In an (ongoing) attempt to become better netsec ninjas, Gree and I attended a technical conference in DC last week. The conf was about an open-source security engine called Suricata that Arbor Networks uses. Open-source loosely means free + full access to source code of the product. It’s crazy. All in all, it was a productive trip and I was very inspired and humbled to be in the presence of a bunch of good-hearted, passionate, and really smart people. We had a wine and dine event at the British Embassy the first night and it was really exciting too. The weather was cool and crisp and it seemed like all of the leaves were a little bit past peak fall, but DC was beautiful nonetheless. Kramerbooks and Café Even though it was a whirlwind of a work week, I managed to squeeze in a few walks along the National mall…Continue Reading
The crisp autumn days haven’t quite descended upon us in the south (of the US). I am desperately clinging on to every remaining moment and memory of summer; which began with a few glorious weeks in the south of France. I was not expecting to fall in love with Nice or the French Riveria, in fact, I almost decided not to go there for I presumed that the glitz and glamor might overshadow its charm and authenticity. I came to discover (after a lot of convincing to go by my friend Lucinda who spends a month in Villefranche every year) that it’s only a part of the picture. The French Riveria intertwines old-world charm and history with affluence and luxury like no other. It was everything I was scared of expecting and better, much better 🙂 Traveling to France and Italy teaches me to slow down, savor the simple pleasures,…Continue Reading
I’m a firm believer that food always tastes best at the place where it originated. I’m also the kind of crazy/dedicated person who will go to a city just for a slice of pie. After spending an awesome week at Ann Arbor at our annual summer picnic, I jumped on a plane to Chicago to reconnect with my good buddy Krishna from Chennai and PIZZAARGHH. Yes, you read that right, pizza. Good old cheesy Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Also, Krishna lives in Chicago now and creates drugs for a living 😛 It had been nearly two years and it was about time I caught up with both. As soon as I landed, he picked me up from the airport and we decided to put business first and take the Chicagoan bull by the horns. (get that NBA reference?! :)) The fresh pizza of Pequod One of my friends Dennis who…Continue Reading
When I shut my eyes sometimes and daydream about my time in Nice, I picture the narrow alleys of the old town dappled in sunlight , the distressed building walls’ drenched in bright cheerful hues and one important detail sticks out. The window shutters. Or volets as the French call them. Mint volets. Blue volets. Volets with laundry hanging in front on their wrought-iron balconies. Volet with flower boxes. Closed volets. Open volets. Partially open volets. The whole nine yards. My first night in Nice, my host bustled into my room, closed the volets stated something in rapid French, motioned to the windows and walked out. I nodded furiously, even though I had no idea what she just said. Turns out that most houses and apartments in the South of France have volets. As the sun goes down every day, so do the volets. People shut them tight after sunset and…Continue Reading
May 2016 Some of my closest friends and I happened to be in Rome at the same time, for a day. We made no plans whatsoever and spent most of the day aimlessly strolling in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, laughing uncontrollably, worrying only about what our next meal would be and if we would explode if we had at least one gelato every hour. The struggle was real. We got off the plane perfectly in time for lunch and prosecco and made a beeline for the charming Pianostrada in Trastevere. The place is really tiny and it was packed tush to elbow all the way in. But that’s a good thing; we made friends with the super-fun Norwegian people sitting at the next table and they made sure we drank enough prosecco for all the time we already “lost” not drinking prosecco – aka 8 am- lunch time. The postage-stamp size restaurant is…Continue Reading
Highlights from a week in Croatia April 2015 A year ago I embarked on my epic 5-week trip to Milan, Croatia, and Paris. It would have an epic five-week SOLO trip to France, but my best friend decided to play “kabab-mein-haddi”/a gooseberry/third-wheel (whatever your drift is) between Paris and me. Nonetheless, the trip was fantastic and so is she, so I’ll let her transgressions slide. Why Croatia? Four weeks before my trip, I asked Sukanya if she wanted to travel with me to Europe and she called rain-check. To be precise, she said, “I don’t have time; I want to save money and focus on getting married in December, Europe doesn’t excite me that much and I would much rather visit these cities in my sixties, blah blah blah.” Me: “Bummer”. Fast-forward 1 week => disastrous yet successful Schengen visa incident. Fast-forward another week. Right after I bought my tickets,…Continue Reading
Postcards traveling to Nice, France and falling in love with south of France || Falling for France: Day One
Landing shenanigans. Around this time last year, I flew over the Atlantic and landed in Nice. Nice is sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps and when you land, you can see the blue skies and the shimmering water stretch for miles and miles. My jaw dropped. Partly because of the bumpy landing but mostly because the landing was spectacular. I go numb with excitement and disbelief every time I visit a new town or city and this is especially true every time I land in France. Not wanting to waste a single minute, I hustled out of the terminal to catch the airport shuttle to the bus station. Less than 20 minutes of landing my tootsie there and I already committed my first stupid act of the trip, even though I swore to myself to be extra alert and careful. In the South of France, when you get on…Continue Reading
Arnab and Shivangi, Atlanta Piedmont Park, Atlanta wedding photographer
I’m still smiling from the photoshoot in the park last weekend with the lovely Çan and Didem. They have known each other since they were in kindergarten and they are getting married later this year. #lobsters? 🙂 One of the photos from our shoot is going to be on their engagement card, I’m so psyched. That brings me to my big announcement: TADA!! I have been flirting with the idea of becoming a professional photographer for a while now and it seems like the universe is nudging me in that direction. I’m a sucker for happy endings and happy people and what I love even more than that is capturing moments that reflect that. So it’s official now!! Take a look at some of my photos from yesterday and earlier. If you like my work and if you or someone you know are looking for a fun photographer, holler at me and…Continue Reading
Postcards from Mexico City at Christmas
Impromptu escape to Mexico City for Christmas When my (secret) plans to escape to the snowcapped Himalayas and train to be a ninja and spend the holidays with my family went downhill, I fell into an emotional rut. Thank you, US visa complications! On a whim, I just booked a one-way ticket to Mexico city. Common sense dictated that I stay put in the US because I didn’t know if I could re-enter the US or afford to fly to India from Mexico city without selling both my kidneys. Ofc logic didn’t prevail and I just hopped on the flight and headed straight to Mexico’s capital. My idea was to spend a night in Mexico city and take the first bus out to Guanajuato the next morning. Guanajuato is a former silver-mining town about five hours way from the city and Christmas was around the corner. Christmas is one of…Continue Reading
March madness in Milan, Italy, Easter, travel
March Madness in Milan March 27, 2015 In an effort to prevent millions of photos from disappearing into a black hole forever, I have decided to start a #lastyearthisday series (Today is Easter, so it’s very symbolic 🙂 ) First up, Milan. Sukanya and I flew into Malpensa airport last year around 10 in the am. Our ultimate destination was Croatia but tickets to Milan were cheaper, so we decided to fly into Milan, explore the city for two days and then hop onto an overnight bus to Zagreb. Quick tip: If you are looking for cheap tickets from North America to Europe, I suggest looking for tickets to Milan and then taking a low-cost airline/train to your intended destination… and thank me later of course. Anyway, Sukanya flew in directly from India and landed at the international terminal and I got into the domestic terminal. When she asked an…Continue Reading
The sleepy and adorable village of Atrani is a hop, skip and a handful of medieval watchtowers away from Amalfi. Whether you are there for a couple of days or just an evening (like me), this button-sized village will charm your pantalonis (Italian for pants dum-dum ;)) off. I like to believe I saw a shooting start. 🙂 Don’t miss Atrani for the world and don’t tell me I didn’t warn ya 🙂 Ciao!
Amalfi beach
December 2014 Sigh! Yes, that’s more than a year ago, clearly Pomodoro is not working out for me. My friends joke that all the photos in my camera get sucked into a black hole. Not too far from the truth, I guess 😛 Winter sunsets in Italy are awfully early. (Boo!) It was 4:30 pm and we drove to Amalfi, (the entire coast is named after this town) from Minori just when the sun was setting the sky ablaze. The sight of the coast at dusk, with the twinkling lights shining from the colorful houses stacked so neatly on top of the other, the Christmas trees, the rocky landscape and the glistening water was simply.. magical. As luck would have it, our hotel was in the heart of the town. NOT. We drove into the city, through the city and kept driving past it. After about ten minutes, we discovered…Continue Reading
In a NY state of mind, en route to world’s happiest city. Ever since I landed in New York City for the first time in 2011, 22 and starry-eyed, playing Alicia keys’ “concrete jungles where dreams are made of ” on a loop (corny much?), I have been re-visiting at least twice a year and falling a little more in love with each adventure in this chaotic bustling city with its dizzying skyscrapers, sprawling parks, and delicious bagels and pizzas. The first time I got here, I was here for an interview for an internship with Morgan Stanley. The interview went incredibly well; I kicked ass (Not bragging; this was my first great interview after a series of hysterically-awful ones) and, needless to say, I snagged the internship for 3 months in NYC. But along came another company with a better offer shattering my dreams and robbing me of my stay…Continue Reading
Day 1 I’m not going to lie; I have high expectations from Copenhagen, the capital of the world’s happiest country and all. I have only been here for a couple of hours and I am yet to fall in love or truly connect with this city. But here are some postcards of things that caught my fancy and top 8 things about Copenhagen/Denmark. 😉 This is my Airbnb in Copenhagen, I’m staying with a Danish couple in a neighborhood called Osterbro and their charming apartment is oozing with hygge. 1) Teach me how to Hygge Hard to pronounce and even harder to describe, Danish hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) roughly translates to coziness. If you have wondered how Danes manage to keep their spirits high through the painfully long and gloomy winters, the solution to the mystery and key to their happiness is *drum roll* hygge. In essence, hygge means creating a warm…Continue Reading
The concept of cat café is not really novel; cat cafes have been around since 1998 in Taiwan. While Paris, Montreal, Copenhagen, NYC and other western countries opened their first cat cafés last year, Japan expanded its monkey business beyond the realm of cats and dogs. Today, Japan boasts of goat cafés (no kidding, goat cafés are a real thing), reptile cafes, rabbit cafes and what not. If you didn’t know already, I’m obsessed with cats. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in the company of many whiskered four-legged friends. I fed and befriended all the strays and pets I bumped into, and soon my apartment was swarming with cats of all tail-sizes. When word got around about this in the neighborhood, I was nominated the go-to cat whisperer and was called upon to solve any cat-a-clysms that arose. My parents put up a tough front initially but…Continue Reading
Kramerbooks and Afterwords café Nestled in the heart of Dupont circle, Kramerbooks makes an excellent omelet alongside a side of your favorite book. Toki Underground As a vegetarian, it’s hard to come by a good vegetarian ramen. I thought Toki whipped up an excellent ramen bowl and I slurped up the delicious broth and the toothsome ramen noodles in the blink of an eye. Bonus: Delicious cocktails and a really cool interior. The walls and tables are draped with scenes and characters from Manga comics. Amsterdam Falafel I swear by Amsterdam Falafel and after when you eat here, you will too . Think fried, crunchy and fresh off the frier falafels and make your own pita with baba ghanoush, pickled turnips, verdant jalapeno sauce, and about twenty spicy, garlicky toppings. The flavors are really intense and cut right through the alcohol if *cough* *cough* you have been drinking. They are also…Continue Reading
Cloudy with a chance of lightning and bears I’m absolutely mindblown by the pristine wilderness, teeming wildlife and naturals wonders of the Wild West. We started our trip by exploring the majestic Grand Tetons and after having a picnic by the emerald-hued Jenni lake, we drove to Yellowstone and spent three wonderful days there. Possibly the world’s first national park, Yellowstone rests atop a dormant volcano. The volcano’s magma chamber is the source of its many erupting geysers, rainbow-hued hot springs, bubbling mud pots and many other geothermal wonders. Yellowstone is notorious for its fickle microclimate and Mother Nature kept playing tricks the whole time, bringing in a blanket of dark, brooding clouds to conceal the sun. After a few sprinkles of rain and hail, the clouds would part again and the sun returned for a brief period only to get shrouded in clouds very soon. When it was not…Continue Reading
On a fateful day in 1943, two ABCIs (American born confused Italians aka second/third-gen Italian descendants in Chicago. FYI this is an acronym I made up, I mean if there are ABCDs – American born confused desis, there’s gotta be ABCIs right? :P) opened Pizzeria Uno to create a type of Italian-American fusion pizza, adding a twist to their traditional thin-crust Neapolitan version. The ingredients were prepared in a circular pan, about three inches deep. The base of the pan was drizzled with olive oil, then topped with a thick bed of semolina and white flour, followed by a pound of mozzarella cheese, vegetables, and meat and finally a thin layer of chunky tomato sauce. Notice how they added the cheese first and add the tomato sauce. The UPSIDE DOWN pizza was then baked to prevent cheese from burning. (Genius!) The olive oil and flour blended to give the pizza…Continue Reading
When Bobby first floated the idea of an RV camping trip from Atlanta to the Atlantic coast in South Georgia, all of us except Raj shot it down. We ended up going because Bobby was very enthusiastic about planning the whole gig and all of us wanted something low-key and inexpensive. In retrospect, the trip was amazing and we felt pretty darn moronic for not wanting to go in the first place. I mean, what’s not to love about hanging out with a fun bunch of friends in an RV nonstop for three days? Also, what’s more American than an RV camping/road trip during the 4th of July weekend? Fireworks? We had that covered too 😀 That said, RV came with its own set of challenges. To begin with, the RV is a huge beast and it’s not easy to navigate. Something or the other stopped working every other hour; the generator…Continue Reading