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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    September 12, 2003
     

    Travel


    I know it has been a while since my last update, but I've either been too busy or too lazy. Last week was fairly uneventful. During the weekend, I managed to meet up with a school friend on Saturday and caught up on life. We had a nice buffet lunch at a restuarant called 'Passage to India', the variety of sweets on offer was really amazing. On Sunday, I went to the San Francisco zoo with cousin & her husband. The zoo was very good and quite huge. We saw giraffes, penguins, kangaroos, polar bears, cassowaries etc., so there were quite a few animals which were unusual in that environment. We also managed to attend a feline feeding session (lions and tigers). It was really thrilling watching the animals roam restlessly in the cage, where they had been brought into from the open guarded/moated area where they normally lazed around, waiting for their food, wondering why on earth they couldn't even eat in privacy. I wonder what animals think when they spot us humans in zoos, do they wonder why these puny weakling like bipeds are caged?

    We returned to Emeryville around 8 pm and saw Kannathil Mutthamitaal (2nd time for me) on DVD. Most definitely a good movie, but one of the things that still concerns me was why the parents informed their adopted daughter about her origins when she had just turned 9. Why 9? Why not say ... 13?

    Day before yesterday, a colleague treated us to dinner on his birthday at a place called Kokila's Kitchen [I know, its a rather shady sounding name!]. We then went to another colleague's house to watch a movie 'Phone booth'. Nice rivetting thriller, even though the fact that the pizza delivery man was never going to be the killer was pretty obvious.

    I had to go back to Emeryville yesterday evening to collect my cameras which I'd forgotten behind on Sunday. The return to Santa Clara via Amtrak was absolutely painful. The train arrived 15 minutes late, then it had an unscheduled halt shortly after Oakland to let some other train service pass, because Amtrak uses some other rail service's network in this locality. Shortly after Fremont, there was *another* halt for nearly 1/2 hr. Meanwhile I'd managed to get in touch with a school friend earlier yesterday and we'd fixed up to meet for dinner. There were two problems: He did not know how to get to the Amtrak station and my train was getting delayed bigtime. Ultimately I landed up more than 1/2 hr late and we went to his place. He got married a few days before I did and I couldn't attend his wedding. So after dinner, we spent time seeing his wedding album. He'd already seen my uploaded album.

    I leave for Bangalore via Frankfurt tomorrow at 2 pm local time. So this will be my last blog update from this trip to the US of A. Catch you later from Bangalore!

    Oh, and before I forget: More photos uploaded: San Francisco and Sunnyvale/San Jose etc.




    Politics


    Today is the 2nd anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The scale of the functions organized to commemorate [is that the right word?] it is much lesser than last year, I hear. Yet, the shrill rhetoric by Bush and co. does not abate. Everyone is talking about the thousands of Americans who died in those attacks. The government talks about making sure something like September 11, 2001 never happens again and that it'd be better to face the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan than on American soil. Fair enough, except they forget that policies pursued in Iraq and Afghanistan are bound to rebound on them. You cannot enforce US/European style democracy on Afghanistan or Iraq [or Iran or Palestine or Syria or Pakistan ... you get the drift]. If you tried to do it, prepare for the retribution.

    I've wondered for the last two years about how the formidable defence apparatus of the USA allowed the attacks to happen. Even allowing for the first attack happening too fast, it is difficult to believe that there were no fighter planes summoned up once it was known that not one but two flights were hijacked [it can't be difficult to figure that out, the weather was clear and the flights definitely went off course]. Michael Meacher, an ex-cabinet minister in the Tony Blair government has raised a few issues. I dont know if it was a publicity thing, but he does raise some pertinent issues.

    Did the Indian government did something to remember the Indians who died in the WTC and Pentagon attacks? I'm fairly sure there were lots of Indians who died, some of them Indian citizens as well.

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