Jack Ass part 2
The first e-mail I got had the subject "Your Obituary" from a Texas settled friend of mine. She being my brother's classmate was the only person who reeled me into my bro's college gang back in India. Unfortunately I was forced to watch the movie Serendipity like ten times in her presence, while fortunately a few 'jack ass' incidents as defined by Jeremy Piven we marshalled together, rightly made her meet, fall in love and of course get married to Mr. Viswa'Nathan' (She liked the guy coz his name sounded like Cusack's character name 'Jonathan' in the first place). Anyways spent the next two days apologizing to her character-blooming 5 year old son for missing his birthday being in San Antonio. V'nathan trapped me into buying an expensive toy online and gifting his son for the delayed wishes. Tuesday, the attachment to the replied obituary from his part was a photo of himself playing with the Transformer while his son was happily slurping his juice watching Spongebob. Children.... (and adults.....) :D I had two more instances when two completely different people mentioned about the movie during communication. Serendipitously spooky.
Had a "history was about to repeat" incident with a good friend of mine one night. But, I overcame it with an open pungent truth. After the discussion, I gained my focus back during the walk back home. I realized early into the walk that I am defined only by my focus. That's what makes me unique. I was glad I found truth beyond virtue. I consider myself a great jack ass. Reasons can be well defined at this moment by the readers of this blog. No need to write that part.
Things happened behind my ass (don't ask me what it means :D )
* Watched Crossing Over and couldn't stop loving Summer Bishil's acting.
* Downloaded Summer's Towelhead to check on the standard deviation.
* I need a car to ride to the theatre and watch The Soloist - The one movie I've waited too long.
* The next wait is for Breslin's My Sisters Keeper.
& Darling and I had a momentous incident in the last practice, waving stumps as a composers baton to the Verve's Bittersweet Symphony. We might make a slow motion video of our practice with this as the score.
No change, I can't change, I can't change, I can't change,
but I'm here in my mold , I am here in my mold
But I'm a million different people from one day to the next
I can't change my mold, no, no, no, no, no
Knock of the stones
Lost in nostalgic thought, involuntarily I purred Stevens' Sing out on the 'steps of success' - the one place that's close to the lab and a secluded place where the odds of about 50 people to know my existence/observation is one to fifty (:D Not many people like to climb stairs in this modern elevator era). Anyways, as I revised the night I attended a call from India at the same spot looking for the spark that paddled me through a hazy river then, I sung out again involuntarily. But this time, I was noticed. Three ladies, whom by the strollers seating children, they were pulling, I understood that the creche is back on track with the weather smiling its sunny side up. Good mood just pressed me into following the migration.
A few minutes later, the children were exercised into walking. A few ten yards into the routine, an afro-american child (why the hell am I classifying children with their color? F*&%).... rephrasing.... A few ten yards into the routine a beautiful looking angel with a dimple, tripped over her own feet, fell on her knees, hurt herself and started crying. Strangely all the children followed her and started to wail out. With none of the ladies efforts proving to alleviate the ruccus, I stepped in. Just went to the 1 ft tall group, stood between them, smiled in disbelief of what I was attempting and hizzed 'Shhhhhhhhh.......' A few pair of wet eyes met mine, followed by some volume down of the 'waaaahhhhhh', a few more dozen eyes met, and finally 'a stranger is here' stare on an average finally muted the humdum (sniffles existed as echoes). I just walked off nodding to one of the teachers. The walk back to the department, and over the 'steps of success', and down the inner stairs to the lab was infinitely pleasant. I just had the spark back.
Many a handful of pleasantaries uplifted my spirits till practice came up. With three years of experience in the belt, I knew exactly what shots I had to concentrate for the weekend game against our friendly yet aggresive neighbors. I missed both the games last season travelling to lakesites and races believing that the team can run over this mild team (which they proved wrong). Frustratingly, all the guys who like playing satires with me off the field showed that spirit on my practice set too. With no reds flying far or high, the new frustrated captain adviced me to play straight. I lost all cool and shouted on top of my voice on him as well as the bowlers for screwing up my efforts to boost my confidence for the game. Only the last 8 balls of the practice was delivered to where I wanted to exercise the whole time. Although I ended up chilling eventually and apologizing to the team, on the inside I was rock bottom in confidence due to this event. Interestingly (to the team) I gave the keeping gloves to Russy in 23 games complaining on a palm injury on the weekend game and got a zero, attempting the shot I should have been made to practice for on Thursday. Though I was mad on self for self downing my confidence level, the whole team at the end of the victorious game apologized for not being to my expectation. Good news - they ended up pulling my leg again during the buffet later. (Swear if I was a teen I would have started a food fight in the restaurant)
Three hours later, as I and a couple other friends grandma'ed more likes it/hates it clues to the new guys, I was offered an information that threw me off balance. While I gave a plausible reason to decline the offer, my already tired mind rolled over the concept of the reason to be the key ingredient to be left unoffered in the first instance. The mind gambled over some concepts but the heart (as well as the physically exhausted body) stuck to its excuses to keep me continuing the game. I knew that it was not my time yet (or will it ever). The next several hours was spent in fountaining fun at the Fourth Street lively walk, Panera bread photoshoots, sharing cotton candy, rooting giant baloons, nostalging out previous versions, and finally waiting for the thunder to rumble out of the connecting bridge. I had my moments of fun, nostalgia, and intro-cum-extrospection as the fireworks reflected over the river. The next few hours with the shaky and bored down Rutsy was interesting as the spark burst into flames trying to keep him animated.
But the best part of the enlightenment was during the journey back to Lex. As my shoulder ached in pillowing a tired soul, I understood how stupid and cavalier one can be. All the confusion that generated there after made sense. By the time I crashed, I knew I lived a good life not taking advantage of situations. I knew I lost, but lost fair and square. Nine hours later, I woke with the smile of experiencing the best dream in a dozen weeks. And I saw my cell and smiled again.....
Off the inferno: The whole Thunder over Louisville was an effort to meet Jay. But it turned out to be a no chance failure with him on the Indiana bank and I on the Kentucky bank. My swimming cramps couldn't hold against the river current. So I stuck to plain ol' time with other people whom I enjoyed to be friends for the occasion. I want to be with Jay and show him the colors of the light at night sometime in the future. Spent a few minutes on the Friday swing with a very concerned and caring sis of mine. Those few minutes were the first minutes I opened up a teeny weeny bit in months. Today I spent a few chat lines with another friend-cum-sis who wants to be strangely an ostrich for the moment. Both of us were in the same page and both shared the same mindset of expecting a quicker and better future. The conference is in three days, and I'm still feeling pathetic about my interests in it. I have 18 result slides out of the 12 minute talk (the best and most results in my PhD career), but somehow I feel off the 'lifes plan' routine. And my advisor can sense my bereavement and he too doesn't understand what the reason is. And finally, its time to go and pull my funny roomie of his lair to teach me flash for making an animation for my presentation... (Time to grow up to become a post doc candidate I guess)
And finally for the first time in 25+ odd attempts I noticed this dialogue from Private Ryan
Pvt Ryan: I can't see my brothers faces. I've been trying... Is that bad?
Cpt Miller: You've got to think of a context......
My immediate two cents: To be or not be Ryan is the question that cannot be answered even by time... The answer still lurks in the open to be found..... And it's not easy.....
The River's appetite
Three hours later, half way through the ride, Rutsy comforted my leaned back into a pillow as I wondered the ethereal marvel of zipping greenery at the back seat. Chotu (Russy) drived crazy as our heads banged in sync to infinity. A few hours into the commitment I realized that my bottom got wet in the puddle of mud I just slid taking a one handed catch. After the rapture of laughter that echoed in the rain drenched golf course, and as the canceled game got to an end, I realized "How the hell that I'm the only one whose white pants look like a brown dalmatian while the rest's, who inspite of diving equally and probably rolling good have a white sky in their attire?" Some rotten luck it was - I fretted.
A few hours later as I wiped the left over mango pudding from the utensil that was ravaged by the rest of the team, my flickering bulb had a surge of voltage. One hour after I bid farewell to the team, walking about a mile wearing my dalmatian pants (with my butt portion outlining pangaea), snoozing through a boring drive, I witnessed his flamboyant seating posture exactly pictured like what my mom used to show in the photograph she took when I was 3. A 'ahem ahem' met my eyes and there he jumped from the couch onto the nearby coffee table and jumped with an assurance of a catch and monkey hugged me. "Hi Jay" was all I communicated as he replied with "Haaaaari.... Mees u"
After the dusk dazzled the city lights, I parked the SUV through the street I always wanted to keep as a surprise for something/someone special. Reflecting on my family's taste for curiosity, I rightly told Jay, "Jay! We'll play basketball once we go home. Now, give me the ball and hold my hands. We don't want to lose the ball... OKay??" Jay's reply was a firm offer of the ball followed by a tight hold of my palm as we walked down the stairs to the riverwalk. About a yard from the ebbing river, he just pulled the ball of my grasp and threw it right into the river. As I got concerned on his act that might slowly turn into a feel of stupid guilt, he proved me otherwise. Pulled me towards the river, asked me to sit, snuggled into my hug of protection from falling into the river, sat cute on my lap, and looked at the floating moving ball and waved his hand to say, "Bye bye baaaaaaall..." followed by a british accented "Tah taah". A smiling uncle's joy was continued in showing him shapes in stars, shouting blinky blinky blinky to a cell phone towers red light, listening to the splash of the river with the bank, drawing the skyline of the city with a rock on a concrete floor, bellowing quack quack to the river ducks and meow meow to the strange cat that followed us throughout our walk just made the time quality of a rembrance. I ended up being a better son by teaching my nephew to say his grandma back in India the words, "Enti grandma" (what grandma in telugu) through the phone. The rest of the night was spent qualitively with my bro who tag-teamed with his son to tickle me to laughing death and watching Jay sleep cutely with his butt flagging high in the air....
The early morning drive back to the weekend second game enticed me with a sunrise (which I missed and had forgotten big time) in spite of the brawl I had with dad for not understanding the gravity of what and why I missed a friends birthday. Somehow the sunset calmed my nerves too soothing that I had my first 'under run a ball' strike rate on a winning game. To the teams awe, I stayed for half the stipulated innings play making the victorious path in a serene mood. The game was so special to the team that for the first time 26 players, a dozen cricket supporters, and a few american fans, witnessed the marvel of my continuing bad luck. As I hit the low full toss through the covers, I felt the lightening of the handle slowly taugting to pull the broken bat which was plummeling towards my helmetless head from about 12 feet high. As the bruise flew sparrows and humming birds circling my head, I realized that I broke the bat. Strange thing - I still held my favorite bats handle iron clasped.
The post win discussion teaming into a sarcastical mockery on the ex-captain (guys - what's so special abt me that you guys never give up pulling my leg around) just kept me go 'your wish is my command master'. Half hour into the session, Chotu - my closest under grad friend who at times devoured me for silencing out his start 20's life (strangely this guy takes my silence as an answer to his confusing questions. He never understands that he answers his own questions in his own way, but lauds me for giving him the answer..), smilingly pokes me with his insightful remarks. Without specialization, he crossed over the line by representing the single most cursed flaw of my life into the argument. Being a human, I blurted beyond my control but got glued to a backing car (thanks to my ug senior turned grad jr who knows my anger from ug days). The next 45 mins was all silence as I analyzed and re-analyzed every possible insinuating path that turned me into what I self-despise.
As I was dropped back in the home ground to do a neutral umpiring job with our alias team, I noticed Chotu walking towards me in his usual spin-the-key-chain walk style. Before even he apologized, I apologized and told him the past's intrusion in aggravating my mood. A few questions made him say, "Accha hai re. Ab toh sab khalaas hai na" for which I truthed, "I don't think so". His reaction was a few calls that made the senior players of the entire team bro over me that ended up in a few drinks and pizza. They missed the old captain and sweared me into returning back along with the ever funny # 1 most asked entertaining umpire in three states. I guess, it was the physical drain followed by the crunching meta physical brawl with dad and Chotu and a few feelings of rotten luck shadowing my back, that I went asking for the 1-800- number to rant a hell lot on a dead tired drowsy insomniac day.
Three nights later, I believe that a curse turned gift is still a blessing to the needed. Sometimes a silverline is just a traced path of a bullet. I know I can't throw the ball into the river and give it a "Tah Taah", but that doesn't imply that I can't put it in my closet. Guess, it's finally time to call dad and NOT say, "There's nothing happening here. You say something".
Timely sting: John Mayer sings say what you need to say. Can 'You'?
Drowsily insomniac as the random space music emo A Beautiful Mess
The conference is in less than two weeks and such incorrigible errors occur (The website programming is fixed and the conference abstract+booklet is ready too). A simple example of how things go intriguingly bad/lost around me. I laughed at this schedule joke and I'm laughing with the same enthusiasm on life. Good news - I know that the phrase "This is temporary" exists. Bad news - So far temporary seems longer than expected.... Ouch!!
4/8/9 Afternoon: Academic, personal, goal related, risk related, time related factors all colloiding to make a single most important decision between two choices. I've never been this arrogant in weighing options. And I'm buckling under pragmatic optimization. Will this evening every end? Flipping a coin seems extremely heaven but distant.... If there's a God, I desperately need a miracle right today, right now.
4/8/9 Evening: An internship position from Novartis is open and my advisor recommends me in applying for it (deadline midnight). Unwanted 'induced' unimportant confusion puts a 5 lb on the rod. I'll take it as a sign of change...
4/8/9 Hours after Midnight: Spent 3 hours on updating my resume after 4 years. Couldn't stop laughing at the fact that 4 months of work comes as a line on your CV. In the evening, I attended an invited discussion called Astitva. 1 non ABCD (Me, +4th year PhD), 25 ABCD girls, 15 ABCS boys = Couldn't stop laughing at the way ABCDs interact and talk. It was a jungle out there.
4/9/9 Afternoon: I got the interview call (damn! Was my resume that good? :o). The interviewer was tired for sure. Interview went dull till the moment I went frank and said, "Looking at the job requirements and my background in Pharma, I guess I won't fit perfect with the internship. But if you have no other potential candidates from Pharma 'even', you know what I am made of" A formal discussion continued the next couple of minutes where we exchanged incidents about my advisor (his PhD colleague) and finally I took his contact and gave him a contact of a PhD Pharma pass out UK grad student currently jobless in California. =)) Inspite of my dad's support in pursuing post doctorate, he is going to go nuts over this incident.... History seems to be repeating... Ah! Those unforgettable CTS, TCS, and SCT throw downs.. I am unique.... :)
4/9/9 Evening: I am stubborn and had, am and will take risks as a daily meal. Yet again, I am submitting in ACS. Screw politics, screw failures... I know my paper is great. The AIChE poster says it all. If things want to get tough, and if I can't beat these things, at least I'll try to delays its victory over me. Another month and half before I know the result. Till then, paper 2 and 3 needs to wait. Good.. I can polish its impact with a few more results I can accomplish this month.
Damn the Dam =))
Happy Anniversary first of all. It's been 14 months (and still counting) that I started work on my first papers draft. Today for the fourth time I got a reject on the paper. The funny thing - I insisted in resubmitting in the high impact journal since one of the reviewers gave a great review on the paper last time. Well! Now, the interesting addendum to this reject is one reviewer gave a perfect score of 5/5 in all 5 sections that rate the article. Another reviewer went hand in hand with an average of 4.8/5 overall. The third has one question to be addressed, but has agreed to the submission of the document in the journal after minor corrections. But, all it takes is one virus to spread. One reviewer gave a "Not to publish" comment, since he did not understand step 1 of the process (Which was clearly explained and published in my second author article). No query of his points to the work we represented in this paper. Now, I've got to switch publishers since the great editor was busy enough to bluntly put "Therefore, do not resubmit in Chem of Mtls again" in his reply.
My immediate (and continuing) reaction on the reject - ear to ear smile of the way things go around unaccountable in my PhD life (of course there is a nod of laughter too often). My advisors reaction - he knew that the editor copy pasted his previous e-mail with the added blunt line. He read the not to publish reviewers comment and disappointed how bad he couldn't get his/her name.
I have two 'advanced studies' papers in hand (and a book chapter to be printed on the 14th of this month) that refers this article for the initial work. One of them is already decided to be submitted in a very high impact ACS journal (which I worked for the past two weeks after my first draft trying to trim and fit into the journals impeccably mature style). As my advisor used his dexterous hands to explain how the "Flood Gates" are just in contact - an analogy he uses for the condition we are experiencing with this 'what' forbidden journal, I couldn't stop laughing.
The only thing I told him out of the smile was, "Either the flood gates getting opened soon or the dams gonna just break" His response, "Damn! Damn......!!! Damn the Dam...... Damn!!!!!"
"Someday in the future, you are going to look at this and laugh"
Funny that I registered for two Future Faculty Program courses for Fall 09 just an hour before being told about the reject. Guess its time to break the stupid pact of "I'm celebrating my first published paper in Natasha's Cafe" and go after all and spend enough alone.
A few minutes after publishing the blogpost.
Re-editing the blog: Ah.... And finally the smiling stopped, coz there's no chat window open, no passenger seats taken, no phone calls dialed, no adjacent steps filled, no swings swaying - there's just me and the feeling of "just a stupid blog page to talk to....... "
Awesome its raining icy mixture now. Atleast I've got something to take my mind off as I walk home now.
What made me click the movie link as soon as I saw the name, is itself a divine chance of pre-programmed sequences. For 75 minutes, I never stood from my bed, never even thought of having a drink, or have my dinner, or anything. I was rooted, and engrossed in the movie. Its been a while that my eyes twitched and moistened for a movie after Mr. Hollands Opus. And this one now tops the table for the best movie I've seen my entire life. Although Saving Private Ryan and Black, made it to the top for being commercial movies, Taking Chance notches the best 'real event based' movie. What makes it best is not that the movie is a story of a person, or of a group of interconnected people, but of the world - a world still filled with people who are good at least for those crucial seconds when they are supposed to be good, coz they are all humans.
The user comments on IMDB link says it all. PS, for those who hate watching war movies coz there is too much firepower and blood, no worries, this movie doesn't even show case a single scene of the war. It's all post war emotional movie. It's a must watch.
Things I learned in the past few days - Pint of blood, Peg of whiskey, Parched body, Pasted work, Poor sleep, and finally Plundered game-energy, in the mentioned order is never safe for normal human life. Cooking is fun, but cooking with a theme is mastering fun. Was a much different, positive attitude, confident guy after the game (even after losing it, and also failing to convert a good start) - I am starting to like this new me after all. Loved this song and had this stirring my culinary mind the whole moment I cooked a new recipe whose theme involves Saag, Cardamon, Rice, and exactly 5 brown eggs and 3 white eggs - End result, both visually and taste related scored an A++ in all my cooking moments. Although I am quirking "I am too old for this stuff" whenver I get a chance, on the inside, I am feeling much more energetic than I was a couple of years ago - guess am all going Murtaugh, the strong :D I feel a vibe of goodness in me. I guess it all started with the insight from the lovely conclusion of the episode My Full Moon from Scrubs. I might squeeze in a lil more effort to see Hoffman and Emma play around in Last Chance Harvey, before I sleep tight for a good Sunday morro..
I'm Outta TIme
I still remember the day when my bro answered "Tirupathi" as mom asked the GK question "Which city is called as the city of seven hills?" and I go panting for my life coz I laughed so much on the level of smartness my brother exhuberated (Edukondaluvaada/Ezhu Malayaan - if you can't get the joke, I'm sorry! It's hard and very funny to explain). Even now the joke is shared in the Chirra family as someone goes to Tirupathi. I finding out his interests in a particular girl and relentlessly torturing him to do me favors as blackmail (which he never did perfect and got me into more trouble). Our attempts to break the gymkhanas garage lock to recover my first crush's bicycle. My attempts to coach his left hand style batting after which he lost interest in cricket and has continued to stick to his policy of not touching the cricket bat. The broad shoulder a'hole hits the tennis ball like sh***. He can clear 12 floors in a single whack (and I coached him to have control over his ball losing shots :D ).
Of course, how can I forget the way he was very good to keep me his cute innocent younger bro by watching porn secretly :D, and I somehow always figuring a way to find the truth (and at the early days inform mom/dad about it and get him scrutinized) and eventually he finding the truth that I wasn't so innocent after all and rightfully complained to mom (after which dad became a better friend). The secret conversations we shared during his off family early college days about his attempts to go Eureka with his mechanical engg degree. And then of nowhere a certain distance started between us and grew faster than I could even imagine. Then, the very few years I spent with him in Madras during a tough phase as mom fell sick to a momentous 7 year arthritis. His survival on dads dry chapathis while he passed the extra bread omelette from his lunch box. The scooter he decided to teach me as a birthday gift, which I intentionally used to throw him on the road with a raised first gear, my constant yelling at him to concentrate his eyes on the road in front of him and forget the chick whom we just passed, his clenching fingers on my shoulders as I zipped through heavy traffic, his habit to leave me unguarded in the rush/empty bus as he felt the swooshing Madras air hanging on the bus steps, the Madras he mapped me with only theatres (and at times with pubs), Shankar Chat Bhel and Pani puris we never missed in Anna Nagar, the skating shoes we stole from a rich kid and fell like umpteen times mastering the art of roller skating (and resistance to ass pain) in the beach (hey we had our reasons to steal :D ), the wink he gave me as dad yelled at him for getting his arrears in Heat Transfer, his three rules to any tool related work which I still use as a key element to repair most of my mechanical/electrical/computer problems (patent application pending :D ), and eventually the final few months before his US trip at which he fell silent to the soon departing incident. Then things changed, life changed, he changed, and I too changed.
In the past 8 years, many things happened, but none excites me as interesting as the past we shared as kids. I know deep inside he cares, the kid exists, the fun and fighting we made defines us. But, somehow today, as my roomie described an event with his elder sis, I understood that I am giving the same silent departed feeling to my brother, he gave me months before he left to the States. He never called me before to his house for a weekend, but he did this week. And for no reason I rejected the offer. He reads my face far better than mom and dad added together. It's better things stay unknown. Huh! I'm smiling unbelievably smug as I write this statement. How sick can my mind be now? Oasis' I'm Outta Time plays as the background as the rain trickles heavily on my air conditioning equipment. Guess the atmosphere asks me to stop continuing the post or even proof read it....... I'm outta time by a century at least...... "Attempts to stay chirpy is pecked beakish" F*** the phases of life.....