Sunday, December 15, 2013

To Infinity and Beyond!

So I finally interrupt my blogging hiatus thanks to a book I read which happens to be one of a kind. The author of the book is (now retired) Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who as recently as May 2013, served as the Commander of the International Space Station (ISS). Cmdr Hadfield (Twitter: @Cmdr_Hadfield) is well known for his splendid efforts in using social media to give the world a closer look at space exploration and life in space. His book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, while written as a memoir where he talks about how he came to achieve his childhood dream of making it to space, can also be read as a self-help guide for motivated individuals from any profession. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Salt Sugar Fat: A Must Read for Anyone Who... Err... Eats Food

Busy times at work for me. But I felt I had to write a quick post on this book which has paved the way back to the salad bar for me. No, I'm not weight-watching any more than I normally do. Like a lot of others, I'm just another person for whom cooking is drowned in an ocean of higher priority chores and who is often thankful to have access to food items that are precooked and ready to eat. But ever since I picked up Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, I can't seem to walk the grocery aisles the same way I used to. This book tells the story of how those aisles filled up with truckloads of sodas and cheese over the years. It's a brilliant exposé on how the processed food companies maximize their profits by manipulating our tastes buds. But most importantly, no matter how much of a health freak you thought you were, this book is likely to have something new to add to your dietary knowledge base — which you wish you had known all along.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Visit to Vancouver

I visited Vancouver last week for the SNMMI 2013 Annual Meeting. With the ocean, mountains, ample greenery, terrific weather, and scenic parks and bridges, the place is utterly breathtaking! The perfectly mouthwatering Asian food is an added bonus. So what if it rains a bit every now and then? This Bostonian can handle rain. :-) What I covered in the little time I had is by all means just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some snapshots of the city and a few of its landmarks.

The city and Burrard Inlet as viewed while walking along the Seawall, "a scenic 22 km path that lines Vancouver’s waterfront."

Saturday, March 23, 2013


As much as I loved my trip to Agra for the city's remarkable architecture, my camera was even more thrilled by the assortment of animal species you run into in and around the place. As it happens, the primary inhabitants of the majestic Mughal monuments today are simians and avians. On top of that, the city streets offer ample alternative modes of transport, including camel rides and horse carts. The rustic outskirts were even more spectacular with an occasional wild peacock or peahen strutting around in the plantations. So here's a brief post dedicated to the critters of Agra, those that my camera could capture as well as those that it couldn't.

A parrot couple perches on a red sandstone wall near Jodha Bai's palace in Fatehpur Sikri

Rediscovering Mughal Majesty

Last month an opportunity to revisit Agra came my way! Once the capital of the Mughal empire of India, Agra today is a tourist magnet owing to the many majestic Mughal monuments it houses. My trip was brief, and we only managed to cover the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and Itimad-ud-Daulah (the first three happen to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The Taj Mahal, a marble mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, stands on the banks of the Yamuna river. The Agra Fort, with its august red sandstone facade, intricate layout, and lavish interiors was built over many hundreds of years by multiple monarchs, both Mughal and non-Mughal. The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, built by Nur Jahan, wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir, for her parents, like the Taj Mahal, also stands on the bank of the Yamuna. Fatehpur Sikri happens to be a city under the district of Agra. The Mughal capital shifted from the city of Agra to Fatehpur Sikri during the reign of Akbar, who built this city in honor of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti after the saint's blessing supposedly gave the king his first male heir! Without further ado, the photo tour commences:

The Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, stands on the banks of the Yamuna river. Shah Jahan was quite a fan of white marble and it was brought all the way from the state of Rajasthan. Today the monument is struggling in the throes of pollution which has severely compromised the condition of the marble.