Thursday, October 11

Annie

She entered our lives as a tiny white ball of fur who would whine and poop all day, having just been separated from her mother. We never really got her to potty train completely, nor did she learn to shut up when asked. Unsurprisingly, she fit right in with our family.

As utterly clueless owners, we probably made many mistakes over the years, but the delight in her now glaucoma-ridden eyes whenever one of us would come home was unmistakable. It was the best part of coming home, but I guess she had to go home some day too.

I guess I'm now one of those people who tear up randomly during conversations. Miss you, very much.

Thursday, March 22

The Finer Things

Of late, every gathering I've been to has had their conversations unknowingly directed to Facebook posts. A somewhat suspect video of children fighting wars in Africa whose welfare depends on their views on YouTube. A clever cartoon that achieves the "What oft was thought, but never so well expressed" yet again. Some not-so-subtle attempts at shoving in the faces of their 1134 friends, photos of that one time someone went skydiving and thought they found their moment of zen. A furious post about Football from someone who hasn't kicked a ball since pre-pubescence. Or just a clever one-liner to harvest tiny doses of dopamine that show up as red icons on blue bars. Sometimes even a cryptic cry for help. Friends, acquaintances, gadflies, Shes and ex-Shes, distant cousins and more distant ex-best-friends-forever. Everyone shouting from their digital rooftops, clamoring for attention.

I'm very much guilty of most of these crimes. But I'm trying to quit this habit of constant consumption, this addiction of instant gratification, of tl;drs, likes and upvotes, of artless flirtation through emoticons. I go for long walks, consuming only music and fresh air. I sit on the grassy hillock across the library and read a book as sparrows around me chew on cigarette butts. I went to a concert and spent three continuous hours standing, first amazed by the dexterity of the musicians, then by the excitement with which some of those present appreciated the barely audible words which carried little meaning. I might even hazard a trip to the art museum.
Or not. As much as I enjoy these little jaunts into the appreciation of the finer things, I never quite get the same joy as I do in dulling down the senses with reruns of Friends or Frasier or Die Hard. As I down the fourth slice of pizza with ice-and-coke, I realize consumption is the one thing I'm good at.
As is most of my generation. Brought up with Gameboys in one hand and WWE cards in the other, we are defined by the mass-produced products of our times. Slowly turning into Xeroxes of each other, climbing ladders of conformity, feeding off arbitrary standards of achievement as we work in gray cubicles on gray computers, admiring the glow of the half bitten apple. It's easy to get along with people now, because we're all the same. But it's harder to fall in love. There are no eccentricities, no rough-edges which fit perfectly sometimes and hurt deeply at others. Perfectly round spheres of brushed aluminium (much like our laptops), jostling past one another in hopes of the great Pacific and the tranquility that comes with it, not knowing the hopeless disappointment of being one amongst the many, none amongst the many.

Thursday, September 15

That post again

It can't be good that I feel like blogging again. There has to be a correlation between the size of your to-do list and the attractiveness of that New Post button. Ab aaya hoon to kuch likh kar hi jaoonga.
So. After all the visa-related drama, here I am. Even the suspicious looking ground coriander made it through customs. Yes, here I am. Finally doing computer science. Trying to get used to having books around and having to read them. Cooking your own meals and swallowing your pride after. Being blown away by super-cool professors repeatedly. Realizing that you live in a small town that exists because a university was constructed on top of a hill in the 1700s which also happens to be the country's oldest public university.
There's not much to say yet. Except for a few low-quality photographs of random places, there's not much to show either. I did manage to get a haircut that could land me Gollum's role, but I'll let that go without being photographed.
I don't know why I started writing. I think I miss something but I can't tell what. It's hard to place, like a deja vu. Let me know if you get hiccups.

Monday, May 23

War on Error

Rapu says 2011 is a good year. A lot of good things did happen- McK fell for Lefty's boyish charms, Midha wooed A, Chaukanna was FMS-ed, Bansi and hopefully The Hulk will be in LBS soon. A bunch of people graduated with a Master's- Doggy wrangled a PhD from UTA, Chatter ditched FB for Quora, Rapu will probably teach the French a thing or two about food. EE junta took so many ranks at IES, I'm slightly afraid the Bumps Blitzkerieg of our first year will return. Then a sizable bunch quit or switched jobs when they finally ran out of tv series to pass time. I got Adobted, and later got two MS admits and an interview at Facebook's HQ. What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently, the very thing I took for granted. In a world where Vogon descendants haven't taken over the governments of the world, you would imagine getting a visa for a 1 week trip to interview for an American company wouldn't be a big deal. But Gaddafi's eyewear wouldn't be more wrong than you. Turns out, even if you are interviewing for a job in the heart of Silicon Valley, you are supposed to feign disinterest and say "Meh. I'm just going there for an interview. Won't take up a job or anything. Chillax.". I being the callow, small-town software engineer, decided it's best to tell the truth and answered a resounding Yes when asked if I would work there after the interview. Now, I assumed it was obvious, to a Visa Officer at least, that I would have to get a work visa before I could work there. Turns out, this was a bigger mistake than assuming OBL was in Afghanistan. My visa was rejected, and then re-rejected because even a letter from FB's lawyers couldn't budge a woman's resolve against logic. Now here's the cherry on the cake, if the cake is the cake promised by GLaDOS. Turns out, when you apply for a student visa, you still have to somehow convince them you won't look for work in the US. And I have already been rejected on grounds that I said otherwise. So, in all likelihood, I will be denied the student visa as well and that will be that for my plans on taking over the world and making it compulsory for every store to carry Milkbikis.

Somebody suggested I fly to Mexico and cross the border, and that sounds just about as sane as anything else right now.

Saturday, October 16

Pensieve

Are we born tiny and grow up or do we crumble away slowly with age?
As if parts of me choose to linger around certain memories, reluctant to move, like a child gaping at a toy he can't have. They pull back with need. I walk with caution, trying not to unearth a hidden memory. I walk into the desolate sands of dead habit where the only acceptable emotion is indifference. The mounds of dry earth keep shifting shapes but stay the same. I am free, alone and happy. But sometimes when I least expect it, it rains. And when it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, October 5

The Graduation

If I could design my own course for masters, this would be it:

  • Math
    1. Discreet Math: What they did not tell you in FIITJEE
    2. The Netherworld of Number Theory: Why iota can't get real
    3. LaTeX isn't rubber

  • Computer Science
    1. The Curse of Cormen: These algorithms will haunt you
    2. Harried Programmer and The Deadly Data Structures
    3. Operating Systems: Original Sin?
    4. Databases: Meet Little Bobby Tables

  • Quizzing
    1. Mythology: Epic Mistakes
    2. Sports: You can lose more than chicks
    3. Entertainment: How to make TV pay
    4. Wikipedia, IMDB and a pinch of salt

  • Language
    1. How to evade Grammar Nazis
    2. Pre-Rhyme: Preventing poetry before it happens
    3. Eternal Sunshine: Unlearning the GRE vocabulary
    4. in2 da mYnD f dA tXtR

  • Music
    1. Nomenclature: Drug references for noobs
    2. Lyrics are for lame-os
    3. How to deal with a Justin Bieber fan

  • Social Studies
    1. Family on Facebook: Avoiding e-embarrassment
    2. Blogger's Flatulence: How to STFU
    3. Skype your relationship
    4. Schrodinger's LOLCAT: The Anatomy of Memes