Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

<< May 2005 >>
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My Past
Loyola High School Patna
Delhi Public School RK Puram
Institute of Technology BHU
Infosys Technologies Ltd
IIM Kozhikode

My Present
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

My Future
My Life

Project Nanhi Kali for the girl child

Movie Reviews at Mode C

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Batman Begins
War of the Worlds
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Bunty aur Babli
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Veer Zaara
Phir Milenge
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Spider Man 2
Main Hoon Na

Book Reviews at Mode C

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
The Inscrutable Americans
Harry Potter - Half-Blood Prince
The Monk who sold his Ferrari
Angels and Demons
Life of Pi
The Da Vinci Code
The Tristan Betrayal

IIM Kozhikode Bloggers

Abhinav (Class of '05)
Aditya (Class of '06)
Alok (Class of '05)
Alok (Class of '09)
Ananya (Class of '08)
Andromeda (Class of '08)
Amit G (Class of '07)
Beena (Class of '08)
Chirantan (Class of '08)
DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
Dhananjay (Class of '05)
Divya (Class of '05)
Divyabhanu (Class of '07)
Firdaus (Class of '07)
Harsh (Class of '08)
Hemant (Class of '05)
Hitesh (Class of '08)
IIMK Photo Blog
Jayesh (Class of '08)
Kanav (Class of '06)
Karan (Class of '05)
Narayanan (Class of '07)
Manandeep (Class of '08)
Meren (Class of '06)
Nilanjan (Class of '06)
Paromita (Class of '07)
Pragna (Class of '03)
Pranay (Class of '06)
Prashant D (Class of '05)
Prashant JK (Class of '06)
Pratik (Class of '07)
Priya (Class of '06)
Rahul (Class of '08)
Ramesh (Class of '06)
Ridhi (Class of '07)
Ronald (Class of '05)
Saurabh (Class of '08)
Sheeba (Class of '07)
Shrikanth (Class of '08)
Sriram (Class of '07)
Suma (Class of '07)
Sumit (Class of '06)
Surabhi (Class of '06)
Surya (Class of '08)
Tity (Class of '05)
Vivek (Class of '09)
Yash (Class of '06)

Other B-school Bloggers

Chandoo (IIM Indore, Class of '06)
Nishith (IIM Lucknow, Class of '06)
Ravi (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '06)
Shashank (IIM Calcutta, Class of '05)
Sidin (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '05)

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Interesting Reads

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Bollywood Blog
Global Trends Collaborative
Sepia Mutiny
The Movie Blog
Youth Curry

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Friday, May 27, 2005
The hills are filled with the sound of music

One of the primary factors contributing to the gradual evolution of humankind must be its tendency to perform acts that are not just limited to survival manouvres. Of course, there will be many who will contend that even the seemingly unrelated acts are actually attempts by human beings to attract the opposite sex and thus reproduce better and ultimately keep fighting in the struggle to get chosen as the fittest and thus, survive. However, if we do neglect the rather minor opinion of the die-hard Darwin enthusiasts, it seems that free flowing activities like music, dance, poetry, literature, and so many others are what make humans different from the other species that live from day to day only in order to protect themselves and their offsprings from possible annihilation.

Of the many such differentiating activities, the one thing that keeps coming at the top of most people's lists can be safely assumed to be music. Whether it be the brooding poet giving notes to his ode to some season, or the incoherent lover strumming his violin strings in the dead hours of the night, the sound of music is kept alive and as the moon beam plays hide-and-seek with the lover and the poet, the notes fly up into the air and seem to get mixed into the nature from which they have ultimately evolved. It is in honour of and inspired by God's creations that the best of music comes forth as the ordinary mortal remains immobilized, feeling and listening to the scales finish their octaves as the nature and especially, the motherland that has always given him succour displays its resplendent beauty and wows out all the cynicism.

The immensely popular movie classic "The Sound of Music" opens with the song that has filled the heart of the beautiful, vivacious, funny, and above all different Maria. A would be nun in the Abbey, Maria feels music in her bones and admittedly can not stop singing, not even when she is the Abbey. Nature, the hills and brooks and snow and water...they all bring music as naturally to her as a mother might come to her child in time of need. Maria is full of adventure and the independent streak in her makes her a problem for the Reverend Mother who decides to let Maria go out and feel the real world away from the walls of the Abbey and let her decide and identify the destiny that God has chosen for her.

Sent as a governess to seven children of a proud Austrian patriot, Captain von Trapp, Maria realizes the absence of music in the von Trapp household. The death of Mrs. von Trapp has immersed an otherwise happy family into a gloom from which Maria undertakes to take them out. She teaches the children how to sing and with the notes of "Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti", brings the music back into their lives and the smiles on their faces. In the process, she falls in love (equally reciprocated) with the Captain, their father. Unable to decide her fate and scared of her own self, she runs back to the Abbey and hides in isolation till the Reverend Mother tells her to go out and find her destiny.

The Reverend Mother tells Maria that loving a man does not necessarily mean that she will love God less. A beautiful thought, indeed...something which the fanatics across religions must understand. It is not the celibacy (just to take an example) that is important...what is important is the concept behind it. Loving God with all your heart does not mean that there is no love inside you for anyone else. Loving somone else does not mean that you can not fulfill the destiny that God has decided for you. You can still play your role in the Grand Design and thus make sure that you give yourself over to God (for what God wants is not for us to keep chanting His name every second but to fulfill His scheme of things...finish the job that He has sent us here for).

Maria finally goes back to her family and just as things were starting to get cozy, come the Thrid Reich and the Germans who are taking over Austrian territories. They have not, however, taken over the Austrian spirit yet and as the von Trapp family says adieu to Austria and her people in the Austrian music festival on the stage, they give rise to probably the last independent outcry against oppression. As the mvoie ends rather unfortunately with the von Trapp family making good their escape and leaving behind the mother land that had given them their music, the audience is left with a desire for more...more of the dialogues that are more of songs than dialogues...more of the high-pitch high-note conclusion of songs...more of the dance...more of the smiles...more of the beautiful Austrian landscape.

Julie Andrews is bewitchingly beautful in this movie and with her character being that of a free and unassuming girl, she makes the best out of it. At the same time, Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp manages to maintain the inconsiderate-turned-loving father image as also that of the proud patriot. The seven children are as lovely as they come and the youngest of them enchants, in particular. The 1965 classic directed by Robert Wise is one movie that you can watch again and again. It is a movie that you will be happy to show your children, the kind of movie that makes you appreciate the finer things in life, the kind of movie that makes you see the child in you once again...the kind of movie that fills your heart with the sound of music. 

Posted at 11:24 am by Nitai

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Thursday, May 26, 2005
What you see can kill you

After about two hours of head banging at the IE and network settings, the tech support people were finally able to get the PeopleSoft URL work on my system at about 6 last evening. Not that it was of any use as I realized, to my absolute dejection, that the application server of PeopleSoft was down. There remain seven more working days to the presentation and half of the project is pending...not because I did not do anything but more because I could not. With no access to the system earlier and now even with access, no chance of getting in (the application server continues to be down as of this moment), all of it seems to be a sign of things to come. I am not really bothered but sort of know that coming upon me is a stage of quite a few five-hour work days (instead of the usual two or three).

The Blues is one strangely appealing form of music and given its history (with the Civil War and all), it ought to be. The very purpose of this form of music is to pluck at your heart and the way even a single instrument like a guitar manages to do so speaks volumes of the possibilities. As I sat listening to some blues music, I was sure that I am going to be a big fan. Bubbunda, my guitar instructor, does play very well and of course, the excellent collection of songs and guitar solos and other stuff that he has written on three CDs for me is great.

As for my own progress at guitar, even the P of progress does not seem to be forthcoming. I understand that learning anything new is not a joke and especially starting from scratch on a musical instrument is going to require a lot of patience and that it has only been three odd weeks, but inspite of all this, the frustration has started getting to me. Though my fingers move much faster on the fret board now and I am able to make a guitar run sound like a guitar run at times (instead of random strumming as it used to sound like earlier and does at times even now), but there is a lot more to be desired. With my instructor's emphasis on grammar and his eye for detail, I am not allowed to take the short cut and start playing the chords of any song. I just realized the other day that even after another two weeks, I will only be able to speak the guitar grammar fluently (and may be even teach it to a few) but not really able to play a full song (or even a partial one at that). Well, let's persevere, I say and let's see...

The CD shop in BJ market was in full form yesterday with quite a good addition to stock. I got hold of a DVD with the entire Batman series as also a CD with the original print of The Sound of Music. I have not been able to see these five movies yet as yesterday was devoted to apna Bollywood as I decided to match my wits with Soni Razdan and her much talked about (all due to inconsequential reasons) movie Nazar. Now, this is one movie whose tag line is ever so apt...what you see can definitely kill you in this case...if you do not die of boredom, you will definitely die of laughing at the histrionics (or the lack of it) displayed by Ashmit Patel and Koel Poorie. Meera is definitely the pick of the lot and can act but as for the others in the movie, suffice to say that Avatar Gill comes off the best despite appearing in just two odd frames and unimportant frames at that.

Supposed to be a murder mystery, the movie does have some good initial moments. Like Naina, the other release of the week, Nazar is also loosely adapted from the chinese movie "The Eye" but does not manage to do justice to its inspiration. After a decent beginning, the movie falls flat as soon as the two great (read with at least a few tonnes of sarcasm) actors in Koel Poorie and Ashmit Patel make their entrance. I really don't want to waste any more of your time or my blog space so will stop talking about this movie with this well-meaning suggestion...unless you have nothing to do at all...not even a fly left to swat, don't go for this movie.

Amongst other things, UTI Bank has asked one of its summer interns (a girl from IIM Lucknow) to do a project on campus branding. One of the measures she is planning to suggest is for the bank to go to the campuses through sponsorships of institute activities and festivals. I think that it is a good idea for various reasons, the least being a few HBR cases that I vaguely remember addressing the issue. The UTI Bank does need to raise its profile in the minds of the B-school junta who actually associate it with the Government and half of them do not even know just how privately owned and managed it is. I must say that the bank has done some real good work and the most visible of it is the number of ATMs that one can now see spread all across...even giving the ICICIs and SBIs a run for their money in this arena. And by the way, it is also an opportunity for Backwaters, Horizons, et al...anybody listening?

Posted at 12:20 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005
A night in BED

This Sunday night, you will be in bed
but not alone and certainly not sleeping

So went the first few lines of the invitation presentation for the Kolkata alumni freshers meet. For all the appreciation and admonition of the presentation that I received directly or indirectly, thank you all the same. It was just a result of an hour of work-less training time and some use of work-unoccupied office resources. However, what was not such a small thing was the planning for the event itself. Although we did lack in so many things from the planning and execution angles, but the end result turned out to be sweet and an organized and smooth sweet at that.

B.E.D. (short for Bars Entertainment Dining) is a great place to have a party at. With a number of bars, an amazing dance floor with some sexy DJs (the fairer sex doing the honours here), lush green lawns and authentic wooden furniture in the open air restaurant with the live ghazal stage right in front, nothing could have been better. With the rains welcoming the guests who came all drenched and hoping to identify someone from IIMK pretty soon, the beginning was auspicious, to say the least. That little bit of worry that the open air garden restaurant and the ghazal thing might have to be replaced by the indoors restaurant was pulling at me a little but with the clouds clearing away to a beautiful night, all worries were laid to rest.

The first to arrive was a fresher, as expected. In time, the rest of them were there and though we fell short of nearly five people who were expected (all of them alumni, of course), the party, however, was on any day with six each of freshers and alumni making it to BED along with the three of us from the Class of 2006. As the group made its way from the waiting room in the first floor restaurant to the main disc and bar, we were greeted with shots (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Had I been one of the invitees, I know that I would have loved this little thing and I just hope that the rest of the people did. The only thing that might have gone wrong with this was that some people (mostly freshers) did not realize that there were non-alcoholic shots arrnaged for, too and decided against the thing or went for it (the alcoholic one, at that) only after some insistence.

With the DJs in full swing and the place just beginning to warm up to a Sunday evening (it was 8 PM when we entered, pretty early from a nightclub's point of view), we were all set to rock. Rock we did, with the alumni being such a sport and making their own intro sessions pretty interesting and short but fun. When it came to the freshers, the little bit of grilling was always on. Some took nicely to it, others let their ego come in but what the heck, it is all part of the game. A mixed lot, the Kolkata fresher crowd seemed to be with a bent-on-paying dude and an escorted-quick-to-home dudette, amongst others. I am sure that as we see more of them on campus, we will be able to find out and acknowledge more of the good and bad about them.

The drinks were on and as the atmosphere became less stiff and as stories after stories of the past and present started getting thrown about, the discomfort gave way to the spirits. Fosters and Smirnoff were at their best and so were the RCs and the Bacardis. Soon (too soon), it was time to go out for dinner and after repeated calls for going out and repeated returning calls of staying just a little bit more, we finally made way to the best table in the garden restaurant, the one right next to the ghazal stage. The ghazal artists were good and the only complaint I had was that I could not show the presentations with the music on. Nevertheless, I did make the sales pitch for Backwaters after the preliminary IIMK presentation that Rohit had prepared.

Soon enough, the food was there and we were all busy chatting more with our forks and spoons than with the neighbour. Personally, I liked the spread and though it was not very varied, the taste was good and the items complemented each other. I just hope that the selection of the menu went well to the taste of the rest of the invitees, as well.

While we were busy eating, the first of the interesting things of the night happened. One of the guests who had too much to drink came on the Ghazal stage and demanded to be given the chance to sing. Left without choice, the artists gave way to the guy who made a mess of the Sur-Taal thingy and even a novice like me could point out his faults. And point out his faults we did, with shouts to stop the damn thing and claps right in the middle of a song and other typical stuff. The guy finally left the floor and came to us thanking us for our patient hearing...patient hearing indeed!

The next interesting thing in line was not bad, either. After everyone else had called it a night, I and Sandipan decided to make it to the disc and shake a leg or two...if not for anything else then probably just to compensate for the extra that we had to pay for the food (with two people dropping out even before the dinner). The music was eminently danceable and the crowd decent, too...until the 50-something and fully drunk guy started throwing himself on all and sundry on the dance floor. This was one enthu guy, whom even his relatives could not convinve enough to stay away from the floor. There were also these two women dressed in some strongly colored (typical of the red lighted places) salwar suits who were in the disc as company to two tobacco-chewing middle aged, shabbily dressed fatsos. It might just have been my prejudice playing tricks but then again, it might just have been what I thought it was.

Another stint of the Roy hospitality awaited me as I went to Sandipan's home for a second time this summer. A late night entry (even later because of the antics of Sandipan that enabled him to get the number of one PYT dancing away at BED) and the next day full of some more home cooked food made it worth all the while, as earlier. I also got to watch a nice reality show on AXN called The Contender...quite a nice concept and though most of the things looked stage managed due to some shabby editing, the thing was quite interesting if it was the reality that they actually wanted to show.

After endless days of doing nothing, work seems to have picked up the momentum and I have received access to the new system. The cards are all on the table and I just need to make sense out of them in the coming fortnight or so. Looking at the new system that I have just been given access to, and comparing it to the data and process flows of the current system that I have already prepared, the last step in my project is to do a gap analysis between the two...time to get on to it, I say!

Posted at 02:59 pm by Nitai

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Monday, May 23, 2005
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away

War! The Republic is crumbling under
attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count
Dooku. There are heroes on both sides.
Evil is everywhere.

In a stunning move, the fiendish droid
leader, General Grievous, has swept
into the Republic capital and kidnapped
Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the
Galactic Senate.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts
to flee the besieged capital with their
valuable hostage, two Jedi knights lead
a desperate mission to rescue the
captive Chancellor...

Revenge of the Sith completes the circle for all Star Wars fans and fanatics spread all over the world. Having bathed in this genre of movies (yes, it did create a separate genre of its own), the enthusiasts have all been waiting for the moment of reckoning for Anakin Skywalker where he makes the decision that was to clarify the role of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Revenge of the Sith is where Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, it is in this movie where he has the first of the famous duels with Obi-Wan, it is here that the Chancellor of the Republic proclaims himself to be the dark Lord and tranforms into the Emperor...and of course, it is in this movie that are born Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and the Empire.

Technically, Lucas Films have managed to create some masterful stuff that does not fail to get the adrenaline flowing. The light sabers flashing as Obi-Wan fights his best apprentice, the star ship with all its guns blazing, the fighters with their small cockpits and amazing manouverability, the different creatures that inhabit that galaxy far far away, the holographic meetings of the Jedi Council, and of course the stormtroopers with their now famous costumes, are all there in full glory in this movie. The technical supremacy does put a fresh outlook for the new series as compared to the earlier trilogy but then again, the charm in seeing the green little Yoda jumping around with his light saber in the earlier versions can hardly be matched by the too-digital Yoda who fights but is unable to defeat the Sith Lord.

One more way in which the movie scores over (or I should rather say, is different from) the first three is the undertone of evil that it is able to bring in to the characters and situations. Return of the Jedi or even The Empire strikes back were rather soft on the evil and the villains (even Darth Vader in the last one) were reduced to caricatures. Revenge of the Sith, however, brings all the tomfoolery to rest as it brings out the evil in Anakin Skywalker ever so wonderfully and does full justice to that famous conversion of the most powerful Jedi into the most powerful Sith Lord.

For all Star Wars fans, the two most important sequences of the series are explained in this movie...the way Darth Vader is born is, of course, one of them, complete with the Obi-Wan duel and the moral struggles of the frustrated Jedi under the influence of a wily Sith Lord. The other important thing is the prophecy that says of Anakin to be the one who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the force and how the coming of Darth Vader and the birth of Luke and Leia seem to negate that prophecy but not really so...

The best part about this movie is that despite its entire story being anything but hidden, it makes the things come live with all the drama and all the unexpectedness that a thriller can hope for. It is so difficult to match the expectations of generations of fans who have grown on the cult of the Star Wars series and give them something that they can believe to be a suitable explanation of all that they had been seeing over and over again in the movie re-runs, of all that they had anticipated to be behind it all, of all that their juvenile minds had made up about the story before. It won't be an exaggeration to say that Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith manages to do all that and more.

As far as the performances are concerned, they had to be creditable to convince viewers of the evil that surrounds the birth of Darth Vader and fortunately, apart from my personal Obi-Wan disappointment (Ewan Mcgregor seems as if he has just been woken up and asked to smile and look silly...he is a much better actor than this and Obi-Wan's character a finer one, too), rest of the deal is quite good. Anakin, played by Hayden Christensen is definitely the pick of the lot as he manages to portray on screen, a person who is evil but also show pretty convincingly that the most evil thing about him is that he does not think that what he is doing is wrong. He believes in his evil with all faith and of course, all the force. Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine is sufficiently dark and manages to bring in a fine balance between trying to be evil and turning out to be comically evil. Even the shorter roles like those of Padme (Natalie Portman) and Mace Windu (played by Samuel L. Jackson) are finely etched and performed to a fault.

The direction is adequately done and as I have already mentioned a number of times, manages to bring about a satisfactory culmination of the Star Wars saga through some wonderful undertones that the different characters are made to display. Whether it be the evil of Anakin or the helplessness of Padme, the compulsion and pain of Obi-Wan or the lusty hunger for power of the Emperor...everything has an authentic feel about it.

More than anything else, this movie can be counted upon to bring the force to even those who have been aloof from the saga for so long...the first timers would love the movie and ask for more and as for the veterans, I can only say that it you have not been able to see the movie yet, it can only be because either the tickets were unavailable or because some one or some thing was cracking up pretty badly near in order to get you free from your ticketless or incidentful worries and move on to the nearest special effects rich theatre...may the force be with you!

Posted at 10:02 pm by Nitai

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Friday, May 20, 2005
The life and times of...

Since I do not have much to do anyways and since there is not much happening in my life either, I just thought that maybe I should do a little plagiarising (from I-don't-remember-which-blog) and use an idea that I have been "inspired" by. So here go the titles and first sentences of the first entry of the month for all the months that I have been blogging. Incidentally, this month also marks the completion of one year of blogging for me (I started off on May 3rd, 2004).

Once compiled, these do make for some interesting reading, at least for me :-)

May 2004 (the 3rd)

One long day

Another day passes with neither news nor immediate hope of the IIMK results.

June 2004 (the 1st)

Working for free

I have been working for free once again, and that too during my last few days at Infy.

July 2004 (the 7th)

Inside God's own country

Finally, I am in IIMK.

August 2004 (the 1st)

The tragic comedy

The play was a mess...
I must bow down to them, the play was a real torture...
Next time onwards, don't let these junkies come on stage without audition...
What a bore...
What have you made these juniors do...

September 2004 (the 1st)

Dahi vadai...garam samosa...masala dosai

I had serve masala in this post...and so be it.

October 2004 (the 3rd)

9 days and 1250 kms in God's own country

Day 1: 125 kms from Kozhikode to Thrissur
Day 1: 65 kms from Thrissur to Athirappally
Day 2: 70 kms from Athirappally to Kochi
Day 3: 60 kms from Kochi to Aleppey
Day 5: 120 kms from Aleppey to Thekkady
Day 6: 110 kms from Thekkady to Munnar
Day 9: 300 kms from Munnar to Kozhikode

380 kms in no-man's land

1250 kms of bliss in God's own country

November 2004 (the 9th)

Not Fair

There are times when happiness knows no bounds and yet there are others, when there is no limit to the tears that come to the eyes.

December 2004 (the 6th)

Of winning hearts and heartlessness

Life does seem to have taken a strange turn this term.

January 2005 (the 3rd)

Happy New Year!

Bombay, or Amchi Mumbai, as the locals call it lovingly and often with an awe-struck catch in their voice, is one of the cities that has its own memories for me.

February 2005 (the 1st)

Is it the end...or the beginning?

If they ever tell my story
Let them say
that I walked with giants
IIM Kozhikode
Backwaters 2005
i was there!

March 2005 (No post)

April 2005 (the 15th)

Getting a hold over my self

It has been four days since I joined PwC (as the HR guys requested, I must be careful how I write it, even if it is in the short full, by the way, it is written as PricewaterhouseCoopers with only the P and the C in caps).

May 2005 (the 2nd)

Birthday celebrations and Patna eat-outs

It was really sweet of Shanu to have been waiting for me to cut his birthday cake.

Posted at 12:38 pm by Nitai

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