Saturday, September 24, 2005

The case of the non-sticking glue

I used to study in a university town where bicycles are the most common means of transportation. Almost all students owned bikes and minor bike-problems were common occurrences.

My friend J's bike had got a flat and despite two attempts at fixing it herself, she was not successful in repairing it. Finally, she asked me for help and we both set out to fix the flat in the campus bike shop. After locating the hole in the tyre and getting a "patch" to stick on it, I asked J to get me the glue can. J asked me whether I had a container to hold the glue. Puzzled, I replied that the glue came in its own small container and that she should just get me that. But she insisted that there was no container for the green-colored glue in the big tub on the table. I said, " Oh, that - thats the grease!".

That was when the realization dawned upon J - the previous two times, thinking that it was glue, she had been using grease to stick the patch onto the bike tyre and that's why the fix hadnt worked ...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Grand Canyon

Oftentimes, my complaint is that the USA tourism department makes much ado about nothing. 'The Lonely Cypress' on the 17-mile drive is a case in point. I mean, hullo, that tree is just another cypress tree. No matter that that a wonderful yarn about how it has been standing lonely for 200 years and blah blah has been spun about it. It still is a cypress tree, period. Yet, the tree is the mascot and the USP of the 17-mile drive. And every year, hordes of tourists stare goggle-eyed at the tree and take pictures as souvenirs. I guess this is what good marketing is all about.

Recently, when I told people that I was going to visit the Grand Canyon, I heard many accounts of how wonderful it was. I was wondering if it was just yet another case of hype disproportionate to reality. Of course, since childhood, I have seen magnificent pictures of the canyon and seen great videos about it. And then it has also been one of my childhood dreams to visit it. I was pretty excited about turning the dream to reality. Yet, I was a bit apprehensive that the Grand Canyon was just another good marketing stunt. That is, until I actually stepped onto the rim of the Grand Canyon. The view just took my breath away. The canyon was simply magnificent. The rocks looked like they had been carved by a divine hand. As far as the eye could see, the canyon stretched away. And all at once I realized what a colleague meant when she said that standing at the rim is a humbling experience. Nature is the greatest power on earth.

I wish I could have got more time to spend in the canyon. But a couple of hours was all that I had to spend on the rim. Now I am thinking that I should make another trip to the canyon, to go camping and hiking there, to explore and discover its wonders as much as I can. Sometimes marketing does fall far short of reality!

Psychology Test!

Have you heard of this psychological test? One of the questions goes sth like "at which age would you like to remain for the rest of your life"? Apparently, if you say, "my current age" then you are very contented with your life as it is now. I wouldnt say my life as it is right now is terrible or ath like that. In fact, I think I am pretty much happy with the way things are right now. Even then, my answer (which, by the way, has been the same for a long time now) to the question will always be, "I would like to be 12 years old forever".

Because 12 years of age is when I started my 8th grade. And till today, I cant remember any other year in which I enjoyed *each and every* day SO much. And its not even like twinges of nostalgia have embellished that year with more charm than it actually had. I remember being aware that I was having a rip-roaring time even as I was experiencing it! A couple of my friends who were a part of the fun also confess that it was the single most memorable year of their life.

But why? I havent figured that one yet. Maybe it was coz we were young (true) and innocent (?!?) then. Maybe it was because we found fun and laughter in eth. Maybe because we enjoyed and cherished every single experience we had. I really cant say. All I do know is that no matter what the future holds for me, no matter what other memorable experiences I will get to go through, no other year can ever hold quite the same magic as the year when I turned 12! And thats why my answer to the psychology quiz question is always "12 years old".