Monday, December 11, 2006

New York and back!

I have been there!
New York is three hours away from Los Angeles. But the entire process is highly time-dilated. An unearthly morning Culver City bus coming honking at me from the amidst the foggy night, with a driver that reminded me of Santa Claus, took me to the LAX airport. Half dazed, half hungry when I finished the new and improved extra-stringent security checks, I found that I had 2 hours to kill before my flight left. Hmmmm...not good I said to myself and ran to the the previous flight which was due to leave in less than 15 minutes. A mini-drama was taking place there. A girlfriend was yelling at her beau for being extremely irresponsible. Unlike India, where idle passer-bys would encircle the couple to enjoy the circus, people at LA maintain a discreet distance.
While the drama was taking a break, I got my new boarding pass - just in time. Away I flew on an early flight. The flight reminded me of Deccan Airways. Meals for buy, water for free, screen was up for a movie but the headphones had to be bought! All I needed was sleep.
The plane landed and so did I. New York terminal is very clean - much better than crowded LAX. After a series of escalators and moving paths(something I never saw in India) I reached the airport door.
New to New York - I caught hold of a security personnel for directions. He wished me Happy Diwali! He was from Jackson Heights and knew Indians and their illuminated festival pretty well. I had to reach Wall Street and he gave me Plan A, Plan B and Plan C to reach there. I forgot A, confused B and resorted to C. I took a yellow cab.
Near the JFK Terminal, I found the streets reminding me of Mumbai. It was as unkempt as India. Except for the trees - they were in their fall colours. The traffic was messy, the winds chilly and my cab driver was in perennial hurry. Goodness knows why he thought I needed to reach early. Then I understood. It was not me - it was him who wanted to hurry.
A few moments is all that is needed in NY for a person to know how hurried and harried people here are. Everyone is rushing. Everyone is running - either to reach work or home. Their lives are as dynamic as New York Stock Exchange(NYSE).
Highly car-sick, I landed in Wall Street in the evening. Skyscraper's surrounded me. Being in UCLA, I was unaccustomed to concrete jungles.
Wall Street has its own landmarks. Crowds of people milled around NYSE, a protestant was protesting, Trinity Church loomed in a distance, and Wall Street itself bore the pain of multiple running footsteps. Every building had tight security. Outside the building there were mini mobile shops with snack bars to cigarettes and much more. Very like the paan-walas in India.
Not-surprisingly these are managed by Bangladeshi-s and Indians.

I saw the South Sea port pier with my senior. The lights and the dark waters of of the Hudson River made it beautiful.

I saw Ground Zero. The area is still cordoned off and pictures of the ruin hangs on the makeshift fence. New Yorkers move on with their lives.

A PATH train brought me to New Jersey City. Seeing the Hudson river from here is an entirely different experience. The entire NY lighted sky crapper skyline looms up. Every movie captures this image - and so did I.

Kolkata has had Metro Rails for a long while now, so the PATH ways and SUBWAYS of NY was nothing new to me. To my surprise I found them as crowded as they were in good old Kolkata.

A backbone of Subways connect the length and breadth of NY. The entire system is laid out on a grid. Its easy to learn and its the cheapest means of transport in costly NY.

Early next morning I rode a ferry on Hudson River and saw a speck of Statue of Liberty. In the evening I met my school friend who was as jolly funny as 8 years before. She took me through multiple subways to Brooklyn Bridge. As we walked on the bridge, the evening sun was setting. The lights on Brooklyn and adjoining Manhattan Bridge turned on. As chilly winds froze me inside my coat- I felt happy.

At night it was time for Times Square. Neon lights blared bright. My friend said that no matter what the hour, a crowd will always be there. Shops, streets, people all seem happy. It was something like the Durga Puja in Kolkata with elaborate street lighting. From the streets of Gariahat to Times Square, we realized we came very far- both in time and space. But we managed to remain the same. Times Square mesmerized me. ....for a while.

We had dinner in a narrow mobile FALAFEL shop, with the chef giving us what he wanted to instead of what we wanted!

A subway, where we missed our stop and had to re board, and then separation at Ground Zero.

A promise to meet again, we boarded our separate trains.

My senior and I cooked dinner and it felt like home. We talked as long as time would permit me. Jet lagged and sleepy I landed in LA the very next day!

My whirlwind tour made me want to see more. New York I will come again!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stick Dance!

I am referring to Dandiya!
Here in UCLA, the Indian undergrads are an active lot. One way they have devised to bond with their old faraway roots in India, is by celebrating in colourful dresses and dancing! Ofcourse dancing with sticks!
I attended the Garba celebrations this time. It was an experience to recount.
A small idol of goddess Durga was placed in centre of the huge Ackerman Grand Ballroom, lights were lit, devotional songs were sung and the puja was done! The prasad comprised of dry fruits, nuts and M&Ms (Gems are its Indian counterpart).
And then the Dance began!
To the sounds and songs of a live band, singing popular bollywood numbers, youngsters of all shapes and sizes swayed themselves to the beats. The pace was fast, the steps simple yet graceful and completely impromptu. Anyone with enthusiam was invited to join. The circle moved around the goddess's idol. The girls were dressed in ornate ghagras, leghengas, sarees, while the guys wore kurtas or sherwanis and dupattas. It was extemely colorful to say the least.
And there were foreigners! Chinese and Americans who found the entire event highly motivating, stood in a circle trying to the pick up the steps and the sticks! Some of them wore kurtas, or even sarees!
I wore a saree myself. With help from my roommates, and pins in place, I gleefully joined the melee of circulating damsels and danced away merrily. Just when I thought I had got into the groove, some of my friends pulled me aside!
They wanted me to teach them the steps! A crash course later, me and my friends entered the loop. I don't know how disruptive we were, but definitely we had an amazing time!
The Dandiya, I have learnt is an art in self-defense. If someone has a hidden agenda against you, it's a great idea not to play dandiya with him/her. My friends passed on this divine knowledge to me and I came out alive and smiling!

I must admit, my enjoyment of garba in US is equal or more than that in India. Here, wearing a saree is a big thing! And dancing in it, even bigger!


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pasadena Puja

It's that time of the year when Bongs feel over enthusiastic.
It's that time of the year when dear old Maa Durga decides to spend 10 days in her parental abode with her kids in tow. 10 days of glorious no cooking,cleaning, making lunch boxes and time away from hubby Shiva! :-) And honestly her homecoming is welcomed with great gusto by all the bongs and non-bongs! It's the Puja time!
I am a bengali as my name implies. I have seen Durga Puja for most of my childhood in Kolkata. The light, the sound, the new clothes, the food stalls, the pandals, the idols, the crowd-pushing, the walking for long hours in the night, the meeting up with friends, sitting in a restraunt and eating 'coz mommy wants a break too - have all been an integral part of my life. When I reached BITS, I realized what I missed.
We had a puja in BITS too (wherever there are bongs there will be a puja!) It was a good one, but obviously I missed the Kolkata and its festivity.
Then I reached America. No relatives, no cars and hardly any bengali contacts - there was no puja for me in my first year. No new clothes, no lights no festivity. I realized the true worth of a home and yes Durga Puja in my life.
This year I had almost given up hope of seeing one either. However destiny had it otherwise. I saw Pasadena Puja. 2 hours in 2 different Metro buses, moving through unsafe downtown LA, I reached Pasadena. Walking for 15 minutes I saw a Cathedral. However the people milling around were by no means Christians. Bright colors, sarees, kurta punjaabi, bengali words filled the cathedral. The idol was in the big hall where usually choirs are held. Goddess Durga was at home even in US!
As I gave my osthomi onjoli, I forgot that the surrounding and people were all unkown to me. I forgot that I wasn't in Kolkata. It felt like home again. 4 hours of journey and 30 minutes of walking was worth it!
But there were other things I realized. The children spoke in accented bengali, the mothers explained the history of Goddess Durga in english, everyone except me came as a family, there were no drumbeats(dhaker awaj), and the pundit was just another person who had managed to download the sanskrit verses from the net.
But I enjoyed! I loved being in front of the watchful eyes Goddess Durga again. She seemed to tell me, "wow! so now you have international experience!"


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Great Expectations!

I have read the novel by Charles Dickens.
The protagonist Philip Pirrip irritated me. He made mistakes in deciphering human emotions and feelings, committed blunders and then redeemed himself by doing something worthwhile. At the end of the novel, I didn't know whether to be happy or sad for him. But this post isn't dedicated to him.
Why do people expect from others? Freud might smirk at my question and say, " Of course, because they want something in return for their efforts for other people!" Expectations can vary - from material tangible things to nothing more than a few kind words. Expectations are also attached only to people who matter to you.
When I received without expecting, I sometimes never ealized it's value. It's only when my great expectations were met with nothingness, that I learnt something new.
For one, I learnt to value whatever I had received previously without asking for it.
I learnt that nothing should be taken for granted. Nothing is obvious.
I also learnt that feelings matter more than materials. Hmmm...thus said I do believe that sometimes a little something helps in generating good feelings! :-)
Great Expectations come directly from the heart - atleast for me. My logical gates never help me where my heart is concerned. And when the expectations aren't fulfilled it can be painful.
But the good part of the story is that, great expectations when met, makes you really truly happy! And life becomes really beautiful!


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Annual Day and more!

Nope, am not talking about my school's annual day, am talking about myself.
I realized last night with a start, that I had been in the BushLand for exactly one year!

I never thought how many years I have been in Calcutta or India, I just took it for granted.

Its been a long enriching one year. I have grown, evolved and learnt something along my way. For every person coming into Uncle Sam's place, its a new experience. Some of us come here already freaked out, while others enjoy every moment. From "nothing ever works" in India, to "wow! it works!" in US, its been some journey. Its not true that everything is rosy here in US, there are thorns as well. Its not all that easy to acclimatize to the US conditions. Incidentally, students like us are called "Aliens" in tax forms! I wonder whether Indians would ever call foreigners by that name. :)

Its been a long weekend here. Labour Day. Like Indians, americans celebrate it by going somewhere to spend the extra holiday.And yes, in America there are usually "sales" (discounts) on prices whenever there is a holiday! But these holidays are few and far between. If we had such a system back in India, the shopkeepers would be bankrupt by now!

For this long weekend I went Kayaking with my labmates and friends. In one word, Awesome!
I did it for the second time. Since its free for UCLA students, we were happier!
The waters of the Pacific Ocean is diverted into a huge lagoon. The area is called Marina del Rey. In a small kayak, barely space for 2 people, armed with oars we floated into the deep dark waters! Even though I was assured multiple times, that there was no fear of toppling, I screamed everytime a wave swayed our miniscule kayak. My kayak-mate was a supercool dude. He decided that the boat would float whether he rowed or not, and hence he took it easy. For sometime I was the only one rowing away, until I realized that I was doing it all alone! You see I was sitting in the front, hence his inactivity escaped my attention.

One ground rule for kayaking is to escape the big boats - coz they can't see you from that height and they don't mind running you down. We escaped two rapidly oncoming boats by vigourous synchronized paddling and weren't we happy! My kayak-mate christened it, "The Great Escape".
From one end of the Marina to the other, we rowed, hitting against other kayaks, screaming whenever a huge boat passed and waves hit us, steering away from rocks and ducks, waving to handsome lifeguards, and getting close to the Pacific Ocean and turning back. It was 2 hours long, and we got thoroughly tanned in the process.
Had lunch at an Indian Restraunt with Korean, Chinese, Italian and obviously Indian people!

The day was worth it and definitely well-spent!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Of Lakes and Oceans and Boulevards!

My summer sunshine continues.

I visited Lake Shrine. A tranquil space ensconsed in greenery and awesome scenery in a corner in Malibu, this Shrine is for those we seek a respite from their mundane weeks. Set up almost 50 years ago by Swami Yogananda, for people to meditate and seek god within themselves. The place has a swan lake, where two beautiful swans swim alongside a bunch of ugly ducks! :)
The lake is huge and is encircled by green foliage and wooden benches. We sat there for an hour and the peace was palpable. There is a Windmill chapel and a prayer hall and temple. The foliage is filled with flowers of all shapes and colours - a treat to the eyes! The ride to the Shrine was beside the Pacific Ocean, pretty enjoyable. Thanks to my senior Srikant who took us there. Honestly my endless chattering must have driven him to instant meditation in search of peace! :)
Next Day it was Hollywood Boulevard and a walk among the stars. I have been there before - the first time I landed in LA. This time it was with N and N, one of them who had never been there and the other who drove by it without stopping! Walk of Fame with stars on the pavement and names within made me wonder whether I would ever get a star for my name. There was an empty star and the three of us decided to book it for ourselves!!! :)
Chinese Grumann Theatre, at the entrance of which were the hand and footprints of Hollywood celebrities. Kodak Theatre where Oscars are held every year. On the roads, mini shows were held. We watched a group of young boys doing miraculous stunts on the pavement. Hollywood Wax Museum and Guiness Records Museum was entertaining for a while too. A metro bus brought us back, but not without a little drama. An irascible old man decided to take his life and chose our metro to do so. No amount of pleas from the driver bent his mind. Most people de-boarded the bus and then ...he decided to leave. Phew! Talk of dramatic death!

I also watched Pirates of Caribbean in Westwood Village. A decent time-pass.
Shopping for cosmetics with Xi (coz there was a sale!), going to Santa Monica to shop some more and then to Target - quite eventful days!

I hope there will be more events to follow...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Sunshine

Los Angeles is right beside the Pacific Ocean. That makes it continental climate doesn't it?
Much to my surprise, California is burning right now. A summer thats so hot doesn't make a good summer at all!
However, being the resourceful character that I am, I have been making the most of what I can.
Santa Monica beach one evening, dipping my feet in the cold blue waters of the Pacific, watching Mexican families swimming in oversized swimsuits, and blonde beauties bathing in joyous abandon, seagulls flying low enough to hear their wings swishing past, yatches sailing beyond the horizon and the evening sun retiring - everything was simply mesmeric. Add to that the company of two of my best friends here (N and N) , what more could someone want?
Next weekend was time for A.R. Rehman. At Hollywood Bowl, came a galaxy of Bollywood bigwigs. Rehman, Sivamani, Hariharan, Madhusree, Sukhwinder Singh, Musafir - singing to the lilting and soul-reaching tunes of Roja, Dil Se, Bombay, Yuva...under the stars, in front of an overwhelming audience of 18,000 people! I found an equal number of Indians and non-Indians. I saw a blonde girl wearing a pink saree and I saw Indian girls dressed in micro mini! :)
I found British women exchanging their love for "paneer", while Indians gorged on "tofu".
I found american undergrads swinging to Rang de Basanti, and the surprise of the evening was the song "Thodi si dhool teri.." sung by a foreigner. Articulation wasn't great but the effort was awesome!
Last weekend was alloted for Getty Museum. A sprawling structure on the green hills, it took a metro bus and a tram through hilly terrains to reach the Getty Centre. North, East, West and South Pavilions housed everything from furniture to photographs to paintings to sculpture. Arranged chronologically, it documents the paintings by Renaissance artists. The works were vivid and alive in composition. Some paintings stood out like photographs! The gardens at the Getty are another work of art. Rose garden with its fountains was a place for photography. Unfortunately we forgot the camera. :( A great day and very well spent. The only complaints were from my friends. Both Mr. N and Mr. N complained that museums are no place for men!

A few weeks of summer still remain. Lets see what those unfold!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Me and My Friends!

" To meet and part is a way of life,
To part and meet is the hope of life."

It was on my farewell from BITS that I first came across these lines. They have remained with me ever since. I have been thinking. Nothing new about that. I always think something or the other. This time I was thinking about the people I have met and separated from, and those that I am currently in touch with, but would soon be parting from.

My school days.
My best friend had always been my sister. We were born together. From nursery to graduation- we have been together. We changed schools together, we got admitted to BITS - again together. It was only when she left me in BITS, when I realized how much I missed her.
Fortunately or unfortunately we found our own friends - people who sometimes never knew of the other's existence. This lead to a lot of confusion but that's another story.

In school one of my best buddies was Anuradha. Plaited dark hair, quiet , demure- she was my antithesis. While I jabbered on, she listened wide-eyed. What I liked best about her was the fact that she tolerated me so well. We wrote poems to each other, called each other for endless hours and managed to giggle at the most inappropriate things! I am glad I am still in touch with her.

BITS, Pilani
In BITS, I had several friends. There were a gang of bongs whom we chatted and laughed with occassionally. Indro, SUL, Manocha,Kaushik - each of them had their unique brand of humour.

Mandeep in third year, Harini and Jitesh in fourth year were my constant companions. I learnt a lot from them. Laughing, joking and chatting away. Mandeep made my physics classes enjoyable, Harini and Jitesh helped me enjoy my EEE. I am thankful to each of them. They are miles away from me now and only time can tell whether we will meet again.

My BITSian life would be incomplete without a mention of Rahul. MISra was my id-sidey. He was MIS and I was RIS. Our friendship began in the cyberworld of "pine" - one email led to another. From pins to politics to planes to philosophy - we left no subject undiscussed. It was an enriching experience for me. An amazing poet, a tennis-pro and above all a wonderful friend. I just wish we met more often in person than in the cyberworld!

Sushant ,Aditya, Deepak were two people I had met for only a little while. My training days would not have been as enjoyable without them there.

In UCLA...
I came here knowning no one. Having no friends. Its a scary thought to reach a place where you know none. Hence the people who made me face this strange world will forever be dear to me.
Xi - became one of my best friends here. And the first international friend I have. Shantha told me stories from the mythologies(she has an amazing memory) and made me feel like a child again, when I felt sad and lonely.

Nitin is another great person to know. He is very patient with my endless nonsense and was one of the first people I came to know here. I learnt from him that one needs to "fight" to get to the "right" place.

Nitesh- he is a genius. If its not his intelligence then its his humility that bowls people over. Extremely helpful, I had bugged him with unending circuitous questions for almost 2 quarters - all of which he explained to me tirelessly. A li'll stubborn but a great person!

I learnt a lot about myself and the world from all these people. Each of them have made an indelible impression in my heart. I learnt to accept differences. A great friendship doesn't mean that you never fight- it means you grow together. Sometimes, its the fights that make one understand each other better. I also learnt to forgive and forget.

I just hope that as days go by, I get to make more such amazing friends!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Half a Globe and back!

3 weeks was all I got at home. A flight that took me across half the world, and brought me home, well not exactly. I landed on hot Hyderabad from cool LA. A week there involved each day filled with an activity. "Fanaa" (mushy tale with melodramatic nonsense) and "Phir Hera Pheri" (loud and comic) at Hyderabad Central was a learning experience. I learnt not to buy tickets without reading the review!
Laser Show - marvellous play of water and laser light at Lumbini Park, roaming in Charminar in search for "churi's", kesar kulfi at a roadside stall, famous Hyderabadi biriyani, bangalore visit for 12 hours, ISB campus visit, Shopper's Stop ...and yes sleep at nights filled my days at Hyd.
I got to see the IIMB campus- lush green and bordered by forest, it reminded me in part of BITS, Pilani.
I saw ISB campus too and well I found it cleaner and greener. Its a huge campus, and the students get to stay at "villages"! in rooms fitted with AC.

Kolkata. City of Joy.
The place is timeless. It looked the same as I had left it almost a year back. The buses are no match for the Big Blue Buses here, but the people there speak a language that sounds sweeter to my ears. At Kol you get a receipt for the money you pay (a ticket!) , while in LA you just give the quarters away! I remember as a child, I had a hobby for collecting tickets and comparing my stock with my playmates. Am sure no child in US will ever get to cultivate such a hobby! :)
I watched some movies and soaps on TV. The soaps here never change. Women dress up in the gaudiest of dresses and wear tons of makeup for just being at home and bicker with each other over men and materials! Either the daughter or the mother-in-law is oppressed, while the man decides between being more of a hubby or a son.
Bengali Food and loads of it, Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, chatting on phone, talking - I learnt that there were so many things that I had forgotten. I learnt that there was so much I never thought about. I learnt that I knew very little about the ways of the world and there was still so much to know! Ironically, my learning was more at my home than at the university where I have come!

I went to Akshardham Temple in Noida. It's an amazing piece of architectural excellence. Expansive, green, wooden and stony. The "Musical Fountain" is a treat to the eyes. 5 years of toiling and crores of money went into this project. I am glad I visited it.

I am back now - travellling the same half of the globe again. The journey was uneventful except for a turbulence in midair. The plane jerked and jumped and made me wish for a little more time - to live. My wish was granted. I am back.

3 weeks passed in the blink of an eye. I did what I could within those few days but there is something I wish I had done but couldn't. Hope I get time for that.
Till next time...


Monday, June 12, 2006

My Chinese Connection!!!

Here in this City of Angel's, I met one of my best friends, who's from China! Fortunately she's been the one from whom I've copied my homeworks, went to chinatown and she's always there when I need her!! Thanks to her for the bit of chinese I know and she knows "namaste, kaise ho!"
Now I think that I'm very lucky to have met her here....thank you Xi!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Oh what a struggle!!!

I had a huge exam.
There is nothing new about taking exams..I have taken so many ever since I was born that I have lost count of all of them. But there was something different about the exam I took this time. Not so much to do with the exam as it had to do with me.
I had a tough time preparing for it. My mind kept getting distracted. Along with my mind, my mood turned traitor. I was very depressed for various reasons. I found it difficult to go to bed and difficult getting out of it! I read the pages but nothing penetrated. I saw the graphs but I lacked the insight. My concentration was at its lowest.
The only thing that I feel proud of is my struggle. Despite this depression, I tried my very best.

The exam came and went away. The professors asked whatever they wanted to know under the sun!!
The results are not out as yet. I am just keeping my fingers would be a shame to know that my best is not enough!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Have I done my best today?

When I was in school, this poem was on the 3rd page of our school diary.

When I read it for the first time I was very inspired. It asked a simple question and the answer forced me to think.
I have learnt a few things today and in the past few days.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, lasts forever. Be it extreme grief or overwhelming gaiety, it leaves you after a while. But they do keep coming periodically, and thats what makes life interesting. The indeterminate time-period between them, leaves you wondering - Will it be joy or will it be woe, next?

I always thought that I couldn't focus well. Umpteen thoughts reared their ugly heads in my mind, and my concentration gave up. But surprisingly, I was wrong. There is so much one can do when one puts his mind to it. So much. To accomplish something, I always thought next to impossible, gave me a real moral boost.

I used to hate loneliness. But I changed. I learnt to enjoy my company. I like myself better now!

And from what I have learnt I believe I have done my best today!


Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Window on my right

The window is huge.
On the white wall on the right side of my desk, there is a huge window. Its a glass one and unlike other windows, this one can't be opened. You can only cover it. You can touch it but can't stretch your hands outwards through it.

So, whats so special about this window? Nothing. There is nothing extraordinary about this plain glass-pane window, but in what it makes me feel.

When I first got this desk, it was this window that made me feel better about my place. My desk was the brightest one around. Ample sunshine flooding my deskspace. It uplifted my mood immediately. It gave me a great start to my day - one filled with energy.
Sometimes when it rains, I can see the water falling merrily down through this window.

Even though I sit at my desk, I can still escape it - through this window.

The view isn't great. Concrete jungle meets the eye. But I am glad - atleast I have a view. I have seen places that have no window. Only walls and doors. No window.

Seasons come and seasons go, and my window mirrors the world outside, while I sit at my desk gazing out of it.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

City of Angeles!

I am not an angel.
When I was a kid, I had taken part in a dance performance where I had to attach false wings to my back and dance on stage. It made me feel real good. I felt like an angel - beautiful and pure. I even attempted to fly- sadly my body mass couldn't be supported. I lacked a streamlined structure and sound aerodynamics knowledge, and hence my flight resulted in a sad plight.
I learnt I couldn't fly, and that I wasn't an angel.
Like every other kid, I read fantasy fables. About a mythical land populated by gnomes, elves, fairies, angels, trolls, princes and princesses. Lovely land and quitoxic tales. Such places don't exist. But there is a place which is called the City of Angeles. Los Angeles.
When I first came here, what struck me was the beauty. Clean, neat and green. Even the sky seemed a shade bluer! The climate wonderful, thanks to the Pacific Ocean right nearby. The beaches filled with white sand. Santa Monica beach and Venice Beach - the only two beaches that I have been to.
Compared to mountains I always liked oceans. Why? It gave me a sense of expansiveness. Ocean were more down to earth, and mountains high above - away from the land. Oceans seemed to have the ability to take in whatever you threw at it.Oceans taught me to forgive, accept whatever came your way and still feel good. Life was too huge to waste time on petty things. It gave me tranquility.
Coming back to Los Angeles - its a beautiful city. This place is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world. Along its roads are restraunts that cater to every cuisine known to man, unless you are taking about Adivasis of Andaman! I haven't seen so many complexion and colours in any one place. I haven't heard so many languages spoken at a given square area of land!
Chinese, Cuban, Mexican, German, Italian, Greek, Indonesian, French, German, Iranian, Spanish,Thai, our very own Indian and many more. I had the good fortune of trying out many of the above mentioned cuisines. I learnt some Chinese and practised it on unsuspecting Chinese, who were taken aback - more because of my incorrect usage than my knowledge!
People here wear very colourful clothes. Maybe because everyone feels like a star. Hollywood is nearby - maybe that influences the attire. And I find people smiling at strangers here - something that you would look upon with suspicion in India. But here its just courtesy...spreading a little warmth.

Once on a rainy day, while I was walking with an umbrella, I suddenly felt happy. Why? Something struck me. I was in Los Angeles - the city of Angeles, where angels are meant to dwell. So.....shouldn't that make me one too?


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Influence of Influenza!

I have cold.
Nothing new, considering that too much ice-cream consumption, and too little protection in cold, chilly nights can lead to such a condition. The point is not that. The point is, how much this influenza thingy is affecting me.
Its affecting my body, 'coz I do feel a little weak, my nose is running and am running around with tissues wherever I go. Besides that, the cold has laid its claim on my mind too. I feel depressed and sad. Whenever I get a cold, the feeling of being utterly useless comes creeping back to me. Instead of saying, "Buck up Meenu, you can do it", the cold makes me say, "Uh well! You know you are no good. Why don't you just give up?" Its a ongoing battle between
me-the-would-be-useful and me-the-good-for-nothing. Right now, the chances of the latter winning is supreme.

When I was a kiddo and I had cold, all I had to do was sneeze, and voila! my mom would come rushing to me and take me in her arms and give tight slap!
"How in the heaven's name did you get it?"
I knew how, but after one slap, its a little silly to incite her into giving me more of them!
Then a series of recuperative measures were taken under parental supervision which made me healthy and un-sneezing in a matter of days!

Now there is no one to slap me and none to run after me to take my meds. 'Coz now I am a kid no more.

Frankly this cold thing is making me too depressed. If there is no one to take care of my cold(and I refuse to accept that responsibility!)then why do I keep getting cold?
Just like a flower dies when the gardener ceases to look after it, shouldn't the influence of influenza dimish 'coz there is no one to take care of it????

What say?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Circuitous Circuits!

I have taken this course called Analog Circuits under professor Behzad Razavi this quarter.
One main reason for doing this course was the professor. In my undergrad years, I recall his book very well. That text book was highly recommended and I wondered then what it would be like to learn from the one who actually penned it down. So when the opportunity presented itself to me here, I grabbed it with both hands.
Before I began the class I was awed by his presence. And as I continue to attend his class, I am awed even more. He has been very friendly to suggestions from students, very open in his attitude to accept his small blunders during classroom teaching and in all, has made the course fairly easy to grasp for a person who isn't a master in circuits!
Its the current homework thats bothering me now, I am yet to finish it and its due soon! :(

My other course is also as enjoyable as this one. It deals with the future of electronics and what roadblocks we might face as we look beyond this present time. To think of solutions to problems that are yet to arise. Challenging! is the best way to describe it.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

Groundhog Day!

I watched an old movie today - Groundhog Day. February 2nd every year is Groundhog day.
I didn't know that before I watched the movie. But thats not the point.
What happens if you get to live a single day of your life over and over again? In this movie, the protagonist gets up everyday on Feb 2nd to watch the same things, observe the same people , hold the same conversations, and yet seems incapable to escape that single day. Then it hits him! If he was to get back to the same day anyways, then why not do things that he always wanted to do? He learns ice-sculpting, piano, reads French Poetry, saves lives, even kills himself - he does it all, only to find himself alive the next day! The cycle ends only when he learns all the lessons that he had to from that single day. From a cynic, sarcastic jerk of a person, he changes into a caring, loving and enjoyable man. And only then does Feb 2nd turns into Feb 3rd.
I thought to myself after I saw this movie, what would I do if I could get to live one single day all over again? Which day would it be?
Tough question.
Would I prefer to live a day where I made mistakes or one in which everything I did was just right?
A day of blunders would be my choice. I could correct them then. Mistakes cost so much. A single mistake changes lives. If I could, I would go back and change them. There were times when I did rash things, things done without thought. If I could just recall that moment and hold myself back, before that happened - it would be so nice!
And that reminds me, when it comes to preparing for exams - I wish I had more time. Getting the hours back, again and again wouldn't be a bad idea at all!
So long!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Its a great feeling when I learn something. However little, however trivial. Life's lessons are precious ones. I learnt something yesterday. And I am glad I did.
I learnt detachment. Life becomes blissful, once expectations end. I learnt to truly enjoy my own company. Honestly, if I can't put up with myself who can?
Its a funny feeling to start a blog...lets see how far it goes.