Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ragasthan

the last three days have been amazing. the bus reached at about 7pm on Friday night, and once we hastily unpacked and pitched our tents, we were all set to grab a bite and take in the music. rock, followed by edm, as the nip in the air turned into downright shivering weather, and we sipped on old monk and danced by a nearby bonfire. legs aching, fingers numb, we danced until the wee hours of the morning.

the tent and my sleeping bag (and half a bhaang cookie) got me snoring in no time, and i even slept through the blazing sun until 10am.

after a lazy morning, we finally grabbed brunch (an unlimited lunch buffet, in which we made quite literal use of the unlimited part), and then settled with our beers at the  stage until sunset. it started slow and easy, with some blues and rock & roll, and then got pretty folksy. definitely the highlight of Saturday.

we then layered up on our winter wear, and were back at the rock stage. a few familiar bands, including the guys from our bus, but since everybody was trying to get up close to the stage, we climbed a nearby dune and watched instead.

I decided to call it an early night, and settled into my tent around midnight. the tactic worked well, as I was up well before sunrise, and got the chance to take some photos while the edm stage was still blaring psychedelic trance. turns out a few people were still dancing... everyone else was asleep. i stationed myself near the electrical sockets and charged up my phone for the first time in almost 3 days (it still had a good 30% left!), and struck up a conversation with a mexican lady who was randomly sitting there. I packed at 830, wanting to get over with it as quickly as possible, since I had to presumably start walking from the campsite at 930 to catch the bus at 10. eventually, i learned that the bus was at 1130, and would pick us up from the campsite itself. I really wanted breakfast, but thanks to a friend offering me her chilli rice crackers, and the bar announcing that beers are being given away for free, the plan changed.

the 1130 bus left at noon, and reached jaisalmer at almost 130 pm. i thought i had lost the couple who i was supposed to travel with, so i tagged along with 3 others from ragasthan who wanted to visit the fort... until, luckily, i bump into them again, at the fort. we didn't enter the museum, but instead walked through the fort complex until we reached a tibetan restaurant, where we had a rather generously portioned lunch. after a bit of shopping on the way back (i brought a tee and a pair of rajasthani wooden puppets), it was almost time for the bus, and to bid farewell to jaisalmer, and a few hours later, to rajasthan.

the adventure didn't quite end there though. it turns out the site I booked my bus ticket on, booked me on a seat that doesn't exist. luckily though, there were a few unbooked sleepers, and I was assigned one of those. as a side effect, I had to share the double sleeper with far more people than I had bargained for. at its worst, there were 3 funky smelling men attempting to share a sleeper, and I spent 6 out of the 12 hours of the journey sharing it with 2 guys who didn't budge at all at any of the breaks (I almost missed dinner, thanks to them).

I reached the airport a couple of hours before my flight, and tried to sleep through most of the wait... with little success. I didn't sleep through the flight either. I changed into my office clothes in a restroom in the airport, and took a ric to office, possibly getting ripped off in the process.

the last three days have been amazing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

the ragavan

it's strange, how dreams have a way of fulfilling themselves. since last February, when nickolai told me about her experience of ragasthan 2013, i decided I had to go. when the organisers told her she'll definitely be part of the organizing team in 2014, I jumped at the opportunity to help out in whatever way i could, if it meant that i could be there too. planning started early on, but with the number of unknown variables that cropped up, things looked increasingly dicey.

in december, before I went on my year end vacation, it was decided that a major software release that i had been working on for 5 months, would go live the very same weekend. my manager flatly declined my leave. I was sorely disappointed. but then in Jan, he agreed to give me a day off. February 14th, the first day of ragasthan.

by end jan, it was confirmed that the official bus (the ragavan) would only return on Monday night. there were deals on flights, but no direct flight from jaisalmer. so i brought a bus ticket to ahmedabad, from where I could catch a flight home early Monday morning. I didn't book my flight ticket, because the bus going to ragasthan on Thursday evening was probably canceled... and if there was no bus, i couldn't go. I actually told my friends i'm not going.

a few days later, i actually went to the site where I booked the return bus, and tried to cancel it. the ticket couldn't be canceled due to a "technical problem". after a couple of tries, i gave up.

later that same day, the bus on Thursday night again seemed likely. i checked the site, to see if my cancelation went through. it hadn't.

i decided to throw my hat over the fence. i purchased my flight ticket, again at a discount, thanks to a deal that was announced the very same day. and i was now officially bus coordinator and travelBUD representative for the Thursday bus.

also, the return ragavan departure was rescheduled to Sunday evening, so i could even take just a half day off on Monday and not have to take my bus/flight. but i didn't want to take any more chances, especially with the way my work was shaping up.

the next week, I checked my leave balance. i had enough to even take Thursday off. I took a half day instead.

the week of ragasthan, my software release was postponed. i decided to stick to my plan though.

the week went terribly though. I had a bout of general depression on Monday, was in office until 10pm on Tuesday, and i was working from home after office *while* calling up all the people on my bus to ensure they don't get late on Thursday.

Thursday, on the other hand, went in a caffeine fueled adrenaline rush. i did a day's work in 5 hours, raced home, packed, and reached an hour before the bus' scheduled departure. people had already reached before me, and i had the craziest hour of my life, dealing with 36 people who were on their way or looking for me or looking for the bus, people texting, me returning tens of missed calls, dealing with last minute cancelations, substitutions, and even a last minute addition.

at 7:24pm, 6 minutes before we were scheduled to leave, everyone but the last minute addition had arrived.

we finally left at 8pm. luckily for me, everyone was amicable and cooperative, and despite numerous delays, i think everyone had a fun ride.

we're still on the bus, almost 24 hours later, after numerous adventures, including getting lost multiple times around 5am, having a breakfast halt where 30 people queued outside two extremely shabby Indian toilets, and finally didn't eat, a lunch halt where we had to help in the kitchen of this newly opened dhaba which had just one cook-cum-waiter, but had absolutely clean toilets... and the lunch cost us 83 rupees a head.

but we have almost made it now. and this dream already feels like it's come true.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hangout with Ellen Angove

Monday, February 10, 2014, 11:14 PM:

(someone named Ellen Angove pings me on google hangouts)
E: Are you busy??
K: kina
K: *kinda
E: Yay someone to talk to :-) !! how are u?
K: haha, i'm alive, yes
E: I'm great thanks for chattin with me I found your name in the google plus members search :) whatcha up to?
K: also, human
K: really? never knew you could do that
E: I would ask to exchange pics, but I think i'd rather see each other, u can see the real thing on my cam... u want to?
E: Click http://Join2Cam.com it's a more secure place with my cam u will have to verify your age so I'm not showing my pussy to a minor ;), i had to do it too but dont worry its 100% FREE and its alot of fun once u get in ;)
K: haha, no, thanks
E: no worries..thouhght u wanted to see me naked ..:)
K: haha... you're just a random person, wwhy would i?
E: u can just watch me if u want, or we can both get on ;-) make sure sign up, then it should connect you to my cam
K: why don't we meet? it's more fun
E: ok, fill out your info,first and last name, make sure you put your correct b-day k? I got something really sexy on for u lol ur gunna like this :-)
K: lol, describe it
E: Credit card, debit card, or atm is just to verify your age hun, your card will NOT be charged just validated see where it says that? like i said it's FREE... cant show tits and pussy to minors..you know? ;)

Yeah, once i figured it was a bot, i wanted to figure exactly how good a bot it was. turns out, probably something worse than what a 6th grader would have come up with in a lab session.

and i'm now turning my google+ privacy settings up.

Friday, February 07, 2014

birds love tablets

on days I go to bed early, i usually sleep in my parents room until they decide to go to bed. it works well for them too, because they can sit watching tv until the wee hours of morning without any complaint from me.

the only problem for them is when they finally decide it's bedtime, and i refuse to get out of their bed. and I'm usually dreaming by then, so i come up with the weirdest reasons to stay put.

i have no idea what last night's dream was about, but i'm guessing it had something to do with selling tablets to birds. and by tablets, i mean the electronic gadgets, not medicines.

the conversation went something like this:

d: get up, kris. we have to sleep now.
k: no, I can't.
d: you have to. your bed is made. it's 2 in the morning. come on!
k: i can't go there.
d: why not?
k: WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? I HAVE NEVER SEEN BIRDS THERE!
d: what?!!
k: there are no birds there!!!
d: why do you want birds?
k: because i can't sell tablets to birds IF THERE ARE NO BIRDS!
d: you're selling your tablet? you just purchased it!
k: no, I'm selling tablets! birds want tablets!
d: just go there and sleep.
k: why are you trying to make me sell tablets to birds WHERE THERE ARE NO BIRDS?!!
d: there will be birds in the morning. sleep now.
k: no, there will be no birds in the morning! I have never seen birds there!
d: *physically drags me out of bed*
k: where's my tablet?
d: you sold it. to the birds.
k: noooooo!
d: *picks it up from the bedside* here
k: good night
d: have some fruits if you're hungry. don't forget to gargle.

i mulled over this conversation while picking at an orange. i still felt like I had to sell tablets to birds. until I was in my own bed, and realized i had to blog this.

Monday, February 03, 2014

out of order

January was supposed to be a crazy month, but it looks like I've beat all expectations. I haven't had a "normal" week since mid December. luckily, i finally caught up my sleep deficit this weekend, and i've been completely well since Friday. i'm also back to some semblance of my diet. This week, I intend to get back to gym. next week, reading.

the week after that, i'll be at ragasthan, and hoping I don't throw my life out of order again.

I never imagined normalcy could be so elusive.

stressed out

recently, a talk organized in office by a cardiologist about prevention of heart disease and other related health issues highlighted the top...