Nerdy Observations

Following is a collection of my observations of the new things and people around me.

--> Crowd is really hot, hot, hot, hot AND hot here. You can call it TASHAN. Like imba, you know? And not just the girls, the guys are hot too ;) I kinda *love* the summers.

--> People in my town have some weird problem of jogging whole day. No matter what's the time. Early morning or late night or mid-afternoon with a scorching sun on top or evening or any time of day, you always find people jogging around. Whether its the campus or the town sidewalks. There are always hot guys and gals jogging. Nice muscles and abs.

--> If you're new and trying out new stuff at food joints. You will often leave the place cursing, "Damn did I really spend 4 dollars n 35 cents on that shitty thing?" Nevertheless it doesn't stop me from repeating the same mistake the next day albeit over another food item.

--> I swipe my ID card to access the door to my office. Technology? Hell yeah.

--> I just got this email on my official university address. "Hello friends, newcomers, and welcome to another eventful year at X

We, the cabinet of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Ally, Alliance are pleased to inform you that our semester is starting off next Wednesday with our annual Ice Cream Social.  This year it is sponsored by the LGBT Student Services and will begin at 6 PM on the brick outside of the bla bla.  Our first meeting will involve some ice breaking activities, which will take place in a relaxed setting that the Alliance strives to provide for all interaction.

We are excited to meet you!

LoL. Funny eh? (I am planning to go there anyway ;), will be good to see new kinda ppl ;p)

--> Went to a "pool" party today. Only me and my two friends, we three were the only internationals there. And of the entire crowd around and inside the swimming pool, only 3 ppl were wearing clothes ;). Ye sheher nahin mehfil hai...

On Importance of a Teacher...

Life's been too busy around homeworks. Luckily got a little time to share some thoughts today.

In my entire life, I feel that I had this special connection with my teachers. There were some of them which I really didn't like but then there were a few which I really loved. And as for the teachers' side if anyone would go and ask them, their opinions too would be mostly at the extremities. For them either I had been the most careless and dumb student or I had been an exceptional student. Very few will rate me as a 'nice/normal/decent' student.

And in my bachelors degree, there was this thing that used to happen with me every semester. I used to get in the eyes of at least two teachers every semester. Of course one held love and the other held hate for me. And my record of living up to this phenomenon had been pretty consistent. When I came here in US and the semester began, I was again a bit worried and was wondering if this thing will continue.

Somehow, it did. And it didn't.

I "think" I came a quite close getting a bad reputation in front of a teacher but it seems like it never happened. It all just happened in my worried mind. Or it has but the teacher is not showing it. But yes, I "did" come close to another teacher that I think I really love and he in return appreciates my interests too.

He is a retired professor and quite old. He welcomed me in his office like perhaps no other teacher had ever done to me. And those precious minutes spent with him in the past few days strengthened my grip on my dreams. I know I am talking very vague here and not giving you people any specifics of "What, where and why?" But really, I can't. It's the nature of this blog to stay away from facts. Facts are too mundane and boring. I always try to stay away from names and facts and stuff.

It's all about fiction ;)

And yes, where was I? The meetings, the wise advice and some pivotal events in the past few days have really shaped my world the way I wanted it to. Talking with him, I felt overwhelmed at times on seeing his supportive and encouraging nature. I was "so" much reminded of the book "Tuesdays With Morrie" which I finished a week ago. The way I look at teaching, I sometimes feel that it is one of the most noble professions existing out there. But of course it doesn't suit everyone. You need to know a lot and then you need the right method of telling to novices whatever you know. I don't know about the present but yes maybe after 10 or 20 years, when I feel that I *know* enough stuff, I would love to be a teacher.

I would love to inspire, ignite and most importantly *help* students who would be nothing but my own younger selfs seeking direction.

A great teacher, someone to talk to, someone-someone who could understand everything that I have always meant to say, is what I was primary looking for after coming to US. And I guess I have found someone. It's really important to find that teacher in your life. It's not that I have a "guru" of my lifetime. But yes, for this current phase of my life, I have one. Yes, in past I had a series of teachers who played their roles in perfection. But there had been times when I had no one to guide me. Times of darkness, they were.

I see light now. Pure, infinite, illuminating, White Light.

For every Frodo needs a Gandalf
For every Harry needs a Dumbledore

Ramblings of a Graduate Student

I would like to thank all those people who had contributed or played a part, big or small, in my entire journey to US, starting from building a dream and then realizing it. Following are some of the snippets that may give you an idea of the current twist in this crazy life.


*I wake up one day and realize that I need not cook or cut vegetables or take care of the utensils. Because today is not my turn. Because today my third flatmate has to cook. She's gonna take care of it. And it's amazing. (I finally get some time to blog too, not for long though)

*My apartment is awesome. With the attached bathroom feature my room looks more like a suite to me. (Especially considering the kinda places I have lived in past ofcourse excluding the _ hostel at _ University ;)

*The city is so serene and calm and peaceful and still so imba. I just love the crowd (undergrads? xD)

*I visited the both libraries (University library and Public library in town) on a single day. Seeing those books, smelling their faint odor, touching them as I walked past endless corridors of infinitely long shelves and racks, I was left in a state of awe. It's like I have been waiting for this my whole life. And it's there, right there, so close to me. Existing in a solid, silent and defying manner.

Waiting for me to come. (I remember that how in my past colleges(degree/diploma) I used to hang out in the most desolated fiction shelves/rack of the respective libraries. Among those limited number of fiction books crumpled inside academic libraries I used to look for jewels.

And here, it's a whole new treasure in front of me. I could call myself lucky.

*When you walk in the road, you feel like a mob lord or perhaps a king too. Any road you traverse, the car will stop 40 to 50 meters before you and give you ENOUGH space to happily cross at any pace you like. Pedestrians are given first preference, no matter what. The driver even smiles at you and nods if you smile back. Sometimes me and a car are stranded in middle of a road, me waiting for the car to pass by and the driver wait inside waiting for me pass by. It's no more like dodging the traffic with your life in your hands back there in home country.

Disclaimer: This does not hold true for entire US(Try this in California, NY or DC at your own risk). Only for small and hospitable towns, in one of which I currently live.

*The research is no child's play. It's spanned from the most basic to the highest level. Every day I sit at my desk just to understand what's going on. I am supposed to do literature review for a few weeks before I actually get to do stuff by hands. Looking at the equipment and machines in the lab, I can see what an "advanced" country really means. I had been playing with stones and sticks till now. It's time for big toys.

*There are hell lot of restaurants here with all kinds of food that I have never tasted or heard of. Mexican, Thai, Chinese, American ofcourse ;) and don't remember what else. I aim to taste every thing before I graduate.

*The buildings @ campus which have been standing in a majestic way since more than 100 years make me stop in my path and wonder aloud. "Is it real?" "Or it's just a dream?"

*I want to take down all activities offered here. Canoeing? Skiing? Caving? Trekking? Fooling around without purpose?

Bring it on.


The Fruitless Trip

And so, SOMEHOW I have reached US of A. As I type this, I am well settled in my nice apartment at my overly nice city(perhaps next blog post on this topic). Overall the trip was quite fruitless. I mean it had nothing I had expected from it. Nothing at all when compared to my expectations. Of course it had some weird events on the way but no big fruit in the end. Because I was expecting quite paranormal stuff to happen while I was in mid-air. But naah, no aliens came to hijack the plane. The fairies did not appear out of nowhere. The demons and witches did not stop by. And on the top of it all, our plan didn't hit turbulence and we did NOT crash in some unknown island. We did not get lost.

Duh, pretty fruitless.

The boring life continued and nothing extraordinary happened. Nothing much exciting (except at Chicago where my ticket was declared fraud->see below). I have finally reached a new place and have to do studies etc.

But anyway, I do have a few memories to share with you people. I wish I could write down my entire trip here but I can't because I have slightly forgotten it and also you will get bored. So let me just give you a few snippets of the things I observed.

  1. The Random Terrorist Check Interview.
  2. The Germans
  3. The Chinki Brothers
  4. Chicago from Above.
  5. "Your travel agency is fraud sir, your name is not on the flight."

 The Random Terrorist Check Interview.
I reached the sleek new terminal T3 at New Delhi in time and my parents made sure that I was loaded with clothes and accessories to the maximum so that the bags in my hand won't exceed the baggage limits (which already were exceeding, anyway). I looked around and people and chix were dressed so casually and lightly but I was dressed like a snowman ready to conquer Alaska. I hauled up my 3 bags worried that if people nearby were staring at my clothing (which they totally were) and somehow cleared up with the long line of the people taking the flight with me. I was getting my boarding passes done (I needed 3 of them), only 2 were made yet and suddenly their computer flashed or something and they stamped my two passes and asked me to follow some police lady. I was supposed to be perhaps handed over the third boarding pass from Chicago to my final destination but it didn't happen and I guess that's what responsible for #5. Anyway, so the lady explained to me,

Police Lady (PL): Follow me for the Random check interview of passengers.
Me: Huh?
PL: Everyday 5 or 6 people out of the thousands who travel daily are specially interviewed for security purposes. The computer assigns that.
Me: Uh? But (Face full of sweat and tension now)
PL: Oh its nothing, its nothing. The officer will ask just a few simple questions, don't worry, it's routine.

 And that assurance of her made me doubt this random interview even MORE. True story.

 So I was led into this special interrogation room where already a black man was getting interviewed. They were grilling him why he was carrying 60kg excess of baggage. And I guess he was not cool about disclosing the bags to these people and was trying to leave the airport. I was seated in front of a very stern looking bald Indian officer who began questioning me very sternly.

 He asked me a few of questions like,
"Where to?"
"Why US"
"What for in the univ?"
He was pretty cold in all these questions perhaps because all this time he was busy making all kinds of scratches on my Visa and passport. He was checking the authenticity of every part of my passport. Then,
"Which univ you studied before?"
"Bla blah blu"
"Oh that's a reputed university!" (His tone became a lil casual)

 Then he handed me over my passport and said smilingly,
"Btw, your hair looks like a porcupine, ;)."

I exited the interrogation room with my passport in one hand and hand bag in other with an idiot like grin. This hairstyle and the comment was just the beginning of a new era.

The Germans
When my flight landed at Frankfurt, Germany I had an excited and great time to see the airport for 3.5 hours. I very much intended to shop there. I had bought a chocolate like thingy at the large shopping complex in Delhi airport and now it was a Swiss chocolate that took my heart here at Germany. Also I wanted to shop just for the sake of saying "Yes I have shopped around a few continents…" So all this while roaming around the airport I found the Germans to be quite amusing. These German ladies were all hot and stuff. Redheads, you know? So they were like RED HOT. I had this imaginary conversation with a young hot german lady (YHGL).

YHGL: Qaustro quastro pero.
Me: Quastro quastro you're hot.
YHGL: Quastro quastro this is your first time in a developed country isn't it?
Me: Quastro quastro yes, indeeeeeeeeed. So there are others like you?
YHGL: Quastro quastro indeeeeeed.
ME: Quastro quastro, great, I look forward to more imbaness.

 I left her alone then and wandered around to look for other Germans. There was this Gothic-druggist-gay type young man and he was quite hot too. He could have played a Dracula in any upcoming paranormal movie. But Germans were a bit loud. Not much, but yeah a bit. When I tried to talk to the airport staff when I was searching for my terminals, one german lady kinda told me stuff so loud that everyone around was staring at us or me. Lol.

The Chinki Brothers
I found these two guys from Nepal who were on same route Delhi-Frankfurt-Chicago and we 3 kinda stayed together most of the time. One was the Elder Chinki, 4 years elder to me and was going for some ultra noob university. His and mine major were coincidentally same but when I heard his univ's name I almost asked him "How did you get your Visa approved?". But he was all like in Nepal they are allowing easily this time. And then this Younger Chinki was 4 years younger to me and was going to some unknown university for his undergrad. Wierdos both of them.

 But of course, not weirder than me. ;p

Sample, of course. 

One thing I didn't like about Chinki brothesr was that in middle of our conversation they often started using their native language and I was all left like, "Huh wtf are you saying ppl," and then it came to their minds after a few minutes that they should speak in hindi. Their English sucked badly. When I say badly I mean even worse than mine. Now you can judge yourself.

 But the thing I liked about them was their love for Bollywood. They could praise it endlessly. Even on the plane out of the 30 or so top Hollywood movies, they chose to watch the only one available Bollywood movie (some flop one) on their entertainment centers. And on this flight, they were sitting apart and still they watched exactly the same movie. I was like "LoL, how could you watch it.." And they were like, "Oh it was so funny!" and continued their praise for Bollywood. They also told me how expensive the dollar was for them because their rupee was quite weaker to the Indian rupee. If my ticket was for 50k rupees their's was for 75k :O

It happens rarely but that time I felt proud of being an Indian.

Chicago from Above
While aboard I tried to sleep most of the times or read my book. I partially watched the movie "How to train your dragon" and I found it pretty cool. Some of the scenes were so mesmerizing and analogous to the view outside my window (I had window seat yay :D) Like in the movie the kid was exhilarated driving his dragon so I too clapped in excitement when I saw the thin wings of the plan slicing through the huge clouds. It was like wafting over mountains of cotton or perhaps snow. And when we neared Chicago as our plane began to descend, I was able to see those huge sky scrapers of the city. They looked so majestic. I wanted to write the description of the aerial view of the city then and there only. One line that I formed in my mind was something like this,

"The skyscrapers were pieces of tall, cold steel on the face of flat, warm earth."

Then I nudged my Elder Chinki brother and said, "Hey see the view outside! Wow! the buildings!" He gave the most dispassionate and not-interested brief glance and resumed his preparation for the landing. I was all like perhaps he too being a civil engineer might like the view outside and understand my feelings for the structures. I was all crazy on seeing those huge structures. But this guy clearly wasn't. He had a lot of issues actually.

Like the entire time, he wore his seat belts. LOL. And when the plane landed or took off he used to hold the side handles of his seat and sit up straight. I was like, "C'mon, we won't die so soon."

"Your travel agency is fraud sir, your name is not on the flight."
Till I reached Chicago the trip was quite awesome and I had a nice time making fun of everything and everyone around me. But after seeing me act like a smartass for a long time, the God guy gave my life a little twist. Yeah a LITTLE twist. I had around 3 hours at Chicago airport to catch my last connecting flight out of which more than 1 hour was wasted at the Customs line where I nearly escaped nabbing by a lady and her smelling doggy. The smelling small doggy was moving around the line and sniffing everyone's bags. He passed mine and I got a sigh of relief but the Elder chinki guy's bag made him stop wagging his tail so there were some problems. I don't know what happened later with his cuz at this point, our paths had diverged.

Then I checked in my bags for the next flight and when I reached the counter to Check in MYSELF, here's how the convo between me and a rude bald American guy went:
Guy: Which flight you are on? (Scanning my passport)
Me: The UA@#$ at bla bla to bla bla..
Guy: Nope, you are'not.
Me: Huh? But my e-ticket has #$%@$#@$ $ @#$
Guy: I am looking at the ticket in the computer and you have no such booking sir.
Me: I booked through MAKEMYTRIP guys and how it is possible??
Guy: Your travel agency is fraud sir, your name is not on the flight. Sorry you need to redo the whole thing and go to terminal 1.

He returned my passport and disappeared. At that very moment, all the fun and excitement vanished in thin air. I was like, "Ohkay, now you're getting to me, USA" So it was like, my baggage was already sent to the next flight BUT I wasn't. So I ran here and there and finally found a special counter where people could address their problems. A long queue was there and I somehow got my boarding pass made and entered the flight just 5 mins before they closed gates. I think it was probably because of the event that happened at the Delhi airport.

All sweaty and tired and full of jet lag and thirsty as I finally sat on the domestic plane, I grabbed what they offered me shortly afterward. I opted for some can of Apple and Cranberry juice with an empty glass full of crushed ice. It was refreshing. After a few minutes I noticed it had "Cocktail" written all over it. I thought I had tasted alcohol kinda thingy. So I asked the American sitting next to me,

"This isn't beer right?"

He laughed at me and said that it was just juice.

I was like, "Ohkay, anyway I have taken too much stuff upon myself today. So whatever."

    Why Religious Gurus are essentially Marketing Geniuses? My Encounters with one of a kind…

    So as I write this on a shaky keypad of my cute Dell mini-laptop, I am returning back to my beloved village from a short journey to another village in our rickety and ‘only four wheeler’ which could be considered as a car. I love to write while travelling. Besides I am eager to share and write down whatever stuff happened with me this fine morning.

    Just an example what I mean by Indian Saints
    So as I was counting my final days in my beloved country while penning down my expectations for the new land that I am going to see, my parents, my mother essentially, began all this new drama of seeing all my relatives for the last time (I am not even sure if I remember the names of all those people I meet which are somehow related to me by blood) and seeing and worshipping all our ancestral religious gurus or babas or monks or saints or whatever you call them man. They are all same to me.

    So it all began yesterday morning when my dear mommy was all,

    Hey, you have only few days left here, and-
    Yeah, I know. Tell me something new ;p,” I cut her in hoping she would forget to complete her sentence.
    Shut up, you’re being too rude these days. And I was saying, that in the last few days, you should go and meet all our Guru’s and saints which our ancestors have been worshipping since decades or something and bla bla bla (This is where I lost track of what she was saying as I dug deeper into my favorite comic strip, Garfield, in the newspaper – I read newspaper only for those comic strips, y’all) and bla bla, so tomorrow morning at 6 A.M. we are leaving for this this village where this big big saint has come and we must pay a visit and seek blessing for your safe life ahead in US and so that you also don’t get spoiled by their modern culture etc and you should be thankful that you got VISA so easily by their grace…
    Huh? At 6? What? Why? But? So early? Saint? How? I don’t wanna go. Please keep me out this stuff,” I tried to make a sad face but failed.

    Then we kinda argued for a minute or two cuz that’s the max you can argue with mothers after which they use their ace cards and you are just left with no option but to agree. So she threw down the following two cards on the table and I was as usual “Ah-k-lets-go-whatever-wherever-mom

    Card #1: She won’t pack my travel bags (OmG!)
    Card #2: She will brand me as an unfaithful daughter who has left her home and family values etc etc permanently. (Duh)

    I really didn’t care about Card #2 but man, Card #1 was sortof killer and I had to agree. I don’t know shit about packing or shopping or cooking so I always leave it to the elder ladies. Elder Ladies are good at these things. And that could be a weakness. Or a strength. Depends on how you look at it.

    So anyway, next day early morning I am forced out of bed quite early while my mom is all ready and neat and eager to go. Then I am forced to bath too. And all other daily chores, like combing my hair and breakfast n stuff. Somehow, I am ready to leave on time. Even though our driver was a tad late but mom had made sure that we were on time. When we sat in the car and began the eventful journey, a wave of sour saliva swept across my tongue.

    I swallowed. I smiled.
    Forgot to brush. Nice.

    Then, nothing much happened on the 2 hour journey by road to another village where the saints were supposed to be having a stay at their own imba fortress kinda thing. Except the fact that the entire journey I spent sleeping and my pious and anxious mother spent the two hours making sure that the roads were all right, other vehicles on the road were all right and that our car was all right, and everything in general around her was all righty-right. I often tell her on such occasions,

    Dear mommy, leave this job to the driver. You should just relax at the back seat with your eyes closed.”
    But she’s all, “No! Drivers etc know nothing! We ourselves have to take care of everything and all.”
    But only THE driver can access the accelerator or break, mom
    But uhm? Still! Duh, shut up,” as she raises her hand and kinda scares me by her false slap action.

    So we reach this place, (I will try not to go into facts and names, after all I don’t want an entire community, a rather big one, on my ass for this post) and it looks serene and quite cool but heavily guarded with men. Just like a fortress. Only difference that soldiers’ weapons here were smiles and bows and greetings which they showered upon any stranger who might dare enter their fortress. And so they fired on us all those sweet weapons they had, especially after they came to know that we had come from a big village which is kinda quite famous in my state. You feel like a celebrity when you come from the biggest village of your state. You can spam everywhere you go and say, “I come from THERE” And they are like “woaah…”

    Sorry for all you people who were born in towns and cities and metros, maybe better luck next life.

    Example of Namaste. Also, your weekly dose of hot chix-pix.
    We move upstairs to find the holy saint missing from his humble throne and a lot of other devotees like us gathered and bent down around his throne. We sit there for a while, (my mom with hands clapped together to form a Namaste – a gesture of prayer, I holding the book I am reading these days – ‘Every Second Counts’ by Lance Armstrong) but when my mom snatches away my reading book and asks me to imitate her worshiping position, I kinda get pissed and eventually restless. So after a minute or more of the waiting for the Saint who hasn’t yet appeared, I escape the hall by giving an excuse that I urgently need to pee and I actually go downstairs to explore out the fortress.

    As I was happily skipping down the narrow stairs, I saw a large man all dressed in white with a long, long beard wearing maalas around his neck coming up. He was coming up in my going down lane/direction of the stairs and I was half way down the stairs while he had just landed the first starting step and considering my double speed, technically, technically, he should have shifted to the side to save the collision from occurring. But he didn’t as if he was like the king of this fortress and so we stood face to face with he staring right into my eyes as he said in a tone more cold than curious,

    Where are you from?” he asked, recognizing that I was new here.
    Um? Bhathinda,” I blurted out my village’s name but not with the kind of pride I usually do.
    What’s your name?
    Tanya Singhal,” I answered after a few seconds of pause as a crooked smile spread upon my face.
    huh? Uh-oh, huh?” he grumbled and felt confused and shifted away from the stairs to make way for me and left for the hall upstairs.

    Sample pic of bread pakoras.
    I explored out the fortress a bit and found it kinda cool and calm place to hang out. And then finally found the open kitchen where they actually gave FREE FOOD to all those who came there and so I joined the queue with an empty plate in my hand. There weren’t plenty of options to choose from but there were some. So considering the fact that my mom would be waiting for me upstairs with perhaps a false cane in her hand, I quickly placed some Bread Pakoras with a nice Chutney(Sauce) in my plate and began to munch and gobble it down. I sipped down a hot tea before I left for the hall upstairs.

    C’mon, don’t you look at me like that, I was hungry. Besides, it was free.

    But as I was just putting down my plate before exiting the kitchen, my mother had come all looking for me and she was all like, “Stupid, you are sitting here eating and up there Mr. Saint has come and he’s looking for you and all how careless you are and all and bla bla” So before I could crack up some excuse she takes me up by hand and donates a hundred rupee note ($2 essentially) to the donation box at the exit of the kitchen. Perhaps this was her gratitude towards the nice kitchen people whose services her daughter had enjoyed just now. And silly me, I was considering it as free food all the time. I was about to ask her, “Since we had now kinda paid for it, could I have lil more?” but then I preferred to keep my mouth shut cuz my mother was really looking angry at that moment.

    And SO, I finally get to see the Saint sitting on his throne with a dozen or so people bent down before his feet. I realized that this Saint was actually that stairs guy I met before while going down. Now I understood that awkward bump in the middle of flight of stairs. He was perhaps expecting me to fall in his feet in those stairs and give him the way by going all the way back upstairs etc. And since I didn’t, he gave me those weird looks. But then I thought, what the heck, even if I knew it was THE Saint guy in the stairs, I would have acted the same anyway. True story.

    So as the entire crowd there were on the knees with their hands in the Namaste formation, I stood straight smiling at the Saint, my hands stuffed loosely in the side pockets of my shorts (My mom always wants me to wear pants whenever we have to go out but I just prefer shorts and that’s another point of quarrel but then that’s totally another story).

    (I think I am going too much slow, I will now fast forward to the part where the post should justify its title). Little Background: This Saint is kinda our family saint and so knows all the children and family members by NAME. He also knows me and has met me 3-4 years before and still remembers my real name, it’s just I who have forgotten him or his name. 

    RULE No.1 for Marketing: Always KNOW your clients. If you can CONNECT with the name and family of your customers, your business CAN run.

    So after he made me sit down close to him and finally after an awkward minute of silence (in which I was supposed to bow down and rub my forehead in his feet just like others), he placed his hand on my head and kinda forced it down so it appeared to his followers that I was bowing down. I totally wasn’t, y’all. And here’s an excerpt of the convo that followed,

    I have tried to summon you here a lot of times but you never came, huh?”, he said and named all those religious classmates and cousins and peers who had in the past 3-4 years had at times informed me every six months or so that Mr.Saint is currently in this this village and he was very much inclined to see me. But of course, I usually ignored them and spent my life without religion or spirituality.

    I merely smiled and kept looking back at him while he told me that I should follow that that norms of this this particular region. And that I should stay away from bad company or non-veg etc in US. In between my mom would add a reply on my behalf saying, “Yes, yes she is a very good girl. She does and will continue to follow all these norms,” She was quite worried that the Saint might just impose a curse on her daughter for her arrogance or perhaps summon a fireball from his staff to punish her careless daughter.

    Then he asked me for my full name and gave a weird look when I told him my real name. And he was all like, that I should change my surname to the surname specified by the norms of THE religion. And I was like, “Yeah sure.” (I should now cancel my flights, submit my passport for renewing my surname, wait for a few months to get it done, defer my admission for next year and then I will be good bcuz I'll be following the surname norms) I assured him again, “Yeah sure.”

    Rule No.2 for Marketing: EXPAND your business. Ask your very clients to carry your company’s NAME ahead. It works.

    Then he took me to a secret room away from all the crowd as the people were left behind whispering, “Oh-oh this girl is going to amreeka-shamreeka, Guru ji will be giving him special power or wish." There he pulled me awkwardly closer to his half naked body and began to place in my hands a series of sacred items whose descriptions he gave one by one,

    Sacred Maala
    These are very sacred and very costly maalas/chains which you should wear around your neck all the time and chant this mantra 51 times on each bead/crystal of it before going to bed. Then these are very important cards on which our sacred sayings are written, you should paste them everywhere in your new home in US. And try to distribute these to your friends so that other lost souls too can follow the path of god and righteousness. And bla bla (as usual here I lost track of what he was saying, as I was marveling at the huge pillars and pedestals of the fortress Saint lived in) and bla bla, keep these cards safe, don’t loose them. Only hand them out to other worthy people like you.”

    Rule No.3 for Marketing: Hand out your Visiting CARDS as if they are not just pieces of paper but so sacred and important that the fellow holding them in their hand should feel immensely LUCKY.

    Pure marketing I call it. In the name of religion and spirituality, of course. What do you say?

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