A New Beginning

A beginning is only the start of a journey to another beginning

It’s been almost a month since I set foot in the US. I am now settled in my new home and have almost completely tuned myself to the pace of life here. The place I live in, Troy is an awesome place. Maybe not as lively as Bombay or NYC but definitely a conducive environment for life in graduate school 🙂 . The sheer power of absolute independence here is overwhelming but at the same time can get a little worrisome. I am now responsible for everything I do from laundry, groceries shopping, paying up bills on time and offcourse cooking my own meals while juggling a hectic schedule at gradschool.  The summer here surprised me by being almost as relentless as the average Indian summer but most people here tell me to literally “enjoy the sun while it shines” because winters are awfully long and severe in Troy.

I live in an apartment just across the campus and it’s a very convenient 2 min walk to my department. RPI’s campus is breathtakingly beautiful with a mix of Gothic-style and neo-classical architecture punctuated by lush-green lawns and neatly lined sidewalks. Classes have already begun in full-swing and I usually have a busy week with lot of classes to attend as well as to TA. Being the only Indian in this year’s graduate class of Materials Science & Engg. made it slightly difficult to get used to the academic surroundings and break the ice with people around but in just a matter of 2 weeks, I now feel at home here. It feels really good and sometimes even unreal to be in the company of some great professors known worldwide for their research and peers who are graduates from universities like Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Rose-Hulman, Columbia etc. I guess this calls for me to work really hard so that I might live upto such high standards.

Lastly, life here (atleast upto now 😛 ) isn’t all about classes and research. Friday evenings have now become synonymous with beer binges which include darts, beer pong, pool and some good, greasy food :).  There are a  lot of hiking trails in the Adirondack Mountains nearby which I plan to explore in the coming weeks. And just before I sign off, in all probability, I will be seeing Porcupine Tree Live in Radio City Music Hall, NYC in 3 weeks \m/: a way of redeeming myself in style after having missed them foolishly at Mood Indigo in Bombay last year  :P.

Cheers,

Nikhil

Advertisements

I, Ibn Battuta

Long Long time since I blogged- 2 whole months infact 😐 . I blame final-sem lethargy primarily for this and secondly the fact that I have been traveling way too much during this period. While the usual Chennai trips [for project wrk etc.] kept happening every 20 days, I managed to make a cursory visit back home and also a one-dayer in Hyderabad for a black metal gig [ returning hours before my GATE exam 🙂 ] . And lastly, the greatest trip ov all- GOA again with the best ov friends. In sum, I guess I have clocked a record 12300 kms by train travel. Had there been be a ‘miles’-collecting and redeeming system similar to the airlines even in our railways, I am sure I would have hit some jackpot :).

For those who don’t know, Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan traveller who travelled a staggering 75000 miles, way more than his nearest contemporary- Marco Polo. My assumption at me being a Ibn Battuta of sorts might be a little pretentious, I agree. Each of these trips have been characterised by a total carefreeness, traveling in a light and minimalistic way and absolutely no worries about anything at any place. I wonder if ever in the future, I would be able to travel in this manner because a natural fallout of added responsibilities ( in job, grad school etc. ) would be fewer holidays and loads of more work. Anyway, I have decided to put a temporary hold on my plans for other jaunts and decided to spend my last month in insti. ‘peacefully’ immersed in project work and senti-farewell parties :).

And now that I’m back , I promise I am here to stay in blogosphere for good :).

Halo

A headstart on my background : I am your average Indian male engineering student with the usual joys and sorrows and expectedly,being a hosteler, I have  a close-knit group of friends : friends among whom I am as comfortable with in silence as I would be in an engaging discussion. There are a number of other friends whom I acknowledge as I wander in the hostel, the campus and the city. And then there are those special friends made on chance journeys and trips in almost no time who are forever weaved in the fabric of my memory.

In the past one year or rather the past few months, I have made an effort to meet a few of my friends from the good ol’ schooldays (with a little help  from social networking offcourse )and tried to rebuild any connections which I had unintentionally broken or not maintained till date.  That is when in a sudden moment , I realized that had I maintained these lost social linkages in place of the others which I made so far, would my life: both the present and the future be profoundly different ?

What if I joined some other school or college, stayed in some other city or hostel  ??  What if I hadn’t visited the places I did visit for the reasons that I had instead of some other ? Infact I have come to attribute my present condition (with all the ups and downs, all the pros and cons )to be a direct consequence of the social choices I have made albeit the little role of fate which oft decides whom you meet and where.  While, an oversimplification of my ‘social choices’ might be nothing but the age-old paradigm of ‘the merits and demerits of the company a person keeps’ or a person’s ‘destiny’ in general, I choose to believe that I am what I am today not entirely because of myself but due to the people who have been around me but isn’t it ironical that in the first place I played a major role in deciding the people whom I surround myself with ?

The spiral of life is quite similar, isn’t it ? Starting from: Have I made all the wrong choices or all the right choices ?? Can my choices fit either bill perfectly ? Is it even possible for me to decide without trying ? Do I have the right person besides me or the wrong one ?? Descending into a chaos of unanswered questions, this spiral is best seen as a halo whose brightest and outermost rings are signified by our social priorities.

Finally, I leave it to you, the reader to decide whether I am plainly muddled up by confusing various threads of life or if you too have individually felt nearly similar things about the stuff I have mentioned here.

Count Grishnackh