Porcupyn's Blog

June 28, 2010

Tales of Katya (and Bob) – what is faster?

Filed under: Family,Humour — Porcupyn @ 5:50 am

Compared to their parents, both of whom took their first flight only after they were old enough to vote, both Bob and Katya are veterans of air travel in USA, in India and, of course, international flights. What that also means is that they both have had that first experience of a LONG international flight. Here is how it played out:

Baab: By the time he was on the first international flight that he was old enough to understand the experience, he had travelled by air within India (but not within the USA). So, on that flight, which happened to be an India to USA flight (with stops in Europe), he commented: “Amma, we should have taken Jet Airways instead.” When asked why, he said: “It would be much faster to get to our destination!”

Katya: Having spent one year in India, she is more used to Indian Railways (though she has been on flights within the USA and within India). So, on Delta Airlines from Dubai to Atlanta, she goes: “Amma, this flight is taking too long. I am bored. We should have travelled by train instead.”

June 27, 2010

Tales of Katya – Ajji’s brother?

Filed under: Family,Humour — Porcupyn @ 8:56 pm

Traditionally, in our family, the eldest son is referred to as ‘Anna’ (big brother) and the eldest daughter is referred to as ‘Akka’ (big sister). Once in a while, we also refer to Baab as Anna and Katya as Akka. But Katya obviously forgot about this fact once …

We were on the computer, talking with my parents. While the conversation is going on, Katya asks me: “Appa (father), are you Ajji’s brother?” We were all flabbergasted by the question, until I played back the last few minutes (in my mind) and realized where the question was coming from!!

June 23, 2010

Longest Tennis Match Ever

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 2:24 pm

The on-court scoreboard has apparently conked out, as has this online one. Each player has 50 games already in the fifth set, PLUS the number shown on the screenshot!!

June 21, 2010

Visit to Four of Southwest USA’s National Parks (Part Eight of Many!)

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:37 pm

[On June 21, 2008]: At the North Rim, we had learned from the folks at the Visitors’ Center that the South Rim was scheduled to have an astronomers meet. Specifically what it was I forget, but it is effectively an annual stargazing party [Update: Here is a YT Q&A for this year’s – sorry, it is already over – event]. I thought what the heck, we could spend some time and see if we can get to see a few stars.

We were not supposed to drive our vehicles to the location where the telescopes were set up; instead, we were supposed to use those buses provided for the purpose. So, we parked at a shopping center close to the Visitors’ Center (which had closed before we got there), and had dinner because the shuttle was not expected for some time – it was once in half an hour or so. At that point, it was starting to get late and we decided that I would be taking Baab to go for the stargazing. Katya was sleepy anyway, and also my parents and Mrs. Porcupyn decided to stay put.

Baab and I left on the shuttle as scheduled, telling the rest of the party that we would be returning in about an hour. Big mistake! Once we got on the shuttle bus, I realized that the place we were going to – Yavapai point – would be pitch dark. Somehow I had forgotten that real astronomers absolutely abhor light and prefer to observe the heavens in utter darkness – and though it was not new moon or anywhere close to it (I believe it was full moon a couple of days ago), the moon was yet to rise in the night sky.

Anyway, we get off the bus when it stopped and realized immediately that we were in a sea of humanity, all of whom were as lost as we were. After bumping into random people of all sizes, we realized that a number of telescopes – also of all sizes – had been set up along an observation path in the location, and these were manned by amateur astronomers and their amateur kids! Each telescope had a line in front of it. We got in line at a couple of those telescopes, but unfortunately, even a slight bump of the instrument would throw the painstakingly set up view of the star/galaxy/planet completely out of whack. We ended up seeing not much of the astronomy spectacle, but we did see the human spectacle on our way back.

Because we were expected back in about an hour, we did not have much time to lose. We got in line for the next bus which came after a few minutes, though not quickly enough for us. The queueing system was all messed up, but we managed to make it to the first bus that came after we had queued up. Once the bus filled up, it started to move – these buses were the most crammed buses I have ever been on in over two decades in the USA. Believe it or not, scarcely had the bus gone ahead 20 feet or so, we see this lady stand in front of the bus with her stand outstretched – it felt as though the lady had been transported from India (though she did not really look Indian) and was used to stopping buses by waving in front of them. Needless to say, the crammed bus did not stop for her and she was left there, looking forlorn and tearful.

It would have been very nice one the part of the organizers if they had increased the frequency of the buses and provided a good outline of what folks could expect (not much if you wanted to see ‘easy to see’ heavenly bodies such as planets because most of the astronomers had set up their instruments aimed at really far off stars and a slight shake of the instrument would require much adjustment), how crowded it would be (even I did not bet that it would be as crowded as it turned out to be), how long it would take (too long if you were not planning to spend a good two-three hours), and what facilities were available at the observation point (not much).

When the shuttle bus dropped us off, it was not at our starting point. It being dark and there being not much light, we were hopelessly disoriented. Fortunately for us, there were a few other people headed towards the general area where the rest of our party was waiting. Because they were staying in the lodge right there in the South Rim, they had a better sense of direction than us. Thanks to them, within the allotted time plus some added on, we got back to the restaurant where everyone was waiting for us.

June 20, 2010

World Cup Converts – A Katya Tale

Filed under: Family,Humour — Porcupyn @ 7:23 am

The World Cup has converted kids to Football spectators. How good are they at watching the game? Well, they now want the volume increased for the Spanish commentary on Univision and, if Baab is not watching, Katya screams “Annaaaa … Yellow card” as soon as a dude gets one!

And, of course, Baab tries to outscream the commentator each time a goal happens (“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL“) and Katya covers her ears with her hands and runs out of the room screaming for deliverance!!

PS (OT): Will we hear the IPL commentators replacing “DLF Maximum” with “Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks”??? 😉

June 17, 2010

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 6:04 pm

June 12, 2010

The Yamuna at the Taj – A Panoramic View

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 7:40 pm

Yamuna at Taj Mahal

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