Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This and all...

I've known K for almost 7 years now. We met in the 9th standard when I joined a new school. We were classmates and we were also two amongst a total of 7 people who took Tamil in the 9th. That number dwindled down to 3 in the 11th and 12th standard. Surprisingly, we have never spoken to each other in Tamil.

Yesterday, I met him after a year and a half, and we spoke, as usual, completely in English. A common friend of ours called in the middle and I immediately reverted to Tamil when I was on the phone, and so did K. And once he hung up, it was all English again.

I guess I must have spoken in English for the most part when I joined that new school and I guess that's probably why we've never been able to start off with a 'dei, enna da panra?' ('what you up to?'). Instead of saying 'idhellam over da', we have to use convoluted sentences such as 'this is and all too much', thereby indicating that we are Tamil in our hearts but that we use English solely as a means of conveying the thoughts we have in Tamil.

Maybe since I am so extremely jobless right now, I'll try talking to him only in Tamil. It's always good to fill up time trying to put people at unease, right?  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I Hate To Fly

I am not a fan of traveling by air. Wait, let me qualify that statement. I am not a fan of traveling in the economy class. And, since I will never pay for a business class ticket and since the chances of me getting bumped up are as likely as George Bush actually getting hit by a shoe, I'm destined to painful flights where I have to sleep sitting up and make way for neighbours with out-of-control bladders.

I do, however, like the short, domestic flights. You get in, find a seat, shut your eyes and then an hour later you're waiting for the seat belt sign to come off. It's the international flights that really make me feel like smacking someone (not that I ever will, but still).

I believe that there are 4 factors that decide how bearable the flight will turn out to be:

1. The person sitting in front of you

I have always had the misfortune of sitting behind people who like to go to town with their seat recline button. As soon as the air hostess gives the OK sign, the seat in front of me starts its descent and soon enough it's almost touching my nose. A solution that has been offered to me is to also do the same thing. But see, I don't want to cause trouble to the person behind me. I'm nice like that. Oh and I would also like to take this opportunity to quash the theory that I do not know how to operate the recline button.

2. The leg room

This is crucial. I despise Lufthansa flights merely for the reason that the leg room in economy is woeful. I believe that to sit 10 hours with no space to move your feet amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

3. The TV

I find it impossible to sleep sitting up and so I rely on the entertainment that the plane offers to while away the time. I've noticed that a lot of flights now offer TV shows and movies on-demand and those flights are the best. I can see TV shows I've seen before, over and over again. I've seen every episode of The Office and Scrubs more than 5 times each. It's a gift, I know.

4. The person sitting next to you

I usually like talking to people sitting next to me on the plane. But sometimes, conversations can get weird. Especially if the neighbour starts confiding his personal problems with you because you remind him of his son. Or if she starts asking you about how to fix her laptop once she finds out that you are a Computer Science major. And to top it all, if he spills tomato juice on your jeans, calls the air hostess and asks for one more glass of tomato juice.

The flight to Heathrow got delayed by an hour and so I got the time to write out this rant of sorts for your reading pleasure. Yes, I know, one more reason to hate the system.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In my fifth semester, I...

My fifth semester at UT ended today. It's been my hardest semester, academically and otherwise. There are many things that can almost break a man, and studying for a  Computer Architecture final for 5 consecutive days ranks high on that list. But, it's all over now and a much needed trip to Chennai is 2 days away!

Reader(s) of this blog might remember seeing posts about what I really do during my semesters at college and this is another one in what promises to be an 8 part series (I hope).

So, without further adieu, in my fifth semester, I

1. Saw snow in Austin, and I mean proper snow. Like real snow flakes. The white, flake shaped kind.

2. Got smacked on the face by hail. The beautiful snow, sadly, didn't last too long.

3. Went to Seattle. Highlights include playing with the Microsoft Surface and attempting to take pictures of the city without destroying the camera in the rain and wind at the top of the Space Needle.

4. Stayed up till 5am to watch India beat England in a cracker of a match at Chepauk. Studying for my aforementioned final would have been wiser, but missing Sachin score that winning boundary would have been criminal.

5. Found out the hard way that everything is closed on Thanksgiving. Spent 3 hours looking for food all around Austin before finally coming across an open Mexican supermarket. Tortillas with ready made Dal Makhni is not too terrible.

6. Saw a creepy, old Indian guy in the library who came often to the same study lounge and did nothing but stare at the people around him. Quite a few theories were postulated about why he was the way he was, but the opinion that he was creepy was unanimous.

7. Ended up going to my Differential Equations class a total of 9 times. It was not entirely my fault though - 8 am is an unseemly hour to wake up at.

8. Had my worst ever season with the bat and best ever season with the ball in the Central Texas Cricket League.

9. Added more credibility to the claim that I am a klutz. I fell down while climbing up the stairs with a laundry basket, spilt my coffee several times in the microwave oven and banged into a desk while trying to show my room-mate that I could do more than 10 consecutive push-ups.

10. Voted for the first time ever. Yes, he won and is apparently bringing change to America. No more begging for quarters for laundry anymore.

11. Correctly predicted that it would not rain in Austin on a day when every news channel predicted heavy thunder showers. Even the UT football game was postponed. I, however, incorrectly predicted on a November night that it would be warm  and had to walk back home in the cold wearing a flimsy t-shirt.

12. Drove around Austin at 2 am looking for Hot Chocolate. Gave up after a luck-less hour and a half and went over to a friend's place and quietly drank his 'hot chocolate'. Also heard about his stimulating Tori Amos experience, but let's not venture into that.

13. Spilt coke in exactly the same way (holding the cup closer to the top) thrice - once at Burger King, once at Wendy's and once at home.

14. Walked to campus on a fine Friday morning with just my camera. Had lunch with a friend and did not do anything even remotely academic. The fact that I had a weekday with nothing to do did not seem to throw me off. And as a result, did not submit the homework that was apparently due that day.

Ignorance, really is bliss.

Other awesome reads:
In my fourth semester, I
Things I did in my third semester
Things I did in my second semester
Things I did in my first semester

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Down in the dumps -> Twist and Shout

Sluggish-> City of Blinding Lights

Love sick -> Khuda Jaane

Singing along -> Pichle Saat Dinon Mein

Thinking about the world -> Imagine

Not on the verge of getting a head ache -> Baba O'Riley

Noticing a cute girl on the bus -> Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi

Home sick -> Maana Madurai

Regretful -> Yesterday

Driving alone -> Free Fallin'

Nostalgic -> Summer of 69

Seeking calm -> Besame Mucho

Ponderous -> Bitter Sweet Symphony

Raining -> Banana Pancakes

Overcast -> All good things come to an end

Heading downtown -> Paper Planes

Showering -> Snow (Hey Oh)

Seeking quiet inspiration -> Lough Erin Shore

Narcissistic -> Neon


No one is in hearing vicinity -> A Thousand Miles