Wednesday, March 28, 2007


All done filing the returns!! Yea!! I used TaxActOnline for the federal taxes and then filled out the MA tax forms. They can be downloaded from MaTaxForms

Looking forward to spending the return money!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who teaches you faith and religion?

I was having a discussion with my friend Arun who believes that faith and religion is something that the society teaches you. I kinda disagree with it. I believe that though the society has an influence over your life, faith and religion is something that your parents teach you. I feel like the faith that has been instilled in me about God, is something that my mom is responsible for. Oh, those countless temple trips that we had to make as kids. I never knew that those would be what makes me feel at peace in a temple now.

Wonder if I would feel the same had my family not been that religious?

Do the kids that grow up here feel a little indifferent towards temples and what they signify? Is it a place of worship, feeling One with God or is it just a place to go on a weekend being dragged by parents? I don't know how the kids in India feel either..

Is it a good thing to drag your kids to the temple? Do parents feel like its their job to do so? I don't know what I will do when I have kids..

Speaking of kids, Deepa and Premal are expecting a little one in July!! Yea!! She is the first one of *the girls* to have a baby.. Wonder how this is going to change her? Of course she might not have time for those crazy parties that she is used to ;-)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where to go for my birthday weekend?

I am thinking someplace nice and warm...

Options are..

1. Corpus Christi, TX -- Why TX you ask?, Its one of the states I've never visited
2. Myrtle Beach, SC -- SC , also another state I haven't been to.. Maybe you see a pattern here.
3. Puerto Rico -- Only because, Non US Citizens don't need a visa to visit
4. NYC -- See a Broadway Play..

I've been to Miami and San Diego, and don't want to go there again..

Suggestions are welcome..

Hong Kong and Beijing

Last year (March '06) my brother, Jay (or Raja as we call him..) was taking a class at Stanford that involved a trip to HongKong.. Not wanting to be left behind, I tagged along as well.. Here is what I thought of the trip..

Hong Kong feels like a nice "asian - british" city.. Feels very much like Bombay only way more advanced and clean.. Its very "Hi-Tech".. Their subway system is amazingly well organized. They have 5 lines and each line interchanges with one other line in atleast two places to avoid a single point of failure. Also, when you get off at a station to change to another line, you don't have to walk up or down the stairs to get to the other line. Its just across the platform. The trains are also coordinated such that you don't have to wait for more than a minute to get the other train. Most place have escalators. We also rode on the worlds longest escalator.

The first thing you see when you land in Hong Kong is stacks upon stacks of tall sky scrapers.. All about 30 storeys high. The city never seems to sleep. Most of the shopping places and restaurants are open till midnight. The other great thing about Hong Kong is their "parks". So, in the middle of the neighborhood with all these tall buildings and busy life of people, there are these small (about 900 sq ft) parks, where people come and hang out and can enjoy a few moments of peace. These parks have nice trees, benches and are quiet and peaceful.

They also have this stored value cash card called the "octopus card". The card with RFId. The card can be used on the subway, bus, vending machines, 7-11 type stores..

The people are also nice and most of them speak english. Infact, I was told that English is the official language of Hong Kong. Hmm.. I wouldn't mind living in Hong Kong..

China was nice too.. We visited Beijing. The city sprawls like LA. Its is built around 5 ring roads. We had a bit of a language problem there as no-one speaks (rather, wishes to speak) english. Fortunately, we had one person in our group who spoke a little Mandarin so, we could get by.

In Beijing, we saw the Tianemen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heavenly Peace, the Lama Temple and Mao's monument, where they have kept Mao's preserved body. Seeing the body was a bit eerie, because they had a small light bulb over his head whcih made his face "glow".

We also took a day trip to the Great Wall of china at the Mutianyu section of the great wall. Its about 50 miles from the city of Beijing and hardly has any tourists. It was very exhilarating to be there and see the wall. In the picture, To my left is my brother.. The rest are his friends from Stanford..

Food was nice. I am mostly vegetarian, so, it we had to look for a place that would have a nice vegetarian meal. It was mainly noodles, either in soup or stir fried with vegetables to be eaten with chop sticks. We also had Dim Sum a bunch of times.

The wierd thing in Hong Kong and Beijing was that people drank "hot" water with their meals, so, we had to order bottled water to get some "cold" water. The desserts were also, not very sweet and were often made with red beans. Or they would serve fresh fruit for dessert.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Business Trips

What is the optimal duration for a business trip? I think 1 day is too short and 1 month is too long..

I just got back from a month and half long, way too hectic, work 20 hours a day, trip.. We were working at the Keyport, WA division of NUWC.

The area was very picturesque.. I had a nice beach view out of my hotel room. I ate out every day on an expense account, and missed the snow storm here. I also made some new friends... We even got together to play some ping pong at the hotel. And, one day when we didn't have much work, we drove up to Hurricane Ridge, near Port Angeles.

On the other hand, The staff at the hotel had started to recogize me by name. The wait staff at the hotel restaurant knew exactly how I took my coffee and what I liked for breakfast. I had almost forgotten what my bed at home feels like..

And, I missed my friends back at the office.. When I did get back to the office today, I felt like things/people had moved on without me.. My friends were glad to see me come back, but, it was like I was out of the loop on a lot of things (People that know me, know how much I hate being out of the loop ;-)).. Like, these days, they play foosball every day after lunch.. All of a sudden, I felt like an outsider.

Is this how people returning home from War feel? -- I think this topic deserves a separate blog..

Oh yeah, I also missed Sital's birthday party.. Sorry girl.. We'll just have to get together soon and celebrate it again..