Sorry about not writing for so long. I was slowly getting back to “normal life” and I felt kinda apathetic about writing. Then when I actually felt like writing, my internet connection went down. It’s a long story, and I’ll talk about it later, but basically I have no more static IP’s. But I’m so glad there’s this.
My whole vacation was about “change”. Scratch that. Going to war, coming back, and settling into normal life has been about change. Usually I’m averse to change. Yeah, I’m that guy who orders the same damn thing everytime I go to a restaurant. Mostly because I really like the dish. It’s not so much I like being in a rut (I don’t), but it’s more that once I am comfortable with something, I don’t like changing it. Change makes me stressful and agitated and I usually don’t like it. I like to have a handle on every aspect of the situation and I hate “unknowns”. But if anything, I think I’ve learned how to deal with change.
I find myself thinking of the “good old days” a lot. I get patronizing scoffs from older people (people in their 40’s or 50’s) when I say this, but seriously; it’s true. After college, a lot of things changed. I started working, I got a house, and then I went to war. I listen to music on the radio, and I say “What is this shit? Music was so much better in the 90’s!”. That’s also when I realize that I sound like my father (of course, he claims music was better in the 70’s). But again, it’s more than that. I think I’m in that gray area when you realize that you’re actually starting to become a “grown-up”. Some people say it’s because you lose the clichéed “innocence of childhood”. But I think calling it the “ignorance of childhood” is more apposite, and as we all know, another cliché tells us that “ignorance is bliss”. My view of the world has become significantly grayer and duller over the years by layers and layers of cynicism. I don’t mean this just figuratively. No, really – I distinctly remember the days being brighter when I was younger. Is that what happens when you “grow up”? I remember wonderful summers in India, when I was seven or eight. There is this tree in our backyard that we children would play around. The sunlight was brighter, and butterflies would be flitting around us as we played. I didn’t see that many butterflies when I went to India this time, or the last time for that matter. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.
When you grow up there are a lot of new things you learn, things you wished you didn’t know. You are expected to take part in “grown up” discussions and things like that. Stuff that’s really tiresome. Sometimes I feel that everyone talks, but nothing gets done. That’s really frustrating for an engineer, who’s whole life revolves around solving problems. I’d say for the most part of the eight years since I left highschool, my life was constant. But I think it was the going away for a year that made me realize how much had really changed. Being out there for a year made me re-evaluate so many things, especially my personal relationships (these especially for the better). I think part of it was because I was a passive spectator to my own life, one that was moving along without me. I mean, life wasn’t really “going on” for me. Life for me, was Arizona and I sure as hell wasn’t in Arizona for a year. It’s funny when I try to place things or relate to things and I realize that my point of reference is from two years ago. It’s very disorienting to immerse yourself into an environment that’s a year ahead of you… like stepping into a moving train.
One of the major “changes” I’ve had to deal with is my little sister’s marriage. I knew it was going to happen one day, but it was more of an abstract concept than something concrete. But yeah, my baby sister is getting married – later this year in fact. It’s a happy occasion, but still different than what I’ve been used to. Some changes haven’t been so happy. It’s sad when you look at an old photograph and realize some of the people are no longer around… and that some of them won’t be around much longer. I wonder if cynicism is the inevitable consequence of knowledge and adulthood. I do find myself looking at a lot of things through jaded eyes. Somewhere along the way I lost the sense of wonder I had during my childhood, or even in my early college-years. I guess I still believe in the goodness of things, but more often than not I am surprised by it.
I think it will get better though. Being in touch with my family, being around my family, and in the company of old friends helps it out quite a bit. Just like anything else, it’s always only a matter of time…
I’ve got a few pictures here from my trip in India. There are a few missing which I will upload later. There are also others that I lost when the drive on my laptod died (this always happens to me). I’m going to try and salvage what I can from it this weekend and see if I can get the pictures back. I’ve got pictures of my highschool teachers and highschool principal here. The feeling I have towards them can only be called “reverence”. In Hinduism they say that the Guru (teacher) is equal to God. Nothing could be further from the truth when describing my teachers. I would not be where I am today, without their help.
A Newfoundland I met at JFK.
The cutest doggie in the world.
Mr. Andrews, Mr. Dogra, and I.
One of the most amazing persons I have ever known.
My old class-teacher, Mr. Joy standing in front of good old 12 A!
Mrs. Ghosh, my old Ibri house house-mistress. She never actually taught me, but that seems irrelevant. I still remember reciting a piece from G. B. Shaw’s Pygmalion for the House Recitation compeition.
I certainly wouldn’t have understoon Electricity and Magnetism if it wasn’t for Mr. Srinivas. One of the most interesting and engaging teachers I’ve had.
Mr. Stanislaus wouldn’t let me synthesize RDX in the Chemistry Lab. That was probably a good thing. It’s also because of him that I can still amaze Chemistry Geeks with my random bits of Chem knowledge.
Our cats in Muscat. Thomas, Sundari (meaning “pretty one” in Malayalam), Karamban (meaning “black one” in Malayalam), and Tiger Poocha (literally translated, “Tiger Cat”. It’s a name I made up).
I finally got some time to sit down and write about my leave. I have been rather busy. Our days are long, and after I get back from work, I don’t have very much time and I’m too tired to sit down and write a journal entry! Well, anyway… here it is. Be warned… it’s pretty long!
Ok, so this last month (May), I went on leave. My leave date was the 8th of May. Little did I know that this day would be the beginning of what I would like to call…
The Worst Travelling Experience Ever
We meet our hero at BIAP where he is waiting with his fellow soldiers to get a flight to Kuwait. It is around 8 in the morning, and the day hasn’t gotten hot just yet. Everywhere there are Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Civilians sitting and waiting. Some are playing cards or talking amongst themselves. Others are listening to music, or watching movies on their laptops, or reading books. Still others are sprawled out on benches or on the dusty concrete floor, sleeping, using their luggage as pillows. At about 9 in the morning, a formation is called. As our hero hurries and falls in, he looks around and notices Captains, Majors, and Sergeant Majors also in formation. It strikes him as a little funny since he usually sees them in front of a formation, and not in one. Leave – the great equalizer. Somebody comes up to the front of the formation and informs everyone that there are two flights leaving Baghdad. The first one leaves at 12 noon, while the second one leaves at 10 pm. However, there are personnel who have been waiting at BIAP since yesterday, and therefore, they will be given preference for the 12 noon flight. Our hero hopes and prays that there is enough room on the flight for him. However, he has been in the Military long enough to know that expecations are rarely met, and Murphy’s Law holds sway most of the time. Sure enough, there isn’t enough room on the flight and he has to wait for the 10 pm flight. He settles in for a Long and Boring day.
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I’m in Oman right now. I feel a strange mix of emotions. I felt like this the last time I was here. “Bittersweet” would be the right word. It feels really nice to be back here – being with my parents and all. Although I wish my sister was here as well. It would be nice for the whole family to be together again in Oman. I feel really empty sometimes though. All my friends aren’t here. Actually, only one of them is here.
I went over some old ICQ conversations today. It made me feel happy, and very depressed at the same time. I used to talk to so many of my friends through ICQ on this very computer.
It was an amazing time; my last two years in high-school. All of us had so much fun. Reading those old ICQ transcripts brought back some old memories… old hopes… old loves… Towards the end, the transcripts got especially poignant. It was the part where we all said good-bye to each other – when we parted ways. I didn’t feel it as much then, as I do now.
Those transcripts are a time-capsule. I was looking at a younger “me”. Five years younger, to be exact. I don’t think I have changed much fundamentally. Perhaps wiser… a lot less naive… and a little cynical… even a little darker perhaps. Five years ago, I was a young lad setting out on the grand adventure known as “college”. Now I am a young man setting out on the grand adventure known as “The Real World”. Five years ago, my friends and I were just kids. Now most of us are employed. Some of us own houses… and some of us are married.
I wonder where I’ll be five years from now… More so, I wonder who I’ll be five years from now…
I am in India right now. It’s been great!
I got here on the first. The very next day, I left at 3:30 am for Trivandrum. I got there at around 8:00 am. I got myself a hotel room and met up with Sadhana, Vibha, Rachna and Prakash (Suraj’s brother). It was weird meeting them there – “incongruous” is the right word. Kerala is so far away from our usual haunts in Arizona.
We went over to Gouri’s place and hung out there for a while. We had ambitious plans to see all kinds of stuff. A waterfall in Tamil Nadu and a Dam where we could feed fish. Eventually we ended up just going to Kovalam Beach. My driver is not very familiar with Trivandrum so it was kinda hard for him to figure out where these places were. He did know where Kovalam was though. We made my poor driver go all around Trivandrum. I am sure he thinks we are all positively insane. We had a ton of fun at Kovalam. We waded in the water and got drenched. After we got back to the car, I was appointed the foot-dusting-person. Mostly because I didn’t want sand in the car. Ani (my driver) handed me a duster, which I used to dust Sadhu, Rach and Vibha’s feet. And to think I wasted my time getting a degree in Computer Engineering.
The next day was Gouri’s wedding. Sadhu, Rach and Vibha took a million years to figure out how to wear their saris. Eventually we made it to Trivandrum Club (where the wedding was supposed to take place) and an aunty there fixed the saris for the girls. Prakash and I sorta hung about sticking out like sore thumbs. The wedding itself was a very short affair. Malayalee Nair weddings always are. The sadhya (feast) was awesome. Gouri was looking positively resplendent in her outfit. I have pictures and I will post them as soon as I get back to Arizona. That won’t be until early September though.
After the wedding, we went back to the hotel to change into more comfortable clothes. I then had to get Sadhu, Rach, Vibha and Prakash to the train station so that they could catch the Anandhapuri Express to Madras. This proved to be easier said than done. What followed was a veritable drama which involved Kerala Tourism, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation – similar to the FBI of the United States), the local Superintendent of Police, the Assistant Director General of Tamil Nadu (or more affectionately known as “Santu Mama”), the conductor of the Train, and of course Your’s Truly, and his friends Sadhu, Rach, Vibha and Prakash. You see, Kerala Tourism booked Rach’s train ticket for the 4th at 4:00 pm instead of the 3rd. To correct this, we had to involve all the aforementioned people. Eventually, Rach ended up on the train. I had to wait in the train with Vibha while all this was sorted out. We wondered what would happen if the train left with me. I would have to explain to my mother and my grandparents what I was doing on a train to Madras instead of coming back home. That would not have been a very pleasant conversation.
I was a little depressed on my way back home because it was kind of a downer. We had hung out a lot over the past two days and had had a lot of fun. However after I came back home, I felt much better.
I haven’t been doing much at all in Chendamangalam. I’ve just been hanging out, playing with my dogs, and watching TV. I brought my Gamecube here, but I was an idiot and I blew up the AC adapter. It has an input voltage of 120V and everything here runs at 220V. The result wasn’t pretty. My Gamecube is fine. I doubt the adapter works though. It was pretty dumb of me to overlook that rather significant fact of “voltage difference”. You see, my camera adapater works over a range – 110V to 220V. The Nintendo Gamecube adapter doesn’t. Oh well. I am exploring other avenues. I found a site that ships the adapter to India. I am also going to check out stores in Ernakulam.
Other than that, nothing much is going on. Just chilling and relaxing and enjoying great food. My access to the internet is pretty limited. I have to drive (or take an auto-rickshaw) a little ways to get to the Cyber Cafe. But it is worth it! They have broadband at 512 Kbps! That’s awesome!
Anyway, that’s it. I will be back with more updates as soon as I can!
Wow, so anyway I’m in Changi Airport in Singapore right now and I’m like… “Is this an airport or a FREAKIN’ MALL?”
Ok, so next semester looks to be a BLAST. That is, if I am able to do it. I seriously hope I don’t have to go to Texas. I mean, I have no idea where the hell I’m going. I know I’m deployed. But that’s about it. I have to wait until I get to Sweet Home Arizona. Seriously… WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! WILL SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE!
Oh look! There is a blue giraffe floating around! His name is Bob! Everyone say hello to Bob! Oh dear, I think he’s quite lost it don’t you think? Oh yes… Most definitely. (Say all that with a British Accent. OTHERWISE IT WON’T SOUND RIGHT!)
Happy New Year. I’m in Oman right now…I’m here till the 12th, after which I’ll be going back to India. I’ll be back in Arizona on the 21st of January. Oh, and my unit just got activated. Our MOB date is on the 30th of January… Don’t know where we are going yet…
The semester is over. Had my CSE 421 final yesterday. I’m a true CSE major now. I really miss that class. It was an awesome experience. Got CUPS working on my FreeBSD machine. I can print to my Windows shared printer. I also have OpenOffice installed. Trying to get the CrossOver plugin to install Trillian. Leaving for California on the 19th. After that I leave for India on the 21st. Can’t wait…