Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lake Moraine, Alberta Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Mossy Foot Charity


Please support this cause to help unfortunate people in Ethiopia who are suffering with a horrible disease called Elephantiasis. You can find more details on the disease here -

They really need our help. A small act of giving will go a long way in improving the sorry state of these people. You can donate through this website:

More details of the charity can be found here -


Memorable Quotes from The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

“She was struggling against a current that brought her inside herself.”

“It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.”

“Darashikoh was inside, for all the world a tastefully dressed patron of the shop, but he carried death in his undershorts and hunger in his heart. ”

“As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums, not least my family, now facing war thousands of miles away.”

“The poets say some moths will do anything out of love for a flame

“You're never rude,' she said, smiling, 'and I think it's good to be touchy sometimes. It means you care.”

“One ought not to encourage beggars, and yes, you are right, it is far better to donate to charities that address the causes of poverty rather than to him, a creature who is merely its symptom.”

“In a subway car, my skin would typically fall in the middle of the color spectrum. On street corners, tourists would ask me for directions. I was, in four and a half years, never an American; I was immediately a New Yorker.”

“She attracted people to her; she had presence, an uncommon magnetism. Documenting her effect on her habitat, a naturalist would likely have compared her to a lioness: strong, sleek, and invariably surrounded by her pride.”

“When the uncertain future becomes the past, the past in turn becomes uncertain”

“The ruins proclaim the building was beautiful.”

“Maximum return was the maxim to which we returned.”

Saturday, November 19, 2011

H1-B visa stamping in Calgary

Easy Breezy !!

Completely hassel-free. It was easy to book the appointment, as the appointments were available. I think nobody really goes to Calgary consulate, because it is in the middle of nowhere. And because of that the crowd is less and eventually you get the passport next day. Yes, next day, of course if everything goes well.

So here we go, booked the appointment at:

Paid the initial fees, and then you have the option to use the payment code in multiple forms ( for different consulates). With a little computer knowledge you can login and check for available dates as per your convenience. I did the same. Booked the appointment, got employment verification letter, and then booked the tickets. Here is an issue with Calgary, it is a little expensive to fly there, which, I thought would be a much better option, then dealing with delays and stress at other US consulates in Canada.

I was lucky to get an appointment in Calgary after 13 days, and after login in checking after few days, appointments were available in the next 7-8 days. That just shows how much less crowded the Calgary consulate is. I stuck with my old date which was after 2 weeks.

Flew into Calgary on a Sunday, I was asked at the Canadian Immigration why I am visiting? I showed them the interview appointment letter and it was all good. No major hassels. Reached there on Sunday night, checked into a hotel. Hotels are an another hit on your budget, as they are expensive in Calgary. I was not surprised as it is a Canadian boomtown, thanks to the discovery of oil.

Interview was on Tuesday ( Monday was public holiday - July 4th). Arrived at the consulate at 7:45 for a 9:00 AM interview. There was no line. Few peoples ( may be 2-3) showed up for 9:00 AM appointment. The guard opened the door at 8:30AM. Remember not to carry any backpacks, as they dont allow. You might have to make a trip back to your car, incase you carried a backpack with you.

At precisely, 8:45 AM we entered the main building, after few security checks. The process is so streamlines, that you feel like a components that is moving on an assembly line. They check your documents first, then finger prints and then a brief interview. Asked me few question may be for 3-5. Remember to know your job well. They will def ask you what you do. I am a FTE hence had fewer questions. Doesnt mean if you are a contractor they will ask you more. I wouldnt know :). After few questions, I was told congratulations your visa is approved, and you will receive your passport tomorrow ( at the DHL location). I was expecting to be there at least 4-5 hours, but was out in 25 minutes, at 9:25. The consulate is in the downtown, but everything was closed that early, hence I had to drive back to the hotel.

So next day got a call from DHL at 6:45 PM that my passport was ready for pickup. I said I will be there in 15 minutes, and the morons said : sorry we will be closing at 7PM. I think they get the passport at 5:30-6:00 PM ( next day of your interview), but they dont call you until the end of the day. I wish I had known that earlier, I would have gone at waited there, and got my passport the very next day of interview. This way I could have flown back to the US in 3 days . Oh well, it still was better than many other places.

There isnt a lot to do in Calgary, except if you go there in the Summer. Beautiful place, and even more fun in Banff (1.5 hrs drive west of Calgary). Def plan to go there. Its worth it. From Banff drive may be 30 min more to Lake Louise.

So overall a pleasant experience.

Monday, November 07, 2011

"Compare With" Vs "Compare To"

when you are comparing two like items use 'compare with'

when comparing two unlike items use 'compare to'

Monday, October 31, 2011

My new found love - Hard Rock !!!

Deep Purple - Child in Time

Guns N'Roses - November Rain

Def Leppard - When love and hate collides

Guns N'Roses - knocking on heaven's door

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Man Kunto Maula"

A beautiful rendering of Amir Khusro's poetry on the Shaan-e-Aali of Ameer ul Mumineen AS - Moulana Ali Ibn Abi Talib:



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jub sey tumney mujhey deewana by Abida Parveen

nadi kinarey dhuaa uthey (3)
main jaanooo kuch hoyeee
jiska karan mein jogan bani
kahin wohi na jalta hoye

another one..

aap gairon ki baat kartey hein
humney bhi aapney aazmaye hein
log kaanton sey bach kar chaltey hein
humney phoolon sey zakhm khaaye hein

Arey logo tumhara kya Abida Parveen

Aaakhir woh matlab paaa liyaaaaa
murshid ney jo humsey kahaaaaaa
bin ishq-key-dilbar key sachal
kya kufr kya islaaam hein
arey logo tumhara kya,
mein jaanooo mera khuda jaaney

Canadian Tourist Visa at Detroit Consulate.

Would like to share my experience of obtaining Multiple-entry Canadian Tourist Visa at the Detroit consulate.

The consulate is located at the Renaissance Center in Downtown Detroit. Arrive early as there will be a lot many people. They dont care if your visa has expired as long as you have a valid I-797. Many people I found were applying for the visa to either go for US H1-B visa stamping or visiting Niagara Falls.

Arrive early, on the first floor itself they will take your application ( check all your documents) and then ask you to proceed to the 11th floor to pay. The part where they check your documents takes a little longer. Many applicants were sent back at that stage because instead of filling in the visa application and then printing it, they printed the application and then filled it with pen. Completely wrong, as it is clearly mentioned on the site. The document has a bar code at the end, hence they are trying to obtain your record (your entries in the application) with the bar-code. Doesnt make sense why would someone, print the form and then fill it pen. So please dont do that, keep two passport sized photographs.

For the list of documents if you are in the US on H1-B visa ( or work-status) you must carry -
1. Approved I-797
2. Valid I-94, if it is expired thats ok. Your extension (i-797) will have the extension of the same I-94.
3. Pay-stubs and an employment verification letter.
4. Proof of funds - i used my bank statement.
5. You might want to carry your college degree incase.

I suggest parking your car at the Greektown Casino (free parking) and then take Detroit People's movers for 50 cents one way and within 5 minutes you will be at the Renaissance Center. This way you will easily save 12-15 dollars in parking at the Renaissance Center. You can take the same train back to the GreekTown Casino for another 50cents.

After you pay the fees on the 11th floor, they will ask you to come at 2:30 PM in the afternoon and collect your passport. They will not tell you the decision then, you will know when you get your passport at 2:30PM.

These are my personal experience, and in no-way do I take responsibility of the various requirements. All the information is available at the cic website. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Thou shall love thy neighbour as Thyself"

It is a famous quote that people have used over many years. They have used it so often that seems like its true meaning has been forgotten.

It so happened that on Wednesday - 25th of May, Columbus, Indiana was under severe weather threat. In fact few tornadoes did make a touchdown and uprooted few trees, gave us a scare, we lost power etc etc.

What happens when calamity strikes ? Simple it brings people together, and so it did. In my 6 months of living in these apartments, I had never spoken to any of my neighbor until that fateful day.

I was sound asleep and I had no idea of what was going on outside. I was woken up by a thunderstorm and heat due to no power. I walked outside to breath some air, and guess what I found ? My whole neighborhood was out in the hallway preparing for the storm.

The real severity of the situation struck to me then. It was then that we all got together shared few memories and personal likes and dislikes, while monitoring the radar like hawks look at their prey. The best part was since most of my neighbors had prior experience with tornadoes, they knew exactly how to take the necessary precautions, and I followed like a child follows its parents.

While discussing our likes and dislikes, my neighbor mentioned that she was a musician. And myself being a connoisseur of music, hold musicians at a very high esteem. I was impressed at her talent, just by her experience with different 19th century instruments. She mentioned to me that Columbus, IN and Bloomington, IN are a short of heaven for music lovers.

All said and done, the sever weather passed-by, luckily there were no calamities. It was I feel a sign from God, to one show his fury, then show is mercy on those unharmed, and may be to bring people together. Under fear people seem to forget the petty differences of caste, creed, race and color.

So the friendship I made was solidified today, when I came home and found a gift from my neighbor hidden under my doormat. She has slipped in a CD of her compilation for me to hear. This was indeed a very harmonious gesture, and it really goes beyond everything else. I sure am not materialistic but the CD she left was something very melodious.

It was her compilation, something in which she must have put immense hard-work and commitment. And she decided to share it with me. I am so glad that in this world where humanity is taking a beating, there exist people who still value it. They rise above everything else and prove it to you by their behavior that not all is lost.

I will treasure this note and the gift for lifetime.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Memorable Quotes from the Hungry Tide - 4

Age teaches you to recognize the signs of death. You do not see them suddenly; you become aware of them very slowly over a period of many many years.

Egalitarian - someone who believes that every person is equal and they deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Dalliance - a casual romantic or sexual relationship.

"You're all the same you men. Who can blame the tigers when predators like you pass for human beings?"

"He says when a tiger comes into a human settlement, it's because it wants to die."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Memorable Quotes from the Hungry Tide - 3

"For if you compared it to the ways in which the dolphin's echoes mirrored the world, speech was only a bag of tricks that fooled you into believing that you could see through the eyes of another being."

This quote from the Hungry Tide, increased my curiosity about what was so special about a dolphin's echo. After googling it I found that there is a phenomenon called Dolphin's Echolocation ( the location of an object by its echoes). A Dolphin can locate it prey using her echoes. Pretty neat, hence her echoes are nothing but a bag of tricks.

You can find more information here

And from this video below from YouTube, it was evident that Piya in the book for searching for Orcella dolphins in the Sundarbans - where the ganges breakdown into tributaries and join the bay of bengal. And in this video the researchers too are referring to the special breed of dolphins found in the ganges.

Memorable Quotes from the Hungry Tide - 2

replete = full as in eaten to heart's content.

scuttling - destroying a ship by creating a hole in it to let the water enter

The sight made Piya laugh: so this is where the word 'crabby' came from , a creature so stubborn that it would rather be captured than let go.

abed - in bed - Nirmal talking abt his retirement
beset - trouble or threaten persistently - Nirmal talking abt the thought of retirement would trouble and threaten him persistently .
despondency - a state of low spirit caused by loss of hope or courage.

The true tragedy of a routinely spent life is that its wastefulness does not become apparent till its too late.

Someone who has stayed in the same job for thirty years becomes like mildew on the wall - everybody longs to see it wither in the bright light of a new day.

For if you compared it to the ways in which dolphin's echoes mirrored the world, speech was only a bag of tricks that fooled you into believing that you could see through the eyes of another being.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Memorable Quotes from the Hungry Tide - 1

There is no prettiness here to invite the strangers in : yet to the world at large this archipelago is known as the Sundarbans, which means "the beautiful forest."

To look upon this strange parturition, midwifed by the moon, is to know the name "tide country" is not just right but necessary.

Words and situations from the Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

restitution - payment of some sort .....used in the book when Nirmal mentions to Kanai that since the Bay of Bengal has given so much to the Sundarbans...they need to take something back .....and hence the Bay is looking for a restitution.

androgyny - showing characteristics of both male and female....used in the book when Kanai mentions a man dressed up funnily at the railway stations.

parturition - the process of giving birth...mentioned when Kanai speaks of the Ganges giving birth to numerous islands ....

demur - raise doubts or fear.....When Piya is scared of the various boat-wallas trying to skin money of her.

obsequious - Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree...initially the guard from the forest department behaved obsequiously later he became extremely officious .

bandolier - A shoulder-belt with loops or pockets for cartridges.

desultory - Lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm...when Piya was searching for a boat to hire ...her process was entirely unplanned ....

mime - The theatrical technique of suggesting action, character, or emotion without words, using only gesture, expression, and movement.

pantomime - excessive mime

gesticulate - Use gestures, esp. dramatic ones, instead of speaking or to emphasize one's words

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"

Here is a very inspiring speech from whom I believe is the greatest inventer of our time - Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, Inc.

Few of the excerpts from his speech that I was able to jot down:

1. On Connecting the Dots.
You cant connect the dots, looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - life, karma, fate, destiny or whatever. Because, believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well-known path, and that will make all the difference.

Jobs was relating this to the Typography class he took in college. The class he enrolled for after dropping out of college. The class he took because he loved different fonts style. He loved it and didnt care about how this class was going to help him in the future. But it became evident when he invented the first Macintosh, the fonts ( about which he learned in his Calligraphy class) were made a part of the software.

I have a similar experience to relate to as well. After graduation as a computer engineer, my first love was embedded software engineering. It was a difficult road ahead. Neither was I aware of what future lay ahead of me, nor were the circumstances conducive for me to pursue my interest. Hence, I couldnt connect the dots - looking forward. I trusted my life, that it will work. I went with my love, took me sometime, and things began to work out eventually.
Today, after so many years being in the field, I feel satisfied, I look back and connect the dots and realize that it has made all the difference :).

2. On Love and loss.
It was an awful medicine but I guess the patient needed it. Sometime life is going to hit you in the head with a brick, dont loose faith. You've got to find what you love, and that is as true for your work, as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be fully satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work, is to love what you do. If you have not found it yet, keep looking and dont settle.

Jobs was discussing, on how getting fired from Apple ( a company he started) helped him learn from his loss, and further develop love for what he loved the most. He relates that experience in his career, to personal lives of people around. He says that what you love ( work or your close ones) grows, like relationships grow with time. Moreover, he mentions that if you dont love what you do, you will never be good at it, so go and look out for something you'd love doing.

Very much applies to me, loss of something so precious, as definitely taught me to love it even more intensely. They say you miss the water when its gone. But I am learning from it and the way Jobs came back successfully as CEO of Apple, I too will make a comeback. And of course my quest of finding that job that I'd love doing continues.

3. On Death
If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you will certainly be right. Remembering that you are going to die, is the best way, I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to loose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even the people who want to go to heaven, dont want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped , and that it as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. Its life change agent that clears out the old to make way for the new.
Your time is limited, so dont waste it living somebody else's life. Dont be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Dont let the noise of others opinion drown out your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

This is something I need to ponder upon. Take a cue from this and shape my life accordingly. I am going to follow my heart and intuition, because they already know what I truly want to become and where I want to be, with whom I want to be. And yes I will forever:

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" !!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The man who sold the world...

cant get this song out of my head .....

simply awesome !!

Originally sang by David Bowie:

Improved by Nirvana ( curt Kobain) and lyrics