I’m back…

… as you might have noticed.

First off, I hope you have a great 2010! To those of you who wrote to me or commented on my earlier post wishing me well: thank you! A few observations:

* You folks were right: there isn’t such a thing as a stress-free move. I found myself yelling at the guys who came to pack the stuff at my house every time they dealt with my stuff in (what seemed to me to be) a cavalier fashion. It was after the truck drove away that I realized that all I had done was try to control one small part of the process where the risks of damage were probably minimal. True to form, we got a few broken curios, a slightly banged up microwave oven and one piece of baggage three days late. Less damage than I initially feared, but more damage than I would’ve liked. I wonder if there was anything to learn from the experience. Here’s one: Do not use Southern Packers and Movers, even if the alternative is to pack all the boxes yourself, buy a truck and drive it personally to wherever you’re moving. When I cool down, I might come up with a few more.

* Most organizations (or those I interact with, at any rate) seem to work like autorickshaws. The front wheel (sales) goes where it can find a little bit of space, and the rear wheels (service) try and fit in as much as they can. And don’t even get me started on customer support hotlines.

* There is more stuff hidden inside a lived in house than it seems at first. Clearly, some law of physics is being violated somewhere. I am mildly tempted at this point to make some pithy observations involving R^4 and/or L-space (ook!), but I really cannot muster up the energy to be funny.

Having had that little rant, I am happy to be back in Bangalore and spending precious minutes staring at the arse of the car before me. Don’t ask me why this feels comforting. I guess it’s because I look forward to spending the better part of my day with a wonderful bunch of people with the same geeky sense of humor as mine. Sample this Koan that my colleague came up with:

Student: Master, can I always use linear regression?

Master: Not when you see the world in black and white.

Strange as it might sound to you, this little exchange made me laugh aloud. Yeah, I know, I’m wierd that way.

One of my faithful readers (such as there are) commented that my two year pyjama party was coming to an end. It is true: the unfamiliar sensation of wearing trousers for the better part of the day — as opposed to my shorts and t-shirt ensemble of the last couple of years — is making my legs itch. Or maybe I just forgot the moisturizer while getting ready for work this morning.

In other travel-related news, I will be in the US for a couple of weeks in January. I plan to divide my time between Boston and Albany, with a possible trip to NYC if time permits. I have been to Europe before, so I have some idea of what it’s like to be a vegetarian in a country where salad is what food eats. However, if you have any specific advice on how to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the US, please let me know.

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13 thoughts on “I’m back…

  1. Shankar says:

    You should be able to find veggie options in Boston and Albany for that matter. There are also a number of desi places to eat, if you start craving for Indian food. Also, Burger King is probably the only fast food place that has a veggie burger…remember! Similarly Taco Bell should also provide you with some veggie options (bean burritto etc. In Taco Bell, you can get most things on the menu customized to be veggie. Just ask for “no meat”! Pizzas are also always an option for vegetarians.

    Also it’s bitterly cold this winter…it promises to be a severe one this time around. So pack accordingly.

    If you get a chance, drop me a line…I’ll send you my phone number…BTW, I live in Boston! Welcome…

  2. The one thing that I’ve always found weird about the US is that they have a one dollar note. Yes, there are coins in circulation (Sacagawea dollars) but I think those are much less popular?

    If you find a nice vietnamese resto, they do some lovely veggie soups – filling and warming too, because yes, this winter is cold…

  3. Shankar>> Great! Let’s see if we can meet up when I’m there.

    Banno>> Haven’t seen Rocket Singh yet, but yes, the world needs salesmen who aren’t obsessed with getting a foot in the door and considering their job done. I’ve also had the good fortune of meeting one or two in that category over the last few days, so I haven’t lost hope yet.

    Sharon>> Dunno if they have Vietnamese restaurants in Schenectady, but let me check. Do they also have main courses that photosynthesized at some point in their lives?

  4. allverbal says:

    Hey Ramsu..

    The U S is actually vegetarian friendly.. had almost 10 years of veggie life there,

    Here are some veggie food options in addition to the others above:

    Each town/city has fairly decent Desi food places. NYC has many.. one or two off Times square too.

    Get to love pasta.. any italian place..
    ask for veggie pasta… many options possible..hot and filling choices.
    Soups, too possible.. even non-high end chains such as Olive Garden do work, not health food but will work.

    Au Bon Pain a sandwich chain – Mozzarella with Pesto sandwich, one of my faves.. they have an outlet at the main rly stn in Boston

    In Thai places ask for food options with no fish or oyster sauce..

    Grocery stores like Whole Foods also stock a whole bunch of ready to eat, fresh veg meal options. Some of them are based on Indian flavours..Just remember to read the labels.

    If you can manage frozen food , look for Amy’s brand. some of the items can be microwaved, others need an oven.

    Don’t forget to check out their nature reserves.. some of the best I have seen.
    Have a fun trip.
    Do email if you need specific info, .
    .

  5. allverbal>> I’m discovering the joys of frozen food right now 🙂 Actually, the weather, distances and lack of a car make it difficult to go out and look for veggie food options, something I didn’t quite realize before coming here. So my solution is to raid the pantry where I’m staying and heat up whatever I find.

    • allverbal says:

      Sorry to hear that…! At least there is a pantry to raid. An extended stay kind of place?

      Some restaurants do deliver.. The front desk might be able to give you some menus. Or the yellow pages.. Pricier than other options.. but relatively better than frozen.

  6. Green Bay Packer says:

    Yay! In keeping with “Kaanum Pongal” and its sight-seeing mores, you finally get to, er, Go for the Green!! 😀

    (OK OK, *not* a golf metaphor at a time when all of that green is buried in white (at least where you are now); shall we stick to, say, a tennis one (what with the Open just kicking off in Outback land)? Deal. Here goes the (oh-so-ironical!) headline: ‘Mr. USA’ Ne Aakhir ‘Ace Mari’! Translation: Ramsu [Oh finally!] Enters America!) 😛

  7. I’m vegan so have lots of experience with veggie food. Try the following chains for sure-

    1) Chipotle (Mexican- v yummy, v veggie friendly)

    2) Subway (duh!)

    3) Sweet Tomatoes (buffet place with soups/salads/pastas/breads and desserts)

    4) Any Thai place. Ask about presence of egg and whether said dish is cooked in FISH or OYSTER SAUCE. If it is, ask if non-fish sauce can be used.

    5) Any Italian place. Be aware several dishes may *seem* veggie but may contain chicken broth. Ask, or just say you’re vegan.

    6) Olive Garden (Italian chain)

    7) Noodles and Co. (you MUST go here, simply delish!)

    8) Any Middle Eastern place esp Pita Inn. Veggie falafel dishes galore.

    9) Desi places (duh). Also desi temples and gurudwaras have amazing (limited) dishes.

    10) Stay AWAY from Chinese and Japanese places. The waiters don’t know English, don’t understand what vegetarian means and assume fish and eggs are ok. It’ll take you 15 minutes just to make yourself understood and your dish will still reek of non-veg :p

    11) Big Bowl. (Americanised Chinese food). Many dishes use fish sauce or chicken broth. Say you’re vegan.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks, pitu! I did try out a Mexican place (Anna’s Taqueria, in the MIT campus) and it was quite good. My sis did recommend Chipotle’s to me but we never got around to it. The next time around, I’ll probably stay longer and will try a few of the other places you recommended.

      ~ramsu

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