Saturday, March 30, 2013

Of The Sun and The Wind, Downton Abbey, Khalnayak and Ramayana..

So long time no see.

No post for two weeks. As I had said that March was going to be really crazy, and it was. The finals week was over. So, on the ethics paper, I wrote on the New York Post incident, I got 33.25/35. The final letter grade is not yet up. Here is the paper that I wrote:

Spring break started from 18 March to 23 March, but I had one extra course where we had to go to a place 40 miles away from here. Walking up at five in the morning every day was not fun and exhausting. On the first day, I thought I did not carry my gloves since spring was almost here. And little did I snowed that day! Walking to college at five in the morning with the wind so strong that I couldn't stand still. I fell down, and with no gloves, my hands turned blue. I thought something was going to happen to me. I ran to the nearest open shop and stood there for ten or fifteen minutes till my hands got warm. And then I dashed to college. It has been snowing and is called spring break. A snowy spring.

Talking of the wind force, I don't know what happened, but it suddenly reminded me of this concise story from the Hindi supplementary reading book "ज्ञान सुधा" that we had in class two or three. The story was called the sun and the wind. It was about a quarrel between the sun and the wind about who is more strong. It was a beautiful story. The challenge was to make a passing traveler remove his clothes. However hard the wind blew, the traveler only wrapped his clothes tighter, but when the sun shone, the traveler was overcome with heat and had to take his clothes off. The story is trying to say that kindness affects more than severity. The more force one applies to convince someone, the more defensive they get. Gentle persuasion is the way to go. YouTube has this animated version of the story as well. Children's stories still fascinate me.

I have started watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey. It has become sad. Edith was left at the altar by Anthony, who said he couldn't marry her. I feel real pity for Edith because she was always left out. Mary was the elder beautiful sister, and Sybil was the more strong feminist one. Edith was not pretty either. She had very few hopes of getting married, so she decided to marry Anthony, who was more than twenty-five years older than her, but he chickened out at the last moment. Cora says:
Cora: You are being tested. And you know what they say, my darling. Being tested only makes you stronger.
Edith: I don't think it's working with me.
I can identify with Edith so many times :(

And Sybil died during childbirth. Seriously, these people kill all the nice people, and Matthew is going to die soon too. 


But my favorite character is Dowager Countess or their grandmother. She is just too witty and funny :)

Dame Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Mary: "Sybil is entitled to her opinions."
Dowager Countess: "No. She isn't until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are."

And you know YouTube has this Hindi Movie Channel where we can watch some movies for free.

So, I browsed through it and finally got a chance to watch Khalnayak. No relation to the recent turn of events. Khalnayak was amazing. It talked about some issues, such as why people become a criminal and how there is a good and a bad side to each of us. Har khalnayak m ek nayak chupa hota hai. Ravana me bhi to nayak ke lakshan the. I liked it a lot. Madhuri is lovely in the movie. She truly dances like a dream. She is terrific in the song Choli Ke Peeche. Just see the way she emotes each and every expression. But what I really liked in the movie were the references to Ramayana. Jackie Shroff's character is named Ram Sinha. Ballu Balram, played by Sanjay Dutt, had shades of Ravana to him. Ballu's mom is always reading the Ramayana. When Ganga goes along with Ballu during the song Palki Me Hoke, she drops her ring on the way, just like Sita does. Later, the ring is found by Subhash Ghai, who gives a ring to Ram.

Ganga drops her ring

 To signal Ram ala Sita
Subhash Ghai always makes an appearance in his films.
When Ram and Ballu are fighting, several monkeys are shown, signifying the vanar sena

Ballu brings a murti of Lord Ram for Ganga

In the end, Ganga is ostracized for staying with a criminal like Ballu and has to prove her innocence; Ram also wants to leave her just like Lord Rama did.

What was most interesting was that Ballu comes to the rescue of Ganga, that is, Ravana comes to save Sita from the world. There were numerous other references to Ramayana. In fact, this excellent piece argues that it is a whole new interpretation of Ramayana. Loved these lines:

The story of Sita's banishment has always been a difficult moment, not only for the devotees of Ram but for Indian civilization itself. If Ram could banish and outlaw his chaste wife owing to the demands of a public inclined to think of Sita as having been defiled by her long captivity, what kind of example can he -- the noble and just king, the devout husband, the very incarnation of the Gods -- be said to have created for his subjects? Is not the effect of Ram's banishment of Sita to render her into an outsider to civilized society, the Other of his conscience? Must not standards of morality appear to be altogether shifting and arbitrary if Ram can place Sita outside the framework of an inclusive morality? As Ramachandra Gandhi has so poignantly observed in a recent work, the story of Sita's banishment can, in fact, be located within a framework where Sita is not rendered into the Other. For their repeated violation of the ecological order, as when Ram takes the life of Marica, or when Ram shoots dead one of a pair of curlew birds engaged in love-play, Ram and Sita too must enact, by way of atonement and compensation, and by mutual consent, the pain of separation; and this story, when placed into the hands of patriarchs and chauvinists, becomes "distorted into the sexist banishment of Sita by Rama for suspected infidelity in Lanka."

The complete piece from UCLA is here:

And finally, I have found an internship. After applying to over 250 companies, there is one offer. It is in Des Moines, the largest city in Iowa. I am more relieved than happy. But still, a lot of work needs to be done to find a full-time offer, and some other things need to be sorted out. I hope sab ghar pe bhi theek ho jaye ab. 

More later.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Kasam to jhoote khaate hain" - Ballu, Khalnayak

"I miss him. All the time, I miss him. It's not waves; it's constant."
- Izzie, Grey's Anatomy

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Of MBA Stuff, Ethics, Ang Lee, Finding Solace, Mary and Matthew's Wedding, Tradition, Unending Love for Dil Chahta Hai and Sid...

Long time no see..

So the spring break has started but I do not have any break because there is this one week course that I have to take in this week, but later I would have the option to drop one course. I still have one take home exam left. It is so long..20 questions, each question takes two-three hours. This concept of take home is new for me. So the exam can be done from home using books, Internet except that it should be individual effort. In fact, the Harvard cheating case that was so much in news a few weeks ago was due to the reason that a lot of students had collaborated on a take home exam.

Anyways, I had wanted to write one post after the first term got over about how the MBA experience is. I don't talk much about the MBA stuff because I feel I am not just smart enough. But there are somethings which I wanted to share about MBA and the US in general that I feel. 

Firstly, a lot of schools talk about class diversity in terms of the students' background, their work experience - they want different people from different backgrounds. So if you are from an arts background with an experience in say an NGO, you have a very strong chance of entering even if your GMAT score is very low, even 500 is sufficient. But the thing is that this diversity is also a big dampener in your job prospects. Employment in the US is given based on your previous job experience, so it is very difficult to change your career after an MBA because you just don't have experience in that field. The higher the experience you have, the more difficult to change career. I have people in my class - one of them is a professor of biology who is doing his MBA now but companies are very reluctant to hire him because he just doesn't have any experience in finance or marketing or whatever. If one is a career advancer, an MBA is the right path for him. This diversity thing is a case of different priorities. Schools want diversity to have a difference of opinion and they are ranked by the diversity component but employers don't care about diversity, they want the perfect background. If you have an undergraduate degree in finance, MBA in finance, with experience in the financial services sector, get ready to make millions! Also, MBA studies require a very high level of quantitative analytical skills, so if you are someone with no knowledge of maths/statistics, students with no such background struggle a lot. I really don't know the solution.

Secondly, about the international students. Here again, schools are ranked according to the number of international students in the class. Last year, some schools hired a number of international students to increase their average GMAT score but again, the problem comes in the job! To work in this country, you need sponsorship. An employer needs to sponsor an H-1 B visa that will allow you to work here. The problem is that it is such a tedious process, that companies just refuse to sponsor the visa. The thing why it is complicated is that they have to prove to the US government that that there is no one in the domestic pool whose qualifications match the job description and hence they need to hire an international candidate. In the technology sector, it is somewhat simpler to get a visa because not many domestic US candidates go for MS in computers/technology. So, I am sure you would know many friends of yours who would be working in California in a technology company. Those companies have no choice but to sponsor the visa else they won't run! In fact, the technology sector here is just because of the international candidates. The problem comes in the MBA job market. There are companies like Intel that sponsor visa only for technology jobs but refuse any international candidate for business level jobs. If you are not from a Top-15 school, finding a job of your liking is slightly challenging. For business level jobs, companies have people in the US who can work for them, they do not need to hire others. In fact, I don't know any big company in the marketing sector that sponsors. Domestic candidates are very good at marketing, which indeed they are, and most of the US students do marketing. So, international students have to leverage their previous experience. Companies offer IT project management jobs and sponsor for them, so people from IT background especially Indians are offered such jobs. Consulting is another sector which readily sponsors for business level jobs because you need very smart people for it and international students are generally very smart. So if someone who wants to shift careers and is an international candidate, finding a job is slightly difficult. And finding a job is very unlike Indian B-schools. In India, we have a dedicated placement time where all companies come to campus and students apply, etc. Here, finding a job is a year-long process. You have to apply yourself, you have to go to the company for the interview, you have to network with people. So, finding a job is all your effort. Career services of MBA schools does help, but the best they can do is get you an interview. I have applied to about 250 companies and have got only a handful of interview calls. All the companies are from the healthcare sector because I had my engineering in biotechnology. In the application form, there is a question that every company asks: Do you now or in the future require a visa? And you have to answer yes, and they simply apply the filter and you are not selected even for the first round. Even for internships this the problem. Basically, we are only allowed to work for 20 hours and only on campus during the two years. To intern with a company, the office of international students has to give you permission to work for a company in the summer, which everyone gets. After you graduate, every student can work for one year in the period called Optional Practical Training. One can be unemployed during this period for a maximum of three months, after that if you don't have a job, you have to go back to your country. This OPT application has to be approved by the US Government. That is why you see all rankings give a feature of percentage of people with jobs after three months of graduation. There are so many rules and regulations that we have to follow that I get scared sometimes. I had thought that once I got my US visa, things would be simpler but little did I know that it was just the beginning :) I have also been exploring an option of PhD. I have put every other problem in the back burner for now and just focusing on this. I will find a job here no? Main sab kuch to karta hun.. What else do I do? One knows his capabilities, I just wish I was slightly more smart and had some analytical skills and maybe more passionate about these things - finance, technology, thinking. Let's see how many battles I have to fight more :) 

So, what else is happening? I finally wrote my final ethics paper. In December 2012, New York Post, on its front page, published a photograph of 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, who was pushed onto the railway tracks by an assailant at the 49th Street station in Manhattan and was looking at the oncoming train that moments later took his life. The image sparked off a big debate not only on the ethics of publishing this picture by New York Post but also on the character of the photographer itself. The picture forces us to think two ethical questions: should the picture have been taken in the first place, and secondly, should it have been published at all. So I wrote on the ethics of photojournalism. I am not going to get a good grade in this class, I know it.

Also, someone on Facebook posted this excellent article on Ang Lee and the uncertainty of success. What is it that makes reading about people's failures so inspirational? I was just having this discussion with R that how can we overcome jealousy and these failures.. these lines were so brilliant..

If you’re an aspiring author, director, musician, start up founder, these long stretches of nothing are a huge reason why it’s important to pick something personally meaningful, something that you actually love to do. When external rewards and validation are nonexistent; when you suffer through bouts of jealousy, wondering “How come so-and-so got signed/is successful/got a deal/etc?”; when every new development seems like a kick in the stomach, the love of what you are doing gives you something to hang onto.

Much is made of genius and talent, but the foundation of any life where you get to realize your ambitions is simply being able to out-last everyone through the tough, crappy times — whether through sheer determination, a strong support network, or simply a lack of options.

And I got a message from S that she read my blog after a really long time and she felt nice and relaxed after reading. D also sends me a message that "you touch hearts, especially those looking for solace". I must admit I was flattered but I am a very mediocre writer in all honesty. I have very little thoughts of my own - mainly I can say I am a good aggregator. That is why I feel really stupid -  I just wish I was really good at something. I cannot be a good writer and as I said, one knows his capabilities, I wish I was at least a good writer :( Talking of solace, it is a funny thing. You know what gives me solace these days? Washing utensils..yes, I am not kidding. My room mate said when he played tennis, he feels relaxed. I then started thinking. Recently, whenever I washed utensils, it made me feel good. I know it is a very stupid thing but cleaning them of all the spots and seeing a clean sink is almost therapeutic :) Monica used to clean the house no? Izzie used to bake when she was stressed. I also need to learn baking. I want to try everything. Today, I made pasta for myself.

And also, this super awesome poster on how to be more creative. Sing in the shower :)

So, in Downton Abbey, Matthew and Mary got married but I know Matthew is going to die soon. It was in the news recently that he is going to die in the season finale. Why can't they let a good couple live in peace? I loved the wedding. In the episode, Matthew says to Mary, I wouldn't be happy with anyone else as long as you walk the earth

Loved this scene when Mr. Carson and Lord Grantham looked at Mary 

Mary greeted Mr. Carson first instead of her father Lord Grantham

Matthew: To be honest, I wasn't sure you'd show up
Mary: Good, I'd hate to be predictable

And there was an excellent exchange between the two grand moms regarding tradition. Mary's maternal grandmother is an American while her paternal grandmother is British and they were talking about the tradition of groom not beeing able to see the bride before the wedding.

Martha Levinson: “Nothing ever alters for you people does it. Revolutions erupt and monarchies crash to the ground and the groom still cannot see the bride before the wedding.”
Countess Violet: “You Americans never understand the importance of tradition.”
Martha Levinson: “Yes we do, we just don’t give it power over us. History and tradition took Europe into a world war. Maybe you should think about letting go of its hand.”

Martha and Violet

It's so true no? 

And finally - the one movie that I just can't get enough of. I watched Dil Chahta Hai again and as usual every time I watch I find something that I hadn't noticed before. 
Did you know that Kiran Rao made a fleeting apperance in Dil Chahta Hai? I was looking and suddenly I see that in a scene with Deepa, there is this lady who looks like Kiran Rao and then I looked carefully. She was Kiran Rao!! I have seen that movie hundreds of time, but never saw her! See below.

Kiran Rao!

Another trivia I found: Tara says the flat that she lives is provided by her company. And you know on the name place it is written Excel International Ltd. Excel is name of the company that Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani own.

I think Sid absolutely loved painting portraits. There are so many of them that we can see

Unnamed but Aakash thinks is Ms. Kashyap, their Economics Teacher

In the party, Sid draws Shalini

Aakash's portrait in his room is painted by Sid too no?

Unnamed portrait from the best scene ever :)

Sid's favorite one :)

Which he gifts to Tara..the wall behind :)

And similar to professions, Tara and Sid's houses were very similar too.

The houses of both of them are filled with pictures.

They also had similar tastes :)

There are some interesting ducks/cranes/pigeons in Sid's room

Tara buys an interesting flying bird thing

Sid is so awesome. Each and every expression of his is so genuine. 

Bored in social settings

Completely solves the Rubik's Cube!!

Happy in  Tara's happiness :)

And some more thing which I felt about him. I think Deepa had a very big influence on Sid. You remember the scene where he talks to Deepa, he says
Sid: Kabhi kabhi sochta hun, koi kisi ko kyun chahta hai, kyun chahti ho use?
Deepa: Yeh main nahi jaanti, bas chahti ho use?
Sid: Yeh jaante hue bhi Aaksh tumhe nahi chahta?
Deepa: Haan, tab bhi..
Sid: Tum khoobsourat ho, intelligent ho, tumhen to hazaron ladke mil jayenge..Aisi ummidein hi nahi karni chahiyen...

And later on he feels the same predicament as her!
He was trying to convince Deepa that why does she love Aakash when she can find so many other good boys? And later on Aakash and Sameer say the same things, he gives the answer what Deepa gave that he just loves Tara. Isn't it likely then Deepa had an influence over him?

Aakash: Kya samjhe hun? Tu keh raha hai ki tujhe aisi aurat se pyaar ho gaya ho tujhse 10-15 saal badi hai, jiski ek beti, jiska ek pati tha, tu khud hume keh chuka hai that she's got a drinking problem..kya samjhe hum?
Sid: Yehi ki yeh sab jaante hue bhi main usse pyaar karta hun

I seriously wish they had shown more of Deepa :)

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts on it :) 

Dialogue of the Day:
You know what Aakash, zindagi me ek aisa waqt aata hai jab humein saccha pyaar ho jata hai. 
 - Sid, Dil Chahta Hai

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lehrein aayin, lehron mein beh gaye...

This week I have been continuously listening to the song Lehrein from Aisha. I liked this song earlier but it was not my favorite but as the favorite song changes by the mood you are in, this has become my favorite. Its lyrics are so beautifully is as if each and every line is what I want to say, especially the lines in the second stanza, kis se kahun kaun hai jo sune, kaante hi kyun maine hain chune, sapne mere kyun hain kho gaye, jaage hain kyun dil mein gham naye.

khoyi khoyi si hoon main
kyun ye dil ka haal hai
dhundhle saare khaab hain
uljha har khayaal hai
saari kaliyaan murjha gayin
rang unke yaadon mein reh gaye
saare gharonde ret ke,
lehrein aayin lehron mein beh gaye.

raah mein kal kitne charaag the,
saamne kal phoolon ke baag the
kis se kahun kaun hai jo sune,
kaante hi kyun maine hain chune
sapne mere kyun hain kho gaye
jaage hain kyun dil mein gham naye

saari kaliyaan murjha gayin
rang unke yaadon mein reh gaye
saare gharonde ret ke,
lehrein aayin lehron mein beh gaye.

Na na na na na na..
Na na na na na na…

Kya kahun kyun ye dil udaas hai
ab koi door hai na paas hai
chhoo le jo dil wo baatein ab kahan
wo din kahan raatein ab kahan
jo beeta kal hai ab khwab sa
ab dil mera hai betaab sa

saari kaliyaan murjha gayin
rang unke yaadon mein reh gaye
saare gharonde ret ke,
lehrein aayin lehron mein beh gaye..

It is so so beautiful. However badly the movie maybe panned or criticized, I loved Aisha. It actually shows that the way we plan our lives, it just doesn't work that way. We assume some things but reality is different. And the cosmic connection of the week. In Downton Abbey, Mary says, "Aren't all of us stuck with the choices we make?" Isn't this so similar to the line, kaante hi kyun maine hai chune. I am still not over those thoughts of regret. Whatever decision I take it backfires, and then I try to rationalize the choices I made by somehow convincing myself. That's the worst part because these are my choices, so the blame is on me too. 

Anyways this is the exam week..have some more stuff to write but later.

Dialogue of the week:
Hum kisi fairytale me nahi Delhi me rehte hai.. yahan hum rainbow nahi traffic ka dhuan hai..agar is me ek sitara bhi dikh jaye vahi bahut hai.
 - Pinki, Aisha

P.S. - I hear Amrita Puri is making waves in Kai Po Che. She is the same delightful Shefali in Aisha. A terrific actress.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Of Ethics, 99 Club, Looking Back, Alone, Downton Abbey, War, Midnight in Paris, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall at the Oscars, and Crumble


Long time no see.. Now where do I start.. So much happened over the last two weeks that I have in a way forgotten what all happened. It is a funny thing. I did not write last week because it was yet another of those crazy weeks which are becoming so common and crazier now :) March is going to be super tough that I do not know what will happen. But as Scarlett O' Hara says in Gone With The Wind, "after all, tomorrow is another day."  

This semester we have an Ethics class. Our professor strongly believes that ethics can be taught to students, where as most of the people in my class feel that these things cannot be taught. Each week we have to submit a paper on some ethical issue. Last week we had to submit the ethical issues in the play called, All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It is an old play but its story is very similar to Rang De Basanti. This week we had to write on whether CEO salaries and bonuses be limited? And for the final exam, we have to choose a topic on some recent event that involves ethics. I thought of writing about Lance Armstrong but it seems too difficult for me because it is a very complex topic. I myself do not have an ethical stand on it. At one point, the view is that everyone cheated he was just better at cheating. And it was us who made him the saint. The other view point is alright he cheated but then how can you destroy the lives of people, some of your very close friends who were just telling the truth. I am not able to make up my mind for it. So I may go in for another topic - responsibility of Hillary Clinton in the killing of the US Ambassador in Libya. To be true, I really like this class. One of my favorite quotes on ethics says that, “A true test of a person’s ethics is when he is in the line of fire.” In the class we discussed a number of ethical models but the one that I really liked was the Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity. It states that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. So, there was this question that comes up in class: 

Pat is the plant manager in one of ABC Company’s five plants. She’s worked for the company for 15 years, working her way up from the factory floor after the company sent her to college. Her boss just told her in complete confidence that the company will have to lay off 200 workers. Luckily, her job won’t be affected. But a rumor is now circulating in the plant, and one of her workers (an old friend who now works for her) asks the question, “Well, Pat, what’s the word? Is the plant closing? Am I going to lose my job? The closing on our new house is scheduled for next week. I need to know!” What should she say? What would you say?

Given the golden rule, I said that I would tell her even though it is not the right thing because I would want to know too. So our professor did not agree with it and hence I was proved to be an unethical person :\ Some people said that it is unethical on the part of friend to ask in the first place and her boss too who shouldn't have told Pat, which in retrospect I somewhat agree. What would you do?  There were some other ethical models we talked about which I really liked. There is this utilitarian – consequentialist approach which says to maximize benefits and minimize harm while making ethical decisions and the other is deontological, which focuses on duties, obligations, and principles which says some actions are wrong even if consequences are good. Its focus is on doing what is right. It is fascinating that how cam models be made for something so abstract, ambiguous and subjective no? When I learn these things, I wish I was better at creative thinking :\

So I come across this amazing short story called the 99 Club. I loved it. It is just three-four paragraphs. One has to read it because it is just so bloody true.
Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was neither happy nor content.
One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy. The King asked the servant, "Why are you so happy?"
The man replied, "Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don't need too much - just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies." The king was not satisfied with that reply. Later in the day, he sought the advice of his most trusted adviser  After hearing the King's woes and the servant's story, the adviser said, "Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club." "The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?" the King inquired.
The adviser replied, "Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant's doorstep." When the servant saw the bag, he took it into his house. When he opened the bag, he let out a great shout of joy... So many gold coins! 
He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were 99 coins. He wondered, "What could've happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins!"
He looked everywhere he could, but that final coin was elusive. Finally, exhausted, he decided that he was going to have to work harder than ever to earn that gold coin and complete his collection.
From that day, the servant's life was changed. He was overworked, horribly grumpy, and castigated his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin. He stopped singing while he worked. Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. When he sought his adviser's help, the adviser said, "Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club." 
He continued, "The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never content, because they're always yearning and striving for that extra 1 telling to themselves: "Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life." We can be happy, even with very little in our lives, but the minute we're given something bigger and better, we want even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, we hurt the people around us; all these as a price for our growing needs and desires. That's what joining The 99 Club is all about. 

Aren't we all a part of the Club 99 in some way? But how can we overcome this? I think it is really really hard to convince yourself. I just wish I can overcome this.

Going back to ethics, all this week I was thinking about this question which our professor asked. In one of the discussions she said, we all are making a narratives for our life and how do you see your life back over the years? She said that when she looks back at her life, she feels a lot of regrets - about the people she hurt on the way and she wishes she hadn't made those decisions. You know what - this is exactly what I was feeling. When I see my life back (I don't know if I really should call something as trivial as my existence as life?) I am just filled with regrets. Regrets about so many things. Lost opportunities, the way I behaved, why was I so stupid in my actions. Why didn't I do things earlier? This is what is causing me the most frustration and the worse part is I am not able to learn. I am still making some choices which I do not really want to but have to. How do you see your life back? I guess someone has perfectly said, as you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. I am so feeling like this. Or as Barfi says, "Life me sabse bada risk hota hai, kabhi koi risk naa lena." 

And I have found a new apartment for myself. I will be staying alone from the next semester. It is a small-one room apartment but it is fine. Itna paisa bhi nahi hai na ;-) Everyone here told me it is not the right decision. But yesterday when I told my second year friend R, he was the only one who told me that it is the right thing because it will be a good experience as stepping out of comfort zones is an adventure and everything will be fine, just be happy. I think I like to live alone. I just hope all goes well.

I went with R to have a drink yesterday. I guess I can call myself an occasional drinker. I had beer. The place where we went brews their own beer, so it was so much better than some $3 Budlight. You see my benchmarks are very low :) It had a high alcohol content..8% and I had two pints, so I was dizzy but then I came back home and ate dinner, so it was alright. I don't like to drink a lot because I am too uptight. I don't like to lose control over myself. 

You know Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey says a very interesting thing, "if you’re feeling homesick, there’s no shame in it. It means you come from a happy home.” Now the first world war is going on in Downton and it is indeed very emotional to see the war being fought. How conscription was enforced in the UK and young men were forced to fight the war. In Downton Abbey, they do not show the war but how the lives of people back home are affected. Even Matthew, the heir to the Grantham estate, has been left paralyzed after the war. At one point Matthew says, "war has a way of distinguishing the things that matter from the things that don't." It is so true. Given the past turn of events in the India-Pakistan soldier beheading episode, I was shocked at how easily people talked of going to war. It seems as if our foreign policy is now decided by the hyperventilating media who talks of war as if it is some child's play. Just because they don't have to go war, they think it is very easy. What will a war achieve? And certainly it is not the only option as some of these folks like to believe. Talking of restraint doesn't mean you sit back and do nothing. The nation wants to know if Arnab Goswami and his likes would go to war instead of our soldiers.

Sometimes, I wish I could go and relive the old English classic period. But you know we think that our present age is just too bad and we all reminisce about the old times. We call the renaissance as the golden age but do we really want to go back in that time? Will be able to survive that time? I was thinking about Midnight in Paris, which brilliantly makes this great point that we should learn to enjoy our present. Just read this amazing conversation from the movie that says each age has its own golden age where we wish to go back. The conversation is between Gil, a present-day author who goes back in time in the Paris of 1920s, a time which he really wants to be in. He falls in love with Adriana, the mistress of Picasso. Adriana, in turn wants to go further back because she doesn't like the Paris of 1920s and has her own golden age, where she wishes to be.

Gil: I wanted to escape my present just like you wanted to escape yours. To a golden age.
Adriana: Surely you don’t think the twenties are a golden age?
Gil: To me they are.
Adriana: But I’m from the twenties and I’m telling you the golden age is the Belle Époque.
Gil: Yes but don’t you see - to these guys the golden age was the Renaissance. They’d all trade the Belle Époque to paint alongside Michelangelo or Titian. And those guys probably imagine life was better when Kubla Khan was around. I’m having an insight. A minor one but that accounts for the anxiety of my dream.
Adriana: What dream?
Gil: Last night I dreamed I ran out of Zithromax - and then I went to the dentist and there was no novacaine - these people have no antibiotics.
Adriana: What are you talking about?
Gil: And even in the twenties - no dishwashers - no 911 if your appendix bursts - no “movies on demand”.
Adriana: But if we love each other what does it matter when we live?
Gil: Because if you stay here and this becomes your present, sooner or later you’ll imagine another time was really the golden time. And so will I - I’m beginning to see why it can’t work, Adriana. The present has a hold on you because it’s your present and while there’s never any progress in the most important things, you get to appreciate - what little progress is made - the internet - Pepto- Bismol. The present is always going to seem unsatisfying because life itself is unsatisfying - that’s why Gauguin goes back and forth between Paris and Tahiti, searching - it’s my job as a writer to try and come up with reasons why despite life being tragic and unsatisfying, it’s still worth it.

Isn't it terrific? If you love history or Paris or Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris is a must watch.

And I was so feeling so depressed due to the work that I finally went and saw a movie. I had been wanting to watch Silver Linings Playbook since ages. It had released ages ago. After about three months, I watched a movie. Felt so happy. I loved loved Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it is going to be depressing given the context of mental health but it was so *happy* What a terrific chemistry Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have. Such good looking people both of them. I just wonder how can some people be so gorgeous. What I really liked was how they showed each of us have some or the other peculiar habit, it is just how we deal with it. How was Pat different from his father who also hit people after his team lost the match? Like I have to check that the door is locked at least five times before I go to sleep? We all have some of these things, it is just the degree that varies. So how sane are you? Pat's friend was in a troubled marriage too but he was silently suffering. And of course, I liked it when Pat realized he loved Tiffany. All the while he was thinking he loved Nikki, but it shows again that you can move on, you can find love again, there is a silver lining after all. I also saw shades of Khilona in the movie. You remember Khilona? That Sanjeev Kumar and Mumtaz starrer? I loved Khilona, perhaps Sanjeev Kumar's finest performance.

And you know how old Jennifer Lawrence is? She is just 22!!!! She was born in 1990!! And look at her strength to portray emotions. I mean I feel I have wasted my life. Yaar I really want to do something in my life. I feel like such a loser :(

"Excelsior. It means you know what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna take all this negativity and use it as fuel and I’m gonna find a silver lining, that’s what I’m gonna do. And that’s no bullshit. That’s no bullshit. That takes work and that’s the truth.”
 - Pat, Silver Linings Playbook

And the ever so beautiful Adele performed live at the Oscars. She was just outstanding. I want to be like her ;) The link from the Oscars website is here:

Let the sky fall, 
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
And face it all together
At sky fall
At sky fall

Oh and I really want to watch Kai Po Che :( 

There are some more things to write but I guess I don't remember. A crazy time is coming. Will I be able to bear it? Or will I crumble? Time will tell :)

Dialogue of the Day:
"Bauji theek kehte hain main jhootha hoon, dhokebaaz hoon, to kya hua agar maine jhooth sirf tumhe paane ke liye kaha tha." 
- Raj, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

P.S. - Raj wasn't very ethical no? :) He fools Kuljeet, misguides Preeti that he is in love with her, and lies to everyone, but I still feel I should root for him. I guess I am not ethical either ;-)