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My old friend, Duong, came to pick me up at the San Diego airport on the 31st. Duong was, and still is in my group of close friends from middle school. We hadn’t seen each other for 4.5 years, since I left for college the summer of 2005 – how time flies. We left almost immediately with two more friends of hers. Direction: Las Vegas. So was *everyone* else. It took us 8 hours, instead of the usual 4. The traffic was absolutely insane – it was at times as bad as sitting in a cab in Times Square – it drives you nuts ’cause you are *not* going anywhere, and it seems like it’d be 5 times faster walking.

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Every day i read the news about street celebrations and yet never got a glimpse of it, quite unsurprising, since my route comprises of going to the office from Mr. J’s house at 10 a.m. and going back at around 8:30 p.m. and it takes 2-5 minutes each way, depends on whether i walk or go by car.

But finally, got to see it in close-up, and it was also the final day of the festival. Indians did live up to their tradition of being crazy dancers. It was a lot of people. (a lot as in A — LOT, even by indian standard). And also got to see the immersion of Ganesha, which was actually scary. The paper reported 3000 idols immersed in Ahmedabad alone, including 800 in big size. Imagine all of them diluted into the river which is not even that big and which flows right through the city, cutting it into two.

But maybe even though all of the idols are made of plaster and painted with chemical paints, it’s in the end nothing compared to the waste released directly from all the factories along the river. Nothing compared to all the fuel burnt when i take the plane to cross the world.

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