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Archive for March, 2011

Changing seasons

March 29, 2011 2 comments

I turn off the alarm and walk sleepily towards the kitchen. As I charge the French press, I turn around to look outside. It’s past dawn, and an overcast sky blocks the view of the mountains. A light fog lingers in the air.

I strain the coffee, and walk out of the kitchen. At the patio, I realize that there’s no fog – it’s actually snowing! After a balmy weekend, snow is totally unexpected. But then this is Denver – if you don’t like the weather, all you have to do is wait for 5 minutes.

Outside the house, I put on my tuque – after almost three weeks. The snow blows into my eyes, and I have to keep looking down. It has been accumulating on the parked cars, but on the road, the snowflakes melt instantly. From my seat in the bus, I look at the traffic outside – the windows are covered with rivulets of water, and everything appears hazy.

At the Light Rail station, everyone is huddled under the shed,waiting for the train. Across the tracks, the interstate is wet but crowded as usual. When the train arrives, the people rush inside, relieved to be warm again. I am the last to step in, and stand next to the step well – this way I will catch wafts of chilly air at every station.

Somehow, once the winter is past, everyone longs for warm weather. For me, a change of weather is always welcome.

Thought for the day

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

“Life is suffering”

    – P. L. Deshpande, Hundred Percent Peston Kaka

Searching for a robot

March 17, 2011 2 comments

I thrust my hands into my jacket’s pocket, for Denver is always chilly after sunset. As I pass the leasing office, I stop and look at the sky. There are no clouds tonight, and so I get a splendid view of the moon.

Usually, whenever I look at the sky I fantasize about Foundation. Could something like that really happen? Would it?

But today, my thoughts trail to the end of the series. Fifteen years ago, when I first read the books, an abandoned and radioactive earth was just another plot in a story. Today – the odds of that happening, though minuscule, are significant enough to be worried about. How many generations of my descendants will know the Earth as a beautiful planet? I really don’t know, and I’m scared to think about it.

Where are you, R. Daneel Olivaw? The world needs you, more than ever.

An act of kindness

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment

My train reached the 16th & California station at 8:15AM. I walked till 16th Street, and turned right towards Republic Plaza. Most people turned along with me, but some crossed the street to get their bagels from Einstein’s. As I reached Glenarm plaza, the signal turned red, and I waited for the vehicles to go their way.

On the other side of 16th Street, a man was struggling in a wheelchair. He wanted to cross Glenarm plaza too, but seemed intimidated by the flow of traffic. Again and again, he went closer to the street, only to come back to the safety of the walkways. While he was hesitating, I noticed another person step up to him and say something. When this man straightened up, I saw the jolly bearded face and immediately recognized him – he was David, and he works in my office.

I don’t know what transpired between them, but David got behind the wheelchair, and pushed it across the street. Then, he smiled in lieu of a goodbye, patted the other man’s shoulder, and continued on his way to office.

The Sailor

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

At last, he was ready to inspect the sail. He had spent the last two days going over every part of the yacht, laboriously verifying that everything was as it needed to be. His body ached, but in his heart he was happy. The yacht – that one that he had built – was seaworthy after all.

As he sat down for dinner that night, his old friend approached him. “You created that yacht just yesterday, and tomorrow you are taking her to the sea? It’s a masterpiece, a brilliant creation. In the high sea, the waves will take their toll on the keel, and the salty air will cause the metal to rust. It won’t be beautiful anymore. And what will people say when they see that – they won’t believe that you have any skill at all.”

“My dear friend,” replied the shipwright, “I did not create this yacht so that people will know that I can do it. I created it so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.”

Saying this, he raised his glass in a toast, and drank to the success of his forthcoming voyages.

Moriturus te saluto (well, almost)

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

I have been a photography buff for about 15 years now – but not the kind that collects cameras and lenses and struts around in full photography gear. For the most part, I think about photography.

Thinking about photography?

Yes, you got it right. What I like to do is to think about possible images that can be captured, no matter where I am. What would be the best composition? Whether to use a large aperture or small? What part of the scene to capture and highlight? And between these thoughts, when I happen to have a camera around me, I click the photo.

Right now I have a good Canon Point-and-Shoot camera, but I have also used SLRs (though not digital ones). The first SLR I used belongs to my father (who got it from his father). It is an Agfa camera with a fixed lens – no zoom at all. I ruined two films when we went to the “Char-dham Yatra” – both films were overexposed. However, the next time I used it (when studying engineering), I was careful and was able to shoot better pictures. They are still with me; my memories of one place which will always have a special place in my heart.

In 2005, I purchased an Olympus SLR (again, film – not digital). Me and my wife could enjoy it only for two years – it was stolen in late 2006. Then came a simple Kodak Easyshare (which broke down last year), and now the Canon.

But a Point-and-Shoot is not what I really want. While our Canon does take great pictures, it doesn’t offer the controls that I love to have in a camera. And most importantly (for me) – there’s no control over bokeh.

The summary – I need a new SLR. Though there are quite a few good options in the market, my budget forces me to look only at entry level Canons and Nikons. Both of these make excellent products, but on handling them in stores, I found that I like the Nikons more. So this week, I will place an order for a Nikon dSLR. I would love to (and want to) post my photos, but then that poses a serious problem – copyrights.

If my photographs are around on the net, I would want them to carry watermarks indicating my copyright information. But doing so would jeopardize this blog – by ridding it of the privacy. That’s something I am very afraid of doing – the reason I have been able to publish so many posts is the anonymity that High On Coffee offers. Putting my name here would be tantamount to signing a death warrant for myself.

In summary – I will have to start a new blog. One where I can post content with my name on it, without any fear whatsoever. What’ll be the name of that blog? My lips are sealed.

But keep looking for new photo blogs out in the blogosphere, will you?

What’s cooking?

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

I love to cook – it’s one of the ways I try to unleash my creativity on my family. Although there have been some mishaps and experiments along the way, there are a few items that I can cook well. No, I’m not bragging – I mean it. Pulav, Chhole, Rajma, Upama – and basic cakes too.

Last weekend I baked an egg-less rawa cake for our daughter. She thoroughly enjoyed it (praising it in her own sweet little way), and so did my wife. However, I was not as impressed myself – it didn’t turn out as soft and spongy as I had wanted it to. When I told this to my wife, she suggested that I bake a cake with eggs in it – something I am reluctant to do.

It’s not that I don’t like eggs; it’s more like a mental block. Somehow I always feel that I will mess up the whole thing if I add eggs to the mix. Well, my wife has convinced me to go for it anyways (and I know she spurs me on and motivates me in a way no one else can). So this weekend it’s cake time again.

But first things first – I need to go out and buy some eggs.