Tamizh ponnu in Amaereeka

I am sitting here in Mem Union (short for Memorial Union) near Peet’s Coffee shop on a lazy Tuesday morning. My class for today has been cancelled, because the Professor is at some conference. I am happy, you need a break from Stats classes once in a while! So here I am with a cold latte, planning on my PhD ‘move’ into a world that I always wanted to be in, but finding that the faster it approaches, the more jittery I am.

Right across me sit an old couple. These days am so much more attuned to observing old people. Don’t get me wrong, it is just that with the research that I have been doing, geriatric populations seem to be of interest, primarily maybe because they are available and excited about talking.

So, right across me. Reminds me of pattis and thathas back in India. The stereotypical ‘patti-giving-thatha filter kaapi early in the morning’ scene flashes as I see this Amaereeka patti hand over a Peet’s coffee cup to the hat-clad thatha. This patti is bent forward, not because of the Indian-patti-shyness but maybe arthritis.

Now, patti wants to add sugar to her coffee. Hands shivering, she tries to tear off a corner of the sugar sachet and pour it into her coffee. She struggles. I can’t help it, ‘Male chauvinism, hmpf!’, I think. I look away, and then back at them. They are smiling at each other, and something in me flutters – is this understanding, love or growing old together? I smile too, my eyes fixed at some non-existent point in the eatery opposite the cafe. I collect myself, I don’t want someone falling in love with my smile while his brunch slips his open mouth from hand in mid-air (blah!).

The patti and thatha leave, him tall, her bent. The patti, with a walking stick in one hand, and his in the other. Utopia, Manirathnam style or maybe James Cameron.

I return to my computer, and resume typing…


Being of Light – I woke up today and decided that I am most definitely a Being of Light. I remember all those moments of fascination at the local Planetarium in Chennai, through my childhood. The dark huge dome above me suddenly lighting up with flickers of light, taking me into realms I had dreamed about, those stars…

If anyone felt as much at home with all that artificial project light, and still sensed that a real home was elsewhere, it had to be me. Light – and all that it wraps … becomes me…


It happened to a friend –

This friend of mine walks into the DMV office, and starts filling the form for the test. After she is done, she passes it on to the guy at the counter, who looks through and notices she has missed the ‘race’ column. Looking at her passport and other docs, he fills in – Race: Alien.


I graduated with a Masters, moving on to a PhD. I always wanted to do this, and now I am (hopefully) on the way. Feels good so far.

*Pat on the back*


You hear millions of quotes and proverbs, and unwanted advice. For every day in life, there are surprises and sadness, but to equate them or evaluate magnitude, is, in my opinion, not wise. I smile because the good happened now, and the bad might be good waiting to take form. At the end of it, it won’t matter.


[more on…]

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Forced break…

Too much to do before mid day tomorrow, and I am sitting here freaked out by a migraine. One of the few times where I got an attack without the aura, and am totally unprepared for this, unless you consider ear ‘pings’ as some sort of audio-aura (can’t imagine if this would fit in the sensory-auras that are so common).

Sometimes, I wish I wouldn’t crib so much about the migraines, but well, never mind… cursing it out takes the pain out some extent…

Someday will be a migraine free one…

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New feathers in an old hat

I love writing. I did my best to publish my awesome (read:juvenile) scribbles in my school magazine (and some of my English teachers did accept them).

At college, I even tried starting a newsletter. But apart from being the ‘Chief Editor’ and collecting articles (running to and fro from college to the editors included, sometimes just to skip classes) I did not get any satisfaction out of that.

That was when blogging started. 4 blogs and close to a few hundred (or more, which is not much) posts later, I got lucky to get a few friends who think I write well. Result: A book of my poems. Thanks Pari, Dani, Aparna and Papa. It was and is one of the best gifts I ever received.

Now, am back to publishing – tech stuff. Check out:

Cleaning up Education

Lifting the Capstone

Women in Engineering

Will keep writing, no matter what you think of it 🙂

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If God had a helpline …

I want to ask a question. A very simple one, to God. After all, he knows everything, and can answer anything. So, what is that helpline number?

Imagine reaching for a phone, dialing a number. God answers at the other end with a cheerful “Hullo, don’t have too much of those fries for lunch. You will die of clogged arteries.” When you get over the shock of a pending introduction, (after all God knows its you), you hesitate. As much as you want to cut crap and get the answer, you want to be nice to God. So you go,”Thanks, will remember that. I am really grateful to you, Oh Mighty Master of this Universe, er… I am so grateful to you for this gift of a life, all those little miracles of nature, the lovely…”

“Let’s get on with the answer you need…” God wants to keep it simple. Finally you shut up, and listen. And then, God hangs up. His is a hotline, busy.

Someone once told me that Prayer is when we talk to God and Meditation is when you hear him. Looks like am deaf, for God isn’t mute.

I can’t hear you, Oh Lord of the Heavens. I can’t hear you.

Send me the answer. I don’t mind you texting me. I know, you are busy.

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Madras to Madison … I still remain Mad.

There is nothing much to say on this topic really. Its a fact.

So am not going to say anything.



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Been there, done nothing … 23 years of learning – unlearning

Alright, it is soon after my 23rd birthday on this crazy planet. And I am feeling old.

Learned a lot… I thought that I must share some gyan with this world. Its best to hear experience speak, right?

So, today if I were to turn around and give commandments to myself, this is what it would turn out as –

1. It doesn’t really matter to anyone else other than you, what you do with your life. Use this time on Earth to live.

2. Sleep is important. Really.

3. You can choose to study. You can choose to quit academics. Just make sure you follow your calling.

4. Yes, identify your calling in life. That’s really tough, because you first need to look for it.

5. Grape juice + white shirt + driving = disaster. Helmet + riding = bad for hairstyle, good for the head.

6. Kindergarten is not the best phase of life. You will hardly remember it when you grow up. College is the most exciting, even more than high school.

7. Enjoy late night walks, and late night rides near a local beach. Trust me on this, you will really really miss it when you cannot.

8. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have a boyfriend / girlfriend. Just don’t put up with shit.

9. Use Gmail, Facebook and twitter when you can. Gives a sense of being wanted in this world, even if it is just a quiz invitation/sale promotion.

10. Have friends. Make lots of them. They come free. Almost.

11. Write. Read. Watch Korean movies.

12. Laugh insane at least once a week. Cry at least once a month. That keeps you sane.

13. Browse, stalk. Just don’t hurt people.

14. The number of books in your personal library is an indication of how out of tune you are with the real, happening world. I learned this late.

15. Get up to date with news. Go global.

16. Travel. Even if that means walking to pick up vegetables. You will miss that when you are old with arthritis.

17. Music. Just. nothing. like. it.

18. Do something crazy. Don’t kill yourself or anyone else doing it.

19. Pray. Meditate. Even if you are an atheist, God need not be the only God. There are other things called passions.

20. Badminton is a great way to stretch those muscles. So are most of the other games.

21. Contemplate. Star gaze. That’s the only time we connect to our inner selves and outer realms.

22. Take a ride in a city bus/train. Its okay with the crowd. You need these experiences.

23. Beautiful dresses and favorite colors are mutually exclusive. Accept the fact.

24. Your neighbor will be crazy. Learn to live with it. You might turn lucky and be crazier than them.

25. Murphy’s laws are open-source. They best describe the world.

26. Donate.

27. What you earn today is no measure of how much happy you can be.

28. The teacher you loathe might turn out to be your role model a few years later.

29. An enemy can become a friend. It happened to me. A friend can be near yet miles away. This did too.

30. Eat. Exercise. Respect your body temple.

31. It is none of your business what anyone else does with their life. Learn to keep advices to yourself.

32. Read a lot of quotes. Someday, the crap you say might hit it.

33. It is acceptable to email your roommate to ask if they can set aside an hour of the weekend for cleaning. Even if she is across the room right then. Email is a way to maintain a transcript of information. Sometimes, insist on emails.

34. Its okay for your blog posts to contradict with each other. That is a measure that you are changing, and change is always for the good. This relates to the growing entropy of the universe. Its complicated.

35. Look out for more. Wisdom is all around this world. Open your ears, eyes and shut that mouth. Talk less, please.

36. Everyone has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Not everyone has googled it though.

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I was just born again

Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of the fake messiah.

The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing. Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.

– Richard Bach

Where was I born? Definitely not Vadapalani, Chennai. I was born one day at Kalahasthi… not too long ago.

Where is my home? Not where I live now. My home is not even in Chennai. It is out of this planet, out there, the place without an address.

Where am I going? and What am I doing?

The questions that are the hardest to answer. Right now, I need to listen in, to the voice in my head, silently awakening some deep within slumber that had managed to permeate into my consciousness.

Am doing nothing, going nowhere. But it is changing. Am going on to where I must be, very soon.

How insane ignorance was, and how clever this multiverse. Everywhere, I have, till now, found directions as to where my purpose is . Everything that I had observed, and subconsciously registered in my mind is now taking life. A new career path?

A new life? A new sense of direction?  Initial confusion?

I love the sense of freedom that I have to choose what I want to be. To be who I want to be. Is this all a part of something bigger? Definitely. And today, life has taken a fork in my mind. A cross-road. And aren’t desires just thoughts waiting to take shape?

Am smiling. Am happy. Today I am born again, in myself.

Update : Am still searching for the writer of my life. And it isn’t me.

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