Comfortably Numb...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hail the 'Vernal Equinox' !!

The onset of the Spring season is after all a celestial event. Don't trust me? Chk this out then...

The weather today was utterly infectious...Bright, sunny and cool! I was severely afflicted with symptoms of inexplicable verve and untraceable zest. Emotions that are completely misplaced considering the fact that my beloved car is sitting in the shop waiting to go under the mechanic’s spanner, an intimidating stack of Lab reports which need to be graded and turned in by the end of the week and a rather lackadaisical progress report in the research front! Not to mention the predicament of the Car Mechanic’s bill that will hurtle me to the precipice of penury. A despondent state of affairs indeed...which on any mundane Monday would make a privy grad student want to switch places with Hermione Granger. Her excellence in transfiguration being an enticing skill to practice during these desperate situations!

So, as I was pondering over a plausible explanation for this blissful apparition, I noticed that my iPod was doling out "Endrendrum Punnagai" from Alaipayuthey...Ahaa!! ( For the uninitiated and I daresay ignorant few who are unfortunate enough to have not savored this brilliant concoction from A.R.Rahman, PLEASE click on the hyperlink provided to listen to it on Boy! What a 'picker-upper' that song can be, huh? It can make the most morose of situations seem like a walk in the park! I am sure that multitudes of paeans have already been sung for value of a portable music player in one's life, so I will abstain from acknowledging the same!

But, I do nurture a very intricate relationship with my iPod, feeding of its digital ebullience to sustain myself during my journey through the murky aisles that frequent my journey that is life. So enthused was I that attending to my daily chores seemed impossible! It was as if a shot of adrenaline had been pumped straight into my brain. After a brief and rather futile attempt at furthering my academic credentials, I gave into my venerable guru Oscar Wilde's advice! I succumbed to my ephemeral love for the outdoors and took a stroll around my magnificient campus. I thoroughly cherish these capricious phases when my banal existence can afford to fade conveniently out of focus. It imparts a sense of perspicuity that is completely ingenuous and serene. An amazing feeling of tranquility pervades though every pore of my body and helps me realize the true joy of life. It helps me place everything in perspective and take on the world with renewed vigor and sharpened intellect.

(Images courtsey of: Kalev Leetaru and Alan Craig. Clicking on the images will lead to a repository of their brilliant images on the website, feel free to enjoy a cornucopia of spell-binding photographs from their collection)

And for that, I have the advent of spring and the virtuosity of A.R.Rahman to thank!! Resolutions taken during the evanescent state of bliss include: stocking my office with my baseball mitts, baseball and the football; promised sessions of 'long-toss' with my buddies who populate this historic edifice called MEL; extended sessions of literature search, grading and paper composition, armed with a coffee sprawled across the wi-fi enabled Bardeen quad. Holy shit, my nerves tingle and my mind salivates at the endless possibilities of Spring '06. This is mannah from Heaven, served fresh for my personal ecstasy and purely to satiate my eclectic desires!!

For all my apprehensive friends who question the nobility of my intensions to earn a PhD, who doubt the reasons for my "protracted" existence in Grad's a reason one cannot beat! Wish you guys made it to grad school or stayed in grad school any longer, huh?? Keep tuning in for more of my exploits before the U of I deems my presence burdensome and unworthy as to evict me from Urbana-Champaign forcefully!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A hundred thousand Curses...

God damn man!! Shiite! What a bunch of losers, the Illini are! My college team, "The Fighting Illini" can now officially be rechristened the "Bendover and get creamed" Illini!! When the situation dictated that we play our asses off and win every game from now...this is the tripe we come up with?? My blood boils over , my mind seethes with rage, my mouth is flowing over with invectives...WTF man! What the hell is wrong with my B'ball team? We were hailed to be a bunch of talented ballers, ready to capture the Big Ten firmament and march onto the NCAA tournament with all the swagger of '50 cent' during a spring break concert!

Guess now we know what we really are! Hmm...what do you do? As my movie-making Guru Quentin Tarantino once so succintly surmised in two immortal words..."Shit Happens!". Most of this invective-filled diatribe is a direct result of the dream season that we had last year when our team steam-rolled every opposition that was thrown across our path to reach the NCAA Finals. (Okay, we did slip a tad against Ohio State for our only regular season loss!) oh Boy, What a juggernaut that team was...I definitely need to extol their virtues and innundate my blog with their exploits some other time!

Anyways, all my cursing and venting leads to another very interesting question...

What magnitude of swearing is passable before it gets offensive? I am sure that everyone has their own relative standards depending on which co-ordinates of the erudite/tactful spectrum one prefers to exist in! I guess one cardinal rule that has been extolled by our rather accomplished fore-fathers is that swearing in front of a girl is extremely unchivalrous and can lead to very debilitating after-effects! But, that rule aside I am sure that one cannot deny 'professional etiquette' to be an overruling diktat in this matter. Swearing comes across as crass and uncivilized in the professional/public domain, will lead to varying degrees of ostracism/disgust from our peers. Not the most constructive addition to one's resume for sure!

So what is to happen of my impetuous college-going self? The part of me that held sway over most of Anna university with it's whimsical ebullience?? (Okay, okay...I have been accused of mild aggrandizement before too :-( but come on! ) My quintessential self which believes in referring to the holy act of procreation to articulate the most inane of things? The coruscating diamond that I so carefully chiseled from the rough-hewn ranipet self that I was earlier? What of all the hip-hop songs that I memorized over sleepless nights of AIR's rather stunted FM programming?

Will I have to immolate it all at the altar of Professionalism? Risk stagnation, isolation and failure at the cost of retaining a prized fragment of my ethos?? I guess not! I realize that there are far less excruciating solutions to this conundrum like:

a) Bite your tongue in the professional domain and act courteously without letting it deprecate into the realms of Unctuousness! Not express your anger or disgust in as many words but stick to the age-old British custom of understatement! A 'stiff upper lip' goes a long way in diffusing the most combustible of situations, trust me on that! One can conveniently switch off their alter-egos and don the genteel cape for a few hours of professional existence! A solution I personally find the most pragmatic and utilitarian...

b) Substitute your cuss words for similar sounding non-swear words...what I call the "Placebo curses"
Phrases like Oh crap!, Shoot, Frikkin' hell, freakin' crap, Holy molly, Holy Macarel, Holy Baloney (add ur fav palcebo to the list). I personally find this very Juvenile! When u let fly a "Holy Crap" or a "oh Shoot!" everybody knows EXACTLY what you are referring to! so what's the big deal man? If you can't bite your tongue, your crap or shoot reads bullshit to me anyways! Hence my decision to stick to the first solution, just shut the fuck up and let the anger/frustration/disgust dissipate away!

c) Now, here's a rather novel solution:
Pack your bags and ship your ass to Yugoslavia. Wonder why??
Check out this
amazing article

Hilarious shit aint it?? What wud ur choice be?? feel free to ping me on it!

Aight man...take it easy!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Rang de Basanti Conundrum...

I watched Rang De Basanti this weekend and was thoroughly disappointed. For all the hype and hoopla surrounding the movie...I found it to be rather hollow and lacking soul! There is an interesting debate my friend Magesh posts in his blog that I concur with...

The movie was definitely loaded with tons of the 'wow' factor: what with it being Aamir's next movie after Mangal Pandey, A.R.Rahman's rediscovered brilliance for a soundtrack and Alice patten donning makeup and reeling off dialogues in Hindi with great aplomb! The movie starts out portraying a motley gang of rather wasteful youth idling time and hanging out in very off-beat 'hang-out spots'. But, the manner in which Sue decides to stuff the extremely onerous task of starring as Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Ramprasad Bismil, Asfaqullah Khan and Lala Lajpat Rai down the throats of clueless young men is completely farcical and confounding! The sepia-toned scenes of the documentary however cleverly intertwined with the happenings in these young men's lives do not justify their acts, nor their complete lack of direction!

For further comments and views..refer to Magesh's blog and the comments posted. Do feel free to post yours and contribute to this arguement!


Friends, Romans and countrymen...(ahem, ahem)
Greetings to y'all! I finally succumb to this super-epidemic culture of blogging!! I had always relegated blogging to be a practice for the "free-at-work", "short-at-attention" sorta people, ones who had to speak their minds thru this omni-potent media to leave their mark on this civilization! Well, Guess I sold out then...huh:-(

Welcome to my world anyways! Feel free to drop by and peek a glimpse at the random assortment of opinions/events/infotainment that I spew out thru this portal. I promise you a smorgasbord of emotions and ideas, nothing more, nothing less!! Opinionated, I will be coz' tis my right to be! Controversial I mite be, guess I can't cater to the complete spectrum of human thots n emotions I guess! Soporific I won't be, coz' tis my nature not to be!

To get a flavor for my opinions, I strongly feel you need to know my antecedents. Hence, without any further ado,I present to you Ladies n Gentlemen...Sandeep Mariserla!!!

I was born and raised a single kid entirely in Ranipet, a tiny town 120 kms south of Chennai, India. Ranipet is a tiny little excuse for a town, its greatest claim to fame the hundreds of leather tanneries who export the finest quality leather to Europe and excrete the most-toxic waste straight down the local drain! Guess patriotism was a plot rather easily lost on these poor souls! Its an area still held sway by the Dravidian parties and the magical presence of MGR and Rajinikanth in that order. Not necessarily green nor agricultural in nature, the economy is held sway by the hordes of small-scale industries that populate the industrial estate. Schooling is very need based and hence strictly Tamil nadu entrance exam/BE seat oriented i.e. learning is as obsolete as a bottle of champagne in the Sahara!

To say that its been a wondrous journey for me wud be akin to claiming that Godfather was a good movie!! I spent a pivotal 5 years of my college life in Chennai (Singara chennai/namma Madras to the relevant Tamil makkal) taking in a culture that is as distinct and typical as Saravana Bhavan sambhar. My fellow cooks will endorse that no amount of proficiency in south Indian cooking will lead to the replication of the sambhar served in these legendary eateries that have established their tentacles as far out as LA and NYC. I have a "5 yr college town" theory which goes "Anyone who spends 5 years near about his college going days in a certain town automatically declares that town/place to be the BEST place on earth!".

Madras and I are no exception to the rule, though my rapidly accruing globe-trotting memoirs are testing my allegiance. Stupendous places like NYC and Boston being lead contenders to supplant Madras from it's azure perch! (More on Chennai/Madras in later posts...)

5 yrs of 'education' in the famed Anna univ couldn't eradicate my lack of scientific cognition/academic thirst even though my Integrated Masters degree would strongly distract you from discerning the same. I happened to spend an amazing 6 months in Bangalore working on my Masters project. If you believe in destiny, then God wrote those six months of my life fresh after creating Paz Vega and Salma Hayek! Can you believe one can exist in the quintessential state of bliss, what was so beautifully defined by Pink Floyd as "Comfortably Numb" for an entire six months without missing a beat or taking care of business? Those to paraphrase Bryan Adams were "The Best days of my life". Days fraught with needless adventure, dizzying science, endless distractions and an IISc intra-dept cricket tourney to boot! Sweet mother of God, may all those people who inhabited my existence during that phase be blessed and showered with my gratitude!

My scheming intellect or the complete lack thereof still could not impede me from landing a plush admit in UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for the uninitiated few). It was my passport to the land of the Free where milk and honey flowed like water never did in Chennai! An apt culmination to those magical few months in Bangalore. My fateful flight journey from Chennai (my virgin one too at that!) would land me bang in the middle of never-ending streches of corn fields. UIUC's location is a miracle, a most brilliant masterstroke by the US govt apparently to ward off/isolate any suspicious 'foreigners' from the super-computers and cutting edge-research that this place was hand-crafted to nurture. How ironic this trivia sounds when juxtaposed with the current day and age...Urbana-Champaign is populated by teeming hordes of Chinese, Indians, Europeans, Texans/Southerners, East-coasters and even the Californians to good measure. A violent departure from the typical native mid-western demographic of uber-conservative Caucasian agrarian families!

Life in Urbana-Champaign has been quite rewarding and illuminating! More on that later, but for now I exist a deviant desi grad student who's just found the promised light at the end of the tunnel i.e PhD. Keep tuning in to find out if the light is a speeding train hurtling towards him...will he survive, will he consummate his vaunted quest for academic excellence or fall prey for the lascivious wealth that abounds this college-town!
Coming soon to this portal...Don't miss it!