Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cutting chai

Let's shoot the breeze, then


First off, Sharan, my love, Happy Birthday!! May the year ahead be full of books, sexy men who read them and some beams of enlightenment in context of grad school. Sharan's exact birthdate in December: unknown; her current geographical location: unknown, time and place that I might possibly meet her next: haha, unknown; love and wishes for her: tons!


What is happiness? Happiness is to be in your hometown, holding your sweetheart's hand, and eating your favorite food.

-The Bathing women
Tie Ning 


I'm back for my annual Bombay darshan. Not one atom has budged out of place in the incredibly long year that I have been away. Anyone in grad school will know that feeling. The days are long and the months are short. While you ponder over the chasm of what you were supposed to accomplish and what actually happened, it's time for 20 hours in squashy airplanes and then home.

This time, we landed in Pune, not Bombay. Same balmy, pollution infused scent on getting out of the aircraft though. Driving down the expressway at 5 am in the morning, these are the things I had missed: steep hilly roads and massive trailers bearing down on you, coconut trees and mountains in the distance. A palpable sigh of relief at leaving those ghastly flat corn fields and snow behind.

Terrain wise, everything is up and down as always. My mom and aunt can' t help laughing over my effusive and poetic odes to the food they cook. I lavish more words and love on a perfect chappati than I have on them. No longer having a room or a bed in my own house, I have taken to squatting in Jenni's room. EVERYONE I have met has commented on my weight. Giggles about how I should think about marriage soon. I parry, duck, dive and smirk my way out of things and I'm invited over for food everywhere. I have sorely missed all this natak for a while now. 

Had a bad flight experience coming here. Completely redeemed by the best travel companion ever :* :* :* Yahan pe bhi PDA, P :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Muchi!

Yeah, we still do birthday posts. There is no shame in this.
Happy Birthday Beloved. You have gained some years and lost some morals. Nothing new this year then :)
Muchi wanted me to grace the occasion of her (unnamed) birthday this year. Being her best friend in the whole world but also a bit of an ass, I wasn't able to make it. But as I do every year, Im sending her the most beautiful (and also completely free) gift of love.
Dude, we are that wala age now. I dont know if we achieved everything we wanted to. By some miracle, we still have each other and that makes me feel pretty darn awesome.
Ill see you on the other side of the hill,
Love and all that,
Not in you know what sense,
P:S: Her hair is still out there for those who haven't seen her in person lately :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

These are not the droids you are looking for

Dear America,

I am done with your consumeristic heart and your Black Friday's. I will leave you again for a month long stint in India, where the vegetables are tiny, but real. I hate writing with an audience in my head. 
I really do. Hence, I write for a blog that no one reads. Writing is a good escape from long days and weary thoughts.
I want to go home.
But. I don't want to take my messy little head with me. With it's unruly hair that the humidity will fuck up and it's jumble of thoughts that ruminate on and on.
I am very. Restless. Yes, that is what I am. Something, or someone, must happen soon.
I realized that our little Apeejay School trio is all aboard on the PhD bandwagon. Well. ladies, who would have thunk? Except Suchi, but she is sort of doing one, in her own special way. Cue, ironic laugh, perfected over many conversations. 
I write with emoticons. I am that person.

Jiro, as in Jiro dreams of Sushi tells us that we can never go back. I agree with all my heart. There is no going back. Not to Bombay, not to Gainesville, not to perfect relationships. Bye bye love, Hello uncertainty. There are only friends who walk with you from one place to the next. A mobile home of sorts, since you no longer have a real geographic destination to call home anymore. 

Babe, I'm gonna leave you.

-Led Zeppelin

Read this. If you are in your twenties, your career is presently an inside joke and you get mad at the world sometimes, just read it. 

The F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme song. I am living it every day.

Will anybody be around in Bombay this December? I will buy you beer, I promise. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bee jesus

Been thinking about Jesus in context of culture, a religion I barely follow and how much I like all his ideas about just loving each other, everything said and done.
The way he is portrayed in our world today stymies me a little though. As a Catholic in India, you are exposed to all manner of Christian themed items. From glow-in-the-dark St Michael and candles shaped like body parts that you wish to be healed, one has to take it in one's stride. Turns out, Jesus, in statue and picture form, must suffer many indignities.
My mom wants an "authentic wooden crucifix for our altar where Jesus's face looks serene, not tortured". So of course, I amazoned it, and man, I feel bad for that saintly man. Why must they give him abs? Come on, why? And the entire array of facial expressions is ah, amusing, when it should really not be.
A discussion ensued on the lines of Cross:Jesus body ratios and the exact expression on his face. I want to make my mum happy. This is going to take much touring of religious stores and whatnot.

Turns out the feast of Our Lady and Ganesh Chaturti share a happy congruence this year. The family is partaking of Modaks and that awesome Ginger candy that you only find in Bandra during the fest. Whenever I miss all of these (festivals, family, food), it always originates from somewhere in my suddenly-too-hot-throat and my miserably hollow tummy.

Catholic guilt makes me wonder if that first bit is borderline blasphemy?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Suddenly something

Do men, like their Pokemons, ever evolve?


Since my writing mojo skunked off and died a very noisy death on this blog many aeons ago (I have finally accepted that nothing I do is ever going to quiet, is it ?) , I'm going to try something new today. A picture post. Yes, an iphone entitles one to shamelessly photograph mundane things in astonishing clarity. In HD and Panorama and what not. Being a very garden variety photographer and abhorring Facebook, I want an outlet for some of the pictures that I have taken.
This is where a much abused blog stepped in. Since I can be embarrassingly cloying here, I will go ahead and do that.
So remember how much I detest the American Midewest? It is like Nagpur, only with plumply corn fed girls instead of those flat chested, Scooty riding women. Such a good metaphor there :) But entirely wasted on one who has not faced the rigors of NIT Nagpur.

I blabber.

Anyway, not all is sad and boring here. A year is a long time and I have made many friends, had miserable but fortifying life experiences and sampled some Butter Chicken locally. I seem to have a picture of all these highlights that redeem West Lafayette for me in small ways. Pardon the terrible pictures; I am to photography, what Christopher Paolini was to writing. Cringingly amateurish and heartbreakingly sincere.

1. The best breakfast ever. Has anyone ever made you breakfast at 7 am in the morning on a cold winter morning? And made a Beatles playlist to go with it? I think this sort of thing is the Holy Grail in life.

2. Pigging out in Chicago with these guys :) I have no suitable platform to post, an ahem, selfie on.

3. Lots of flowers that would never grow had only Mother Nature been assisting them. It takes an army of immigrant gardeners to make these ridiculous flowers bloom endlessly. There are also some fearless bunnies inhabiting them.

 4. And if course, this city.


Other than that, graduate school is severely neurosis inducing. 7 months have passed since I stepped into lab and it already feels like I just hit 30. Or some old age like that.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blue frog

Can't take Bombay out of the girl, eh?

Chal, sordid confessions on this much neglected blog. I just spent an hour stalking Ashish Shakya's blog (and then, well, him). Why did I not know about him yet? Dude can write.
Apparently there is a place called Blue Frog that seems to be very happening in Bombay and thus I must go there in December. We have a stand up comedy scene now it seems (glory hallelujah, I predicted this years and years ago). Who can tell me more ?

I cannot believe I am missing all this. In my sappy adolescent years, I think two coherent sentences in English were enough to pause all activity and give the guy speaking them a good look over. Remember those intense passionate crushes of that time and age? Mine were men whose names I had only ever seen in print, followed by satisfying lines of awesomeness. All these JLT influenced loves (RIP, my beloved paper I still miss you), Tanmay Bhat, Rohan Joshi and so many others. They are still our there. OMG :) :) Fangirl screams.

I guess I am reduced to second and third hand versions of everything till I finally descend down there in December.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hello, my old heart

How have you been?
Are you still there inside my chest
I've been so worried, you've been so still
Barely beating at all
Dont leave me here alone
Dont tell me how we've grown 
Having loved a little while

-The Oh Hellos

This then, ladies, is my song for the summer. Which is yours? This summer? And of summers past? Everybody should have a song that pulls the summer together in one screeching wave of glaring sunlight, green lawns, all the books you wanted to read and did not and the person you were crazily in love with that summer.

What's the what :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer just walked in

The best damn thing:
1. Boys running in short short summer shorts.
2. Watermelon slices with ice.
3. Sweaty badminton matches in the parking lot.
4. Black storks flying in a blue sky.
5. Sunlight warming patches on your hand.
6. Hot tea outside the cafe with Murakami.
7. Dancing in stifling rooms to foreign songs.
8. Swimming pools.
9. The boys again? Why must they run endlessly like this?
10. Ribbons of highway in the afternoon stretching ahead of your car.
Summer is coming :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kal exam hai

At 24, if you are still writing and worrying about Finals, there is something messed up about your life. Having accepted this with much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments(it IS summer afterall), I am not studying for Biostatistics. There.
As we transition from winter directly into blazing Dermi cool demanding garmi, here's a quote that sums up my present life:
"Like a hibernating bear awoken from a long winter's sleep, I too lumbered my way outdoors and ate a lot of unsuspecting edible objects"True that.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cardinal directions

Directions matter in the USA. The don't talk about mere lefts and rights here. There is always a "head south " a "northwest of three blocks down something or the other". I have always been faintly afraid of left and right. There's always a nano second of panic when I'm walking or driving and I'm asked to turn left. Which one is it, my brain frantically wonders. My left hand rises reassuringly and points it out. I can't walk ahead if I dont do that little wave to myself that says " Yes, Aggie,that's left. This is not the hand we write with" .
When I first arrived here, this mutation of two simple directions into a many headed hydra was baffling. So confusing, infact, that I dint even try comprehending them. I never asked for directions, I bumbled there myself. Driving here with the GPS was literally one thing off my bucket list. If I could translate head south on Happy Hollow Road to anything in the real world, I had achieved a personal milestone. I am amazed constantly at how most people know exactly where they are since these planned cities with their looping-the-loop interstates and state highways and whatnots are beyond my un-geographical brain.
In a new city, I find anchor points instead of memorizing grids. Mostly everything I know about a place seems to move in concentric circles around this locus. VT station in Bombay, Ben Hill Griffith stadium in UF, the Arch in St Louis,El Camino Real in San Jose. I feel that knowing some directions would be good though. Atleast in America,with it's neat grids and orderly roads, that would be the key to discovering a continent. All the odd numbered interstates that head north-south and the evens, east-west. I see a lot of road trips in my future,  largely a byproduct of have-awesome-roads, will-travel :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Grad school

If I were not made of sterner stuff, a large chunk of my time at Purdue would be spent weeping silently in the girl's loo.
Ah feminism, you make us internalize so much :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March madness

Dear Monday,

You are a real bitch and you bring me down to my knees. I'm struggling to get past you and all the work you dumped on me while a perfectly horrid cloudy weather day proceeds outside the confines of this windowless office.
There are times when I am not even aware that it is raining/snowing. Tres pathetic.
And March, is it March already goddamit? Has time warped? It was just January yesterday wasn't it?
Yesterday's torments have led me to a busy music filled cafe where soft chatter is like a balm to my soul. Theatricals, always :)

Mini-epiphany of the soul. There is a utter lack of self-consciousness when I write. Formal dances make me vaguely wooden, singing utterly cripples me. Writing then and bad bollywood dancing are my comfort zone.

Summer is creeping in on us after this long long winter. I can see it in the melting snow and the blinding sunshine.
Ah yes, that  Memphis trip. Here are the promised pictures, taken by a modern Superwoman :
Pictures :)

Peace out and leave me alone, Monday,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Suddenly something

It was a long day in lab when I started with this post. One of those titrative, iterative experiments is on. Spectroscopy gives one such indirect results. Untangling lifetimes and decays which could possibly allude to a certain conformational state. The science in this new lab is different, more methodical and plodding with results that don't turn your mouth into happy little O's.
I miss my old  lab very much. Ripping cell nuclei apart on the directions of a Texan version of Yoda was what that was. The methodology was brash, the experiments a joystick based hit and miss.
I wish I could put up one of my nucleus pulling experiments up here.Especially the ones with the pretty GFP labelled actin cables around it. Only if that dint violate copyright laws, now :)

Someday, when this blog grows up a little, I will talk about immigrant experiences, American  political correctness, being a woman in an engineering program at a large public university, things that have changed in India ever since I left, and more. I think I have so many conversations on these themes everyday that I never get around to writing about it here

I've entirely forgotten what this was about in the first place. A fact that has never affected my ability to type on, content notwithstanding, so I'll let you grimace through the rest of the post. Presently, my roommate Upasna's mum is over for a holiday. We have 3 meals a day and interesting conversations about Carnatic music now. I find myself almost weeping over pouffy phulka's since the best I can do is behead people with my own sharp-edged unbendable frisbee like creations.
I spend about 3 waking hours of my life at home everyday and most conversations go like this:

A: Lab. Moan.
N: Chai?
A: Ji.
Cook some makeshift sabzi. Talk about work, boyfriends, tomorrow's lunch, long tiresome days, weight gain, the cold,
U: I'm back.Chai?
A: Yeah. Go for it.
U: 15 pages due this Tuesday.
A: How is that humanly possible.
N: 2 labs to grade.
A: Tea?
U: Nahi, just had some.
U:Okay yeah, chai.

Mum's change everything. Even the sarkari officer-chaap tea drinking existence that we seem to have built up here.

My mojo. I keep losing the damn thing.


Memphis next weekend :) Elvis, here I come, babe. Sherin and I have decided not to waste any time talking to another soul for the whole weekend. I miss her like we'd all miss electricity if it ever disappeared from our lives. Who knows, I might even have some pictures from this trip to show yall.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Le but n’est rien. Le chemin, c’est tout
(Achieving a goal is nothing. The getting there is everything)
-Jules Michelet:

The sort of quote you appreciate when you think you've got it made at the age of 23 and then the ground beneath your feet gets swept away entirely