5 years ago and 5 years from now

Five years ago, on this very day, March 2, I found out I was going to KState for my PhD. My advisor-to-be (it is written) emailed me to tel me that I got in, and all about himself and how much he was looking forward to working with me. I was floored to say the least, I did not expect to be courted, did not think I was good enough for that, but he did court me and I did come here.  (yeah, the grammer of this sentence is very very hitchhiker’s galaxy). And now its almost 5 years in Manhappenin, at KState. 5 years ago, I was uncertain, life could take any angle, any twist or turn and it would not have bothered me. I was ready to roll with the punches and go wherever life took me. And boy, has the journey been fun. Across continents, across weight, across many friends, men and many many courses and classes, laughter and tears and mostly just silences.  I have watched friends get their Master’s degree and waltz away into the real world, I have watched yet other friends, get beaten by the real world and come back to the sheltered arms of graduate school. Today someone’s imminent departure has been brought home to me very clearly and it is making me very sad.

But, I myself, after 5 years, stand on the uncertain edge again. ABD (all but dissertation to you non academic people), almost done with graduate school, no clue what will happen, what time will bring, what paths life will take and what I would finally end up doing and who would i do it with. For now, its just me, slightly knit wit someone else, who is slowly unthreading himself from my life, planning to depart.  5 years ago, the choices were not very clear, now, the choices are still not clear. I know what I need to do, I know not if it will have the desired consequences.

I know not, what I want, I do know however, that life as a student is coming to a close. Finally I say, you in the real world, probably smile with irony.   I have always envied people who have a clear purpose in life, who know wha they want and head straight for it. I never had that certainity, the hardest question for me in any interview is where do you see yourself in 5 years. In 5 years, anything can happen, so much can change and really I dont see myself anywhere in 5 years. With a good job, yes, where I am satisfied and doing good work, yes. Maybe with someone who loves me in the same way I love him. Just dont ask which country I see this happening in. It could be anywhere. I wouldnt mind.

Ah decisions decisions…choices and more choices. Somebody please decide for me, will ya?

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figuring it out

 

WARNING: SUPER SENTI POST!

I have been rather down and out lately, things just havent been going too great. But truthfully, except for one aspect of life, they havent been going too badly also. There are days when there is too much work, there are days if I have to grade one more assignment, i’d flip..that is the time when i prudently stop and start watching TV instead. There are days too, when everything gets very very overwhelming, the prelims, the grading and mostly the boy. Its all too overwhelming sometimes. Too many things going on, too few people to blame it on. Sigh. Luckily, the boy I can blame. Things between us, take turns, really really good or really really absent and therefore bad. He takes it much more like an adult, I think, treating it lightly, not in a life threatening way like I do. But on those overwhelming days, his not being around feels like the sky will fall down on me. Since he is around a lot less than he is gone, this sky falling sensation has began to hit me with greater frequency.

I have never really been an unhappy person, even though sad or whiny or self pity filled, I have never felt this deeply lost. And therefore in the theory making, social scientist way of mine, I began to think. What is going wrong? Why this sudden lack of joy? You no more have crazy roomies, you have a decent bunch of friends,who you see on decent intervals, online buddies to moan and groan to, an occasional boyfriend, regular paychecks..then what is wrong..and then I realized that I hinged my happiness too much into the presence of that one person. Over the summer, I made happiness contingent on him. I made my day and night revolve around his presence. His calling would make me very very  happy. Well. it was the beginning of a renewed relationship and therefore he did call a lot. I was very very happy. Then I came back here, things changed, he got busier, he started taking things for granted. I on the other hand, became the obsessive caller and clinger, which didnt help matters. But by then happiness hinged too much on him. Because I loved him. But now I need to regain it, to make my happiness my own again. To be happy for things that I can control rather than things that I cannot. I cannot control the extent of his desire to be with me. I cannot control amount of grading I have to do and the teaching and the studying. I can only control how I spend the time that is mine to spend. I can choose to mope about him not calling, I can choose to be happy about him calling/talking/messaging. Or I can choose to be happy about things I can control, like how much I workout (which makes me happy btw), how much time I spend leisure reading, dancing, hanging out with freinds, talking to mom, and bieng with animals. So i have decided to explore old and new sources of happiness. Dance for an hour everyday, i havent done that in ages, read as much as my poor grading-bedimmed eyes will allow, take long walks, workout as much as I can, maybe find a dog shelter to volunteer with.  I can do all this or I can wait for the phone to ring, or the message tone to beep. I choose to live my life and leave his decisions to him. He can take them with me or without me. My life will be a little empty without him, but right now I think I need to live, with him or without him. What would you suggest for a new thing to do?

wordless

sometimes life just leaves you wordless, directionless and just lost. I guess I am all that right now. Probably for the first time in my life,  noone has to pay me to keep my mouth shut.  Maybe its about growing up too?  recently turned 26. If you know me, u’d also know that I am rather strange about birthdays. My own that is. Not to worry , I like yours. When it comes to mine, its  love hate relationship. Its not a turning old thing, its a D. thing. I want people to make a big deal of it but I go out of my way to make sure that noone finds out that it is what I want. I want tons of people to remember it, but woe be it, if i ever tell anyone its coming up. So the night before my birthday is usually quite morose. I sit there, usually cry and think no one loves me. And then dawns the actual day or rather night in my case (more on that later) and I am usually amazed at how many people do remember, or atleast take the time to say happy birthday after orkut reminds them. This time, not for the first time, my friends surprised me. I always knew I knew a lot of people, but having them show up at my house at midnite just to get a chance to throw eggs and ketchup and cake on me was a humbling experience. Maybe I do matter to my “friends”..just a bit maybe. I had also convinced myself that the boy forgot my birthday. He didnt, to tell you the truth, he never has forgotten, He has wished me for the last 5 years, whether we have been together or not. But yeah i usually convince myself I am unlovable. I just loovvvve me a pity party  (that was sarcastic, in case you didnt get).

As is usual on birthdays, I got to thinking. Apart from thinking about how unlovable I am, I also thought about the broader picture of my life. I thought about the boy, about India and about the PhD and the ever looming future. I dont see it. I dont see the end goal. In any of these things..I dont see what I am reachin for. I dont see what hapens after I finish the PhD, I dont see me and the boy going anywhere permanent. I dont see myself 20 pounds thinner. I have always run my life on day dreams. They seem to be leaving, day dreams of the boy just leave me more silent than before, daydreams of a workplace that is not school related leave me numb with fear, ditto for the day dreams of defending my phd. Dr. D….whoa..is that what i really wanted? and why was that anyways? lets look at the SOP..ahem…nothing there. I have also been coming across tons of articles on life lists. I dont have one! I dont have a list of things I should do before I die, adventure sports leave me..ahem..scared,  travelling seems too arderous..gah all that packing..and ello no money? What is it that I am doing with my life? What is it that I should be looking for? Am I missing something here? Is this an existential crisis? or is this another procrastination strategy to get out of studying for the prelims?

I need ideas folks..whats on your life list? Do you have a roadmap ? Are you a happy wanderer (the emphasis on happy here) and most importantly..what to do whenyou are 26 and have an existential crisis?

discipline

Most people have a rather hard time staying discplined in some area of their lives. For example, some have issues with food, others with not exercising, some with not studying/working hard enough, some with regards to their expression of feelings, love or sex. I have a problem with all of it. Most people would have to control some part of their psyche, say hey.. I need to work out and this is something I really need to do to take care of myself better, they do so for a few days and give up, but they have other things under control, they work/study like normal people, they also eat (maybe?) in a controlled fashion and they express the right things at the right time and refrain from expression at the cued times.

I on the other hand, have no compunctions about working out because I enjoy it, I have no issues with food because I love eating and therefore I do eat. I have no issues with expression because I look like an ass anyways, so might as well say it out loud. There lies my problem. I create situations, I create problems for myself by bieng so upfront about everything, so the end result? polarization…people hate me or love me..there isnt any middle ground, niether should there be, I either hate people or love them. I confer upon everyone the same intensity that I do on the boy, I care about them about as intensely as I do for my family.  And why is that such a bad thing, to be vested in people? The bad thing is that it leads to disappointment, people dont expect so much interest in themselves, and therefore just refuse to see it, get rebuffed by it or even get alarmed by it.

 I am tired of it, sort of, time for a blaise superficial interest. A furthering of myself from the world. The boy even, because he cannot bring himself to love me with the same intensity I love him. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye? Should you try and wait and see if it gains momentum or is it best to leave before it fizzles completely and there are no waves left to see you to the shore? Before all you can remember is the sad part, the bad part…what would you do? This decision calls for a discipline too, a harsh sort that is required of a clean break of a bad habit, one I think i sorely lack. Maybe this by Edna St Vincent Millay will give me the courage:

Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.

Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that’s permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.

If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.

Should I outlive this anguish, and men do,
I shall have only good to say of you.

on people specially those we call friends

I watched the movie “rock on”. It kinda is your average coming of age sort of movie. Farhan Akhtar is kinda one of those I might have something to talk about type of guys. Ever noticed that his movie has complex freindships, that split people apart and then bring them together..is that what he sells? The desire that we have for our past and what it makes us what we are today. Friends we talk to now and friends we no longer are in touch with. People we wouldnt call friends anymore, yet they touch our lives in ways innumerable, such as ringing of alarms in your head when the doorbell rings or the door slams. Friends whose face you see in other people’s faces and connections you long for again. Its the relationships we have and had that define us.

In so many ways we long to be like our friends, we want what they have, even though we may never admit it, even to ourselves. We may not covet their car or their looks or their boyfriends, but we usually want a part of something they are, which is why we become friends in the first place. From one friend of mine, I want her patience and strength, from another I want the optimism and utter childlike faith in things, from another the ability to beat the shit out of social networking and make it their own, making the introducer(me) a mere watcher, amusedly watching the hurricane set in motion. From another I want the utter belief in their ability and ofcourse non procrastination. That would really help.

The movie made me think of random people I barely ever think about from college, the cool rockers, with their cool hair and beyond cool parties, in which i was the hanger on, the weirdo who actually fell asleep at a crazy party in Goa…yeh yeh I did that.  It also made me think ..so many choices we make, diverging paths we choose, yet with each friend we leave behind, we leave a certain vestige of ourselves, a me that only existed then. Like a crazy, super insecure me in school, a very emotional love struck me in college, a rollicking, rich kid in college 2 and a mostly sane bitch in college 3..too much college me thinks. There are some people who would recognize me in all the guises, yet to others that part of my life is strange, i dont think any of my students can imagine me as the excuse making, never did homework types. Or my current friends as the short haired, intense person i was in college. As we grow, we want to shed certain parts of us, leave them behind and move on, relieved to step out of that mold, eager to make a new impression, not realizing come what may, we remain the same, the way we think about people, still remains the same, the way we expect things without having to state them, remians the same and most of all, the passion and emotion, maybe better disguised now, remains the same.

coming home

I have been back for roughly a month now. I came back in the end of July and was confronted by all its madness, the moving, the falling sick, the being away from the boy and the accompanying temper tantrums. oh the tantrum thrower is me..he is the aloof ice-queen. king.  Then settling into the new place which is famaliar enough in layout and yet different enough to disorient me. The getting over the fears that I have lived for the past year, which believe me were not unfounded, more peace of mind and sleep and things have never been lost.  But I am healing now. I feel sometimes that I can relate to women in abusive relationships. The fear and the nightmares once you get out of them must be tremendous. sorry, my grammer is wonky today.

So this week was the first week back to school and the REC!!! School was good, seeing the boss was strangly unfraught with tension, and classes bring their usual crazy students and other peripheral pains. I was busy and stopped throwing tantrums, which is definately good for the future of  “US”.  But what what made me happiest and keeps me happiest is the rec. Going for a spin class and meeting the entire gang, which btw I only see in the gym and dont know anything about and dont want to. I barely recognize them in their day clothes as it is! It was amazingly delightful meeting them and doing our crazy spin class and whooping it up and almost killing ourselves. A class with mutual respect for everyone’s ability and drive to do it and for the desire to push workouts to such extreme levels. Thats where I felt most at home, where my ability to workout as hard as the ultra marathoner is a given. I might not be on such a high resistance as him, but my heart rate is exactly where his is and we are both killing ourselves and loving it! Where I feel like I dont have to explain anything and everything is at face value. I feel welcome there just because I want to do it, not because of the way I look or the way I want to look or that I belong to a minority group who is banding together. I feel at home. If only I could be there all the time. Fliting from one group fitness class to another, swinging in a couple of weight sessions in the middle. My utopia. ok, there has to be food involved..but we can wrangle that. Feeling strong and sure and very full of myself, thats how the rec makes me feel. Leaving it would be heartwrenching,  on the bright side…gyms are evrywhere and wherever I move, I will find the “one” and be at home again. Do you have a place that makes you feel good? due to the people or just the place?

missing you/it

Before I get rolling, just wanted to ask…hows the new theme? Too foody? I ate that yummy thing so am immune.but if it bothers people too much I might have to change it!

Another note or warning: This is a nostalgia post, so if you are allergic stay away!

I dont know why I find myself missing a lot of things recently, its like an ache that wont go away. Not just things but people too…should that have been the other way round? People and things too? hmm…anyways I have been missing things people. So here is my list of “I’ve been missing you” .

1. Home, India, Indore: I miss home, I wanna go home, there are times when the squareness and neatness and organization of the US completely gets to me and I begin craving the chaos, the color and the magic that is India. In such a state even watching a hindi movie is unbearably painful because I long for those crazy roads, hodge podge houses and ofcourse food.

2. Roadside Indian food: It just holds a different head space. Being from Indore, which is pretty much food mad, whenever my dad and his friends get together all they talk about is food past and food present. Foods they used to eat as athletes and where did that shop go to the latest in jalebi’s . I miss that food. That may also be because I tried making poha and failed, miserably. I had a soggy lump. Never the one to give up, I did it again, and this time I had chivda, which is rather dry. SO i gave up on poha. It did make me miss indori poha and jalebi breakfasts, post workout, stopping on the way back from the gym to get sunday brekky for self and parents. Their sleepy appreciation and my grin of victory. I miss johnny hot dog and mung ke bhajiye and kachori and chinese and fresh fruit juice and the list can go on for ten more pages so I will move on here

3. I miss my ex-bf: sad but true, I still miss him (I hope he doesnt read this, or he will have to be pricked  by a needle just to ring him to a normal size again..eh, men and egos. I miss our fun together and just being with each  other. But then I think about what a colossal ass he is now and I dont miss him anymore..ok fine I do, but just a little.

4. I miss my ex-bff: bff? best friend forever…only one person I ever called that. I miss not being bffs and I miss not being able to call anyone that…I have friends, good friends,crazy friends, polite friends, enemies. I lack a bff, I miss one.

5. I miss summer, just because, life is crazy right now and next summer is far away. I like summer. and oh btw…some nice things do happen in october..such as birthdays (ahem)

Thats all I miss, pretty much. Not a very long list as I thought it might be. But almost 50% of it out of my hands, only india is something I can control, well lack of boyfriends can be controlled too, but not very effectively in manhattan, ks. So I will miss you no more, eh lied again.

This revealed one thing for sure, I really like lists: I wonder why? And you guys be good, leave me some comments and check ou the new header and tell me if it needs to go!