Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Bibliophile and a Pair of Pathetic Peripatetics ©

Peripatetic, an adjective which, when capitalized, refers to the philosophy or followers of Aristotle, so-called because Aristotle taught while walking in the Lyceum of ancient Athens. Without the initial capital letter, it is used (usually humorously) to describe someone who walks or travels about.

Life has become a series of unending failures over the past couple of years. We have been wandering about trying to find that one great success which will help us to redeem our lost pride. Of course there are a few small things which cheer us up every now and then and make us believe that we achieved something. But what we need is some cataclysmic event (not necessarily a disastrous one but definitely an earth-shaking one) to change the course of our life and bring us back on track. It could be getting a good job (I am keeping my fingers crossed, L&T or bust) or acing GRE. The only thing which helps me to maintain my faith in life is my firm belief that good things happen to good people.

On a Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks back I was thinking about the future. When I die would the world remember me? What would be the legacy I will leave behind? The only thought that entered my mind at that time was the following:

Set up the world's largest book shop with more than one million square feet of space to walk around and browse for books. A place where people will come with their families, to spend the day and enjoy the company of books. Of course there will be amazing coffee and grub available and there will be a playing area for children where I would read out fairy tales and poems to the kids. Books of the highest quality will be available at the cheapest possible price. There will be a reading area also where you can sit and read a book and attend Book Club meetings. Famous writers will give lectures and read their poetry and short stories. Books will not be arranged in a dim-witted fashion (where there is no distinction between science-fiction and fantasy) and they will be kept in parabolic stands so that people don't have to stoop to see the books at the bottom. Books will not be sold by sales people who don't know anything about books; they will be sold by sales people who are absolutely crazy about books. Going to this book shop would be an experience which people will remember for the rest of their lives. People from all over the world will visit it in large numbers. I just hope I have enough money one day to realize my dream.

I got some unusual reactions from my friends on my last blog. The changes in my personality are not very apparent and that is a good thing according to me. But the focus is definitely there and it is there to stay. I have been receiving some flak from women about my obsession with being cute. Raindrops and anonymous want me to get a grip on myself and even others agree with them that girls who refer to a guy as ‘nice’ really mean what they are saying. I sincerely apologize to all the women out there. It was not out of the shallowness of my character that the blog entry came about; it was rather out of my experience with a very limited number of women. I haven’t really met a women so far who has made me think otherwise. It was never my intention to generalize women or demean them in any way. In the future please leave your email ids behind so I can apologize to you personally.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

The Beast Within

Wow! It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog entry. It has actually been a long time since I wrote anything. I am back in IIT and life has slowly slipped itself into the old routine of spending time at my DCF (department computational facility) and sitting and chatting with friends at our usual hangout places. There is one difference though, a big one. This is the last year we will be spending in this glorious place called IIT. There is a look of anticipation and nervousness on everyone’s face. Will we get a good job, will we get an MS in a reputed american university, and will we be able to make it to the IIMs. These are some of the questions on everyone’s mind. Although most of us are looking forward to the new challenges we’ll be facing in the ‘real’ world, all of us are afraid at a certain level about leaving the secure and carefree life that IIT has provided us for the last couple of years. The happy days are going to end soon. But our world will not end with a whimper; it will end with a bang.

For the first time in many years I have achieved the kind of focus I always wanted. I have slowly been feeding the monster of competitiveness which had been lying dormant inside me for the last five years. This is one side of me which most of my friends have never seen and which most of them wouldn’t like. But I have learnt a very valuable secret in the last few years: I have learned how to tame this beast that I can become. However, I am unleashing it now and the world will have to live with this new change and accept me for who I am. This is the only way I can achieve the targets I have set out for myself. I will revert back to the good old me as soon as this personal mission is fulfilled.

My summer training ended on a cheerful note. DRL was happy with me and I was happy with them. The time spent there made me realize that I was an excellent engineer and the time I had spent in the classroom over the last three years hadn’t gone to waste. It however strengthened my conviction of not working in the field of Chemical Engineering.

Life has been worrying me for some days now and my father has been trying to cheer me up. He gave me some advice the other day which can be perfectly summarized by one of Cat Stevens' song. I hope some day I am able to give the same advice to my son.

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

I would like to end this blog by wishing all my friends the very best of luck with their GREs. Congratulations to all those who got a job in the last week.