Plausible Deniability

Just took of this phrase from

… but I think its a beautiful concept. At the core, this is what potentially separates right and wrong. Of course one can charge for “lack of initiative to procure information”, but that is much weaker. I guess another manifestation of ignorance is bliss :).


Yesterday was convocation day at UCSD. I think when it comes to convocation for Phd degree, it means much more to the family and friends than to the recipient himself inspite of the fact that it is indeed a boring function to attend. Starting with a speech about how now one is ready to take on the real challenges of the world, each of the recipient walks on stage for 30 seconds to receive his honor from the academician who received their honor an era back. After five years of grad school it is seriously hard to get excited about convocation.

However, when put to thought convocation does seem to be an important junction in one’s life. If at all junctions have any importance is a different question all together. So, anyhow, Ankit was supposed to ‘walk’ in this convocation, and I had all plans of not going there. I could not make myself to use my two wasteful hours on convocation, but as I got up in the morning, I remembered he had once asked me in passing to take a picture. Put some solitude time with a camera in any boring event and it turns exciting. Below are a couple of shots from the ceremony.

From a technical standpoint, it was a difficult place to shoot pictures. To start with the stage was about a 100 feet away from the place you could take pictures, that meant one needs a telephoto lens (which Arun provided me graciously). The lighting was too poor, that meant one needs a really fast lens or a tripod. Given that people are moving, rules out tripod (but I guess it would still have been good to have it). Finally, given that there were two professional photographers on stage (although we were not allowed to get near to it) to capture the moment, it seemed futile to make any regular ‘moment’ shots. This is what I finally end up with for him.

A couple of more shots to mark the occasion.

Convocation 2ConvocationConvocation 3

You and I: A bordering experience.

Its a weird feeling. Looking at the separating lines between two countries. So close yet so far. Yesterday, Ankit, Chiru and I went for a breakfast to one of the western-southern most cities in USA. Following that we had plans to visit the Border Field State Park – the last adjoining area to Mexico in USA. Although I have seen the US-Mexico Border plenty of times, how this was different. For one, the place was desolated. We did not see even a single car while going there. Our first glimpse of humans were five Mexicans, handcuffed and surrounded by three border patrol officers. I had seen the image of the border fence going in to the ocean and had the urge to go there. How often do you get a chance to be at a border of two nations and on a beach.

You and I [1/10]You and I [10/10]

Border fence, also known as the ‘Tortilla Wall’ separating Mexico and USA. On the left you can see the US side of the fence and on the right are the Mexican houses.

You and I [2/10]You and I [6/10]

At the Beach. Earlier, there was just once fence. But a couple of years back another fence was installed to deter the illegal immigrants coming in. However, nature has its toll on the fence. As once can see the older fence has too many holes for anyone to pop in. Looking at the children playing behind the fence, its not uncommon for them to play games with the Border Patrol, coming in through the fence, teasing the Border patrol, who takes a minute or two to come down, enough for the kids to run back to Mexico with a middle finger salute.

You and I [7/10]You and I [8/10]

On the US side of the fence and the beach (near side), you see no one. We were there for a total of two hours and at most 6 other people came there. The ocean water is considered hazardous and polluted from the waste disposal. But thats only on the American side. On the other side of the fence its  a different story. You see families playing all around. Kids enjoying the magically cleaned waters on the Mexico side.

You and I [9/10]You and I [3/10]

The place attracted us all. So much so that we slept there for about half an hour. Ankit had a secret wish of being confronted by cops. Police patrol car is vigilant of the immigration 24×7. So after 30 mins of silence they could not control themselves, not knowing what we are upto (its, illegal to exchange anything across the border), woke us from our slumber. Three cops looking staring down at three Indians sitting at the beach. Felt like the outlaws saw sometime back. But we knew the drill. They will ask us for our paper work and check for if we are legally there, which we were. But the whole process takes about 20 mins, and those 20 minutes were spent talking to the cops, asking them all sort of question regarding illegal immigration and the fence.