Dec 30, 2005


Sometimes I'm ashamed to be Indian. The focus is on racism in America, against African-Americans, but there's so much racism by Indians against Muslims, it's disgusting. I was just asked this from someone, referring to a brown person: "Is she Indian or Muslim? Because you should never associate with Muslims, you know."
How does this help ANYTHING? Then they went on to speak of the Muslim community as though it were at colony of insects that had to be exterminated. Where does this take us? Blindly hating a specific ideology and culture? Sound familiar? That's a characteristic we attribute to our ENEMIES.
W. T. F.

Dec 29, 2005

Philadelphia Fun

So yesterday, my family and I visited Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, which is where I hope to go to college. It's amazing. Maybe it was just our good luck, but the weather was great, and the city was gorgeous. Then we walked through the campus, which is just far enough away to not be smack in the middle of Philadelphia, but close enough to be able to take a quick subway ride in. It's got a one-of-a-kind charm that I haven't seen in any other college I've visited. I can't wait.

Dec 25, 2005

Manhattan Mix #2

Thursday morning found me taking a shower at my aunt's house, with whom we're staying in Maryland for now (this was before we went to NYC; we're back now in Maryland).
Suddenly, without warning, the shower curtain attacked me. Billowing inwards, it nearly hit the far wall of the shower before I counterattacked. After a short scuffle, I managed to hold the curtain back with one hand, while applying shampoo and soap with the other. That was the highlight of that morning (the day we took the Greyhound bus to NYC).
Continuing the theme of the previous post, here's another food story from Manhattan. My family and I went to a restaurant just off Times Square, across from our Comfort Inn, called John's Shanghai. It was, apparently, highly recommended. The food was actually quite good until a cockroach dropped by to visit. It crawled along the wall towards my sister, who, with a mouthful of food, recoiled and grabbed my dad for help, all in mime. The four of us vacated the table pretty fast, staring at the roach. It was relatively big, even for Houstonions. The Indian people at the next table started making hilarious comments, like "I wonder what's in the Chicken Surprise?" and "So that's why it's called the SPECIAL fried rice." Corny, yes. Funny, yes. After catching our guest, the waiter, without asking, took away all of our food. That would have been okay in itself, but instead of offering us new food, he "graciously" only charged us half. Luckily, before the four indignant Indians (that would be us) could make a scene, the manager dismissed the bill. We left the restaurant and our appetites behind.
Lots more stories en route; I'll post in the upcoming days.

Manhattan Mix #1

So the last three days have been a whirlwind of sightseeing, subway and bus rides, sidewalk restaurants, walking, walking, walking, and cappuccinos. It's been awesome. NYC is a one-of-a-kind place. Funny story: Yesterday, my family and I met with some relatives near Rockefeller Center, which is where the NYC Christmas tree is. Needless to say, that place was insanely crowded. INSANELY crowded. Thus, we all went down a side street and instead, met at a place called Burger Heaven, which looked fine at first sight. It was even a notch or two above fast food. So we all went in and met up there, and maybe the problems started when we had about fifteen Indians in a restaurant, with only about three of us actually eating. The waitress was inexplicably pissed at us. Verbatim conversation:

My Sister: "We're vegetarian, by the way."
My Dad: "No meat at all, please."
Me: "If we order anything non-vegetarian, could you tell us, please?"
My Sister: "Can you make vegetarian chili?"
Waitress: "Yes, yes."
My Sister: "We'll have the chili, then."
Waitress: "You want that with meat or vegetarian?"

And folks, she was serious, too. Next, she left both the bread and the cheese off a sandwich because we didn't explicitly specify that we wanted the mixed vegetables melt sandwich with bread and cheese.
The food sucked, too. Also, we think she was drunk.
Anyways, more stories to come later!

Dec 24, 2005

Christmas Eve In Manhatten

Hi everybody! It's me again, reporting (semi) live from just a couple blocks away from Times Square, New York City. My family and I have toured the entire city in the past couple of days, but we're not done yet. Unfortunately, the snow melted only a few days before we got here, but that's okay; we appreciate the warmth, or we'd probably freeze. This city is amazing. It's got good points and bad points, but the entire package is just incredible. So many people in such a small's overwhelming. Well, we're off again, so everyone have a wonderful Christmas (winter...whatever) Eve!

Dec 20, 2005


In Maryland and New York City, among other places, over the winter break. Drop me a line!

Dec 18, 2005

John Mayer

There are some artists whose music you like. And then there are others whom you respect. I think John Mayer is one of those whom I respect, and not just because he writes his own music. I've read a couple interview by him, and he is a true guitarist. When he plays you can tell he's completely into the music, not playing for anyone but himself.

"For all the complaining about the state of affairs in the music industry, I really feel like there's been a corner turned - a crucial one - and though you can't see it on MTV or VH1 yet, it's taking place where it first has to - among people in their bedrooms, garages, etc... there is a whole new culture of guitar players coming up. And NOTHING in my life has moved me like this. To look around and see 18, 20, 24 year old guys with guitars, taking the same pride and consideration in what they're doing as I always have. It's a deep thing."
-John Mayer


Dec 9, 2005

Dec 6, 2005

Web Design

If you or anyone you know needs a website built and/or maintained, either go to or leave a comment here. Blake and I make professional-quality websites for a lot less than major web developers. We'd be grateful for the business!

Dec 4, 2005

The Price of Oil

I'm watching an A&E special on the movie Syriana.
What IS the price of oil? What are we willing to let our leaders do to keep our vast supply of oil (25% of the world's usage is in the United States) flowing from the Middle East straight to our cars and shampoos and power outlets? Do we even want to know what they do? Or what they've done?
Every action, every action, by the United States in the Middle East is motivated by oil. On this special, former CIA agents talk about how there's absolutely no interest for the U.S. there if not for oil. None. How can our leaders justify thousands of United States soldiers dying in Iraq then? They said it wasn't for oil. They said it was for weapons. No weapons? They said it was for civil rights abuses. I'm all for civil rights, but there are millions of other people who are being oppressed much worse than the situation in Iraq. Dictators in Africa commit genocide; do we invade? North Korea started a nuclear weapons program; do we invade? No. Because the greatest foreign policy motivator for the United States is oil. Another CIA agent talked about how there was NO intelligence on Saudi Arabia from the mid-eighties into the mid-nineties. None at all. Why? Because we didn't want to jeopardize our oil interests there. It's shocking when you think about it.
What are the motivations of suicide bombers, of terrorists? Why are we scared of asking that question? It's dangerous, to even think about looking at anything from their point of view, but understanding them is the first step to stopping the death and destruction that is a result of their efforts. No one can condone what they do, but they do have reasons beyond fundamentalism. Religion may pay a part, but what else? There's more. There's so much more. Bin Laden has talked about appropriate prices for oil: $100/barrel is his target price. Does anyone know that?
Watch Syriana. Don't stop there. Think about it.
If anyone wants to watch the A&E program, I taped it; just ask me.

Shot in the Foot

Today my mom pointed out a newspaper article (Houston Chronicle. 12/4/2005. "Mall blocks chess players".) to me. Apparently, in Irondequoit, New York, the new owners of the Medley Center suburban Rochester mall have banned chess and card games from their food court. The reason? They don't buy anything. One of the owners, Adam Bersin, said, "It's kind of tough for [vendors] to see 15 guys sitting around in the food court eating food they brought in from outside."
Do these new owners have ANY business experience? Granted, it's tough on the vendors, but maybe that means they need to make their food better or cheaper. There are two parts to selling something, especially food: the first is to get the person there, the second is to get them to buy something. Having the mall's food court as a hangout for card and chess players accomplishes the first part FOR them; all they have to do now is make themselves more attractive to the chess players. Maybe have someone go around and sell drinks/snacks to the gamers or something. There are a million ways that they could make the mall chess and card friendly, and they chose the one option that will not only loose them potential customers, but give them a negative image as well. It's a MALL, by God. Having people hang out there is the best act for publicity and business that they can have.
In the words of Stewie: "What the deuce?"

Nov 12, 2005

Sunny, With A Chance of Weather

The picture above is, according to Google, the weather forecast for today. Now what exactly does that mean? I see a sun, a cloud, a lightning bolt, and some rain. If you ask me, that covers about everything that could possibly happen. What are we supposed to expect??

Nov 8, 2005


I made this for my profile on facebook, and ended up kinda liking it. Every capitalized word is the end of the phrase before it and the beginning of the phrase after it. See if you can catch the symbolism.

Facebook is the world up HERE is the beginning of 1 end of THE ROAD travels on and on, sweeps us away to its faraway ENDings, beginnings, what's the DIFFERENCE between people mean different VIEWPOINTS from space, earth is a jewel on the silky neck of the UNIVERSE of joy, harmony, truth, LOVE is BEAUTIFUL is 2 AM at my doorstep in a loose t-shirt and SWEATS off the stress of today, he does, because tomorrow is sure to be WORSE bad better BEST be CAREFUL is the GLUEstick ain't gonna cut it anyMORE is what we look for, more is what we CRAVEings at 3 AM for pancakes and SYRUPy world that is dripping down around us, slipping and sliding through the cracks in SOCIETY is the difference between what should be done and what can't be DONE with this.

Nov 4, 2005


I think I'm ready to play another hand. Only problem is, all the tables that look interesting are either full or not playing right now. Stupid casino.

Oct 11, 2005


I can sense the beginning of the end of the yellow brick road. We've got one last leg to go on, and then we're set loose in the Emerald City, with no direction and no guidance. We continue in the last direction we were headed in, but who knows if that's the right one? Which dark alleyway will be in your path, which concrete wall will block it? The signs are covered, yet everyone else seems to have a purpose. Where is our purpose? Where can we find it or buy it or beg, borrow, steal it? The wizard sits behind his curtain, making the calls, calling the shots. Do we listen? Do we pull down the fabric and strike out on our own? Or will we, years later, realize that we should have bought into it after all? And what of these green-tinted glasses? The spectacles that keep us from seeing the reds? Are those hues worth seeing? Will they show us our reason? Can we put the shades back on once they're taken from our heads? The questions, they're endless, they're difficult, they're many. Where can we put this uncertain load? What do we do past the yellow brick road?

Oct 8, 2005


Tsunami, Katrina, Rita, earthquake in Asia, mudslide in Guatemala and the avian flu in the wings. What's going on here? Were there always this many natural disasters one after the other? I don't have a theory or anything; just wanted to point that out. Anyone got an explanation?

Sep 24, 2005

The Rita Journal - Index

A journal of the preparations for and results of hurricane Rita.

Day 1 - Wednesday: 21 September 2005

Day 2 - Thursday: 22 September 2005

Day 3 - Friday: 23 September 2005
Part II
Part III

Day 4 - Saturday: 24 September 2005.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

The Rita Journal - Day 4

Saturday: 24 September 2005

9:57 AM. The worst of Rita has passed, and to tell the truth, we got very lucky. There's still the occasional shower or gust of wind, but for the most part it's over, and we never lost power or water once. I would almost say it's disappointing, but then I remember that it was so, so much worse for people further up north near Beaumont and then I'm just glad that they took the hit for us. The extent of damage is still to be seen, but I think the main impact of Rita is over.
Worst date I had in my life.

9:04 PM. Didn't do too much today. My dad and I got rid of our large stockpiles of water by watering all the plants. Everything's closed, so me, Span, Pranay, and Christina got together and watched The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy at Pranay's house. Good cookies.
Everything's pretty much done now. All that's left is to put everything away, get back into normal life, and pray for and help out the people who are still picking up, cleaning up, and rebuilding.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Good-night.

Sep 23, 2005

The Rita Journal - Day 3, Part III

Friday: 23 September 2005

7:25 PM.
There is an absolutely amazing nearly full-circle rainbow in the sky to the east.

I've never seen the world look the way it does outside. Everything is orange, like the sun dissolved and spread all across the sky and clouds. Or at least it was, a little while ago. In the space of about a minute the light disappeared. It's dark on the coast of Texas. My family and I are off to a neighbor's house to eat dinner.

9:49 PM.
Winds are, according to Channel 11, at 30 mph and gusting to 40 mph. I think we may be getting a little break here in Sugar Land from the worst impacts of Rita. The bands of wind and rain weaken as they move over land and through Houston to get to us. That's not to say that nothing's going to happen. Sienna Plantation, a little bit further south in Missouri City, lost power already. I don't know how much longer I'll have power or internet, so I'll go ahead and make this my last post of the night. Tomorrow morning I'll probably post or audioblog. Good luck, everyone, and stay safe.

The Rita Journal - Day 3, Pictures

Friday: 23 September 2005

I got the camera from my dad, and took a couple pictures.

This is my street as of 6:10 PM today. Note the encroaching clouds.

This is my adorable smaller dog Shellie. She's a bit bummed because of all of our worrying.

This is the light fixture that my dad and I dismantled.

The Rita Journal - Day 3, Part II

Friday: 23 September 2005

4:42 PM.
It's only a quarter before five and already it's darkening outside. My dad and I just finished dismantling the hanging lantern on our front porch. At first we were going to just tie it up to the roof of the porch, but then we noticed screws, and in a short time were involved in a delicate operation trying to hold together about twenty parts with four hands as we took it apart, hoping not to drop any of the glass panes. I would take a picture of it now, but the camera's out of batteries. Maybe I'll put one up later.
We had a minor mishap involving an overflowing bathtub. My dad (who left it on by accident) is claiming (in jest) that we're practicing for the hurricane by cleaning it all up.
My parents and I went around our cul-de-sac, taking down basketball hoops and putting newspapers in a better place than the middle of the yard. It's getting really windy outside; in about a couple hours it probably won't be very safe to be outside anymore. I wonder when the rain will come.

5:36 PM.
We've received two invitations to peoples' houses in the neighborhood for dinner, cards, or just plain hanging out. I think the human need for society is manifesting itself, and with the brunt of darling Rita just twelve hours away, we all want to be around other people, maybe to offset the isolation that will come soon thereafter until the storm passes. To make jokes at which everyone laughs a bit too hard, to maintain a semblance of social life that's a bit strained, just to be around others; those needs are right up there with the essentials of food, water, and shelter.
We've packed clothes and necessities in case of evacuation, but that doesn't look too likely right now. The predicted winds are now around 50 to 70 mph at our house; I think we'll be all right in that weather.
My dad just finished going around the house taking pictures of every room, for reference after she passes. After he's sure he's done, I'm going to appropriate the camera and take a few pictures myself. Also, I'm going to set up audioblogging on here in case the power or internet go out. The winds have picked up outside. It's time to finish everything up and sit tight. After we come back from dinner, that is.

6:00 PM.
It just showered outside, for about thirty seconds. Audioblgging is set up. Pictures are forthcoming.

The Rita Journal - Day 3, Part I

Friday: 23 September 2005

Hurricane Rita is supposed to make landfall at midnight tonight.

10:34 AM. Sitting here at the laptop in my kitchen, listening to The Eagles, filling up a container with water, and eating a bagel. The drinking water pressure is dropping alarmingly fast. It seems like it slows to a trickle after only a couple of minutes. The mayor of Houston seems to be making statements every few hours; there was one this morning at 5. I woke up at around 9 to find my dad on the couch watching TV. At this point, everything on the news is bad news. Apparently, we're on the west side of Rita and thus have somewhat weaker winds coming from the northeast: about 70 to 90 mph. I still can't get over the fact that Rita is bigger than most states.
A bus carrying senior citizens overheated and exploded right before Dallas. Twenty-four people died. I can't even think of what that must be like for the survivors and family of that bus.
Today we're going to finish filling up water, water, and more water, and then finish packing up emergency evacuation stuff, in case we have to get out in a hurry for some reason. The van still has a full tank of gas, thank God, so we're better off than most. Maerilly and her family left for Birney, TX at midnight Wednesday and arrived at 2 PM yesterday. Jordan got to New Braunfels yesterday, after 20 hours in their huge van. Luckily, they made it with one tank of gas. Luis and his family ended up not leaving at all due to too much traffic and not enough gas. Same with Lara. That seems to be happening to a lot of people.
Today will be a last flurry of working, and then? Then it's just a waiting game.

11:42 AM.
It's getting a bit windy outside.

12:26 PM. Just learned that school is closed on Monday.

2:27 PM. A little over half the people on our street are still here, but you wouldn't know it by looking outside. It's like a ghost street; people go outside very rarely, as if they're afraid the hurricane will suddenly jump out and ambush them. The air, previously so still, is constantly moving now. In the silence on our street, the rustling of trees is significantly loud now; symbolically the sound of destiny, if this was an analysis for English class. The friend whose house we boarded up for five hours decided that if, after all that work, the boards didn't hold up, he'd have to create a commission to find out what happened and hopefully try and blame it on Bush.

3:08 PM.
Speaking of Bush, he said in a statement that, and I quote, there is no risk of him getting in the way. Well if even HE agrees that it's a risk...just kidding. Rita is now a category 3 with 125 mph winds, which are really being felt here now. Trees are swaying quite a bit, and my mom thinks that she felt a couple raindrops. The sky, so clear just yesterday, is now overcast, and the clouds are darkening steadily. It would seem that Rita is nodding at us from the Gulf.
We are preparing our pantry to be occupied in case the winds and/or flooding get really bad. Of course, we've got food in there, but we also have to keep our two dogs in there with the three of us.
Rita just breached a recently patched-up levee in New Orleans. I kind of hope that she will indeed swerve to hit New Orleans again; there's almost no one there now.
The weather is getting slightly apocalyptic in its worsening.

Sep 22, 2005

The Rita Journal - Day 2, Pictures

Thursday: 22 September 2005

6:55 PM. I just got back from helping some family friends down the street board up their windows. I brought my camera, so here are pictures:

This is my house as of 2:30 PM today, as seen from the middle of my street.

I saw a lot of taped-up doors and windows as I walked to our friends' house.

This was the side of the house that we needed to board up. There's also one more window off to the left that didn't make it into the pictures.

We finally finished. That last window on the left was horrible to do. We eventually just kind of gave up; the barriers holding that wood on there is really flimsy. Also, we made a slight mistake and ended up with all the nails pointing outward so we didn't scratch the glass of the window. Thus, we put Silly Putty on the nails. Strange problems require strange solutions.

On my way back I saw that our neighbors across the street had the cab of an eighteen-wheeler, in case they had to get away through rising water. I suddenly feel unprepared.

It's now 7:45 PM (these pictures took FOREVER to upload; I did it wrong the first time, too). We're going to eat dinner, watch some news, and go to sleep. Hurricane Rita is scheduled to start affecting us tomorrow night with light showers, and really hit us on Saturday morning. Fun stuff.

The Rita Journal - Day 2

Thursday: 22 September 2005

8:37 AM.
I woke up around 7 AM today to go downstairs, turn on the TV, and listen to a live press conference from the Mayor of Houston. I just drank a cup of tea while watching more TV for the past hour and a half. Somewhere in there I called Jordan to see how her escape was going. Her family, with three people, three cats, and a dog in the "aircraft carrier", was going to New Braunfels. They were stuck on 59, having left at 5 this morning. For today, I'll continue posting throughout the day, instead of the long post I just completed for yesterday. I've got to go take a shower, get ready, and finish packing in case of an emergency evacuation. There's so much to do and it seems, not enough time.

10:11 AM.
Took a shower (water pressure was low), got ready, didn't finish packing yet. My parents and I are hurricane-proofing the attic with plastic and newspaper and trays to collect water. Of course, if the roof blows off, that's all a moot point anyways. We're not sure if or when we'll lose power or water; the uncertainty is the worst. We just finished two things in the attic: one was the waterproofing, and the other was hoisting an A/C pipe up that had fallen down. It didn't break, but ended up with a joint in it that was less than forty-five degrees: an easy place to rupture. We spent about thirty hot, sweaty, almost-falling-through-the-ceiling minutes up there tacking and propping it up to a ninety-degree angle, which is quite a bit safer. We just learned that our good friend Rita took another turn for the better (for us at least). Earlier this morning it shifted upwards so that instead of swathing south of Houston, it's now going above Houston. Just now, it shifted again to even above Galveston Bay. Good news for us, bad news for Beaumont.
I had to cut the pomegranates off the tree outside. They're bigger than golf-balls, and could easily become missiles in anything above 75 mph winds. Which reminds me, the winds in Rita went down from 175 mph yesterday to about 167 mph just now. Maybe we'll catch a break and it'll go down even further. Maybe not.

12:12 AM. Quite a few things to write about, just from the last couple hours. I keep on hearing sirens passing by my house, which is right next to highway 6, a hurricane evacuation route. I'm not sure if they're cops or ambulances. My dad and I have been outside for most of the past two hours, bringing our plethora of plants inside and putting them in the kitchen and the foyer. That, or placing the big ones near the garage so we can move them inside the garage tomorrow. I overheard the TV talking about airport delays. Apparently you can't buy tickets anymore, and many flights are delayed up to four hours, not to mention the masses of people trying to get through security.
My dad found a small cache of sealed water bottles in the garage; quite welcome from filling up our own. My friend Monica from Norway finally got on AIM to wish us good luck.
The item that strikes me the most right now is the weather. It's still perfectly clear, just as it was yesterday, but there is absolutely no wind whatsoever; the air is uncannily still. Must be the proverbial calm before the storm. We're going to eat lunch now, finally, and then get back to hurricane-proofing the house.

2:23 PM. We just finished lunch and watching some more taped episodes of 24. Not much else to do here at this time but wait and watch the internet and TV. My parents and I are about to go down the street to help a neighbor board up his windows. Rita's winds have decreased somewhat, but not that much. She's still easily the size of Florida. I'm bringing my camera, so pictures are forthcoming.

Sep 21, 2005

The Rita Journal - Day 1

Wednesday: 21 September 2005

I'm writing this on Thursday morning, at around 8:15 AM.
I didn't know it was this serious until I got to school and everyone was freaking out. In Physics II (first period) we decided that Hurricane Rita would be our main source of error. Fitting, as we're studying rotational motion. At the end of first period we got the announcement that school's cancelled tomorrow (Thursday). After the initial celebration, the mood dimmed somewhat by second period; this isn't looking good. In Economics, Mr. G put in Star Wars, and a few people watched. The rest of us talked and worried. Maerilly's going to somewhere near San Antonio, Luis is off to Tomball; Sarah's parents haven't decided yet. Jordan's going to her grandparents in New Braunfels.
Sarah and I skipped Internship (we called in, don't worry) to go home and help preparations. The parting phrase of the hour, and indeed, the day, seems to be "stay safe". The worst part about this is probably that no one knows just how bad this is going to be.
I called my mom as I left school at around 11:00 AM, and she told me to get gas on the way home; almost every gas station in the area has run out or is running out. After a couple of tries, I finally found one that was still running: the Chevron at 6 and 1092. I stood (or rather, idled) in line, talking to my mom on the phone. I only had nineteen dollars to buy gas with; definitely not enough to fill up the entire tank. Plus, I had no idea how to fill gas without paying via credit card.
My cell phone ran out of battery (stupid tiny battery) just after I told my mom where I was. Luckily, she got it, and just as I pulled up to the pump, she arrived, credit card in hand. The regular gas was almost completely dry; it was "flowing" at a rate of about half a gallon per five minutes. Ugh. We finally ended up cancelling that, and taking the medium gas, with much better results. Two minutes later, the gas station guy came around to put plastic bags on the normal gas nozzles. The truck at the pump across from me arrived before me and was still filling up gas when I left; they had about five or six gas tanks in the back.
Got gas, headed home. The traffic was pretty bad northbound on 6, but that was really due to an accident just south of 59. I started to get increasingly more nervous. I hadn't thought this was so bad until I had got to school.
I finally got home and talked with my mom. She had stopped by to get groceries, and due to my information, managed to avoid the accident that clogged up 6. I think the situation really hit home when I started filling up containers with water, and watched the Weather Channel. It's definitely coming.
I sat on the couch, watching TV until my mom got home. Together, we unloaded groceries and organized the pantry so it would be easy to get anything out. It's a different kind of thinking: instead of convenience now, it's convenience later. How do you anticipate the unpredictable?
I think we're going to stay here, so far. The worst that can happen to us is that the roof blows off and the ceiling collapses, and we have places to go in our house to be safe from that. My sister, in California, wants us to leave, but we have two dogs and three people. To get stuck in traffic in the current Houston heat would be horrible for them and us.
I hurricane-proofed my room as best I could. I got all the loose objects off open areas or behind somewhere and hid my computer and monitor behind my bed. My acoustic guitar and Brandon's electric guitar went in my closet, and my sister's $400 Seagull went in her closet.
Cell phones are all pretty much down today. "ALL CIRCUITS ARE BUSY" is the message we get when trying to call anyone. I think everyone's trying to figure everything out at the same time.
Despite all the preparations, I think my family is relatively calm. We're still making jokes like we usually do, and we ended up watching a few taped episodes of the fourth season of 24 at night before we went to sleep. I think the best moment had to be when, in the middle of all this anticipation, there was a knock at the door. I cracked that the hurricane was here, and we all had a much welcome laugh. The other great moment was when they announced the lifting of all tolls in Houston, and simultaneously, my mom and I suggested we go somewhere. After all, it's free! If you lose your sense of humor, where do you go next?
Amanda Comer called me, asking what my plans were. I told her that we were probably staying. She said she was making a list. Those words are somewhat scary. It feels a lot like dogtags.
AIM is full of chatter. People asking people whether they are staying, or leaving, or where are they leaving to? Again, the parting phrase is always "stay safe." That's the idea here.
I couldn't sleep, so I read Reader's Digest for a bit. Finally, I turned out the lights and turned on the last few songs of "More Than You Think You Are", by Matchbox 20. By the time the CD ended, I was asleep. It was 1:45 AM.

Sep 9, 2005


Names and dates
[X] who the heck are you? Nirav Vikash Sanghani
[X] where'd you get this? Amanda Comer
[X] when's your birthday? 15 January 1988
[X] how many friends actually remembered to give you $1 for your bday? Not too many.
[X] did you kill any of them for their crapass memory? No.
[X] but did you want to kill them? Maybe.
[X] are they gonna remember this year? Probably not.
[X] when was the last time you had a date? Mid-July, I think?
[X] when's the last time you had a "crush" on someone? A real one, June.
[X] who was it (i promise i won't tell)? The girl who I had my latest date with (we're not together anymore)

Would you say you're...
[X] conservative or liberal (if you're on the fence then fall already!)? Liberalish.
[X] streetsmart or booksmart? Booksmart.
[X] a (man)whore? no.
[X] a "good" christian or muslim or jew or pagan or wtf else you think you are? Probably not...I'm more agnostic/casual Hindu.
[X] an aim-aholic? yeah...i should quit.
[X] a xanga or myspace or other generic online journal -aholic? Not really; I don't post too often and I don't read them that often.
[X] not an asshole? At times.
[X] whiney? At times.
[X] physically attractive to the other (or same) sex? goes up as your vision gets worse.

(For the personal questions that I deleted: if I want you to know the answer, then you already do. Stop whining and move on.)

Mandatory friend questions
[X] ever kept being someone's "friend" even though you hated their guts? yes
[X] always belonged in the same clique you do now? no
[X] ever talked about a friend behind their back post-middle school? kind of?
[X] ever spilled a friend's secret? probably
[X] ever done it on purpose? probably
[X] like the tv sitcom "Friends"? yeah! that's classic stuff!
[X] got a friend you just haven't gotten around to telling off? yes.
[X] have a friend other people can't stand? yeah
[X] who's the best listener-friend? jordan!
[X] who makes you feel better when you're down? jordan!
[X] who do you like to get in arguments with? luis or lara
[X] who are you always afraid to offend? that girl.
[X] who makes it seem like you're suddenly the funniest person alive? amanda (and others, but she's the one that came to mind)
[X] who tells you strange things about yourself you've never noticed? Nick? Amanda? I dunno...
[X] who do you know will always forgive if not forget? Luis, probably. Guys are laid-back like that.
[X] who pays attention to you first and foremost in a crowded room? Jordan!
[X] who's always ok with having their homework copied? I dunno...I never really ask.

[X] time of day? After dark or early morning.
[X] type of cloud? The cool-looking ones!
[X] weather? Brisk (or snow)
[X] sound? Guitar!
[X] smell? that smell in the acoustic section of guitar center
[X] jacket/hoodie? jacket
[X] non-generic feeling/emotion? aftershock.
[X] temperature? brisk
[X] piece of jewelery? jade necklace
[X] mental image? what's the rating on this?

[X] got relatives you've pretended you didn't know? no
[X] got relatives who've pretended they didn't know you? no
[X] does your grandma actually slip you money? yeah!
[X] do your aunts/uncles argue about who gets your grandparents' stuff when they die? no...jeez
[X] have any secret inbred cousins? no
[X] ever thought your cousin was totally hot? no
[X] have relatives that doesn't speak any english? heck yeah...guju pride!
[X] any royalty blood from way back when? no...but my grandfather was a senator in India
[X] are you a total ethnic mut? no
[X] does your ethnicity have a dash (-) in it? Indian-American, baby!

Aug 28, 2005

Lightning Storms and Musical Forms

Driving home from school at 11 pm last night, an enigma next to me. Lightning storms lit up the sky in cloud-diffused flashes, and the music flowed through me, its powerful form somehow resonating with something inside me. Maybe it was the late hour, or my exhuastion from the all-day debate tournament, but as I watched the road unfold in my headlights and felt the contours of the my jade pendant, I felt as though I was in an interlude of life, and from my vantage point I could see and feel and almost touch it flowing around me, beneath me, and above me. It was an ethereal experience, never to be caught or harnessed or re-enacted. It was surreal reality.

Aug 14, 2005

Yes, Another Quiz

[ spell your first name backwards - varin
[ the story behind your user name – i really need to explain?
[ are you gay – i doubt it
[ where do you live – sugah land, texuhs
[ 4 words that sum you up at – musical, sardonic, ambitious, smart
[ Current Clothes – stanford '06 t-shirt, shorts
[ Current Hair – black, but browning in the front
[ Current Annoyance – always being wrong
[ Current Smell – sweat...i was mulching in the yard with my dad
[ Current thing I ought to be doing - continuing to mulch
[ Current Desktop Picture – this computer generated neuron thing from
[ Current Favorite Artist - Jimi Hendrix!
[ Current Book you're reading – crime & punishment: story of a russian student who goes quite far over the edge
[ Current CD in CD Player] – Jimi Hendrix: the Ultimate Experience
[ Current Refreshment - waaaaaaaater
[ Current Worry – i'm not going to get the schedule i want when school starts

Last person:
[ You Touched – my mom
[ You Talked to – my dad
[ You Hugged – my mom
[ You Instant messaged - margarita (also known as shirley temple or little one)
[ You Yelled At – lara (but it was in jest)

[ Food - that italian deal i whipped up last night...mmmmmmmm
[ Drink - something coffee
[ Color - blue
[ Shoes – flip-flops (thanks to welch)
[ Animal – dog!
[ Movie – currently, i think the best movie i've watched recently was sin city
[ Vegetable - tomato? idk, really
[ Fruit – apples and cantilope
[ Cartoon – family guy!

[ Understanding - i like to think so
[ Open-minded – in amanda's words, "towards non-destructive life-styles"
[ Arrogant – i hope not
[ Insecure – used to be a lot more than i am now
[ Interesting – why don't you find out for yourself?
[ Random – yes indeedy O_O
[ Hungry - semi
[ Friendly – i talk to strange people a lot...does that count?
[ Smart – *sigh* that's what i'm known for
[ Moody – occasionally
[ Childish – not really
[ Independent - as much as i can be
[ Hard working – yeah
[ Organized - sometimes, anally so; other times, not at all
[ Healthy – depends on who you ask
[ Emotionally Stable – i s'pose, but sometimes i have to slap myself upside the head and give myself a good talking to
[ Shy – sometimes
[ Difficult - one person would say HELL YES
[ Attractive – pssht no
[ Bored Easily - nope
[ Thirsty - right now? yeah
[ Responsible - yes
[ Obsessed – guitarguitarguitarguitarguitarguitar
[ Angry – nope
[ Sad – nope
[ Happy – moderately so
[ Hyper – not right now
[ Trusting – only to a few people
[ Talkative – yeah...think foot-in-mouth

[ Kill – nobody
[ Slap – somebody
[ Look Like – myself
[ Talk To Offline - jordan or luis
[ Talk To Online - shan! get online you lazy bastard!

[ Kisser - right, cuz i've got SO MUCH experience...pssht
[ smile – ack...this is too hard
[ eyes - jordan (that awesome cateye of yours!)
[ laugh – my sister, priti
[ story teller – ji ye!

Aug 6, 2005

The F*ck-Up

The name sounds like a Seinfeld episode, doesn't it? The episode that was too grim and depressing to be aired.

I had to do something horrible last Tuesday. And while at that point it had to be done, I could have avoided it so many times in the previous few weeks that it's not even funny. I f*cked up, big time. For the first time in my life, I burned someone badly; treated them in a way that I know the impacts of only too well. I don't even have the consolation of thinking I'm right. I know I'm wrong. I know what I did was horrible, and I know that the reason it came down to me having to do it was because of my own screwups and my own weakness. I hope it's understood that I'm so, so sorry for everything.

And all I have for consolation is senior year's summer reading about a strange Russian man gone quite far over the edge (Crime & Punishment, if you didn't know).

Well anyways, I guess I know what NOT to do ever, ever again. I'm sorry.

Aug 2, 2005

Poker Analogy

Every situation in life can be related to poker. For example:

Right now I'm in the game with a fairly large amount in the pot. There are a few other people in. I have a three-ten, off-suit. Nothing. Now the question is, do I keep betting, use more money, and stay in the game? Or would it be better for me to just fold and get out while I haven't put in too much? It's not a fun game, and it's not a very fun table. I'm really not sure why I'm even here. Every ounce of common sense is telling me to fold, but I know that as soon as I do, I'll regret it. I don't know why, I just will. There's no chance of me winning; I'm pretty sure one of my opponents has a couple of aces, but I don't want to fold. It's too painful (here's where the poker analogy slightly breaks down a little bit, I suppose). I guess I have to, though. I need to get on, move on, float on. I toss my cards to the dealer. I fold.

Jun 29, 2005


1st Place Biomed Nationals: Ha, Asif, Darren, Neil.

Holy crap. Congratulations guys; y'all definitely earned it.

A Welch post is forthcoming.

Jun 4, 2005

One and Two

Two things:

1. Yes, I will be gone from June 4th to July 9th. I will be doing a chemistry research internship at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas with about ten other high schoolers going into their senior year, under the Welch Summer Scholar's Program. I will have my cell phone, will have access to the Internet (email and AIM), and will have a mailing address (hint hint):

Nirav Sanghani
Texas Tech University
Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
Box 41061
Lubbock, TX 79406

Also, my dorm room's phone number is 806-724-0985.

2. If you want a few volunteer hours and are free this Monday at 5:30 to go to the Alley Theater, call Naveed Nanjee (a Hightower student) at 713-876-5941. The Music Heals charity organization (which he created) is holding a charity chamber music concert/competition. All proceeds go to the Bush-Clinton Tsunami fund. Go volunteer and help him out!

Have a great summer!

That will be all.

May 24, 2005

All I Need


And you miss her the most when it's two in the morning, and your headache is pounding, and your nose is stuffed up and disgusting, and your fever makes it hard to even think straight, and you're sore everywhere, and you're so tired that you can't sleep no matter what you do, and you wouldn't even possibly think of calling anyone at that hour but her, because you know that even though she's got a final exam the next morning, and she hasn't slept much, she'll still lie to you and say she was awake anyways, and talk you to sleep, no matter how long it takes.

But you can't call, because it ended. Because it's gone.

May 8, 2005

Pratham Gala 2005!

So here I am again, blogging about the Pratham Gala. The post from last year is here, just in case you want to read the background or whatever.

Okay, so...yesterday morning I took the new SAT. That thing is LOOOOONG. Ten section! I was exhausted by the end of it. And plus, it was my fourth four-hour test in six days. That amounts to (I calculated this during the SAT) 400 multiple choice questions, 7 essays, and 6 Calculus free-response questions.

After that, I went straight to the Westin Galleria Ballroom downtown and got a Frappuccino, then went to help with set-up, which took quite a while. We had to set up tables for the entire ballroom, along with random crap that we had to put on the tables. I met Nupur, Meera, Priya, Puneet, Nirali, Akshay Uncle, and some other people whose names I forgot/never knew.

We all went and changed at one point or another; Nupur and friends took about an hour. Sheesh.

There wasn't much to do after that. I helped get the presentations and stuff started up in the catwalk, and then I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. There was Indian dancing, of course...LOTS of it. My whole body's sore from that; I'm not really used to it.

There was slow-dancing, yes. I did possibly the gayest thing I've ever done: slow-danced with this other guy named Mayur for about five seconds.

THEN there was garbah and bhangra and other stuff; we had fun. Dimple's husband was HILARIOUS; Mayur and I backed him up for all these love songs that he did dramatic enactments of.

Nupur and family took me home; thanks! I talked at length with her dad on the way him; very interesting conversation there. He's a cool person.

That's about it. There was, of course, a ton more stuff, but I think that stuff should stay between us volunteers.

*laughs nervously*

Apr 30, 2005

NFL Districts

The 25 highlights of the National Forensics League Districts tournament:

1. Forgiving, but not forgetting, at 2 am, the day of.

2. This shit is BANANAS!

3. A judge told me that he thought I had debated my case at TFA State.

4. Asif and Shamez fooled everyone into thinking they had beat the best team at the tournament.

5. Asif and Shamez got a no-show AND a bye. Completely unfair.

6. I finally figured out how to do extemp.

7. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

8. Learning French by context clues.

9. "Nice hat."

10. The schedule from hell: extemp, extemp, debate, debate, all back-to-back, with no break in between.

11. Spoons...I mean, pens.

12. Duck, duck, goose.


14. "Insert previous comeback here."

15. "Lemme reflect for five minutes, then I'll be right with you."

16. Discounted pizza.

17. Inside connections to get lower Frappuccino prices (thanks Brett).

18. Indian tea!

19. URLs? We don't need no stinkin' URLs!

20. Soaked-in-sweat Kevin hugging Mrs. Gilson.

21. Brownies and lemonade! (thanks Mrs. Gilson!)

22. I cut my LD case during my opponent's speech.

23. Germophobic racist judges. Damn them!

24. This random kid humped the wolf statue.

25. And of course, the very best part was spending two days with Lara.

That's all, folks!

Apr 20, 2005


I guess a lot of you want the story. Sorry, but to protect the innocent (and the guilty), I'd rather not just toss it out on the Internet. If you're really interested, ask, and I might tell.

For this blog, suffice it to say that I got burned, twice, by the same person, in the same place, and now I'm healing. I'm writing about it; not specifics, but instead general entries in a journal about what I've learned. No, you can't read it yet. Yes, you can read it when it's done. In fact, I'm writing it because I want it to be read, eventually. I'd like people to know not what happened, but why and how it happened. Again, however, it's not specific, to protect certain people.

To my friends and family: I'm sorry. I know I've been pretty annoying for the past couple weeks, and probably somewhat of a burden. In the past few months, too, I've drifted away from many of you, and only after all this happened did I realize how stupid that was. Some of you, in spite of me, did things for me that just blew me away. To those few of you especially, and to anyone and everyone who's put up with my complaining, venting, ranting, and philosophical theorizing, you have my sincerest thanks.

Anyways, I've got some music to face, and some new memories to make.


Apr 11, 2005

Tales of a Small Traveller

Hi everyone! My sister, Priti, a Stanford University student who is studying abroad in Florence, Italy for a quarter, has started sending me back a batch of journal entries every week. I started a blog so these can be published online, because they're really well written and very interesting. You can find the "Tales of a Small Traveller" here. Enjoy!

Mar 20, 2005

Calling All Angels

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup
When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you can feel the world shake from the words that I said

And I’m calling all angels
And I’m calling all you angels

And I won’t give up if you don’t give up
I won’t give up if you don’t give up
I won’t give up if you don’t give up
I won’t give up if you don’t give up

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
Cause my tv set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels
And I’m calling all you angels

When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear
While private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don't talk for years
And football teams are kissing queens and losing sight of having dreams
In a world where all we want is only what we want until it’s ours

And I’m calling all angels
And I’m calling all you angels...

Never There

I need your arms around me, I need to feel your touch
I need your understanding, I need your love so much
You tell me that you love me so, you tell me that you care
But when I need you baby, you’re never there

On the phone long, long distance
Always through such strong resistance
First you say you’re too busy
I wonder if you even miss me

Never there
You’re never there
You’re never, ever, ever, ever there

A golden bird that flies away, a candle’s fickle flame
To think I held you yesterday, your love was just a game
A golden bird that flies away, a candle’s fickle flame
To think I held you yesterday, your love was just a game

You tell me that you love me so, you tell me that you care
But when I need you baby
Take the time to get to know me
If you want me why can’t you just show me
We’re always on this roller coaster
If you want me why can’t you get closer?

Never there
You’re never there
You’re never ever ever ever there...

Mar 9, 2005

The Connection

I almost can't believe it's been over a year since I met her.

Up 'til a little while ago, the "thing" that's between me and her has been somewhat secret information (not that anyone really didn't know, except for maybe Justin Flores), but now it's pretty much out in the open.

However, this isn't just for the almost-girlfriend. This is also for the confidant, the therapist, the late-night AIM and phone companion, and for the all around best friend.

This is for the girl who's shown me more of myself than I could ever hope to find on my own, and the girl who's made me feel more needed and loved than I ever have before.

Love. What is love? Everyone who I've asked can describe symptoms ("Love is when...", etc.) but no one can tell me what it really is. And after nine months of trying to figure it out, I've realized that I don't want someone to tell me. Because I think I've found it, or at least something like it, in this girl.

"Love is just a word...what matters is the connection it implies."

Somewhere in between visiting Italy in our imaginations at 2 AM while preparing for a debate tournament, and half-dancing in the courtyard at Scarborough High School, between improvising piano duets and perpetually duelling in ERS, I've found a bond that's way too strong to be anything normal.

I don't know if it's love; I may never know if it's love, but this connection isn't something you stumble across every day, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I love you, kid.

Feb 24, 2005

The Switch

Ever had someone just change on you? Not permanently change, not be forever different, but just for a little while, they're not the person you knew.

What do you do?

You can't treat them like they were before, because they don't respond the same way. And for me, at least, I sit here, trying to find the old best friend in her, but as much as I dig, it's not there. Or at least, it's buried really deep.

Do you treat them differently?

It's like talking to someone else in your friend's body, then. Like someone else wearing a really good costume. That's literally how it feels; like you're talking to some other person using her screen name, or cell phone, or face and body.

I don't know what to do. I just hope it passes quickly, because I want my Ha back.

Feb 10, 2005

It's Not a Game

I have just been insulted. Me and the rest of the male gender. What I just saw was something so unthinkable I couldn't have...I wouldn't have...imagined it in my worst nightmares.

I didn't think that real people could be so unfeeling. I didn't think that someone could willingly hurt someone else so badly. I didn't think I'd ever be friends with someone this callous.

I almost can't believe it. Almost...except for the tears in a girl's eyes and the shards of her heart on the floor.

So here's a warning to the rest of my gender: you'd better get your act together. Don't tell a girl you love her if you don't. Don't treat a girl like she doesn't matter. Don't screw around with a girl's heart just because it's convenient. Don't take the easy way out and run from your problems.

You see that wonderful look in her eyes? You know, when she's snuggled up to you and she looks up at you with the most implicit trust you'll ever see?

Don't betray that trust. And if you're not ready, then stay away from it. Because guys? It's not a game.

"...Maybe I'm longing in a way of love naive,
Maybe I'm desperate for a reason to believe;
There wasn't any way I thought that we would fall;
I've seen perfection in a rainbow in the sky,
I've seen a child make the coldest grown man cry,
But loving you I thought was greater than them all,
And we had it all, just you and me,
And now there's a doorway to my heart without a key..."

Feb 5, 2005

Hello World!

Hi there, fellow readers! Since your beloved Nirav has seemed to have taken leave for an extensive amount of time away from his precious blog, I have resolved to post in his place once, just to fill in the gap a bit.

I honestly don't blame him for not posting frequently anymore. After all, he seems to be quite busy doing the following:
1. Scoring a 1600 on the SAT I w00t w00t!!! *cough*nerd*cough*
2. Qualifying for the state UIL solo n ensemble competition (viola)
3. Qualifying for the state thingy in German Club (in 2 events!)
4. Getting ready to go to TMSCA state for m/s
5. Staying number ONE in the junior class
6. and TRYING to still seem like a NORMAL person. Hah!

*grin* Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Nirav Sanghani IS human (for the most part).
Hmm.... or is he...

[insert moment of thoughtful pondering here]

OR....could your hero a la academia be some product of ingenius hybridization? Could he just be the ultra-nerd? The ultimate 17 year old model student?

[more pondering]

Nahh. Can't be. He was crazy enough to join us speechies... that most definitely renders him as being a sucker *wink*.

So ANYWAYS, solo and ensemble was today. Yours truly is also qualified for state, courtesy of Ravel and his pansy-like music. Congrats out there to everyone out there who made the cut! (Go Pradnya, Maerilly, Iris, Joy, Yenn Yenn, Parul, Nirav, Sarah, Viet, Tanaya, etc...) Looks like we'll all get to go to state as one big happy family! ...scary thought, eh?

Okay...I'm having a lot of uneccessary trouble coming up with topics that don't revolve around myself. So, on that note, I bid you goodbye and hope that this post does not get deleted by "the management."

Jan 26, 2005

A New Blog

Hello world. So it's almost the one year anniversary of my blog. The first post was on February 26, 2004. Exactly one month from today, this outlet for my thoughts and ruminations will be one year old.
In that celebratory vein, I'm making a few changes to this. First, as you might have noticed, I changed the template to Blogger's rounders3. This is semi-permanent, as I'm going to be changing it up a lot over the next month; I'm going to add a menu bar with drop down menus for links (something that I've been lacking for a while), previous posts, and archives. The tagboard will be added back in on the right hand bar. That's the design.
I put Ha in charge of music, so she will kindly update the music on my blog to reflect the posts (or her mood, whichever).
So look out for those changes, and I'll definitely be back for an anniversary post, if not before.

Jan 17, 2005


2005. A new calender year, a new life year.

January 15th. My seventeenth birthday. Lackluster Math & Science tournament, followed by absolutely wonderful surprise birthday party. Taboo, table tennis, Napoleon Dynamite, cake, pizza, guitar, shoes, giveaways, hiding, piano, and a very special birthday wish. Thank you Pranay and Ha and Joy for inviting everyone. Thank you everyone for coming: Pranay, Spandana, Milan, Farrukh, Blake, Liz, Ha, Jordan, Tram, Chris, Easton, and last, but most definitely not least, thanks to my wonderful parents for planning everything, for the hilarious lies to explain away Ha's phone, for the lame excuse to get me out of the house, for the cake, for the memories...

It had to be my best birthday ever.

2005. This is my year.

Jan 11, 2005

Fixing It

To everyone who asked me about the previous post, or offered their help, or gave me advice, or just plain listened to me...thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys must be the best friends in the world.

Okay, all sappiness aside, yes, I had a problem, and due to some thinking on my part, and talking on my friends' parts, I'm on the way to fixing it, I think. It's going to be hard, and it's going to require some sacrifices, but it's going to be worth it in the end (sound familiar, ha?).

What had happened was, my life finally caught up with me. From sleep to academics to friends to debate to AIM to SATs to viola to Region to Math & Science to everything else that's floating around in my all just hit me simultaneously. And it all started to hurt. It just...hurt.

That's still there, but I'm trying to not think about it, and to fix it at the same time. With both of those, I think I'm going to be okay.

Jan 7, 2005


I hate this.

I, admittedly, crave praise. It's just in me; it's a part of me. But it's not just recognition by other people; it needs to come from myself. It's like I have these inbuilt standards that I have to live up to, otherwise it all sucks. Everything's just wrong. And I guess that's how things are right now.

Right now, I get recognition for academics. I'm number one in my class. But what is that, really? I know I'm going to get a spiel from a bunch of people as soon as I post this, but here goes anyways: once you're here, it's not really that great. I mean, what have I learned? The last ten years of my life have taught me how to bubble in lettered circles on an answer sheet; I'm good at taking tests.

And it's not very fun. Doing "good" in school doesn't mean that I'm smart, or intelligent, or that I know the U.S. History book by heart. It just means that I know how to take multiple-choice tests. I know the system, and even though I don't cheat, I still know how best to get around in it. But what have I learnt through all this? The system. That's all. Nothing that I can claim to be my own, nothing that's really me. Just an arbitrary "education" system.

I can't take this anymore. It's ripping me up inside. Every couple of weeks I have a bad two or three days, and they're horrible, and even though I get better afterwards, they keep on coming back. And every time, it's just more and more frustrating. Not with anyone, not with anything, but with myself. And this just isn't working for me anymore. It has to change NOW.