Monday, August 21, 2006

Wolfpack Weekend

howl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.....goes the university as Ncstate gathers the wolves to it pack.

The last weekend before college begins has sure had its ups and downs, i've experienced the relief after finally being signed up for a job, the irony being the fact that i got the offer a day after i made that frustratin post ( so all ye guys lookin for a way to get signed up, just make a post ventin ur frustration..lets see if it works....) , the exhaustion of waitin in the pavement to be first in line at the yard sale so that i get to pick quality furniture and oh boy!! was it a mad house out there, the excitement of attending the student the prospect of meetin new ppl frm different cultures and nationalities( but u know wat there isnt much diversity in the international student community as there is in the resident student population) and finally a long sunday where we just lounged abt on the new furniture we got and left to our own thoughts.

The Offer
The most queer thing abt my employment was that i got signed up at a place i had never really been to....i mean i had literally frequented the library, residence halls and other places so much so that the ppl there got annoyed, but the Computer science department, never!!! partly the reason being i dint know where to go or whom to approach and then as luck would have it during my one and only meeting with a professor, discussin abt courses and projects we casually broached the employment scene inside the department and he toldme to contact the department dean abt it and what a gr8 guy the dean was..he forwarded my mail to a professor who had openings for course TA postitions and voila!! a week later i had an offer in hand with nothing left to do but go meet the professor and nail it. The moment the prof said "Okay Mr. Vk( has a nice ring to it..doesnt it..and also he found my name a li'l hard to pronounce...but who's complainin...i was always Vk to my frds)..u're all set, just go to campus employment and get yer name signed up" and i was like "christ!!! is this the ordeal finally over" the "thanks" merely escaped my lips...the icing on the cake was that my roommate got signed up for the same job, talk about good company at work!!! came furnishin our good 'ol apartment

The Sale
There comes a time in your life when your apartment seems too bare to ur satisfaction, i mean even if the requirement is bare minimum u still need a mattress to sleep on, a small table to eat on and good couch to bounce on plus one also needs to stock lamps as some places in the apartment might not have a light at all ( in our case the living room...and in some other's the bedroom which is atleast justifiable to some extent), the only place cheap to get all this stuff was the campus yard sale organized by the university( we dint have any clue abt the rest)...and this was in no way a go and pick has to literally fight for one's furniture..thanks to the experience that evry senior imparted to the new arrivals ppl started to flock the place frm the previous night itself and we dint wanna be left behind either so we reached the place arnd midnight and so the wait began, the place wasnt gonna open till 7:30 in the morning but the crowd showed no signs of recession..the queue just stretched on and on( and believe me evry one of them was a desi)..raleigh police patrolled the place throughout the night and they were justified in doing so too...finally the doors did open and it was a mad rush for the best couch, bed and other stuff. We tore off in 4 different directions with an objective to procure atleast one thing frm the list, after a minor brawl and some blind runs thru all the furniture we finally walked out wid 2 couches ( well a senior was gracious enuf to get one for us), a dining table, storage cabinets, a mattress( the big screw up,the guys thought it was 2 when actually it was just one single mattress and the wooden base), a centre table(which i was gracious enuf to forfeit cos a chinese lady was too smitten by it and couldnt think of the prospect of someone else buyin it..i got my money back for that and a free table as a reward), we missed out on the oven, the vacuum cleaner and other stuff but hell!!! we were in no mood to hang arnd and scavenge for one....the stuff was delivered home and we went about decoratin the place. The true joy of being a student and gettin a furniture for ur bare minimum apartment is when u pick stuff of value right off the dumpster..for a while i was worried if i'd ever miss out on this gr8 ritual of our predecessors who came to this land impoverished and wid a vision of studyin and makin it big in the land of oppurtunity, but god it seems had a plan....the next day much to my joy..we found a non-descrepit looking book shelf lyin right next to the dumpster and wasted no time in bringin it in and settin it in the just the place we wanted it to be...the house looks good lots of places to lounge arnd or sleep in bliss...ah!!! just what the doctor ordered..hehehe...

The Fair
Well the Orientation was more like a fair..but there were some parts of it which got pretty serious like the one on academic conduct and plagiarism...seems NCstate condemns plagiarism, fabrication and falsification( well wait till they hear my BTP story..they might deport me straight to India)..then there was the free lunches and snacks, colas, coffees and stuff..and mind you after having lunch at the campus cafe i came straight home and cooked meself one of the spiciest of "kuzhambus"( south indian delicacy for those ignorant my both make the best of those) one cud ever have(umm....that tasted good..heaven man!!!!), just gives an idea of how tasteless the food can get arnd here. Also being an international student one gets to attend 3 such orientations and hear the same crap through and through again..but u get a free lunch man!!! and that means a lot to a student especially one without funding. The international student orientation is where one gets a real picture of the exodus...all u can see are endless faces of indians, chinese and other south east asians a lucky few from the middle east and europe so much so that the director of international student affairs made it a point at his presentation. The orientation was also an oppurtunity to see whose hot and whose not in your batch, who is behind whom and which cute li'l thing is already "corrected" a jargon i learnt much to my shock that was used to refer to committed folks. I had my ideas but dint need to voice them...seems like my opinion matches a lot wid public opinion( what a social animal!!!!) i left it at that and went arnd collecting flyers signing up for activities and collectin a lot of freebies....the graduate student orientation however is where one gets to meet the whole community..this is where u get to meet that esteemed and much sought after "american" friend who "owns a car"( very important requirement) who'll be giving u rides to stores and different places around campus...the really lucky ones get one reall quick( girls!! and the more extrovert of folks)..but folks hu do less talkin and tend to just stare at the mix of caucasian, hispanic, asian and black population with a sense of awe( well i did for some time b4 i got used to it) are definitely in for a tough time..cos the average american in the words one herself expects evry other person to own a car and for them u have been done a great wrong if u for some reason are unable to own a car and earn either pure disdain( just what some give a beggar) or gr8 pity( just wat some others give a beggar)....and then there is the department orientation which iam yet to attend and this is where i expect to meet the big wigs of the dept..and isolate ur quarries whom u approach and entice into funding your education and mind you!! a ot of research goes into this stuff...

and well the sunday...the whole spirit of the sunday was to laze arnd in the aftermath of a brawl called the "yard sale"...and upholding that spirit i wouldnt delve any more into it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Hunt for a plum job offer

This is not a Tom Clancy Novel but i duly pay my respects to da man!!!

The thing about being a graduate student without funding is the fact that "u're not funded"...the dough's comin out of your own ur dad'd pocket to be precise and it leaves a deep sense of guilt when u see the dollars change hands and the apprehension only compounds when you convert the amount to the good 'ol rupee. So whats the option...get an oncampus job and work ur ass off so that it covers ur living expenses, become responsible for your own screwed up life. And its not exactly like they're offering a job on a platter..oh no baby!!! u literally fight for whatever it takes...and i mean whatever!!! starts the excruciating process of walking up and down campus stoppin at evry reception desk and go over the lines again and again and again " Uh..well uh....i am a fall 2006 student here and am looking for an on-campus"and if u're lucky they take ur name, phone and stuff....otherwise its "buzz off dude we aint got nything" in the different ways..somehow i've started thinkin that u need to be absolutely blessed to hear "Oh we got an opening come right in"..hehehe just senior says if u are hell bent on findin a job u might land wid one...i hope his words come true....cos i might notbe hell bent on getting one but i'd be a lot better off if i had one if some my plans are to succeed.

The saddest part of this whole excercise is that the competition is none other than ur very own compatriots..( oh yeah not even our friendly neighbours the chinese or the koreans..its da desis man!!!)...and if u've had the misfortune of landin in a univesity with a high acceptance rate frm India there are times when one seriously feels ( i shudnt say this..but believe me this isnt an affront to our motherland) that i'd be blessed if i saw one less desi face today, there are those who like me trudge up and down every hall with the same desperation to get a job, the frustration and disappointment pretty evident in their faces at yet another failed job opening...and then there are those f**** mof*** bast*** of a Sobs of guys who despite havin a job at hand roam arnd collectin applications in search for a better job, well cant blame these guys either cos they just lookin after their own back...after all the search for greener pastures is what brought them here...

I started out the first day wid hope , enthusiasm and a new campus map outlinig spots i'd hit and work my charm....all am left with now is a deep sense of lethargy, rejection and a campus map with a lot of crosses and a few strikes....lets hope the strikes turn out to be a lucky break....and i hope that my compatriots have a better run at the job hunt...cos they've made me realize although therz no place like home, a friendly face frm somewhere closer to home can always make u feel home.

Jai Hind!!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Unlike Some Assumptions.....quite a revelation

" you're crossin the sea kid...u're goin to another country, u're gonna be there and see it all"....uhuh!!! well i got news for you, unless you're really lucky and go someplace nice like colorado or florida you might be a tad disappointed wid what you see arnd here but then again i havent really been to these places have i, so i guess this is how the US of A must be. And for now iam in Raleigh, North Carolina sittin in the apartment which aint mine but hey!! huz complainin cos these guys gotta nice big couch, a cool laptop and am gettin grub 3 times a day which, wont be the case once i move out on my own i guess . So folks i thought y not relate my experience to y'all, cos this trip has truly been an eye-opener, its taught me matter how much u taunt ur motherland for its backwardness u inadvertently start to miss it once u get here, be it the crowded streets, the noisy greets, the smoke spewin buses or the "i dont give a damn for the traffic rules" motorists it all aint here atleast thats how iam feelin right now.

I left India the moment i stepped into Kamarajar International airport, chennai. It was a moment of misery for me, for i was leavin a lot of ppl near and dear, a lot of things i knew i wouldnt be able to enjoy for a long time to come. The protective cover had thinned, i was on my own, and i had a first taste of what i was to face when the sweet lady at the checkin told me that my baggage had exceeded both the weight and size i was stumped, i was lookin at the prospect of shellin an amnt of 150$ to shove my baggage into the aircraft...thankfully though( and although it might sound preposterous i suspect it had smthin to do wid my unmistakeable charm..) the lady agreed to take my baggage for just 50$...phew!!!...after a few tense moments and couple of hiccups i got to the immigration and customs..was a drag. After an hour's wait during which like any dutiful indian son i called up my dad related my misfortunes, got scolded for not payin attention to the limits being irresponsible and stuff....i was airborne. In nine hours i would be in paris, the thing about international flights is that they make a fuss out of vegetarian meals...its not like iam orderin excotic dishes frm the middleeast..i just want food wid no meat..i mean wats the big deal, for chrissake!!!! and so after an uneventful flight kept lively only by the clumsy antics of second gendarme jack closeau...and his goofy quest for the pink panther. Well i got to see my first foreign city in france..well i only went as far the airport terminal i guess but it was experince is friggin cold mate...i mean u cud freeze ur ass off if u aint properly clothed.After a very long trip frm one terminal to the other....and thru some pretty heavy duty friskin( believe me it aint no joke to enter the U.S) i was on the flight to atlanta...after another 9 hrs of boredom....(well sadly i made a wrong selection of books..grisham can be pretty tiring at times) i was in finally inside United states territory. Well the first thing u get to notice abt any city once u leave India is the automobiles, i mean be it the minivans and minicars of paris or the huge pickups and long sedans of the U.S u find a marked difference in the philosophy of automobiles. Well after deplanin at atlanta and tryin to get thru customs as quickly as possible i was just in time to see my flight to Raleigh leave the gate and taxi down the runway..the lady at the check in counter was truly apologetic....and so i had to sit out 2 hrs at hartley-jackson atlanta for my flight to Raleigh, and when i finally landed in raleigh it was 10:00 pm..the airport looked deserted and iam guessin mine must have been the last flight into RDU, after a few tense moments of waitin at the airport for both my luggage and my pickup i was on my way to avery close, shacked up wid some seniors hu were gracious enuf to accomodate me...have been roamin the campus...for some days now....the city looks neat( yeah i mean literally :D) and has the feel of a small town..havent seen many high rises except for the univ building...applied for an apartment hopin to move in next's been a bit of a problem...but i guess i gotta get used to the bread and microwave culture..literally had tears in my eyes when the guy in the pizza place told me a small cheese pizza cost 8$ ( couldnt even get myself to convert it to indian rupees)...i was even thinkin of the prospect of skippin luch hearin the rates but hey!!! u can never beat ur belly can u...the seniors have been cookin some fantastic dinner...tried my hand at it too and messed up big time...surprises me how even after 2 months of observin ppl cook and cookin myself i can screw up between toor dal and channa dal. will figure that out in time..( u never kno when smthin might develop into an alternate career path, my granmom is ready to come to the U.S if i ever have ideas of takin up cookin as a profession but iam guessin i wont be driven to that desperation)..will be huntin for an oncampus job( that is walkin into offices and pesterin ppl to be more precise)...will keep y'all ( btw thats the way all southerners say it..has a sweet drawl to it..and i simply love d way these ppl speak with that accent.....) posted abt my progress and whereabouts if i get anywhere that is....

so take care of urself y'all ...