Thursday, February 21, 2008

Over a cup of Tea

Before you all read this article please take some time out to appreciate the newsletter team to have come up with this concept of Dautya! A lot goes into compiling such a wonderful issue. Please read and contribute whole heartedly. Your contribution is imperative for the success of Dautya! All the best Team Dautya!

~ Vikram V. Shete

Over a cup of Tea

On an evening when I sit on the patio with a cup of tea, gazing at the skies painted in the finest colors of nature, I simply cannot stop the chain of thoughts, which inevitably throw me back in the past. A past which I cherish and wish it was the future! Someone has wisely put “Memories always make you sad: For if those were good, it’s the sorrow of having lost those moments and if those were sad the thought itself makes you unhappy!” So true…

The chain of thoughts is as simple as “So beautiful is the sky.

I can see it as far as Galveston! In Mumbai I did not see the sky across the street. So many buildings…. My friends stay across the street! We played cricket and had wada-pav (bondas) at Mahesh thela (stall)” so and so forth it goes on. Then there is no stopping till the tea hits bottom! At the end, on the final note the fundamental question is posed, “Why did I come to USA?” A couple of years back the answer was simple, “Learn and Earn”! Now, there is a different dimension to the question and the answer as well. It’s more philosophical than practical. For me philosophy flows smoothly with a cup of tea! Even now as I write, most of the time

I am wandering on the streets of Mumbai, waiting for the auto, the odd bus 210, the 7.44 train from Borivali! The nostalgia is sweet even if it eats away two valuable hours!

Today the realization dawns, why “baba” (father) wanted me to have my clothes ready to be sent for ironing, why “aai” (mother) pleaded to keep food stored and refrigerated and not to mention the care, with which “aaji” (grandmother) made “batatychya kachrya” (spiced potato chips). All comes back when its late in the morning and I must squeeze in 5 minutes to get that darned shirt ironed, when the roaches attack, when hunger hits and there is no motivation whatsoever to cook or head to the kitchen!

Little did I know before applying for the program, that there is more to it than just studying and having fun in The US of A! The first semester demanded a heavy premium!! Everything that I had to do was a new venture, including banking, cooking, utensils, setting up electricity and on top of that, the Honesty Policy which turned out to be a nightmare (although that is one thing that I will cherish for long!). We have been used to making multiple copies from a couple of original versions.

I remember that, more than often the ratio of original to the last edited version was 10:4, a whopping 60 % reduction! The original copy would have 10 pages and the final version would be close to just 4! With that background, how could I solve a double integral of a partial differential of the Bessel function of the third order, all by myself!!

This was the least of all pains that I have endured so far. There were higher degree pains of funding, GATF, the graduate co-ordinator, the ever pushing boss, the course selection, finding a parking place.

I had to reach university before 9 am just to get a place near Cullen Engineering. How demanding can life be !! Oh how could I forget the apartment management and their weird

rules and regulations!! Gosh !! Life is that bad, is it ? I almost believed “Life is Beautiful”!

But I must agree and trust that the readers will also, that these are the experiences that go a long way in shaping us and making a strong character out of us! I strongly believe that the past 2 years have had a huge influence on my life. I have met some of the best people while working on projects, concerts, events and even team assignments! For the first time I witnessed the Indian diversity in its full blossom! Little did I know that there were more than one “South Indian” languages and that Oriya was as sweet as Bengali and there were distinctions in Punjabis, Sikhs and Sardars. The festivals, food habits, the slang, the mannerisms, so fine yet so distinct and unique! Please forgive if I have got it wrong! There is a lot more to it than what can be said or understood.

Most of my learning has come from the organizations that I have worked for and the people I have worked with. The prime ones being GISO and AID! Each having a purpose and a unique way to function! Houston has taught me a mantra, the mantra of Networking!

F.Y.I. The gurus of this course are right here in Houston, who are willing to help with it!! As a matter of fact a lot of my classmates from the 2005 batch have changed! Their outlook towards life, their ways of attacking a problem, not to mention the dressing, the accent as well! The k’s have changed to khey’s and p’s to phee’s !

Sometimes it is frustrating to be a graduate student and there is this urge, to tell all my miseries to someone! But, when the eyes roll around searching for someone to talk about it, every other person I see is trying to find someone for obvious reasons!

It’s sad that I can’t vent out my frustration but then, the very fact that this is a commonplace makes me feel better.

Everyone is facing it and dealing with it so why not me ?? It’s really amazing that we’ve learnt ways to deal with it without succumbing to the pressure. Some find solace in music, some enjoy wine n dine whilst some spend time with near and dear ones in person or telecommunication! This deserves a round of applause! Some have discovered latent qualities that they wish to pursue! Every individual I see is tomes of experience, a legend by itself. Each one of us has seen things in a different perspective and it would be wrong to compare each other. It’s like comparing oranges to limes on the premise that they have the same shape! Let’s not pit against each other, the victory may not be sweet! Beat your past, race against the “Me” within! Now that would be a triumph of the mind over matter. That’s got to be sweet!!

Well as my cup of tea is about to hit bottom, the thoughts of future seep in and that’s when I realize that it’s time to get back to the “Prima Meta”. There are many more cups of tea to be thought over, but I do realize that such fundamental discussion in such or higher depth is definitely not my cup of tea!

I rest my case………………

-Vikram Shete

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