Lage Raho Munnabhai

Flying has been under suspension since a month now. Thanks to a major screw-up by my bank. They sent a draft that was rejected at clearance here in Canada because of a signature mismatch. Now I'm playing the cat and mouse game with them. Hopefully the situation will be remedied soon enough. That's that, and the near term plan is to do what it takes to complete the course and get back home by early November this year. The good news is that summer is here, temperatures are touching 30+, it’s H.O.T., and the weather is good for loads of flying. I had my share of fun and beach last year, this time I’m going to concentrate on my studies.

I had planned this mega trip to San Francisco for my birthday. Along with Dhruv and Nipun, two other soon-to-be commercial pilots, I was going to fly the 4 seat Cessna-172 from Vancouver to San Francisco, a one way flight time of 10+ hours, and total flight planned travel time of 15 hours. The plan was to celebrate my birthday with my cousins and friends there, and head back to Vancouver a day later. A tremendous amount of planning and expenses went into the trip, and the school yanked the aircraft from us a day before we were to depart. They took it into maintenance and cancelled our 4-day booking. Just like that.

I was so pissed, so pissed, I drove myself insane, went around insulting others, poking jokes at them, making up stories about how the school had connived to kill my trip, and what not. My friends, after getting totally fed up of me, took me to the Sundance Pub for their Wednesday special chicken wings and fries for $3. Generally, you would get half a sandwich for $3. But we had loads of chicken wings and fries. And...And... I drowned myself in Jack Daniels. When I was so drunk that I could drink no more, I was escorted home. That was when I regained some sanity. More than anything, I think I was homesick that day, for I was so looking forward to meeting my cousins and friends in San Francisco. I tell you, life is a bitch, and when you least expect it, it jumps up and bites you in the butt. But then again, this is also what it's about, to be able to battle it out, and at its worst, to still be standing after it all, until things turn around. Although tragedies cannot have a happy ending, happy I'm going to be.

Since that night, every day that I've met my friends, they have greeted me with "let's go for a drink". It takes so much to convince them that I'm not an alcoholic. The last time I had a drink was on new years eve, at a party hosted by Naveen. And the one before that was more than a year earlier. Of course, one beer here and there, maybe an average of 4 in a year doesn't count at all. Jeeper’s creepers.

This movie "Lage Raho Munnabhai" has eluded me for so long; I couldn't help but download it from the internet and watch it on the computer. The download unfortunately turned out to be a rotten print. The 4-inch wide display notwithstanding, I enjoyed the movie, from start to end, with laughs and tears, completely and in toto. It reminded me of Rang De Basanti. I'm undoubtedly a hopeless romantic when it comes to movies with special ingredients like peace, friendship, non-violence, Gandhi, India, nationalism, patriotism, truth, and love. In remembrance of the old man ...

 Ainak pehne, lathi pakde chalte the woh shaan se
Zaalim kaanpe thar thar, thar thar, sun kar unka naam re
Bande mein tha dum, Vande Mataram

I can sing this one ... oh yeah!

I also got Spiderman-3. And this goes like Spiderman ...Spiderman ... Friendly neighborhood ... Spiderman. Nice movie. And I got Shrek The Third. And I turned 30 last week. Big deal. I'm still a kid … ummm ... a big kid, and I'm not kidding! Cartoon Network zindabaad.

Does anybody know why a water-lily blooms by day and closes up by night (or why there are those that bloom only at night)? Why does something so beautiful have to hide when the sun sets ... there are still those who will admire it every moment ... sun or no sun.

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