Saturday, October 8, 2011

So I finally got my underwater housing which I will be using to take pics during my next scuba dive. The entire housing looks quite big but is very simple and easy to use. I was really fascinated by the fact that all the functions of the camera are available on the outside of the housing like zoom, shutter speed, aperture control and even the flash light. The camera has a 7.1 optical zoom and the housing has space available for the lens to expand during the zoom. Understandably, I am even more excited now and can't wit for Friday to come when I go and dive in the sea on the coast of Abu Dhabi. Will definitely be posting pictures and experiences from that dive.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First Fun Scuba Dive

So this morning I went for my 5th and 6th scuba dives. This was the first time I was diving without an instructor and was literally left in the water to explore the seas along with my buddy, Irfan. The dives were each about 50-55 minutes long and I enjoyed them very much. From the moment I hit the water, I felt as if I was born to do this. Going up and down in the coral bed, watching the fish and feeling the flow of water all around me is a sensational experience. One, which I have been lucky enough to enjoy. I felt as if I am one of them, one of the thousands of fish in the water. 
I was careful not to disturb the fish when I was there but I could see they were aware of my presence in the water. Sometimes they would look at me looking at them and admiring their colour and behaviour. At other times they would just ignore me and go about their business as if to say "yeah, we have seen plenty of humans like you".One particularly large fish chose to follow us around in the water. It was as if it had decided that it would see what we were up to and make sure we don't do any harm to its home. I hope I was able to prove its suspicions wrong. 
I am really looking forward to more fun dives and interacting with these fish species on a regular basis. Until the next time then. Ciao.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Scuba Diving #2

So I finally got my Scuba diving Open water course license last week and it was quite an experience. After the chummy and not so fun first dive, I was prepared a bit better and had lots of fluids in my system before the dive. I also took an anti-seasickness pill to keep things under control. The 4 dives over the course of 4 days were just to good to be put into words. The visibility was not of the highest quality because of the sand and the clutter in the water due to construction activities. But the atmosphere was splendid. The fish, the corals and the sparkling light filtering into the water all have to be experienced. I wish I had an under water camera to get some snaps of the beautiful under water world. Maybe, that is one thing I can invest in to enhance the diving experience.
I have met some wonderful people through this activity of mine. The saying that divers know how to have fun down under is so very true. Now I plan to explore some other waters of the world. On the list is Oman, UAE and some other spots in Asia. Hopefully will be keeping readers up to date.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scuba Diving #1

So this summer I decided to get out of my house and tackle the sun and heat and humidity of Abu Dhabi in a kickass way. I enrolled for a scuba diving lesson at a nearby PADI centre and it has been quite some experience. I had to go through some reading material and give some theory tests before entering the swimming pool with my scuba equipment for a couple of confined diving lessons. You are taught some really cool skills like underwater movement, breathing, some emergency skills too. The instructor I have is a South African and he is a very fun loving always laughing kinda guy. 
After two sessions in the pool, we went to the open sea at a site called the Delta Buoy. The boat trip was about half an hour long and the weather was sultry to say the least. I was on empty stomach and felt a bit dizzy. Still I decided to dive at that site and see what happens inside the ocean. I did not want to miss my first dive for whatsoever reason. So I got my gear on and jumped in. The water was warm but visibility was very poor about 4-5 metres at best. The ocean floor was about 9-10 metres deep and once we reached the bottom there was corals and jellyfish galore. We played with a few sea urchins and swam a bit as part of our first dive. I started feeling uneasy again and at the same moment, a friend of mine even got stung by the jellyfish. We surfaced immediately and put some vinegar onto the cut. The pain receded in some time and he was okay. But I was not. The heat and the water got to me and I felt really nauseated and puked a couple of times. The instructor told me it happens with many first timers and I should not be worried about it. He gave me some meds and told me to sleep in the shade in the boat. As a result I could not go for the second dive which was in much calmer, cleaner waters. I will give it another go next week. The good thing is that it happened with me the first day and now I will be prepared for the worst both mentally and physically. 
The excitement is still there and I am itching to get the certification done and do some fun dives all over the world. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It has been a long time I have not written anything philosophical. I found this piece on the internet and thought of sharing with you. 
Whenever you feel bad about something that someone has done to you, rather than blaming that person and thinking of them as being a bad person, remember that people are here just to show you a mirror,reflecting the part within you that wants to feel a certain way. You may think: why would l want to feel worthless or have someone nag at me?? Well, if you take a deep breath and think about it, you will realize that you have a habit of putting yourself down and nagging at yourself, even if you don't say it aloud, you are sending out energy and vibrations that say "I'm unworthy of love, appreciation and respect...I need to be nagged on do things...I'm not good enough".
Everyone else is just responding to these vibrations and helping you become aware of your own relationship with yourself, so that you can see this and start to change your feelings about yourself. Everyone is here to help us to recognize our own deeper beliefs about ourselves, so think of it as a favor that they do for you so that you can see what needs to be fixed within you and become more whole and complete within yourself. Once your relationship with yourself improves, it will transform all other relationships in your life. 
by Zimmy Khan

Friday, August 12, 2011

What is Wrong with the Indian Cricket Team?

A little more than 4 months ago, I was ecstatic at what my favourite cricket team had achieved. We had won the world cup and were the number one side in test cricket. The Board of Control for Cricket in India was (still is) the strongest and the richest board in the world. Our batsmen were the best, bowling better than most and even the captain was considered the coolest and smartest. In short everything was shining and success and glory was everywhere you looked. Be it ODIs, test cricket or even the T20 in which we had the most attractive domestic tournaments in the world (the IPL).
So what has changed since then? Why do I need to write a blog post about things that are wrong with this team? In the last 3 weeks this team has been humbled by an English team who have been rising steadily and improving remarkably for some time now. The way the English won the last Ashes spoke a lot about the quality of their test team. It is understandable that India are missing a few crucial performers due to injury and fatigue but that can not be taken as an excuse for a poor showing. So what is wrong with this team?
First and foremost, this Indian team is not improving in skill and quality. In my opinion every player in this team has given their best performances in the past and yes I am counting the youngsters as well. Unless they work on their technique and skill I don't see them giving a better performance in the future. Even SRT, Dravid and Laxman need to give world class performances everytime they step in or else their ageing bodies will take a toll on the team. Secondly, the team is tired at this point of time because of lack of bench strength. So many players play all the three formats throughout the year and it causes mental and physical fatigue. Change of coaching staff may also have an impact and what Duncan Fletcher will do to change that remains to be seen. Mind also goes to the fact that after so much success, have the players forgotten what it was to work hard in times of hardship? I hope not but I fear they have.

Dropped catches in the third session of the day speaks of low confidence and concentration, which you don't really associate with the Wall. Lethargic body language and hands in the pocket were so common in the field. This post should not be considered as a criticism in bad times, because we all have done that a lot. We Indians love to hack the team when they don't do well, but this is something totally different. This performance is so bad I can say for sure, I have never seen such shoddiness in my lifetime. Comments and replies are most welcome.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tennis Remembrances

While I waited for the Federer vs Monfils QF to start at French Open 2011, mind wandered to how I started watching Tennis for the first time. Monica Seles being stabbed comes to mind, so does watching an oldish Martina Navratilova playing beautiful tennis at Wimbledon. But the reason I really started watching tennis was because of Pete Sampras and his rivalry with Andre Agassi. The constant battles in every grand slam was fun to watch and I was a Sampras fan through and through. One of the main reasons I hate Federer so much is that he took the title form Sampras. I know Pete was getting old and all that but hey we all have our reasons right?

Legendary names like Henman, Courier, Ivanisevic, Hingis, Sanchez Vicario and many more came to mind. Hearty thanks to Abhinav for reminding me of the good ol' days when there was no Fedex and no Nadal. As far as the present goes I remain loyal to the spanish rockstar, Nadal. Federer is on a decline and I don't think he will be able to win a single slam this year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Head Lice and Bands

While chatting with fellow EA members from the US, UK and Australia I came upon a piece of information I was not aware about my nic name. Nits as most of my friends call me is another name for Head Lice. However, as I work in a Dutch organisation I also came to know that there is a very popular band called the Nits. Of course we in India have National Institute of Surathkal which shortens to NITS as well. In short wherever I go I am super popular.
Its amazing sometimes how if you talk to people from different countries they have different opinions and understandings of the same thing. I still love this nic and thank a certain Anshul from Chandigarh to have given me this legendary name. 


Friday, May 6, 2011

Fast Five and The Rock

The jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eye brow raising, the best in the present, future and past, and if ya’ll don’t like me you can kiss the people’s ass! 

Fast and Furious 5 is one hell of a movie. So much so that I who usually don't have an opinion about non SRK flicks have been forced to write a blog. And its all because of one man. Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. He and Vin Diesel are magnificent in the movie. The action is mind blowing and the charisma both of them bring to the screen is incomparable. When they were exchanging punches you couldn't decide who will come tops in the end. 
But for me the movie was more about the man from Cali, the man who charmed me and my brother in our childhoods and the man who referred himself as the most electrifying man in sports and entertainment. His and HHH's was so important to us that we learnt all their moves and styles. We even had a championship belt. The rock bottom and the People's elbow were our favorite moves and we even learnt to talk trash from him. Some quotes went like "The Rock’s gonna take your monkey ass down to the corner of Know Your Role Boulevard and Jabroni Drive and check you in to the Smackdown Hotel!". Some of his more famous punchlines included:
"Finally the Rock has come back to ............. (the place where he was :D)"
"The Rock says ...................(usually something to cheer the crowd and insult HHH)"
"If you smellllllllllllll what the rock is cooking". This was also the starting of his entry music.
He was one wrestler who wasn't really interested in girls. He was the people's man and even though we knew it was scripted every time rock would land the elbow on the chest we both loved him and cheered for him.
The movie is awesome but for Rock lovers it is more than that. Go For it Today 5/5

Sunday, May 1, 2011

is IPL good or bad??

I would like to refer to an article written by Sanjay Manjrekar about the IPL. he said IPL gives the opportunity for ex cricketers to earn a livelihood and thus sustain their lives and those of their families. He was talking about people who find themselves like fish out of water when they are away from the cricketing field. In some ways he is right. Imagine an I-banker who is forced to work as a civil engineer after 15 years of working as a big shot in the investment world. Let's now look at the other end of the spectrum. The young players who are trying to find their feet in the world of cricket. For them IPL is a great opportunity to show their talents and make a claim for a spot at the international level.
But what about the people who are currently in the international playing XIs. What about the Malingas and the Gayles and the Dhonis and the Rainas. Everyone of those cricketers are just tired because of so much game time. At the end of the day they too want to rest and spend some time with their families. This is precisely one of the reasons why some of the international cricketers are taking voluntary retirement from their international careers.
The lure of the money is there and it creates a feeling of unprofessionalism in the players' minds. The fact that national contracts of year long do not pay any way near the month long contracts of the IPL or for that matter other lucrative leagues in Australia and WI and England. The fact that so much money sometimes brings in people with malicious ideas (read match fixing, spot fixing) into the picture. What the cricketing world does to tackle this problem will be very interesting to see in the coming years. Will we see some more Lalit Modis and Suresh Kalmadis or whether the bad time for cricket and IPL is behind us.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How different are weddings?

I never thought I would be blogging about a wedding especially after the Royal wedding itself. This blog thankfully has nothing to do with the Will-Kate show in England. This is about the way weddings are conducted in different countries across the world. Now why did I think I should write about? Actually in my office of about 500 people, an astonishing 25 countries are represented and people of some nationalities have a little more to say than the others. Hence I was sitting with a Pakistani and a Dutch and somehow we started to discuss our customs and traditions and all those womany stuff which I never thought I would discuss during office hours.
The Pakistani guy had recently attended a family wedding and was sharing his pictures with us. while seeing the pics the Dutch guy was amazed at the colorful dresses and backgrounds and the jewelry and 1000 dishes for the guests. He commented that it looks like a village fair and quietly asked "what would such a procession cost?" At that we tried explaining to the Dutch guy about the reasons and importance of such color and what great value it holds for people from India and Pakistan. The dutch guy then told me what I already knew about how weddings are done in the West. Both the girl and the boy leave home after 18 and have to fend on their own. When they think its time to marry they inform all their relatives of the date, time and venue and lo! the wedding is done.
If we were to compare the weddings of commoners in India/Pakistan and UK/USA apart from the color and the noise and the celebrations the cost would be a big difference as well. Of course India being such a big country there are vast differences geographically and culturally in the magnitude and the way weddings are done. North Indians (where I come from) are famous for big shot weddings with a lot of dancing, jewelry, fancy dresses, fireworks, lot of dowry (I don't support it) and plenty of egos involved. In the south and eastern India the color and the flavor is the same if not more but the amount of money involved is not as much. 
With the wedding season hitting its peak in India I do have a lots of wedding invitations lined up. Also some of my dearest friends and cousins will be marrying in the coming 2-3 years. It was really interesting to have such a discussion in the places I least expected. I hope I get to attend some European or American wedding as well. Do share your experiences.