Thursday, August 31, 2006

Always turned on - visiting Atlantic City

This post continues with the NYC travelogue which had its inception here.

After all the fun of the previous night, I woke up the next morning to the delicious smell of frying onions. S and M were still asleep while P was no longer in the room. S then slightly opened her eyes and I immediately started chatting with her (I really am one talker I guess) while S groggily replied. M woke up with all the racket. It was still only 8.30a - about five hours of sleep - but oh well, who needs sleep during vacations!

We were still yacking from our sleeping positions when P poked her head into the room. I asked her what the cooking smell was. She replied that she was grilling onions for the cheese sandwiches. Oh :-(! I had thought that married people have more elaborate breakfasts than that. Well, I don't add grilled onions to my cheese sandwiches so this was in any case a slight improvement.

Then P said she had made coffee for us. When we stepped into the kitchen, I saw P placing idlis into the cooker and then proceeding to season the onion chutney. Slllluuuuuuurrrrrppp! P had just been teasing me when she had talked about grilled sandwiches for breakfast. I love married friends :-D!

Even as we stuffed ourselves well, P asked us our lunch choices. Being typical "nice" friends, M, S and me all came up with three different menus, each one more elaborate than the last. P declared that we were mistaken - she had not yet started a restaurant! Finally we settled on vegetable biriyani and raitha and chutney (don't remember what variety - it tasted awesome though). It turned out extremely yummy :-D.

Phew! Thats a lot of writing about food. I swear, no more descriptions of food (well, almost no more). Anyways, morning went off in eating, chatting, watching a bit of the Soccer World Cup on TV and getting ready. We were supposed to leave for Atlantic City (AC) towards late noon.

P was unsure about accompanying us to AC as D was not coming due to some office work. But we persuaded her for come for an all-girls trip. Around 3.30p, all our stuff was loaded into the boot of the car. A big bag of snacks sat in the back seat. A minor collection of CDs sat in the front seat. We were all set to go!

I decided to be very smart and offered to drive the first stretch. After all, going to AC must be all freeways and if I put in driving during that segment, I could happily relinquish responsibility when we had to drive inside the city in NYC during the final return trip to the airport. Well, you know how God loves to arrange such things and then sit back and have a hearty laugh.

I took the wheel. S was the navigator. We all waved hearty goodbyes to D and set off. The first u-turn occured in about three minutes. D had not even gone back into the house after seeing us off when we returned back the same way we had started off on. Sheeesh! Anyways, after some more confusion about east and west and one more u-turn, we made it to NYC. Then S said I had to take the Battery Tunnel (I think). What? Wasn't that supposed to be inside New York city? Why on earth were we going through the city? (It turned out later that the directions, which I had got from the hotel's website, was about the most convoluted, long-winded and confusing directions that anyone could have come up with).

Oh no, oh no! After crossing that tunnel, within minutes, I was staring at huge buildings right in the heart of downtown. And was right in the middle of the aggressive New York drivers. Well, I made the best of it. And managed to nose our way through all that traffic. Obviously, we got lost there too and when we finally got on the freeway to AC, it was around 5.00p. My friends were suitably impressed with my driving efforts (collars up :-D - I myself was amazed that I did not get the fingered salute from anyone)!

After one more hour, S took over the driving. The journey was a pleasant one - lots of catching up was done with each other's lives. After no further hurdles we arrived at the hotel around 7.30p. After quickly freshening up (of course, with lots of tussles over all kinds of silly stuff - its unbelievable how childish you can get when in the company of old friends!) we set off for the Boardwalk in AC.

We parked our car right at the begining of the boardwalk and started walking down it. Boardwalk is just this stretch of casinos, restaurants and shops right along the beach by the Atlantic Ocean. Its very lively and colorful. This time round, S wanted to try Greek food - I love Greek food too and so we both had located a restaurant on the boardwalk on the internet. Of course, given our wonderful luck, we couldnt locate it.

By this time, M was famished and looked like she was starving to death. So we settled for pizza and fries at a nearby place instead. After dinner, M and P went shopping for souvenirs while S and me continued down the boardwalk, leaving them to follow us when they were done. We took about a zillion pictures. Our final destination was the Trump Taj Mahal casino.

On the way we saw these cute tents which looked right out of the Arabian nights on the beach. I took plenty of pictures. They all turned out like this unfortunately :-(!
S had been to the Trump casino during her previous visit to AC and said that it was worth visiting. The casino was located very much farther down the boardwalk and weaved in and out of our view. So we could never judge how close or far from it we were. I think, finally, we would have easily walked more than 2.5 miles down the boardwalk to reach it.

When we finally reached the casino, our legs were just beginning to ache. P and M reached it almost immediately afterwards. We went inside and then took some more snaps before the security guard came running to stop us (why was taking pics inside this casino not allowed? Las Vega casinos did not seem to have such rules). Unfortunately, the poor guy whom we had persuaded to take a group picture of us was the one who would up with the majority of the scoldings (I am sure he would have cursed us :-().
Then, it time to try our hand at the slot machines. I am not inclined towards any kind of gambling. But just for fun, I set a small dollar amount as the limit and tried the machines. Finally, Lady Luck smiled at me. Within 3 minutes I had made a profit of 20 dollars. We all tried our hands with various slot machines for sometime. But it was quite late by then and we were beginning to feel the effects of sleep shortage.

When we all were all done half an hour later, my profit was still hovering around 20 dollars (which, my friends generously decided to use for all the umpteen tolls on the return journey).

Now, we had to begin the looooooooooooooooooooooonnnng return journey back to the parking lot. The way which seemed long even during the forward trip seemed to almost be infinite on the return trip. So instead of walking back, we decided to ride on one of the hand pushed rickshaws which were being plied up and down the boardwalk.

I did not feel quite comfortable about sitting in a rickshaw pushed by another human and protested for quite sometime. Then S pointed out that I was robbing someone of their wages by my so called convictions. Oh well! Our pusher was a young chap who looked very much like he was pushing rickshaws to supplement income for college. At least he was athletic and seemed to enjoy his job!

Sitting in the rickshaw, our long journey return was completed pretty fast. We got off about a half mile from the parking lot and walked the rest of the way to the car. When we reached the hotel again, it was again some unearthly hour. Even then, we chatted for some more time, before finally crashing. We were planning to leave AC fairly early the next day.

And now for the ominous words be continued :-).

Friday, August 25, 2006


Big trucks on the road! Most of the drivers of these vehicles seem to think they own the road. Actually they might be right considering how easy it is for them to happily run my tiny car over and not even notice it. Of all the drivers for whom I use the f-word in my head, truck drivers merit the distinction the most. They change lanes at will and some times tail-gate you like no one's business.

Anyways, the reason I am ranting is, last night, I had just finished my purchases at the local drug store and was back in my car, about to pull out when I noticed these flood-lights in my rear-view mirror. Darn, it was one of those trucks! I waited for it to move past. Then I realized that the driver wanted my spot and was waiting for me to pull out.

So I started pulling out. And realized that the idiotic driver was waiting too close to my car and I wouldn't be able to pull out easily. So I inched backwards to leverage whatever space I did have when all of a sudden that truck let out an ear-shattering honk. Apparently the driver thought I was too close to the front of his truck. Right, you moron! Maybe you could try moving that huge hulk of your vehicle if you want the spot!

But of course, this being a big truck and all, I did not want to take chances fighting and so instead illegally moved forward and got out through the open space on the other side. I was fumbling with my hands to figure out which finger would be appropriate to stick out but by the time I picked it out I was too far away for it to have any effect. Grrrr!

And then there was the other day when I was waiting at the signal, waiting for it to turn green to make a left turn. All of a sudden, my view of the world behind me got obsured by a two massive headlights and a giant radiator window. Of course, it was one of those gigantic trailer trucks.

Why, oh why, do some of these trucks have to almost put their front wheels onto my car's boot before they stop? I was feeling claustrophobic but there was nothing much to do about it. So I focussed on the song on the radio and waited. When, all of a sudden, there was this ear-shattering honk. I almost jumped out my seat with a "What the heck?" and was bristling with anger as to how rude people can get.

Which was when I noticed, the traffic light had turned green for me - since God knows when and yours truly had been been dreaming and been blissfully unaware of it. Oh.

Sheepishly, I turned left and sped away at double quick speed before the truck could catch up with me and run me over.

Wonder what those truck drivers think of drivers like me!!

p.s. How annoying it is when your alarm refuses to ring on time! Oh well, in this case, I forgot to set it in the first place - still, it was very annoying when I woke up at 9.05a this morning wondering why my sleep time had been so deliciously long! Thanks to all my training in hostel (ha, I knew there would be long-term benefits), I was out of of the house by 9.30a (yeah, with shower throw in) and in at work by 9.45a. I think I was at my desk even before my brain had fully woken up. I would have been grumpy and irritable if not for the fact that today is Friday. Eeeeeehaw :-D! Happy weekend, folks!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Destination New York

I just realized - its been a long, long, long time since I put up any of my travel stories. And I still have the trip to NYC made during the Fourth of July weekend in 2006 to bore you all with :-P. So here goes :-)!

Like all planning goes, the idea of going to NYC started with my undergrad friend P being sent on-site to the USA for a project from her company in India. P landed in NYC around the end of April. In the first week of May, another undergrad friend S (who had also been on-site in New Hampshire for a couple of months) and me decided that we should do something together for the 4th of July long weekend. After lots of discussions (we considered plenty of destinations including Alaska!!!) we finally decided to make it into a reunion in NY.

P, S, M (another undergrad friend) and me were thick as thieves in the hostel during our undergrad days. There are a few more who belonged to that gang - but even the four of us meeting again seemed like a wonderful idea. Finally, by the first week of June, all tickets were booked. We were to stay at P's place in Hicksville (a suburb of NYC) and visit Atlantic City and Washington during the long weekend. Yahooo :-D!

On June 30th morning, my manager was very nice to me and turned a perfect blind eye while I left work at around 11.30a to catch my flight :-D! Fortunately, this time, unlike the Canada fiasco, I was well on time for my flight. I made it to the connecting flight at Los Angeles with only a couple of minutes to spare - phew! From LA, it was one looooooooong flight. My book, my ipod and my fairly decent collection of snacks (which ultimately proved to be too less) helped me pass the time during five and half hour journey to NYC.

I landed at the JFK airport in NYC around 10.35p. M had arrived from Miami at a different terminal. P, P's husband D and S were delayed in coming to pick us up. By the time we had all assembled at the same spot, it was already past 11.00p. Then we spent another half an hour going up and down in the air train (I am not going to go into exact details as to how such a huge delay happened. Just know that we managed to visit each terminal at least three times during that trip). Finally we reached the car rental office around 11:45p. Thankfully they still had a car for us.

M, as the longest US license holder between M, S and me (P and D were yet to get their US driver's licenses), was unianimously nominated to drive on the mean streets of New York first. M reluctantly agreed (hehehe, there was no other choice) to take the wheel. And off we set. By this time, we were all extremely ravenous and wanted to get home as soon as possible.

So, of course, we almost immediately lost our way :-(! Finally, we had to stop at a convenience store to rechart our course. We almost got lost again but a chance turn brought us back on the right course again. Throughout the trip, such random acts of good luck kept happening. Otherwise we would have spent even more time being lost!

S was bent upon finding a Chinese restaurant to eat in. However, at 12.30a in the night, there was only a very bleak chance of finding such a place. So P said that she would make dinner for us real quick once we got home. After lots of arguments, we decided that P would make upma (pongal was vetoed thanks to me).

Once we got home, P made delicious upma which we had with chips and pickles (tip: Priya brand onion pickle tastes awesome). Once our stomachs were full, we all immediately perked up. Poor D was booted out of the bedroom and we girls made ourselves at home in there :-D! Then the chatting began. For the next couple of hours, I was transported right back to our hostel days. It felt soooooo good :-D. We pulled legs and dissolved into laughter over everything.

Finally, after having a tussle over the sleeping spots and then having the silly "She is doing this to annoy me" fights and then arguing over whether the night-light should be turned on or not, we called it a night and went to sleep.

From the time we all had met, till the time we went to bed we had had so much fun. And I knew, this was going to be one helluva a great trip!

To be continued ...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Circle of life

Last evening when I was starting back from the fitness class around 8.15p I noticed that the sun had already set and it was twilight. Wow - summer is almost gone already! Time seems to be in fast forward mode! Then I remembered the pictures.

There is a tree right across my apartment whose leaves, in deference to "Fall", had turned a deep shade of pink a few days after I had moved into my apartment. I snapped a pic and put it up on my blog.

It had struck me then, why not take pics of the same tree for all four seasons? In spite of my not-too-great memory, I did manage to remember to click pics during the appropriate seasons. And yesterday, I realized, I had the pictures from all four seasons :-)!

Here they are:

Fall - Pretty in pink!

Winter - Quite stark!

Spring - I got lucky :-)!
These lovely white flowers could be spotted for about two days only.

Summer - Green, green, green!

And so, life goes on ...

And ah, that reminds me, soon, it will be a year since I moved into this apartment. I swear, I still feel like a "new" resident.

Is it just me or does everyone feel like the days are simply hurtling by?

Monday, August 14, 2006

All creatures great and small

As I have indicated before in this blog, my sister and I have always been brought up to think that women and men are equal. Given this, I usually do not like to exhibit stereotypical overly feminine behavior like the I am a delicate-darling act, the Ooooh somebody protect me - I am so helpless act, the I can't do that because I am too weak act and so on.

However, in spite of making very conscious efforts to not be so, there is one area where I can compete strongly with the most feminine of the femininest. I absolutely, totally and unequivocally abhor household pests and creepy-crawlies of any kind. They just gross me out and - I admit - I am scared stiff of them.

(Note: If you are averse to reading about creepy-crawlies, now would be a good time to stop.)

You would think that this whole fear of household pests is a trait that runs in my family. I doubt it. Since my early childhood days, I remember my sister and my mom (they never even thought it necessary to involve dad in such trivial tasks) bravely vanquishing the occasional cockroach and centipede while I stood quivering on the nearest surface which was high enough off the floor. My worst nightmares were ones in which I was attacked by a (yes, a single, normal-sized one was enough) flying cockroach while I futilely stood on a chair trying to avoid it. Cockroaches for some reason were (and still are) my most feared creepy-crawlie.

Life was bright and happy while I was at home. I could get rid of ants and mosquitoes myself with impunity. For other pests, I could always count on one of the other three members of my house to come to my rescue if I was "attacked" by any of them.

The only time when my nightmares almost came true was when Shilpa, yeah my dear friend, landed up at school one day with a cockroach in a film-roll box (with two tiny holes on the top so that it could breathe!!!). Basically she had captured it at her house and thought it would be good fun to show it off to me among other things. Needless to say, it freaked me out completely. She jokingly told me that she would let it down my back when I wasn't looking. I was so horrified that I declared that I would never talk to her ever again if she did anything of the sort. Mercifully, she didn't let it down my back. Thank God, she didn't - I am quite confident that I would have never spoken to her again if she had (I would have died of fright most probably).

So anyways, as I said, I lead a happy, sheltered life at home. Then it was time to move to the hostel when I joined undergrad. I was dropped off at the hostel by my parents late in the evening of the day I joined it. Of my other room-mates, only S had also arrived. We both shyly exchanged introductions. Then, S set up her bed and went off to sleep.

I was about to follow suit when I noticed the open window and decided that I would shut it before going to bed to minimize the noise from the corridor. I reached for the ring on the shutter to pull it shut. Then, just before they touched the ring, my fingers froze. What I had assumed was a ring was actually a coiled caterpillar. Oh my God! A caterpillar - yuck, yuck, yuck!

Of course, things like throwing it out myself never even occurred to me as an option. Instead, without giving a second thought to the fact that I had met her for the first time only some 30 minutes previously, I shook the soundly-sleeping S awake. She got up with a start and stared at me with sleepy eyes. And I told her matter-of-factly "There is a caterpillar on the window sill. You have to get rid of it" and thrust a piece of waste-paper into her hand and retreated to the other end of the room. S could scarcely believe the kind of nutcase she had had the misfortune of becoming the room-mate of! Anyways, she threw the caterpillar outside and retreated back to bed.

Anyways, given that my legendary shyness did not include not asking almost-complete strangers for help in getting rid of pests, I managed fairly okay in hostel too. As the other folks got to know me, they realized that whenever I stood on a bed gesticulating wildly, it meant that some creepy crawly was near at hand!

Once I moved to the USA, mercifully, there were not too many instances when I had to encounter these pesky creatures. I remember though, sometime last year, when my friends and I visited another friend J.

J had moved into a new place which had a humongous chimney. For some reason, this chimney attracted cockroaches and a couple of them seemed to be descending into the room too. You can imagine my plight. I became quite hysterical when someone just suggested that a cockroach might hop onto to the bed I had taken refuge in (is there a word for fear of cockroaches?). Phew, that was one loooooooooong night. I am surprised that J still invites me to her home after all my whining of that night (thank God, she has moved to a nice apartment now).

Why all this occured to me is because, today, at work, I was busy reading up some stuff on the computer when something fluttered past my face. I glanced sharply to my left. My throat went dry when I saw a moth sitting on the cubicle wall. Then, as though to announce its presence grandly, the moth gaily fluttered past my head again and landed at some out of sight spot in my cubicle. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I nimbly jumped out of my chair and hopped into my colleague V's neighboring cubicle.

Gathering up all the dignity I could, I smartly asked him, "Do you know how to get rid of moths?" V was like, "Why?". And I went, "Er.. there is a moth in my cubicle." "Oh, be sure you don't send it into mine when you are chasing it away," said V and went back to his work. Aaaaarghh.

I went back to my desk to my cubicle and sat in my chair. Two minutes later, the moth flew towards my face. I jumped out of my chair and was back in V's cubicle in a jiffy. This clearly wasn't the time to think of dignity. So, this time, I went, "Can you pleaaaassssse get rid of the moth for me?" V gave me a 'I can't believe you' look and then a broad grin, and went into my cubicle and swatted the at the moth with a magazine. The moth escaped and flew far, far away. "Thank you," I said in a dignified voice and marched back to into my cubicle. Fortunately V is also a good friend of mine so hopefully this story should not spread too much in the office circle.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
- C. F. Alexander

I know all of us exist on this planet for a reason. If God wanted to make creepy-crawlies, I am sure He had as good a reason for that as He did for making humans. I am only asking that our lives be parallel and that our twines never need meet!

Tomorrow is August 15.

Happy Independence Day :-)!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Visiting the car doctor

The letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) arrived about a month ago. It was a notice reminding me to re-register my car for this year. That was the normal part. I also had to get a smog test done. That was not so abnormal either - it's been 2 years since the last smog test was done. The strange part was that it said that my car needed a smog test at a special test only station.

My poor car! It's not brand new - but it's not that old that it needs smog testing at some special station. I immediately did a search online and learnt that apparently California has a very strictly enforced eco program. One of the manifestations of this program is smog testing in a test only station which apparently makes sure that the result is unbiased. But all these are technicalities about which you can read to your heart's content here.

Anyways, after this intial burst of activity, I figured that I had a whole month's time to get the testing done and promptly forgot all about it. Till yesterday. Some vague memory of the registration deadline being sometime in the second week of August popped into my head. I checked the registration notice and yup - I needed to get the smog test plus registration before August 12th i.e. this weekend. Immediately, all panic alarms went off.

You should know that I am the kind of person who, whenever possible, gives buffers for all kinds of mishaps when planning for something. Given that, 5 days seemed too less a time. I immediately started doing all sorts of mental calculations. If I took the car to the smog test center on Tuesday and in case it flunked (yeah, I always think of the worst case scenario too), how many days would the mechanic take to repair it? Oh no, oh no, oh no - I would wind up paying a fine if the mechanic trip took more than 3 days to diagnose and fix the problem.

Sigh! Why couldn't I have done this earlier? Fortunately, before I could launch into full-fledged self-berating mode, it struck me that of the envisioned scenario, only step one, viz. taking the car to a Smog Test Center (STC), needed to be actually done immediately.

I have never done a smog test for my car (the seller had done it before I bought the car). So, I went to the DMV web site and found the list of STCs closest to my house. And then found a tip on another website that the car should have been running for at least 15 minutes before taking it to a smog center (don't ask me why that is so). So I moved the timing from Tuesday morning to Tuesday evening instead so that I could take it directly from work and hence not spend extra time driving around (waah, waah - what time management!).

Then, to prepare my car for this visit to the car "doctor", I took the car for a wash on Monday evening (you know, its a psychological thing - by seeing a clean car anyone would be tempted to give it the clean chit :-) - or so I reasoned).

Anyways, I left work early today and took the car to the STC. Once there, I was asked to park the car and wait. I chose a spot where I had a full view of the car (moral support for the car to do well, you see). The car doctor opened the hood and ran some tests.Then inserted some kind of apparatus into the exhaust and ran some tests. Then spun the front wheels and ran some more tests. All kinds of tests.

In between, the smog test doctor actually put on his spectacles to see something better. Then after staring intently at the computer screen, he took them off. For some reason, this reminded me of the doctors in Tamil movies, who always take off their specs when they have bad news! And I was like "Nooooo - don't flunk my car."

Finally, after some 20 minutes of suspense, the mechanic came to me, complete with a chart on a clipboard and a grave expression on his face and said (I am not kidding) "Congratulations! Your car has passed the smog test". I felt as though my car had come successfully through some major surgery or something!! After that I just had to pay for the certificate (that was full posh - they electronically transmitted the results to the DMV) and take my dear car and leave :-)!

That's all there is to the story. Really.

I need to get some award for over-dramatization :-D!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Knees track your toes*

Fitness as a concept was something which I had never heard of as a kid. Sure, I had seen leotard-clad people in movie-songs in Indian movies. But I took that literally - as in, movie stars wear fitness clothes as a part of the costume-change routines which invariably peppered the videos for songs. But it did not strike me that ordinary people could actually go to a gym and work with all the equipment or could allocate time in a day specifically for the purpose of doing "exercise".

Sure, my dad used to advocate after-dinner walks for the family. But these were fun things to look forward to and could always be skipped (by sis and me that is - dad religiously goes for after-dinner walks and drags mom along too :-)). Other than that, I don't remember doing activities specifically for the purpose of keeping fit. Of course we had the Physical Training (PT) classes at school. We used to do a variety of exercises under the watchful eye of a PT teacher and play games like kho-kho, throwball, dodge-ball, lock and key etc. But PT classes fell into the category of "fun-things" along with the regular evening games we played with neighborhood kids and the like.

Given these facts, it is no big surprise that I realized only during my final year of undergrad studies that my college actually had a gym for the students' use. It had only a few equipment not in the best of conditions, still it was there. Of the other sports facilities, I had made use of the badminton courts fairly regularly, the cricket pitch once when we practised for an all-girls cricket game (which we lost spectacularly) and the sports ground a few times for simply running around.

This running happened when the hostel wardens came up with the brilliant idea that all hostellers should get up at 6.00am in the morning and run around the huge sports ground. Apparently, they wanted us all to become more fit. Obviously, after a couple of sleepy head days, we soon perfected a system by which we took turns giving proxies to all our friends in order to not show up everyday. This proxy system gained such widespread popularity that at some point hardly 25 girls were actually running while the attendance showed that at least a hundred of us had supposedly showed up :-D. The forcible effort to make us fit was halted soon after this was discovered!

Anyway, bottom line is, exercising for the sake of exercise was something I did not usually do. In India I could not notice too many bad effects either. The plentiful walking and physical movement everyday mercifully ensured that.

Then I came to the US. I was very surprised to find that each and every food item had nutrition information on it. And what's more, people actually checked the nutrition labels when buying food! Soon enough, I started doing it too. Now I am so habituated to this practice that I cannot buy anything from the grocery store without referring to the nutrition label (not that it has stopped me too much from buying high calorie stuff - I just feel a little bit more guilty before eating it happily - that's all :-D).

Even more surprising was that my roomies would set off on most weekday evenings to the university recreational hall for gymming! And for the first time, it struck me - gyms are something more than just cinema props. Just to figure out what the fuss was all about, I started putting in some time there too. Not too frequently but at least fairly regularly. Basically, enough effort to make friends and family to tell me that I had lost weight when I visited India and make me tons of delicious dishes to fatten me up again :-D! All the time I was in Davis, I took up some form of physical activity or the other to offset the effects of putting in long hours at the lab.

Then I moved from Davis. The first few months, taking public transportation, walking to the library, shopping and the like constituted the major chunk of my "exercise". Then I moved apartments. My new roomie, A (who is a good friend from my Davis days) and I started regular, almost everyday, tennis-playing sessions in our apartment complex's sole tennis court. After three months of regular play, we probably inspired too many other residents to get active too. For, we no longer found the court empty when we returned from work :-(. Sigh! So that was the end of that fitness stint.

After a winter filled with vacationing and lots of eating out, it looked like the next India trip would result in family and friends exclaiming upon the effects of living in a "rich" country. Time to get a fitness plan again. I noticed that fitness classes were offered by the local community center.

Both A and me registered. I registered for 2 classes per week while A, since she was getting married later that year, decided to register for four classes a week (in an effort to get that model-like figure ASAP :-))! The first class happened on a Tuesday. We did a lot of lunges, squats and other exercises with weights. I could not believe that exercises could be so tough! Needless to say, I ambled like a duck for the rest of the week (the Thursday class, though slightly less tough, only served to increase my soreness). Mercifully, I soon figured that as long as I was regular to the classes, they became easier on my poor muscles.

Now its been more than a year since I started going for those fitness classes. People tell me that I am in good shape these days - some days I realize that for myself. Even then, sometimes it is a big pain to drag myself to those classes after a hard day at work. However, now I seem to be in a trap - I don't seem to be able to stop myself from going! But the rush of good feeling (and discernable long term results :-)) I get whenever I complete a class, no matter how reluctant I was to get to it, makes it all worthwhile I guess!

* knees track your toes is my Fitness instructor's most repeated instruction when we squat :-D!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dilbert comic-strip today

I simply love some of the Dilbert strips :-)! This is part of the strip which ran today:

I have told this to myself whenever I have to do something at work which I would rather not be doing (like teaching early morning TA classes, attending pointless meetings, writing juvenile documentation for marketing folks etc.) - "Well, at least I am getting paid for doing this" :-))!

Update: A different take on a similar issue :-)!