So little time… so little to do

May 12, 2008

My nightlife

Filed under: arbit,geeky — Priyam @ 3:53 pm

circle of my life

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May 7, 2008

Soccer, from a footballers perspective

Filed under: sports — Priyam @ 8:16 pm
Tags: , ,

Ok, first let me clarify the title. All those years before landing on the US soil, one of the games that I was passionate about was football. Be it playing it for real, or catching it on the screen, big or small. A lot of my study times would be scheduled around the more popular fixtures of the Champion’s league and other matches where the heavy weights in Europe would face off. This latter part of the fixation with the game has suffered a sudden setback with my moving across the seas. The cable at home does not have a steady stream of popular games lined up nor am I am able to wake up and spare some time (that would be around noon) to catch the re-run of one of the matches played in Europe over the week. What has perhaps dwindled more is my presence on the field. Gone are the days when any acquaintance in my life in Mumbai would be able to point me out to the football field in the late afternoon/early evenings. The painful truth has been that I have set foot on the field countably finite number of times in the past couple of years. However, I have decided to take a stand against this and take corrective measures to fill up my days with atleast an hour of physical excercise. Now having said that, for me it is not as easy as hitting the gym or plugging into the iPod and chasing after girls on the jogging track (yes, for some that has been a motivating factor). I need to chase someTHING. Be it a ball or a shuttle. Hence, goodbye football, enter soccer and racquetball. (To spell it out more clearly, my references to football mean playing the game in India, soccer – playing the same game in the US. Wonder why this country chooses to name most things differently. Interestingly, what is called football here has less to do with the foot and more with hands !!)

I was more used to playing with the big boys (or men) in my previous experiences on the field. Being a member of the school/college/university team meant a kind of selection of people that one would want to waste their energy with on the field. After all, who would like it if going past or getting the ball from people became too easy. I, for one, like challenges. But the fact of the matter is, while football meant that I came across very few (try none) girls on the field, soccer has been a very different twist to the story. I usually count on my speed, skill and to some extent stamina to become a considerable presence on the football field. The soccer field has no dearth of either – and I am talking about men and, hold your breath, women !! Well, maybe not matching for speed but there are considerable number of women who play soccer in it’s correct spirit (and not just kicking the ball around). No wonder when playing here one does not discriminate against the fairer sex in tackling the ball. Well, maybe just that push doesn’t come to shove when fighting over the ball.

April 24, 2008

You’re Gonna Miss This

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 12:09 am

One of my favourite mottos, and something that I most often try to live by, is to live for the moment without looking back at the past and more importantly, not trying to figure what the future holds for me. Just do the best you can for today and have fun in the process. Some might just say that it is not necessarily the best thing to do, specially not planning for the future part. But surprisingly I have very little regrets of the course of my life. Sure I have had my good and bad times, but I guess that is there even for people who had a plan for what their life should be. I keep telling people who I care for to enjoy the journey and not just focus on the destination. I came across this country song which kind of treads on this territory, so thought of sharing it with people, and make a note of it for myself as well :

Artist: Adkins Trace
Song: You’re Gonna Miss This
Album: American Man: Greatest Hits Vol. II

She was staring out the window of their SUV
Complaining, saying “I can’t wait to turn 18”
She said “I’ll make my own money, and I’ll make my own rules”
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said “I was just like you”

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

Before she knows it she’s a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her “It’s a nice place”
She says “It’ll do for now”
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and saysAnd s “Baby, just slow down”

Cause you’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

Five years later there’s a plumber workin’ on the water heater
Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’
One kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’
And she keeps apologizin’
He says “They don’t bother me.
I’ve got 2 babies of my own.
One’s 36, one’s 23.
Huh, it’s hard to believe, but…

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this”

March 19, 2008

Return to India

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 2:52 pm
Tags: ,

Sometime or the other, this question might linger in the minds of many an Indian in the US – perhaps in keeping with the saying “you can take an Indian out of India but you cannot take India out of an Indian”….. but yes, some might just beg to differ. For for the believers of the adage, here goes a beautifully written emotional ride in the minds of a NRI : Return to India – Wharton Special Report

Ghazals

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 2:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

Don’t know why I had been totally off the ghazals for the last few months. Maybe the reason was that they no longer resided in my hard disk or even my iPod. But more importantly they are back !! Needless to say, now my room speakers are filling the spring air with the melodious voices of Jagjit & Chitra Singh and Hariharan. In my quest to make up for lost time, I scouted around the net for some new releases and found a new album called Shafaq Ke Rang, and I really liked three of the songs. They now feature regularly on my ghazal playlist. Now I literally sleep to the tune of ghazals and wake up to them too….. albeit both at times when the sun’s presence is felt in the azure skies. Wonder how I had been out of the loop for so long. Maybe because there has been a recent spate of really good film songs churned out by the all too famous Bollywood industry or more importantly, a mere 1 gig is not enough to keep too many genres on the iPod which also doubles up as my car music player. Whatever be the reason, I am back to my cherished songs of eternal melody…. wonder when Kishore is going to call me back to his voice :)… but right now it’s Jagjit singing

Thak gaya mein karte karte yaad tujhko
Ab tujhe mein yaad aana chahta hoon
Apne hothon par sajana chahta hoon
Aa tujhe mein gungunana chahta hoon

December 30, 2007

Taare Zameen Par

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 4:11 am
Tags: , , ,

Hats off, Mr. Amir Khan !! I finally got a chance to catch it over this weekend. Well… if I can say money well spent on a movie, this one was certainly it. And I wouldn’t shy away from saying that at times, a colorful mixture of the gravity of the situation and powerful presentation in the form of acting, brought up a tight knot at the throat which was not easily swallowed. Most would have easily taken in the loudest message of dyslexia, aptly portrayed as a conquerable enemy that any child can fight against, given the proper love and support of reassurance. But I kind of felt a stronger message hidden inside. That which points a finger at the educational system that the country breeds, the competition which burdens a child, where only the top few separate out from the also-rans. Even without any learning disability, I feel children are pushed too hard by their parents to bear a burden, more often than not, heavier than what the innocent shoulders can bear. Imagine then, what it is like for a kid challenged with any form of disability. I guess a message that came out to me was that being on the top is a great achievement, but not being there does not mean the end of the world. This tag should be fed to parents, more than their children who set out into the world burdened by their parents’ ambitions and notion of success.

The movie goes well into the second half bringing out the symptoms that were presented subtly. It was but a stroke of luck it seems that the new teacher could identify the child’s difficulty, and it was probably due to the fact that he himself had fought the same battles as a child. Unfortunately, in our education system, teachers are not always trained to detect challenges like these that may hamper a student’s ability to learn. In my personal experience, recently I was interviewed by someone working on a thesis relating to the education system in India and how it helps people adapt to the American educational system. I was asked a question pertaining to learning disabilities and how they are dealt with. I drew a blank. The disability in question was that the interviewer was a victim of not being able to sit down with the masses to take a test. Can any of us imagine a separate room being made available for one person to pen down his or her exam? Not to my knowledge. I wish I could answer the question in some other way without deviating from the truth.

December 5, 2007

Direct from my life

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 6:36 pm

Uncanny resemblanceUncanny similarities

September 4, 2007

The eleventh hour

Filed under: arbit,geeky — Priyam @ 1:18 am

People who know me well will put a tick against the box which describes me as a perpetual procrastinator, much to my own chagrin at times. But such can be said of many of my fellow researchers, and I have met a few in my lifetime of grad school, you know the place where people of should-you-not-be-working-now age pose as students. In fact a typical week of many a researcher goes by in the following manner (statement valid only if the person has not struck gold yet with something that he/she has a real interest in doing) :

The meeting with the advisor usually ends with a to-do list as long as your girlfriend’s wishlist. Mind you, in research terms that is not always a bad thing, it quite simply means that there are still alleys to dig for that coveted prize. But then there is the usual overwhelming feeling of so little time, so much to do. So you begin with the most obvious thing that any man racing against time would – procrastinate. After all meetings take up a lot of energy and one needs time to gather ones thoughts to attack the problem. And much more importantly the next meeting is still a whole day or two away. Meanwhile what’s up with the world and did anyone post a message on my orkut or facebook ? In the movie this would be the place where they picture the clock and show it hours hand replace that of seconds, in double time. So ends another fruitful day of research.

Someday after that meeting, not much to go into the next : This would be the time when your brush up on your gathered thoughts, try to find that sheet of paper or the copy where you jotted down all that is expected of you by the next meeting. Finally having found that, you go through the items one at a time, mentally arranging them either by the time that each task promises to take or by the importance of each towards your next meeting. With a long list, this can easily take up more than a while, what with all the messages, mails to reply to and keeping track of the game going on in another distant part of the world. The next task is now discarding all those that you know will not be possible to complete by the next show-down, so why bother. Now that that is sorted out, we begin with the easiest ones which take away the feeling of not having done anything from the boss. Imagine this as the warm-up routine before any game. And from nowhere you are engulfed by this enormous feeling of “wow, I have done so much for one day”. Which brings us to that familiar “P” word.

The night before the meeting : You have obviously slept more than you planned to, procrastinated more than you wished to, achieved less than you hoped to. So now what. This is not the time for the weak at heart. You stare at the clock, making a quick estimate of the time in your hands, and cross check it with the wishlist of work. A further pruning, a few further reading needed comments and we are bang on target with our schedule. Before you loathe the poor grad student, do remember, the list to start with was longer than that of a weary eyed person standing in queue in front of an electronics shop on Thanksgiving. The general feeling of having failed suddenly gives way to the surprise of not having enough time to assemble all the results and thoughts – the fruit of guilty labor. Now one is faced with a new kind of challenge. Of work done but not properly represented in the form of report and presentations. Thus begins the process of recreating the magic of previous days, logging what worked and what did not, and if you are an experienced enough player, you are ready in time for the meeting, albeit high on enough caffeine to drive your eyes red. The feeling of having worked so hard.

P.S. : This is by no means what I do. Ok, not always. A further disclaimer seems necessary to remind the reader than this may be detrimental to the health of your thesis, not to mention the fact that by the time you graduate, your friends would be seeing off their kids to school.

August 28, 2007

Random

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 3:20 am

The blog world seems to be a bit biased towards the word “Random”. It is quite often found to be used as a way to describe the central theme of a blog, a post (like this) or the author. It so reminds me of the Seinfeld show where they come up with an idea of “a show about nothing”. But I believe when someone makes a statement about the randomness in their posts, he/she really means that it is going to be a show about everything. Life, affairs, blah blah blah….. Having spent considerable time in a cosy environment of Mumbai, where everyone seems to pick up a lot of common lingo shared by the residing technocrats who have passed it on for generations, I have associated myself more with the word “arbit” – a short form of arbitrary from the Queen’s dictionary. I know both Random and Arbit really imply the same, but don’t you think the latter has a bit of a cooler click to it ?

Wow, I did throw in a post about nothing ! I believe it will be apt to dedicate this one to all the nothingness that has been reaped from all the unusual efforts put into research in the past few weeks.

August 23, 2007

Old is (G)old

Filed under: arbit — Priyam @ 8:36 pm

As the countless seconds tick by on the clock, for many now replaced by the minute mute figure sitting in a corner of the desktop, seldom do we realize how time has passed us by. Sometimes there are jolts of everyday life which make you realize this and you feel you are staring down memory lane with very little to look forward to. At 26, I am still counted as a youth. In my mind, younger still. One who still has similar passions as a teenager, still feels he can outrun people a little more than a decade younger to him. Hang around with people of barely legal drinking age and be one of them. And that’s all good. Staying in school still gives you the same feeling of when you were, well, in school. You look all around you and you see young people, the only old ones are your professors and the administrative staff. And if that is not enough to strengthen your belief, a quick look at your bank balance does the trick. Not to mention the time that you can afford to spend in sports or whatever your passion may be.

My brother turns 23 in a couple of days and I bet he must be having the whole sensational feeling of “what the hell just happened ? I got out of bed and I am 23 now ?” Well, I guess that’s his own problem and I can safely ignore the silent screams till it is my day to “celebrate”. As if that’s not enough of a reminder, it is times when you start receiving the endless flow of wedding invitations of friends trying the knot. Hey, what the eff ? Are they not too young to do that ? Don’t their parents say anything ? It seems like only yesterday, when Moms were of the opinion that at this age “it is best to stay away from girls and concentrate on your studies”. Not sure when that turned to “well, have you found a girl yet ?” or “when are you going to get married ?” I bet while I was sleeping the whole world joined hands to remind me that I am you-know-what… the “O” word.

No way…. I am still in school…. see, I still like playing sports (and can too) and what about my bank balance…. surely that cannot be a lie.

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