Things they never say…

People’s descriptions are incomplete. There are so many things that people often skip telling, not because they want to hide them on purpose ( many actually do) but because they want to think that they never actually went through all that. What we see and hear about people’s adventures are sometimes, if not always incomplete. Take for example the whole Grad-studies-in-US thing (I choose US here since that is what I chose in life too). Columns after columns tell you that it is a life-changing experience filled with global diversity, excellent infrastructure, a chance to live like never before and excellent photos in some of the most talked and seen-in-movies places ( like Las Vegas, LA , Grand Canyon) of people and seniors who went there creates a make-believe world where the admit is the last hurdle one has to cross. Once admitted by a top notch university, life is just a luxurious ride to the most magnificent destinations and a highly paid job with all the possible luxuries is just a few years away. Cut to reality. It is far from all that.

Once you are through the US-visa-interview experience with/without a pink slip, and have finally booked your tickets, that’s when you actually say good-bye to your comfortable ultra-urban, dream-like, dad-mum supported life and enter reality. From finding non-bed-bug/ cockroach infested apartments with decent insulation to finding livable room-mates, everything is just wholly your luck. Don’t count old childhood friends turning out to be best people to live with, infact Ive experienced some best friendships turn sour just because you decide to live with them. I know people who choose not to live with their friends because they wouldn’t want to end up in a sticky situation and stop being friends with them. Classes are hectic and tough (atleast where I study and for me…I’m not possessed with extra high number of Grey cells like a few lucky ones) and as mid-sems and finals approach it gets progressively worse. It is really difficult to make those awesome road trips, again I speak for myself since I’m doing a doctorate and a deadline of the next group meeting always hangs on my head killing my chances of getting away for sometime. I do go out and have a good time, but it is few and far in between. Fellow Indians are not always the most helpful ( I think the good ones here are as rare as finding Belgian pink diamonds) and sometimes they stress you out more than anything else. Professors are tough and tricky and job hunts intense and scary. So really, its not the joy-ride that everyone projects. Now now, Im not saying that its a bad idea to come here or that I’m having a horrible time, all I’m saying is, it is a two-sided coin. People who come with dreamy expectations are often crestfallen and so shocked that they are unable to cope with reality. It is definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences that one might have in their lives, but one has to be mentally prepared to deal with all the roadblocks which everyone does eventually face.

Of course some people dont have to experience all this. If you are lucky, and I pray you should, you wont have to. Even if you do and survive, it will only make you stronger and mature. But all I’m doing in gently reminding, there is the great, there is the good and there is the bad and ugly. I guess its a combination of all this which makes it so awesome an experience. I survived my ordeal of bed-bugs, horrible roommates, most taxing coursework ever, slew of exams, bad food, horrible winter, friends turning traitors- all of this at the same time and turned out stronger and happier on the other side. I didnt have the joyride of making so many trips, living with family-like room-mates or getting straight A’s ever so easily. But I experienced something totally different and unexpected – Life. And its only made me happier with what I have today. 😀

PS: Im waiting for the movie ‘Social Networking’. Sounds real fun. But I know I’ll be dragged to Endhiran and made to sit through it (though I’m bargaining for you-watch-Endhiran-and-I-watch-Anjaana-Anjaani). Please Aishwarya Rai, for once in your life I hope you did something watchable. Though in all probability you havent. Anways, Rajnikanth never lets you down! So yoyo!

Where is the goodness gone?

“There are too many people, and too few human beings” – Robert Zend.

I find this line particularly true. As I look around me, in fact sometimes even introspect, I feel that true goodness of a person’s heart has almost ceased to exist. In this extremely competitive world, where competition is on the verge of even turning nasty, we have forgotten what it is to be good human beings. A good and genuine person. I remember agreeing wholeheartedly with Holden ( J.D Salinger’s masterpiece) as he groaned about phony people. To my utter disgust, I find them all around me. Every relationship seems to have a motive (like befriending students with cars in hopes of hitching a free ride) to even more serious commitments of money, power and a comfortable lifestyle. I know people who target those ahead of them, try their best to screw around with their work and then surge ahead and no longer bat an eyelid at their once-upon-a-time-friends. So it is my turn to ask, how long are we going to continue being phony?

I know toppers who are the nastiest and most unhelpful people to ensure that they remain ahead in their race, leaving their competitors behind.Can they be called nice people? If they are not, how come they do better in life than the really nice ones? I know people who lie about achievements, who use people to get their knowledge and later dump them faster than a Pepsi can. I know people who befriend certain others to ensure their comfort for the time being and once their work is done, refuse to recognize them. One can no longer genuinely reveal information about anything because you pray that the other doesn’t find out more than you did and God forbid, get ahead of you. You can’t trust their motives, their words. You can see through friendships and relationships as being solely for a particular reason. Is this growing up or hypocrisy? Sometimes, I remain confused.

Genuine people are those who help and expect nothing in return. People who know very well that they are going to be let down sometime in the future and still continue to help. I know this lovely couple who lives close to campus and take all efforts to drive Indian students to the far away Indian groceries fortnightly for free. They email, pick you and drop you from wherever you live and even invite you to these amazing Christmas, thanksgiving dinners and spoil you with a multitude of dishes. I know students who remain indifferent to their help and treat them like chauffeurs. I also know Indians who crash their parties and call their friends shamelessly in front of the hosts “hey FREE FOOD!! Come FAST!”. They have been experiencing this for so many years now. But still they continue to dole out gifts and dinners and help with the groceries which would have been impossible to shop for otherwise. Now that’s what I call selfless. They have no resumes to maintain, nothing to prove to anyone and yet they help. I am inspired by those people. I really am.

I signed up for volunteering for the Atlanta humane society because I love animals. This is my way for making up for lost time with my dearest Whisky and I long for responsive animal company (hamster spinning on a wheel or a fish or plants don’t really count!). I heard two guys talking ” Eeks! I hate animals man, cant do it.” The other stately told him ” Dude, its just for two months, smell the shit for now then we’ll smell the money.” Yeah right, I thought. You will tolerate an animal for putting it in your resume and appearing like this fake considerate person while in reality who knows?! That is my point. Things are at a juncture where if it can’t be proved, its okay to lie and fake. How much of all this can the world take? How many people (Indians, I am ashamed to say) will copy and get grades here while the other honest students seethe with anger. (Its another story that a huge Indian brigade got caught for the same and were punished). Now we fake our resumes, our grades, our relationships and even ourselves?

I’m not perfect either. I know I might have come across as someone as inconsiderate or ungrateful at times but trust me people (especially those I’ve offended) I meant nothing of it. I look for real love (that’s why I love my dog more than anything else since I know he will love me no matter what I am or become, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly), real knowledge and real relationships. I want friends whom I can speak my mind and feel lighter instead of worrying about how the news might benefit them, I want parties where everyone remains their true self and I want people to be genuine. Yeah right, I might also wish for world peace and destroying terrorism now that I am at it. Sigh. Come back to reality Nita. Ive to hunt for those true people I’m looking for. But I’m optimistic, I’ll find em. For the others, nothing in me will change.