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I thought of putting up a videocam (shades of jennicam :)) here, but figured that images of me sitting for long hours in the lab staring at a video terminal were not going to provide wholesome entertainment for the masses.

So here are some pictures of me on those rare occasions when I stole away from the lab :) All of these are pretty recent photos, taken after I landed in the U.S. For a glimpse of what I looked like back home, check out my sepia-toned archive.

Shankari goes to the U.S. Open


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I went on the free weekend when they inaugurated the Arthur Ashe stadium. The final rounds of the qualifiers were on and I got to see a couple of matches.

The one I saw most of was the one between Vladimir Volchentkov and James Sekulov. James won in 3 sets, although the crowd favourite was Vladimir. I followed James' path after that with considerable interest - right from his first round match to his first round exit. :)

All in all, it was a lot of fun because I got to ride the subway and to watch the matches at close quarters. These matches were being played on the outside courts, so the spectators were at ground level, and we could really appreciate the size of the court and the effort the players put in.

Shankari goes to Thailand

I went back home during the winter break on Thai Air, and happened to have a 12 hour stopover in Bangkok. Since I felt that this was too good an opportunity to miss, I checked through as much of my luggage as I could, and went out into the streets of Bangkok, armed with two bags, less than a hundred dollars and a confidence that all Asia's major cities are essentially alike.

I befriended a nice Thai girl as I left the airport, learnt how Bangkok's trains work (similar to Bombay's) and finally found my way to the Grand Palace. The most famous building in the Grand Palace complex is the slightly overwhelming Temple of the Golden Buddha, but I was also surprised to find that the major Thai religious epic is the same as an Indian one, and that the kings of Thailand are believed to be direct descendants of Rama. I did try to trace the story of the Ramayana through the murals in the Grand Palace, but they were too stylized.

Finally, lured by promises of seeing a Crystal Mountain, I was taken to jewellery and silk showrooms where I had NO intention of ever purchasing anything. And before I could escape from the Tourist Trap, I had blown around 250 Baht for an overpriced Thai curry served by excrutiatingly made up ladies.

I escaped from there, got somebody to show me which bus goes to the main Railway Station (which looks more like Bombay's airport than like VT), and got back to the airport on time.

This is probably not very original material, but this is my home page, and it supposed to tell you my experiences in Thailand, not give an insightful commentary on Thailand's social, political and economic situation. Seriously, I wish I had had time to stay longer and get to know the country better. Maybe the next time I go back ....

Shankari goes to San Jose

I seem to make a habit of visiting the nearest sports stadium whenever I visit a city. First, the Arthur Ashe stadium in New York, and now, the San Jose Arena. The Arthur Ashe stadium was actually more accessible than the Arena, which is pretty surprising considering New Yorks tough-guy image.

The second photo is of the Tech museum, or, more specifically, of the amazing fountains outside the Tech museum. You can actually walk among the fountains, and on a nice sunny day, it's heavenly.

Shankari goes to San Francisco

These photographs are from what was probably the only time I went to San Francisco as a tourist, and did touristy things like take photographs. I've been there several times since (specially as part of the yuppie carpool), and there were some truly spectacular skyscrapers-from-the-mist scenes, but by that time, I'd turned into a hard-bitten city veteran ;-)

The one on the left is the mandatory Chinatown photograph, Aman Shaikh is the other guy. The one on the right combines all of SF's sterotypical features - it's a long downhill street fading away into the fog.
These are before and after pictures for one of the highlights of that day. In Union Square, there are men who pretend to be statues by painting themselves silver or bronze and sitting absolutely still on a pedestal. A photograph taken with one of these living statues (in return for suitable remuneration, of course) is a typical touristy thing to do. Of course, I didn't really expect the statue to come to life in quite such an alarming way. The guy looking on in amazement is Soumya.

Mummy takes a break

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Strictly speaking, this photograph does not belong here. This is supposed to be my travel page, and is supposed to contain photographs of my travels. But the scene depicted in this photograph is so rare that I was tempted to record it here.

Coming soon

  • Shankari goes to the Boardwalk