life as a new grad student

scene: Indian chiefs sitting before a fire , drinking beer and eating leftovers from yesterday and laughing
Suddenly the wise chief raises his head, listens to the howling wind, sniffs and say what month is this?
another answers The end of summer- July, He sniffs and raises his hand, everyone falls silent and looks at him. He says, run now before it happens, flee far and wide, they are coming. And with these wise words he takes off himself at the double.
I wish I listened to him, I didnt so I am paying..
who what where, you wonder..I am talking about the latest Indian student invasion on campus, right before the mass migration on 1st august, more commonly known as moving apartments. So here they are, fresh off the plane..or rather freshly stinky off the plane, and wide open eyes to find the miracles of amerika. Some with clear ideas that Manhattan, Kansans is very different from Manhattan NYC and that there are no skyscrapers here. Others more misguided, and from big cities, upset at this little peaceful place.
Some not realizing how much beef they will suddenly start seeing here and that chinese is different from desi chinese..which I miss desperately btw..eh it all comes down to food dont it?
Comparing prices, the dollar-Rupee conversion, the sudden huddling closer to each other when confrontation by walmart’s giant glory. Then the gleam of shopping in the eyes of the girls, and that of “eh..iski  kya sabzi ban sakta hai” from the guys.
The realization that life in the USofA is not as easy as everyone thinks and definitely not for the unfunded graduate student in a small  place which is fast running out of viable housing, the sizing up of roommates, using inane criteria to decide them and then repenting in the leisure of the year long lease. The moving, the begging for furniture, being lower on the social ladder than you have ever been, if you live you learn, and when you learn you pay for learning the next year
I am doing it now, chauffering, advising, “Adjusting”, cooking (sob) and cleaning and teaching embarrasing things..use your imagination…im not telling you what..look back to your own first days.
But am also enjoying it, recalling what it was like to have no idea what to do next and standing and gaping and trying t be understood and slowly understand that eraser and rubber are not the same thing and you NEVER put your cell phone on “vibrator” you put it in “vibrate” ..eh small things. Makes me remember whats it like to be completely vulnerable and guillable for the ISA chiefs to do what they will for temporary accommodation and yet remembering that the same wide eyed people will be blase observer to the life in Manhattan and yawn and say, yeah man, nothing to do here, to the new wide eyed student next year, or actually next semester.

saying goodbye

Sad country music, which is truly the only kind that can get the sadness of the moment, saying goodbye and noone knowing we said goodbye, loving and hating, simple voices singing of simple pian, without needing grand orchestration of music which gives me a headache after a while.
This fits me, like pain, like a glove , hurting yet upbeat, wondering why you are still smiling and whether you will ever think of me. I know this too shall pass, as of yet my hope lies in country music and lots of books to vicariously live a life I dont have, the sadist part in me cruelly enjoying them finding their soul mate, while I cant even find the wrong person. Not even going back to my bastion of science fiction, only romance, chick lit, of powerful women with powerful men, beautiful women with handsome men, notice a theme..its called umm I dont think i ever had any of this heh heh..

so raising cowboy hat to faith hill:

You never looked so good
as you did last night,
underneath the city lights,
there walking with your friend,
laughing at the moon.
I swear you looked right through me.
But I’m still living with your goodbye,
and you’re just going on with your life.
How can you just walk on by
without one tear in your eye?
Don’t you have the slightest feelings left for me?
Maybe that’s just your way
of dealing with the pain,
forgetting everything
between our rise and fall
like we never loved at all.
You, I hear you’re doing fine.
Seems like you’re doing well
as far as I can tell.
Time is leaving us behind,
(time – leaving us behind)
another week has passed
and still I haven’t laughed yet.
So tell me, what your secret is
(I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know)
to letting go, letting go like you did,
like you did.

How can you just walk on by
without one tear in your eye?
Don’t you have the slightest feelings left for me?
Maybe that’s just your way
of dealing with the pain,
forgetting everything
between our rise and fall
like we never loved at all.

Did you forget the magic?
Did you forget the passion?
Oh, and did you ever miss me,
and long to kiss me?
Oh baby, baby.

Maybe that’s just your way
of dealing with the pain,
forgetting everything
between our rise and fall
like we never loved at all.

paitence

waiting, just the waiting for the shoe to drop, for things to become clear
A silence, deep dark, rich, no thoughts to break its calm, placid surface, just that, waiting, hearing every second pass by, feel every breath and mind numb, ready to be struck down to the ground. Just waiting, waiting for life to begin, life to end, love to say goodbye, last meetings, first meetings, idle conversations, isnt that what life is alll about..waiting, for something new, something old, just..something.
Can we ever stop waiting and live with ourselves and our day just the way it is? Not killing time and instead enjoying every minute.

I always think of adam and eve’s existence to be pretty boring, well , nothing to do, everything is pefect, is that why we seek imperfections? So that we have something to work on, something to do.

What do I search for, what am I waiting for, nothing and everything. Waiting for the shoe to drop, him to come to his senses, to go home, to go for a run in the rain, to feel joy again. They will all come, at their own pace , I know, but here I am, waiting.

return of the food

disclaimer: This post ALSO centers around food, so people in offices etc read at your own risk

I am puzzled, very puzzled. Let me explain. There are certain foods I dont like, such as green beans and cabbage, both of which i will probably eat if my mom hasn’t cooked them. I gag at the thought of cabbage. But thats it, I eat everyhting else most of the time any way it is cook I atleast experiment.
I know there is this one thing that a person may hate in their food, like a friend hated potatoes as a child but loved french fries etc., but after coming to the US I realize that there are people who dont like entire food groups!! and advocate getting nutrition from pills rather than eating vegetables or fruit.
Sounds strange to me, because vegetables form an important part of life, so do daals and fruits (none of which my friends here can or will eat), while I can take or leave meat. Is it just the bringing up? or is it the peer factor? or is it just a cultural factor?
I believe it is a mix of all three, you dont like the way something is cooked, you hate it , you never try it again. Friends in school tell you they hate peas/spinach/broccoli..you start hating it too because it aint cool enough and culturally food is rather meat and potatoes, veggies optional. But now with the increasing availability of foods, why not experiment, enjoy new things etc? but no, I find people will try new cuisines but they don’t mix their veggies that way.
WHat about you, dear gentle reader? What is it that you cannot abide?

ruminations on cars and women

I just brought my car, my life, my happiness, 3 months ago, yesterday it died on me..
I had a couple of news flashes that I wanted to share on the subject:
A. Cars are additcitive, I have had mine for just 2 months and 24 days and I thought I wouldnt be able to function without it even for a day. Ofcourse I survived, but I felt..incomplete, therefore cars are like drugs
B. In the US no mechanic is going to come and look at your car, You have to get it towed, hence the towing cost more than the repair( btw it was just a dead battery, a transplant was done and all is well now)
C. In Manhattan, I have noone to call who I know for sure is going to jump out of bed (this is 8’o clock on a summer morning) when I call and say I have car troubles. This is what shook me..because I am a bit of a loner, generally can’t stand people for long stretches of time! But the whole thought of not having someone I could depend on was unusual. I was driving in India, am an only child, my dad was in a different city. But i never felt this way, I took care of the car over there too, can and have changed tires, oil, coolant etc, but still I never felt that I had noone to turn to, I wouldnt have (just a ego issue), but I liked the feeling of it bieng there, that is what I sorely miss, that and the capacity to get into a ricksha if the damn car doesnt work
D. If I had guessed it was jsut a dead battery, which I did not because I started the car, everything was fine, I turned it off and turned it on and everything died I would have used the jumpstart cables I have….god I feel so dumb!
E. I can still take care of my car by myself, even if it requires needless towing..I can and have done that too
F. Towing in the US is a fun process, good to learn, got a couple of tricks about cars from the guy too!

mumbai and india

I try to keep my blog away from the regular world, because sometimes I feel so strongly that I just dont even want to tell people about it. But, I guess I just broke that rule.
The bombay blasts, watched several news reports, read several blogs, made a lot of calls to friends to find out if they were ok. They were, but even the thought is scary.
Whatever the reasons may have been, whatever the thoughts in the minds of those who did it, nothing can justify such as taking of lives…as my friend riju put it “when you hit the locals in Mumbai , you hit where it hurts. And even if you hit somewhere where it doesnt hurt, why hit at all?
What do you prove? That you are brutual and really dont give a shit. Then you dont really deserve whatever it is that you want.
Everytime I think about our politicians, I am lost for words, I wonder what begat those men and women and what motivates them? WHat do they do with cupboards full of money? Dont they ever lose their charm?
I was coming back to the US last year when the floods happened, and I did get a lump in my throat everytime I read how people helped people, because that is what defines mumbai or India for that matter, how many times have you been stranded and nobody stopped to help you? nobody at all? not even the rikshaw wala ? or the truck wala? Katrina cannot happen in India, because we do care enough, at some level we dont differentiate.
Mumbai has bouced back, it always does, the city takes care of its own, it might be the rudest city in the world, but it knows the right thing to do when in trouble. What amazed me is that so many of us condone the fact that the people in charge are not doing anything to help, we all took the attacks for granted. As if it is permissible for those to occur. Are we so jaded by the violence in our world that we cannot imagine a world without it? Americans dont understand it, because they have never seen it and I cannot explain it to them because for me it is a fact of life. That is what I feel sad about, our acceptance of voilence in our world. We may bounce back from tragedy and voilence because we have the fighting spirit, but we need to think in terms of why does it happen rather than fight thorugh the aftermath like the champions we are.
They say Indians can survive and thrive anywhere, because we have the will to. We have the will to fight but unfortunately we also take things lying down for too long.

Llets use this will to make “home” a better place and less cynics like me will desert the country.

random thoughts in my head on monday morning:

6:00 AM: uh..its raining, to run or not..lets not..roll over and back to sleep

6:05 AM: why doesnt this alarm shut off..ohh I have to, roll over again

6:30 AM: its just 6:30, roll over again

7:00 AM: mmm,, 10 more minutes, roll over again

7:30 AM shit!!!, mad scramble

8:00 AM: get in car, drive to work

8:30 AM: hot coffee and no work

8:45 AM: surfing loses its charm

9:00 AM: mmmm…no thoughts

10:00 AM: wasted some time, with this, wasted some of yours too
I always abhored the phrase “kill time” well this is what it is, killing time, massacarring it and getting paid for it, can guilt be worse and life any better? I guess not.

Since you have made the effort to read this, let me leave you with a gem, do you have a ratty old tshirt that your mother/gf/bf/wife/husband just totally hate? I have too many of those, and I just cant let go. What is it about them? The coomfy billion washes, holey tshirt is probably the most comfortable thing to wear specially if it is long anf too big..do you agree? And have you ever done voilence to protect them? Such as leap across the room when your mom is throwing it away/giving it away to the bai with a scream of nahhhhhiiii..thats mine..I have. I confess

Another random thought: today’s blog is over..now what? Panic sets in…