Sunday, October 18, 2009

Deepawali in a Blackhole

Deepawali, or Diwali as most people call it is the festival of lights. It is very much an integral part of my life, much like anything else thats Indian. In fact, I didn't realise how important celebrating these festivals were until I realised that I wouldn't be able to do that in my own home country for at least the next 6 years. The puja, the Aarti; specially the aarti. Singing of bhajans, in our mandir, doing puja together as a family. It all became so regular, that maybe, I started taking it for granted.
Well, anyways, this year I celebrated Diwali in perhaps the most unusual manner ever. I went to a professor's place, ate Indian delicacies, danced, laughed, played games, and missed home. And then, then the magic happened. I went to my grad student friend's place. That really was like a Diwali away from home. There were six guys there, and I was the only girl, it felt kinda weird at first, but oh well, life is such.
So they lit up diyas (lamps) and took them near the pool. It was fun, and what added to that fun was ... well the fear of the fire alarm that could go off any second. I just couldn't stop laughing and being anxious at the same moment. Nervous laughter, one may say, no. It was much more than that, it was recognition of the fact that I was in a foreign country, doing something completely Indian, the feeling of being Indian, while standing on a foreign soil.
And then, we attempted to make pakodas. The guys had kept everything ready. But no, since I was the only girl there, I had to take charge, hadn't I? Well... I actually spoilt the whole thing. Like really, I did. I feel sorry about that. Hmm. I diluted the besan mix too much ...
in the end though, thank goodness those guys ... well (obviously ;) ) were smarter than me and decided to add more besan (kinda like dough). And things turned out well.
Then we all sat down to eat. We had, gol gappe, halwa plus some more stuff. It was soo good.
And then!
Someone picked up the guitar, another guy on the drums, and everyone was ready to roll with some Indian music. We sang... oh it was so nice. That was like bliss. In my mind, it was hard to believe that I was in the U.S. I kept thinking, this is what I would have been doing if I was living in a hostel in India.
Anyways, IT WAS GOOD, GREAT AND EVEN BEST! one of the best Diwali celebrations..

I miss that feeling (of being Indian, not that I am not). I don't really know if its an identity crisis. Well, I think its not, cause I know that I am Indian and I have come here to study Physics, and thats that, nothing more. But, when I am not studying physics? Then what? What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to feel?

These people here don't make me feel alien, yet they don't consider me as friends. It hurts. It really hurts. At times, I think that if I would have stayed back in India and completed my studies there, I would have formed deeper friendships. Hmm, but I can never trade the bliss I feel when I do study Physics here, or even mathematics, or actually, when I understand anything here. Its just great. So, basically, everything has a cost associated with it. And each of us humans on this planet is performing a cost-benefit analysis with each major decision we make. I didn't really think too much about coming to the U.S. I didn't really weigh the cost over the benefits. All I thought of was that I was going to study Physics, and this country teaches it well, which in fact it does. But after coming here, I realised that life is not just about learning a subject. One learns about life ... I mean, Life is not just about one single thing, it integrates a lot of things. I would not have met the friends I have right now (and these people are just awesome) had I not come to the U.S. Maybe one can't control these things. Maybe one can. I don't really know.
As one of the famous quotes said-
'If you want to lead a happy life, tie yourself to goals, not to people or things. '
I know at least three people who would disagree with this. They think that people bring happiness to them. But
What about the fact that, life is very unpredictable? I maybe friends with you today, and the next day, we have a big fight, something which just cannot be solved, and we end our friendship. What happens then? Isn't it harder to move on ... if one is too attached?
So anyways,
the conclusion is that I am still stuck in this black hole, it is full of mysteries which I will discover, some I have discovered already. But I don't belong here. This is not home (and Ritika, you know what I mean :) )

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why am I here? (Part 1)

WARNING: This entry may not talk about space, blackholes or any of that kinda cool stuff, so if you're looking for that, you can skip this entry.
So I have been wondering.... Why am I here? In the U.S.? for physics comes the answer. but is that enough. I do love physics and all, but it forms only 30-40% of the time I spend here. The rest of it... I don't really know what happens to it.
Its kinda weird. I am sitting in my dorm room, and I feel jealous of my friends studying in college back home in India. I am jealous, there's no denying that. But, as I browsed through some of the pics of these friends, I noticed something that I couldn't explain or understand. It was the shrinking of the bubble that any person has around him/her for his/her personal space. I was kind of surprised at how small that bubble had become in the Indian college going students. But maybe its because they are very genuine people and such things don't matter to them. I don't know, and probably won't ever know. I feel like I live on no man's land. Neither can I go back right now to my country (because I chose this path, and for the sake of integrity which I value a lot, I will not go back before my studies end here) nor can I blend into the crowd here ( I cannot accept a lot of values that exist in this culture). Its not like an identity crisis, I know that, but its confusion nonetheless. I don't know what to do. I do not think of physics all the time you know, I am not that dedicated. But I don't know what to do when I am free.