Winter of 1992

In my previous post on the “Summer of 1992“, I shared with you one of the reasons why that year was so important for me. I continue with another post on the same theme, but set in the winter of 1992. Once again, this involves travel for the purpose of study as part requirement of the Master’s programme in Geology I was pursuing at that time.


“Right. Everyone take off every single piece of metal on your body and keep it in your bags. No belts, earrings, chains, rings, loose change, metal rimmed spectacles, etc. You cannot carry any metal inside as it is dangerous. Also, no lighters or matchsticks or any combustible substance.”

I listened to these instructions carefully and started taking off the metal items on my body. My classmates did the same.

“Once you’re done, please keep your bags in this corner of the room. Don’t worry about its safety for the room will be locked and a security guard will be stationed outside.”

It took us a while to remove all metal and combustible items items from our person and pockets, put them in our backpacks, and then stow them in the corner indicated. Finally, we were done.

“Everyone done? Good. Come and collect these hard hats and headlamps from me. I’ll show you how to wear them.”

All of us lined up to collect out ‘gear’ and get ‘kitted’ out with a growing sense of excitement and wide grins on our faces.

“All set, everyone? Good. Follow me.”

And we followed him as led us down a flight of stairs going into the earth. Deep into the earth.

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Summer of 1992

1992 was a very important year for me. A turning point, you could say. I can’t pinpoint to a particular moment or event for there were many that made the year so memorable. But two of them were really special and, interestingly (or maybe not !) both involved travel. It was not the kind of travel I do today; rather, it was travel for the purpose of study as part requirement of the Master’s programme in Geology I was pursuing at that time.

In May 1992, I arrived in Bhuj (in Kachchh district region of Gujarat) with AK, a classmate, to undertake a 15-day field trip for our Master’s dissertation in Geology. Though both of us were based in Bhuj, we had separate sites of field work (about 15 km away) and our field work was individual. We had a common faculty guide, who was to join us in Bhuj after about 10 days. This would have given us time to finish the bulk of our field work and present our preliminary findings to him.

I was quite excited as this was to be my first solo field trip — in the previous field trips I had been part of a larger group of classmates. Having a geological hammer, compass, and topographical map all to myself made me feel quite important. Not to mention grown-up and empowered as well ! :P

Bhuj, Smainarayan Talav, Mandvi Road, Geology field work, Summer of 1992, Sudha Ganapathi

First day of field work in May 1992. Just look at how delighted I am !

The first day of field work was exhilarating and as perfect as a young geologist like me could hope for — excellent rock exposures, variety in rock structures and textures, fossils, some intriguing geological puzzles… It was also very distracting, but I soon settled down and within the next day or two established a field work routine.

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The box of coins

When I returned home after visiting the RBI Monetary Museum, it was to find my oldest brother there on a surprise visit from Pune.

I immediately handed him the set of Information Brochures I had purchased at the Museum and launched into an excited account of my visit there. My brother listened to me, went through the brochures and then said:

“You know, I just remembered. There used to be this box of coins at home, though I can’t recall the last time I saw them. With all the moving around cities and houses that we have done, it probably got lost somewhere.”

Amma, who was listening to our conversation, suddenly piped in and said, “No, it has not. The box is in one of the cartons in the kitchen loft.” This statement was enough to make us search for the box in the loft immediately. It took us a while to sort through the stuff there, but eventually we found what we were looking for — the box of coins.

It was a small plastic box, heavy with the coins it contained. It jingled tantalisingly with a metallic sound as we brought it down from the loft and opened it eagerly.

Box of coins, numistimatics, nostalgia Continue reading

The mobile bookstore

It was almost 9 pm that day in April when the taxi turned into the lane leading to my house. It had been a long day at work and I was tired and hungry with the beginnings of a headache. All I could think of was dinner, a long cold shower, and sleep.

The lane is not very well-lit, and I was surprised to see it blazing with light. There was a large van parked in the lane and some kind of display on the road. Curious, I got off the cab at the entrance to the lane, paid the driver and walked towards the light, or rather the van and the display. To my surprise and delight, it was a display of books and the van was a mobile bookshop. And to over see all this was a man sitting at one end of the display and reading a book.

Mobile Book Shop, Continue reading

Review: Asus Zenfone 5

I received an Asus Zen Fone 5 to review, and the phone was returned after about 20 days. I was compensated for my time and effort with Flipkart vouchers.


“It’s sleek.”

“It’s so light !”

“Look, the reverse is white.”

I listen to the excited comments of my department colleagues as they examine the Asus Zen Fone 5 that has just been delivered to me at my work address. I hear their comments, but all I can see of the phone is its size.

“It’s so big. It’s bigger than my current phone ! How will I use it?”

“Just like you use your other phone,” retorts a colleague. “Don’t whine about the phone size till you have actually used it.”

I wisely shut up.

That evening, the first thing I do when I reach home is to transfer the sim card and contacts from the old phone to the Asus Zenfone, and set it up. It is surprisingly seamless and within minutes the phone is configured and ready for use.

Another few minutes to download the social media apps that I use — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and I am all set to use it and begin the review.

Asus Zen Fone, review, RippleLinks, Android, Smartphone

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The MFCC a.k.a. Mumbai Film and Comic Con 2014

I stare in wonder and disbelief as Darth Vader passes me, followed by Captain Haddock. I almost expect to hear a “Blistering Barnacles” from him; instead I get a cheery grin.

Before I recover from this rather uncharacteristic grin, I get distracted by Batman and Superman walking together and laughing and flexing their muscles.

Wait, was that Barbie and Ken?

And… and… was that the Incredibles? The full Incredibles family?

No, I’m not joking or narrating a fantasy tale; I saw all of them at the Mumbai Film and Comic Convention a.k.a. ComicConMumbai last week. When I entered the venue (Bombay Exhibition Centre at Goregaon), it was like entering a parallel world – a world dominated by comic and cartoon characters, merchandise and people around this theme. I saw a group of college students pass me their faces painted like minions and talking in minion language or at least that’s what it sounded to me like.

Comic Con Mumbai 2014, MFCC, Mumbai, Event, ComicCon Continue reading