Thursday, November 12, 2009

A month no different, no new

Dark, twisted people should not be allowed to blog.

They will rarely ever find inspiration to write, they will jump to superlatives of pessimism. They will not write for so long that they'll get all rusty and take like 5 minutes to type out a decent length-ed sentence.

All ME.

In retrospect, my life is getting nowhere but I am hanging on, by an ever so flimsy thread. January will be interesting. I might have a cardiac arrest later that month. That is when the college acceptances/ rejections start coming in. Right now, I have a paper to write within a fortnight and I have no data at all, and guess what? my graduation depend on this paper. 
Mustered up the courage to apply for a PhD program at Hopkins, that's pretty much the high point of my week. 

seriously need some inspiration, an Italian hottie maybe, what say?


Monday, October 19, 2009

The leaves were white before they turned Orange

So, the last few weeks:

Took a major aptitude test, got drunk, came back home reeking of musty south Indian dishes after having helped cook for 500 people, drank some more, procrastinated to the point of nauseating myself, came threateningly close to lashing out at this man I am forced to work with, discovered Alexi Murdoch, befriended a Colombian Latina, donned a sari to the local Durga Puja, raised funds at the campus for a flood back in India, fell in love with a Polish young lady, batted eyelashes at a south Indian grad student – and then forgot all about him 24 hours later, got funded for a project to last me half a year, got whammed on the nose by the workplace politics I was hitherto unaware of, found that I am too fat now to fit into my only pair of formal pants, wallowed over the weight gain with junk food, missed three buses in a row, got asked out by a creepy black student and came very close to a heart attack in the process, witnessed the winter set in after letting a sneak peek at Fall for a mere week.

Sounds like a lot ? Really? Nevermind.
But their goes one entire month of my life that I will never get to redo.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

When there are things going on

MAJOR exam meltdown, will resurface in a couple of weeks.


Monday, September 14, 2009


What you know: So, obsessive neurotic that I am, I could make my heart go 400 beats a minute, wondering if I should take the plunge or dwell forever in the bitter incapacitating misery jabbing every rib bone of mine, one excruciating poke at a time.

What I learned: Answer to everything you ever wondered about is just one step away. You just NEED TO ASK.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where you need more than an Orange Button to publish

Ah the joys of Senior year. 
This time of the year all vestiges of pride fade away, when you practically wander from one professor's door to another - requesting, mooching, downright begging. This is when the stringencies of classroom conformity seize to exist. What I mean is, given my undergraduate field of study, I am most likely supposed to go the extra mile in a research laboratory, and no, one is not enough. So I snub back all inhibitions, and approach the professors directly. And guess what, they actually think I am good enough. Okay, so this was a year back. so you'd expect that I should have got this covered, right? Well, turns out - not so much. Now I need to get a paper published. 
Wait, WHAT?
Right, as an undergrad, I need my name up there, alongside people I'd consider nothing less than celebrities - people who, given their 15 years of experience, make my 4 measly years of college education look like pigeon poo. Well, at least that is what page after page of graduate admission requirements tell me.
So I wander around the hallways resplendent with the palpable air of academic intellect, muttering to myself "Will not pass out, Shall not pass out".


Monday, September 7, 2009

What do you say when they point at you?

Once in a very long while, you realise that the little bubble you have built around you may not be as resilient as you would prefer to believe. Like when you find out someone has been talking about you. Good things? Atrocious unaccountable snide? It doesn't really matter. Because as far as I am concerned, either elicit a similar reaction. A feeling of helplessness, of being jolted back into reality without prior warning - there are people looking at you, forming opinions about, saying things about you - and here you believed you are invisible. The wispy imperceptible veil, that until now only fluttered sporadically to let you catch fleeting glimpses of what lies beyond, now melts away, and you feel naked and raw - exposed to the leers of all.

Even when good things are being said, the very knowledge of other people acknowledging your existence can be disconcerting. It means you will have to peek out of your little existential carapace, and match them eye for eye, beat for beat. Your countenance will betray the scuffle inside of you, blood searing through the veins up your flustered cheeks, evoking awkward sensations you never knew you could feel, summoning the most incoherent of all ramblings, airbrushing your otherwise pallid face in the hottest of red.

Embarrassed? What for? They only mentioned you once. Well that still does it, doesn't it?


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

THAT is your last name?! (are you sure?)

We are taught to take immense pride in our names, right?

One can certainly notice how much their name stands out in a foreign land. You can see the annoyance furrowed into the foreheads of the customer service agents ... "Ughhh, not another Indian freak!". I have noticed, people at the university to be somewhat more patient, if not occassionally interested, with learning strange sounding names. Though when you step out, one may often neglect to refer to you as anything at all, just because they cannot pronounce your name.
Although, the name is quite simple and straightforward, granted you may have never heard of it unless you have associated with atleast over three hundred Indians, it simply doesnt make sense not being able to grasp it. It is pronounced just the way it's spelt and there really isn't any more to it. Nevermind all of that, I have so far encountered all variations of it, some people just go ahead and say "Oh, I will never remember that!", with a downward intonation indicating they'd much rather bathe their dogs following a mudfest, or watch the 700th rerun of Seinfeld. Some just add a 't' somewhere in between to make it easier for them to pronounce it. No idea how that happened.

My last name is the source of an even greater controversy, and often amusement. It is small, consisting of a single syllable. Now, people don't have a problem with pronouncing that right (or atleast what they think is right), but now the shortness of it makes them smile ("Ah, one less Muthukumaraswami to spell").

Somehow, this never bothered me until today. Maybe I never noticed how common this phenomenon is. Today I had to explain my name to 3 administrative assistants, 2 professors, 5 customer service agents and 2 research technicians - by the end of the last round, I did not tell my name anymore, all I did was spell it out and hope the person was bright enough to grasp the 5 letters in quick succession.

Not that I am thoroughly peeved by this or anything, just a little frustrated. I do however realise, why this problem may have arisen. Maybe all they need is some substantial exposure to the quintessential Hindi daytime soap. 'Ekta Kapoor', what say?

After all, I do find it quite difficult to acquaint myself to Asian names like "Xihauo", or "Xiunjing" and the likes, but I am making an effort to get better at it. I wonder if they feel the same way, or they recognise that it may be genuinely difficult for non-Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Vietnamese/etc. people to pronounce their names. The common trend for them is to come up with generic western names like "Ben" or "Amy" to avoid all confusion. Even the professors who are originally from these parts of the world participate in this practice. But I am often curious to know their real names. And I do ask them, "that isn't your real name right?". They don't seem too impressed, at all. And that leaves me bewildered, for all I know they may be fighting back the urge to kick me in my shins. Why? I don't know. But I am sure they have a good reason.

Maybe I need a new name too. Nah, I'm too proud to do that.