Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yoga With Travis Eliot

For a while now, I have been practicing yoga with Travis Eliot who has recently opened an online store. You can find inspiring yoga music, and audio downloads of his classes, and his instructional DVD. You can find more information about Travis at his website.

Travis truly brings the perfect balance of spirituality and physical fitness to his yoga practice. He is an amazing teacher, ever aware of his student's needs, and ever aware of where each one stands in their yoga practice. He strengthens our weaknesses without judgement, with empathy, with care and with deep-seated love. His music and his passion elevates the soul. For the first time in my life, I've become aware of my own breath and its movement. My challenge has been to regulate my breath each moment of my day. My breath-consciousness grounds my mental discipline which I find indispensable for my scientific and artistic pursuits.

Travis, congratulations on the new store, and thank you for being such a great teacher!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Len Adleman on Mathematical Logic and Quantum Mechanics

My former advisor Leonard Adleman, the 'A' in the RSA encryption algorithm and the inventor of DNA-based computation, has written up an interesting article that he thinks may shed some light on the relationship between mathematical logic and quantum mechanics. You can read about it over at Clifford V. Johnson's blog Asymptotia. Here is the link.

The Quantum Pontiff pontificates on Adleman's article here. The comment section is full of interesting references and insights. I highly recommend reading it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dr. Abdul Kalam at USC

Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former president of India visited USC on September 15, 2009, to give a talk on how the Indian youth can lead their country. He outlined his bold vision "Lead India 2020" and talked about what strengths a leader should have. He answered quite a few questions from the audience which was mostly comprised of Indian students. I wish the talk had been organized at Bovard Auditorium so that more students and professors could come and hear him speak. The students were cramped in a small classroom in the Mudd Hall of Philosophy. I think that Dr. Abdul Kalam's visit to USC was organized at the very last minute, and that's why they couldn't find a bigger venue. Regardless, I enjoyed his talk and his sense of humor. The students asked him various questions ranging from India's current problems with corruption, poverty, and infrastructure, to nuclear energy solutions to Indian's growing energy needs. Toward the end I asked him what he did for fun when he wasn't working, or collecting accolades, to which he replied, "I write poetry." He then proceeded to read a translated version of a poem that he had written in Tamil to the audience. It was quite a day for me!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

L A S E R - A Film By Clifford V. Johnson

I just watched a short film by Clifford V. Johnson on the science that goes behind the production of a laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). It is well done and explains the concept with clarity. But besides that it is also fun to watch!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Categorically Not! The Worlds We Make Up

I have been waiting all summer for the new season of Categorically Not to begin at the Santa Monica Art Studios. This is an on-going series of salon-style talks that was started by K. C. Cole about three years ago. I am just astounded at her ability to think about various topics and then to bring together speakers with different expertise to talk about their passion.

The event takes place at the Santa Monica Art Studios (The Hangar) located at 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica on September 13. While the talks start at 6:30 pm, I highly encourage arriving earlier at 6:00 pm as the place gets filled up rather quickly. There is a $5.00 charge at the door (donation), to cover the expenses for refreshments.

Here is the entire excerpt from the Categorically Not website:

What happens to a person schooled in art, science and “ethical culture” who finds himself a pacifist building an atomic bomb, a physicist exiled from science because of his outspoken efforts to stop the madness, a New York Jew raising cattle and teaching high school in the Colorado mountains? If you’re Frank Oppenheimer, you use what you’ve learned from art and science and teaching and ranching to make up your own world--a “museum of human awareness”—The Exploratorium--which is copied all over the world. You inspire artists, scientists, politicians, writers with your unstoppable optimism, your love of humanity, unfettered sense of fun and intensity of purpose. You convince people that the world is theirs to make up--a better way. To the thousands of people influenced by your ideas, you are Tom Sawyer and Yoda, Jesus and Jon Stewart, Einstein and Forrest Gump.

Frank always wanted to create an ongoing series of events bringing together science, arts, politics, whatnot, and Categorically Not! is probably exactly what he had in mind.

So our September 13th Categorically Not! is dedicated to Frank, and our host KC Cole will talk about her new book, Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up.

The world that artist Dan Mills made up may be even more ambitious: Curator and director of the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University, Mills began his US Future States Atlas in 2003 as a wry letter-to-the-editor type response to the increasingly aggressive political and military stance of the US toward other countries. The US government was invading and threatening other nations for a wide variety of reasons including coveting their resources, disliking their leader, believing (really?) they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. By conceptually pushing this stance a little further, Mills found it possible to justify taking over almost any country. The outcome is an Atlas of the United States Empire (USE),a superpower consisting of nearly 100 states—a grand narrative atlas of global imperialism in which strategies, rules, and doctrines unfold that are at times are absurd, painful, humorous, and also frighteningly believable.

Mills’s creations, in the words of critic Richard Marcus, “provide insightful and intelligent commentary on American foreign policy and how truly ridiculous some of the rationale given for those previous actions has been."

His work will be on view at the gallery.

Finally, the world of Pulitzer Prize winning music critic Tim Page was is in many ways a parallel universe to the one most of us inhabit—a universe he only understood himself at age 45 when he was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. As a boy, he could blithely recite the names and dates of all the United States’ presidents and their wives in order (backward upon request), yet lacked the coordination to participate in the simplest childhood games. He memorized vast portions of the World Book Encyclopedia simply by skimming through its volumes, but was unable to pass elementary school math and science. Yet it was perhaps because of rather than despite Asperger’s that he was able to construct a prodigious writing career through his all-consuming love of music—writing the Pultizer board called “lucid and illuminating.”

Tim’s latest book, Parallel Play, is a hilarious and heartbreaking chronicle that revisits his early days through the prism of newfound clarity. The poignant story of lifelong search for answers, the book provides a unique perspective on Asperger's and the well of creativity that can spring forth as a result of the condition.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shine a Light - Trailer

Over at Asymptotia, Clifford Johnson has been busy directing a new short film entitled, "Shine a Light." I am looking forward to watching this film. Roll out the red carpet, pop the champagne ... Here's a teaser trailer:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Journey from Zanskar

I had the pleasure of watching Frederick Marx's new documentary, "Journey from Zanskar" last night in one of the class-rooms in Taper Hall of Humanities (THH) at the University of Southern California.

The documentary is about two Buddhist monks from the Zanskar region and their quest to take a about dozen kids between the ages of five and twelve from their village to a Buddhist school in Manali. The monks would like to educate the next generation in the Tibetan alphabet, so that they can learn the Tibetan Buddhist scripture and in doing so preserve their language, heritage, and culture. This fantastic documentary gives an account of how these kids along with the monks try to trek through one of the harshest terrains in the world.

Zanskar is the northernmost part of the Kashmir region, and borders Tibet. It lies at an elevation of 13,000 feet, and for most of the year the region is inaccessible to outsiders.

I won't give too much of the film away, but I will mention that Frederick Marx is an excellent film-maker and one can clearly see that this project is a labor of love. What I saw last night was a rough-cut of the documentary, but if that was Marx's rough-cut then I can only imagine what the finished product will look like.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hiking Along East Canyon Road, Santa Clarita

I took advantage of the beautiful weather in the morning and decided to go for a hike along East Canyon Road which takes one into the mountains surrounding Santa Clarita off of the 5 interstate highway.

What makes for perfect hiking weather you ask? In my opinion, a bit of moistness in the air, a gentle cool breeze, and some precipitation, with sunshine breaking through clouds here are there. I drove along The Old Road and soon after I parked my car, I was walking along East Canyon trail.

The hike was gorgeous and was perhaps the best hike that I have been on around southern California in a long time. Every trail has its own character, its personality - a bend here, a twist there, some beautiful wild flowers along the trail, or a big and wise oak tree sprawling its myriad branches in all of its beautiful glory. This trail was quite shady and was peppered with oak trees and pines when you reached the highest elevation which was around 2,700 feet. This was not an easy hike, but if you are in moderate shape, you ought to get to the top in an hour. There was no one on the trail which was perfect because I was seeking solitude and alone-time.

Less than half an hour into the hike, the East Canyon trail forked into two - itself and Rice Canyon trail. I have not tried the latter, but from what I could make out, I am sure it would be a lovely hike as well. As I slowly, but surely made my way to the top, I came to another fork in the road. There was a trail called Weldon Road that would take me all the way down. If I had taken this road, I would have ended up farther away from Old Road on Coltrane Ave. There's an overpass on the 5 freeway that connects Coltrane to Old Road.

Anyway, I continued on East Canyon Road for a while until it forked yet again, though this time it ended at a metal gate, but the land beyond the gate was private (apparently owned by some southern California Gas Company, as I was told by a fellow hiker whom I met on the trail). I was at an elevation of 2,750 feet, and there was not a soul around. I was surrounded by rain clouds, with the leaves of the oak trees wet, and dripping with water, and the trail underneath my shoes getting muddy. I felt as if I had been transported to another world. The whole scene up there was eerie and mystical. I continued a bit further on Sunshine Motorway as supposedly it afforded a beautiful view of San Fernando Valley and the 118 freeway. However, it was so foggy, and the rain clouds so dense that I couldn't see much and so I decided to head back down.

I have always equated hiking with meditation, and it was so serene at the top of Santa Clarita mountains that on my way down I felt content and full of joy.

I highly recommend this hike, and if you have some free time over a weekday, there's nothing like spending time on a trail with a friend or a loved one. The picture that you see on the left is the one I took at the start of the trail-head where I parked my car.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I was at Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood for the screening of Nandita Das's new film called "Firaaq," which is part of the ongoing Indian Film Festival at Arclight. It was a late screening but I actually welcomed that since I cannot deal with traffic in Los Angeles, just like a million other Angelenos.

I had read about the subject matter pertaining to the film and I knew that it would be intense. I don't want to spoil the film for anyone who may want to rent it on DVD, so I won't give the whole movie away. The film is about the aftermath immediately after the Gujarat riots in 2002, where three-thousand Muslims were slaughtered to death, women raped, and children brutally murdered by fundamentalist and fanatic people who don't deserve to be called Hindus.

While there is very little graphical violence in the film, my heart nonetheless was pounding. Nandita Das does a brilliant job of conveying the violence in the way the actors intoned their dialogues, in the way their eyes look scared, tired, and wary, and in the way their frustration, anger, fear, and utter hopelessness was borne in the deep creases of their demeanor. There are several stories that run parallel, and each gives us a glimpse of how the violence affected each and every social strata of society. You must go and watch this film for Naseeruddin Shah's brilliant performance. He has this inane ability to redefine himself each time that he takes on a new and difficult character.

Nandita answered a few questions from the audience at the end of the screening. From all her answers the one I liked the best, and the one that summed up the film was:

"This is a fictionalized account of a thousand true stories."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Categorically Not - Doing Darwin Differently

Yes, it is that time of the month again - "Categorically Not." I have been attending these talks for the past three years, and I have never found the talks or the variation in the subject matter uninteresting. KC Cole who organizes these talks at the Santa Monica Art Studios has this beautiful ability to bring scholars from different subject areas to talk about a particular topic. Tonight's topic will be related to Darwinian Evolution.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the program itself starts at 6:30 p.m. I highly encourage arriving early as seats are limited and the place fills up quickly. They ask for a $5.00 donation at the front door to cover expenses for refreshments. If you are looking for some intellectual stimulation, please do come.

Santa Monica Art Studios is located at:

3026 Airport Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 397-7449


Here's a description of the talk from the Categorically Not website:

Darwin's Origin of Species has been around for 150 years, but people are only beginning to appreciate evolution's richness and beauty--the wild and wonderful life forms that seem to get weirder and more interesting with each new discovery. As for Darwin himself, his 200th birthday this year has already been the peg for a multitude of celebrations. So for our April 19th Categorically Not! we're doing Darwin a bit differently, exploring what evolution tells us about differences between male and female behavior, how life may have evolved on alien worlds, and what artists have made of nature's grand creations.

To wit: Darwin described females as coy and passive and males as ardent and indiscriminate. He didn't tell us why this was the common pattern he saw. And Darwin's generalizations are often not what moderns observe. Patty Gowaty--Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA-- will describe new theory that says it is the different social and ecological environments the sexes inhabit rather than inborn sex differences that determine commonly observed variations in reproductive decisions of females and males.

And what about life in the billions of possibly habitable worlds beyond our solar system? How strange might life be? Astronomer (and self-described biology dilettante) Chris Impey, the youngest ever Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, will ponder whether or not Darwin's dominion extends to alien creatures that might have no use for water or carbon or even a sheltering star. Impey has won 10 University of Arizona teaching awards, and is the author of The Living Cosmos: Our Search for Life in the Universe.

Artists have created their own wealth of works based on life's bounty, and we'll hear about some of them from Rosie Mestel, a geneticist-turned-journalist who is now deputy science and health editor of the Los Angeles Times. Rosie will explore the ways that art has borrowed from biological themes to create glass, knitwear, napkins and home decorations. Who would imagine that a herpes virus would make such exquisite doilies, jellyfish such stunning chandeliers, a human gut look so adorable when worked in wool in stocking stitch?

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I am very excited about listening to TED talks which have been independently organized at USC. Imagine that you have been asked by the world's most prestigious conference organizers to give THE 18 minute talk of your life!! These talks range from science, art, history, metaphysics, to morality, technology, and really anything worthwhile that you may think of. The event starts tomorrow at 1:00 pm and ends at 8:00 pm. This is supposed to be a completely immersive experience, so that once the doors to Bovard Auditorium open and everyone is seated, the doors close and no one is allowed to go out till the end of the talks. USC is allowing the audience to blog live from the conference, so hopefully I will be updating my blog with interesting talks. Here's a description of what has been lined up, which I have borrowed from the USC Stevens Institute website:
USC and the prestigious TED conference have partnered to deliver an independently organized TED event at USC.

TEDx USC will stay true to the spirit of the TED Conference – hosting the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, and challenging them to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. The half-day event will comprise of a mix of pre-recorded talks from TED 2009 in Long Beach and live talks. Sprinkled throughout & in-between the lectures will be short films, musical performances, and thought-provoking entertainment.

Some of this year’s TEDx USC speakers and performers include a worldwide rock star that has sold more than 30 million albums, one of the creators of the most complex scientific instrument in history, and an inventor who is restoring sight to the blind. Plus several USC innovators that are changing the world in gaming, immersive environments, bioengineering, animation, and music.

Elizaveta Khripounova at Hotel Cafe

I had the pleasure to hear and see Elizaveta Khripounova perform at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood this past Thursday (03/19/09) evening. Hotel Cafe is one of the best venues in Los Angeles for live-music. Their focus is mostly on rock/indie-rock. There were four other musicians lined up Thursday evening, and all of them came with their own flair, skill, talent, and personality. I must admit though that Elizaveta's music, and her songs stood apart from the rest of the musicians. She brings passion and soul to each note and each of her lyrics. There is depth, clarity, and vision in her songs. If you listen intently and mindfully, she will take you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. You will feel happy in one song, with a smile beaming across your face, while in the next one, you may feel sad, and lonesome. There are songs where you feel hopeful and optimistic about love, life and your career, and then there are songs where you are reminded of love lost, friends lost.

Among some of the instruments that she used in her set included a regular electronic keyboard, a toy-piano, and an Indian harmonium. If you ever get a chance to hear her in the future, you must go and request the song where she uses the toy-piano. It was a real treat for my ears.

Hotel Cafe is a mellow place, with subdued lighting, beautifully tiled floors, and a tasteful lounge once you enter through the main door which happen to be at the back of the building.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whiteman Memorial Lecture 2009 - Terence Tao

Each year the mathematics department at the University of Southern California invites a top mathematician for the Whiteman Memorial Lecture. This year Terence Tao will be giving two talks: On the structure of prime numbers, and on compression sensing. I'm looking forward to both talks and an opportunity to hear Terry speak as I have never in the past. You can find the information about the talk at this link. The talks are scheduled for February 17th and 19th.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Danny Hillis and Robert Thurman at the Skirball

I had an amazing time listening to a conversation between Danny Hillis and Robert Thurman on science and Buddhism, and how one can address ethical issues within either context. The conversation was scheduled for February 12th at 8:00 pm at the Skirball Center, which is off of Sepulveda Blvd (northbound). The place was completely packed.

Robert Thurman was very witty, insightful, courageous, bold, and not to mention highly knowledgeable on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. Danny Hillis talked about the scientific method, the ability of science to predict natural phenomenon, and man's ability to reproduce experimental results at different times, and at different places with similar results. The evening started out with Robert Thurman talking about the three tenets of Buddhism: The Buddha (Master/Teacher), The Ratnas (teachings), and the Sanga (community). Danny Hillis drew an immediate parallel with science where one may think of the master or Buddha being Nature, and we learn and observe her, and finally write papers on some subject where they get reviewed by the scientific community. They touched upon various topics such as reincarnation, consciousness, ethics, and living in the moment to what Robert Thurman called, "the long-now."

Toward the end they opened up the floor for some questions from the audience. I asked both of them about the nature of time.

I highly recommend checking out some of the other program at Skirball. This talk was scheduled in honor of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday celebration. I believe they have another talk lined up. Check their calendar to make sure!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One Meter Teleportation Using Charged Ions

I just read an article in Scientific American that describes how Steven Olmschenk and co-authors (Science article) are able to transfer a qubit (quantum bit) from one Ytterbium ion to another that are sitting one meter apart. This is the first demonstration of long-range teleportation between two ions. The Scientific American article goes on to describe why teleportation is an essential ingredient in quantum repeaters and how they can be used to transfer data in quantum processors.
Point to note: Teleportation is not faster-than-light communication. Alice the initiator of the teleportation protocol, and the one who is sending quantum information to Bob needs to send classical information on a classical communication channel essentially telling him which measurement operation to perform in order to correctly acquire her quantum information. Classically we can't communicate faster than the speed of light. Hence the limitation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Categorically Not - Dark Matters

The first Categorically Not talk of the new year is scheduled for February 1st (Sunday) at the Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Ave. The talk starts at 6:30, but I suggest arriving early at 6:00 to enjoy the refreshments and to chat with other folks there. I enjoy going to these talks which are being organized by the brilliant and marvelous K.C. Cole. I am reproducing the content of the talks from the Categorically Not website:


Dark times are also interesting times, and today we have reasons galore to ponder the mutlifaceted richness of darkness. Dark matters frighten us because they are mysterious, unknowable, unpredictable. But it can also be fun to explore dark places. Strange, even wonderful, things hide there—all but a smidgeon of stuff that makes up the universe, for example. Other things only bloom in darkness: It’s likely that our primitive ancestors evolved in the icy black depths of Earth’s ocean floor. As for the darkness of the human heart, it’s a place both historians and artists explore for clues to what makes us tick—sometimes not tick so well.

Our February 1 Categorically Not is about as dark (and as much fun) as it gets. Wendy Freedman, first woman Director of the Carnegie Observatories, will talk about her current efforts to understand the identified “dark energy” that appears to account for 70 per cent of the stuff of the universe--a strange repulsive entity that seems to pushing galaxies apart (of the other 30 per cent, 25 per cent is “dark matter,” which is also unidentified); Wendy is currently building the largest telescope on Earth at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile--its images will be 10 times as sharp as those from the Hubble Space Telescope.

As for darkness in the human heart, Jonathan Kirsch will tell us how everything we know about torture, totalitarianism and thought control we learned during the Inquisition; his fascinating new book, the Grand Inquisitor’s Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God, traces practices used today in Iraq (and the Holocaust) to our medieval masters. Jonathan is a literary attorney and author of numerous other books, most recently, A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization (and he’s such a delightful guy!).

Shakespeare also knew a thing or two about darkness, so actor, author and director Nancy Linehan Charles will show and tell about her new production of Macbeth, which recently completed a sold-out run at the Pacific Resident Theater in November. Nancy’s been in everything from Charlie Wilson’s War to Six Feet Under, and--among other honors--won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Featured Performance in Toys in the Attic in 2003; she also creates, produces and directs Shakespeare for children, and is working on a one-woman show about ‘60s activist lawyer Frances Jalet.

The program will take place at our usual location, Santa Monica Art Studios, at Santa Monica Airport. Come at 6 for refreshments and explore the studio space; the program will begin at 6:30. For more information and directions, visit:

We ask for a $5 donation to cover expenses.

RSVP to 310/397-7449

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Perimeter Scholars International Program (PSI)

I have been asked by Perimeter Institute (PI) to spread the word for their new and upcoming Scholars International (PSI) program in cutting-edge theoretical physics. I was at PI last summer (see here) and had a really great time. The researchers are at the top of their game, and are very friendly, approachable and helpful. It is a very open environment for collaboration and sharing ideas. I highly recommend this program. I would have applied myself, but I think I am a little late for getting a Masters. I have reproduced part of the text that Neil Turok (PI Director) e-mailed me earlier this week.

PSI is an innovative, Masters level course designed to prepare students for cutting-edge research in theoretical physics. It provides a broad overview, allowing students to choose their preferred specialisation, and extensive tuition in formulating and solving interesting problems.
The due date for applications is February 1st: applications received after this date may still be considered but only as long as places remain available.
A number of outstanding lecturers have already signed up to teach, including for example Yakir Aharonov, Phil Anderson, Matt Choptuik, Nima Arkani-Hamed, John Cardy, Ruth Gregory, Michael Peskin, Sid Redner, Xiao-Gang Wen, and a number of Perimeter Institute research faculty. They will be supported by full-time tutors dedicated to the course.
All accepted students will be fully supported.
For further details, see

So, APPLY, APPLY, APPLY! There's no harm, and if you get in the experience will be very fruitful.

Friday, January 2, 2009

IGI Airport, New Delhi, 12/30/08, 5:00 pm

I found myself in front of a very stern looking Indian security officer at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India. I couldn’t go through the security check because I had forgotten to ask for a carryon baggage tag from the Asiana personnel who checked my passport and ticket and checked in my luggage. Apparently he assumed that I knew that a certain baggage tag would be required at security check-in.

IGI airport was in chaos today because all the early morning flights had been delayed due to an untimely fog that had blanketed the city the night before. And by delay I mean anywhere from ten to fourteen hours! Passengers were pissed, tired and angry. And why shouldn’t they be? Someone was missing his/her connecting flight in Chicago, while someone was missing a wedding anniversary somewhere in England. This was not the first time in IGI’s history that fog had hit the airport so hard that none of the flights could land or take-off. This is a problem that has plagued this airport for years, and for years the Indian government has done very little about it. Apparently you need a sophisticated radar technology that can guide planes safely onto the runway, but somehow this is not completely operational yet. Now I don’t like comparing apples and oranges, but in this case I don’t think that I can resist. When developed countries can land aircrafts in a fierce blizzard, then why can’t India After all IGI airport is the airport of the capital of the second fastest growing economy in the world. The airport was in complete shambles today. The airport has always been in complete shambles. renovate and upgrade its radar systems that can guide airplanes safely during the foggy months of December and January?

Ah, but let’s get back to my earlier story. I asked the security officer what I should do about the baggage tag, and he just shrugged his shoulders and said that it wasn’t his problem. Where O where would I find an Asiana representative. I turned toward what looked like people who worked at the airport. I asked one of these people and in reply they said that they were ground staff and didn’t work for Asiana. I was flummoxed. I proceeded to go another security officer and asked him in Hindi about this baggage tag and his reply was to get any old tag from any airline. It didn’t matter! See the problem was that I couldn’t walk back to the any of the counters as I had already passed the sacred immigration walls and going back now would be breaking of the sacrosanct and unsaid rules of IGI airport. I started scanning some of the fixtures that had a slight resemblance to desks and I found an Air India tag. HA, talk about irony!

I finally realized why they needed the baggage tag. They needed to stamp it after it went through the X-ray scanner. I love how everything gets stamped when one is traveling. The immigration officer stamped three different pieces of documentation – my passport, immigration card (which you fill out), and my boarding pass. Afterward when I passed through security I got two more stamps – one on my boarding pass (yet again), and the second on the highly coveted baggage tag.

So here's my tip for anyone leaving New Delhi via the IGI airport. If you are traveling during the winter months, especially December and January, ask your travel agent about the weather conditions in New Delhi. Arrive at leaast three hours before your flight, which means that wherever you are staying in New Delhi, give yourself at least one hour of drive-time. Delhi traffic has become quite unpredictable. Once you arrive at the airport, never leave your luggage out of your sight. And I mean NEVER! IGI may be an international airport, but you are still in India!

Here's another suggestion while you are traveling through India. Be cool and have patience, lots and lots of it. A step outside your hotel room or your home in India is an adventure. What kind of an adventure? Well, that you'll have to figure out for yourself. :)