Friday, December 31, 2010

The Assignment 1

There is a competition called The Assignment.
I made through round 1 which was basically situational questions.

Round 2 has two parts

Round 2 Part 1: Please like this video and help me go to the next round: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150352494270533&oid=123381121063055&comments

Will update regarding part 2.

For, Now Happy New Year !!! Will come back next Year !!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Joka and the Times

Back in Joka!

With a bunch of changes. Oh! A lot has changed. A lot is changing, A lot will change.

I am back on my schedule, up at till 5 am !
chatting talking making friends and wondering if i ever will get a few minutes to myself.

Here I am, a few minutes to myself, blogging.

Apart from sure travels to Mandarmani, hopeful travels to bangkok and other stuff.

Wondering will detours occur in life. Wondering if there ever do. Trying to make them happen. Hoping they do. Unhopeful some don't. Wondering my life is so complicated. Yet answering a question to my definition of complex as simple.

I m just leaving my final days at Joka.

Growing Up !

There hasn't been much of a blogpost after I returned from NY, has there ? Except for a few hangover posts !

So much has changed and so much will still.

I returned from US to my house in Hyderabad (shall still just call it a house), to spend a few days before I take a detour to my hometown for a friend's wedding. Or should I say my best friend's wedding. We had so much in common and now so little.

I was really excited to attend the wedding. I never attended a friend's wedding before. I was really busy every time there was one.

Only two days younger to me, she is married now and leading a happily married life. It made me wonder and made me think. Have I really grown up?

The moment I saw her all dressed like a bride and nervous and yet smiling at us. I wondered, have we all really grown up ?

And then of course, there as another school friend of mine who came to the wedding with her husband and her 11 month old son. She was screaming with him, playing with him, chastising him and drowning him in her love. Have we really grown up already ?

And then I have my best friend of all times, who is in US now married for a few years, with a two year old daughter and pregnant with the second. She did not come for the wedding. Again, have we all really grown up ?

I asked my friend this question. Another from the now-and-then pack, best friend of all times, have we grown up ?
She is studying to be a doctor and there is a long long way to go. She said, all I do is attend weddings, give advice on contraceptives, attend baby showers when they don't follow her advice and smile at all functions. Because, she will be a doctor and there is a long long way to go. And she tells me, you will go high up and there is a long long way up.

LOL! I will go high up! But will I ever grow up ?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lahiri. She Writes.

When I went to Seattle, I had with me “Unaccustomed Earth” without which the delay at Logan Airport (caused not by Logan but my ill-fated proximity to JFK, the flight being that which needed to arrive from JFK but was delayed as usual. Sometimes it seems to me that nothing goes off or on time in JFK) would have driven me crazy.

When I went to Pittsburgh, I had with “Interpreter of Maladies” which made my travel pleasant and enduring (not to mention that I was darn well excited about meeting the qurious quester more than a year later).

I like her books, because they are a collection of short stories and not novels with a plot.

I like her books, because she talks primarily about people in Boston and mostly about those you came from Calcutta and about those who had a short stay in London. And what else could I relate to more, this year.

She writes with a plot simply and characteristic. She writes of second generation Indian Americans. She writes up people trying to grasp anything they can grab that reminds them of their far away lands. She writes about women and she writes about men and she writes about parents and she writes about children. And the young, the old and the middle aged. She writes about love, duty, responsibility, helplessness, need for community and compassion.

She writes about the lives of people.

And she writes beautifully.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

VIRUS ATTACK

JIAGUU.EXE

If anyone knows what to do about please let me know!
IMMEDIATELY!!!

Google doesn't seem to have any useful info. :(

UPDATE: Looks like I solved it, at least for now !

Friday, December 10, 2010

City Girl!

I fell in love with Bombay in 3 weeks, London in 4 weeks and New York in 3 weekends and half a week.

I came back from London all romantic about it which wore off in time but I do still like the city a lot. I am currently still romantic about New York and will have to wait and watch if it will wear off. Boston is cute and nice and peaceful which I like but not at the moment designed for me. But Bombay …

My heart leaps up every time I am to land/take off from Bombay at night time. I love it when I am landing in Boston during the day when you feel you are landing on water and just when you thought you would, the runway appears out of nowhere. No such airport stories about London and NY looks nice during the day with the Atlantic and everything but not half as wow-ing.

Inspiring! That’s the word for NY though. London shows you memories of empires that stood through thick and thin for generations together. New York shows you empires that were built from scratch over a single lifetime. Bombay shows me (don’t know about you), the empires to be built. Bombay shows me dreams.

In Dec 2007, not so long ago, I thought that I would be honored to work in Nariman a few years from then and that was my dream! This summer, it did come true even if it’s for a few weeks. Now I need a new dream and it looks like I have one!

New York and beyond: MY 500

My last few days spent in New York were fun, fast and fascinating.

I ceased being a tourist and then, I fell in love with New York; its city lights, noisy crowds, dirty streets, obnoxious people and vibrant environment.

Walked on the chilly streets of Manhattan, stared at the high rise empires built from scratch for inspiration, visited a Vegan restaurant, saw a few upper end (read, out-of-my-league) cars in real life, stopped by at Hoboken to view NY on the left and NJ on the right over the Hudson, drove past Edison Township, made more friends, submitted a final paper due for a course at Simmons, all in the middle of a ticket fiasco.

On Wednesday morning, I left to the airport (without a ticket). A few airlines, few counters and few explanations later I got my ticket and hung around a bit before I got on my 14 hour flight to Delhi. On reaching Delhi, my India phone began to work and I had to make two phone calls and send two emails to let people know that I arrived safely (mind you, I had to notify all of them just before I sat on the plane too). I spent the next 20 hours with less than 5 sentences off my mouth before I landed safe and sound and with a stamp on my visa, in Hyderabad.

Home. Sweet, Home.


Psst: Here ends 'Exchange Dairies' and is my 500th post!!!

Update: This also happens to be my 100th post of my 5th year in Blogging :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Diwali in December and Ticket fiasco

If I may call it that!

I took a bus on the afternoon of Saturday to reach NY in the evening.
Funny, the wifi was working. The last time it worked on a bus for me was when I first arrived at Boston from NY by bus.

On arriving at my friends place in Brooklyn they took me to this Diwali party hosted by people from the college that my friends are on exchange with. Well, Diwali is long gone. Yet it was a party and there was Bollywood music and Indian food. It was so long since I had good Indian food. It was a nice party

Here is the ticket fiasco part.
Err. it's too complicated to explain. Basically I thought I had a ticket but it looks like it is stuck in some pipeline and I can't seem to be able to push it through. But believing that I will come back to India I believe that it will somehow get resolved. Not on it's own though. I need to drop in some offices and refuse to move till I get a ticket. Or fly by some insanely complicated way. Hope it doesn't have to come to that.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday, the last Real Day

Sarah was wonderful.

Not only did she pick the card for me, she threw open her place for a party in my honor and a lovely cake that said "We will miss you, Pranava". How sweet can she be and how CAN i not LOVE her!!!


I love all the girls who came today and danced Bollywood with me and salsa and Chinese and some random stuff and had like ridiculous fun with me. I love you all !!!

So today is the absolute last day of my stay in Boston and it has not hit me yet.

I will probably cry on my bus to NY.
Love you all from Boston and love you Boston from making it my home for the past few months!!!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Economics and Dancing

The header I made yesterday comes in the middle of a frustrated period when I was trying to finish up my presentation for a class within a few hours. It went well.So did today's morning economics class where we presented about the economies of US and Germany.

After that I had a sumptuous meal at Bartol's the canteen for the residential campus which is my latest hangout for cheap good food (great French Vanilla and Ice-cream) along with Ivo.

Then we had a stupid session by me for Bollywood dancing, where I made my friends (who were dancing great) for Bole Chudiyaan and I was a pathetic teacher. That's another thing I learnt, I can't break down dance into a 1-2 step process. Following me was a wonderful teacher of Greek dance my one of our classmates who is a second generation Greek. She taught us well and we learnt it well and all in all it was FUN!

This is the first session of a set of sessions that are to follow organized by Ivo for our co-herd to share everyone's talents. (No, Bollywood dancing is not my talent. For God's sake I had no idea there was something called Bollywood dancing till I came here).

Ivo, an 'asian'-phillic, complained often that we never walked on the streets of Chinatown. We did just that today, walked a bit. Then we got home and Ivo helped me pack.


So I am basically packed, well mostly, except for a bit of laundry and the clothes I need to last me a week. No, I am packed :) I am. And it's only sinking in now. That I am leaving Boston in a couple of days!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Boston Blues


A new header finally just before I am leaving Boston!
Photoshopped obviously.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Expressions!

From all the lovely ladies at Simmons who I love and shall miss so much, I received:


NY and NJ and Chocolate

I went to New York again. But little I have to say this time.
I landed to run around shops on Black Friday.
Saturday morning I had hot chocolate with marshmallows melting in them at the Max Brenner with Roomie (my roommate for two years and wingie for the next two years of my IITian life). She was sweet enough to book us a table there where people stand in every inch of space for the smell of chocolate. We then went to Jersey Gardens (New Jersey) for shopping. So I crossed state, bought some stuff and got them all to Boston. Now I need to figure out how to pack everything.
And that's all there is for my NY trip.

Highlights:
1. I got to meet Roomie
2. I got to have chocolate
3. I got some nice cheap boots that I know will not last but nevertheless I love them
4. We drove and I always thought that traffic sucks in Manhattan when I walked it, but it wasn't bad at all
5. Ivo and I got the same sweater

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beacon Hill and Thanksgiving

After my wonderful teaching experience and a great rating for a presentation in one of my classes the Thanksgiving break was up.
Wednesday through Monday was my break.

On Wednesday we (Ivo and I) walked again. We walked Beacon Hill. It was so freaking cold that we froze over and had to stop at every starbucks we found. But it was beautiful. Boston is a weird city. It's all college stuff everywhere and like a little town in between the college stuff. We saw places owned by some of the prominent Bostoners of the 1800s. It's all cute and nice. Like living out of the old times. All the architecture was 18th and 19th century. Some houses had so many creepers on them and there were hidden gardens too.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. We (my Chinese undergrad friend, Ivo and I) had lunch at the school for Thanksgiving and we have Turkey and corn bread and mash potates with new people. It was all in my Chinese friend's dorm's living room. After that we went with another Chinese friend (grad school) and her Chinese friend to a professor's house which was in a suburb called Wellesley. It was nice. It was the (American)professor, her daughter with Polish roots, her daughter's friend, her daughter's friend's mother and father who is a professor too, her daughter's friend's father's undergrad student, her daughter's friend's dad's Russian student who is on exchange from Netherlands, a student who stays in the professors house who is a second generation Ukrainian, a dutch couple who were the professor's friends, my Chinese grad friend, my Chinese grad friend's friend, my Nicaraguan friend and my Indian self.
A truly international yet American Thanksgiving dinner complete with Turkey and Pumpkin pie.
Oh Lord! Thank you for this meal!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Teach!

MIT conducts every year a little (actually a really huge) event called Splash (and one over the spring called Spark).

During Splash, any grad/undergrad student can sign up to teach anything, absolutely anything. And who are the students? Middle school and high school students from all over, anywhere. It is up to the teacher to keep the students engages because there are walk-in seminars happening all the time and one could just walk out of a class into these seminars.

So what has it got to do with me? I TAUGHT !!!

What?
(well it was supposed to come off as "what did I teach?", but if you read it as "waht? I don't believe you!" I won't hold it against you.)

so I taught 5 classes of 3 courses.
  • Introduction to Telugu: language and alphabet (2 classes)
  • Incredible India: a crash course on Indian culture (2 classes)
  • Blog Your Way: Blogging 101 (1 class)

How was it?
AWESOME!

What did I learn about myself?
That I know more about Telugu than I thought and my handwriting is good. I know a lot about Indian culture, but I should probably learn more. I know almonds about blogging.

It was also amazing to see parents waiting for their kids, anxious to know what they learnt and elated to see them happy. There was this one lady who was looking through the glass of the door to see how her kid was doing. OK that was a little too much. But in general, I liked the atmosphere. I did not think American parents would care so much about their kids and their little wishes to learn about foreign language or modular origami or black-holes . How wrong I was! How wrong I was!


This is by far the best weekend in United States! (and I don't think the next two are going to beat it. Yes, two. Just two.)

Charlie and his Town

So Ivo got a book from a friend about walking tours in Boston.
It had a lot of tours but there was one part of town we have never ever been to: Charles Town.

The freedom trail we walked was supposed to end in Charles Town but we stopped at the River Charles that day and we completed the trail now.

We started by taking a ferry from Long Wharf to Navy Yard, reading the book all along. Walked around the Navy Yard and the USS Constitution, reading up the history. We then went up to the Bunker Hill Monument (on Beacon Hill, Bunker Hill is somewhere around) with the statue of William Prescott. We saw the Harvard Mall where Harvard and another guy decided to name this place Cambridge and start a great college which later on came into being named Harvard (except he didn't live to see it). We also ran into a little pub where all great leaders met to talk about politics and the Red Coats and somebody's house and somebody else's garden and the City Square and the little Harvard street, etc.

The town was beautiful. It is possible the most beautiful part of Boston. You cross over in the ferry and you feel you crossed over the ocean all the way to England, to a little English town, full with little house, cobble stone pathways and tiny roundish cars! Finally we walked over the bridge to come back to the fast lanes of Boston leaving behind the beautiful peaceful and serene little town that lives by itself.

If you ever visit Boston, make sure you take time out to walk around Charles Town, especially during its' breathtaking fall.

Manhattan


The whole trip to New York felt like a vacation you take when you are working and not a student, like working-people-taking-vacation.

I woke up on Thursday morning to run to a meeting for a project, followed by another meeting for another project followed by a rush to the bus station to catch a bus to NY. See what I mean by working-people-taking-vacation?

The journey to and fro sucks. Because Megabus sucks. I took my laptop with me just so I could use the wifi on Megabus to and fro and work on some stuff I needed to get done over the weekend and not really wanting to work during the weekend. Ultimately, I just carried 3 extra kgs of load to and fro with no use for it except a brief half hour to check mails check weather and register for courses at IIMC.

But Manhattan rocks.

My tour of New York started right from where I got off the bus. Madison Square and Times Square!

The next day began with a little walk around the Fina
ncial District: The New York Stock Exchange, The Bull and The Wall Street (see all my capital Ts in 'The's). We took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty (but since it was later in the day they did not take us to something else that they normal do and also they ran out of tickets for going to the crown. Not that I was upset. But it was funny; we had 'airport like security'. I am not making up the phrase; this is the phrase they used at the security check.


We went over to Ground Zero but it was all barricaded due to some construction work and the Metro stop underneath was also out of service (since 2002). We finished our tour for the day with a spectacular (extremely chilly) view from the Empire State Building.



The next day we woke up later than ever and by the time we had lunch it was nearing dusk. So we quickly wen to the beautiful Central Park and to Lego Land and Rockefeller center. We saw two ice rinks and walked around a lot in the lanes of West Village.


Sunday was just for waking up, grabbing a bite and the pathetic bus back to Boston.

The highlights of the trip:
  • Airport like security
  • The freezing view from Empire State
  • The soft flooring in the kids zone at Central Park. So that kids who fall don't get hurt. It was like styrofoam or something. It was absolutely awesome.
  • Big Big Bubble; at Central Park, there was this guy who had a bucket of soapy water and two sticks connected by a loop of string. So you could make like insanely lasrge bubbles, the size I have never seen before.
  • Lego store, Lego land was mindblowing. I could spend like days if I get locked up in Lego land!


New York, New York


A new header and a new theme!

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty,
no place in the World that can compare,
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah
come on, come,
yeah,


New York!!!!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There's nothing you can’t do,
Now you're in New York!!!
These streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To do, To Blog

After all the blogging I do, I always have more to blog about.
I am living life faster, everyday !

Here are a list of things to blog about ...

Books:
  • Unaccustomed Earth
  • Interpreter of Maladies
  • Breathless in Bombay (when I finish)

Movies:
  • Amelie
  • My Sister's Keeper (already blogged on another site)
  • NY I Love You (But I think I'll get a different perspective after going to NY this weekend :P )
  • The Day I Became a Woman
  • Rajneeti
  • Tum Milo To Sahi
  • Veronica Mars (it's actually a series)

Random things:
  • Like Boston and NY have a lot of rats
  • Like I am not worried about traveling by T after dark anymore because it gets dark by 4.30 now
  • Like how the fact that i finally know what day light savings is and how freaked out I got about it :P
  • Like how I had a discussion with a blogger who believes I am a different "type" and the weekend awakening conversation was not expected out of me and how I reacted very violently to it. (ah well, may be I won't blog about it).
  • Like how I called my long lost friend yesterday and felt great talking to her (we have been on fb for a while).
  • Like how I called my long lost friend today and was hesitant to tell her who I was.
  • Like how I made three new friends out of acquaintances.
  • Like how I realize I only have a month left and lots and lots and lots of stuff left to do!
(Image courtesy: AikoNagori)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dream On

In one of my courses last week, we had a guest lecture. The guest was this wonderful woman who in her 50s decided to start a nonprofit organization to help women to come away from violent homes.

During the course of her lecture, she made us write our "Dream Proposal".
Your dream proposal consisted of the your biggest dream, steps and goals to reach it and the estimated cost of the first step to reach the dream.The dream could be a picture including your life, you home, your car, the color of your curtains and so on.

As I put pen to paper I tried to recollect my dreams.

The first time I dreamed of doing something was when I was in class 3. I wanted to be the first Indian woman in space and when I was about 10 years old, Kalpana Chawla beat me to it so I tore up all my newspaper cuttings of articles about space, nasa research, meteor showers, etc and gave up that dream.

The first time I put pen on paper and wrote down a pictorial life style dream was about 9 years ago, in class 10. We had a woman who was an alumnus of our school come over to motivate us. She made us close us eyes, listen to soothing music and her harmonious voice and directed us to imagine 10 years hence and look at our lives, picture it and write it down.

I don't have the paper with me right now (it's in my memory box packed away in Kolkata), but I remember what I wrote. I wrote down a lifestyle. Today, I am living it !

(Image courtesy: p0rg)

And suddenly, I realized, I needed a new dream!
And then I realized, I have had a new dream since all these 9 years. And a newer dream since 7 years. And a much newer dream since 6 years and the newest dream since 3 years. I have many dreams ! so many many dreams :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Weekend Awakening!

"You'll find it very different."
"Excuse me?"
"Once you have been here, India will be very different."
"Different?"
"It won't be like this. Once you get used to this, it's so, so different."
"I like it back home!" (stone faced)
This was the conversation that ensued after I told someone that I am an exchange student and that I have been here for 2 months and I am going back in a month (precisely a month actually). What kind of a conversation is that? He could have said he likes it here, he could have asked where I feel better, he could have. But how can he tell me I am not going to like my country? Because I have had a "life changing" experience staying here !? Duh!

Just to clarify. I did not have a life changing experience here. And I like my country. I like London too. But I like my country more. I know it has limitations. I know it has it's issues. But I like my country. And I don't think that everyone should like my country. But I like my country.

What a conversation to end my weekend!
Wait a minute!
My weekend started with Thursday and ended with Thursday.

I went shopping on Thursday with Ivo and got myself some warm clothes and warmer boots! Diwali shopping I would have said but no, it was just winter shopping, or preparing for the snow.

I took a weekend course if you remember and here is the second weekend of the course. The first weekend was during Dussera and the second during Diwali. Friday came and went like a breeze. I stayed over at a friend's place because 12 hours in the cold is not a good enough reason to come all the way home. Saturday was better cause after all the day of class, a couple of Indian girls from school, my roommate and I went to have an early dinner. We had some good food and good time. And back to work and studying. Sunday came and went by with the class. I dropped by at ISKCON again, alone this time. I attended the Bhajan and was having food when I realized I was not alone and a bunch of friends I went with for the first time had turned up. It was good.

Whenever I talk about the fact that I am going to ISKCON every Sunday, I talk about their good food. I agree it's good and really homely. I enjoy it every time I go. But no. I do not go there for the food. I am not a foodie. Never been. I go there because I like it. I like spending time there. I go there to connect to my culture in contemporary ways and to connect to the spirituality that is an integral part of my culture. It makes me feel I am among people who reconnect and feel connected to the sense of community I miss in this country! I go there to feel 'Indianess' as Nehru defined.

(And where should the above mentioned disappointing conversation happen but here, to enhance my disappointment)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Of Picasso, Paneer and Halloween

Some how, I seemed to have missed the post on Halloween weekend.

Oh well because there was nothing to it. I was supposed to go to NY and meet my undergrad friends (one being bard). But it got cancelled in the last minute!

After my extremely eventful Thursday, I spent a quite Friday cleaning. This is the first I ever used a vacuum cleaner. :)
I always thought vacuum was spelled as vaccuum. Is it not? Is it American vs British or am I plain wrong ? (don't Google it).

So, on Saturday, the bard, who's researching in Tufts, and I decided to spend the day around Tufts and Harvard and we did.

We went to the Harvard Art Museum and saw so many paintings, I barely remember any at all. In fact, I remember only one. It was a Picasso painting. It was amazing and it stuck in my memory. It was funny actually. I was standing in front of it and I was like what the hell? What's so great about it? And I moved away. I just happened to turn around and then it caught it. It's not beautiful. It's just amazing. No wonder Picasso is Picasso.

(image courtesy: renzodionigi )

Then we went over to her friend's place where her some other friends were meeting. The idea was that they'd meeting once in a while and make international food. The Spanish lady, the host made Spanish omelette. And bard and I made Palak Panner. It turned out good. (and this was the first either of us attempted it).

On Halloween, I met up with a friend I made during Vatsap's dinner meeting. She sang the Indian National Anthem at that dinner. And it felt great to hear it on foreign land. So I made friends with her (and also because it was hard to find students at that dinner and she was studying middle eastern jazz at Berkelee School).
So we didn't have anything to do and we dropped by at the ISKCON temple and just roamed about in freezing cold to watch dressed up people on the street.


PS: Bard, I can't link you. Your blog has moved and I can't find it. Please drop in and let me know.

Update: Bard, you are not linked ! Thanks for dropping in!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Socializing, yet not

On September 25th, I killed Orkut! Sorry Google, you got the wrong one in!

On November 1st, I started Twitter! Sorry Google, I only Buzz on Gtalk (which the Buzz steals)!

I haven't connected my Twitter to the Blogger (yes, I haven't migrated to wordpress yet). Shall do so if it picks up after a while.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Pitch!

I had a wonderful Thursday!
A class in the morning, a pitch contest in the afternoon and a trip MIT in the evening!

A pitch is a business pitch. This contest did not require a b-plan in place.
I anyway participated, just for the fun of it.
I didn't win anything. But I thought I did good and it was fun!
I did get goodies for participating. A coffee and a book. The author was one of the judges!

And then I went to MIT to get training for Splash (a weekend when anyone can teach anything :) )
So the training happened in a class room which had heat transfer equations all the black board that I had used for my BTech Project I so loved doing, and I felt bad the left my engineering track. It was sad, really sad!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pittsburgh Header Again


Here is another one from CMU and I should give credits to Athula for finally giving me the pics!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Bostonian

The first weekend I was here, I cried. Because I was alone and I didn't know anyone but also because it was so strange that I didn't see many people on the street and I could sit on a bus with a bunch of people who never talk to you at all and your neighbors didn't care that you existed.

A couple of months later, I know, Bostonians are chivalrous, smile and nod at strangers, wish a good morning and pat their neighbors dogs and strike up a sentence or two once in a while.

Last weekend when I was walking home from Ivo's house to mine, I had a perplexed expression on my face trying to figure out my path (no, I am never lost, I always find my way), when a stranger said to me "Smile, Honey! It isn't that bad". And out of nowhere I burst into a smile. "See. That was easy. Keep it going" he quipped and walked away. A complete stranger he was. Bostonians huh?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quickest Boston Tour

This weekend was fun as well.

Started out on Friday when Ivo wanted to check out Halloween Costumes! We went to the biggest costume shop in Boston. Yet! We found nothing. OK not nothing! I got rainbow socks and she got a moose headband and fake eyelashes. But not costumes. We then went out to join a few girlfriends. And I ended up crashing over at ivo's place.

We woke up to a lazy lazy Saturday and we went out for lunch. And when I say out I mena we walked out and kept walking and walking till we did not find any place to have a nice lunch and finally settled for Starbucks ! We then managed to buy out the entirity of Stop and Shop and carried a million bags back to her house. I walked back home and she went to school to study.

I had to pick up a friend who was coming from NY. So I cooked and went to pick her up. I picked her up at South Station and showed her Downtown by night. On Sunday, I took her in an ad-hoc manner down the freedom trail. We had lunch at Quincy and sat down by the harbor for a while. We then went to Harvard Yard and roamed around a bit before heading back to Boston. We stopped by Copley and visited ISKCON again. We walked the streets for a while, stopped by the school and picked up ivo. We joined her friend we ran into at Harvard T for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then we headed home. A lot of walking for one day!
Today morning, she woke up and left to NY.

Another week begins! This time more with deadlines than plans!!

Weekend, A Class apart

I took a weekend course = the whole course in 2 compressed weekends = 15 hours per weekend.
Last weekend was the first of those. I wondered how I would sit in the same class for 15 hours. But it was fun. It was ultra fun. We did lots of hands-on assignments and had a guest lecture and it was pretty cool!
One more of those weekends coming up and then I'll be done!

On Sunday, which was the 10th day after the Navratri or the Vijaya Dasami back home in India, I decided to go to temple. I looked up Google and realized that the closest temple was an ISKCON temple. The only devi temple was in Ashland and there is no way I could have gone after hours of classes. So I decided to go to ISKCON. I dragged a friend with me. She dragged a roommate with her. And three of us started out. I had been to ISKCON temples before. They are sort of different. But none like this.
This had an American Swami give an american talk on how Rama killed Ravan and brought Sita home and people celebrated Navratri. And then we had bhajan which was absolutely brilliant. And there was a guy playing the saxophone with the bhajan. It was beautiful. And kids beat a Ravan stuffed with chocolates (like the Mexican pinata). And then we had brilliant Indian food for prasad and went home happy and content! A festival well-celebrated!


After Harvard on Thursday and classes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I missed Ivo's dinner on Saturday. I was just too tired to go.
But I did not want to miss the lunch we planned at a Japanese restaurant on Monday with Ivo and the Chinese friend. So we went to a nice little place. The icing on the cake was supposed to be the tempura ice cream. I hated it. I cannot have fried ice cream!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvard!

Finally, finally, finally! I got to go to Harvard University.
My nica friend (ivo) and I made friends with this guy we met through our friend from college when we to the beach. He is doing his PhD in elec (will be done soon) at Harvard Faculty of Arts and Science! So we asked him for a tour and he agreed. But we are all busy people. Busy. Busy.

So we finally made it on Thursday (which also happens to be ivo's birthday!!!)

We were late by an hour before we turned up at Harvard T stop. And then our tour began when we started walking through the Harvard Yard where all the dorms were. There was this old building (massachuesettes hall) that is out of use and then there was the first dorm to have flowing water (before which people had to use the handpump in the yard).

And then were was a statue. The plaque says "John Harvard, founder, 1638". But actually it is not John Harvard and it some early grad and John Harvard was a benefactor and not a founder and it was founded in 1636. So! The statue is called (nicked) the statue of three lies.

Then, we went to the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library built by Eleanor Elkins Widener (Harry's mother) in his memory after he died on the Titanic! It was beautiful! It had stuff about Titanic and this grad student Harry.
Then we went to Memorial Church for the alumnae and students of Harvard who gave their lives in WW I & II.

We saw the Sever Hall, and this one has an awesome thing about it. At the entrance, the archway, it was acoustically designed such that if you stand to the one side and whisper you would be heard brilliantly clear and amplified on the other side (Which is just a few feet away, yet) it is AWESOME!

We took a look at the theatre but could not go inside since rehearsals were on, and we also saw a couple more buildings.

We were then joined by our friend and went to the Harvard Business School. But since we did not know anyone there, we jsut walked around the campus, peeped into the library, sat out in the lawns and had cookies and cupcake.

And then we went to this little cafe (the name I will find out) which is famous for it's hot chocolate. When we walked in and were waiting for a table, we saw a famour string theorist Lisa Randall. We got her table and enjoyed hot dark chocolate!

PS: I know my post looks like a wiki page :P

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unknown Lands

Have you ever heard of a country called Moldova? I haven't! And all I can think of it to contact my 8th class friend who used to play hangman of countries names with me and tell him that I have a new country name.

Well it is not a new country name. It is relatively new but not new. And I am ashamed at my ignorance. Because it is a country rich in history and culture.

How did I suddenly know about it? I was checking out my blogger stats and I came to know that someone from Moldova visited my site a few times. I am surprised.


Moldova is a landlocked democratic country in Eastern Europe between Romania and Ukraine, which became a country along with the others when USSR broke up in 1991. It has strong Russian influences in it culture but some of Latin as well. The script of Moldovian is Latin. It has good music and museums. It did have a cinema but that declined after it was declared independent. It also has a self declared country within its territory called "Transnistria" which is not recognized as a country except by that very country. Moldova has good quality wine and hosts the world's largest wine cellars but due to political reasons its wine has not been popularized.

The world's largest wine cellars.
For travelers, beware of scams and crimes and don't mix up between Romanians and Moldovians (might be offensive) and most importantly, be chivalrous to women.

Five Minute Poem

For one of my courses today, I had to do an assignment called the "Five Minute Poem" which is a idea by Beverly Tatum.

It was an interesting exercise and I think you should try it for yourself. Here are the rules:

Four Stanzas. Each Stanza Has Four Lines. Each Stanza Begins – “I am from…”

First Stanza: Familiar sights, sounds, or smells of your neighborhood

Second Stanza: Familiar Foods

Third Stanza: Family Sayings

Fourth Stanza: Friends


And here is mine (since it's not really a poem, I did not put it in my poetry blog):


I am from the rainbows lair

Of bright and bold sprinkled everywhere

A billion throng loud with laughter

Rain soaked earth with a mixed mutter


I am from the land of spices

Pickles and masala chai form our vices

A spread of color on your plate

A spread of tastes for your palate


I am from a culture rich of hyperbole

Praise less subtle in humor relay

Of theatre and politics bearing the name

For the games that they play all the same


I am from a circle of trust

Differences lie only on the crust

Share a laugh about the bad times

Share it till everyone joins and rhymes

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Opening Our Doors on Columbus Day

Columbus discovered the New World on October 12th, 1942 and I got a holiday today because it is Columbus Day. It is I guess the closest Monday to Oct 12th. But then my Mondays are off anyway so it should not make much of a difference.

But I attended a little bit of the Opening Our Doors by The Fenway Alliance (of which my school is a part). I wanted to do a lot of things, like listening to music concerts or look through art galleries or watch some short films or some plays. But I didn't do most of it.

We (by we I mean my freshmen friend from China who watches Bollywood films and my good ol' Nica friend) met up a little later than we thought and spent a good 2 hours having a great lunch with a double helping of ice cream after tasting all the flavors at the Residential Campus cafe.

We then decided to check out the cultural festival of sorts and managed to check out only Evan's Way Park that had hands on art work to do like painting of all sorts and pumpkin decoration and stuff, more like Shankti Kunj of IIT Madras.

We painted the ground with colored chalk, one of us got a henna tattoo, we drew stuff on a chart with color sketches, made conversation with a photographer (she is pretty good, check out her site), posed for some pics at various points, we watched face painting, wrote poetry for the PoeTree (the only tree that turned yellow in Evan's Park), we even made wishes and we had a lot of fun. We also visited the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum!


Even though my weekend unexpected started on Wednesday itself, I spent Wednesday writing a paper that was due, Thursday getting a hair cut, Friday studying, Saturday at the Silverman Business Competition where my roommate was competing (and I just tagged along to watch), Sunday lying in my room all day and I still have to do laundry :( !

Friday, October 08, 2010

hairstyles and little girls!

Till a few hours ago, I had long hair mostly because I like reasonably long hair and I kind of didn't get around to get a hair cut. I thought I'll get a hair cut just before I left India. But on a random day when I randomly googling, I found the site of this non profit organization called "Locks of Love".

Here is their mission statement:

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

I decided to keep the length till I reach US and figure out when and where to donate my hair. I finally found this place called Dekwa which cuts off pony tails and they do it so often. Also as an encouragement, they give you a hair cut for $25 by a senior stylist or for $0 by a junior stylist.

I tried their phone a few times before I went to Seattle and before I went to Pittsburgh. So finally today when I got through I asked them to fix an appointment at the earliest and I didn't ask them anymore questions. After I fixed the appointment I was so worried that my hair might be too short if I cut of 10 inches. And yesterday night I was almost senti about letting go of such a length.

Finally, I went to the salon today. And as it turns out, 10 inches isn't that long and my hair isn't that short after.
The girl first made 4 thin 10 inch ponytails and cut them off. She then bundled them together and they will be sent to Locks of Love. Then she she spent an hour and a half to cut little little pieces of my hair to get an even hair cut (since cutting a pony tail would give a very rough cut). Then she spent an hour to give me some layers or something. Then she spent half an hour to check if she did it right. Then she blow dried my hair for another half an hour. All the while her boss/tutor kept checking on her. She was fun and nice. So basically, I spent about 4 hours in the salon. It took me a little less than an hour to get there and about the same to get back. Essentially I did nothing else today!




Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Carnegie Mellon University

Apart from the fact that CMU is one of the best for CS and of the most sought after univs by most of my IIT friends who decide to go ahead with an MS and/or PhD, I did not know much about it nor about graduate scools in general in the United States. I visited the campus the other day and as my facebook friends already know, I am in love with Carnegie Mellon University.

Gates Hillman Complex: It was opened last fall, built by grants from the Gates foundation and Henry J Hillman, hosts the department of computer science (which is where my friend works). It is beautifully built with contemporary architecture. Connecting a 3rd to the 5th floor a helix or a helical staircase with space in between for a couple of classrooms. It has technical art displayed at a few points like the one in my header, art the kind I have never seen. Most of the walls of public seating areas can be used as white boards, so can a few tables. They have vague staircases in between which are called the Hogwarts stairs. They also have atria, reading rooms with a beautiful view, conference rooms with the view of the city and a winter garden with a walking pathway.

Pausch Bridge: Connecting the GHC to the Purnell Center for Arts is a footbridge called the Pausch bridge in the memory of Randy Pausch who was a professor at CMU and died at the age of 47 with pancreatic cancer but went around the world delevering his "Last Lecture" when he found out the about his cancer. The bridge has LEDs that can be programmed to display certain patterns and the bridge has a unique abstract art which includes several penguins as that was Pauch's favorite. Here is the pattern:

The Fence: Once upon a time when there existed a Carnegie Tech and a Mellon Institute separetely, one had a majority of boys and the other girls. So students dated across campuses and young love blossomed at the fence that divided the two campuses. When the merger happened and the fence was to be brought down, the student community and the alumni community raised their voice against it because of the memories and the significance it has. To fulfill their request, a part of the fence was left (or rebuilt) which is not "The Fence" and is painted as an how students want according to the upcoming event.

The Cut: The final thing is the cut. An art exhibit constructed in the middle of the lawn. I know not its significance but it's awesomely weird.

PS: More pictures to come

B-schools and Tech schools

B-schools
After moving on to b-schools and having experienced Indian and US b-schools, I feel it is pretty much the same everywhere. Everywhere I feel b-schools are designed to kill you. But that is 'stress' training for the corporate world. Everywhere b-schools seem to focus on entrepreneurship and social ventures (whether or not things happen, they do try). Everywhere b-schools don't need too many facilities and the provided facilities are in good shape (at least most b-schools). Everywhere b-schools are very costly. Everywhere people who pass out of b-schools earn a lot.
There are differences. I do feel that people in US feel strongly about their choice of graduation and are motivated to work for it. I do feel that we Indians are not that passionate about education and are not as motivated since it is only looked upon a means to achieve an end which is more attractive than the means itself. Indian b-schools party a lot more than in US since the Indian b-schools have a younger group of people. US b-schools have people from all ages doing all kinds of things and have extremely flexible terms to be able to prolong your 2 year graduation for nearly 4 years. Indian b-schools are more or less like extensions of undergrad schools since 40% have no work experience and 50% are below 25 years of age. And in India grad students live campus helping in the party mode!

Tech schools
I will always have respect for Tech schools. I will always consider myself an engineer and I will always love tech stuff (even though I did not feel that way when I was studying at IIT). But now I know. I loved IIT and I will probably never love find a better place. It was full of young people who were staying away from home and they are all kinds of people with all kinds of smartness. Some street smart, some tech smart, some politically smart, some nerdy smart, all smart. Some nice, some mean, some cunning, some bullied, some loved, some hated, all changed. We all grew up together and we all lived together. We all (well mostly) survived.
After visiting a US tech school, I feel we lack heavily on facilities and equipment that at most times are immensely expensive. But I guess that's why people go to US to do their research. Indian tech schools are only made to make you smarter and prepare you for research and send you away. I was in love with my lab back in IIT but today I understand it's limitations. If US provides world class research institutes, India and China provide the human brains to run them.

My Blog My Echo


My new header
those things emit information from the blogs across the world about new technology in computers and are stuck on a hall way in CMU.
If you stand between them you can hear what they say because they will be in resonance.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sunday in Pittsburgh!

Sunday we woke up early morning and left my 2.30pm!!!
We went to the popular Pittsburgh Sri Venkateswara Temple. It was beautiful. We had traditional South Indian food and filter coffee as well.
We then went to a Catholic Church. And then to a Catholic Cathedral where I paid respects to a good friend who passed away a few weeks ago.
We then went to a Scare House and got really really scared!
Then we made our way to Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh modelled after the legendary Hofbrauhaus in Munchen (and not Munich). There was also a man dressed in Bavarian clothes who played nice Bavarian music who looked to me like a German version of Santa Claus.

A lot for a single day!

Niagara Falls!

Niagara literally means "split in the land" according to native americans (though I have not been able to find a link saying so on the internet; I read it Niagara) and is made of the American Falls and the Horse Shoe Falls (and even the Bridal Veil Falls I think).

This is where we went on Saturday.
We went to the Cave of the Winds tour where you walk past the gushing American Falls which can seem adventurous. It was fun. But sadly I wore leggings with sole and my wet were soaked in water that must be about 5deg C.
We then went to the Maid of the Mist boat tour where we were taken on a boat to the center part of the Horse Shoe Falls. The cold wind and mist were in my face and I was surrounded on three sides by the falls. You cannot feel anything due to the cold and you cannot hear anything due to the gush of the wind. This moment was miraculous, almost divine! A moment that makes you feel so small in front of nature.
The major part of the area was connected by trolley whose driver provided insightful information about how dangerous the falls and the water current are and how careful we must be. I wondered how it feels to be dragged away by the current and thrown into the falls and not survive. I made my way back with ice cold feet and I could actually not feel most of my feet and my hands lost some of the motor control or rather my thumbs were no longer useful as thumbs. So we had to stop by at a rest room and I got myself to get my fingers back.

There was a statue of Nikola Tesla there. I don't know why. I like him. So I took a picture.

Early Weekend!

My Weekend began on Thursday morning when I woke up at 5.30! I have a flight to Pittsburgh early to spend it with one of my closest friends ever from IIT.
We spent Thursday having lunch at Cheescake Factory, shopping for a while and dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant whose name I forget.

Friday was a fun trip around Pittsburgh. I didn't know that Pittsburgh was so beautiful. Down town Pittsburgh has two rivers on either side, Allegheny (fair waters or beautiful waters) and Monongahela (falling deep banks) and they meet up at the edge of downtown to form Ohio river. And all this can be seen if you go on the hillside through inclines. Beautiful pictures to take!
There was this hangout place where old equipment from steel plants was put on display. Apparently, Pittsburgh was a steel city once and hence the name Steelers for their football team.

And the night rested with a dinner cruise on the three rivers which celebrated a little girl's birthday party, a young lady's bachelorette party and a mature couple's 50th anniversary! At one point of time, the bachelorette was wishing the lady celebrating her 50th anniversary while the little girl was running around them!
Such is Life!


PS: The previous weekend has not gone on record for I did nothing but stay at home. I did manage to go to a farmer's market and buy veggies and cook!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back in Boston

Twilight Fairy is back in Boston and likes it.


Twilight Fairy did not like leaving Seattle.


Twilight Fairy likes to call herself Twilight Fairy.



Falls in the Fall

Sunday was a day!

We left early in the morning at about 12.30pm to Snoqualmie Falls which is about 45 mins from home. It was beautiful and it was raining and drizzling but yet it was beautiful and on the way I saw that fall has begun!

Snoqualmie Falls:
The Fall:

And then we headed to Macy's. My sister bought me shoes and tops :)

Finally we had a scrumptious meal at my cousin's house playing with his little son who calls me auntie :)

Monday was a boring day spent writing a case analysis for my class tomorrow and watching a romantic comedy on netflix. (will blog about it once I am done)

And then later tonight I will take my plane back to Boston with my backpack, my new shoes and my Unaccustomed Earth and life goes on...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday in Seattle

On Friday a junior from undergrad asked if I was really in Seattle! I thought probably she was in Seattle and was finding it hard to believe that so was I. But as it turns out she thought it must have been a status to signify that I was taken high on music by Kurt Cobain because Seattle is where he is from. Now I was surprised. Because though Nirvana songs are American I thought Kurt Cobain was from Aberdeen, Scotland. Buuuuuut! Kurt Cobain is from Aberdeen, WA, 2 hours from Seattle!!!

So we took off early morning (11.30am) to Aberdeen! Why? To take a picture of this (and myself with this):




And then we went all the way to Ocean Shores. No sorry, to Westport to see the Pacific on a rainy day. Bad for the camera because all I caught was grey sand against grey water against a grey sky whenever I could take a picture without the grey haze of rain!


After driving all day we watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix over pizza at home

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Weekends that Aren't lOOng

A weekend after a long weekend is always short. Because it is not long.

So the last weekend was short.
When i think about it now I feel I did nothing.
May be I did not do anything!

Friday I actually did nothing!
I woke up late, cooked lunch, had lunched, watched some TV.
I was supposed to meet an old friend who was on an official trip, but it turns out that I also attended his dinner meeting!
Saturday I actually did nothing! I kinda ran into a few people, walked about Downtown.
Sunday I actually did nothing! I went to the College Fest at Hynnes Convection Centre and it turned out to be like Saarang spons stalls and informals. Also I am not in undergrad school anymore :(

And there you go, the laziest weekend eva! (I hope it is!)

This weekend starts tonight!
And I am off to Seattle to visit my sister and will be there, extending my weekend a bit.
So anyone in Seattle wanna catch up over a cup of coffee, catch me if you can! (cell/blog)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hats Off!

To Topi


And to coincidence that can't just be coincidence.

This is a screen shot of when I shared this video in my FB:





Friday, September 10, 2010

Smile for all those Smiles


The funny guy in school
Past the graduation day
Out of mind out of sight
A social network rebirth
A reconnect to remember
Many years passed by

Rediscover or discover?
New people new worries
New people new talents
Many many miles apart
But destiny reduces the gap
New on the other side
Cross over to prospect

Is the other side dark?
Destiny is still the same
Yet the gap increases
Way more that it can ever be
All there is left is a tear
but replace it with a smile

So for one last time
Look up and smile
For the funny guy at school

Rest in Peace, Smiles!

The Crane

So late Saturday night, my Nica friend calls me up to let me know that I can join her and our classmate and her friend to the beach. So I got up early Sunday, joined her and went to our friend's place only to find out that it was not 4 but 8 people.

It was a lot of fun! We drove down to Crane beach, Ipswich. We drove past the lovely suburb with nice houses and basket-ball courts for kids.
The water was cold and the ocean did not have many waves. We had a nice picnic. We had lunch, played frisbee and American "football" (I have no idea why it's called football. apparently no one does :P ).

We finished our trip at a Peruvian restaurant where I had some Peruvian rice with chicken and potato wedges.

Monday we did not have much of a plan but my Nica friend (by now people think we are attached at the hip) went shopping with her cousin to a shopping mall in the outskirts of the city and bought lots of stuff for her new home. I got myself a Nike pair off the clearance sale. I bet it could not have been cheaper anywhere on the planet! And we ended up at a little Chinese place for dinner.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Freedom!

This is my 2nd weekend in Boston.
Sadly, the first weekend was so lonely that all I got to say was this.

Anyway, the weekend began brilliantly with the International Student Orientation, all of Friday. It was an awesome mix of people and cultures. I actually found a Chinese girl who loves Shah Rukh Khan and has watched more Bollywood movies than I have!
The only downside was that the dinner cruise over Charles River had to be cancelled due to Hurricane Earl and it was rescheduled to day that I am not free :(

So today morning, I did not have a great plan in mind. I was thinking I should either go around Boston or go shopping. But then I heard on the FM that this was the last official weekend of Summer and it was decided. "Boston Freedom Trail" !!!

We got a map and we began walking along the red brick/ paint on the pavement that marks out the Freedom Trail. The main reason we didn't take a tour is because we didn't intend on making the entire 4kms. Just as far as we can :)

Starting at the Boston Comm, through the Massachusetts State House, we went to Park Street Church. The Church was beautiful and I asked for a prayer in the name of a friend's name who recently passed away. Then past the beautiful King's Chapel we went to the Benjamin Franklin statue on the site of the first public school. What crowd! We loved the Faneuil Hall and the Old North Church that was not so old (rebuilt after the Boston fire), visited another burying ground and ended on the banks for Charles.

We could cross over for two more sites but we didn't we were tired of walking 3kms in the hot sun and taking pictures and eating off the way and walking around like tourists past the Haymarket without stopping by. So we just got onto the T and got back to our school work.

Pictures to come from my Nicaraguan friend who was kind enough to accompany me in this lonely planet.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home and Away


We don't begin to love home till you leave it.
But we always get by.

But more importantly, the little things go unnoticed.
I had never really noticed or enjoyed any of the little things.
The sounds, the smells and the colors of my country.
I miss it all so much.

I didn't miss it so much in London.
That way I don't thing London is very different.

But here, I walk out that door.
I don't see bright colors anywhere, not even people.
I don't hear conversation anywhere on the streets.
I don't hear any honks from the vehicles.
I don't see traffic.
I don't see stuff on the side streets.
I don't run into annoying people in transit.
I don't smell the roadside food.
I don't smell the petrol at the parking lot.
In fact I don't smell anything.
It's lonely and weird and I am home sick!

But the school is wonderful though.
I got my new ID and borrowed a book from the library.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simmons Women


I didn't hear about Simmons before my STEP idea. I wanted to go to France. But I couldn't and then decided to go to Simmons because it is in the USA.

But I am glad I did.
Simmons College: Graduate School of Management is where I am doing my exchange program. It's an all girls school (not the entire college, just GSM). And everyone at Simmons is here because they want to be here. The students know why they are doing an MBA and it matters a lot to the faculty and staff that they work for Simmons and the cause of empowering women. It's interesting the people in Simmons, both students and faculty, have chosen it over other well perceived brilliant schools.

In school we had a sizable amount of girls in class, about 30%. In junior college it was about 15%. In my undergraduation it was about 10% in the batch and 6% in my class. In post graduation, it's about 12%. It's fascinating to be sitting in a room full of women teaching, learning and sharing. It's a very different experience.
It's different to be a Simmons Woman!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

JFK!

While I was enjoying the beauty of the rain at JFK, I did not realize bad weather meant flight delays. I did for a fraction of a second wonder how the flight would take off but did not spend much time on it. I should have. My flight got cancelled.

I was stranded in JFK with no phone, no wifi, no flight on my first trip to the USA.

I tried to get on the next flight but only ended up sending my luggage to Boston. I tried to get on the next one but it got even more delayed.

All this while I was in touch with the world through a pay phone to my sister who was in touch with the rest of the world for me. Luckily I ran into an old friend from IIT who was also waiting at JFK for her flight to Ohio. At least I was then reachable.

Finally, I left the airport, left my confirmed ticket for a flight that is to take take of late at night and reached a family friends’ place. It was a pleasant feeling to stop worrying. We had dinner and I got a phone and slept like a baby till the next morning with no jet lag what so ever. The airlines said they would keep the luggage for 5 days if required. I woke up the next morning to a heavy breakfast and a rainy day. Then ran up to the bus stop and took this bus to Boston which would reach in about 45 minutes to Boston.

I do not want to say with finality that my adventure is over as yet.

Funny, I had never had to wait for more than 3 hrs at any railway station in India as far as I could remember.

Perceptions


Perceptions! They are so important. If I had read ‘Keep Off the Grass’ at any other point of time in my life I might not have appreciated it as much. It would have seemed to me like any other of those IIT or IIM books written by people from IIT or IIM leveraging the ‘mediocrity’ and praising it like almighty because mediocrity is ‘considered’ a sin at these places when they attended it. It’s funny that they pass out of these institutes and publish a book that contains nothing but stories of how crazy students can be or how crazy the system is or how it pushes people to commit suicide or how people drink, smoke, stone and waster their lives and literally do anything and everything to strip the institute of all its glory and yet this book will sell only because it is written by the guy/girl who passed out of those portals in the first place.

But then I don’t know because this book is genuinely not about the life and times of students in IIMs or about some love story in the times of cat and jee or about a bunch of three idiots who do random stuff and the smart one still aces the course.

It is about three men. I say men because they are no longer little boys. They have all spent quite a bit of their life alone deciding what to do and what not to do and have consciously taken up the choice of the pursuit of an IIM degree.

Vinod: the ex army chap who was awarded the Veer Chakra for fighting for the country at Kargil and is pleasantly comfortable with his mediocrity in class.

Sarkar: the IIT grad who is perennially stoned, hardly pays attention in class and yet can answer any damn question when cold called but gives two line answers to essay questions in OB.

Samrat: our American born confused desi and protagonist who leaves his high paying investment bank in Wall Street earned by topping at Yale for an international MBA only to discover that topping at an IIM is not that easy.

But this is not a story of how to survive a b-school without killing yourself. It is not about “what not to do at an IIM”. It is a journey of self discovery. Though not written as profoundly as Paulo Coelho, it is nearly the same. At least it meant the same to me. It gave me the same light hearted feeling or not being the only confused one and not being the only one with a million questions and no answers and believing in ‘feeling’.

It’s about the stoner topper who passes out as the 100th because in real life you can’t stay on the top if you don’t care as much.

It’s about the confused soul who leaves his millionaire path of an iBanker at Wall Street and finds contentment in selling soap to a woman whose life is all about her husband and children on the ghats of Benaras.

It’s about an ex-army man who prefers the dusty roads and crowded local trains of Mumbai to the luxuries of a country whose soil he can’t feel for.

It is about belonging somewhere, anywhere.