Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conversations I miss

The brother, to me, a couple of months ago:
People quote Voltaire, Shakespeare, and all sorts of great writers. You? You take pride in quoting Friends.

My aunt can be somewhat... decisive. She makes all these plans, and then just gets everyone to follow through. It's quite awe-inspiring, the way my relatives who're otherwise quite decisive themselves just give in when she gets going. The clan got together a while ago for a Sunday brunch, and she was railroading people into doing things her way as usual, while her husband watched with a resigned expression on his face.
Me: I think I'm going to be just like Mashi when I grow up.
Uncle: Good God.

The mother informed me some time back that the father and she had been having discussions of great importance:
Her: Your father and I were talking, and we have come to the conclusion we are now a middle-aged couple.
Me: Umm, hello? I've been calling you buddha-buddhi for ages now.
Her: Yes, but now we have realised it.

A friend, who we shall call J. A., started working in a school as a school counsellor. The younger classses were manageable, she tells me, but she went through utter stress the day she had to meet the 16-year-old brats from Class XI for the first time. So what does she do to break the ice? Introduce herself in the following manner:
My name is J. A., and I am not a terrorist.
I kid you not.

On the other hand:
Father: Why did you go to the eye doc if you aren't going to put those drops?
Me: I didn't know he'll give me drops to put!
He was not amused. :-|

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stayin' sane

I haven't been happy with the last I-don't-know-how-many blog posts I've churned out. They said what I wanted to say, but not how I wanted to say it, if that makes sense.

Part of it, I think, comes from my desire not to let a almost-two-month-long break from blogging happen again, like it did last year. (Of course, part of it could also be that people have simply stopped commenting or even rating my posts, but I'd like to believe I'm not so dependent on external feedback.) One of my hopes for this year was that I would write more. But somehow, that's not happening - not the way I wanted it to. Even my presence on twitter has reduced dramatically ever since I quit the job - apparently I need a regular structure to my days and something to distract me from for that to happen. So whenever I have something to say, I go ahead and say it without really paying much attention to how it's coming together. Which sucks.

In Orientation earlier this month, the Second Years repeatedly emphasized how crazy the next two years are going to be, with no time to breathe, or anything. As one SY put it, "you'll suddenly realise it's been three months since you spoke to your brother, or emailed your best friend." Eeks. Their point, however, was that all of us need to identify what's important to us, and make sure we block time to do that, be it daily, or weekly, or whatever.

At the time, I wasn't sure what those things would be for me, except for probably keeping in touch with people back home, which honestly, isn't really an option ever since I bought this BlackBerry. But over the last few weeks, I've realised it's this. Blogging. Tweeting. Reading blogs.

This month, while hectic, has been much easier than what things will be like come September. So far, I've managed to make time to go through Google Reader every day and check into Twitter once in a while. Because that's what keeps me sane, I've realised. It's often my only way of even keeping up with what's happening outside this campus. So I need to make sure I keep this up somehow.

And as far as my writing is concerned, well, I'm not going to say I intend to stop blogging altogether till I feel the perfect post come out - that could take pretty much forever, wot? But I do hope those feelings of satisfaction and output that blogging used to give me come back soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ow :(

In the six weeks that I was made to get a tetanus booster shot, I have:
  • cut a vein on my left hand (one day after getting the shot) while trying to get something off a glass shelf at the pharmacy;
  • given myself a four-inch long cut on my right forearm merely by holding a plastic folder;
  • burnt myself at least twice while cooking;
  • nipped my finger while cutting vegetables;
  • scraped my shoulder while scaling a freaking wall;
  • banged my right hand against hard wood;
  • stubbed my toe on a weekly basis; and
  • given myself sundry paper cuts, all at least half an inch long.
Those last two, admittedly, are no uncommon incidents in my life. But the rest of it? The eleven years between my last tetanus booster shot and this one were not this eventful in such a compact period of time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

International conversations

So I'm an international student, don'tcha know? And while most of the conversations over the past three weeks have been about what we all were doing before B-school, and what we plan to do after this, there's also a lot of interest in my background.
You've never lived in the US before? How come your English is so good?
I'm sort of taken aback by how many times I've been asked this question. Yes, my English is probably better than the average Indian, but I'm just so used to having spoken it all my life, that it startles me every time someone asks me this question.
Classmate: What's the time difference between here and India?
Me: Ten and a half hours.
Classmate: Oh yeaaaaaah, you Indians have that funny "and a half" thing going on.
I had not realised this was such an unusual occurrence. Really.
Oh you're Indian! I love Indian food! Chicken tikka/ Butter chicken is awesome! You must make it for me!
Because y'know, Indian food is pretty much entirely made up of what you get in Delhi and Punjab. For the record, I have never cooked a chicken dish in my life. My specialities have just recently expanded from Maggi and Knorr soups to include pastas. Indian food - of any region - remains a distant goal. Except arhar dal. I make awesome arhar dal.

A conversation yesterday was interesting though. I was again asked how I'm finding the transition, and I again responded that it's really really quiet. And a classmate told me, "But you know, coming here, to a small town like this, will probably tell you so much more about the real US than going to any of the cities in the North East would. Those cities are too cosmopolitan. This is the real America."

And it struck me, that's quite possibly true. If my classmates came to India and visited me in Delhi, got introduced to my friends, saw Mumbai and Bangalore, would they get a sense of the real India? We, the "urban", English speaking, Indians can afford to travel around and get the kind of exposure we do - we are a minority, aren't we? And we - at least I - tend to forget that.