Sunday, 7 December 2008

Mumbai Hostage


For 3 days Mumbai burnt and the world watched. A 100 million people in India could not change the destiny of the city. 214 people dead according to official counts and hundreds more injured. So what is different about this terror attack, what makes it bigger than any other before ? The fact that the targets were the destination of the rich and famous. So will it bring about a change in the system? Will the country and the security officials be more prepared and more alert hence forth? Or is India becoming a soft target for the terrorist. With ill-equipped police forces, vulnerable coasts and the huge population which only makes it easier to get lost in the crowd India is fast becoming a favourite destination for terrorists. The 2500 year old Jewish community of Mumbai which had never felt endangered in the past met with dire consequences during this attack.  
The attacks were followed by protest and marches from the Youth but will that change anything, I don't question the feelings or the emotions of the people who participated in that march but at the end the ball is always in the politicians court. 2 years back I participated in the march against reservation and Arjun Singh. The youth believed then that we could stop this politically motivated attempt to please the minorities. After a year our aspiration were squashed and the politicians might prevailed. All the protests were in vain. So will India forget this incident too and move on hoping for things to change but never really expecting anything to happen.
India's condition is like a lady caught in a bad marriage with an abusive husband. She hopes daily that he won't beat her and for sometime he doesn't and she think things have changed only to see herself being beaten black annd blue after some days. Not a word is spoken after the abuse and no action taken. All there is, is a hope for miracle. Sadly miracles don't happen anymore.
It's a sad feeling to think that a country with so much man-power can be held hostage by a mere 10 men with fire arms. And it's a worse feeling when I think that I am helpless and can do nothing to make my country a better and safer place. Who knows after a few days even I might forget this episode and move on, I am an Indian after all.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bookish Me

I have always believed that books are the best thing that ever happened to me. However now I realise thats after years of living life through books I have become too bookish. Books are the end all and the be all of my life. I have begun to judge life, people and situations based on characters and situations from books. It was all fine till I learnt the good things. Now I think I have reached a point where I am letting it hurt me.
Of late I have realised life is not what I read in books, it is what I live everyday and good people are not the characters from my favourite novels, they are the ones who have stood by me for so many years and are a part of my life. They don't act like those characters, talk like them, behave like them, nor have the sky high ideals like them but they are so real. Just as real as I am. 

Monday, 27 October 2008

Food.. I miss you !!!

For somebody who missed her meal once in 4 years in college I think it's blasphemous that I skip my lunch everytime I have to give a presentation post lunch. Infact I even postpone/miss my lunch till after I have my meeting with my advisor every week. And also when I have an exam. 
Being a PhD student I think I will be giving presentation and talk on an average 3 times every semester, 2 exams on an average every semester and will have atleast 28 meetings with my advisor during a semester. So on an average I miss my lunch 33 times a semester and assuming I graduate in 4 years that is 33*2*4=264 skipped lunches. The figures are overwhelming to say the least inspite of the fact that I have kept it very conservative. I can't imagine the "food-centric" me can survive that many days without food. 
I guess this is the price I have to pay as a Graduate student. 

Friday, 24 October 2008

Happy

I choose to call this post "Happy" because for the past 2 months that has been my state of mind. A lot has changed in 2 months and then again nothing really has. I guess it's all in the mind. I finally made peace with myself. I am now happy with what I get and I no longer pine for what I cannot get. Sometimes it's wiser being happy with what you have right now then planning for future happiness which, well, never really comes around. A few things which has made me happy in the last 2 months.
-My Chicago Trip
-Ash's NY Trip
-My new house
-My studies
-My Research(partially, I would say, will be complete when I finally get my PhD)
-My Thanksgiving plans
-My Christmas plans
-My busy weekends
-My new easy chair
-My new Reader
-The books in my school library

Ok, this list is getting way to long. But I guess it doesn't hurt.  A few things ofcourse were not perfect. But then I survived it all.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Dad

After a long long time I actually spent 3 months at home with my parents, actually after 8 years. In the interim period I probably spent 10 days at a stretch with my parents. This time helped me appreciate my Dad's influence in my life all over again. 
It's strange how after being away from each other so long we still connect so well. I spent so many nights chatting with him over a cup of coffee (much to my mother's disapproval). We talked about everything under the sun from politics to psychology. And it's amazing how I feel I am talking to someone who is just an older version of me. We think alike except once in a while when we talk about West Bengal politics. I guess that's the only point we don't see eye to eye. But even disagreeing with him has it's advantages. I see a lot more of the other side of the story which I wouldn't otherwise. More than anything else I believe these conversations helped me rebond with my Dad. His distaste for telphone conversations made those moments all the more special for me. 
Now that I am back in US I miss those conversations. These are the times I wish I was back home or I wish my parents were here with me. I don't think even for a second that they would move in with me forever here but I hope some day they come and live with me for a while. Till then I will miss him and our lenghty conversations every time I pick up a cup of coffee.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Inheritance of Loss-Review

I just finished reading the Man Booker Prize winning "The Inheritance of Loss" and the first thing that struck me when I closed the book was "what was she thinking when she wrote the book". I mean in her attempt to touch many subjects all I can say is she did justice to none. There is a smattering of so many subjects yet none feel accurate. It's almost as if the author was relating something she had heard from another person. There was a lack of connection. The details of the Himalayan city, the Gurkha uprising, the son's stay in New York, the death of the judge's wife, daughter and son-in-law all had a certain sense of vagueness. Almost as if a part of the story was concealed by the author or almost as if she herself was unaware of so many facts. It was an idea which went wrong. Like a beautiful drawing which became ugly after adding colours.

So who won ????

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is arguing with yourself. No matter who wins or who loses there will be a little bit of me in both. So what is the argument about ? I am trying hard to convince myself that my mind is right and my heart is wrong. My heart was waiting for the sun to rise from the west and my mind knows it will never happen. Well so what if it is against the laws of nature, my belief and undying faith could make it happen, so my heart thought. My mind knew better and eventually I let my mind win this argument. In the long run I know it will be best for me, one day I will look back and laugh at myself for being so silly and feel proud that I took a right decision. But right now it hurts and it hurts real bad. After all my heart is as much mine as my mind. Right now I want to crawl into a corner and scream at life for being so unfair. I only hope like all other lessons I learnt from life this too leaves me a little stronger.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Fera

The title of this blog is inspired by a book I read long back. “Fera” or “The Return” is one of the lesser known novels of one of the most controversial contemporary writer, Taslima Nasreen. It was by fluke that I came across this book and read it. I read it in its original version and fell in love with it immediately. It deals with the issue of belonging. And probably that is why I fell in love with it. It talks about a lady's journey back to her hometown after 40 years, now a foreign country, in search of the “home” she lost. She of course returns disappointed. It was at this point that I always felt I could relate to her. Her eternal desire to go home was something which struck a cord with me.

And today after 5 years I went in search of the home that I left behind, the place of my birth, the place where I grew up the place I will always call home, the only place I will ever call home, Shillong. After all clich├ęd though it might sound I believe that “home is where the heart is”. So after a lot of thinking and rethinking I decided that this was one journey I had to undertake. I feared I would be disappointed just like the lady in the book but I would never know for sure until I went there. So with a camera, a book some goodies and a sweater packed in my rucksack I took the taxi to Shillong from Guwahati. It was a bad bumpy ride without any company. I spent some time of the 3 long hours reading my book and some time gazing at the spectacular view outside. In spite of all the discomfort I was happy I had decided to go. I had heard so much from friends about how Shillong had changed in the past few years, how commercialized it had become, how big city like it felt, now I would finally see it for myself.

Shillong did look a little different when I first set eyes on it. Yes, a little smaller, a little newer, there were new shops and new people on the roads. I tried hard but saw no familiar faces; the few I did see looked a little older, a little withdrawn and were completely unable to recognize me. The roads looked a little barren, devoid of trees; my favourite pines didn’t adorn as many roads as it did earlier. They had been cut to make way for traffic I believe. The concrete jungle was also encroaching into Shillong. The quaint, endearing Assam style houses were becoming fewer and fewer. They were probably too expensive or maybe just not stylish enough these days.

So did I find the Shillong that I was looking for? Yes, I did. Unlike the lady in the book I found my home. I did not find the house that we grew up in the house where my Dad grew up, that has probably changed beyond recognition, remodeled by the new owner. Honestly I did not have the courage to go there, that would have been too much for me to handle, I am sure. Shillong did look very different with new faces and all but it felt the same. I might sound corny but it still has this warmth which you feel when you reach home. After all home, maybe is more than a house you live in, it’s a sense of belonging, a sense of being one with the place where you are standing and being able to blend in and feel like there is no place you need to reach at the end of the day. I felt like that when I stood in Shillong, breathing in the sweet smelling air without a care in the world. I knew then I would return here time and again, no matter how many trees were uprooted, how many new faces swarmed the streets, how many buildings cropped up on the roads. Shillong is, was, and will always be my home.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Frozen in Virtual Reality.

Years back, after some bitter experiences with people in the real world I retreated into the virtual world. In search of anonymity, with the desire to remain unknown. Someone no one could recognize or recall. After living in that world for a long time now I realise that maybe experiences, good or bad will seek me out no matter where I am. It's I, and I alone who can control what I get from life. I should be able to control my life and more importantly my mind.
I build castles in the air and start living in them. It's when the castle crashes that I am all hurt. It's sometimes difficult to live two lives. One in thin air and one with feet firmly on the ground. I know the truth is as far as I can touch. That is the real world and the world which belongs to me. Anything which I cannot see face to face, anything which I cannot touch is just a part of this virtual world, which as of now is just an extension of my dreams and fantasies. Today I almost feel like I have been swallowed by this virtual world. My existence itself has become virtual. And along with it my happiness, joy, pain and all feelings have become virtual. Very soon I will be unable to differentiate between the two. And maybe very soon others will also be unable to differentiate between the real me and the virtual me.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Missing .......

Have you ever missed something you thought you never would? Something you always wanted to get rid of and yet when you finally did it didn't feel good at all. I have had the feeling of late. It's like carrying your leg in cast for months, waiting to get rid of it every waking hour of the day. And yet when you did it was like losing a support. It's like listening to the next door kids every morning and wishing they would just evaporate and one fine day when it is all quiet you wonder if everything is all right. I hope things change . No, well not the cast again. But I hope the kids come out to play again.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Old Tale !!!!

I suddenly remembered a story I had read in "Amar Chitra Katha" as a kid. Decided I should share it with everyone.
"There was once a very selfish, selfcentred and miserly king in a far of land. One day while walking on the bank of a river with his ministers he slipped and fell into the river. All the ministers and bodyguards jumped to help him screaming "O Master !! Give us your hand". However the king kept beating frantically in the water but was not taking any help. Just then the wisest of the minister walked to the river bank and said "O Master !! Take my hand". The king immediately grabbed his hand and reached the safety of the shore. The king had after all never learnt to give anything, only take. "
Sometimes old tales make so much sense.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Happy Birthday !!!


It's been years I have lost in touch with my childhood friend but I still remember her birthday. I spent 11 years in school with her and today I have no means of getting in touch with her. It's her birthday today and I wish I could call her, drop her a mail, simply get in touch with her. Wherever you are I wish you a great day and a great year ahead. "Happy Birthday ...... L " (22nd April 2008). I haven't forgotten you or your birthday.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Democrats have lost it

In a fight for the Oval Office the Democrats have already lost the elections, in my opinion. As of today when the Democrats still don't have a clear contender for the White House, the contest between Clinton and Obama is becoming more bitter each passing day. With a huge amount of mud slinging happening each day, the Clinton and Obama camp in a bid to out do each other are only managing to mar the image of the Democrats. What fails to be noticed by them is that eventually when one will emerge as the winner the other will not be left with the option to gracefully accept the loss and back the new candidate. As in the case of the Republicans after John McCain emerged as a winner the other candidates declared their complete backing for the new Republican candidate. It would only be a sham if either Clinton or Obama declare their support for the other after losing this leg of the elections. The credibility of the Democrats would be under the scanner with such a turn of events. In fact no matter who wins this round John McCain and the Republicans will probably have the last laugh.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Mistakes .....!!

My friend says when I repeat the same mistake over and over again, it's no longer a mistake, it's plain stupidity. What makes it worse is that I know she is right. To argue with someone you have to be convinced yourself that you are right and the other person wrong. However I know she is right and I am wrong. So you might wonder why I do it, I mean make the same mistakes, well maybe that's because that's my comfort zone. I am in familiar territories and I feel at home. Of course it's besides the point that it's stupid. In fact it goes beyond mistake, becomes a crime and eventually a sin.
At times I wonder what's with me. I am pretty adventurous (no nasty connotation please) and like to try out new things whenever given a chance. However when it comes to mistakes and yes, food I choose the tried and tested path. I am so incorrigible.

Life's Like That !!!!!

The past one week of my life was like a roller coaster ride. My confidence hit rock bottom, ego took a beating, I lost this one chance to make my life a little better and I wished for some time that I could just hit a "Reset" button of my life to start from scratch. Then things looked brighter again, I received some valuable advice from a mentor and some encouragement from a Gaming Guru. This was great. To see someone have faith in me, to have more faith in me than I have in myself was amazing. But undoing some past hurt and humiliation will take a while. Till then I will just have to go back into my shell and do what I do best....work and make it all real.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Groan !!!

I am fed up of reading mails and texts which have a bunch of English words put together in such a fantastic order that it fails to make any sense. How difficult is it to get hold of a "Wren and Martin" and get your verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs in order. A little attention paid to the tenses would not kill you. Please oh please do not kill the essence of a language by refusing to learn the grammar. The purpose of a language is to convey your thoughts and ideas. Learning a few words is good, but please do learn to string those words into a well framed sentence. Life's painful enough for me without being subjected to the torture of reading some junk and then trying to guess the meaning.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

New York

I knew I would love New York City even before I came here and I am so glad to say I actually do love this city. Barring the fact that I don't see myself making a career here I think this city is perfect for someone like me. Firstly it encourages people to walk which I absolutely love. I can actually survive here without ever buying myself a car which I don't really want to. I love driving but I hate the pain which comes along with a car, insurance, maintenance and ofcourse parking. Secondly this city never sleeps. I am not a party animal but being a night owl I find it reassuring to think I am in a city which never sleeps. I also like the fact that this city has something to offer for every person. The biggest museums, libraries, parks, restaurants, pubs and eating joints. everone can find their small world here. And most importantly it is a city which has people from every corner of the globe. You see so many people here that I believe I will never miss home. People of all color caste creed and nationality flock here making New York a truly cosmopolitan city. It is a a city of migrants and will always remain so. People who came here in search of a better life. The best place to see the myriad people of this city I believe is on the city subways. Nothing is more fascinating than a ride here. It is a spectacle in itself. A window into the fast paced life of New York city. I am glad I can spend a few years of my life close to this city. After all the future is unpredictable.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Dreams...!!!

Six years ago I had a dream. A dream which made me immensely happy and also brought tears to my eyes but which I knew could never be real. I kept that to myelf, never uttered a word about that to anyone. I feared that the beauty of the dream would be marred if I spoke about it. Almost like it was a special gift for me. I guarded it jealously fearing every second that I would lose it. And then one day I came close to realizing it. I was so close but so unaware. It took me another 1 year to realise what I had lost. I had lost to hold on to something which I should have. I had failed to give myself a chance. And this time around the chance was lost forever.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Miss Them ...

6 months in US has been good. Not perfectly smooth but not bad either. However I do miss a few things about India and Bangalore. Missing my sister's wedding will be one of my biggest regret ever but I miss some 'things' about Bangalore. A small list of the few things I miss.
  1. Legend of the Rock
  2. TGIF
  3. Purple Haze
  4. Tavern
  5. Guzzlers Inn
  6. Pecos
  7. 13th Floor
  8. Geoffrey's
  9. Ruby Tuesday
  10. Juke Box

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Lessons Learnt

It's New Year again. Another year has sped past in what seems like a blink of an eye. It was however an unforgettable year for me. I learned a lot this year, simple but important lessons, lessons I hope I will never forget. These are a few of the lessons I learnt.
  1. Money might not be the most important thing in life but you cannot live a day without it. No matter how much you earn you should always have a decent saving.
  2. Health is unpredictable. Anyone can fall ill, any time. Treasure your good health and stay fit. Hospitals are the most unplesant place to be in unless you are a doctor.
  3. Friends never let you down. Keep your few good friends you will always have someone to fall back on.
  4. Never underestimate your own strength. You can take more shit than you thought possible.
  5. Always trust your instincts.
  6. Never give up on your dreams. Chasing them is better than never having tried at all.
  7. Don't ever think you know yourself completely. There will be days when you will surprise yourself. AND my alltime favourite :) (Not a new lesson though)
  8. Smile... Tomorrow will be worse.