Relic

If any library or anyone is keeping records of Dil’s Favorites, please add this to your list. This is the most amazing thriller I have enjoyed in a long time. Really a page turner and I finished reading this in three days (my work days). I found myself, waiting for some time off to read the book. I even considered taking a break from work, sitting in the car and reading it. Hmm..Enough of building excitement around the book. Time to get into the story and enjoy the Relic.

<SpoilerWarning/>

So the story starts in the 80’s when scientists from the American Museum of  Natural History visit the Amazon basin to discover whereabouts of a Kothoga tribe. This tribe, supposed to be extinct a long time ago, have an interesting tradition. They create monsters, try to take control over them and use the monster to rule the other tribes. But, it’s not that easy controlling a monster…is it? So each time they create a monster,  monster kills the Kothoga tribe people and some time later the tribe goes extinct. And the monster might be still in loose. And mysteriously the scientists from the expedition die because of one reason or the other. Few of their bodies missing too.

And switch the story to now, the museum is organizing an exhibition named superstition, where they want to show case a relic from the Kothoga items, a relic that probably stands for the monster itself. And then starts the mysterious gruesome murders in museum. The murders are so brutal that victims head is split open and a part of brain goes missing, as if something ate it.

After few murders, the team, including the FBI agent, cops and museum staff, that is trying to solve the murders is targetted too.  They all are stuck inside the museum, locked in, when they find out that the it’s not a human being that’s killing people, but it is actually a monster.

The game continues, few more victims, and the team, each time learns more about the monster through genetic experiments within the museum. What they also discover is that the monster lived on a plant that was available with it when it was bought from the amazon basin. (No body at the museum opened the crates from the expedition as all the scientists mysteriously died, assuming that the crates are cursed.) Now when the crates are moved out because of the exhibition, monster is trying to substitute the plant with human brain. (Plant has the same content as the human brain, so the monster chose human brains, but even otherwise, I would say its a good choice. 🙂 )

Finally the team succeeds in killing the monster.

What clicks in the book is the way the story moves. Each scene is told in such a compelling way that a reader would feel like he/she was running in the museum halls. Now that’s a good book. The legend from the Amazon is as compelling as it could be and it all relates to the current happenings very well. And the excitement never ends. When you think that monster is killed and everybody is safe, it is revealed how actually the monster got here without anybody noticing it and who the monster actually is.

It’s a very satisfying read for a person like me. This happens to be the first book of the Agent Pendergast series, but I happened to have read the other ones before this. Never mind, I liked the book so much that I checked out another book from the authors. Its called the Cabinet of Curiosities.

Office Space

After what seemed to be an eternal stay in the conference room, our workshop ended this week. Can you imagine how does it feel like to sit in the conference room, two days in straight? Or worse, hows does it feel to take meeting minutes for a whole day? I did it and I am still alive. To give u a rough idea, it felt like a 10000000th part of the end of the world events. Yes; definitely comparable to the end of the world thingy.

People attending the conference have come from different parts of the world , so being the hosts, it was our responsibility to treat them well, That means free sandwich lunches (yes i know it’s just a sandwich, but it’s still free), free soda, dinners and team building activities (read free drinks). Some how I am glad we had these activities, otherwise my work life was pure work.

The day I had to take meeting minutes, was like noting down who said what. After two sessions, like after two drinks, I felt dizzy and sleepy. What ppl were saying didn’t make any sense, yet I was jotting down as if writing was my passion (Hey..wait a minute..it is my passion…or at least latest passion). So after 8 hours of doing that, we called it a day (or rather we called it a workshop).

And then came the team building activity. We headed off to a pool/restaurant/drinks place close to work. It was a tradition  that before visiting these kind of amreecan hangouts the Indian heart would want to eat something totally desi.  So we took a detour to eat home food. Hmm…Pulihora, Gobi sabzi and chai before a game of pool and drinks…You wont believe it, but it was fun.

And then came the game. People who know me, know how bad I am at sports and billiards is no exception. No matter how well you teach me and no matter how well I try to hit the ball, it is bound to go into a corner it is no supposed to. Especially if some one important is watching, oh my god, I suck at sports or what. So this being my previous experience with sports, it was no different this time. I sucked again at holding the cue, hitting the ball and not following any rules. But as our ancestors said, I tried and tried and finally the game started making sense to me. Oh, did I also mention that I won my first game? Not because I played well, but because others didn’t. 🙂

The cost of living

Did you realize some times, knowingly or unknowingly, the conversation seems to be going towards the some topic? For example, consider this.

…………………………………….

…………………………………….

<Insert all the nice/polite/courteous hi’s and hello’s in here.>

<It actually takes 2 minutes to get to the conversation>

…………………………………….

…………………………………….

Mom: So, hows she doing?

Son-in-law: (Grinning..) Same. Still having that cold and can’t talk.

Me: Grrrrr…Whats with that smile? I can still talk to myself…


Mom: Did she take any medicine? Is she using the inhaler?

Son-in-law: Nope.

Me: My mom loves me….


Mom: Did you know that the vicks inhaler costs Rs.45/- now?

Son-in-law: Wow…really?

Me: Okay..soooo????


Mom: And a small bottle of Amrutanjan also cost Rs.35/-. It’s really a small bottle…

Son-in-law: Wow…really?

Me: Small bottle? What else do you need it for? Making Sambar?


Mom: Anyways, Your sister brought a new couch

Son-in-law: Wow…really?

Me: Wow…really?

Mom: And it costed Rs. 30,000/-

Me: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Mom: You dad is arranging a housing loan mela in city today for the bank.

Son-in-law: Who is going to buy houses amidst this Telangana crisis?

Mom: Thats true. It’s like the bank wants to give away money for free.

Me: Can anybody talk about my cold please??


Mom: Anyways….Get her some medicines. If you can get Chyavanprash,eat it.

Me: Yeah. But it must be costing some Rs. 200/-. Isnt it?

Mom: Although, even Chyavanprash costs Rs.230/- now.

Son-in-law: Wow…really?

Me: Grrrrr……..That’s right….


Mom: Or….try Kadwa Kashayam….

Me: Hmm..I think I feel better….

…………………………………….

…………………………………….

<Insert all the nice/polite/courteous byes and by-byes in here.>

<It actually takes 2 minutes to end the conversation too>

<Especially something like above>

<And 2 more minutes to actually disconnect the phone…>

…………………………………….

…………………………………….

Son-in-law: Can you switch of the light?

Me: Haaaaa????

Son-in-law: Do you know that each electricity unit costs around some 10 cents…

Me: Wow…really?

The Depth Of Insanity

Yes I know, sky diving is on my todo list, but how insane is this? Watch the video before you read on.

These caves are in Mexico (should be the deepest) and when you jump, it will be a 12 secs free fall before you hit the ground. (It doesn’t sound like much but you will be dead if you don’t open your parachute before those 12 secs.)

Did you notice that if you dont jump with the right speed, you are going to hit the rocks. Or what if the parachute doesnt come off?

Here And There

Nothing excitingly bloggable has happened in my life over the last 10 days but here is something from here and there in life.

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A 4.1 earthquake stuck us on Thursday morning. I was still in bed, savoring all the morning sleep moments from my day off work and there it was. This time when it happened it lasted for around 2 or 3 seconds and was more like a loud noise. But when it happened last time, in 2007, it lasted for around 5-7 seconds and it felt like a fast bullet train running right below your feet. It was terrible. It was my first earthquake experience and I was pretty excited about experiencing it. But the more I thought about it, more scarier it got. I am not sure if you ever experienced one, but its very very scary.

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The trip to the snow mountains was chilly. The situation was getting so cold that each minute we were getting closer to the snow mountains, temperature was dropping by 1 degree Fahrenheit. When we stopped at our destination, we were at 38F. Thats like 3 degree Celsius.  And the snow tubing was fun. And meanwhile we were snow tubing, I had the great pleasure of answering a question from my friend’s 5-year-old daughter. I had to say yes when she asked me “Are all husbands boys?” I didn’t want to put any doubts in her little mind now. She still has lot of time to learn about these things. Not sure what made her ask me that question though 🙂

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I had a chance of presenting the Bahu 2010 award to a friend. Here is what happened.

Her: Hey.. Wassup? We are back home.

Me: Great! How was Kasi?

Her: Good.

Me: What did you leave in Kasi?

Her: Nothing

Me: Nothing? Why not? Arent you supposed to leave something in the Ganga?

Her: Yes. But my father-in-law didn’t come with us. Thats why.

Me: @%$@^%%^

The truthfulness in her voice said she really meant it. Great going Bahu 2010. Great going.

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And regarding this, as challenging as the times were, I still did what ever I could do and I kinda succeeded. More to come later. It deserves a separate and as lengthy blog post as it could. Doing this didn’t leave me any time, so I missed even writing to the blog-a-ton or even voting there and also, of course the entire blog space.

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I also had been to the show of 3 idiots arranged especially for us. True. I am not lying. I was only kind enough to invite 4 more strangers to watch the show with me. (Read we went to watch the movie at a very odd time that there were only 6 people in the theater.) Movie was very watchable. isn’t it? Though I still like the Munna bhai’s better.

Hiya 2010

The first post about the first day of the decade. Do you have the feeling that the first day of the year dictates what is going to happen to you over the rest of the year? I do. In that respect, I always try to make my new years day eventful. It was very important to be happy, not crib about anything and do all the things that I was supposed to. I can never validate if this feeling is right, because no matter how my day is, the year will have highs and lows (or probably its already proven that my mantra is wrong).

Anyways, Its not at all bad to try stay happy one day. Its worth all the effort. And besides it has to happen only once a year. So its okay.

Coming back to yesterday (01/01/10), the day went unplanned but fruitful. Waking up to the door bell to be greeted ‘Happy New Year’ felt good.  A relaxed round of coffee over regular chat and some discussion on what we should be doing for the rest of the day (which by the way as usual resulted in no plan :)),emails and friends on IMs happened and it was already lunch time. Lunch was also readily available because of my pre-planning (read leftovers. And here I was lying to my mom and mom-in-law that I was going to do all kinds of poojas to please all the Gods and prepare a feast for lunch :)).

Quick lunch, we headed out in search of perfect place for hike. In contrast with what was said repeatedly over the weather reports, it didn’t rain at all (Remember our doordarshan weather reports?). It was cloudy but not cold. As we hit the freeway, our Mrs. GPS found a “Pulgas Ridge Open Space Park” for hiking. You see now there is a problem with this. Our GPS has been notorious in the past for showing up on its list a number of such hike places,but directing us to middle of nowhere. The last time we tried to find a “Skyline ridge open space”, we ended up facing a huge wall of hill, not even enough space to make a u-turn. So with our usual apprehension, I have hit Go button on the GPS. Andddddd…Bingooo..It took us to the right place this time..Hurrayyyy.

Like the other hike places in bay area, this hike was wonderful too. Well paved trails, not too complex, but a little strenuous and enough number of people to come for help if we happen to see a mountain lion 🙂 (Usually I am enough to rescue others you know).

We hiked for around 2 hours. Climbed 3 or 4 hills, took few pictures.

It was cooking time again, when we got back home. Our friends were coming home with the adorable twins. The twin boys felt quite at home when they came in. It was so funny  that the kids fascinate furniture, especially the dining table. All the time they were at home, they were under the dining table, trying to get under it, coming and going out of the table. It was sooooo cute.

Here is a picture of Sarvesh when he decided to play with the gift box instead of whats inside it.

Night time already; Finally there was one thing I had to do. Preparing for something that I didn’t want to do. Not now at least. 2 hours of time spent on twisting and turning my brain tissues over those preparation and it was time to call my day off.

So there it goes, the first day of my year. I liked it. Peaceful and happy. Hoping that the rest of the year would be too. T-364 to go. Only time will tell.