Wednesday, June 16, 2010

65 Things To Do

This is one To-Do-and-Have-Done List...All the scratched through are the ones that are YET TO BE DONE, as this is more of an 'I have achieved' list rather than an' I have missed things' one. And there's still hope, of having the list completely unscratched, which doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing!
I am taking this tag from Guria and anyone reading this post is welcome to carry it forward...

  1. Graduated high school.
  2. Kissed someone.
  3. Smoked a cigarette. 
  4. Got so drunk you passed out.
  5. Rode every ride at an amusement park.
  6. Collected something stupid.
  7. Gone to a rock concert.
  8. Helped someone.
  9. Gone fishing.
  10. Watched four movies in one night.
  11. Lied to someone.
  12. Snorted cocaine.
  13. Smoked weed.
  14. Failed a subject.
  15. Been in a car accident.
  16. Been in a tornado. (Does Cyclone Aila count?)
  17. Watched someone die.
  18. Been to a funeral.
  19. Burned yourself.
  20. Run a marathon.
  21. Cried yourself to sleep.
  22. Spent over 10,000 bucks in one day.
  23. Flown on an aeroplane.
  24. Cheated on someone.
  25. Been cheated on.
  26. Written a 10 page letter.
  27. Gone skiing.
  28. Been sailing.
  29. Cut yourself.
  30. Had a best friend.
  31. Lost someone you loved.
  32. Got into trouble for something you didn’t do.
  33. Stolen a book from the library.
  34. Gone to a different country.
  35. Watched the Harry Potter movies. 
  36. Had an online diary.
  37. Fired a gun.
  38. Gambled in a casino.
  39. Been in a school play.
  40. Been fired from a job.
  41. Taken a lie detector test.
  42. Swam with dolphins.
  43. Voted for someone on a reality TV show.
  44. Written poetry.
  45. Read more than 20 books a year.
  46. Gone to Europe.
  47. Loved someone you shouldn't have
  48. Used a colouring book over age 12.
  49. Had a surgery.
  50. Had stitches.
  51. Taken a Taxi.
  52. Had more than 5 IM conversations going on at once.
  53. Been in a fist fight.
  54. Suffered any form of abuse.
  55. Had a pet.
  56. Petted a wild animal.
  57. Had your own credit card & bought something with it.
  58. Dyed your hair. 
  59. Got a tattoo. (Got Three, actually!)
  60. Had something pierced.
  61. Got straight A’s.
  62. Known someone personally with HIV or AIDS.
  63. Taken pictures with a webcam.
  64. Lost something expensive.
  65. Gone to sleep with music on.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Musings On Existence

“The only thing certain about life is death.”
However, we all want to live – no one wishes to die. Perhaps, that is why Pablo Neruda, in his poem, ‘Nothing But Death’ described Death’s face to be green - for death is always jealous of life! We all celebrate birth – we all mourn when someone dies....Grief and pain are nobody’s favourite emotions. But we all have to die one day.
So, why is it that we fear death so much?
Is it a fear of the unknown? Is the fact that no one has ever come back to the land of the living to report what all happens after death a reason for this fear?

The reason why I fear death is because I am scared to imagine what it would be like to not exist anymore. By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired. What if Heaven and Hell are imaginary concepts and in reality, are non-existent? What if all those ghost stories we hear are mere constructions of our imagination and in reality, there are no such things as ghosts or spirits? Would that mean that when I die, I will be reduced to nothing? Even that thought of turning into nothing is terrifying!

I do not fear oblivion. I am sure people will remember me even after I die – I have definitely left an indelible mark on the lives of many people.
But I am scared of not living. What would it be like to not be able to grab the phone and hear the voice of your best friend? What would it be like to not walk down the beach, find a corner and watch the setting sun? What would it be like to not be able to enjoy ice-creams and feast on your favourite pizza?

Even if dead people wander in an alternate universe, parallel to the living, and are capable of visiting the living beings on earth, what’s the point? Even if I am able to see what my friends and family are doing, the fact that I won’t be a part of their lives anymore is not at all a nice feeling. I will not be able to talk to them – any means of communication with them would only freak them out! I would want them to move on with their lives but I am sure I would feel sorry for myself. I may be sounding selfish but I don’t want to be someone who anyone can let go off so easily...

What do you think about death? Do you have the same fears as I do or am I just suffering from a bout of paranoia?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Day-Trip To Rotorua, New Zealand

My trip to New Zealand, largely, remained confined to the city of Auckland. There is just so much to order to go sight-seeing, one needs at least a month - I was, sadly, in the country for just 5 days.
We managed to befriend an Indian cab-driver who offered to take us on a day-trip to Rotorua at a highly discounted rate - he even got us heavy discounts on the entry fees to all the major tourist attractions!
Rotorua is an amazing place - I clicked more than 350 photos in that one day - all so beautiful - but alas! I had one blonde moment and accidentally deleted all the photos I had clicked. To add salt to my fresh wounds, my brother ended up damaging the memory-card while attempting to recover the photos!
A good friend of mine has told me that there are people who can fix the damage and am hoping he is right...till then, I decided to write an account of all the wonderful things I saw in order to preserve those beautiful moments. The only thing I am thankful for is the random impulse I had the previous night to store all the photos I already clicked on my laptop - Thank God For Small Mercies! Not all is photos of Auckland are safe! I know that without photos, writing a travel-account is pretty boring but am going to try my best to not make it too dry! And if I am lucky, maybe I will be able to recover the photos and add them later...

We were told to be up early in the morning so that we could leave by 5:30 AM. The cold and the rains made it impossible for me and my lazy brother to be on time - we started off at 6:00 AM - without any breakfast - and headed for Wai-O-Tapu: The Thermal Wonderland. 'Wai-O-Tapu' means 'Sacred Waters' and it is the largest area of surface thermal activity of any hydrothermal system in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Since we did not have a lot of time, we were advised to only follow the trail for Walk One and not do all three. The whole area is covered with craters, mud-pools and boiling springs.
As soon as we entered, we saw The Weather Pool which appeared to be grey in colour owing to the cloudy weather and the heavy rains. The craters had very interesting names such as Devil's Home, Rainbow Crater, Thunder Crater, Devil's Ink Pots, Artist's Palette, The Bird's Nest Crater and Devil's Bath. The pungent smell of sulphur is unbearable but as one continues walking, one gets used to it. The yellow-green sulphur deposits can be seen everywhere but this is not always the case- it depends on the concentration of different mineral elements, The Devil's Ink Pots, for instance, have abundant black deposits of carbon and sulphur. One can see smoke rising from the hot springs and geysers all around the area and it is, perhaps, the only place where you will shiver and sweat at the same time! The Sulphur Cave had beautiful formations of sulphur crystals. It started raining heavily, while we were almost at the end of our walk and the slippery ground made me fall while I was trying to open the umbrella that was given to us. Thankfully I did not fall into any chlorine pool - nor was I hurt!
My favorite part about the place was crossing the terrace on the broadwalk and viewing the Artist's Palette, which had mineral deposits in beautiful orange, yellow and blue colours and water overflowing from the Champagne Pool which is the largest hot spring in the area.

We then went to view the mud-pools and the Lady Knox Geyser which erupts daily at approximately 10:15 AM. My brother managed to take a video of this eruption. This is the only geyser which has no Maori name as it was discovered only in the twentieth century. This geyser has two water chambers - the hot lower chamber and the cool upper chamber. This geyser was discovered by a group of prisoners of the Waiotapu open prison and it was they who found that adding soap to the hot spring causes the water to erupt.

We then visited Whakarewarewa which is a thermal village inhabited by the Maoris. The full name of this village is 'Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetuawahiao' - our tourist-guide spent a good ten minutes trying to get us to pronounce the full name of the village. As soon as one enters the village, one finds a Memorial Archway that bears the name of all those tribal members who lost their lives in the two World Wars. The Maori cultural performance was very entertaining - I especially loved their war-dance which is called 'Haka'. My brother and some other guys got a chance to do the dance along with the Maoris! The Maori women sound beautiful when they sing and the men look scary when they dance with their tongues and eyes protruding out! Before a war, the men danced like that in order to intimidate the enemies and scare them away so that they would not have to fight at all. The village has numerous thermal springs and geysers. The water from these thermal springs is used for bathing, drinking and cooking. The Maori people have their own religion but there are many who have adopted Christianity - there is one Catholic Church as well as one Anglican Church in the village. The dead are buried outside the Churches and all the tombs are on the surface as the unstable, continuous thermal activity makes it impossible for digging graves that must be at least six feet deep.

The Agrodome is a farm in New Zealand which we visited - this was my least favorite place. We saw the sheep shearing process and I found it to be rather cruel! Was feeling very sorry for the sheep...we also saw how the dogs round up the sheep after grazing and a few lucky people got a chance to bottle-feed lambs and milk cows!

The Rainbow Springs Nature Park was our last destination for the day. This was fun! We fed the swans and the fish, saw the kiwi bird and got our photos taken holding the birds in our hand.

After this we said 'Haera Ra' or 'Farewell' to Rotorua and started off for Auckland. It was a fun day but we were tired, sleep-deprived and hungry! Had the accident with the photos not happened, it would indeed have been one perfect day!