Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back Again!

I am back again after a long time. As I was traveling a lot past few months, I did not get a chance to keep up the blog. My apologies to those who visited the blog during this break and found no new content. Things are still busy for me. I'm currently in the midst of a major relocation, but could not keep away from my blog any more! Will update my blog regularly from mid Feb. That is when I should be kind of settled in my new nest. Well, welcome back to The Red Hibiscus.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Free Hugs - Jadu ki Jhappi!

Four years back Munnabhai MBBS showed a concept of Jadoo ki Jhappis (magical hugs). How a simple emotion as a hug can comfort people and ease their pain and problems. This concept of Jhappis has fascinated several people across the world. It has even triggered a movement called "Free Hugs". Today's world is much prevalent with terrorism, war, hatred, and fear. Giving away jappis/free hugs irrespective of color, region, or religion we belong to is a beautiful way of combating hatred and spreading love and humanity.

Here is a beautiful Free Hugs video. The message at the end of this video is even more beautiful.

It is funny how people in general are attracted to anything free; but at the beginning in this video when the guy stands with a board saying Free Hugs, he is looked at with suspicion or considered crazy and given strange looks.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The First Blog Post

Blogs are an interesting mode of expressing our thoughts, and sharing and discussing topics of our interest. Reading the many interesting blogs on the Internet attracts us to start one. Particularly for those of us with a passion to write. But starting to write the first blog post is a tough job. Starting with the title of the blog itself and the blog post, what idea to start with, how to put it forth, should I place an opinion, express a central idea or theme? What would attract people to read it? Several thoughts went through my mind too as I started this blog. My friend Swati Sanyal has put the thoughts of a blogger as she writers her first blog post so aptly and beautifully in her blog Picking up moments from life's cobbled way.... I could not agree with her more. I love the way she pours out her thoughts as she writes the post, makes me flow with her mood and thoughts at that moment and reflect on my own when I was starting my blog.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cool Multiplication Tricks!

We usually dread multiplying large numbers manually and instantly go for the calculator. But these fascinating and innovative ways of doing multiplication will have you grabbing a pencil and paper to do a few yourself! I specially like the second one with just drawing lines.

Multiplication Trick 1

I've tried this one with 3 digit numbers too. Works well.

Multiplication Trick 2

Multiplication Trick 3

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I have always loved animations and cartoons. The amount of creativity that is built into an animation fascinates me. Early animations required drawing by hand, several images, each depicting a motion step. All images were then run in a sequence at a high speed to animate the set of images. Wikipedia gives an interesting and apt definition for the term animation. Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. It is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision. This could be anything from a flip book to a motion picture film. Computers and graphic and animation software have brought in a whole new set of techniques for creating animations. Any person with a creative mind can create animations with little resources. Artistic abilities, i.e. the skill to draw and paint well, are not a constraint anymore.

We often enjoy creative little animations and graphics in forwarded e-mails. Here is one such animation that fascinated me. It is simple, funny, and extremely creative. Many of you might have already see it. What you might not have seen is the sequel to this by the same creator Ross Bollinger.

A Stew of Names

Ram Gopal Varma is seemingly done dabbling with the cast of his Sholay remake movie. We never know though, he still might change the actor cast to play Jai, Veeru, Basanti or some other character. The title of the film is undergoing a metamorphosis. Sholay to Ram Gopal Varma Ke Sholay...and now Ram Gopal Varma ke Aag! (...Ke Aag? plural? I always thought fire is a single entity!) I don't understand his logic of putting his name in the title. The movie banner does contain his name already. I now appreciate the titles like Daag - The Fire and Aan - Men at Work better.

Meanwhile, RGV is also cooking up a stew of names of his film characters. Here is where it gets funnier. Gabbar Singh's name has been changed to Baban Singh, Basanti to Ghungroo, Radha to Devi, Soorma Bhopali to Rambha Bhai, and Sambha to Tambhe. Hee...hee.. I am waiting for more fun on this front. The process of making this movie is more fun than what the movie would turn out to be. I have never liked remakes anyway. I think the only Hindi remake I liked is Bimal Roy's Devdas starring Dilip Kumar, Suchitra Sen, and Vyjayanthimala, which was a remake of PC Barua's Devdas starring KL Saigal, Jamuna, and Rajkumari.

Story source:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tragedy Redefined

Here is a hilarious post by Prem Panicker in his blog Smoke Signals on US President George Bush teaching elementary school children the meaning of the word tragedy.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Amicalola Falls

Georgia has several beautiful state parks full of lush green hiking trails, nature views and lively rivers, streams, and waterfalls. One such state park is the Amicalola state park in Dawsonville, Georgia. It is famous for the Amicalola Falls. Wikipedia tells me that the name Amicalola means, "tumbling waters" in Cherokee language, the language of native Americans in this region. The state park is situated in the Appalachian mountains that line the eastern side of the continent of North America, from southeastern Canada, to Northern Georgia.

We set out to visit this state park to see the falls, late morning on one sunny Saturday. It is about 80 miles from Atlanta (midtown, where we live), which would be about an hour and a half drive. The state park was pretty busy with several visitors, couples young and old, and children of all ages. We parked the car in the parking lot and picked up a map of hiking trails to the falls from the visitor center. However simple a trail might seem, a map of the area is highly useful. The person at the help desk in the visitor center pointed out two trails that we could take to reach the falls, the Base of Falls trail or the Creek Trail which eventually joins the Base of Falls trail. We decided to take the round about Creek trail. The Creek trail starts at a point where the Amicalola river is a small, quiet little stream. As we walked on, the stream started getting wider, bouncier, and more energetic. When we started the hike, we could not tell that we would be climbing a mountain apart from the stress of moving on steep and bumpy areas. After some distance of walking on the trail, we could see the parking lot where we parked our car. We had come up several feet on the mountain. The stream now seemed far below. Its sound was barely audible. It was a hot sunny afternoon, but we hardly felt the sun on the trail as it was covered and shaded with a variety of trees all around including some beautiful flowering trees in places.

After a 0.7 miles hike on the Creek trail, we reached the starting point of the Base of the Falls trail. We continued on this trail which was another 0.3 miles. This was a tough trail (for me surely), pretty steep! At the end of this trail we could get a clear view of the falls, but to get a better view and closer view of the falls there were 175 steps to a wide wooden bridge. From the bridge, the falls looked majestic and beautiful with water sparkling against the rays of the sun and flowing down into the gorge below and further into a stream. They were in fact multiple falls falling down the same gorge. Opposite the falls, far away, we could see the Appalachian mountain range. We rested for a short while at the falls enjoying the cool breeze from the gushing cool water. Further there are 475 more steps to the top of the mountain from where you can see the top of the falls and a scenic view of the Appalachians in Georgia.

Up we climbed all the way. We were already quite exhausted with all the hiking and the climbing. Another 475 steps did seem pretty daunting. There were landings with benches at every 70-100 steps where we could stop and rest a bit. Just as we started after a small break at one of the landings, a kid came down hopping and jumping down the stairs. He asked “Have you been to the top yet?” We said no, we are on our way up. “You must go, it is just awesome!” he said with a huge smile and his eyes sparkling with excitement as if he discovered the most wonderful thing in the world. The kid’s words were quite an energy booster. I too was excited to get to the top and get the “awesome” view. We climbed straight up with no more breaks.

The viewpoint was really “awesome”. We could see a much clearer view of the Appalachians and a wider range of the mountains too. The sun was shining over the mountains, painting them in different shades of pale yellow to golden yellow to emerald green in various places. The soft clouds hovering over some of the higher mountains gave the whole view a mystic look. Looking down from the viewpoint we could see the top of the falls. The water source of the falls was a small stream flowing over an almost flat area of the mountain that suddenly chipped in to form a steep gorge. That is what formed the falls.

We rested by the stream at the top of the mountain for quite some time enjoying the view of the Appalachians in front of us. Once we were all relaxed, we set back again for our journey down the mountain. We did not want to leave yet but we needed to reach to the base and get back on the highway back home before it was dark. The climb down the stairs was pretty easy. After the first flight of stairs, instead of going down the second flight of stairs and then back through the Base of the Falls trail, we decided to take another trail that started there to the foot of the mountains, called West Ridge trail. The West Ridge trail is unique as in, it is built using recycled rubber tyres. It looks just like any other tar road, but it is actually made with 100% recycled material and covered using recycled tyres.

The route to the foot of the mountains starting from the West Ridge trail went through several winding trails. One of them, the Spring trail, true to its name, had beautiful white flowers all along the route. Looking down on the trail, the whole mountain valley along it was covered with those flowers. A couple, that was hiking without a map in hand, was waiting at one point on the trails, for some company that had a map to guide so that they don’t get lost. They joined us midway. We followed the route in the map and after a hiking through series of trails of 1 mile, joined the Creak trail. The couple and we broke up at this point and we continued down the Creak trail to the foot of the mountains. The couple went in the direction of the Base of the Falls trail. We reached foot of the hills, and drove back home after a stressful, but beautiful hike.