Within half a mile of my run this morning, I came across this huge tree that had fallen across the trail. Was wondering what to do when two more runners cane along. One had a bright idea – let’s see if we can get around it. So, we entered the woods on the left and walked along the creek there for a few feet and then got back on the trail. It was pretty cool going into unchartered territories.
Couple of miles later, there was another roadblock – the trail was totally flooded. Those two runners had already sped off after the fallen tree and I never saw them again. My only conclusion was that they must have waded thru the water and proceeded on the other side. I was not up to that much of a adventure. So, I simply retraced my path and did a couple of up and down stretches to finish 6.2 miles…
… for a phone (that too landline) and a car. Those were the demands she had back in Oct 1992 before she would agree to marry me. (To put this in perspective, in those days in the small town we came from, both a phone and a car were novelties and not owned by most). Not one to give in to negotiations too early, I had simple frowned at her. She conceded immediately that it did not have to be very soon – just some time in our married life. I had un-frowned.
Two days later, I told her that we might have to get married earlier – in fact before even she could finish college – and get the passports ready because my company was transferring me to US.
First day, I land in US, my company had a landline and a rental car ready for us.
Easiest sale ever!!
Imagine this… I am on a 15 hour flight from Doha to Atlanta. There is a TV screen with a lot of movies but I do not watch movies. There are my favorite shows like Big Bang Theory, Friends etc but how many times can you see the same 10 episodes? Remember, I had to take a 15 hour flight going to Doha too. And I do this multiple times a year.
So, I was lazily looking into the progress of the plane on the map of the globe. It was showing on the globe where we were and our trajectory. Notice the picture on the top half. As you can see, we were somewhere around the New Foundland area in Canada.
Here is the problem:
I was trying to ascertain roughly where the north pole was in that map. Just to see how close did we go to the north pole. The problem is in this map, all of Greenland and the Arctic area is shown as one white blob.
I also want to let you know that the screen is a smart one like you have in iPad. You can use one finger to go left and right and using two fingers, you can make the globe rotate (on any axis – depending on how you swipe both fingers). As an example, I used my two fingers and slid them up and a little to the left. As you can see in the picture in the lower half, the world rotated on a horizontal axis and rotated to the left. You can notice how North America moved up and then the North pointer in the compass turned by 90 degrees.
The point is, using the two fingers, you can turn the globe on any axis as you want (going thru the center of the earth).
Using this, can you pinpoint where the North Pole is?
(Sorry Steve Jobs, for borrowing your line)
Apart from reliving all those memories from childhood – school friends, their parents, domestic help, mom’s sister… I did one more thing. Most of you in US will not be able to relate to this but one of our favorite comic books in India used to be Asterix. Originally written by Goscinny and illustrated by Uderzo (both from Belgium), this comic series is best appreciated with some knowledge of Shakespearian English and a rough idea about the Roman Empire. A little knowledge of Latin would make it perfect!
The puns are to die for!
“Vini, Vidi, Vibuci”, Julius Caesar exclaimed as he saw the tiny village of Gaul beat the heck out of his famed Roman army. If you are used to the “Vidi, Vidi, Vici – I came, I saw I conquered” line, there is a helpful translation of the line in the comic below the picture which reads – “I came, I saw, I could not believe my eyes”!!
Of course, how can one forget the nomenclature?
The Norman guys’ names always ended with “af” – Telegraf, Autograf, Timandahalf! The twin brothers on the ship? Firsthaf, Secondhaf!!!
The Romans’ (who were cast as villains) names always ended with “us” – commander of the army – Nefarius Purpus!!
And the indomitable Gauls had the “ix” suffix – Asterix, Obelix, the druid who made their potion – “Getafix”, the ironsmith of the village “Fuliautomatix”, the fish monger (who somehow always had rotten fish to sell) “Unhygenix”. The chief of the village? “Vitalstatistix”.
But the cream of the cream was the name of the wife of the chief of the village (who used to always nag him). Her name was simply “Impedimenta” 🙂
Managed to get the whole series of 36 comic books from India this time. (including the versions written by Ferri and illustrated by Conrad later). The suitcase was heavy as heck but it was totally worth it!!
Now you will excuse me if I do not surface for a few days.
(Vikram Das, we got to exchange notes sometime!!!)