10 years of journaling…

Exactly 10 years ago I wrote my first rather inane journal entry on Live Journal. Seems a very long time ago from one perspective and then not. It is interesting to look at your past 10 years on a single page. The most visually striking thing is perhaps my travails as a photographer from the early days of my first 1 megapixel camera till now. However that is not what I remember the early days for…. I still miss the kind of interaction and discussion which we had on the Live Journal friends page – a Facebook wall just does not cut it but then the rise of social media definitely killed off journaling.

Now I don’t think I can call these writings a journal – it is more of a blog, more of a photoblog, aggregating reactions from people on my pictures, mostly a one way conversation.

The best take away from my journal has been the friends I have made over the years almost all of them I have now met personally. There are friends who I have still not met after 10 years like the Sunshin3girl, in reply to her meme I had written this – A peadiatrician and a forensic expert, how did you become a PHP geek almost 6 years ago. She recently became a mother and both I and Swati were so over joyed that we told the news to each other at the same time… We will meet her some time – YES.

Then there are a few who do not want to be in touch… no reasons I guess people just move on!

The love story of our (mine and Swati) life before the journal days has been interwoven in bits and pieces in the early year writings – putting that in proper timeline with the gaps filled in is a task that needs to be done. I want Aasim to know as much details as possible, right now he thinks he does not need it or does not have the time…

Lets see how that shapes up.

The first picture I ever put on my journal
The first picture I ever put on my journal

Life Updates!

Was going through older posts searching where to people land up with the weird search terms that I so often keep seeing in the analytics screen I felt the urge to do an LJ style update post (Take that Twitter!! You just don’t make the cut).

Things which are dominating my free time?  TV serials: Started watching LOST completed the 5 seasons and now up to sync with season 6, season 1 and 2 really held my attention but after that it was mostly watching something while I read thing. The serial which has really caught me up is Caprica. If you are a sci-fi buff or more specifically BSG then you should not miss it! Tells the story of 58 years before the War. Oh yes! You probably guessed it right I have picked up a WDTV.

The most recent books that I finished were “Raiders from the North” by Alex Rutherford, “Goddess of the Market” by Jennifer Burns and “Spectacular India” by Shobha De. The selection doesn’t really represent my likings but since I have gotten better reading glasses I am enjoying reading anything I can get my hands on 😉

The bird photography has slackened a bit but last Sunday we drove around in the non-protected areas of the Bor wildlife Sanctuary, an almost 230km trip. No we did not see any big cats, though it would not have been unlikely we did see a good number of birds. A photo lifer for me was Green Heron. Meanwhile I have been updating my Flickr account fairly regularly. Have a conceptual photo-shoot planned with a Painter for tomorrow, let see how that goes.

Have been coding on a few itches – basically WordPress plugins for better Flickr integration. WordPress code is a nightmare but it gets the job done very well and that is what ultimately counts – Interested? Have written about them here

A face for the unnamed… …

Sangita De
Sangita - always a friend!

Sangita! If there was anyone in my life I place after my mother it would be her. Even though she is just a year older to me she always held that place of a woman I could go to for comfort. I have known her since I was fifteen. We grew up together, kept in touch for a long long time but as fate would have it, life took somewhat divergent paths about ten years ago.
Continue reading A face for the unnamed… …

Reviving the journal

After a lot of reluctance I am pushing myself to revive the journal writing, this time though I am going to use a self hosted WordPress on my site at http://tariquesani.net/blog/. Yes the URL says blog but I essentially want to keep this as a journal. No! I do not want to revive the journal vs. blog flame wars.

If you are reading this on the Live Journal site – you will notice that the entry has been cross posted, I will cross post perhaps for a few days and then stop… All the entries right from 2002 have been imported in to the WordPress install.

In a reversal of sorts I have decided to host my pictures at flickr and will be using the blog to post links to them. The current Coppermine install at http://tariquesani.net/ will stay because of SEO reasons, but sooner or later I will make the complete site WordPress based.

For the interested the theme used is a modification of Amazing grace theme – I chose this theme for the rotating headers and warm colors – am finally getting bored of dark colors for my websites 🙂 Anyone having any suggestions for themes are most welcome.

Some day I will make a list of all the widgets and plugins I use.

Not so sucky after all!

Saturday I wrote to someone
(06:47:09 PM) Tarique: life SUX – it is weekend and I am dreading it

After the *adrenaline and endorphin high* from foss.in of the past week waning, I was feeling kind of lost… Had planned to hook up with some friends to go a nearby village and see the Bar-headed geese but that fizzled out. So decided to sleep late…. 

Woke up at 9 which is late by everyday standards but still early enough to go bird watching – by 9:30 we were out, much to the annoyance of Swati’s hypothetical mom in-law. A three kilometer drive and we were walking the catchment area of Ambhazari lake. Seeing that the number of migratory arrivals has increased was heartening. We spent the next two and a half hours there and racked up a massive count of 104 species! including a pair for Bar-headed geese. Got very few pictures though as my D70 is now nearly dead and refuses to focus, doing a manual focus is too frustrating to be worth its while.

Between all this Swati could talk to her cook at home and we knew that there will be hot aloo parathas waiting for us. On the way we stopped at the DVD shop and picked up some DVD/VCD among them was 8 VCD set of “Yeh jo hai zindagi” and much to our delight Aasim is absolutely loving the series. Watched 2 episodes… post lunch time was spent watching the movie “Mumbai Salsa” an ok movie to watch once….

Evening? – thats best left out of a public entry….


Finally it happened… the first barbecue party at the new home. While such parties were a norm almost every third week through out the winter at the old place it was just not happening here.

We were just three families with the kids. 

The fun part in any barbecue is making the kebabs and steaks, right from lighting the charcoal to putting stuff on the skewers and grilling it – everything interspersed with drinks and expert comments from everyone 😉

Apart from  the usual malai kebabs and chicken tikka – the marinade for which Swati has perfected – this time we had excellent steaks of Surmai fish and we also tried Thai style fish grilled over coals in bannana leaf wrap – we used a biggish Red Snapper for this. All this was washed down it lots of white wine, Oh! yes there was also some Roti and smoked Dal but  even the kids kept asking “Dal? – whats that!!”


I had mentioned that 40 is considered a watershed and many who have crossed it still say “It feels no different”.

Is it the same for me? ummm…. no not really there have been two very major changes in the past year.

#1 We moved into our new house and office – the sheer fact that it is newer, much much bigger and filled with stuff which we coveted since long makes me happy – Yeah! I am an easy person to please.

#2 The Chikungunya I was infected with just prior to my last birthday has unfortunately turned chronic and several of my major and minor joints cannot take much punishment – this effectively has restricted several of my outdoor and indoor activities, I can no longer run up the stairs – knees, I cannot jog for more than 1.5kms – hip, I cannot walk for more than 5kms – ankle. Things like bouldering, hang gliding and dancing are pretty much out of bounds forever. Ugh! putting it in words makes it sound much worse than it really feels and the fact is that there has been some improvement over the months and I am still hopeful.

The above two combined have also put SANIsoft firmly on the path we wanted – so the going is still great I would say

Are you sad as well?

“Modern day Americans are often trapped in lousy, disappointing, soul crushing careers. If they are not divorced already, their marriages are on the rocks. They live far outside of their means, rack up thousands of dollars of debt, and then they work overtime to pay for the toys they never have time to play with. They dedicate their lives to pleasing ungrateful children who won’t amount to much more than they did. Hours of their downtime is spent in front of the television, switching from reality show to reality show, because it is easier to watch other people live life than it is to live their own. In a rare moment of creativity, they might write a secret out on a postcard and send it to a website because they don’t have a single person in real life that they trust enough to share their fears with. They feel all of this on top of the usual human maladies of sickness, death and grief.”

From: http://www.violentacres.com/archives/169/most-people-are-depressed-for-a-very-good-reason

How long before this is true about us Indians? or are we already there?

Comments, reflections, denials and proving me wrong most welcome…

Fly baby fly!

Woke up early yesterday morning despite a late night on Saturday and sat at the doorsteps waiting for the newspaper, perhaps it was sub conscious realization that there are very few Sunday mornings that I will get here now perhaps a couple more….

It was nice to know that the neighborhood birds  have not completely forgotten me and were there promptly to give me company. After a leisurely scan of the papers, fueled by some coffee I walked around to check out what else was interesting  –  apart from a male Paradise flycatcher nothing much.

The later part of the morning was spent watching the Animatrix DVD which I had managed to pick up and then talking with Aasim about the possibilities in a Matrix world. By the time we finished it was time for some yummilicious Biryani from Swati.

I don’t really know where the rest of afternoon went,  except  Aasim occasionally coming in to demonstrate some Yoyo tricks (and failing most of the times)

Around 4 O clock in the afternoon Swati stepped out to call Aasim only to discover that a pair of Dusky Craig Martins were collecting mud for their nest from our driveway, if you are into bird watching you would know that these birds are seen more often flying than sitting and it is definitely rare to have them sit within a few feet – I could get a full-frame shot with just 200mm

The drizzle which had started around 10am turned into a steady downpour by evening – Monsoon had hit Nagpur – Finally. This time it arrived with a whimper and did not give us a chance to do our usual going around the city and getting wet in the first rain after which we use to stop at the favorite Samosawala and have piping hot Samosas.

I was regretting this at the dinner table – when there was a knock at the door,  a friend had got Biryani! and not just any Biryani it was Hyderabadi Biryani flown in straight from Paradise, Hyderabad

Ahhh… for small pleasures of life

Once you promise

Once you promise you have to…  the little girl chimed , She was one of Aasim’s friend asking for his bicycle for herself to ride. The sincerity with which she pleaded stuck with me.

So as I had promised myself that I will update this journal more often here is it…  Earlier this week we returned from Pattaya after a reasonably successful weekend business visit.  We had  the Sunday to ourselves so we shopped for… Thai spices!!  Swati could manage to procure a decent spice kit,  hmmm  I wonder if there is a proper word for a “spice kit”? We also got a whole lot of cloth things – they are much cheaper in Thailand

Other than that things are still in a flux, Monsoon has still not hit Nagpur except for a few showers which in a way is good – the exteriors are being painted.

My programmers have turned the SANIsoft blog into a place to put ‘notes to themselves’ – which though not the sole purpose is generating a lot of traffic. People do get stuck and frustrated on small things which once known make you bang your head – here is a selection…

Just re-read the above and like the previous entry this too ‘looks’  forced  but  I don’t want to worry about that for now