Comfortably Numb...

Monday, February 20, 2006


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!


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