Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paper Blues...

I had to present a paper at the department today and I ended up giving such a  dismal performance that I am almost glad...atleast I know that I shall never ever be any worse than this! It is not as if I had not understood the paper at all; the problem was communicating a new and complicated piece of data provided by someone else to an audience that had almost no related background. And to top this I was so nervous that my hands shook, my voice quivered and I was bumbling up the words as if I were a complete novice as regards the English language...I could not remember the right words and was berating myself for the same even while a part of my brain was trying to talk to the audience!
All in all, a bad way to give your first department presentation! Makes me feel like a mix of all kinds of fools!

Ah well, this is turning into one of those "me and my diary" sessions! That's it, I make a resolution that this is the last time I put up a crib as a post. Just that having gotten this out of my head I suddenly feel so much lighter! Though, am sure it is utterly boring to read about people's lives and especially the low points in it...reading about someone's opinions is an altogether different matter :) 

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Memories are such funny things...the most unexpected ones suddenly pop up out of nowhere. You have completely forgotten some experience or a person and then for no apparent reason you recall everything and the memory is not even blurred...its crystal clear and if only you close your eyes you can see everything that happened in full technicolour. So how and where is memory stored and what makes some memories lie deeply buried? Its awesome, the kind of multi-channel and whacky storage system our brain uses!  

I read in the news the other day that people have found some way by which memories can be erased and this apparently will prove a boon for people who are haunted by bad memories and perennially depressed but would I ever be ready to give up even one of my memories? The grossest, most painful memory still holds a part of a past me and I don't think I would ever want to lose that part...would that not make me incomplete? Perhaps I find it easier to say this since I have not had any really terrifying memory...and most events when looked at as memories appear not as bad as they seemed when I was truly living through those moments. This has been an area that has fascinated story tellers and filmmakers. Two movies I have seen recently that deal with the loss of memory (willingly or by accident) are "Memento" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I would not say that they have brilliant actors or directors but the stories are so off-beat and crazy that I just kept watching till the end. 

Some memories are beautiful and warm and comfortable and filled with the brightest light and sparkling laughter and a pure happiness while others are tinged with a little sorrow while others still are dark and dangerous and brimming with hatred, yet they are all so "individual" in nature since, what I remember of an experience that I shared with you shall forever be different from your remembrance of it. Its almost as if my memories too make me special.

Of Marriageable Age...

Out of the blue I suddenly discovered that I am supposedly at this "eminently marriageable" age!!! And if you wonder how I was so enlightened, it was because people (read relatives, neighbours, mere acquaintances) have now taken to walking up to my parents and wondering why they are not obsessed with marrying off their daughter and then suggesting so and so as being a suitable match! And I am almost offended by the very if I were some kind of baggage that needed to be packed off! 

It is generally assumed (especially in India) that any girl beyond the age of 21 must be married off as soon as is possible or for the more "modern" families, the girl may even be allowed to spare her parents the trouble and find them a son-in-law on her own. I always thought that my generation would be ready to live a little before "settling down" (sounds awfully like the kind of thing you do in the lab...let the sediments settle or precipitate stuff!!!)...get out of the narrow societal constraints that most people live within and explore the world a little...but at the rate my closest friends are getting hitched or "committed" as it is fashionably referred to, it looks like I am soon to be left as the lone crusader for the "i am independent and single and loving it" brigade!!! 

And to top all that, their accounts of experiences in the typical arranged marriage scenario have been more crazy than I could believe possible. Most guys have all kinds of (weird) criteria when looking for a bride and that too in today's so-called progressive times!!! A typical guy wants a qualified, educated girl for his wife but still expects her to give up all hopes of an independent career and life if the family and the husband so wish. It is still expected that it is the girl who will, but obviously, stay at home and look after the children and she should be a good cook and a dedicated homemaker. And as if all this is not enough, the girl just has to be gorgeous too. Get real people, why cannot these be shared responsibilities and what is so demeaning for a guy to come forward and be ready to say upfront that he shall be equally responsible. And what really shocks me is that even the supposedly educated people who truly believe they are "learned" and unorthodox will insist on matching horoscopes since they apparently  believe that the lovely twinkling stars in the sky can in some way decide whether two people are compatible or not! And astonishingly enough, in the impossibly long list of "requirements" (believe me an over crowded shopping market with a miles-long shopping list might perhaps seem a better place eventually), there is often no references as to whether the principles and ideals by which two people live match at all. I think its more important whether your choices in life shall ever be similar than whether your horoscopes match!!! 

 I have been a little sarcastic yes, but that's only because  I have heard umpteen stories about arranged marriage fiascos over the last few days and it has definitely decided for me that I shall think twice and then some more before I even venture down that path...So basically, this is an outburst on my part with the hope that single souls out there will think a little and attempt to be rational while choosing another person to share an entire lifetime with, especially in an arranged marriage scenario.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just a Smile :)

Today morning I woke up with the widest ever grin on my face. I don't remember what I was so happy about, perhaps a really beautiful dream, or perhaps I had been let in on the ultimate joke in life and I don't even know what it was now...but that hardly matters. What I remember overwhelmingly is the fact that I was so surprised by my own smile!!! As if a smile is really out of place...and now that I think back, I have never ever woken up in the morning feeling incredibly happy about just any and cribs, no whines. This is something that you supposedly get to do only when you are a child. I have almost forgotten this crazy happiness, just this joy at being alive; not the happiness for having gotten something or done something well. That you learn to appreciate as you grow up. But children have the ability to tap into some secret source of unending delight and they see no reason why you should not smile. Perhaps there is a lot to treasure in that innocence and untarnished view of the world...and one must cherish it if not try and emulate it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I wonder if you have ever felt this way, like you don't really know where life is taking you. I wish at times that there would be some guarantees...about work, family, future, present...whatever!!! There is so much uncertainty in everyday life...the unpredictable is fun, yes, but at times I wish I knew exactly what was to happen and when..the not knowing is bad. If the situation calls for action on my part, then its a different matter but when the matter is absolutely not influenced by anything I may wish, want or do...that's when it hurts the most. 
I absolutely hate not being a hundred percent in control of my life!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Guitar Guy

I never thought I would be thankful for this..but the mess being closed for dinner today was indeed a blessing. I did not go out for dinner at a restaurant with an entire gang of friends as is the custom normally. Instead a friend and I went to this small canteen on campus where you get sandwiches and the most awesome coffee (by current campus standards!!!) and then another person turned up and we chatted about all kinds of things...from courses and classes, bosses and their tantrums, to movies, guys, music, books and so on.
So what's the big deal in all this huh? Well, the real point is that we heard this guy playing away on his guitar all by himself. He was perhaps rehearsing or just strumming melodies for himself. All I can say is it was a wonderful way to spend the evening...simply sitting there lost in the music created by a stranger all for himself...
Whoever he was, I hope he plays there often. I sure am going to drink a lot of coffee there in the next few days, hoping to hear him some more. Where else will I get to hear live guitar to my heart's content?? Especially when someone is not putting up a deliberate performance but is just making music!!! Ah! this is one of those unexplainable reasons why I love campus :)