of friends who had been sad to see him go, but who had been happy for him for his new adventure. I cried because my heart breaks when I think of his partner Gene and what he must be going through. I cried for my friend Alex who was very close friends with him. Alex moved into his apartment when Dennis had to leave. He can’t go home without seeing Dennis everywhere. Most of all, I cried because I couldn’t believe that he is gone.

We worked at the same office for four years and worked closely together for a year and a half until he left for the east coast. This has been a tough project and brought us closer with all the adversity we faced on it. When I doubted myself he always pointed out everything I’d accomplished and tell me I was doing fine. And when he was down, I tried to do the same. But he was so much better at it. It hasn’t been the same since he left. He left vestiges of himself all over the team area. There is his gumball machine staring at me from Alex’s desk, the one I’d told him I’d get tons of jellybeans for if I ever went to Petaluma. There is the sweet basket he always kept full. There is tons of hours he’s poured into the project I’m still working on, with his imprint and passion for his work all over it. There are the drawings he helped create sitting at the desk across from me that used to be his.

He died very close to his birthday. And he died before Halloween, one of his favourite days. Last year before he left, he wanted to make sure we remembered his last Halloween. He and Alex worked up a wonderful skit and made tons of costumes for the team. The tow of them dressed up as Hooter’s waitresses. The photographs for that event were part of the posters for this year. And everyone smiled when they thought of quiet and serious Dennis prancing around in a skirt and tube top. But I am now left with the realization that it was his last Halloween.

There are so many memories I associate with him even though I knew him a short time. There is the horse-shoe and bottle of whiskey that he won for me at the Kentucky Derby last year. The only time I ever won anything on a gamble was when Dennis placed the 25 cent bet for me. Instead of giving me the change I’d won, he bought me a bottle of Kentucky whiskey, even though he knew I don’t drink it. He told me to save it until he got back and that we’d open it to celebrate. I don’t think I will open that bottle as long as I live.

The world is colder place without you Dennis. And I will never think of New York the same way again. I know that wherever you are that it is a wonderful happy place. And I hope that I have done some good in my life because that is the only way I will ever meet you again. Godspeed, my friend….

Wish you well…..

•August 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

To Owen Wilson,
I was sorry to hear about the choice you tried to make with your life. Had you succeeded, not only would a life have been wasted, it would have been one that brought so much laughter into this world. I love the movies, especially comedies and in recent times, I can’t think of many people very much funnier than you. Just looking at you makes me laugh. You are a gifted actor and comedian. What is it about lives that bring so much joy to people being so fraught with sorrow?

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As a person, I wonder what drove you, another person to get to such a point that there was no other way except to take your own life. I’m sure your life isn’t easy. You have great fame and wealth, both together make life very easy in some ways and very difficult in others. Since I have neither, I can’t presume what it is like. Just like I can’t understand how hard it must be for the poor in my country who have nothing at all. But they fight to live. Because that is all they have the right to. Their right to their full natural life, what it may be. The same right you have.

It’s easy to say life can’t be that bad, but it’s also hard. If life was easy, where’s the fun in that? If there were no bad times, there couldn’t be the good. And the good times are that much better because you rode over the bad. Don’t give up.

I wish you luck and a speedy recovery. And if you want a laugh, watch Shanghai noon, Shanghai Knights, Wedding Crashers or the Mask. (yes, I know you weren’t in that one, but how can anyone be unhappy watching Jim Carrey?) They always work for me!

One at a time…

•August 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Examinations, studying, tests…..I’d honestly thought after a Masters’ Degree having to do more of these would be a choice. Not a compulsion. But it is. The kind of compulsion that makes you refuse that delectable piece of chocolate cake even though you know you want it more than anything else. I have to do this. Even though at this point in my life I want to enjoy my marriage, family, work, travel….some of which are things I’ve sacrificed at the altar of education for most of my life, as if it was the only important thing in the world……it’s not easy to work your way through one country’s education system and then adapt and flourish in another……But I really wished I was done with it……….

I start my licensing tomorrow……I hope I can get through this soon…..

For the love of dance..

•August 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I went to Metronome Dancing School’s summer showcase at Fort Mason last night. I was there mainly to watch and support my friend Sandra. She is a very graceful and amazing dancer, aside from being one of the coolest people I know. Her numbers were awesome and me and my friends yelled ourselves silly while she was on stage. I’m paying for that this morning. But Sandra, you were supercool.

This was the first year I was able to attend the live show. I’ve promised myself it won’t be the last. All the students did a great job and the professionals were breathtakingly good. There was the Tango, Swing, the Viennese Waltz, the Flamenco, all spectacular. My absolute favourite number was the one performed by West Coast Swing veterans and champions, Melissa Rutz and Arjay Centeno. These two are so good that they make me want to be able to dance well and I’m horribly uncoordinated. Their choreography and performance is unbelievably tight and well executed. Check out the video for one of the three pieces they performed last night.

If you live in San Francisco and love dance, you can’t afford to miss this fantastic annual event. It’s a must see.

Aqua paries

•August 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The World Expo takes place in Zaragoza, Spain in June 2008. One of the exhibits is to be a building with walls of water.

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The World Expo harks back to the World Fairs of yesteryear that promoted a deep belief in science and technology. They also portrayed architectural innovations astounding for their time. The World Fair in London in 1851 gave saw the creation of the Crystal Palace, the one in Paris in 1889 gave the World the Eiffel Tower. Several of the fairs. What these fairs brought to the masses more than anything was the hope of a wonderful future filled with tremendous innovation. They were part trade fairs, modes of exhibit for artists and scientists and venue for the meeting of minds and their ideas.

Next year World Expo in Spain will see this beautiful innovation by Carloratti Associates. All the walls are computer controlled spray jets that spray water in several permutations and combinations. These allow for images and words to be created in the water walls. Also sensors will allow the sprays to stop so that people can walk in and out of the pavillion anywhere along the wall, creating doors wherever wanted. The pavillion will house among other things, a cafe and information centre. And what I loved the most about this piece was that the the roof can descend completely into the ground leaving in it’s wake a serene waterscape.

The idea is wonderful for a fair with the theme of ‘water and sustainable development’. The water is all recycled and the falling water provides cooling to the 5,400 sq. ft structure. I think this will defittely delight all the Expo goers. Everyone loves to play with water! This project will be beautiful and bring a human interaction aspect into it that makes it great.

Check out http://digitalwaterpavilion.com/ for more information.

 

A leprechaun in Bombay???!!… I must be dreaming..

•August 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Everyone has dreams. The dreams I’m talking about aren’t so much the day kind, the ones your hopes and wishes aspire to, but the kind your subconscious self provides you with at night.

I’ve always wondered about them. Several distinguished persons of philosophy and science have different theories about dreams and why and how they happen. Most believe it a manifestation of something you aren’t dealing with or aren’t recognising during your conscious hours. I just can’t believe it.

To me, dreams are like a television set on a timer that comes on at the most ridiculous moments, like halfway through the night at the end of which it wakes me up. I finally fall asleep after that only to be woken up rudely by the dulcet tones of my alarm clock (which I swear must have been created by a torture specialist on LSD. I’d smash it to smithereens if it wasn’t a gift. Who knew Aunt S had a sadistic streak??).

And it’s not like they tell you anything at all. Most times, mine torture me with things that I’m very much thinking about in my awake state, mostly put funny hats or clothes on the major players and no one says anything I don’t know already don’t know. In essence, the dream ends up ruining my only break from something that has been running in my head most of the day. And the strangeness of attire, well, that just probably means that I see everything like a big giant circus.

The dreams I feel would have meant something are the ones I can never remember in the morning. I wake up and I know something momentous went on in my head in the night. But for the life of me, I don’t know what it was! Ever tried to remember a dream like that? Just trying before breakfast can give you a headache quicker than you can say “Pancakes!”

My dream this morning was me on a flight to London. It sort of felt like I was going there for good. But nothing was specific. I was carrying waaaa-aay to much hand luggage than I believe has ever been allowed to a passenger in airline history. I had my own king-size Tempurpedic pillow which I was toting around. I don’t what is scarier about that, the fact that I had it and kept dropping it or the fact that one time it popped out if it’s case, was covered in mould, and I didn’t seem to care. There were strangers and people I knew on the flight and the stewardess seemed to have no problem I was wandering around dropping icky grey covered stuff. And it seemed to be a finder keepers situation where you could sit wherever you wanted. There were conversations that I recall were hilarious but nothing else. And I remember having that strong feeling of forgetting something (I always have this feeling when I leave for a trip). I couldn’t place what it was. Must have been my husband, who was nowhere in sight, something I realised upon waking.

The thing about dreams like this is in that fleeting time, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just then you feel sure that the dream is reality. Then you wake up and are disoriented for a bit before it all falls into place.

I wonder if that flight landed. Thanks to the blasted alarm clock, I’ll  never know.

Spice is nice

•August 22, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Coming to the US was new and exciting. And while I enjoyed grad school in Texas, I missed home. Among many other things, I missed Bombay and it’s food. I discovered some new cuisines but sorely missed my mom’s cooking and simply, Indian food. The restaurant offering any kind of Indian food offered an awful watered down version of it, unpalatable to a dog, thereby only making me more homesick. Bombay is a food lovers paradise. There is only one restaurant in College Station that had a claim to serving good grub. But unfortunately for my home food cravings, it served American fare. This made me tremendously keen on my infrequent jaunts to Houston which has tons of Indian restaurants. I longed for my home city with a restaurant on literally every block. The first time I left home and nothing was familiar. It was hard to find my comfort food after a long day at school, when I was in no mood to cook. I think some of the worst fights I’ve had in my life ever occurred in those first six months of leaving home.

Then I moved to San Francisco. The city, while not New York or LA, is a food lovers paradise. You can find something here for the most discerning palette, any cuisine you want. I’ve been to some fabulous restaurants here. And lot of the Indian cuisine you’ll find here is truly authentic. But therein lies the rub.

Indian food here has what I call the ‘Indian sub-continent phenomenon’. Indian food here is recognisable as a type of cuisine.  Say Indian food to someone and they know what you are talking about. Say Pakistani or Bangladeshi food to them and may take a few seconds to sink in, even though in essence it’s the same kind of food. I think restaurants decided not to take the risk and so you will frequently see signs on restaurants that say Pakistani Indian food, just so there is no ambiguity. Most countries that share the sub-continent show similar signs in descriptions and menus. Burmese food that borrows from Indian and Chinese cuisines often tries to do justice to both in its descriptions.

Locals here feel strongly about Indian food. Either they love it or hate it. And most of those who hate it do so because they know (or believe) that it is too spicy for them. (Hey, I’ve eaten Mexican and Thai food here that is way spicier than any Indian food I ever ate, other than my aunts Prawn Pulao). Very few living in the city realise what they are eating is, in fact, North Indian food. India has as much sub-divisions of cuisine as it has states. Sure there’s an overlap, but there’s also a strong sense of place and history that is unique to the food of a region. But Indian food in the American sense is North Indian food. Only those living around the Southern parts of San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley may know the difference. There are large concentrations of Indians there and more examples of Indian cuisine. Chinese food here has evolved to differentiate and be recognised by it’s region. Someday soon I hope, Indian food will be too.

On the spice factor, Indian food in the restaurants here isn’t spicy enough! But then considering what I think of as spicy has my husband ripping apart a pipe to get to water if required, I wouldn’t consider that a popular Indian opinion here, just mine. There is so much Indian food this country hasn’t discovered yet. And it’s all sooo good.

 
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