Monday, June 30, 2008

Visit to Ahmedabad

I went this weekend to Ahmedabad, the main city in the state of Gujarat.

Edited to add link to pictures

It is a big modern city that is quite cheap compared to Mumbai. M.K. Gandhi lived there for a good part of his life, in an ashram where he was training people for civil disobedience (that's an oversimplification, but it'll have to do).
We saw the Sun Temple, in Modhera, and it was pretty impressive. I'll post the pictures whenever I get connected to the 'net again.
We visited some sights in and out of the city. I had a good time with a brother from the church. He invited me over for dinner, and I played with his daughter while him and his wife were preparing dinner. I was able to more or less understand her, thanks to my 'super' Hindi skills. She was very eager to show me her toys, saying all the time "dekho, uncle, dekho" (which means "look, look" in a more or less respectful way).
It was disappointing in some ways, because I wasn't more with disciples, and because the group I was with was not as 'go-go-go' on the traveling than I am. Still, I'm glad I went.
There are some pictures I took that I'm putting online:
Ahmedabad Trip

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The OpenMoko Cellphone is Out

This is pretty neat... the world's first open source cellphone is finally released to the public.

The site is suffering from the slashdotting right now, but when that is done, please go to OpenMoko.

Its a 400$ cellphone that has open hardware specifications, an open source software stack, and pretty neat features... Think about it... even wi-fi!
We'll have to wait and see what's the cost going to be like in India. If my offer letter is good, I might, might might have enough money for one. Am I being vain and materialistic?
Maybe... but my main desire is to support that initiative. The Open Source concept is rocking the world for the better but it isn't sheltered from economic realities...
I want to see this thing sold out, and teach a lesson to the industry: give us the phones we users want, not those that the suits at Rogers, Bell, AT&T, etc. want.

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100

I stumbled on Entertainment Weekly's top 100 English Books of the last 25 years. I'll know what to start reading when I'm done with my current stack :D

Wuz Zick

Hi everyone. Sorry for not posting for so long...

Well, I had two good friends with me for many days lately: Dia and Rhea :(
It reached the point I had to take antibiotics. I try to avoid that stuff, but sometimes the option isn't there.

Otherwise, life is OK. The rain mostly stopped, although it came back this week.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dryness and Peace-Seeking

It didn't rain today. I mean, not at all. It surprised me. I even got to see the sun!

I have been trying to have a spiritual moment, take a day out of the ordinary, but it didn't really happen as I would've like it to be. There were a lot of errands that I couldn't do yesterday that stood in the way.

I went to Nirvana Park, in Hirandani, and tried to meditate. With the kids and the people walking around, it was less than ideal. And, somehow, sleepyness assaulted me.

So, of this great day, I went to church, prayed some, read my Bible some, worked on a class for HOPE, worked on a message, yet, I'm feeling as if I've wasted it.
There is one hour and a half yet to it, so its not over, and God will make each one of them worth it.
What is the big deal anyway? I need to come to a decision about my future. Shall I stay in India or go back to the most beautiful place in the world (namely, Quebec)?
I looked at it from every perspective, and it looks like staying here would be good for me. But I have old fears tagging along.
What about my health? All that garbage in the street surely won't help me be healthy.
What about happiness? I need deep relationships to feel well, will those happen? Will I have the life balance that I need? Read books, cook some food worth eating? Learn something new? Laugh, dance, watch a game, watch a play, watch a movie with people who matter to me?
What about money? Will I end up super broke because of this decision? I'm paid in Rupees after all!
I feel there is a good likelihood of this to be OK, if not great. But I'd like to have no doubt left in me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monsoon :'(

Monsoon started in Mumbai for a week now.
Some of you may say... 'rain, so what?'

Well, let me put it that way:
Yesterday coming back from a friend's house on my bicycle, I had to cross major flooded areas of Andheri-Kurla Road, the main east-west road in Andheri.
"Normally", the pools of water would be deep enough to wet your shoes and the bottom of your pants if you walk in them, but you'd be spared in your cycle.
No such luck!
Many pools were ~ 30 cm deep, getting my shoes wet. The worst was having my water up to my knees! If I were standing, that'd be mid-tigh.
Oh, and there is trash floating in that water too. I think/hope that no sewage pipe bursted at that point...
That rain is seriously impacting your life. Going anywhere becomes complicated, traffic slows to a crawl, and avoiding the pools of water becomes like walking through a labyrinth... going from point A to point B has never been so twisted.
Yet, many Indians LOVE monsoon. It has something to do with the child-like aspect of running around getting drenched and not caring.
I'll beta test that one at some point and let you know ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Hungry Tide

Title: The Hungry Tide
Author: Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Harper Collins

The Hungry Tide is a tale of the tide country of West Bengal, where islands change shape on a daily basis. Although it is a work of fiction, it is rooted in local tradition, history and marine biology.

I found the reading enjoyable, although I still haven't got the 'love story' part of the book. Seriously, why is anyone falling in love with anyone here? The characters are together for something like a week, and some can't even communicate with each other... The character development seems to be happening via flashbacks of their past, but little about things that happen per se. Its a bit different form of storytelling, but it was enjoyable.

Anyway, I learnt a lot about fresh water dolphins, about West Bengal and the history of that little-known area. It made me feel like visiting that part of India, where the mighty Ganges river meets the ocean.

Read this if you are curious about India, but not if you like good love stories.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Refus Global

I have been anxious lately. Do I stay or do I go back to Québec?

Two things went back to mind.

One is from Jesus (Mt 6:34):
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

and a sentence from the refus global:
Fini l’assassinat massif du présent et du futur à coups redoublés du passé.

End the cascade of blows from the past which annihilates both present and future.

And you can read it in English too, titled Total Refusal.