Monday, December 28, 2009

'Bose' Speaks !!!!

Well, Athma is not the only person speaking... Got a new BOSE headset and experiencing sounds that i have never heard before.

BOSE rules !!

You got to listen to BOSE when it speaks... And you would !!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

MontMorency Falls & Quebec City

And again, the weekend travails continue...

Saturday, 19th December 2009

This time it is the turn of Mont Morency falls followed by Quebec city in temperatures less than -20 Degree celsius.

We started the day early at Montreal - only to find that we had been alloted the last row in the bus which was similar to the one that features in the famous Fevicol Ad (Of course, we were not hanging from the bus as in the ad). Thanks to the well made roads, we had a pretty smooth journey. And a pretty cute one too...

<< One of those cute passengers with us >>

What came as surprise was that it was the same guide who had shown us Niagra falls. The same one who derives enormous pleasure in cracking jokes which are beyond the comprehension of normal human beings.. We decided to have some fun this time. And we were not alone in this effort - we were supported by a Florida university grad(Remember 'One of those cute passengers' !!!) who was also travelling with us in the last row.

We started laughing every time he laughed - be it in Chinese, French or English. And we were the only ones apart from him who laughed !!! This really made our journey easy. Each of his laughs were followed by a burst of laughter from the last row of the bus... This blog is a tribute to him !!!

We finally reached MontMorency without the knowledge of freezing temperatures on top. We were certainly aware that it could be cold, but the intensity was something which not anticipated by anyone. But it turned out to be a really pleasant encounter with the typical Canadian winter.

Time for some photos at the falls.

MontMorency falls is relatively unknown outside Canada but is much higher than even Niagara falls (Niagara is known for its width, whereas this one is for its height).
Though we could not see it in full flow as it would have been during summer, it certainly was a pleasant surprise for us.

Here is how it would have looked in summer:

Source: Wikipedia

However, here is how it looked like when we went:

Then it was time for some photographs...

And some poses which can easily fit in any bollywood movie...

Haresh in one of those poses:

This one is dedicated to Southern India where i belong !!! Suppper South Indian stunt...

Some more followed:

Now it was time for us to leave for Quebec city.

It is one of those very few cities in Canada with a strong history behind. It is the capital of Province of Quebec (Montreal too is a part of the same province). The details of all the battles that were fought on this land can be found at Wikipidia.

We went to a tower to get an aerial view of city and its walls (it is the only walled city in Canada). We got a decent view of the city from the top...

We were almost frozen by the time we reached Quebec and hence were not in a position to enjoy its beauty to the fullest. There was not just cold which bothered us, but also the bus which we thought had skipped us and left. There was quite a bit of drama as we were waiting for it at temperatures below -20 degree celsius. We could not see a single fellow passenger leave alone the cuter ones...
But we were relieved totally when we saw one passenger who came to the spot where we were waiting. We had come too early as we were not told the time to return and hence all the ensuing drama - We should not have made so much fun of our guide !!!

Finally the bus arrives after a gruelling half an hour wait and we depart for Montreal...

All in all a lovely first hand experience of the Canadian winter and History...

Sunrise in Montreal !!

Some clicks from our Montreal office early in the morning... YENJOY !!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mount St Bruno - My First Ski !!!

And the weekend travails continue...

Skiing has never been on my to-do list and hence came across as a really pleasant experience.

Saturday, 12th Dec 09

We tried to reserve our place on friday, but unfortunately there was only french lessons available for saturday. But we decided to give it a try - just in
case we might find somebody who is able to coach us in english.

We start off.. Two changes of metro line, then a bus for forty mins and followed by taxi for about ten mins - We reach Mount St Bruno. The temperature is sub zero. We are informed what we had heard the other day - no coach available in english. So we decided to go around the place and click some snaps. All the while, i have been mentioning "We" - it stands for me and a colleague Prasad.

Now came the decision that taught us something really important.

<-- We decided to walk our back to the bus stop. -->

There are always assumptions behind every decision that you take in life and this one too had some - "We could walk this distance in 15-20 mins if it took
ten mins for the taxi", "It is not as chilly as the thermometer may show", "The frequency of buses would be just like what we have in Montreal" etc.
Unfortunately for us, none of them held true. The weather was more chilly than what was shown, walking in such a weather for an hour (YES, that is not a
typo) is certainly NOT easy, bus frequency may not be as good in remote areas (what a silly assumption we had earlier...).

So, we walked for an hour and waited for 45mins for the bus that would take us back to where we came from - all this in temperatures below freezing
temperature of water.

Finally, the bus arrives - after the long arduous wait - and brings with it enormous amount of relief to our chilled-out souls(YES, the chill had penetrated IN). We could not believe how a bus, that would have been negelected under normal circumstances can bring this much relief.

At that very moment, i remembered something that is taught in all B-Schools - "IT DEPENDS" - Every experience depends on the circumstances and a whole bunch of variables that define the time that we call "present".

Finally, we reach home - tired and exhausted but looking forward to the next day which would give be one of those "firsts" - We always remember the first
experience of all kinds for a long time in our lives and this excitement was in anticipation of the experience that we were to have the next day...

Sunday 13th Dec 09

The D-day arrives and we plan it better this time. Right from clothing to bus timings to taxi timings to lunch. Everything was meticulously listed down and
we left with a feeling that nothing could go wrong.

Things were going exactly as per plan. We took the metro and then the bus and then the taxi and reached just on time at the resort. We were welcomed a 17yr
old Birtish accented kid who was our coach. It was a pleasant surprise as it is first of all difficult find somebody who is fluently speaking in english,
getting a British accented guy was a bonus..

We start our lessons and realy enjoy being on snow. This is something we had only seen in Bollywood movies earlier.

We enjoyed each of those moments we spent skiing (and also those when we fell). Suddenly, we see snow fall and we got to ski in snow fall too.. We could not have asked for more. And just as Paulo Coelho says in 'The Alchemist' - "When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen".

It was a lovey trip and one of those 'firsts' which you would like to keep in your memories for a long long time...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Les Choristes

And here comes one more for dreamers !!!

Lovely movie on how the battle is never lost. ' It is never too late to start...'
Very inspiring movie to push you back to where your passion is...

Fond De L'Etang (Bottom of the well) is a rehab centre for minors and is full of tough kids. Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot) takes the role of a supervisor in this school which has become a nightmare for the kids due to the actions of its principal.
Clement uses Music to bring order into this disorderly school thereby prvoing a point for himself too as a musician. One of his students ends being a lead of a chorus group after going to a music school.

Clement's "Never say Never" attitude stands up all across the movie and is bound to inspire anybody watching this masterpiece...

Great music, inspiring theme and an admirable film !!!!

DREAM ON !!! Chase your passion !!!

Monday, November 9, 2009


A French classic for dreamers...

Amelie (Audrey Tautou) lives her own world of dreams right from her childhood.. She grows up and works as a waitress at one of the restaurants. She continues the same way until some events happen that change her life forever. These events change her outlook towards life and she decides to help people around her. Some beautiful twists and turns that follow make the movie really lively..

The movie brings out an important theme of how circumstances & people around you can change your attitude altogether. Gets me back to my previous short article on how circumstances can induce unimaginable power in normal beings...

A Must watch for dreamers of all kinds!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Plus tard tu comprendras"

'Plus tard tu comprendras'(French) translates to 'One day you will understand'..

A movie on discrimination on ethnic grounds and substantiates my previous article on racial discrimination - 'Brownie Sizzles ???'

A French Movie directed by Amos Gitai. It is an intense film based on the Genocide of jews by Germany during world war II. It is a true story based on autobiography of Jerome Clement.

Rivka (Jeane Moreau)'s jewish parents are forced to abandon all their belongings in Paris to save themselves from getting killed in a concentration camp. They hide somewhere in France for some time but soon their traces are not found anywhere.

Rivka, after having experienced all this, lives a quiet life in Paris. Her son, Victor, tries to investigate the death of his grandparents and tries many times to get details from his mother - Only to be disappointed. Rivka would love talking about everything other than her past. The discussions between Rivka and Victor are really well presented - Victor trying to extract details from his mother and Rivka changing the topic whenever he gets there...

Jeane Moreau has done a splendid job as Rivka with her expressionless reactions and
a real hoarse voice to give the impact of those intense dialgoues..

The only time she speaks about her past is a day before her death when she reveals everything to her grandchildren (Victor's children). It is as if she knew that she would be dying the very next day...

Victor finally suceeds in his attempt at unravelling the past. But, in the process, learns why his mother had been silent all the while.

No frills, intense movie which is more like a documentary rather than a commercial film.

Recommended for intense-movie/Documentary lovers only !!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My First SkyDive !!!!

And the weekend travails continue... Jumping from 10,500 feet is no joke and i realised just that this weekend.

Thrilling, breathtaking, exhilarating, adrenaline gushing experience.

The day begins with a 100 dollar bill to the taxi to reach the venue - all just because of some careless useless planning by me. Just when i think that this is going to be a bad day, the sun gods appear from nowhere and change the mood altogether. The rains in the past few days could have spoilt everything. So, the platform was being set for a perfect beginning to skydiving.

I reach the venue on time and am told to fill up a form that is only two pages long but is full disclaimers. Felt no point in reading it as i had to sign in any case if i had to take the jump. Now it was clear, whatever happens - plane crash, parachute not opened, heart attack, or any other remotely related medical illness - I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MYSELF!!! That makes it easy... Well, not really.

Now that the form is signed (with initials at every second line), i am introduced my guide Donald who is going to be taking care of my life for the next twenty mins or so. I think i should be able to find his name somewhere in my Kundali (horoscope) as he has every possible chance of changing my future altogether. Well, he is twenty years into the job and the probability of him screwing this up was very remote. That makes me comfortable.

The moment arrives.. I am all dressed up for the occasion and am told to get into the flight that would take us to 10,500 feet and come back with no-one in it (except the pilot of course)

We start the ascend and somewhere around 4000 feet i try to re-confirm my postures with Donald and he ignores it saying that we would have a briefing just before we get out..

We ascend some more - the maple trees look beautiful with colours spilled over them. The view gets hazier and you are hardly able to see anything now. Just as i realise that, Donald tightens my hook with his hook and starts giving me instructions.

Fold your hands across your chest when you leave the plane and open them when i tap twice. Just before we open the parachute, ill tap again and you have to fold your hands again.
And just as i try to visualise the scenarios, he tells me to kneel down at the gate. We are the first to go !!!! No time to fear !! Only later did i realise that this is actually a great strategy to minimise fear - Give very little time to think.

Ten seconds from then, we are at the gate and i am facing down from 10,500 feet. This moment defines the whole experience.. There is no greater moment than this...

You are standing at the gate of an aircraft at 10,500 feet - about to take a free fall that is going to last for a minute. You would be going down at 200KM PH during this time.. That sums up the entire experience.

Just as i look down and try to convince myself that i can do it, Donald tells me to pose for a photo. I feel like telling him, "Boss, this probably is not the best moment to pose for a photograph.." He turns my neck around so that i can give the cameraman (Andrew) a reason for him being there with me all through the jump.

Donald gives a call.. JUMP!!! I get the courage from somewhere and i jump (of course with a push from Donald)... The first 5 seconds make you numb as you are somersaulting at 200KMPH.. Just as you stabilise, you realise that this is going to be an enjoyable ride with the air gushing in at your face real fast at single digit temperatures...

We pose for some photos (the camera man follows you) and now it is time for opening the parachute. Donald signals the cameraman and suddenly you feel a jerk at all the places where the rope was tied on to you.

I insist on taking control of the parachute. Donald agrees as we were still quite long from landing. Controlling the parachute is a great feeling in itself. You feel as if you are flying and you take turns and increase speed etc..

One more minute passes by and Donald realises that he needs to get back controls now if we are to land safely. I agree instantly and Donald makes sure we reach safely...

This experience is something which may not have its impact with words.. You really need to experience it to feel it.. Dont miss it if you do have an opportunity !!!

Complete video at
(Search for 'Athmanathan Ramamirdam')

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mont Tremblant accomplished !!!

My tradition of weekend trips continues !!! It was Mont Tremblant's turn this weekend. Mont Tremblant is a picnic spot/Mini trek about 120 miles from Montreal. This place is especially beautiful during fall due to the colour of Maple trees (yes, it is the same tree's leaves that are present on Canada's flag)

It has this cable car ride that takes you to the top.. the other alternative is to climb the whole thing up.. Being very charged up, we decide to climb.. It has been a long time since i have done some trekking and i could realise that when i ran out of steam half way through !!! (My legs are still aching as i write this piece - it has been three full days since the trek)

Back to maple leaves, they are pretty famous here in this part of the world and people from far off come to this place just to see them.

Nothing else there other than that.. of course, there are some rides which you can enjoy.. But, we were content with the trek and were back just on time for our trip back to Montreal.

No need to mention, we were again travelling by 'Wonder Travels'.. !!!

Let me see what i can plan for the coming weekend !!!

One thousand islands-Toronto-Niagara (Part II)

It was Toronto where we were supposed to stay for the night. It was quite some time since i saw crowded streets and traffic jams and Toronto made me recollect just that. Very metropolitan and loads of people. It was a Saturday and our timing couldn't have been better to see people..
The only place we visited was the CN Tower ( - Supposedly the world's tallest tower when it was built. The view from the top is awesome...

Went to our comfortable rooms at Hilton to for the night and were awaiting the next day when we would be at Niagara..
Early in the morning, we start towards Niagara - about an hour from Toronto. And, finally we reached. One more tower at Niagara - this one is called the Skylon tower (on the Canada side) - which gives a breathtaking view of Niagara. I have heard that Niagara looks better from the Canadian side and that was probably true because the view just extraordinary..

Now, it was the turn to take "Maid of the mist" to reach the base of the falls.. We are given a thin raincoat so as to save ourselves from the mist that is created by this gigantic waterfall..

Finally, the last stop of the trip was Marineland - an aquatic museum which has trained whales, dolphins etc. It also has an underwater view which is quite good for a first timer like me..

It was time to head back to Montreal after a hectic but lovely two day trip..

More photos at:

Mont Tremblant follows in the next blog..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One thousand islands-Toronto-Niagara (Part I)

Just returned from a two day trip to one thousand islands, toronto and Niagara falls... As you might have guessed by now, Niagara was easily the best among the three.

Wonder travels
( is like the official travel company for our organisation - i have not yet heard of anybody who has travelled by something else.
So, following company tradition, we (me and a colleague) went to 'wonder' (Travels) to show us some wonders in Canada..

One thousand islands is nothing but a bunch of tiny islands put together. Nothing so great about it - You may compare it with any decently sized lake anywhere in the world...
Of course, honeymooners may have a drastically different view on this place.

The only thing good about this part of the trip is that we don't have to deviate much from our path to cover this. It is on the way from Montreal to Toronto and hence is as good as any other brief stopover.

Well, it is well past 1 AM and i need to catch up with some sleep if i have to report at work tomorrow..


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ana and Otto...

Otto is a dreamer and falls in love with Ana at first sight.. The series of events which follow make you glued to your seat until completion of the movie.

You will meet with surprises at every key moment of the movie and most of them are really pleasant. Otto's father and Ana's mother end up being in a realtionship thereby allowing the kids to spend more time together.

Otto leaves his mother for Ana but later tries to commit suicide after the sudden death of his mother. Otto's guilt gets into you as you watch him suffer in guilt assuming himself responsible for his mother's death.

He recovers after a long time - only to realise that Ana is no longer with him. Becomes a pilot just beacause of the fact that he was named after a pilot (there is a story there too). Some beautiful co-incidences follow towards the end of the movie and make it a worthwhile watch...

Though at times you may feel irritated with repetitive scenes but you would appreciate all of it once you reach the climax. It is as if you join the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - You dont appreciate it until you are finished...

-- A French classic
-- Unimaginable co-incidences
-- A lovely & lively story on childhood love

Dont miss it if you get a chance to watch it !!!
(Of course with Subtitles!!!)

By the way, if you have not realised it as yet - Both names are palindromes and that too is one of the co-incidences.

Directed by: Ernst Gossner
Original Language: French

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Brownie Sizzles ???

If you are expecting an ice cream recipe, you would be terribly disappointed !!
But you would not be very unhappy if you appreciate what is called the "Sizzling Brownie"...

It all starts with an era when there were only two colours - Black and White. Time passed by and some more time passed by. A new colour emerged - Brown. This could not relate to any of the categories and hence created a niche of its own. As a result of this, a new culture came to the surface - 'The Brown Culture'.

Passengers are being screened at the Munich Airport and suddenly one of them is taken to a corner for further questioning. Some more passengers pass by and one more is sidelined. Some more passengers pass by and again somebody is sidelined. There is one common factor among all these sidelined characters - their skin colour- 'Brown'

A "Brownie" goes to an Indian restaurant in one of the coolest(Cool, either ways!!) cities in Canada. There are some empty seats upstairs, so he wants to be seated upstairs. He is politely refused as it is booked for a private party. Having no other option, he sits on the ground floor in one of the seats where he is not so comfortable but somehow adjusts. A "Ice cream" colored guy enters the scene, is granted a seat upstairs. "Brownie" thinks he might be part of the private party. One more goes upstairs.. and some more pass by. There is no private party...

Well, these are some isolated events and may not imply anything serious in a larger context. However, when an individual goes through even one of these, he/she feels terribly upset for being discriminated for no reason. Color does matter in some cases...

We live in a world where each culture has severe dependency on other cultures for its trade,economy and so on.. We talk a lot about globalisation and about a flat world. There are loads and loads of articles on interdependency between economies and globalisation etc - Are they meant only for theory??? We need to answer some questions...

Each one of us, at some or the other time in our lives, is faced with a situation where we have an interface with cultures which are drastically different than ours..

These are actually very enriching experiences which make you learn some really important things in life. Some of these experiences are really pleasant like the one where
- You keep nodding for a "Yes" at the coffee shop and the other guy takes it as "No".. And you keep nodding and the guy in front keeps waiting for you to leave. And both keep wondering what went wrong !!!


There are some unpleasant ones like the ones mentioned above.

All they do to you is expand your level of thinking to an altogether different sphere. A sphere where everything is determined by merit and talent an individual possesses... And then all of a sudden, you feel proud of being part of this mix of cultures.

Even now, as i type this article, and i look at the keyboard, i am using a keyboard with black coloured keys with white imprints. It cannot be complete without either.

Now back to our "Sizzling brownie"...

A sizzling brownie contains 'white' ice cream, 'almost black' chocolate, a hot pan and is called a Brownie.. And it can never sizzle without even one of the components..

Today's world is very much like the sizzling brownie and none of the cultures can exist without the other.

Is the Brownie sizzling????

It is for each one of us to answer !!!

Food for thought:
“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” - Mahatma Gandhi

NOTE: "Brownie" has been used interchangeably between the 'Brown Culture' and the 'Globalised world' - "Brown culture" cannot exist without its diversity and neither can this 'globalised world' exist without its mix of cultures...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whale watching in the Arctic...

Been a long time since i wrote.. I am back and hopefully for a continuous stretch of writing..

My first blog since my visit to Montreal..

Lovely, Vibrant City... Montreal !!! There would be detailed listing on the culture of Montreal once i figure out the nitty gritties of this wonderful city.

This one is dedicated to the whales in arctic ocean near the East coast of Canada..

Though I could not get a complete glimpse of the 'Bowhead whale',i could still get a clear view of Belugas (baby whales).. The bowhead whale made its presence felt once when its huge fin splashed on the surface of the Ocean.. We were not allowed to get close it as a team of observers (probably Discovery or Nat Geo) were following it in smaller boats.

The journey begins at a Chinki travel company near Place d' Armes metro station, Montreal. Four hour drive and we reach 'Riviere du loup', the base station for our Voyage into the arctic ocean.

In my usual ignorance, i forget to take warm clothes with me. Of course, i realised it - When we were into 3 degree celsius arctic waters. The only savior was my hand kerchief which found its best use.

We were nearing the spot where whales are usually spotted.. Everybody on their guard.. No sighting as yet. All we got to see was a group of seals.. :-) The whales were still eluding us.

And then suddenly to 2 O' Clock (that is the nomenclature used by our captain - the front end of the boat is twelve O' Clock), we get to see 'Belugas' or Mini whales. Engines are switched off.. The belugas come towards the boat fearlessly and we are told they can be as playful as the dolphins.. Paisa Vasool.. :-)

The photos have not come out as great and hence the need for a better camera next time... Have to do some research..

Then comes the grand finale.. We were on our way back and then suddenly, the huge Bowhead whale splashed its fin at a distance. Soon, the observing teams begin chasing it and it vanishes into the vast arctic..

In any sighting of this sort, luck plays a very important role.. Might be back again to try my luck for a better view of the larger whale next summer..

Until then, back to business Ooops work !!!