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Having Lost My Powers… I Write


nostalgia

There was a time… There was a time when world around was simpler and more beautiful. Unfortunately, it seems that the world has changed while remaining static. There was a time when I was in Kindergarten and cried the hell out during an exam just because I just ‘didn’t feel like’ writing the exam. I forced the teachers to call my mother (our home was a two minutes walk away). As she stood outside the class, I forced her to come inside in the exam time, held her hand tight and said…

Haan… Likhiye… Likhiye na… Main bol raha hoon, aap likhiye… (Ya… Write… Write no… Write as I say)”

Tum likho na… Exam hai… main kaise likhoongi? (You write… It’s an exam dear… I am not supposed to write in the exam)”

Uff!! Mera haath dard kar raha hai… Aap likhiye… Likhiye… A… P… P… L… E… Likhiye na… Dekh kya rahe hain? (Uff! My hands are aching… You write… Write… A… P… P… L… E… Write no… Why are you looking at me?)”

Those were some moments that shall be cherished forever. Once I declared that elephant is a bird… Well not my fault… An animated cartoon series showed a flying elephant… and as we all know… ‘Anything that flies is a bird’ and so elephant – which flew – was a bird… Simple! 🙂

Another instance which I remember was when our school teachers gave us homework to ‘write all the English alphabets five times each without looking (bina dekhe)‘. Now the ‘without looking’ meant not to turn overleaf where the alphabets were already written (as classwork) and write them out of memory. But being a very ‘obedient’ kid in the class, I took the words ‘without looking’ literally and there you go… I sit on my bed, with my eyes towards the ceiling, probably closed, trying to write the English alphabets five times each in my ‘four-lined note book’ (I hope you remember them… Don’t you?)

And today in my hostel room, I recall those memories. Golden days. Days which define a natural, carefree, unrestricted life. One in which words like personal, private, ego, deceit and dishonesty don’t crop up. There was nothing to hide back then. When happy, we would laugh our hearts out, when sad we would cry as if hell has broken loose, and when angry we would swear never to talk to that person again at his face.

Those were the days… Today when happy, we no longer laugh, we are grown-ups, we smile; when sad, we no longer cry aloud, we are grown-ups, we sob silently inside a pillow; and when angry at someone, we no longer shout off at his face, we are grown-ups, we remain silent, let the anger grow and ultimately seek revenge.

Oh we do a lot more as grown-ups. We start having our personal lives (oh god… I hate this word so badly). We make a point not to intrude into ones personal space (you see, the same thing has two names) and get outraged if someone breaches our privacy (now it has three names).

But yet in this grown-up world we try to preserve our childhood via friends. Well my definition of friends is a very strict one… Friends… a group of people where ‘good morning’ or any general salutation is replaced by… well… you know what. A group of people who fight so hard that they forget that they are friends. A group of people who care about each other in ways unspeakable, who share joys in ways indescribable, who share tears in ways inaudible.

I have always been extremely selective about friends. But yes, I do make friends, the real good friends. But sometimes… just sometimes big words like ‘personal space’, ‘personal life’, ‘privacy’ seem to mist the transparent air around. Those times, I seem to loose my childhood, I seem to loose my power to make friends – real friends; and in those times I write…

Looking Back in the Flow of Time


time-warp

Well this post marks the approximate anniversary of my blog (1 year and 15 days to be precise). And as on this day I look back in time, I have to admit, it has been a long time… I remember the day when I wrote the first post “The Mound of the Dead“, I had no idea that this blog will last so long. All I had in mind was a set of posts on the then recent Gujarat tour that one of my friends Subhradeep and myself had just completed. Thanks to his superb camera and brilliant photography skills I was able to add some gibberish of my own and bring out a ‘something’.

I was convinced that that blog won’t live for long. Reasons… Firstly I had no idea what to write… and secondly I had no idea that a physics student can write something which the ‘general people’ could read. No seriously… sometimes we ourselves are amused by the amount of ‘Dirac Deltas’, ‘Considers’, ‘If…then…else’ that have entered into our colloquial conversations. So I was convinced that writing was not my cup of tea.

That was a day… And this is another day. I never thought that I would make ‘friends’ with people across the globe. (And yes, my friends are jealous about it). Now wordpress has become more of a coffee house to me unknown people meet and become so close to heart that their problems seem to be our own. I can’t help but name some of the most amazing people I met in this virtual world. These will surely remain one of my dearest friends even beyond the blog…

Dietlind Wagner… The first one to comment on the blog and an amazing artist who lives in her wonderful little world of puppets.

White Pearl… My first friend from our neighbour from from the west ;). Amazing, cute, wonderful yet confused personality and a brilliant writer. She claim to be as worthless as a grain of sand, but names herself ‘White Pearl’. See I told you… confused personality. (Sorry Sister :P)

Maria Imran… Amazing writer, amazing poet and amazing artist. Currently appointed as my Urdu teacher ;).

Mekala Rodrigo… Brilliant photographer and my travel guide (in future)…

Sharmishtha Basu… With her short poems which go straight to the core of the heart.

And the list could continue but the clock is ticking past. And I have to rush to catch a bus.

The journey till now has been great
What about the future? We have to wait…

Thank you my readers for being with me and thank you WordPress for letting me me meet these amazing people friends.

Sharodiya Shubhechha (Autumnal Greetings) to all of you… 🙂

Hostel in Exam Mode


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Well, my exams are just over; and I am one of the lucky ones to enjoy this luxury so early. (And I can see my friends giving me that envious look). Although the education system of India has made us extremely habituated to this periodic ritual of exams; they are still a distinctively special event. Even before you enter the hostel, you would be able to tell if the hostel is in its ‘exam mode’. Here are some features of this grand event of ours.

1. Night Canteen: Inevitably the sales of the night canteen increases at least 10 folds. After all late night studies imply a continuous supply of glucose to the brain cells. And hence night canteens become our place of pilgrimage. Add on that the amazing sight and aroma of bakery products. How can one resist?

2. Philosophy of Life: Another universal fact. Creativity of brain increases to its maximum. The only problem is that creativity increases in a direction that is never evaluated. Brilliant questions arise – “What is Life?”, “Why do we exist?”, “Is this world real”, “What if it is just a mirage?”, “What is the real use of studies?” – And brilliant answers accompany too. But alas! none of our subjects offer us credits on these questions. An open challenge to all professors reading this… Ask us the ‘real’ questions and check our real brilliance.

3. Coffee: This one does not need elaboration. The formula is pretty simple: The more you drink coffee, the less do you sleep; the less you sleep, the more is the opportunity to study. (Note: Creating opportunity to study is totally unrelated to amount actually studied – read the next point)

4. Movie Time: With a plate of pastry in your reach, a mug of coffee in you hand and the most philosophical questions in mind, how can one expect to study? The most obvious option at hand is… VLC player. Thanks to the technology. Well, we try to be earnest. “Only this scene. Promise!” But we all know, promises are made to be broken, right?

5. The Slang: Well, this and the next points are censored. What does that mean? Reader’s discretion is expected Please read them more carefully. The use of figures of speech of our colourful hostel language – slang, swear words and curses – is intensified. Why? Simple. Anger and frustration do need a way out. And in the line of fire come the professors, the subject, the author of book, the founders of the subject and obviously our own dear friends.

6. The Smoke and Booze: The ultimate motivation. And my persistent, humble no. However, no description of exam time can be complete without these two companions of ours. 🙂

No matter how much, we hate exams, the fact remains that exam preparations in hostel are an experience of their own. And for me, they would surely be one of the most cherished periods of my hostel life.

“So my dear room-mates… Studying for the exams? With a coffee mug in hand and a movie on the lappy? Good! Please continue… ;)”

Pearls of Memories as I Depart…


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Pigeons which sing

Peacocks which dance

Petals of love

Perfumes by chance

Purple dreams of

Pleasant tomorrow

Prosperous moments

Parting with sorrow

Purity of e​motions

Patience of mind

Peace of heart

Prosperity hard to find

Poems of joy

Portraits of strife

Pictures of bliss

Painting of life

Pearls of memories

Pleasures of rain

Peers and friends with

Promises of meeting again

Painful memoirs of

Poignant distress

Peppered on which lies

Priceless success…

This poem was written long ago for a guest post on Sakshi’s Blog
Forgot to post it on mine then… 😛

In the Hunt of an Internship


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Welcome to IISER Kolkata’s APC Roy Boys’ Hostel – housing 300 of the brightest minds of the country in a 3 storied – 2 winged building. Here you would find the marvelous gray matters doing everything but studying. There are many interesting aspects to the life at APC Roy like the ‘ultra-mechanized’ students’ canteen, the bathroom singers and the colorful language of ours… Not to forget the frequent and regular ‘snake encounters’. This feature is unique to our hostels. Since our arrival here, we have been acclimatized to seeing snakes to an extent that now we seemingly don’t fear them (probably it is the other way round). People say that the life must be great as we are the holders of the largest scholarship in the country. But alas they miss out one of the vital pains of our hearts – The struggle to hold on to the scholarship…

Early August: Session begins

Summer Vacations have ended… People sharing experiences of the ‘research projects’ they underwent – well theoretically. In reality…

SDG: Dude! That is what you call a beauty… Smoking Hot! I’m telling you, she’s going to be mine within weeks… Just wait and watch

MP: Don’t tell me… I have heard it time and again. Give me a break…

SDG: No man this time it is serious… Just wait and watch…

AS: Great man! I see determination in your voice!

SDG: Don’t you?

AS: Sure… So when is the treat?

SDG: In the next life… You moron!

Late August to Early September

This is when the heat rises… the hunt for internships begin. We need to do an internship each year to extend out fellowships. But as it always happens… there is a small problem… who will take us?

AS: So, what about next year?

SDG: Hmm… Would have to apply again! What the hell! Not again!

SG: Why now? Relax… We have just finished one…

MP: We have to hurry up… don’t want to be in a hurry like the last year.

September to March

This is the peak time for applications. The process starts off by a careful selection of mentors: their work, profile, availability etc. Everyone starts with high hopes. As usual there are a few lucky chaps who get their internships early and as usual… this puts on additional pressure on the rest of them. Time passes by and down go the hopes as each one awaits a single positive response. Those lucky are envied. Mails are sent more frequently and (more importantly) more randomly. Terms of friendship change…

MP (as usual peeping through the window): Any mails as yet? (Mail=Positive Response)

SDG: There is one I received, but it says that the lab is full…

MP: Heard that SP has got one…

AS: What the… Why always him? UM has got one too… SM is deciding between Stanford and Max Planck…

SDG: As usual, I am doomed…

MP: So am I, 50 mails; 2 responses; both negative

SDG: What the hell do they write to get one?

AS: I don’t understand why the Profs don’t reply? Do they ever read the mails or do they filter out all our mails?

One fine day when AS lazily was strolling outside his room; SG literally comes running to him and jumps onto him with ecstasy…

SG: Got it! Got it! A positive response from Caltech!

AS (with an expression too weird to describe): That’s great! Fantastic!

SG: I was browsing hopelessly for a professor somewhere, as all of a sudden my mailbox shows of this new new mail… Yippee…

AS: Well done man!

AS returns to the room with a hung face; and declares

AS: SG… Caltech…

MP (who has not got an internship yet): Oh no! Not Caltech! How can he… I mean… SG is going to CALTECH???

SP (who has got one): OK, that’s fine… What is the fuss all about?

AS: Shut up you moron!

One of the most pathetic situation is that of a person whose both the room-mates are going abroad and he is struggling hard to get one even within the country. Amidst all the mutual discussions of the visa process, air tickets and dreams of the foreign land; the one on the receiving end finds himself in an ocean of utter discomfort. Helplessly staring as a deer, he turns to one who never disappoints him – the pair of earphones – and tries to shield himself from the ‘noise’ (although he nostly doesn’t succeed…). At this moment it is only natural to realise the truth of the famous dialogue from the movie 3 idiots

Agar dost fail ho jaye to dukh hota hai… Par agar dost first aa jaye to aur jyada dukh hota hai…

Although the emotions, the disappointment and the disgust is only transient and temporary, one gets the true feeling of restlessness as he journeys through…

I feel I will miss these days when I pass out. This hunt has taught us a lot… How to write mails – LOTS OF MAILS; How to negotiate; What does it mean to try desperately and above all How does a hard earned success feel like…

Disclaimer

All the people named here are very very good friends of mine. The article is an earnest attempt to bring a smile on your face and is meant to be taken in good humour. No inferences whatsoever must be drawn on the nature, character etc. of all those named (if you ever get to know their real names).

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