Jul 13, 2007

Dark thoughts

He was day dreaming again. The voice of his friends were distant as he began staring at an imaginary point in space. He was going through another bout of depression. The weather was not doing anything to alleviate the mood. It was a beautiful day though. It had rained a bit and the temperature was bordering on the comfortable. But it was overcast just like his mind was. His friends were discussing the virtues of the chocolate cake. When under a spell of depression his mind shuts out all conversations irrespective of whether he is a part of it or not. At times like these he lends the speaker what they think is a patient hearing, though not a word of what they say registers in his mind.

The coffee was warm and he liked it that way. He took his first sip of it. Out of the corner of his eyes he spotted a couple walking towards them and occupying the table to his right side. He did not look at them directly. But he had gathered enough during the disinterested sideways glance that it was an Indian guy with an American girlfriend and the girlfriend was latched onto the arms of the guy. Personally he does not hold out anything against Indian males having American girlfriends. All these American born Indians do tend to have a number of them.

Opinions are not formed very easily when one is in a pensive mood. But when is disturbed during one of those preoccupations, then opinions form of their own and often tend to be jaundiced against the one who halts the train of thoughts. This was how he began to detest the new entrant. The voices of his friends were interrupted by the new comer who posed a rather intriguing question to them. "Are you guys Indians?". The pensive mood to which I have alluded before, tends to view such interruptions under poor light. Especially interruptions bordering on absurdity. It is absurd enough to be queried by a fellow Indian as to one's nationality. It is even more absurd when the query is made with an American accent. He can understand the difficulty faced by an American in differentiating between an Indian and an Indonesian. But it is far fetched to say that one cannot recognize his own countrymen. He decided it was to impress his Girlfriend who probably has seen as much Indians in her life as one gets to see Dodos. He did not bother turning around to answer the question though. His enthusiastic friends already affirmed in unison as to their true nationality. The new comer having been convinced that he is not addressing a set of Russians passing under the guise of Indians came up with another question as to the parts of India they were from. One friend took it upon himself to list out the different states which each represented.

When a stranger barges in during a conversation quite unexpectedly, the outcome will be a silence on the part of the conversationists, as each will debate within themselves as to whether they should get back to the topic of interest or exhibit courtesy by questioning the stranger in return. The group was in such a stage when the new comer posed another question as to the Departments and the Degrees they were pursuing. One of his friends replied quite earnestly to that. Her eyes displayed great emotion while answering. The new comer was excited at this and said that it is great. For him this was the last straw. He was convinced that this American turned Indian was looking at them as if they were objects of interest and something that he has never come upon in his life before. After all you get to see thousands of Indians in the US. What is the fascination in seeing four Indians from different states sitting together.

During all this, he did not even bother to turn around and the new comer probably sensed the the intrusion has not found favour with all the members of the group and so he began the customary concluding remarks. The new comer stated his happiness on having met them and also added that they were the first Indians he was conversing to in months.

He lost his equanimity and turned around to look at the guy fully in face for the first time. The only visible portions of the new comers face were his rather flashy sunglasses and a wide, stupid grin. His glare at the new comer did not seem to unnerve him. Rather it made him extend his grin. His girlfriend was looking at them with a grin too. Condescending looks, he thought.

The new comer stood up and said it was a pleasure talking to them and turned around. In the process he hit his knee on a chair next to him. He did not bother to look down and felt its back rest and pushed it out of his way. The girlfriend immediately rushed up to him and got hold of his extended hands and started leading him out of the cafe. The new comer reached out into his pockets and brought out a stick and with a wave of his hands made it unfold to thrice its original length. He went with the girl leading him by the hand and tapping the stick on the floor.

The warm coffee tasted rather bland and his preoccupation deepened as it began to rain outside.


Jul 1, 2007

Hocking Hills

I went with friends to Hocking Hills on June 30, 2007. Its a huge forest reserve in Hocking county with lots of tourist attractions like lakes, river, caves and waterfalls. It is a very famous camping spot too.
We first went to the Old Man's Cave. The cave is formed by a monstrous rock overhanging from a cliff. There were a couple of waterfalls and some streams. Tunnels were carved through some rocks to provide passage. The fresh air coupled with the greenery was exhilarating.We next stopped at Nelsonville, a small town. We went on a tourist train which took us 11 miles to the north of Nelsonville and then turned back and took us to a recreated village called Robbins Crossing, a few miles south of Nelsonville. People were indulging in activities like real villagers did back in the 1800s.
Our final halt for the day was for canoeing. If someone asks me what is the wildest thing I have done so far, this is it. I agree this is nothing compared to a white water ride or bungee jumping, but this has been my first experience in the realms of adventure sport. I went in a canoe with 1 guy. 3 were in another canoe. We started at about 8 PM. The water was on an average 2 feet deep in the river and on some stretches were 4 to 5 feet deep, but no more than that. We were first going in circles unable to control the canoe. Often we ran aground on the banks or rammed onto protruding rocks or fallen trees. After half an hour we got the hang of it.
Soon we were paddling past many people, most of whom were couples enjoying the moonlight. No such luck for me though. Soon it was pitch dark and we were not able to see anything and we were a bit afraid but soon got over it. After rowing for 5 miles we reached our final post. The canoe owners had lit a bonfire and served us marshmallows and different wines.
It was a memorable experience on the whole.


Warning: India Ahead

I wonder if any American would travel to India after reading this piece of 'Information' supplied by the Department of State. Especially, do not miss the info about Traffic Safety & Road Conditions.
Though I was incensed on reading it, on second thoughts I had to admit that it is an objective description of the true state of affairs.


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