13 October 2009

I wish...

... that I would wake up to see Arya sleeping next to me

... that my life goes in circles at this moment!

... that my friends and me video chat on Skype

... Pittsburgh and Bangalore were right next to each other

... I could talk fluently in Sanskrit

... I remain a teetotaler all my life!

... genetic counselors remain pretty every year!

... to show Pittsburgh to everyone I know

... my stipend gets doubled and the weekend starts on friday

... my advisor refers to me as a phenomenal grad student

... that my friends at Pitt remain friends for life!

... that I do not make any girl cry ever again from today ;)

... our Indian educational system improves

... cricket is played very rarely

... I love American football someday (very unlikely!)

... I owned an awesome DSLR camera

... to see Kemmangundi!

... to be treated normally when I go to India ;-(

... to give dad the biggest hug possible

... kids like me ALWAYS even if I'm whack!

... to sit on M's tummy and play with his beard

... to spend the entire night star gazing

... I never cry in front of anyone

... my wishes really really really come true!

Blogging is not a sadistic passion I began pursuing recently; my days go back to 2006. So in 2006, a hotel in Saudi Arabia collapsed killing 76 pilgrims; a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, Israel injured 20; more planes and buses crashed; Google bought Youtube; Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hanging; Sony PS 3 was released; Kannada actor Dr. Rajkumar dies; and RD Kornberg gets the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. That’s pretty much when I began blogging. Pretty eventful huh?

That’s like the official date – February 2006. Unofficially, I began much earlier in 2005 – but somehow ended up deleting my own blog by accident – that’s a long story into which I wouldn’t want to get into.

I had a humble beginning like most great people … there were a bunch of readers including myself … in fact, just to get the ball rolling I would leave comments on my posts hoping that would trigger off the others into doing the same. I used to be narcissistic, I would read my own blog again and again and again. Comments trickled in but were hardly worth mention. Most were restricted to – “Hey! I like your blog. Would you like to perform better in bed? Click this link”.

Reverse psychology always works … on me! But when I try it on others – it bombs! I came up with my first threat to STOP blogging sometime in 2007. I knew what would happen. The world would be aghast. Everyone would throw their hands up in the air in helplesness. There would be a storm kicking in front of my house. There would be tears. Someone would set themselves ablaze somewhere (I’m reeeealllly stretching this too far, ain’t I?). But basically, I expected to get a barrage of mails requesting me to continue, an innundation of “I love what you write!” messages, and an assault of “don’t you dare stop writing” threats.

I looked at my inbox.

It was silent as ever…

What the heck? So it doesn’t even matter to anyone. Perhaps, if someone sends a mail saying Suhas is dead, nobody would turn up for my funeral service too! This was exactly like that; the blog was officially dead, and people wouldn’t even bother to respond to the funeral service. It was mortification to the extreme! I was exasperated to even bother writing anymore.

I checked my mail again.

Still nothing.

Suddenly, the system beeped. I clicked. The mail read…

Order degree certificates. Its as easy as clicking

Order certificates? Why on earth did I slog it out for the 3 +2 years to attain my degrees!

Another beep. I casually looked.

I like the way you write. I’m gonna miss your blog a lot

WTF? Yeah, I know … the mail still did not talk anything about stopping me from stopping the blog. But it had all the ingredients in it to make my day! That was it! The fingers were back on the keyboard.

By and by, I tried nurturing a habit not to be too bothered with how many comments I receive. I started deeming it to be too trivial to break my head over. And it made sense too. The whole phenomenon of writing for myself and using blogger as a platform to vent my emotions seemed so logical. I grew up. I wrote for myself.

I don’t give a damn thought I. Should I care if people read what I write? Nope. Should I care if I get comments? Nope. Should I care if its too personal? Nope. Should I care if its helping me get things out of my system. Yep! That’s the only damn thing I’d care about. Pretty much, that was the time I even stopped sending out mails to people asking them to read my blog. It was my liberation movement; the moment of enlightenment; of totality!

This mode of mine went on for a pretty long time. I would say that there were times when I thought of quitting – maybe when I got a writer’s block, maybe when I did not find time at all, maybe when my posts were too monotonous and were following a strict pattern or maybe when there were not enough things inside my system to get them out.

Then began this new mode of mine – the new genre – I wrote for the mass! Inspite of all the gabble that I was so fond of writing, I at least gave it a proper package so that it could be presentable. And I slowly figured it out, when the package looks pretty, people don’t give a damn to what’s inside. There … I gave out a big secret to how I write what I write … make the package pretty!

On a more serious note, blogging did help me develop. It wasn’t discernible, but I started feeling that I had begun developing a broad-minded perceptive about everything in life. Things became more clearer in the head once it fell in the form of words on page. My opinions, principles and ideologies, my decisions, justifications for my decisions, my ambitions, my beliefs – I developed a large portion of these by writing. That’s the sole reason I always uphold reading and writing – 2 things I always endorse people to do. It builds personality.

Now back to my gibberish normal self. So where was I? Yeah, I wrote for the mass. Once the head is clear, the system is clean. Ergo, there is no scope for venting your emotions. At least, not so much. That’s when the gobbledygook intensified. I have read blogs that preach, that ask you to modify your behaviors, your perceptions about life; I have read blogs that write about issues; that write about sentiments – love stories, heart breaks, teary poetry; all these in terms of standard and quality are way above mine … but I figured its not really what people want to read. It makes sense if these people are writing these for themselves… the genre I was in around 2007. But otherwise, it made one really gloomy. Who wants that? I wanted to write things people would read, laugh, think I have gone whacky, and then forget about it. Somehow, I did just that.

When it comes to writing, I am somewhere around average. I’m being unpretentious here… I have read what others write and sometimes I’m appalled about my own ignorances about what’s happening around me. One feels I am totally lackadaisical about everything that needs importance. Maybe a little more solemnity, maybe a little more emotion, maybe a little more rationality might improve the standards of my writing. But somehow I haven’t been able to get myself into that mode at all. Its so easy for me to ramble on about senseless things, the thing I’m most comfortable doing, that I feel like just continuing this until someone burns out – the reader or me!

I have had a mixed journey. Strangers have walked up to me and introduced themselves saying that they have read my blog. My own good friends have swore at me and forced me to take their ids off my mailing list threatening me not to send a single blog update ever! Nevertheless, writing feels good.

12 October 2009

This is my first attempt to bring stupidity into story-writing. Where can stupidity not venture into? Its really really long for my blogging standards and I’m sure to make more enemies than already in the process. But who cares?

It was a really cold night. The breeze rumbled so hard, leaves were dropping from the trees like raindrops from the sky. Not a single soul braved to go out in such weather. The nights were usually cold, but that night was exceptional – the ravaging gushes of wind swept everything in her path. The student was glad to be under the protection of his apartment. His own apartment, for which he was paying about one-third of his stipend money. He wasn’t that upset to be on the lowest level in the pay-chain. Graduate life eventually takes over and masquerades the impoverished lifestyle one’s living.

There were sudden flashes of light. Late undergrad partygoers often were found driving their cars in unearthly hours with glimmering lights that would creep into the rooms of every apartment and disturb everyone’s sleep. But this was not a mere flash of light, it was more like beams of light being focused on his room. With inquisitive eyes, the graduate student pulled his blinds up and peeped outside. His eyes widened. Heart rate doubled. He would shriek, only if his voice came out. And before he got back to his senses, he felt himself being pulled out of his bed, across the window and thrown into the frigid sky with force. He was sucked into the spaceship. That was when he blanked out.

In other places, more people were picked up in this way. The same beams of light. They too blanked out as they were being sucked into the alien craft. The darkness seemed eternal.

“Is this America?” said the President as he scanned his surroundings. The place looked dismal. Craters, darkness, desert-like, not a soul to behold. “We must be in Texas. That’s America!” said he to himself again.

And then, it walked from one of the craters.

As the President prepared to launch a “Yes, we Can” speech at this extraterrestrial in order to fight it off, the strange creature stood up on both its legs, as though it was human. It was pretty hairy, fat glasses, unkempt hair and a shirt that would never match with the trousers. “Are you American?” asked the President. “Yes of course. I was just working on my grants when I suddenly felt air-lifted. I tried to finish off the remaining sentences, although the phenomenon of being air-lifted posed certain technical glitches to my progress. The next thing I remember is waking up here in this place, which according to my calculations based on the speed of my airlifting, the diameter of the spacecraft and the classic features of this place, is our natural satellite – the MOON” said the advisor, with impressive hold over his vocabulary. And disturbed by this verbal bantering from the advisor, more people walked out from the craters – the lab technician in the thong, the dangerous NRI uncle and finally, the graduate student himself.

The President stood on one of the bigger rocks. He tried to adjust his tie only to realize he was still in his mickey-mouse pajamas. He started off his emphatic speech.

Its apparent that five of us have been selected by someone or something to live on this place we call Moon. Whatever that selected us did so for a reason. Because the five of us represent the heart and soul of America. The advisor whose research brings bigger problems to society, the lab technician whose drinking habits build our economy and hence more employment opportunities, the NRI uncle – the shrewd engineer who knows where to get the cheapest deals in this dire time of recession, the graduate student – cheap labor from whom we can get anything done, and me, your President of course, the Nobel laureate, the messiah in distressing times, especially during these times when cafeteria burgers have become dearer by 36 cents.

“You lie!” screamed the graduate student. His voice thundered across the moon and stunned everyone. “No its true!” retorted back the President. “Burgers are dearer by 52 cents. That’s why I have been eating a lot of Ramen these days” screamed back the student. If anyone closely observed, they would find tiny drops of tears emering from his eyes.

The President continued…

As I was saying, we have been thrown into this challenging environment. America always chooses to use challenges as an opportunity to build itself. Its because we can!Yes, we can! The NASA probe has shown to us that moon has water. At least, we won’t be thirsty.

“Anyone for a drink? I know this really good place right around that corner behind that big rock. Drinks are half-priced around this time” smiled the confident lab-technician. One of two things were true. She had gone bonkers after her experiences in zero-gravity or she had no frikkin clue where she was. The advisor, who was finishing up his grant proposals by etching the moon floor with sharpened pieces of rocks, glared at the technician. She sat down with a grimace. The student was fast asleep. His concentration time of exactly 15 minutes had surpassed. He was dreaming already, of being a post-doc and coming to lab whenever he wished and yet being able to have his own Mac in the lab.

Undeterred by the disturbances being caused by the rest of the troupe, the President moved on…

So lets build this place from scratch. Because we can! Yes we can! For ourselves. For America. But let us not bicker and quarrel with each other in the process. I intend to keep this nobel peace prize for a while. The advisor can write a paper on what we need to do in order to build a society from scratch. The student can do all the labor. The NRI uncle can be in charge of exploration to find anything worth using here. The lab technician and me will be in charge of building a good population around here. She’s our only hope for civilization.

And then the wild party just started. The NRI uncle went on a wild goose chase to search for stuff he deemed would be worth auctioning if he could ever get back to earth. Or he could do it there on the Moon as soon as the Moon currency went into circulation. The advisor broke into a series of calculations, and although he came across a brilliant plan to sustain their existence on the Moon, he deicded to collect some preliminary data, get a couple publications and then implement them. The graduate student of course was flabbergasted to have found signal even at such great distances away and had begun using facebook on his iPhone. His status updates read – “I’m in moon. Check out my new youtube video where I do the moonwalk”. And somewhere behind the big rock where the lab technician’s hypothetical bar existed, Obama and the tech were taking a walk.

Very soon, all hell broke loose. It was the shrewd NRI uncle who found it first. The abandoned spaceship. The source of hope to return back to earth. Upon inspection, it was found that the spaceship was a prototype of NASA’s crafts running on Windows Vista. It came with the standard 4-seats in the cabin. One person had to be dropped out of this mission. The mission to earth!

The spaceship took off after a couple of restarts and running a few spyware scans. The graduate student watched in awe as the craft lifted off leaving darkness and silence.

He looked at his watch. It was 9pm; March 12, 2014. Something was to happen around this time. He racked his brains but couldn’t figure out. He scanned through numerous web pages and came across an article – India successfully launches Chandrayaan 3 – the first manned mission to Moon. And in the distance, he could see a speck of light coming right towards the moon.

2 weeks later…

He had quite a story to narrate. The youngest person on Moon. The graduate student was enveloped by an ocean of media personnel. His return to earth on Chandrayaan 3 was a pretty eventful one. Everyone wanted to know his story. He was winning acclaims and awards. He was winning fellowships. He was winning cash prizes. He was on Broadway. He was on Time magainze. He was everywhere!


The ruckus created by the President’s “Yes, we Can” speech, the advisor’s (mis) calculations on the trajectory to earth, the NRI uncle’s moon-rock collections (through which he intended to make a lot of money) adding to the weight of the craft, the lab technician treating the entire craft as a party hall and the blue-screen-of-death on all the monitors of the spaceship shifted its path towards the rings of Saturn.

The graduate student opened his eyes. He looked around. A pile of papers covered his study table. He didn’t even remember if it was a wooden table. His breakfast dish from yesterday was still beside the window sill. He woke up reluctantly. Brushed his teeth. He didn’t utter a word. Grabbing his cellphone and backpack, he slowly walked towards his lab thinking, “Only if dreams came true!”

05 October 2009

There came a time in my life when I had to choose between the pen and the pipette. I choose the latter. I thought I made that choice. Not destiny. I did. And I was sure my choice was right. I had to justify it. Because it was my choice. Life, now, has pushed me into making that same decision again. The pen or the pipette. Time’s changed now. I have changed. I wouldn’t believe in destiny. Now I am too confused not to. Is destiny giving me another chance to take the right decision? Or is life trying to test my determination?

I think I know the answer…

I shall write about the pipette. I think that’s the right choice. My choice. Destiny’s choice.

PS: Don’t think too much of this post. Its just introspective…