Goodbye America.. Namastey India !

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My American joyride has come to an end.
I’ll be flying back to India tomorrow.

So the natural qustion is, how was my stay in America?
It may sound like a farewell speech, but really my heart is filled with mixed emotions.
I’m excited as I’ll be going home after a long period and I’m feeling my heart little heavier while leaving my offce and Idylwoods.
I got great exposure in office and learned lot of new things. Made really good friends in Buffalo and had really peservable time.
Yesterday Me n all team-mates had a farewell lunch at Pearl Street.
And in the evening Romy took me to Kabab n Curry.
Driving down the streets I was recalling all the fun-filled moments that i spent in last six months.

Week-end masti, everyday parties at Hemat and Vishi, long coffee breaks, never ending production calls, lazy evenings, Naruto, frozen parathas, buffalo snow, calling cards, experimental food… I’m going to miss everything.

Lots of new things are in store for me when I reach India.
Engagement is on the cards.. which is causing butterflies in my stomach.
Then I’ll be getting possesion of my new home very soon.
But the first and immidiate challange to face is.. May Heat.
It will be around 40-44 degree Celcius (110+ degree Fereinheits) in Amravati. Which will be pretty touch to handle.

Its time for me to pack the bags.
Very excited to see my family.
Hope my return journey will be smooth and less tiring. (It might be.. as my Airline is showing Departed, Happy Feet, Casino Royal and lots of recent movies which i missed).
I’m going to eat Samosas, spicy sabjees and all the desi stuff..
And yes, will watch Spiderman-3 as soon as I reach 🙂

So, Goodbye America.. Its been wonderful working here.
And Namastey India.. Its good to return back to the roots.
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Trip To Canada

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This week-end I visited Toronto, Canada.
Its very easy to get Canadian Visa if you are in US.. and specially if you are working at HSBC.

So, one fine morning I grabbed a letter from HSBC HR and within an hour I received my Passport stamped with the Canadian Visa. It was like buying a movie ticket.

Weather was not so good. But its been like this since past two months. And Canada is supposed to be more colder than Buffalo. But, we decided not to worry too much about the cold and headed towards Toronto.

The first thing we noticed after entering Canada was the distance written in KiloMeters not in Miles, the temparature board was showing the temp in degree Celcius and not in ferenhites and the gas was known as Petrol and was being sold in liters and not in gallons. Started to feel little like being in India.

Then the second thing which we quickly noticed was our very own Manoj had forgotten the Map !! So, the seven stuges entered a new country without knowing where to go. Sounds adventurous.

We first stopped at Niagra to view it from Canadian side. I must say that the niagra from Buffalo side is crap and if you really want to see how huge it is then come to Canada.

American Fall was beautiful and was almost frozen. Huge icebergs were floating around the water. It was a nice sight.

to be continued tomorrow..

Week-end Adventures..

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harshal in snowThe weather in Buffalo is getting scarier..
Really very scarier.

Yesterday, I was motivated by my enthusiastic boss to go inside the jungle to shoot Deers. I’m an animal lover, and here shooting means shooting with camera. 
It was around -18 degree Celsius and it was feeling more chillier due to the snow wind. We tried to follow the foot-prints of Deers and went inside the woods. Inside woods, the snow was 1 feet deep and a small river was completely frozen.

We realized that its not wise to stay longer in such difficult weather condition and decided to head back towards home. I was shivering for next half an hour and was unable to speak properly. It was deadly. I wonder how people climb over Everests and still stay alive. 

I managed to watch ‘Guru’ this friday which was being shown exclusively in one of the multiplexes here. It was a nice movie and it was a treat to watch it in foreign land. Abhishek was in full form and the Mani’s direction was powerful. And was delighted to see my all time favorite Mithun Da in an interesting role.

I wanted to blow a whistle on Mithun Da’s entry but was helpless, it was not an Indian theater where people LIVE movies. Though I was surrounded by Indian crowd, I was not one of them. They were still strangers. Almost everyone of them was pretending to be an American born and was talking in English.

The joy of watchin movies in India with friends is unmatched. Earlier in the morning, I was telling one of friend in India that I’m goin to watch Guru tonight, and he said, "So late? Its been more than a month! " in a teasing accent. Then he said, "I’m also going to watch a movie tonight.. Rocky!" And then it was my turn to tease him. Rocky was released here well before a two months 🙂

Life is so changed.

New Year.. New beginning..

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Times Square, New YorkIts probably a bit late to wish "Happy New Year" to all the readers of this space. I just couldn’t get the time to write since I’ve returned from New York.

I celebrated my 31st eve on the streets of Times Square, New York. Which is supposed to be a biggest new year party on the earth where over 2 million crazy people gather to watch the crystal ball falling.

I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the show but it was definitely not upto my expectation. Events started at 5pm in the evening. Me n my friends managed to secure a position near the main stage from where the crystal ball was visible. These were performances by myspace.com artists, some renowned singers, some dance and a special performance by Christina Anguilera..  but nothing was that interesting. And there were too many gaps between the performances. It was the high level of enthusiasm of the crowd which kept the interest alive till midnight. It was thrilling to hear the cheer when the final countdown started.

Before that, I’ve been to the famous ‘Madame tussaud’ museum where wax models of various celebrities are kept. So, don’t be surprised with this picture as I’m not holding the real Shakira. It was fun to click photographs with these wax models. They look almost real.

New York city is very happening. And I was surprised to see so many desi people there. Indians were everywhere. We found good Indian restaurants too. No wonder, Karan Johar’s movies do good business in New York. I was bowled over by the huge buildings. It was really amazing.

 
We have also been to the Empire State Building. Which is very very tall. View from the 86th floor was breath taking. I also had the virtual tour of the New York city. We didn’t have enough time to visit the Statue Of Liberty, so we just gave it a glance from Wall Street.

We stayed at Gaurav’s place in New Jersey. While returning, we went to a temple at NJ. It was a nice temple and we had some really authentic south Indian food out there.

All n all the New York trip was memorable and was a lifetime experience.

Long week-end

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We had a long week-end this time, and we tried to make most of it.
Friday night was an un-called party. Me and Vishi were having couple of drinks and the whole friends club started to show up one by one. By the midnight, we were over 20 people singing and dancing madly in vishi’s apartment. Thank god, no one called 911.

Next day I watched "Night At Museum" at iMax. It was a nice and well-made movie. Its going to release in India with a funny name. I really liked the concept and execution of the subject. It was a great entetainer. And watching it at iMax was like an icing on the cake.
The screen was huge and crystal clear and the sound was 8000 watt loud!

Next day, we went to Syracuse. Its not a big city but we didn’t wanted to leave the NY state.
We visited a Zoo and a science museum there. Zoo was good. I don’t remember when was the last time I went to a Zoo.

I saw people getting facinated by watching an Elephent. I wanted to tell them that in my country, you’ll see bigger elephents than this.
Science museum was boring and was for kids.
But still Syracuse made a nice week-end gateway.

25th is definately a big day in US.
My boss Rosa Diaz invited me for the dinner. In India, I used to go to Koshy uncle for x-mas. But what i experienced at Rosa’s place was completely different and was a nice experience.
Rosa has got a big family. Lots of gifts were kept under the Christmas tree. We prayed to god before the dinner.
Then they started to give gifts to everyone starting with childerens first.
Childeren’s got toys, teens got mp3 players and DVDs and elders got watches, books and cloths.
Rosa became emotional when she received a childhood photo from one of her relative.
I also got couple of gifts from office colleagues.

Friends are planning to go to Canada for next week-end.
I’ll try to get my Visa done before that. Which i think is a bit difficult considering the work load.

Just Chill chill.. just chill..

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The festive season in US has started and so is snow.
Its chilly everywhere.
Last week, the temparature fell down to minus nine degrees !!
So, to match the mood, i’ve change my theme and using profile photo given by Elaine.
Vishi n Me are standing in front of Shanghai Reds restaurent in down town. We had a holiday lunch there..
People here are gearing up for the X-mas. Everyone is in a festive mood.

I got very busy in last week due to office work.
So couldn’t post any entry. But now will become regular.
So, keep visiting.

Check out more photos on Flickr. 

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Me

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Its a shopping season and you can see discount boards everywhere.
The day after Thanks Giving is known as the black friday. I asked couple of my friends about the logic behind this name but nobody knew about it, all they knew was the address of the electronic shops. On that day shops open in the early morning. Like here in Buffalo, Best Buy opened at 5am, Circuit city at 4am, Prime outlet at 12am.

I decided to give it a try and headed towards Best Buy at around 12.30- 1am. It was a foggy night and we could hardly see anything which is beyond couple of meters. I thought i’ll be among the first when i’ll reach there. But there were around 150 crazy people already standing in a chilly night with their sleeping bags, DVD players, cards and coffees. I was thrilled to see such a huge enthusiasm.

After few hours it became really very hard to stand in such cold. But believe me, it was fun.
Store persons started to distribute coupons at around 4am and i managed to get one for a laptop and one for a handy cam. Doors opened at 5am and everyone rushed in and started to grab whatever they saw. It was crazy.
I got really cool deals. Got a nice handycam for $159 (at over 70% discount), Sony Vaio for $599 (at over 40% discount) and a Nicon digicam for $114. Everything was dirt cheap. I also got a nice deal on 60GB external HD ($49).
All were in store offers. I really enjoyed that sleepless night.

There were online offers on Monday but i didn’t find any of them interesting. I’m planning to buy a high end Digital Camera to satisfy a photographer in me. And Xbox 360 or Wii is also on my shopping list. Period.

It was a long week-end and i had a good time. I’ve been to a small lake here. Weather was good all the four days were sunny. I also watched a movie (déjà vu) in a local multiplex. It was similar to what I have back home in Pune.

Seems I’m settling down a bit here.
Now, I’ve learnt to identify the quarters, pennies and dimes and i give exact amount when i buy Pizza or Subs for my lunch.
And when I go to the gas station, I know that the price written there is dollars per gallon and not dollars per liter.
I’ve learnt to say, "Its 34 Fahrenheit today" and “My office is 8 miles away from my apartment”.

But there are still few things which are left to learn. Like doing without calling loved ones in a whole day, enjoying a movie without close friends, like sleeping late while laughing out nights with room partners, like smoking without a roadside cutting tea..
List is long and I‘ve got five long months to learn these.

Lets see who wins, time or me…  

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