A lonely Christmas

So, how do you celebrate a cold Christmas when you're all alone for the winter break and your flatmates are gone to sunny California?

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Eat a lot of pie and watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

This french pecan silk pie was killer. Had a ton of whipped cream on it. Also, as you may already know that I live in the land of obesity. That reminds me I gotta do some ab crunches next morning. 

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Current Book: "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkein
Current Music: "I'm sexy and I know it" by LMFAO





What makes a genius?

My education has rendered me no choice but to seek out and characterize everything. To put labels to things, to set patterns and logic behind every existing phenomena, and to find rationale behind every happening. No matter how far my science may be from the truth, it's hard for me to not to give out personal and biased judgments.

There, there you have your disclaimer.

                                 

I've often tried to explain to myself and my friends the definition of a genius and what separates him/her from an average person like me or anyone who is modestly willing to accept himself/herself as average. Thus I'm attempting to make some theoretical claims based on the graph above. The graph belongs to spectra collected from a Raman spectrometer, which I just got from google.

Now imagine the X axis is a span of all possible fields of art/science and Y axis be the magnitude of input in arbitrary units (a.u./intensity). While an average person would try and fool around different fields in life being able to put only limited effort in each due to constraints of a lifetime, his spectrum would be like a noisy spectra. Just pure noise, wobbling, shaking line along the X axis (see 700-800 cm-1).

But a genius would spend a life which would result in a spectra with sharp peaks at 1-2 points, spending his/her 40 years of life in a single, very specific field and making the most out of it (eg 950 cm-1 and other selected peaks). That's what separates an average person from a genius. An average person, at least me, is often afraid to put too much energy into one thing, so I'll try to do 2 things at a time, and then 3 and then 4 things, ending up as well-rounded human being who is perfect at nothing. But mark that I'm not saying, that a person by birth is a genius or average, it's simply a matter of motivation at a given point of time. If someone gets highly motivated in one specific area at some point, he/she may do well in that field, but then the question is will she/he stay motivated long enough? You could argue that geniuses stay motivated all the time, working on a problem unflinchingly, long enough till they solve it. I leave that open for interpretation.

If you want to make something out of your life, reduce the noise, and get some peaks. Focus.

                                         


Trivia#1: By the way, I know a bit about crystallography and I can tell you that in the results of most spectroscopic techniques and X-ray/neutron diffraction methods, sharp peaks denote crystalline material and wide humps denote amorphous material. Noise is simply subtracted or removed from the figures for convenience of knowledge dissemination. And most researchers try to study crystals because they are so precious and so rare.  (oh and of course some people study amorphous materials like Glass too, well good for them, not so thrilling as crystals)

Trivia#2: There's a reason why all women like gems and diamonds. Now you know why. (because they are crystalline and give sharp peaks in their spectral features, just like geniuses!)

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Current Book: "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells
Current Music: "My December" by Linkin Park



Why everyone is competing?

As I hurried down the corridor, Tom, an undergraduate student from the class in which I serve as the teaching assistant, smiled at my gloved hands. 


"So, ready for the competition today?" I asked in passing by. 

"Oh yeah, its heating up. Everyone is putting their projects together. But I guess ours is going to be the best," replied Tom, nodding his head in quick succession. 
The competition ran for the class duration and everyone's project was judged carefully with an unsaid prejudice. Professor X, as usual oblivious of human emotion, was busy judging too, not just the projects but also the capability of young students. And they were only young humans, to me, who were all equal in the end. I tried my best to be the best host, and kept the excitement up by constant cheering and encouragement as per the proceedings. 

Then the results were announced, and of course not everyone can get the first rank. Students in teams ranking the last weren't particularly happy. Tom and his friend, as a team, ranked last in the competition. 

"So the winners! The winners come here! Take pictures for the winners Tanja! A picture of the judges with the winners! The winners! One picture of the entire team of winners! Let's take a group photo with winners at the front!" These were some of the sentences that Professor X uttered after the results were announced. Every time she mentioned winner, a hot nail pierced my heart. I wonder how would the teams that didn't win must have felt. 

"It's not about winning, we all learned something today. We all learned why things work and why they don't and I hope you learned that from this course. And don't worry about the final scores, they will be scaled down by a magnitude of 10, so there won't be a great difference between the scores of various teams, okay? Have fun, good job!

But by the time I announced this, the most depressed team was already leaving the room, with their project. 

"Hey wait, leave your projects on the table! We want to show other sections what you guys did! Everyone, leave their projects here for two weeks! Especially the winners, the winners' projects must stay with me! The projects must stay on the table, please listen everyone!" Professor X continued to ramble amidst the leaving, half depressed crowd. 

Tom and his friend, muttered something under their breath, and approached towards the exit door. I rushed past the crowd of students to meet the lost team. Just before they could leave, I asked them to stop, and I put a hand on Tom's shoulder,

"I know your name. You are Tom and you, you are Jim, right? I'm the one who's going to do the final grading, so I'll take care of you, okay? Don't worry, I will take care of you.

"Thanks, Tanya, thanks a lot...umm, do you want me to put my project back on the table? I can put it there now.

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Current Book: "When the Sleeper Wakes" by H.G. Wells
Current Music: "Dhinka Chika" by Mika Singh 


Why I don't like to travel?

People often ask me why I don't travel as much as an average Indian does on his/her stay in the US or any developed country for that matter. People characterize me as too lazy or too nerdy or too stingy to travel and spend money on the pleasure of travelling. Yes, those are some of the reasons I don't travel but then, there's more to it.

Excuse me for my fine art. 
To understand this better, we must first ask ourselves why people like to travel? Why people like to go to new places? Why? The common answer is, "to experience". Yes, that's part of the reason. But the primary reason is to have a "change" in their mundane lifestyle. And there's nothing bad in it, we all want changes in the set boring patterns of life. But the way we experience change, is different. Some people experience change by "travelling" and I kind of do like to do it differently.

I read a book and I travel to the world that may be more beautiful than anyplace in the real world. I read a research paper and I travel to a world that can't be perceived by common sense. In this way, I travel all the time. And did I forget to mention, if you want to classify travel, you can either travel in space or time, or both. Most human beings will do very less time travel (they will live in the present, and enjoy live action all the time, seldom pondering about the past or the future) and their space travel will also be limited to a couple of orders of magnitude in length/distance (when they travel around the world, its some thousands of miles, and when they make love, they move a few inches).

But if you do the kind of travel I do, you can travel to any time period (access historic/science fiction art) or do space travel (study astrophysics for travelling to higher orders of magnitude in distance or pursue quantum mechanics for travelling to much lower orders of magnitude)

We must remember that all of us as living beings, can only experience limited amount of things due to the constraints of mortality. But its entirely up to us, in which direction and to which depth, do we want to travel.

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Current Book: "When the Sleeper Wakes" by H.G. Wells
Current Music: "I Believe" by Agnee, Parikrama and Shilpa Rao

Why Grad Life is Awesome?

Professor X sat staring at me and I could feel myself shrinking down before his gigantic eyes.

"So make sure you pay attention to your second paper. I don't want you to tell me later that this one also came back like the first one."

"Uh-yes, yes, I'm trying my best-"

"Don't try, just get it published."

"B-but, the-the data is not good, I can't help it. And the topic is also not very innovative. But I'm trying my best to write a good discussion on whatever I've got."

"Topic not good? How come Prof. Goswami got so many papers out of it? Did you read them? They've got a bunch of papers on this topic. Don't tell me you can't even get one paper out of it. Don't tell me you can't. All right, see you next week, I've other things to do now. Have the draft ready by then."

Little did Prof. X knew why Prof. Goswami got a bunch of papers on a shitty topic so easily. Following are the reasons:

1. Prof. Goswami is from an AWEsome university.
2. Prof. Goswami has got 400 papers. (Prof. X has got 40 papers.)

Thus, when peer reviewers see the name of Prof. Goswami on a submitted paper, they tremble in fear, sweat in profusion, wet their pants a lil bit, and finally accept whatever comes from the Goswami group of AWEsome university.

That's how academia works.

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What are books? What is music?

Future in Uncertainty

"These are Dark times, that is no denying..." HP7, JKR

As I gear up towards my graduation in the next semester, uncertainty about my future is growing at an exponential rate. Perhaps that's because of my mental disease in which I want to see everything to be planned in a clear and set pattern. If something's not logical and rational, my mind fails to decipher it. And the worst part is, all this world, all this life is inherently illogical, irrational, and unpredictable no matter how many millions of research dollars we spend in modeling the behavior of materials and men. We still get good MS and PhD thesis out of these studies though but I can't say how closer do we get to really understanding everything we want to.

So yeah, I'm not sure what it will be like after my Masters. I remember the quote from The PHD movie, "Life's tough and then you graduate."

I'm thinking probably I might go for a PhD, although often do the toils of other crazy PhD students discourage me, and make me feel that I am too dumb to pursue more of grad. school. But then, even if I do end up encouraging myself to pursue a PhD, I need to find someone to fund me (Of course I don't want to continue with Prof. X, no matter how much he would love to exploit me more) I kinda want to move on.

Move on, yes, I think that's where the whole problem is. I can't stick to a place long enough. It just bores me, tires me. The people around me, I can't stand them any longer, more importantly, they can't stand me any longer. Probably that's the reason why my past is so faint and I've hardly any old contact who I'm in touch with (except a very, occasional few people).

I just can't drag the past with me. I'm too much occupied with the present. But it's the future that I am most worried about.
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Current Book: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" by Mark Haddon (Halfway through!) 
Current Music: Too busy to listen any music

Poor Indian Graduate vs Rich Professor X

# We both sat staring at each other across Professor X's office table, waiting for the other to break the ice. My professor's huge square glasses hung low on his nose and through his unrestrained fiery eyes, he had begun to rupture my soul.

"So...umm...," I attempted to begin our weekly meeting, "did you get my email about the paper?"

"Of course, yes. Of course. I know." He sat still, ready to burst out any moment.

"Uhmm, it was my first paper...I hoped it to go through but...I feel bad."

"I told you. Didn't I? I told you but you never listened to me. You even argued with me, and that's your major problem. You have to do more tests if you want to publish papers in academia. You have to do more and read more."


"Umm, but the reviewers said that its rejected because its nothing new, we need to do something new to be accepted. Actually I don't feel bad now. It was just a bad paper with bad results. My next one would be better."

"No. You should feel bad. It's not about being new. Look at xuxuxu (insert random chinese graduate hero), look at his work and papers. Xuxuxu's project is very common but he still got good papers out of it. You just don't want to work hard. And your attitude is not good. You have to focus. Focus. Otherwise you won't be able to get things done. You're always running after scholarships and fellowships, but you're not so eager for research," Professor X's lower lip quivered intensely as he announced the climax just like pouring whipped cream on lemon cake, "You-you, you have the potential but you never seem to use it."


# So I went and sought some guidance from this old grumpy scientific guy, who's like the only person in the entire department who knows things, and that's what he said to me,

"I know professor X, been working with him since past two decades and I perfectly understand what you're saying. And lately, he's been having a lot of issues with students, I saw that, I saw that and I don't know why. But anyway, if you want to pursue some research that really matters, go and do your PhD under a real doctor. Someone who can teach you how to do things. Not these bunch of people who run this department and do stuff and publish stuff. You know what I mean by stuff?"


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Current Book: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" by Mark Haddon (Yay new book!) 
Current Music: "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley 

On Kicking Ass of Inbox Spammers

I suspect that my silly blog is somewhat getting famous and hence I'm getting promotional spam email. Here's how I dealt with it. The funniest part is that, this spammer chick, actually replied. Although I wouldn't be surprised if it was a smart bot's doing.


Hi Tanya,
I was reading your blog today and wonder if I could get your opinion on a diet/fitness app I am working on ?


For me, I think the main problem with being healthy is motivation. It's an abstract, overwhelming goal. I think the best way to counter this is to turn it into winnable games and small victories.
So… my app makes living healthy, and fitness into a RPG game, where users earn points, and "level up' as they accomplish their health goals. Everytime they add something healthy like veggies to their diet, they earn points. Everytime they complete a workout, they earn points. As they achieve more and more, they'll level up and unlock badges, and discounts/coupons to rewards like spas, health foods, etc.
There'll be challenges, which will get harder as people level up. And it'll follow a certain structure. First will come changing your environment such as getting rid of all junk food. Then, reducing stress, as stress leads to eating comfort food.


The whole point is to turn it into a game so people will rely less on willpower, and more on fun, achievement, and changing our environment.


What's your opinion on this idea? Would you want to know when I'm done with it? If this sounds too silly, or absurd, just ignore what I just said, hehe =)


Best, Christine



Then I replied

Hi Christine!

Sure you can get my opinion! That's what I do all day long, give opinion to people. 

I think your idea is superbly amazingly awesome. I'm a little jealous inside that I didn't come up with it. But anyway, making it an RPG game is what I love the most about it. I would highly encourage you to contact Blizzard and see if they can allow you to make your RPG theme based on Diablo or something. Personally I would prefer World of Warcraft. 

And since you're going to earn a lot of money through this app (and am sure you'll do cause you're already picking out legendary bloggers like me to get the reviews on your app even though your email looks more like spam which I am certainly sure that it is not), you can probably offer Blizzard some royalties in return. 

The only issue that I see with this revolutionary idea is that all those fat people trying to get thin (especially in America), might end up spending more time on your game (sitting too long in one place without exercise would favor fatness, logically speaking) and thus it might defeat your original noble purpose.

I highly appreciate your efforts and wish you good luck in your sublime intentions. Let me know if you need more opinions and keep me posted. 

Regards, 
Tanya

Then she replied again!

Tanya,

Thanks for the thoughts, I'm glad you appreciate the idea :) This app probably won't be a RPG, in the true sense of the word. What it really is it a way to link our real world activities to positive reinforcement, and achievements in the app. They won't be controlling an avatar that explores a world.. in a sense, the avatar is them, and they will be the ones that will be leveling up.

I'll let you know when the site/app is finished, so you can check it out... I won't be done with it until later this year. I know my idea is not perfect, but creating something new that will help some people is exciting stuff! ^_^

Enjoy your week,
Christine

Seriously, people. 

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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft (Some progress :|)
Current Music: "Chammak Challo" by Akon in Ra.one

A Crazy Day in USA

# I was fighting with my professor over an issue as usual and the conversation was now coming to an end. Professor X stood there, looking down at me with a stolid face and fiery eyes, and his lip trembled as he finished our talk with his pet line, "Don't argue with me." 



# I was sick after that incident and went to see the doctor the second time to find out they were not so happy to see my again for something as trivial as sore throat. Little did they know that I had spent the entire last night lying awake and coughing. When the old nurse asked me to remove my jacket to check the blood pressure on my bare arm, my t-shirt revealed a forgotten past of my life as it clearly advertised a gaming competition I had attended a while ago. 

"Oh! You used to play video games?" she asked with lifted eyebrows. 

"Yes...I-I used to play a lot..." I said, unsure of what to say, as pride heaved in my chest. But before I could say or think of anything else, she said something which left me speechless. 

"So, in India, a lot of kids have computers?


# I was at the pharmacy shortly after I saw her to collect my medicine. On the counter parallel to mine, waited an attractive young lady. She had engaged her fingers in straightening the locks of her blonde hair while listening to the chemist across the counter. The only snippet of the conversation that I could eavesdrop during my brief stay was a statement that was issued from the chemist's professional tongue,

"So this reduces the risk to 0.5% and this one reduces it further to 0.1%. But I would recommend you to use this and this, and that, every single day at the same time every time, if you want to avoid a baby at all costs.

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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft (No progress :|)
Current Music: "Intil" by Menomena (Haunting music) (DEDICATED TO ANONY - OH I MISS U) 


As I Lay Dying...

Oh, I am so sick. So, so, so sick that I can't get out of my bed since two days. It's the usual cold/headache/sore throat/fever but trust me it's not that usual as it seems.

I am thinking of all the classes that I'm missing, the deadlines that I'm skipping, the tasty meals that I'm ditching, the precious moments that I'm wasting, the workouts that I'm avoiding; I'm thinking of all the meetings that I'm ignoring, the cute guys that I'm not seeing, the experiments that I'm not performing, the kids that I'm not teaching, the talks that I'm not having; I am thinking of all the pain that I'm suffering, the pills that I'm devouring, the salty water that I'm gargling, the layers of comforters that I'm wearing as I lay dying but most of all, I'm thinking about the stories that I'm plotting.


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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft (No progress :|)
Current Music: "Jal Pari" by Atif Aslam_Coke Studio

Why Indians Are Shy? - Part II

It all began with pizza and pop. I mean the onset of nervousness that spread down my spine the moment the cold gush of diet coke flooded my throat. The warm free pizza helped somewhat but it could not contain the fear of having a sore throat the very evening I had yet another theater audition.

I walked out of the free food event in time and prepared myself and my belongings to leave for the auditions. This time they were held in the main theater of the city and I had guessed right that this time I'd be auditioning on a real stage instead of a small room. After all, this was a bigger play, with a bigger cast, and a bigger chance.


"Hi! Are you here for the auditions? What's your name, let's see. Hmmm, oh, you're quite early! There's still a good hour before your turn. You can fill up this form and chill around till I call ya!" The stage manager faked her excitement very well till the point she handed me the form, and then resumed her whining to her assistant about how long she had been sitting on her desk collecting forms.

This standard protocol was only applicable to me because the rest of the actors and actresses (majoring in fine arts) merely swooped in, exchanged some hugs and old stories with the stage manager and went straight for the auditions with an unearthly confidence while I paced the hallway up and down in sweat, waiting for my turn, and simultaneously wishing I should have been anywhere but there. In my second trip to the bathroom, I decided to stay a bit longer, lured by the solace that it offered and the huge dressing mirror that demanded a final practice before the one in half an hour. I rehearsed the monologues in hushed voices, carefully watching my movement and that of the door lest anyone should walk in by chance and discover me in a theatrical pose sufficiently comical for their next day's gossip about an Indian.

When I entered the auditorium, I found the judge occupying a central place amidst the massive seating capacity,

"Fear not, you'll not die here today!" She could sense the shadow of nervousness that had fallen on my face upon viewing the grandness of the stage.

"I see, you're willing to do any role, hmmm," she continued to make comments as she read the form I handed her, "and this is one of your first times, not a lot of experience, hmmm, well I'd have you read the two monologues that you've prepared, and you can climb up the stage and begin whenever you're ready."

I acted. Slipped up a word in one of them, and then to make it worse, I corrected it by saying the word that was supposed to be in the phrase; perhaps I should have just better gone along with what I said first. But, a certain phrase did invoke a chuckle out of my dear judge which greatly cheered me. I finished and we read out loud a dialogue together, in which I think I did merely okay and not very great as compared to her. My practiced monologues were better. And in the end, when we thanked each other for our times, she said something that made my day,

"You know, it takes a LOT of courage when its your initial trials, and it's good for you, good for you..."

While leaving I asked the stage manager about the statistics of participation and selection.

"About 75% of people trying in would eventually be given some kind of role, it's a huge play."

I had missed my last bus, it was late in night as I took the cold, lonely 3km stretch of a road to my apartment by foot. A single thought invaded my mind, If I don't make into this, I better not fool around anymore. My rejection would mean that there's something seriously lacking in my ability to be on stage in this foreign land. And I was partially convinced that I'd be rejected and why not, when the experience column in my sign up form is often empty. Walking alone in the night, I felt dejected and lost. Nobody misses me or ever did, I mouthed. I tried to thumbs up to the vehicles scurrying along the road in the hope of a lift on that chilly night but nobody paid attention, and it only worsened my state of mind.

When I keyed in to my apartment, dragging those heavy legs to my room, I galloped a glass of milk on the way; undressed myself and crashed straight into the welcoming bed. How long I lied still I can't remember but soon my hand crawled out of the bed, searching for the laptop. Plugging it on, I turned to the only thing that mattered to me in life. The only thing that made me happy, and content, and joyful. And thus, I began to write this post.

EDIT: I got the results and as usual I'm not selected :| This is like the deepest depressing moments in recent months, not to say this massive breakup I've been going through. Hope by next week I'd have got something cheerful to talk about, but I doubt so.

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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft (No time to read :(
Current Music: "Brendon's Death Song" by RHCP (Best!)

Why Editors are Gay?


PLEASE PLAY [THIS SONG] IN BACKGROUND AS YOU READ THIS POST TO FEEL THE ESSENCE OF IT. 


# Unfortunately we will not be able to use this work for _. We receive many well-written, compelling, stories, but can only take a very limited number due to constraints of space and style. We wish you the best of luck in placing your story elsewhere. Thanks again. Best of luck with this.

# Due to the large number of high quality flash fiction, our decisions were difficult to make. Unfortunately, we will not be able to include _ in issue 7, but we truly appreciate your interest in _. Please feel free to submit again. We are able to accept only 4 to 5 flashers a month.

# Unfortunately, we have decided not to accept it for publication. I wish you the best success in placing your story elsewhere, and hope to see more of your work.

# We appreciate the chance to read your poem. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us. Thanks again. Best of luck with this.

# Sadly, I regret to inform you that we are declining acceptance at this time. We enjoyed the work and found many of the ideas you presented interesting, but we don't feel the story is the best fit for _. Thank you again for sharing your work with us and we wish you the best of luck placing this story in another market.

# Unfortunately, I will be passing on _ this cycle. While I appreciate the opportunity to review it, it just didn't grab my attention as well as some of the other stories I received did.  Because my policy is to only accept the stories that will be published for the specific issue I am reading for and not building a back list of stories to be published, I am often forced to reject good stories simply because I don't have enough available slots and other stories just grabbed me more than others. I do hope to see other submissions from you in the future.

# We enjoyed reading it but after careful consideration have decided that we cannot use it at this time. Please feel free to submit other work to us in the future.

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# Congratulations! Guest Editor _ has selected your poem “_” for the Issue X of _ Journal. Take pride in knowing that you are among only twenty writers selected from the hundreds who submitted to this issue.

I am writing to secure the proper rights to publish your poem. But first, a note about payment. [...]


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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft (Since classes have started my reading would be utterly slow but FYI I'm focusing a bit on Romantic Poetry these days)
Current Music: "Sheran Di Kaum Punjabi" from Speedy Singh

Why Indians are Shy?

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It was all in vain. I almost decided not to go and turn back for the eleventh time when I finally found myself standing outside the building where the auditions were supposed to be held. The merciless sun forced me to enter inside. There was still a good half hour left before the auditions for a local play would begin but I could already feel my heart constantly trying to burst out of my chest in a rhythmic fashion. After a final visit to the bathroom, I landed in the corridor where presumably other people like me were waiting for their name to be called. (Not exactly other people like me as they were all 'seasoned' art and theater majors and me just a meager engineering major) I was glad that at least, these auditions were held in private in form of 1 on 1 sessions with the director as it saved me from making myself a fool in front of everyone but on the same hand it was bad to not be able to see how others are doing inside that sacred audition room - where your fate was decided in under 5 minutes.

I paced up and down the corridor slightly avoiding the closed group of all the white students, maintaining my own proximity and wondering if I even looked good, in the first place. Shyness dripped like hot sweat from my soul, it could have flooded the floor if it were as real a thing as I imagine it to be inside us Indians among Goray people. Acting would be a secondary thing but first am I even presentable on stage, among those well figured and chisel faced white theater students? What must they be thinking, what's a brownie Asian doing in here? There's still time, perhaps I can turn back, shove the cellphone up my ear and leave the corridor in pretension of attending some important call. Through the corridor, out the door, into the free and lovely sun, away from the fear of auditions and the nervousness that they brought, I wanted to hide.

My name was called and I went in to feel slightly amused at how pleasantly the director shook hands with me, and made the entire atmosphere so comfortable as if I were his holy guest.

"So which year are you?" His eyes quickly scanned the sign up form I handed him immediately upon entering, but before I could answer he had managed to decipher my scribbling, "Oh I see, a graduate student! Engineering, hmm, interesting."

I only nodded and smiled at this welcome reception, and tried to keep my answers as courteous as possible, nearly failing to hide my nervousness.

"So you were selected at the Shakespeare thingsha kshj Shakespeare thing, nice, yeah I heard about it," he continued to make comments and general questions as he read through the form when ultimately, "Allright. I'll have you read this text for me. This is from the short story _ by _, have you read it before?"

"Yes, yes." I nodded in fresh enthusiasm as I had done my homework, and after two silent readings, I read out loud the given three para's, making sure to stress on the clauses and phrases I considered important. Though I screwed up badly the last clause at the end.

The director replied in a broad smile and said those words (which could be generic and perhaps were being said to every other actor that tried but nevertheless they made me write this post)

"That was lovely. Great, lovely."

And when I thanked him for this, he added, "I will decide the cast by tomorrow but if not for this particular production, I highly encourage you to attend more auditions that are coming up this semester. Would you like me to add your email to the emailing list about those?"

"Yes, please, that would be great. I came to know about this by a lucky accident when I glanced at a clipping in a newspaper that was lying at somebody's else desk yesterday. I'm so glad that I got this opportunity."

"Wonderful! I'm not sure if you can take theater classes while being an engineering graduate but I'd definitely recommend you to get involved with us, the theater department, I'm sure we'll have lot of opportunities for you in coming future," he finished and allowed me to leave out of the room, in sort of a trance, through the corridor, out the heavy door and into the smiling sun, and I didn't know why but all the way back I couldn't stop asking myself how beautiful everyone and everything was.

--------

Now, I am not at all expecting to hear back from them, because I sensed a form rejection there but the good part is I am feeling free, unrestrained from the limits that I had set for myself, and so glad that I did go and auditioned. Because I think I'll have to try, at least a hundred times and perhaps more if I want to succeed. Same goes with all those stories that I send to editors across the globe; I have no other option but to try.

To try, try, try and not feel shy.

And those people who are winning in everything they pursue and getting acceptances where ever they submit themselves or their work, either they are limiting themselves to a too narrow a field or they are the ones who have chosen to play level "easy" in the setup menu of this game of life.

So, are you shy? Or did you try?
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Current Book: "The Call of Cthullu and Other Weird Stories" by H.P. Lovecraft

Why Americans keep running all the time?

Because they are fitness freaks with nothing better to do would have been my natural answer a few months ago, when I used to observe them jogging in the merciless Sun while sitting coolly beside the window of the air conditioned bus, but now I wouldn't say that; this maniac jogging or running at odd times of the day whether it's bright or dark has much more deeper reasons, it gives a rare relief, for when they have ran for a mile and they know their legs won't trot a yard more, they still stagger further in greed, and that's when I believe that relief surges into their nerves, somehow, all the tension that they have been carrying for whole day long is casually forgotten, the sweat that's streaming down their neck and spine behaves as a coolant, the wind that is nowhere to be seen, seems not to blow against their body but instead glides it forward, the world simplifies itself and yields to be conquered, and they loose themselves upon the road, even if that contributes only a few feet in the battle in which they have unleashed their very souls, truly, they morph into some lone warriors pursuing winding and tortuous lanes in search of hidden glory, only if they could carry flaming torches in their hands, more would have joined them, followed them, worshiped them, but I am not going to do that anymore, nor I am going to merely observe or envy them, because, I too, now feel what they have always felt and cherished alone as I too have now begun that daily battle on evening roads, I am now becoming them.

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.


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Current Book: "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf (...)
Current Music: "Sweet Disposition" by The Temper Trap

Why Indians are Weird?

Why Indians are Awesome? is the real title actually. I just chose the other one so as to attract a different kind of audience from Google searches. (Yeah, no, that's not me in the picture.)

I was out with Prof. X for a conference and we were fooling around when I memorized a few snippets of our convo word by word.


1. They pass taunts- Scene 1, Act 1. [Few feet before entering a hotel]

Me: Omg, can't we try some affordable Inn? This looks like a grand hotel.
Prof X: No, this is close to Airport. Let's take this one. That's fine.
Me: (Makes constipated face)
Fat Receptionist: Sorry guys. We have only suits left. No normal rooms.
Me: (Drops jaw to floor)
Prof. X: (Draws out her card) That's fine. Give us two.
Me: (Whispers) But Prof! I don't have that much money. Can't we try someplace else first?
Prof. X: Why? You have money. It's fine, you're out of state, have an experience.
Me: Well, I don't have money. Of course, you have millions of dollars to play with in your project account.
Prof. X: (Makes very pissed off face, and is about to fire me when suddenly)
Fat Receptionist: (Barges in like a savior) Here's your total. How many receipts would you like?

And thus, Prof X. forgot about the taunt.


2. They have Arranged Marriages- Scene 1, Act 2. [At Dinner]

Prof. X: So I heard in Indiya people still do traditional marriages?
Me: (Blushes pink) Y-yes (Blushes red)
Prof. X: Aw really? I thought it was almost obsolete! You mean parents arrange everything for the young ones? (Gasps in shock at my nodding)
Me: It's slowly changing though. But yeah, it's still there. Even I'm going to do an arranged marriage. Nobody loves me :(

Such is my fate.


3. They are Greedy - Scene 1, Act 3. [In the middle of a highway]

Prof. X: So I guess we're done and we will go back to the hotel now.
Me: Umm, but, I-I was thinking if we could...
Prof. X: (Grunt) (Grunt)
Me: (Throat Clearing) I mean, just hang around a bit to see the mountains and all.
Prof. X: You have seen a lot already yesterday, there's nothing much in this deserted place. Let's go ba-
Me: But if we could- (Sobs)
Prof. X: (Grunt) (Grunt)
Me: (Makes most pitiable face in the world) {I'm good at it}
Prof. X: All right. All right. Don't worry Tanja. We have fuel, we have time, we're fine.

And thus my greed dragged Prof. X into quite dangerous one way narrow winding mountain passes.


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Current Book: "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf (NOT FUCKING recommended)
Current Music: "Hotel Room Service" by Pitbull (MARRY ME, PITBULL, PLZ)

Is a Perfect Society Possible?

Can a perfect society exist? Is the existence of a flawless society of humans possible? Well, I ain't got any frikkin' ideah.


So after reading some of the works of 20th century on such political matters (Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451), all of them being set in a futuristic 'deemed-to-be-perfect' societies, I wondered and wondered and wondered at every page I turned. Not only did they remind me of Swift's Gulliver Travels (the work which I think is the true daddy of them all in this aspect),
they made me ask myself the question that I very obscenely pasted into the title of this post.

My answer, to that, would prolly begin by asking the definition of "perfect". Does perfect mean that the happiness index is highest? Or does it mean that the rate of progress in science/art is highest? Because, my humble and idle reader, you must clearly see, that "meanings" of "perfect" are quite contrary to other in terms of parallel sustenance. 'Perfect' being a very mean word on its own. When we're all happy, nobody would bother progressing, and when we're progressive, all of us won't be equally happy. There.

But what I just said, is nothing new. We all know that and also that, that I merely dodged the question (that I myself posed in the first place) in the most hideous and pedantic manner. To answer now, I'd say, it's really hard to have a perfect society. At least the kind of society in which perfect means the way I see it. And the way I see it, "perfect" means so much and encompasses that very much, that by logic, it defeats perfection itself, reaches a state beyond perfection, which I call the perfect-perfection, and so it becomes unattainable, in fact, rather unthinkable.

On our road to perfection, we might begin by dissolving differences, by diluting the variations of color, caste, creed, language - which I believe are foremost in requirements (if there were any) but then how formless or bland that society would be? How plaintive would be the morphology of such a society which has no differences or shades or nuances? But then, in our pursuit of those differences, we pose the risk of losing equality. And even if, we do manage to bring everything to equality, can we really control conditioning (or bringing up of a human) so flawlessly that it achieves our set standards and goals? And if we do, where are we headed? To a brave new world? Oh Lord! Oh Ford!
And so I'd stop the rant, and recommend Thomas More's Utopia for further reading if you really cared and didn't hit the little cross on the top right hand corner so far. For, Utopia is a perfect place and a place that, literally, doesn't exist.

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Current Book: "Sons and Lovers" by D.H. Lawrence
Current Music: Soundtrack from Mel Gibson's "Braveheart"

Swimming is too hard for me

Swimming is impossible for me. I just can't swim. I don't know why.


Swimming is one of those "staying healthy" evil schemes that I adopted this summer along with gym, yoga and other fitness classes. This is the only time that I can even think of such things, as once classes start in the Fall semester, I won't have any time. That's a good thing about studying in US, you get summer holidays. 4 months of summer vacation. But ofcourse smarter people work and earn money during this time. I'm just a fool horsing around.

Anyway, so yeah, I just can't swim. I have tried a few times, my friend who's teaching me, says it will take about 30-40 trials. But that's sad. I was hoping to learn it within 4-5 trials, assuming that I am a super genius and all. Turns out am not. Well, that's not a surprise. Happens with me a lot.

And I hate those shitty little kids swarming in the pool. They are swimming around so perfectly. Like naked little demons with wiggly sharp tails. They make me drown myself with shame - in the shallowest section of the pool. And there are about millions of them in that bloody pool. That's the worst part.

My back, oh Christ, my back, hurts. I have begun to believe now that due to the sins of past (Thanks Mr. Computer) my back has been irreparably damaged, and now it can't arch up the way it's required to in order to be able to be swim. And whenever I try to to be afloat and raise my legs to the water level, the spine yells like it's being tortured by a Chinese (Well, I love them though) and subsequently forces my old body to drown. Breathing under water isn't no chicks game either. Nevertheless, I kept trying.

I wasn't sure till today if any improvement had occurred. But you know what? Today I swam two laps, yeah two complete laps. So you see? You basically need determination, hard work, focus and all that similar kind of crap to be successful in life and of course you need to be a super-awesome genius, about which we both exactly know that how much we're kidding ourselves when it comes to such matters and illusions of grandeur.

(No, am kidding of course. I did swim but with a bunch of air bloated rubber props keeping me afloat. Which, is lame. I still can't do shit in water.)

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Current Book: "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
Current Music: "I will find you" from The Last of the Mohicans.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Really SUCKED Hard


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Really SUCKED Hard:

Yeah, no kidding.

I was too excited and skipping about in my frock, and all prepared to end the decade old legend after refreshing my mind by revising the previous movies (out of which only the third holds some respect in my eyes, rest of them are pretty okayish and don't even get me started on David Yates please), so I bought some costly IMAX tickets and braced myself with some popcorn.

Well, turned out, popcorn were good. They were salty, soft, butter coated, and possessed an amazing instantaneous ability to melt between human palates. And a pretty good deal too, 3 bucks for a large one. What? Movie? Oh yeah, the movie, I nearly forgot about that. It was fine. No wait, which movie you said? Harry Potter one? Oh it sucked. Oh Christ.

It. Sucked.

I don't see why the entire crew continued to make a parody of themselves under the burden of such a huge budget. And JKR? Well, she never really could interfere so we can't blame her I suppose. I mean, all the characters, everyone is passing on POOREST PJ's throughout the movie.

McGonagal, or however you spell that old witch's name, passes a terrible joke "Ooooo I always wanted to cast that spell!" when in a grim atmosphere she awakens the Hogwarts Guardians. And then in the end, Ron is all lewd about the Elder Wand. I mean, I think he's lusty throughout the movie, like a wasted boyfriend dripping saliva around an overly hot girlfriend. An adorable character, brought to such a mess. And then the miserable couple never get tired of kissing each other "Brilliant!" "Brilliant!" whenever they get a chance. Thanks Harry Potter Film people. Thanks.

When I returned home my mouth's taste was so bad (not literally, popcorn was good) I had to wash it off so I watched "The Godfather", and oh my, after that, I totally forgot that I was once so crazy a fan of Harry Potter that I failed my 10th Grade Maths exam because I was reading Order of the Phoenix before the exam because I had borrowed the book from some lame guy who would want it back after the exams end, so that he can read it again a few times in the holidays.

Anyway, in old times, I loved the books, no doubt about that. And fear not, fantasy lovers! 'The Hobbit' is coming soon.

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Current Book: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinback
Current Music: "Give me everything tonight" by Pitbull ft. some other ppl.

How to Read a Classic?


So I have been trying to read some classics these months and my own struggle with those texts made me wonder why not teach people how to read those boring classics.

Well, based on some of the classics I currently read by Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway, Twain etc etc, here are some general points:

1. Always read these classic or difficult texts in the day time or when you have a lot of energy. Do NOT read while going to bed, you won't get anything out of them. Other than sleep, of course. Which, according to me, sometimes, is the best use those garbled texts within dusty cover can provide.

2. Be prepared for a lot of suffering. Like, a lot of suffering and tragedy. Oh wait, no, Twain was hilarious.

3. Most Important: Always be persistent. Perseverance, is the key, my friend. Without that you can't finish half of those goddamn books. Keep reading even if you have no idea what's going on.

4. Based on above point, every great classic has a certain % level after which you really start understanding the things for the first time. For eg, James Joyce's "A Potrait of..." it took about 80% of the book to make me understand what was going on. Faulkner's both books I read (As I lay dying, The sound and the fury), took 50% before they could get me. So keep going, keep reading, you will, at some % of book finished, get the things.

5. And if all else fails, you can always read Wikipedia. That's okay.

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Current Book: "Lolita" By Vladimir Nabokov
Current Music: "E.T." by Kate Perry

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