Author: Adisha
•Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Image taken from Adi's cam

Yesterday, I did something I've never done before. Diligently tried to rally troupes forward, making them dance and sing on the rhythm of the drums and horns, making sure my growing army conquers one and all. You might be wondering how I managed to do all that, and all in one day. Well, I made the use of one of the latest technologies tool that allow you to have fun anytime, anywhere. The PSP. It allows you to store your data, listen to your music, updated news, view photos and among other Fun functions allows you to play the current game of your choice.

I for one, am not much of a gamer, which anyone who knows me will vouch for. Sure, I will dabble in this and that at the arcades or the laptop or PSP. I'm just as good as the next person, who enjoys fooling around with virtual cars, bikes, motor boats or guns. A once in a while playful visitor to the gaming zone. But a new "fever" overtook me yesterday. The joy of banging drums that "talked" to the " tribe" . Any gamer worth their salt is sure to have heard of this newest addition to the world of PSP games. Recently, having gifted it to my hubby, I wondered what it was that got that gleeful look in his eyes after he came home from work, having played the game during the commute. I mean, cars and guns, sure, thats anyone's piece of cake. It's a guy thing. But having seen the reviews and the trailer of the game, I wasn't quite convinced how much fun, game based on maintaining Rhythm would be.

So, yesterday, after gentle coaxing of my hubby to try it, I entered the world of tiny tribal miniature creatures in this wondrous game - PATAPON. And was hooked ! To my hubby's extreme delight and bewildered amusement, making use of his patient explanations that encouraged me play a bit longer after I got exasperated in the first try, I ended up playing for almost three hours running. The tiny voices, the snide remarks when you are unsuccessful, the funny one eye patapons, the dancing trees, the weird animals and birds, pulled me into their midst. Taking on the role of the deity, the challenges to build my army with various kinds of patapon looking for food, figuring out what items to use to maximum advantage to give birth to new soldiers, making the Itchy tree dance and last but on the least fighting the evil Zigaton tribe made me wrack my brain for the optimum way of achieving the best result.

The magic of this game is in it's simplicity. Just when it lets you fall into a sense of security of having figured out the rhythm of the various beats so that you can move your army forward or launch an attack, it throws you a nasty curve which leaves you scrabbling to once again try to get back into the Groove and try to reach the FEVER pitch. The Fever allows you to gain an advantage over your current challenge, which can only be attained if you are being consistent in playing the PATA, PON, CHAKA or DON. Many a times you get so involved in what's going on in the video that you momentarily get thrown off track and forget the song that you thought you knew by heart a moment ago. The slightest distraction becomes unwelcome, for the fear of losing the grip you have so pain painstakingly achieved.

A novice like me can't really comment much on the technicalities of the game. Yet, for the first time, I got a tiny insight into the world of the gamers, where no goal is too far to achieve or no level too high to climb. A a sense of respect and admiration has now replaced the wonder I earlier felt for those who are willing to sit patiently for hours together sharpening their tactics. And least to say, Patapon has got a new admirer. This brings to memory my sheer enjoyment in playing the game in which a Big yellow dot repeated the words " pac man pac man" while eating power bites and running away from ghosts. Now, I just can't wait to put the headphones back on and groove to the music giving the calvary and myself another chance to embark on the journey to the Earthend. I'm also looking forward to giving my brother, an avid gamer himself, a taste of this two dimensional, beat loving world. But first, I need to find a way to pry the PSP out of my hubby's hands ...
Author: Adisha
•Monday, April 28, 2008
It's raining today and I'm in another one of my philosophical moods. You have to excuse the wanderings of a volatile mind. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the Durga Temple, on RT 27, Princeton. And I'm pleased to say it brought on one of those rare moments in which I feel truly proud of being a Hindu. Though I was feeling more blessed since the trip to that temple was seemingly fated. We seldom visit temples and yet this trip turned a regular day into an almost magical one with all the signs that seems to be flying around. I'm being cryptic here but it's just a feeling without any sound basis. The temple though just a building from the outside as one could imagine in a foreign country, is the epitome of human faith in the Gods, in all forms as we know them. The Idols ( murtis ) are incredibly beautiful in all their splendor having been dressed up to perfection. In all gold and silver and bright pinks and yellows that refresh the eyes and soul. The feeling around the temple is one of calm and awe that comes from strong faith. All around me was the dignified silence of people in prayer, even though I could see the continuous upkeep being done to maintain the Idols. I have seen enough temples to recognize that This one was unique and impressive in more ways than one where the presence of God could be felt, sans the sounds of the people who are vocal in prayer.

These days, specially in India, it's hard to feel blessed in a temple without having to stand in a long line and pray loud enough so that you can be heard above the babel of the crowd. And then there is the sad state of the actual temple that makes you wonder where exactly all those donations end up. Recently, relatives of mine desired to donate some ornaments for the statue of Lord Shiva and were stopped by the temple authorities from adorning the God. On asking for an explanation, there mere answer was that They should have been consulted before, as to what needs to be donated to the temple. I may not be learned in the scriptures but I do know that one's faith is one's own and what they desire to do in the name of God is their choice. Why then, would anyone want to stop you, when you were donating something and Not taking away ?! Such events tend to disillusion one as to what actually people do, in the name of God, when they are adamant on having donations in exactly the means they desire. Yesterday, I was pleased to see there are people out there who even in far off lands, try to keep up the traditions in all their splendor and more. For in only such a place could One actually feel completely enthralled by the presence of God.

Specially, someone like me, who isn't really religious in the traditional sense, though I'd like to be but lack the necessary faith to make it a part of my routine. It was a unique experience to have my faith re instituted by the mere sight of beauty of the Idols present. It was almost like they could look at me and their perfection defied me to contradict Their existence. Never have I been so moved to the point of total belief. Except maybe at Sidhivinayak in Mumbai , Mahim church also in Mumbai and a church I'd visited when I was quite young in Goa. For me, Hinduism has always been a way of life, and I have always enjoyed the freedom it allows me to practice my faith in Any way that I please. Be it in a temple, on the road or lying in my bed having a one to one with the Big Guy knowing that He's always around to lend a ear with all His understanding. I have a close friend to thank for re assuring me of the fact that God is all forgiving as He understands best who you are and what you're going through at every point of your life. In time, I came to understand too, that though He might not answer me right away and magically solve my difficulties, things to have a way of working out in the long run. I'm sure He has his reasons for all that happens, after all it's our choices that affect our life in the end. He can only guide the way or give us a nudge in the right direction. Being honest and kind to all and trying your best to follow a righteous path is the essence at the end of the day. All that's meant to happen will happen in it's own good time, provided we Try to make the best decisions we can whenever a fork comes on the path we're walking on and keep walking in good faith.

I'm not sure, but that's how I'd like to believe things work. Having lost my faith in every sense of the word and having had it restored in due time, I've come to believe that there is a reason for all that happens provided we keep our eyes open and try to learn from every experience. My belief in God and his ways is still a work in progress, growing stronger slowly and surely. Though it still haunts me why some people who are truly faithful and religious never get their just dues despite being loyal and true in life as well. And find some others, who are religious in every way, though not exactly honest to anyone else, are amply rewarded ( or so it feels ). I'm well aware that everyone has their own demons to tackle but then why is it that some of higher faith seem to be tested more than others ?! Maybe it's just God's way of telling them that they have yet more to learn ?! Sometimes I wish that life came with a set of instructions at birth with consequences attached. That certainly would make things easier for all of us. Oh wait ! We do have those instructions, passed on from generation to generation in the form of teachings of the Bible, Quran, Gita, mythological stories or just words from elders. It would do us good to keep in mind the meanings behind tales of mythology or others' experience.

Maybe as years go by and I learn more in life, I'll have a better understanding of how the power of faith actually works, but for now, I'm just thankful for all that's come my way and pray for a more prosperous future for myself and all that I hold dear. Hopefully, a day will come when all our questions will get answered, one way or another. Till then I guess all we can do is hold onto our own set of beliefs and have faith for in the end, without Hope there would be no Life.
Author: Adisha
•Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There's something about coming back home from a long time spent away. The comfort of knowing that is your domain to do as you may. And for me, this was a revelation as till Now, I was missing my own home, the one that I spent days before my marriage in. Where all my friends are, wondering when I would be making the trip back.

I guess, having put together furniture and tit-bits to make a home that's comfortable and to our exact taste is what makes is My Own. They say home is where the heart is, and it makes perfect sense that a person reminisces about their own comfort zone when in another land. I'm sure it may have more to do with the personality we give the place as per our designs rather than the actual place but it was incredible that even though I was having the time of my life and enjoying the leisures provided, I had a nagging sensation that I was missing something. Something essential to my being.

I was just ecstatic imagining being back in My bed with the comforter and my table lamp, books and things just the way I like them. Watching my favorite TV shows and enjoying my favorite meals. What struck me as I entered was the smell. Closed houses all might invariably get enveloped in the same musty, closed smell. But This reminded me of the apartment I spent the first decade of my life in, and it was amazing as it brought back memories i hadn't thought of in ages. Those old days spent jumping around on the bed. My parents picking me up and hauling me around. Splashing around in the bath. Running around the house creating a ruckus with the neighborhood kids. Being fed after school, while watching Popeye, Tom and Jerry or Betty Bo Beep. Playing with my Barbies in the doll house my dad put together. Dancing around in my clothes tailored by mommy dearest. Playing with toys collected over the lavish birthday parties. Good times indeed.

And now, I make a home of my own. To build my own memories in with my own family. Memories that make up our whole lives. Those precious moments always willing to be relived over and over again bringing a smile to our faces each time. Like our trip to Memphis. That seems like a distant dream now. As soon as our feet hit the Newark airport, it was hard to believe those wonderful days had actually been spent in another place. As days go by and I look at the pictures over and over again, I think of how blissful those days were and how wondrous it is to be able to come back to a place that we together call Home.

Author: Adisha
•Friday, April 11, 2008

Memphis is definitely growing on me. The warm, balmy weather, the mighty Mississippi, the long walks around the town, the cute trams on the road, the colorful places, the friendly people and above all the total relaxation one finds in just being on vacation from the usual. BEALE street with it's colorful bars and great music is just tantalizing. And the food I've been enjoying, is just to die for. Specially, since it's not me doing the cooking.

Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of wonderful company and a cozy evening. Thunder, lightning and rain aside, it was just pleasant being shown around the pretty sights. Their cats and beautiful home, all in the midst of a pretty little village were just a sight to behold. And the watercolors that adorned their home, my oh my ! It totally amazed me that someone I knew had such a vast collection, brought together over the years from all over the world. I never get to see much of art or paintings that I'd like to but to be able to feast my eyes on such works of art in a single evening really made my day.

The way colors in a picture jump out at you, and to only imagine how wondrously the artist put together a picture with their own hands conveying to us the colors they see. To see a place through the eyes and art of another only goes a long way in educating one of the vast amount of talent and beauty hidden in every crevice of the world. It is astounding how any person can so vividly to able to put their expression onto a canvas and in turn capture the admiration and respect of another.

I had visited MOMA ( Museum of Modern Art) recently and though I'm sure people much more articulated and cultured than me would disagree, I failed to understand how lines crossed to intersect at a point or a crumpled paper could in any way be conceived as art ?! It was incredible how even a Blank canvas with red paint splashed across it in different shades, discovered many years ago in a house was considered art by concocting a detailed explanation of what the artist Might have thought. Who's to say that wasn't someone testing what shade would suit their walls? The visit to the museum was interesting, entertaining and at quiet a few places totally incredible, albeit questionable to the common mind as to why and how certain pieces come to be declared as outputs of talent. How Does one compare crayon like markings to a Monet ?! I'm at a loss to comprehend such a vast difference. Maybe at a later point in time, being more educated on the same, I might understand but I can't at this point of time help being amused and baffled.

Once again, I only bring this up in contrast to the instant in which you look at a painting filled with vibrant colors, of a scene in a far off land and it simply takes your breath away. A watercolor that is so detailed in it's finesse and so vivid in it's tones that you can almost imagine yourself in another time and place. A vision that holds you in it's clasp so tightly that you find yourself being lost in each stroke and marvel at the talent that created the masterpiece. Call me a orthodox but That's what I call art. I only hope to get more chances to be thrilled by such marvelous works of art, allowing me to humbly play the part of the raptured audience.

Author: Adisha
•Wednesday, April 09, 2008
It's paradoxical somehow. The beauty of flight in comparison to the discomfort one has to endure in order to travel from one place to another. Specially, here in the US. I would have thought that air services would be much more pleasing in this land of endless possibilities ( so to speak ). But I find myself once again being disillusioned. The tax dollars and ticket price might be working over time somewhere, but it's certainly not in passengers' comfort and convenience in aviation !!

I sat at the airport hours earlier in order to avoid any last minute mishaps. Staring at my ticket that said flight timings are 50 - 60 % on time ?! True to it's word, the flight boarding time was postponed twice as was the number of the gate to be boarded. At least they try to keep us on our toes, providing much needed exercise. Once on board, claustrophobia engulfed me as I tried in vain to make myself relatively comfortable. It didn't take long for me to drift off , thanks to running around I mentioned earlier. I jerked awake 15 minutes later, only to find us still on the run way maybe hoping for the sky to clear or the previous planes that were late to take off ?? Here I can only speculate, as no solid information was provided to us at any given time. I found myself hoping that our connecting flight would also be delayed so as to avoid any further problems for ourselves and our cherished luggage. My husband assured me that there was no way we were going to be receiving our luggage at our destination giving me various permutations. During our flight, we were treated with the least courtesy the air staff could muster up. Finally reaching at the connecting destination we ran along the airport looking at gate numbers 11,10,9,8,6, searching for Gate 7 which was to our bewilderment hidden between a coffee shop and Gate 5. At one point we even wondered if maybe we could pick a leaf from Harry Potter and board the plane by running between gates 8 and 6. With minutes to spare once on the connecting flight, we were relieved to say the least. And found great amusement in the lazy voices of the steward and hostesses convincing us to use our seats as floating devices should the " flight turn into a cruise ", a tactic I'm yet to ascertain to be a scare tactic. We found ourselves giggling as such tidbits of humour were been inserted into the usual mundane announcements that are made on the plane. The air hostess had clearly tried very hard to come up with such amusing twists in order to keep the passengers entertained, and I for one was grateful.

In complete contrast to the discomfort and frustration was the beauty of the flight taking off over the clouds. Going higher over the cotton balls and looking at the sun set far below was a sight for sore eyes, pun intended. Once again I found myself, marvelling at the magic of aviation that allows us not only to reduce the time spent in travelling but in being able to see the beauty of the sky so high in all it's glory. Seeing the houses below and how man has constructed houses, roads, pools, cities is just incredible. To fathom the vastness of the earth below and then to imagine the unexplored universe, seems practically impossible till you are high above looking down at everything that nature and man has created. Good or bad, it's all right here. As the night set in, the cities lit up in all colors like the sky does with it's millions of starts. At one point, it was hard to conceive where the earth ended and the stars began. On the other hand, letting my imagination go wild for one moment, I even imagined earth to be similar to Star Ship Enterprise floating around, hoping to find someone else out there one day. The magic of electricity, my friends ! I know science is the actual root of all that allows us to ponder over such things, but Magic is just a better word.

Well, finally I'm down here, in a new city now. Our luggage miraculously made it and with my tales to friends I learnt that such horrors are common place in the lives of passengers flying in any US airlines. Either the flight is delayed, the seats are cramped, the luggage arrives late or is misplaced or you just might get onto the wrong flight with all the confusion. Travel by air in the US hardly seems worth it. But now that I'm sitting on the 12th floor, overlooking the Mighty Mississippi it I'm just glad to be here now and hope I make it back home in one piece.