Archive for April, 2009


There are so many questions that I want to ask,

but cannot.

There are so many answers that I want to hear,

but cannot.

The sentence is written, the period is missing,

but I am searching for a comma,

that never exists.


Oregon Musings

  • Portland was just a 5 hr flight away, but it seemed that it was a different me that went to Portland. As though there was a Portland-Kaushik and a Madison-Kaushik. I would like to call it the Malleable personality disorder. In fact, I feel that I have lived non-overlapping lives. My conversations with long time friends from school, Sashi and Shriram, are vastly different from the Portland friends, Suku, Bhavani and Anshu. With another set of friends from RVCE, I had totally different experiences while with the Madison geeks, my idea of fun is totally different. And, none of these sets of friends of mine, know (or probably even appreciate) the kind of activities that I tend to enjoy with others. The few times that I have shared some of the insane RVCE final semester stories with friends here in Madison have been met with disbelief. One evening, my conversations alone with Suku were so different from those when Anshu and Bhavani also tagged along a few minutes later, that I could  hardly believe that it is me that took part in two conversations poles apart from each other within the span of few minute. On my way back to Madison, I was wondering about this MPD, what is my idea of fun? But I let it stay, because I am having fun (although in most cases, probably because I allow the space for others to enforce their plans on me, my plans get rejected. I dont mind it…)
  • When I decided to get my hands dirty with this PhD thing, I had mentally prepared myself for lagging way behind close friends in the savings-account figure in our banks. I had prepared myself to see friends getting cars, furniture and houses, while I still lived on a miserly graduate stipend. What I had not prepared for (and here it comes again, my rant about married friends), is for the \”figure\” that gets appended to them (aka, the wife). Talking to Suku and Bhavani about their life together, or listening to Anshu anticipate his life with Priyanka that is about to begin in a few months, my mind drifted to what-if\’s again. Anyway, here is hoping that we have yet another reunion the next year and Priyanka gells into our group easily, and then an optimistic hope that the $i^{th}$reunion after that, $ i = 1,2,3,…$ also sees a certain Miss Unkonwn join the group 🙂
  • Suku and Bhavani are perfect for eachother. Sometimes, very briefly, you get the premonition of the future. I remember, a second year afternoon in DJ, I had bunked a class, Suku, was walking back to his room, with his charachteristic gait, that he got really popular for. I was walking around in the common area, and asked Suku about the class. He said, he missed it and had gone to the canteen with Bhavani. All of a sudden, just at that moment, it stuck me that they will end up together, a fleeting vision, when at that time, they hardly spoke to eachother. Much later, they got to-gether, and as much as I wanted to believe that it was not the real thing, I knew that it was. They compliment eachother like yin and yang, Suku is the typical  practical, no-nonsense guy and she brings a whiff of adventure to him a-la Kareena in Jab We Met, while Bhavani is the dreamer, forever trying to lose herself in a neverland, and Suku brings in the perspective to her life. Here is wishing All the best to them, and (as Bob Dylan would say it), May they stay forever young 🙂
  • Why is it that people cannot believe I can drive. Swami, is always scared when I am at the wheel, although, I am pretty good. The fact that he is always scared scares me. And this time in Portland, I was treated like Calvin asking his mom for the wheel in this comic strip…
  • There is a maami inside us after-all. Within 5 minutes of meeting up, we started bitching about anyone and everyone like the old ladies during hot afternoons in agraharams! And that went on for 3 nights and on the long drives…Absolute pleasure 🙂
  • Portland is really really beautiful. It reminded me (and Vidya, on seeing the pictures) of monsoon afternoons in Kolkata. It felt like heaven to wake up to grey skies, the whiff of rain, the fresh moist air blowing, the birds chirping and the brillaint shades of green that nature serves up when it rains! I am jealous of Anshu now 🙂


Of Mice and Men…

is going to haunt me for a long long time.

It is a short novella, only 103 pages, but the power of the story and the visual imagery of the brilliant writing is going to create a lump in my throat every time I am going to think about this book.

A story of two people, George and Lennie, set in the 1930s America, in the times of the great depression, the book explores innocence, love and dreams.

Lennie, is a fool, a retard with a huge body the strength of which he cannot estimate. George, is his life-long friend, who sticks around with Lennie and protects him and shelters him from the world. Together, they share a dream, of owning their own land, in which Lennie tends to rabbits, because he always likes to pat soft things.

As the story progresses, the dream gets painted in more brighter colors. The protagonists live by the dream. It takes over their life, and is their only obsession. And, all the time, in the background, you keep thinking, this is too good, that bad thing is going to happen just now. And then a situation develops. And passes over. The dream is still intact. Another situation passes over. You believe that the guys probably will get lucky, but then, at the back of your head, you know, it is not going to happen.

The saddest part, the part that will haunt readers for ever is the ending. The last two pages, will move you to tears.

Somewhere while building the story, Nobel winner Steinbeck, paints a scene, in which an old hand in the farm has a sick old dog, that he has taken care since childhood. The dog is really sick and stinks. Another young hand in the farm cannot bear the stink, and proceeds to shoot the dog (with the assent of the old man). There was something in that scene, the old dog is innocent to its bones and hangs around doing nothing,  is the only friend of the old man, who has taken care of it for a lifetime. The old man knows the dynamics of the people who he works with. He has no hope for saving the dog, still he wants to save it. But, finally, he gives up, and the dog is killed. The scene does not haunt you then, but much later, as the climax draws to its end, you think about the dog, and tears swell up your eyes.

I have to finish with a word on the writing. Steinbeck, has a flowery prose. Each character gets more than half a page of physical description. The settings of each scene take up pages. But the image that the writing produces in your mind is stirring. As the novella proceeds, the large Lennie keeps growing larger and larger, and all the while, your pity for him keeps increasing. Finally, you are left with a hopeless feeling, happy for Lennie? happy for George? And, you just keep thinking about that dog too.

Absolute brilliance.

I was reading the final few pages, my emotions waiting to pour out, and as if on cue, Pandora radio played High hopes by Floyd. It seemed the perfect setting for the ending. The song always reminds me of the brilliantly executed PAF at IIT, Deja Vu, which dealt with a students suicide, symbolic of death of dreams. And it all fit together…