Serial Bus

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Into the Sepapu They Went

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Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

The stones are stacked upon each other in a very ordinary fashion. Per se, nothing impresses except for the round sunken pithouses (called kiva) which have an ingenious ventilation system and a mysterious small hole on the floor (called sepapu). In a poor rural area of a developing country, the above-ground structures would easily pass off as present-day dwellings. However, we are in the richest country of the world where people no longer live like this. That partly explains the awe and admiration with which visitors around us react when they see these places. The otherness of these structures is pronounced by their provenance (700 years old), place of construction (under a rock overhang in a remote mesa) and our ignorance about the dwellers (the Anasazi left suddenly and left no records). Read the rest of this entry »

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December 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Paid For By Friends of Rob Astorino

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As I took the stairs up to the platform at the Pelham Metro-North station a couple of weeks back, I was relieved that I had beaten the train to the finish line. Many of the days, I see it rushing past me as I huff up the stairs. Anyways, so there I was, standing when an elderly gentleman came and politely handed me a pamphlet about Rob Astorino, a candidate for the county executive elections on Nov 3. He also mentioned that Rob was near the middle of the platform answering questions. He perhaps did not know that some of us would never move an inch away from our end of the platform because that’s where the first car of the train stops which would deliver us closest to the main concourse of the Grand Central station, allowing us to stomp out quickly and melt into the morning crowd of NYC. But, hey, Rob, though I am not franchised in the US, I did read your pamphlet.

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November 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

Happy Diwali and Sal Mubarak

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Obama scored another first. No, not the first American president to win the Nobel in the first year of presidency. That too – but perhaps more sanguinely, the first American president to light a ceremonial diya at White House on occasion of Diwali. He also recorded a video message to convey Diwali greetings to a cross-section of minority groups in the US of Indian heritage. As I watched his message, I thought of all the possible machinations in the background that would have culminated in Obama recording the message.

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October 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Sooner than Later in Oklahoma

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This Thursday, our plane landed in the Sooner State, Oklahoma. The Dallas-bound plane had to divert from the flight plan when a storm reached DFW sooner than the plane did. The plane remained in a holding pattern for some time but with little fuel remaining, it slid back to land at the Oklahoma City. With that unexpected landing, Oklahoma became the 24th American state I had set foot in.

Until this Thursday, I never thought I would go there – kind of like Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri and Alabama. I wonder if anyone except for their residents travel to these places. Some of these states are huge but I reckon very little scope for tourism or business-related travel.

But then, it is perhaps foolhardy to create lists for travel like ‘touch all continents’, ‘all states of India’, ‘all states of the USA’. Yet, list-making is what many of us do to make sense of disorganized information. Lists are easy to consume and easy to action.

So, here is a list of the US states that I have touched so far:

New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, California, Texas, Utah, Colorado…and now, Oklahoma.

Of course, District of Columbia too.

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June 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous, Travel, USA

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My Frustrating Experience with Mentorship

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I am en route to the year-end function being hosted by iMentor in Brooklyn. I am going there somewhat reluctantly: more out of a sense of obligation than a sense of excitement, especially when attending the event meant delaying the weekend visit to Middletown.

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May 30, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Thus Wrote the Murderer

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‘Kill Johanna. She must die’, thus wrote the murderer. While the evidence suggested the deceased student had been targeted in the campus of Wesleyan University at Middletown this Wednesday, it caused widespread panic since the murderer also wrote – ‘I think it’s ok to kill Jews and go on a killing spree at this school.’

‘One of your students has been killed. His body is in the Honeymoon Garden’, thus wrote the murderer. While the evidence suggested that the deceased student had been targeted in the campus of Sainik School Ghorakhal at Nainital in 1994, it caused widespread panic since the murderer also wrote, ‘Murders like this will be repeated.’

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Holding a Mirror to the American People

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One of the canards used often by politicians in the US is attribution of everything glorious to ‘the American people’. During the run-up to the presidential elections last year, anytime someone stumped, clouds cheered wildly whenever the speaker invoked the ‘American people’. This same set of people appears in many avatars in the speeches – as wronged, as hardworking, as honest, as  ‘waiting for change’ and above all, as patriotic. In a democracy, it is a safe bet to start with the axiom that people are virtuous and nice. The anonymous mass of 300 million people is like a massive shock-absorber and it is alright to ignore that the most devious are also part of the same mass. But, what happens when a lot of people err seriously – when they either become ignoramuses or when they put self before country in the most outrageous ways?

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Written by serialbus

May 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm