Monday, August 18, 2014

India Fest in StPaul, MN

India Independence Day was celebrated in Minnesota this weekend. It was hosted in Capitol Hills Ground in St Paul. This is the state headquarters.

There were display booth from many Minnesota based Fortune 500 companies like Target & Ameriprise. Twins (baseball team of Minnesota) and batting & bowling booth where kids got a chance to tryout. There were food stalls from many Indian restaurants. All guests, of India and American origin, enjoyed the colorful spread here. Many booths sold sparkly Indian ethnic-wear and kites, while some made henna patterns for the guests.

Talent show was hosted all day on a stage. Many youngsters and other age groups got a chance to showcase their dance, choreography, singing and event management skills. This “India Fest” event is organized every year by “Indian Association of Minnesota” every year (

It was attended by more than 10000 people. Mr. B Jayananda Shetty from Udupi participated in the event this year, “It is amazing to watch the organized way of celebration Indian independence day so far from the country and the immense respect America has for India and its people.”

Governor Mark Dayton was the chief guest of honor. He proclaimed it official the “India fest Day”. 4 other senators also addressed the crowds. They acknowledged the contribution of Indian community and immigrants, benefiting USA and the community. Governor hoisted the American flag with American national anthem, followed by Indian flag and national anthem. All participants showed their immense respect for their motherland and the country they adopted to make a living.
Minnesota is known for its cold winter, so everyone is outside to enjoy the summer to its fullest. And Independence day coincided with the best weather day this summer.

Here is the link for coverage of this event in local media. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy Independence Day 2014

  1. Mars Mission should inpire us to create more. We should use this mission learnings and invent things to better our on-earth life – better toilet systems,  construction, better hinges , clothing, efficiencies from following a protocol. Like this list - NASA Technologies Benefit Our Lives
  2. Dedicated Parks & Recreation department - to improve existing parks and convert existing wastelands or undeveloped areas to more parks. So families can go for picnic. Kids can play every evening.
  3. Everyone can indulge in their health by runner, jogging, biking, soccer, in different park every evening and avoid boredom form killing their healthy pursuits.
    Playgrounds for kids to play football/soccer, badminton, track field running
    Parks with run trails for everyone to run/jog/walk/bike.
  4. Toilet facility - in all areas, remote & populated. More power to Sulabh International.
  5. Garbage Chute system to be incorporated across all new high-rises. This will reduce the inefficiencies & indignities of manual aspect of transporting garbage from flat home to outside. 
My I-Day wishes from 20082005 & 2006. I did not realise, I was this behind in blogging my IDay wishlist !

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Minnesota Half Marathon - StPaul - 2014 - Race Recap

It was HOT, this one ! That's the first thing I remember everytime. It was. I came to know later, that the temps were 82F. And when you add 10F of heat generated while running, its extremely tricky and needs extreme caution in terms of prep. My outfit was just perfect for the race day weather. Anything more and I would have overheated.

I registered for Minnesota Half Marathon because I had not run a Half in St Paul. I wanted to checkout the routes here. My 5K for Securian was a short route in downtown with a bit on Shepherd Road. So I was interested in this one.

I had no place for iPod, so no route  pictures again. But the race start-finish point is at a great spot. Its on Shepard Road, right down from Science Museum. It has a park with path facing the Mississippi River. St Paul downtown skyline can be seen from here. Great place for kids to play and to take pictures.

Race start was on Shephard Road near Spring Street, going NorthEastward and looped back at Mile 2.5. Gwad, was this tortuous ! Yes, the first few miles of a race is always bad, but the sun was killing us. My hat was a savior for me. After a stretch & turnaround, the leaders started running back on the otherside. This early in the race, its quite demotivating to see this. And I was running with my head down, looking at the road below. That's an unhealthy posture - affects breathing and motivation. In that moment of darkness, somebody from opposite side prompted me to look up, cheer up and run alive again. I heard someone  scream "uuper dekh" (hindi for "look up"). I don't know who it was, but it worked. I looked up throughout. Nothing beats the cheers we hear in a race.

After the turnaround, we headed SouthWest. This is a major block of Shepard road, which is right under the direct sun. Trees by the side did not cover the stretch of road. They advise us to run tangents in a race. Well this route had no turns, and no tangents. We might have covered extra, just trying to run in shade, to avoid the harsh sun. It felt never-ending. Thankfully the Mile 9 turnaround came up. Now even if the sun was on the top of us, atleast it was not on the face. There is this bridge which look very marginally slopy, but gwad I hate it in every race ! And then the St Paul skyline seemed so .. far off, I couldn't believe I was anywhere close to finish. There were very few us, but we kept chugging along quitely. And after like hours of quite, I blurted out, "The last mile is the worst". I got some Ayes.

But the last few miles looked beautiful. There were yellowing young-trees lining up. Classic mix of scary & beautiful. Scary because the end banner still looked very far. By the last half mile, I started weeping. No reason I can think of now. But I weeped non-stop. And that is my official race picture, yes.

Gwad, it was done. My finish time was 2:49:05. I was desparately looking for my kids & family for the winners embrace. And I did get it. What a relief :)

Race as such was very well organised. There were sufficient water-stops for this hot day. Musicians and other volunteered cheered along. Race medal and shirt were cute.

But I did a goof-up in my race-day planning. I registered my kids for the kids race. And for some reason, I came here separately and told my hubby to get the kids for 10:30 race. Once I finished the race close to 11 AM, I came to know my error. Turns out the kids race was at 10 and it was over by the time they arrived. As expected, their heart was broken and they were crying. The race organizers suggested both of them to run the route and then they gave the medals & goodies. My kids did run the road and hubby described how they were the only ones on the road, right in the hot sun and crying too. It was heart-wrenching. They did have numerous events for this race and each ones start times were close together in the information. No wonder I mixed-up the times..

2015 Update: Kids ran this very race again, at this very spot again in 2015 and it was awesome experience for them and us.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014



Can't believe it’s been 20 years since Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. Does make me feel old & grownup :D I remember going to that theater in Udupi with Shoba akka, Sowmya & Deepthi.

20th year anniversary seemed like a good time to introduce this movie to the next Gen (my kids). This is the chain of events that happened next.

All cries for Disney stopped, once "Bechain hain teri  nazar..." started playing.

Cheers from me to Dad when "Vijaya Bank" featured in the title credits!
Vijaya Bank credits in Hum Aapke Hai Kaun

Kids - "What's her name again ?" 
"Like a Goddess !?!?!"

Kids were all attention - from the Skating sequence to all songs from “Wah wah Ramji” and later ones.

“Shakuntalaaa … who is Shakuntala?”

Kids were totally glued, for the tempo in "Joothe do paise lo" - 
"Are they stealing shoes ? Isnt it a bad thing.." 
I had to explain same thing which Madhuri explains to the young girl. 
Krishna featured during this sequence - so that was totally a hit with the kids.

When Renuka appears in her bridal dress, I am thinking "Wedding dress is so simple. Nothing blingy like the ones in today's movies. Nice ! And I thought those days were flashy". 
But kids are shocked, "Where is her head?" Coz it was totally covered. 
When they showed her face, relief "Oh there".

Dupata and swiveling around during "Mausam ka Jadu hai Mitwa" - both on TV and i nthe living room.

Didi tera devar dewana.. – 
“Is she a boy or girl” 
“Why is the melon on her head” 
“Is she a boy ?” “No that is Bindu” 
“Now he is a girl “ !

At the pool, Salman does push-ups to muster courage, Kids go, “I can do that” and go on to show me 1-hand push-ups.

My Dad pitches in, “Kitna songs hain isme !?!” (so many songs !). Ya like every 5 minutes.

Fruit cutting scene for late night dinner - 
"She cuts fruits, he eats". 
I said, "No everyone cuts fruits". 
"But he didn't". 
"They didn't show it that’s all. In our home, everyone cuts fruits."

Pehla Pehla payaar hain – “what are they doing ?” Skip, skip...

“How many songs are there in this film ! Did anyone count ? Must be 200 atleast”

“It’s a song movie…but the songs are good”

By the time of Diktana diktana, “The songs just keep coming. These people never get tired.”

Then for a Salman-Madhuri sequence, background guitar played, and distracted kids came running “I thought one more song is coming … I hope another song comes soon…”

Hubby came back, and kids to their Dad, “You sure missed many songs; like twelve songs  !”

For the passing pillow game, kids were in Cricket gloves and clapping all along ... “….sabkuch gawaya hain, thoda sa pyaar kar…” and Mugle-azam sequence.

Welcome rangoli made of flower – “Look, A cake, cake !”

Lo chali mein – “Tuffy is playing football”
Once she falls down, kids stopped playing. 
"Blood blood" "Who" "The other one". 
They watched the whole sequence. "She is going to she can't die.... This is the saddest part of the movie. This must be the middle of the movie. The middle of the movies are the baddest …always...this is the saddest. I wish it didn't come at all."

After this, everything became quiet & everyone dispersed.

Can’t help it, but I think this every single time - "Sangeet ladies are wearing the exact same dress they did in the first wedding" :)  

Once up a time, nitpicking this movies costumes, was a mini-industry – the green & white dress, purple saree. And kids speaking in hyperbole is a gem.

It might be 20 years, but HAHK is still flawless. There must be some reason it still works its magic. Everytime it comes on cable TV, it just has to play till the end. 

HAHK songs just have to play on somewhere ....