USA

This post was supposed to come out long back. Anyway, better late than never.

It has been 4 weeks ~4 months since I’ve come here, to Tucson, Arizona. This place is was astonishingly hot! Landing in the peak of Fall, I should probably not be expecting this place to be like Bangalore, least of all, when I knew this was a valley city, surrounded by hills and having very low humidity. Lot of people have said that this is the worst part of the year and it gets surprisingly pleasant in a month or so. I sure am looking forward to it. [It did become pleasant. I’m loving the weather now]

First week of Grad school has passed smoothly. There was hardly anything to make it a bumpy ride. Barely into the first week, we were looking at a long weekend, thanks to Labor Day. It gets warmed up pretty quickly after this, they say. Well, it better get warmed up. That’s the whole point of coming here in the first place! [It did warm up, revved up my brain more than it was used in a long time, and thankfully so!]

Experiencing this (higher) education system firsthand has really been a new awakening. It is amazing how the “one-size-fits-all” system of education is desisted here. Each student has the choice of learning what he wants as per what his long-term goals are. If there are no goals, they say that going by the tried and tested path laid out by a few seniors is a safe one to follow. After all, who cares what kinda job one lands into as long as it keeps you contented and pays you well. [Well, being in an education system that decides what is good for you didn’t do any good to my decision-making abilities. I’m still confused about my career plan, even though if not as worse as earlier in life]

Things that are both good, and bad, at the same time happen a lot. Almost immediately after we land here, we fall into the habit of being judgmental about many things here. Specifically, the people. We brand them as Chinese are like this, Mexicans are like this, Indians are like this and so on. It really spoils the mood of being in an International setting, where we have the chances of our lives to find things about the big wide world firsthand. [This mindset is slowly receding.]

We become stereotypical and ask for directions. Right from streets, to food joints, to courses, to professors, to research activities, to job referrals etc. I hope that everyone realize that one size doesn’t fit all and the future is not far off when we come out of the needy shells and get ready to embrace things at their face value. I am happy that a few of my colleagues here are embracing that attitude already.

One of the best things that has happened after being here is an initiative called International Friends. American families in Tucson have come forward with this initiative to get to know students of different countries, thereby hoping to know more about how cultures are. I had been invited to a dinner like that and had a good time talking to my hosts.

[Added on the day of posting from here on.]

As it has been quite a while since the first draft of this post went into a slumber, I am delighted to update a few things here.

I got a research position in the university and I’m happy being an “employee” as well as a student at the same time. I’m not missing my days at Samsung/KPIT anymore. Feels awesome to experience and share it.
I had a wonderful Halloween and a tummy-licious Thanksgiving, thanks to my International Friends hosts Louise and Pam.
My cooking skills have improved. Oh damn, that would be an understatement!! I cook great enough to keep my easily bored taste buds on their nerves. 😉
Semester is getting to an end and it is unbelievable that time flies so fast. Lots of activities lined up for the last few weeks, right from term papers, lab assignments, home works, projects and final exams. The ride is about to get adventurous!

Wish me Luck.

The Spooky Place

I started to walk away from a place where I thought I’d been before. But seeing it made me feel like it was the very place I felt like not coming back again and again. Yet, I’m not able to recollect what this place was, why I was here, who/what brought me here and when I’d come last. Seems like a half seen distant dream…

Then what happened? Did somebody wake me up with a bucket of water? No. I was talking serious. Btw, I was walking away and felt a strong urge to stay back and wait to see if I was here for a purpose. I was alone and so figured it won’t be a big issue whether I stayed or not. You see, some invisible metal was chaining me to the place, giving me no reason or hope to be there. Its just that gut feeling, that kept me in that place.

Then what happened? Did somebody wake me up wit a bucket of water? Again! No. I was really talking serious. The invisible chains sorta loosened a bit and I felt some uneasiness rising in my chest, urging me to run away from there. I was damn confused as to why I was feeling a mixture of opposites. However, I composed myself and started to run away from the place. Thankfully it wasn’t a maze or any such weird thing.

So, I ran fast, saw a local Volvo bus coming and hopped into it. The terrible feeling was receding and I hooked my earphones to listen to some music. A song later, I got a call from my TL.

TL : Hey… are you still in?
Me : (Thankfully) Nope… why do u ask?
TL : Thought I’d give you a few code bundles. Neva mind. Do it by this week anyway.
Me : Yes I will… (I know what “This week” means! I’ll add another week to it, don’t worry… )
TL : Well thats it. Bye.
Me : Yeah bye.

So, this spooky place I talked about was my cubicle, is it?

Before you kick it.

The routine of life is sickening me. Its been the same thing everyday and I’m sure I’ll have the ‘oh not again!’ feeling again when i wake up tomorrow! Everything I did on a daily basis, like brushing teeth and eating, for instance, is appearing just bio-mechanical. As if a PC is executing what it has been programmed to do. These things are bound to be done that way, or else people would think I’d stuffed my mouth with a sock all night. But the worst feeling hanging around is like life is closing around me, and I’m simply searching for a hole to tear myself out, lest I should be trapped with claustrophobia!

What I meant by ranting about things going the way they are is, its been monotonous for quite sometime now. Many people may give me examples of themselves or others and say that life as a student can be as interesting as u can make it, and that there is not much freedom once you’re out into the corporate race. I don’t know how true it is, but it sure does sound sickening. Coming back to my search for holes, every hole out of the closure, opens up an arena which appears vast, serene and tranquilising. But soon starts to fall back and I’m left with my claustrophobia again! Damn it!

I am referring here, to all the things that i did/wanted to do/stopped halfway/just drafted the plans. Every plan or idea whose time was ripe, appears as sole star in the blacked out mind. But soon dims and fades out into the mist of given up ideas in the background. The relative enthusiasm is always the phenomenon to blame. The innocent mind is polluted with all these ideas and refuses to fall back upon failed plans, while the new ones are tempting.

Okay! Ideas – old, new, working, drafts, dead etc. What do we do about it? Just let it be a loosely let out fog in the mind and ignore them as if they weren’t your brain-child? Hide your face from your inner self and be haunted by the unknown feeling of betraying someone you don’t know? Naa… List it. Its better to have it in your hand than in your mind. List them one by one and see for yourself, the fog in the mind clearing out. Do what is there in the list and see one new star in the cleared mind promising light for eternity! Each job done or each idea realised means one new star and lot more life and energy for the tired brain.

So, the list of things/jobs/ideas is ready and it is NOT a To-Do list, because to-do lists are always boring and imposing in nature. This list is “Do it before you die” List, ie., before you kick the bucket and call it a wonderful life, well led. The Bucket List. Keep this one closest to your heart and use it without inhibitions. Completing the tasks depends upon the necessity, sanity, and the possibility of it to happen. And at last, I’m sure that, as said in the movie “The Bucket List”, your eyes would be closed when you die, but your heart will be open.

Now, enough of talking and getting to work, I’d like to present you with my small Bucket list.

Singing heartily and loudly with a close pal, sitting with popcorn, and entertaining grandkids.
Drive a Harley Davidson, Mustang and a Rolls Royce.
Spend one evening with Priyanka Chopra in Hawaii.
Bungee jumping, canoeing and a few nature-sports.
Flying high in the sky and feeling the wind kiss my skin.
Perform as a villain opposite Himesh Reshammiya and kill him in that movie.
Lose weight and achieve a BMI of 22 at least once before I am 40 30 25.
Pose for a photograph sitting on a Lion, with a Sniper Rifle.
Learning to write with my left hand and out-doing the right hand’s proficiency.
Shop till the shop-owner drops.
Look into the eyes of ‘My Perfect’ and losing myself.
Perform in a concert as a lead vocal, singing my compositions.
.
.
.

O-oh…! I almost forgot the most important thing. I should have a fortune to make at least few of these stars shine. I have worked out two choices : Work hard and earn like a ‘fit for nothing else’ money-holic, OR, work-out hard to impress a good-looking daughter of a m(b)illionaire. 😛 . The latter sounds interesting though! 😀

The partial Bucket list.

The partial Bucket list.

Individual Images Courtesy : Flikr. Manipulation and Editing : Me and Gimp

Condemning Terror

A tired day at work. An enjoyable time at school. A candle-light evening. Cozying in the arms of the loved one at bed-time. A busy schedule on field. A horrid workload to bear. Umpteen assignments. Competent deadlines. Family issues. Uncomfortable apprehensions. All these, or a few combos of these demand more than just rest. They demand sleep. A sound sleep. Sleep promises the bringing of a new day. A beautiful day which starts off with the smile of your little daughter, or by the sweet yell of your mother. With the dream of making it big in life or with a thirst of being the leader.

Life, work, fun, love, money, time are all with us. The one thing which brings eternal release from all these clutches, however, remains condemned. Death. The return ticket which follows us all along The Journey, faithfully. The demon which smiles wickedly at the people left behind. The custodian of a human, responsible to God. The trace of desertion, hidden in relationships.

Being such a valuable thing, it is treasured by a person, without his knowledge. It is ever so loyal it is to its master, that it follows him 24×7. Unfortunately, it is tempted by old-age, illness, poison, accident and off late, bombs. The first examples speak a good deal about themselves. But the last one; the god-damned last one, haunts. It is ‘Death’s wicked temptation and plays hide-n-seek. It may show itself on a street, in the gutter, under a bus, inside a train, below your chair, above your roof. Theoretically it can be anywhere and can strike you flat on your face, or on your butt.

What has a common man got to do with it? When death is certain, what is the use of craving for dear life? If its not a bomb, then it might be illness or anything else. What is the big difference? You’re gonna die anyway. But, one very important question is to be pondered over.

What about the survivors?

Can you imagine the face of a person who has witnessed the blast? In a mesh of feelings of gladness of survival, the shock of witnessing the incident, the grief of seeing Death, the anxiety about loved ones, the rage to condemn it, the inability to move, the longing to curb it and a host of unknown brainwaves, the common man is entangled and shattered.

The dead Rest In Peace. The living Roast In Pulverisation.

In this scenario, Death brings up its cousin ‘Fear’ into picture. A small survey on the aftermaths of bomb-blasts in history shows vast traces of this commodity. If its cousin was a sure-shot killer, Fear is more of a sadist. It loves to see people enjoying pain, anxiety, tension, and lastly, itself. As the whole World is contemplating measures to curb the widespread nuisance and havoc caused by Fear, the stupid common man is dreaming of seeing the same Fear dancing to his tunes on the faces of those lunatics, who’re responsible for brutal mass-murder.

Every damned person who calls himself a terror-striker must be hanged by his hair and rested on a bed of needles until every drop of blood drains out of his body, leaving him numb, yet alive. He must be denied the basic human rights.  It must showcased to the whole World, giving them a chance to witness the torture of the torturers. The trauma must be videotaped and a copy be sent to every potential terrorist. The blood boiling in their veins with rage must experience the Fear and calm down, lest, it may face the same fate.

Peace may be the safest weapon. The terrorists being trialled or court-marshaled doesn’t serve the purpose of punishment. When the person has the evil in him to think of killing people ruthlessly, he has lost his right to live. And by this, it is not the question of killing a terrorist, but the guarantee of life to a few vulnerable people. A chance for them to start off a beautiful day with the smile of their little daughters, or by the sweet yell of their mothers. With the dream of making it big in life or with a thirst of being the leader.

Post inspired by the grievances of a Stupid Common Man. Have a good day.

Related Reading : Nita’s post, Amit’s Post.

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