Thursday, September 06, 2012

Stop. Go. Stop. -- All in air.

I've always been very keen to know how the whole Air Traffic Controlling works, because its not like there are any physical things that are in 'air'.  Of course, traffic is coordinated with signals, and there is a whole method to the air madness, but I'd never seen it.

I could spend a LOT of time on that page in the inflight magazine which showed all the flight routes.   It was a magical page to me.   But it only included the flights that the airline whose plane I was sitting in covered.  What about the entire world?!

So while online, I looked for it, and here's a video I found.   I think its authentic, well I wouldn't know.  But I like it.   It is a 24-hour time lapse showing air traffic from a satellite.   For now, this satisfies some curiosity.

Notice how the 'hub' switches between places, Heathrow being quite a busy airport, and then when night falls, the East is relatively quieter.    All like little ants reaching to their ant hills to huddle around and get some rest before wandering off into new directions as a new day begins.

Quite cool I think.  Now I wish there was another video where they had this taken at the 'air plane' level.  You know like there was a camera on the 'air road' if that makes sense, rather than from above it all?    There has to be one like that no?  If you find it, can you send it to me please?

Today I'm humming:  Blue Lips by Regina Spektor. ....."Blue Lips, Blue veins, Blue the color of our earth from far far away...."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She's here!

A little girl has joined our family.

After having two nephews, we are now blessed with a niece as of last night, and my parents now have their third grandchild and first grand daughter.   Might I say that she is absolutely gorgeous, and so cute?!   Some juicy, fleshy lips, chubby cheeks, and just an edible face over all.   I know, that's mean.  But I mean it in the most 'I'm in love with her' sort of way.  Really.  I am.  Sigh.

Aww....I am in London and she in Mumbai, which sucks, but I'm looking at a few pics I've received so far, and I can't help but stare at her, tilt my head back and forth poring over every little detail on that precious little face,  the way every strand of hair falls, her eyelashes, her....everything.

I just want her to wake up, and look at us, and smile, and well just grow up a bit!  This is the impatient Aunty talking.   We've waited for her for nine months!

In India, you cannot find out the sex of the baby, so there was a good amount of 'guessing'.   Oquai and I always said it was going to be a lil princess.  Well, thats more because we wanted a lil princess.  How else are we going to be able to buy those beautiful lil strappy dresses, and cute brogues from Aunty Me that we've had to pass by as we go shopping for my nephews.   It's good to balance out the rugged with some flowery prints, no?

So So So So So Happy.   I hope I can make it back home on work in a month or so.  Oquai is telling me to go now and surprise them, but I think I'll hold off, and go when my lil munchkin is out of the hospital, and in her gurgle goo goo gaa gaa state.    What do you think?  It's being more practical, and that way I'll manage to get some work done too.

Her mama, dada, and big bro are all doing well.   Yes, they are.  Big bro is veryyyy excited.  'His' baby if you please, has arrived.   He's been ever so sweet, keeping toys for his baby, and even assigning a car for 'his' baby.

My Dada (Papa M) is so thrilled.   Nana S is relieved and happy, and she says 'SSQUO, she's sooo cute, and pretty'.   I know, we are all biased.  But, all babies are pretty to us no?  And finally, us Aunties - my two other sisters and I have gone a bit cuckoo in excitement I think.  well, can you blame us?

Oh, I'm not sure what it must feel like if this baby was coming out of me, coz I was almost dying of excitement in anticipation of this little one yesterday.   It was so much that after a few hours, I thought I was ready to collapse.

Phew.  And I didn't deliver no baby.

Today I'm humming:  But you love me Daddy by Jim Reeves, a song we used to sing as kids.  And its quite apt for today. 

Pic Source:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 2012 Olympics Bubble has gone Poof!

It's crazy how quickly everything finishes.   The cauldron is turned off, the visitors to London have vanished, and the general commotion around events is gone.  Previously closed entrances to tube stations have opened, the volunteers in orange who are ever ready to help you with a smile (in an otherwise grumpy city) are gone too.  Poof.  Thats it.

What still exists though is the buzz.  We were at dinner just two nights ago gorging on Sichuan food and burning my tongue and loving it, and we couldn't stop the chatter about the events we went for, which one was more fun, and of course we had to discuss the really tight speedos that divers love to wear, and tight juicy butts all over the screen.  Shhh.

We were lucky enough to catch cycling around Buckingham Palace, we attended the Semi Finals of Table Tennis and rooted for Singapore, and also Beach Volleyball Quarter Finals, which I have to say was in the most awesomest location with so many location icons in the background.  And so much fun!  My hands were hurting with all the clapping, singing, and general merriment.

But most importantly, we continue to talk about the individual sports themselves, and the greatness that so many athletes showed.   As an Indian, I'm proud to say that we managed to secure six medals, which  doesn't seem like much given we come from a populous country (which is quite an understatement).  But still, knowing how things work in the country, it is commendable, and we should be proud of the progress.  Hopefully, it will encourage and motivate us to do much more, and acknowledge that sponsoring kids interested in sports is a good thing.

London is now back to normal.  Everyone is feeling the lack of Olympics, but I personally think its good that the athletes can go back and relax, the feeling of dread, nervousness and anxiety is finished.   Their stress became our stress too, but vicariously.   As Oquai says, 'they were our puppets'.   We came home and expected to be entertained at the cost of their sleepless nights, and years of toil.

So many sportsmen probably have to go back and start training immediately, in hopes for the next big game.  One person I am very happy for is Michael Phelps - he's done all he wanted, and I'm sure given his all, and has officially decided "thats' it".  I think its an awesome feeling, to go from hours of daily practice to not touching water for a while.  Imagine what he must be feeling.  Freedom.

Speaking of Freedom, how fun was it to see George Michael at the closing ceremony dishing out some fancy moves?!  And The Spice Girls!  Oh, I do heart them, always have.  I know, perhaps cheesy, but 'Wannabe' was one of my favorite songs at the time, and I think I've also performed to a few of their songs.

Looking forward, I think Rio is going to be awesome.  We are wondering if we should make plans to go, but four years down the line, how do you plan?   I believe they will deliver and I think being in Rio will be awesome if the snippets I hear about the food, party and people I've met are anything to go by.  Even mum and dad loved it when they were there.  But then they are quite into their food, drink and travel.

Did you like the 2016 Olympics logo?  I do.  Well, in part.  I LOVE the icon with the three figures, I think it is special, open, colorful, about people coming together, and full of spirit, and also represents what little I know about Brazil and its people, open, inviting, and fun.

The font is nice too (a new one created just for this logo), it is smooth and rounded, and generally tends to work well with the image if even just a tad bit too flowery for me.   And this hits me further when I see all the three items together, the figures, the font and the circles.  It is very symmetrical, the three individual parts in the overall 'oval', but I'm not entirely convinced about the roundness of them all when placed together.

I'm being picky I think.  I'll sit on this, and see how I feel in a few weeks.  For now, overall I like it a lot.  Clean. Happy. Colorful.  Depicting a sense of open energy and collaboration.  This is far from what I felt when I saw the London 2012 logo.  Ugh.  Not good.

For all those non marketing, creative people who think designing a logo is all about throwing in some colors, and fonts, and drawing figures, watch the following video - it seems simple, and in the end the visual is just that - 'simple' to the eye, but there's a lot that goes to making it what you see.  Click here to watch.  

Today I'm humming: Tonight by Summercat

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the House of Commons

For some, watching the debates or sessions in Parliament is like watching paint dry.  I quite enjoy it.  I wanted to see them in person.  And its possible!

So, adhering to the process, I wrote to my local MP for Kensington and voila, two weeks later I got a ticket to visit Westminster and attended the public hearing in the House of Commons (HOC).   That was yesterday!

As a London resident, I pass by Big Ben, and have taken numerous pictures when my clan visits, but I had not yet ventured inside.  And guess what, I wasn't in no ordinary screening gallery, but the 'Special Screening West' Gallery which might I add allows you to enter right after the ceremonial procession.  The procession lasts for all about 58 seconds...still, it is impressive as it rings in the Speaker (John Bercow) following very dressed-up guards, someone holding a golden mast, and then more dressed-up people behind him.   This was nice, but doesn't compare to the extent of ceremonial must-do's in Cambridge life.

The session itself was on Health.   I stayed for little over two hours.  All the Health Ministers from the government, as well as the Opposition were there.  So, was Keith Vaz, but he was outside giving an interview, which was probably just how he normally starts his day.

In the HOC, they talked social care, NHS, insulin pumps, Nursery Milk Scheme, MP's having to defend their responsibilities, and boob jobs and man boobs, no kidding!!

This is because a Cosmetic Surgery bill was presented to the House which included the details for doctors to adhere to certain Minimum Cosmetic Surgery Standards.   It is an important thing, but boy was it interesting to see the MP's faces with smirks, smiles, and pent up giggles around the house when stories of breast enlargement was talked about.  Those smirks didn't last long, or were quickly converted into a well-positioned comment with a colleague so that it didnt seem 'wrong'.  What followed so quickly was 'sad face' and 'shaking of the head', like the MP could not believe that such things were happening, that it was the saddest story on earth (even while she giggled inside).  How two faced!
Heated discussions ensued and made it interesting, and they silently peeked my interest in politics as a profession.  Very silently.  I think it was more to do with the exhilaration you must get to defend and support causes that you strongly believe in.  Plus, YOU are the voice for your people, that's a big deal.    This world comes with the downside too...and for that you need rhino-like skin.  People are brutal.   

So, back to the session, MP's are quite easily admonished by the Speaker, which reminds you of a class room session, only filled with more rules and tradition.

Some of what tradition dictates is: 

- you address the Speaker only - fine.  

- you follow the strict guidelines as imposed by the Speaker - fine again

- you address your fellow colleague not by their names, but by 'The Honorable Gentleman' or 'Honorable Lady'.  That is a requirement presumably to show respect to a fellow colleague especially useful during heated dialogue.   And yet, it is perfectly alright to follow it up as - 'If the Honorable Gentleman would please shut up....'   Hilarious.  Welcome to politics, ya?!

PS: Thank you Malcolm Rifkind for the opportunity to see our Leaders in action, and to get a glimpse of what they do everyday.

Today I'm humming:  Twist and Shout by The Beatles

Monday, July 16, 2012

I get it: Stephen Fry is very smart

TV in London is not great.   I guess I should mention that I'm not allowed to have SKY cable in my building, and I honestly believe that the Virgin Media package leaves you asking for more, a lot more. 
It's a struggle to find many decent TV shows to watch.   There are the NatGeo shows which are awesome, and some Discovery ones too. My default is the ones mentioned, and Food Food Food (which if cancelled will break my heart, but will make Oquai quite happy).   And then there's the reality stuff - chat shows, The Voice, and wide-hipped, but hot Dashians, the 'Housewives from....' all over the world I think, by now, but, it is so so hard to find a show that I can leave on for a good hour.

In the midst of all this TV madness, I've been introduced by Oquai to 'Quite Interesting' - and boy, I wonder where I was living all this while.  I feel like I've lost out on so much QI time!

It's a panel show, and quite an interesting one.   It's possibly the ONLY talk show on TV that does not discuss celebrity break ups, or the weight someone has gained, or express fake pity on someone who has OD'd.

Stephen Fry is a wonderful host, and has his sidekick Alan Davies on every night, with five different guests.  The USP of the show is in its ability to discuss topics that prove that you are really well read, have fantastic deduction and analytical skills, are a trivia hound, or are just plain smart - hence QI (you know, IQ, QI...I think).   So, as an example, can you tell me who received the first driving license? Or how the word Hagrid or Dumble Door originated?

It's not so much the correct answer that is is being sought after, as it is the process of arriving at what 'could' be an answer.  It's all about making it interesting.   It could be funny, it could be dead wrong, it could be that there is no answer, as is the case in the 'hypotheticals'.   It's all about the train of thought that any of the panelists start out with.   It's wonderful to watch them sometimes as a team, to take one word and lead it to another way of thinking.  Team effort you can call it, with words and actions thrown in that are simply quite hilarious sometimes, and silly the others.   Unless of course you get a braniac who just blurts out the answer - 'Hagrid came from Hag+ridden, meaning you were bothered by a hag or witch, or in other words, a nightmare'.   

Such a spoil sport.  Hmmph. 

Oh and as a by product, here's another tidbit, if you ever pronounced J.K. Rowling as 'Raa-u-ling', you're wrong, its Ro, as is 'Row Row Row your boat' Rowling.   There, that's better.

And seriously, how much does Stephen Fry know?   He's from Queen's College, Cambridge which probably explains it.   Did I mention, I'm from Queens' College, Cambridge as well?  Hmm...there's something about 'smart by association', no?

In other news, I'm off to the UK parliament tomorrow for 'Question Time.  I wrote to my MP, and got a ticket for the session.  It's going to be on Health.  Tres excited.

Today I'm humming:   Mais Que Nada by the Black Eyed Peas 

Monday, July 02, 2012

It's been a while


It has been a while.   It's one of those things.  You think you will be able to have the mindspace for many things.   And once you start work, there are many other things that occupy the mind and some things go on the back burner.  A pity really.  But, its the way life works, the items on the list keep changing per the priority for that time.

I'm hoping I will choose to write a bit more now because I have a bit more time on my hands as compared to previously.  Soon, itll be a lot busier, so until then at least I'm going to give it a shot.

I'm still in London and while the city has definitely grown on me, I'm not convinced by the sun's ability to ignore this piece of land far too often.  I hesitate to curse it because I wonder if it believes in spite.  At this point, I'll take any visits it makes, so wouldn't want them to reduce.  The past week has been glorious.  Today...hmm...grumpy!  But, I'll be nice and expect good things in return.

It's also a new time for me as I am now venturing to start something on my own.   Something within the kids space.  Its going to be quite the eventful, challenging journey as I tread through completely new waters in some respects.  It's just the beginning, but so terribly exciting.

I'm not sure who is around from the old blog friends I had, and who isnt, but in the coming week, I hope to pop by and see what everyone is up to.

Feels good to be back.

Today I'm humming Everyday I'm shuffling by LMFAO