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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

White Christmas

Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is one of the first Christmas carols I've heard. Back in the day when the family would get together to decorate the Christmas tree, we would put cotton on the tree to make believe it's snowing outside. Over the years, Hollywood got me to believe that a white Christmas is always more magical and special and ever since, I've always dreamed of having a white Christmas.

Once I moved to Canada I thought that this dream would come true; I would wake up on a Christmas morning and look outside the window and see snow. But now as I approach my second Christmas in Canada that dream looks far from coming true. Even though last winter in Canada was one of the coldest on record, it did not snow around Christmas time. And this winter being one of the milder one, the weatherman says it is going to be relatively warm on Christmas day. So I guess I still have to continue dreaming of a white Christmas.

Having said this, a warm day doesn't cease to make my Christmas any less special. Christmas, after all is about celebrating with your loved ones. The whole process of making sweets, decorating the house, buying and wrapping gifts, the parties, the food and just spending time with the family is what makes this season really special.

Christmas has always been a special time for me and I hope it continues to be in the years to come. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Meaningful Letter

Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent...and so very appropriate
                                                  A Message by George Carlin:

     The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a centRemember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.If you don't send this to at least 8 people....Who cares?
- George Carlin

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Summer Time Madness

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, It is the source of all true art and science.
           - Albert Einstein. 

Neurosurgeons recommend experimenting new things, to keep the brain active and prevent degeneration of brain cells. My first summer in Canada features in that list.

People here love this season. Numerous events take place everywhere, keeping people through the months. the good part is, there is something for everybody. 

Let me tell you about some of the things that I did, that made my first summer in Canada a memorable one.

To begin with, I went for a baseball game, visited a few breweries and tasted Ontario’s finest craft beers and finally went for a few picnics at the park by the lake. The parks by Lakeshore are one of the best places to be during the summer. You see people fishing by the boardwalk, food trucks from all parts of the province, children playing and people barbequing all kinds of meat. Barbeque chicken, ice cold beer in hand and your family around is always fun any time of the year but it’s a completely different experience during the summer.

The highlight of my summer was my first helicopter ride downtown Toronto. Flying over a city and looking at things from above really puts things in to perspective.  All these things coupled with the various food and beer festivals, along with visits to the outdoor farmers’ markets made it a really enjoyable summer.

Now as summer ends, I’ll look forward to many more such summer’s madness.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Remember to apply sunscreen

Baz Luhrmann, in the song, " Everybody's free to wear Sunscreen." said, 

           Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.  
           The most interesting people I know didn't  know at 22 what they wanted to do with              their lives,some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

This thought really hit home the other day when a friend of mine told me he was leaving a career in the oil industry to become a writer. I was not really surprised by his decision. He is not the first person I know to switch careers like that. Last year a family member left a high profile job in the advertising industry to start his business.  The business is still trying to pick up. Does he regret it? No. He has enjoyed every moment of the challenge. I guess all these people who switched their career paths wanted to have a meaningful life than a career.

When I graduated from high school I came across lots of people who had their whole life and careers mapped out. Some wanted to be doctors, some wanted to be engineers or some wanted to start a business of their own. As for me, I didn't have any plans at all. I just went with the flow. I graduated from college and went on to do my masters not knowing exactly if the field I chose was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I thought I was different for not having planned my life.

Now, 10 years down the line I have come to realize that I am not much different from anyone else after all. There are so many people who thought they had their lives figured out back then but are still trying to figure out their lives. As we go through life and experience new things on this journey we come to realize what we actually like or dislike. Every moment is a learning experience. 

So there in no shame in not having a plan for life. At the end of the day it is about trying to figure out what makes you happy. Even if you take your whole life trying to figure out, you will have fun doing it and have some stories to tell your grandchildren. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said , " Life is a journey, not a destination." So we might as well enjoy this journey because that's what makes memories, and aren't they the ones that console us ? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's summer time

Absence makes the heart grow fonder “– I dont know the origin of the quote but I do believe it, to be true.  This quote is applicable to so many things 'under the sun. ' We'll, and this time, Im actually talking about the 'sun' , which is the star at the center of our solar system and is responsible for the earth's climate and weather. 

I did really miss the sun during my first long and cold winter in Canada.  They say you only really appreciate happiness once you have experienced sadness. The same is true for sunshine. I know it now.

I come from a country that is near the equator and I, like many other people from that part of the world took the bright sunshine that we got all year round for granted.  You only really appreciate the spring and the summer once you have been through the harsh winter like the recent once I experienced in Canada, my first Canadian winter.

Last week the temperature rose to double digits of around 18-20 degrees C and people were out in their shorts and driving around in their convertibles with the tops down. I thought to myself if I were in India, people would be all covered up in this temperature. 

Such are the winters in Canada, that the first sign of moderately warm temperature and bright sunshine, people are out there making the most of it. You probably heard the expression make hay while the sun shines.  I am really looking forward to my first summer in Canada and I hope it is as memorable as my first winter. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

I'm ok

The general response to the question, hi, how are you? Would be Im good. How about you? That is how we have been programmed to respond and that is how people expect us to respond. I also get asked that question a lot. And my general response to that is ,Im doing ok. And then people would ask me in a surprised manner, 'why just ok, and not good.' And I have no response to that.

This then got me thinking, is something really wrong with me? Why am I not good? Then one day it occurred to me. Im doing ok because life is not that bad to complain about and its not that good that I have anything to boast about.

Can a person really be good and happy all the time? I dont think that is really possible in this day and age, with so many things happening around us.

I read an article the other day, by Tim Lott, a British author, in The Guardian where Tim says, Disappointment, Fear and Loss are much a part of life as Achievement, Hope and Joy. But this intermediate state no longer seems to be socially acceptableThere is plenty of unhappiness. We shouldnt dwell on it but we shouldnt refuse to acknowledge it either. Thus, giving meaning to the phases of one's life.

So the next time someone says to you, Im ok. Just let them be. Maybe they are content with being ok and there is nothing wrong in that. Let them have a day, after all making it through one is all that matters. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Not what it used to be.

I joined the social media bandwagon way back in the early 2000s when I first registered on Orkut. The younger generation will not have heard of Orkut which is long in its grave now. The popularity of Orkut started to decline with the advent of Facebook and so did my loyalty towards Orkut. I eventually switched to Facebook. Over the years many other social media sites came up but Facebook still tops my list.

Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with people across the globe. If you hadnt seen someone for years, you could just go on facebook and browse through their photos to see how much their bellies have grown horizontally or shrunk or the places they have been to and place they have settled in. Those were the good old days. 

The reason I say those good old days, is because the other day, while surfing Facebook, I realized that there wasn't a single update of a friend but random videos, inspirational quotes, tips on life etc.  This got me thinking. What then is the purpose of all this? The whole point of me logging on to Facebook was to catch up with friends and see what they were up to in their lives.  If I wanted fitness tips or tips on life I would have just Googled it.

I may sound a little old fashioned when I say, I wish Facebook would go back to being the way it was. When it was only about the people I followed. Don't you sometimes wish you could get rid of the clutter?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

6 Things every kid will love doing this summer..

Here is the link to a little something I wrote for

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The black ice effect..

The scene from the movie 27 Dresses where Katherine Heigl screams in panic, Were hydroplaning, Were hydroplane. Ever wondered what hydroplane means? Well, I didn't know what nor was I bothered to look it up. It was only when I moved to Canada, is when I learnt about hydroplaning and black ice.

Google said,'Hydroplaning' by the tires of a vehicle occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction and 'Black Ice' is a thin coating of ice on a surface. It is not actually black but almost transparent.

People out here warned me about black ice at the start of winter, and narrated a few of their accidents with the same. It seemed to me, that if a person has lived in Canada through the winter, he or she must have  slipped and fallen due to black ice; mind you I speak of the careful ones too.
Now, we are towards the end of winter and the temperature has started to rise during the day causing the ice to melt and form small puddles. However, the water that does not evaporate, freezes at night forming black ice.

I've had my share of near misses in the last couple of weeks but luckily haven't fallen...yet. So to end this, I would say I had a good winter; my first experience with snow; other than just excitement. 

Looking forward to what the next season this new country has to offer!! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For the Beer Lovers.

Here is a nice little article that every beer lover must read.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

PDAC 2015

I first heard about the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in 2010 when my ex boss and his colleague were on their way to the PDAC conference.

They were really excited about it. Up until that point I had not heard of PDAC. So I decided to do some research of my own. PDAC, is one of the biggest mining conferences in the world ever held. It first began in 1932 and has been held every year since then.

This year I got a chance to attend PDAC. This was my first industry related conference. PDAC 2015 was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. There were over 500 mining companies at the event. Many of the junior mining companies had some very interesting projects to showcase. But, as is the present state of the industry, many of them were stalled due to lack of funding.

I really enjoyed my first mining conference. It was a new experience for me.I met a lot of people and got their perspective on the present state of the industry. Many were still hopeful that the industry will bounce back soon, which is a good sign.

Ins't this is how we humans are ? Always living in the hope for a better future, Or at least hoping for one.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting my Driver's Licence

February 18th 2015, was another landmark day during my ‘Great Canadian Journey’. It was the day I became a licensed driver. Yes of course, I studied a bit before the test and also took some classes. These classes taught me that knowing to drive is the easy part but it takes more than this to get a license here. Knowing the rules constitutes a major part of the test. I was told the do's and the don'ts of each section. I met a few people who shared their experiences and how they failed the first time they gave the test.

Their stories made me a bit nervous as failing was not an option. Not because I don’t like to fail it was more because giving the test is not only an expensive affair but also a very time consuming. The test was booked for 9 am. I went to bed early, but was up most of the night tossing and turning worrying about the test.

It was an unusually cold February morning. The awaited time had come. My heart was pounding. The only thing going through my mind was "Garvin don’t mess this up. It's your only chance." The test started off well, yes, I did make a few mistakes but there were no major mishaps or accidents and I finally returned back to the test center without any major mishaps.

All nervous, I sat there waiting for my results. it all ended when that sweet lady looked at me and said those words my ears longed for "Garvin Rebello, congratulations! You've passed the test."
All adding up to:
Driver's License: Check.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Canadian International Autoshow

Here are a few clicks from my trip to the Canadian International Auto show held at the Toronto Metro Convention Center. This was my first visit to an auto show and it was such a great experience.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Women's Day

Next month, on the 8th of March, the world will celebrate 'International Womens Day.' First celebrated in the United States, 1909, this day is celebrated to honour women for their achievement in various fields.

Why celebrate women some would ask. To them I say, why not? Look at how far women have gone in today. From running corporations to countries, they have come a long way, when you look back at history and read about the struggles they faced to gain equal rights as men. They do deserve some credit.

From the Joan of Arc, to Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on the bus to Angela Merkel of today, and the women they represent; they sure deserve credit for their achievements.

In spite of all the progress, we as society, have made in terms of treating women equally, there are still so many parts of the world where women are still suffering.  Every day, we hear the news of women being attacked, raped, kidnapped, denied education, harassed at the workplace etc.

On Womens Day, let's make it a point to not only celebrate their achievements but also create awareness about the struggles they still face in many parts of the world. They deserve respect. Let's set an example.

Here is a little article, dug out from the archives for International Womens Day that will help put things in perspective.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three Parent babies.

Last week, the news read, UK to pass a law legally allowing for a three parent baby.  At first, I thought to myself is that even possible? Reading further, I realized it has something to do with mitochondrial engineering to prevent the mitochondrial diseases in children. There is a lot of debate on crossing ethical boundaries and the long term effects of this process.

According to an article I read, in "The Independent," mitochondrial disorder is said to be in 1 in 200 children, whereas only 1 in 10000 severely affected.

I am no expert, but shouldnt scientist try and put in more of an effort to try and find cures for diseases like Aids, Cancer and solutions for eradication of hunger and poverty which affects millions of children around the world.

I personally feel that since a lot of people are getting affected by these diseases, scientists along with the help of the government should pay a little more attention towards eliminating those problems first. Dont you?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Crossing Boundaries

Once man figured out how to sail the oceans, people left their homes, crossed the ocean and went in search of different lands; to start up a business, educate themselves or start a new life. The Europeans moved to America, Asia etc. centuries ago. Indians, being the enterprising people that they are, moved to different corners of the globe.

Being an Indian myself, I too joined the lot. Moved all the way to the west to Canada to start afresh. Not that there was anything wrong with the way things were back home, but there comes a point where one says to oneself, I need to do something different now, I need to experience new things in life. Now isn't that what life is about? After all, variety is the spice of life.

The plan was simple. Go to Canada, get a job and settle slowly into things. I'm not the first to do this. There were millions who left home and came to this country to settle down. But having worked at the same company for many years, I never had to look for a new job. Actually, I never learnt how to look for a job because I secured a campus placement straight out of university. There were so many things I didn't know about job hunting which I am learning now. Everyday I learn something new. Things I am supposed to do and things I am not.  Like, out here it's called resume and not CV, always ask some to check your resume for you. It is very difficult to catch your own mistakes.(the human brain works in a funny way).

Everybody before me said,"Oh Wow! You're coming to Canada. You will really like it.." But nobody told me about the difficult part of it. So I am here, learning the tricks. But I'm sure there will be a day when I wake up to that most awaited call, and I will see the Canada people told me about.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hockey Night in Canada

Back home we called it 'Ice Hockey' and my only association with that sport was the movie ' The Mighty Ducks' and the hockey jerseys you would see people wearing in the movies. For us, hockey meant Dhanraj Pillay with a wooden stick and wearing a blue Sahara India jersey.It is the national sport of India. Or at least it used to be till cricket took over. Well on paper it still is thou because if you say cricket is the national sport in a general knowledge quiz, you get it wrong.

It is not called 'Ice Hockey' in Canada. It's just 'Hockey'. And it really is a big thing out here. I would say it is as popular as the IPL in India. You have passionate fans, over priced tickets, people rambling nonsense on TV, the works. Well. you will get those things with any popular sport. I am not much of a fan of the sport but I have started following a bit of hockey now a days because as they say, when in Rome do as the Romans. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Occam's Razor

The other day, I was reading a book and came across the term Occams razor. It is a philosophical principle that has applications in the field of problem solving.  It states that among all the possible solutions, the one that has the least assumptions should be selected.  The book was about mineral exploration by Majoribanks. He goes on to say that every exploration geologist should follow the principle of Occam's razor

If everyone followed this principle in more aspects of their lives, life would be simpler.  We tend to complicate things sometimes by over thinking about things. It can sometimes affect relationships with the people around us or hinder us from developing new relationships. We read about so much of violence happening today, police brutality etc. I feel, if more people followed this principle then violence around us would certainly reduce. Life is meant to be simple. We don't need to complicate it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A warm winter's day

The other day at work, in the cafeteria the guy sitting next to me said,"What a wonderful day it is, good weather outside." It was cloudy and drizzling and the temperature was 3 degrees outside. Few months ago if someone would have told me that I would have just laughed at him and thought he was crazy. But now that kind of weather is a blessing considering the fact that it was -20 degrees a few days ago.

Like they say about life. you really have to experience the bad times to appreciate the good times. Same goes with the winter in Canada. You really have to experience the cold to appreciate the weather when it is 3 degrees outside. For me now during the winter any day the temperature is in positive numbers is a good day. Guess I am getting used the winter one day at a time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold Wave

Last week was one of the coldest weeks of the year in the GTA area, with temperatures going down to -30 deg C with the windchill.A extreme cold weather warning was also issued. It was a first of a kind experience for me. I wasn't outside for long but for the little while that I was my face went numb after a while and my nose became frosty.The 40 kmph winds made it a bad day to be outside. The worst part was waiting at the bus stop for the bus.

It was a really bad day for those people who didn't have adequate heating in their homes and for those without a home. There were reports of two homeless people dying in two days because of the cold weather. This week is also going to be chilly. That's the Canadian winter for you.

Any day the temperature is in positive degree Celsius, is a good day during the Canadian winter. Even zero degree is a good day for me now. People from the more tropical countries would not agree with me. But they should come here and experience the cold to appreciate the warmth of zero degree Celsius. :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Is fracking good or bad?

The other day I read an article in the newspaper about fracking process causing problems in Oklahoma. For those of you who don't know what Fracking is, it is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers from deep within the earth. This is done by sending fluid down the well with high pressure which cracks the rocks thereby releasing natural gas.

In Oklahoma, this process is said to cause an increase in the number of earthquakes recorded. So far they have been mild ones but it is only a matter of time before a big one hits. While we, as a civilization have made huge advances in technology to extract resources that were once thought impossible to reach, there is only so much mother earth can take before it does something to balance itself out.

As new gas containing shales are discovered, this technology is going to be used more and more. As if people did not have enough things to worry about like the economy, wars, global warming etc now they have to worry about man made earthquakes. Not to mention the amount of chemicals that are pumped into the ground. I have nothing against the use of technology in the extraction of natural resources from the earth but when we reach a point where can make the earth rumble, it is time we start looking for other sources of energy.