Something About Everything

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Tag: raleigh

Life life, you surprise…

Mineta San Jose International airport- 100 meters beyond the glass wall in front of me, planes are taking off every two minutes.

Its the end of my internship, and I am headed back to school for the last semester of my grad studies. The best thing about the internship? The people. In my opinion, people around you directly affect your growth, be it career or otherwise. I got to work with some really good people, and thankfully, as it turns out, will continue working with them once my masters is done.

Well, graduating in 15 months was never on the cards, but that’s how its going be. Seems increasingly likely that I am going to settle in California’s bay area come this January. Well, frankly I admit I didn’t see myself in California after my masters- but man, I like how this is panning out. I wasn’t quite sure what was in store some months back, but now that its becoming slightly clear, I like it.

All right- Got to catch the flight. More later- maybe after I reach Vegas (my first stopover). Leaving you with a pic of my ride.

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas- Rows and rows of slot machines at the airport, and shoe-shine booths with hot females, where else but Vegas?

The interesting thing is, there are very few seats at the aircraft gates, compared to the number of people here- and there are a lot of empty seats right in front, at the slot machines. Clever scheme for inviting people over to the slots? I wonder who owns them. Do ones at terminal A belong to Caesars Palace and terminal B to The Venetian? Interesting. I see all these people mindlessly plonking themselves in front of the slots while waiting for their next planes.

That’s what I like about humans- we never give up, do we? But Vegas looks very inviting. Luxor, the black pyramid shaped casino looked fantastic from up there. Definitely a must visit in the next year.

Slot machines at the airport

Anyway so now I am looking forward to being back in Raleigh and enjoying my last semester. This masters is probably going to be my terminal degree. PhD is a no no- its all about money honey. And I am not quite sure if I will go for a degree in something else. So well after 23 years of trying to educate myself, I think I am done. Twenty three years? Man that’s gone on too long, as it is. :P

Raleigh- Ah, I am back. My apartment in Raleigh is still being refurbished, so I am going to stay over at some friends for a couple of days. A dozen huge ass bags in the living room, a massive couch- and innumerable plastic bags lying around- get the picture of the living room? Now that I have stayed in California for three months, I think I have come to appreciate the old world, slightly idyllic, hi-fi research charm of Raleigh much better. This place is like the perfect setting for owning a house, having a family, maybe a dog or two. And yes, a 9-5 job, a pick up truck and a sedan. Very nice.

But who wants that right? :D

Now is the time for sixty+ hour weeks, clubs, some hot blood- you get the drift. But for now, I am content. Surprisingly, I think I have somehow learnt how to be satisfied. In the past, I always was in a hurry of- getting somewhere. You know, that whole anticipation of whats to come, which kind of makes you NOT enjoy where you are RIGHT NOW. But I think I have finally managed to get that under reign. Its just making me enjoy this whole ‘journey’, if I may call it that, completely.

Life is a surprise. But it is good.

The two sides of the coin

Hello people :)

Sorry, I haven’t posted for some time. When I got here, I had like 10 days before I got started with classes, and could have easily posted, but I was just trying to soak up the new experience. Not to forget get done with basic stuff like getting the phone, the laptop, the internet, opening the bank account etc. etc.
And then since classes have started, I have had hardly any time to look up from assignments. Last week was crazy and nearly ran me down, so I decided to take some time off and just relax a bit today.

So, USA…
Its a nice country. You don’t really feel anything different from India- maybe because Raleigh is like that. Most of the time. But the moment you start getting too comfortable about it, you somehow get reminded that you are in a foreign land. Lets start off from the beginning.

While leaving from home, I wasn’t really scared, excited, nervous. I had even chosen to fly all alone. No friends with me this time.
It was very gradual you know- Like a small kid who sits in the giant wheel at the fair, and slowly the wheel takes him up and away from the ground, where his people are, looking back up at him.

I got on the plane, flew directly from Mumbai- Newark, NJ. Hah, that’s when all the fun began. I got off the plane to find myself at a huge-ass airport that didn’t have all the helpful signs to show where to go next. Plus I had a 33kg bag, a 23kg bag, an 18kg bag and a small back-pack (don’t ask me what I was carrying in all that). And I was lugging it around in the wrong direction. They got multiple levels at the airport there, and everyone was crisscrossing, and somehow question I was asking officials weren’t being answered properly. Finally after about half an hour of lugging that stuff around, I got into the right queue. And then bless you Continental Airlines. You know what these people do? For security, which is a valid enough reason, they make you take off your shoes, belts, wallets AND all electronic items from your bag- that’s all fine and dandy, but right at that moment, I had already flown 18 hours, and I wasn’t really game for all that (having done it already at the Mumbai airport). Anyway, I just wanted to be done. Finally I got through all that, breathed a sigh of relief. Found the nearest information desk, figured out which gate my flight to Raleigh was leaving from (they don’t have that printed on your ticket if you are in transit).

I sat down somewhere, took out my cell phone- Cingular had taken over from my Indian Idea connection- put through two messages- reached Newark, waiting for the next flight. Somehow, Newark airport was weird. I didn’t like it at all. Finally I got talking to one Israeli guy, who happened to be a student at NC State too. Sometime later I got on my WWII Bombardier aircraft :P. I really really liked that ride. Flying just above the clouds, with a roaring sound of the engines. Occasionally just dipping down enough to catch a glimpse of the green countryside and the lakes.

Raleigh- the city of oaks. I’ve been here for some time now, and its a nice city. There are huge houses, loads of trees, nice broad roads. But there are no people. Or very few people. There are like 5 skyscrapers, even downtown. And it is the capital of North Carolina. There’s so much horizontal space, that they don’t make them vertical here. There are lots of squirrels (which are pretty big, but don’t have stripes like ones in India do), but few birds. How can there be lots of trees and few birds? I really don’t understand. But its a nice place. People are nice and polite ( I guess that’s the case everywhere in USA). Well most of the times. Got sworn at by a crazy eyed woman in a bus once, but it is okay. You brush such things aside. Everything here is far off from each other. You either take the bus, or take a long walk. The university? Well, its awesome. I’ve never seen anything like this before- all the super high tech stuff and super posh buildings, its all all right here. Its a nearly two months here now and I am used to the Walmarts, the Foodlions, and ordering stuff online. You order everything online here. It ships to your home, and they give refunds if you don’t want it – I’ve tried it. I am also used to getting hungry at 3 pm, realizing there is no lunch cooked- then realizing the utensils are unwashed- doing all that and then having lunch at 430. Well, one thing worth mentioning is- I LOVE COOKING. I really really enjoy it. I nearly look forward to it most of the days.

Fortunately, I have good roomies. That’s a really important thing you know- you don’t want to get back home after a long day to have a trip-wire atmosphere at home. So far, so good. The assignments are really kicking some butt right now, and they just keep them coming. At anytime, I’m always sitting on two deadlines at the minimum. Anyway, that’s part of grad life.

I am not home sick as such, and I am happy most of the time, but sometimes I really feel the distance, and don’t like it at all. One thing is for certain, I will put up with it, and bear it for as long as I need to, but I will never get used to it. No, I will never get used to staying away from people I love. What they say is wrong, you don’t get used to such things. “Savay hoil thodya divsanni?”  “Sorry, nahi honar.” But it is okay for the time being.

Leaving you with some pics, will try to write more regularly :). Adios !

The Memorial Bell Tower

A random building in North Campus

Trailwood Drive, just across my house

Wait

Guys,
Been some time since my last post. Last week was a blur. Had my submissions, and it got pretty hectic, because of my habit of keeping things incomplete till the last moment. My LAST submission. And- my last week of undergrad college. The weird part is, it went off just like that. Uncelebrated. Argh…

Lots of things happened though. Sunday evening was spent in front of the TV, watching Mumbai v/s Chennai. Cheering for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Hell yeah, I was even wearing the MI jersey, though I was watching all by myself. But things were not to be. In crunch situations, there is no scope for human error. Ah, but human error is random, so nothing can be done or said about that.

Meanwhile, two birdies tweeted and tweeted, till our ears got sore, and then finally someone whacked them off- you must have heard the story- Tales of Lalit Tharoor and Shashi Modi. Morale of the story- look what happens when you bang on the keyboard without thinking. Precisely why I dislike twitter.

And well- the real news is, I’m done with the admissions season. Finally.
10 Universities- 6 Admits, 3 Rejects and last one is inconsequential.

Everyone hates the waiting game. And the wait was long, stretching over past 6 months. Full of anticipation, then the frustration- that comes from checking the application statuses too often, happiness and thankfully, not much disappointment. The great part is, the friends got into places they always wanted to be in. Me too – in that huge university in not-so-huge Raleigh, NC. :)

The Wolfline

Well, in general, as far as I am concerned, the results were much better than I expected. I’d applied to pretty competitive programs, and getting in was a great thing. The University of Pune isn’t like the most sought after universities in the world, despite what they claim. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

But some of my friends/ my brother etc. are of the opinion that I under-applied/ did not apply to the top 10 universities in US or whatever. For me though, the choice of places was quite simple- cost, coursework, location and lastly, reputation. In that order.
I had no economic issues, but just because I have the entire savings of my parent’s lifetime at my disposal, doesn’t mean I would want to spend all of that money. And then have the pressure of staying on- earning the treasure back etc. etc. Master’s applicants are supposed to be mature people who apply their heads, and I think I did just that. Still, maybe my opinion will change few years down the line- if it does, I’ll definitely point to this post.

These days, apart from studying for the upcoming exams, I am moderating a couple of forums. You know, every new thing that you take up, makes you discover new sides of yourself. I’ve realized that I’ve got a low tolerance to people asking the same questions again and again. My natural instincts make me want to jump at them and tick them off, but thankfully, sensibility has prevailed and my tendency has been curtailed to being slightly caustic and mostly polite…till now anyway! :D

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