Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
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! 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.
Reporting from JFK airport! No there is no free wifi here. I need to have some card with some credit stuff. It’s not like I can pay now also. It says next time you log on to the internet, get credit and use wifi in more than 500 airports, 2000 hotels and some insane cafes.
So, here I am posting it from a Greyhound bus to Boston about what happened nearly a day ago.
Sitting at the window can give you so many insights into life! Or maybe I am just philosophical because even the light rain outside the glass window at JFK somehow makes me happy.
Actually, I have always had a window seat on a place journey. At least I think so because I do not remember not having one.
Flying from Kolkata to Hyderabad, I saw an amazing sight. It was night and the sky was dark. We were flying above the clouds and the stars sparkled beautifully. We reduced altitude as we neared Hyderabad and then I saw. What a beautiful sight! Dark gloomy clouds smashed against each other angrily and huge bolts of lightning erupted in the sky, far away, below us in altitude. Have you ever seen a storm from above?
Flying from Hyderabad to Bombay, I was delighted to get a window seat because I loved the city of Mumbai at night time from air. I could see the Bandra-Worli sea link and the Oberai and try to locate my office. But that was then, on my intern. This time I could see none but still, Mumbai from air during the night is beautiful. It is a jewel studded island with the dark blue sea merging with the darkness all round the island. I loved it, landing and I loved it, taking off.
Flying from Mumbai to New York, was a nice experience. It’s like we are trying to run away from the sun but the sun catches up on us. We took off from Mumbai to such a great height at one in the night that the sky was absolutely clear and the full moon shone nakedly at me into my window and on to me when all the lights in the flight were off and everyone was quietly asleep. I feel asleep too. And when I woke up, I was looking down the city lights of some East European areas. When I could see nothing clearly, I dozed off again but not before I saw traces of the sun catching up on us with the hint of twilight at the horizon. But the next morning was beautiful. I could see land and a completely clouded area with some pieces of visibility in between. And then I slowly realized. It was ice. I was looking down at an almost cloudless sky with ice and scattered land and water in between. I looked at my indicator, I was passing by Greenland! And the final beauty of it was a few minutes before we reached JFK; a nearly cloudless sky and an endless ocean with hints of foam blended into the sky with no hint of a horizon. It was almost philosophical!
Is it just that the plane really does take me higher!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life... you start with the little things. The shelves, the drawers, the knickknacks, then you start adding larger stuff. Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, your TV... the backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. You go bigger. Your couch, your car, your home... I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now I want you to fill it with people. Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office... and then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets. Your brothers, your sisters, your children, your parents and finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. You get them into that backpack, feel the weight of that bag. Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
If I could lie down to after a fun party on a Friday night in my cozy bed as the rain hammers down outside.