Search

Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen

Category

University

I have moved!

Hello world!

I’m back in the blogosphere after a hiatus of more than a year, with a brand new blog chronicling a new chapter of my life. I’m still the same clumsy old misfit, just that I’ve had a location and atmosphere change yet again.

Follow my new blog at Worth A Thousand Tales (The WATT?! blog) for a refreshing take on my experiences as a post-grad student studying abroad in UK and Europe, moving out of home and the (mis)adventures that ensue.

Hope to find you all at my new blog,

Thanks a ton,

SunStarsAndDreams

Advertisements

School, exams and other (in)significant things

So I thought of writing this today considering that the CBSE Class 12 exam results were out yesterday. Class 12 exams are the school leaving exams and altogether considered a big deal in India.

It is considered so much of a huge thing that relatives, Uncles and Aunties you never knew existed will dutifully phone you up on the result day to ask your exams and then pass some remark like, oh, XYZ got more. Even that uncle who usually ignores you on the street, the maid servant, and the flower seller lady, turn out to be terribly curious about it.

Honestly, it is a terrible time for the kids in question. Two years back, in 2014, when I was the one facing the same line of invasive questioning, it went to, ah, not bad marks, but you could have definitely scored better. I didn’t really care about it, because one, Indians are usually not prone to giving out praises easily, and two, I was on cloud nine. I had done really well, as far as I was concerned, scoring an overall percentage in the 90s.

All that happiness was literally sucked out of me, when my college application got stuck in a mound of Indian red tape, and only high-level recommendation could make it move any further. Especially considering I had planned on only writing the law entrance and getting into a law college (which again didn’t work out, as it was not fated for me) and had not given much thought in applying to Commerce/Business colleges.

That incident caused me a great deal of disillusionment, especially at that point where I realised that all those marks and merit had been for nothing.

And yet, Indian students practically live in fear of the dreaded Class 12 Board exams. That last one year of school is reduced to a haze of school, tuitions, extra coaching classes, classes for cracking various college entrance exams, and so on and so forth. The poor student is left with barely enough time to breathe, which eventually leads to a burnout. It is an extremely competitive rat race, because what is in line is not the student’s career prospects, rather a sort of status symbol for the parents.

I can still hear my aunt yelling at my cousin for not studying enough in his crucial school year, which thankfully ended now. This, considering that the poor kid woke up at 5am each day for tuitions before school, then school, and then tuitions again till 6pm, and also went for entrance exam coaching class during the weekends from 9am to 5pm.

I must confess I felt rather guilty about it, because his mother did all that so that he could get at least a percent more than I did. Because how much ever you ignore it, the Indian obsession with the what-will-others-think syndrome is very much there. The very same thing that makes parents push their children towards professions like engineering or medicine whether or not the children want to.

When I hear all these anecdotes, I cannot help but think back to my last year of school. It was one of the best years of my life. I had an amazing set of friends, I participated in a good many events and programmes, I went on day trips to many places across the city considering that it was also my last year there. I never went for any sort of tuitions or extra classes, nor did my school keep any. I went to school from 7am to 1pm, came home and relaxed. I watched a lot of movies, read a good many books, and so on. Honestly, I got around to actually studying for these exams when there was just about two weeks left. Yet, I passed, and scored as much as the one who forewent all of the above mentioned fun activities.

Maybe it was because I lived in the Middle East, away from all the pressures of India, although I did study in an Indian CBSE school and write the same exams as the ones in India.

But, I think it was more because of my parents. I may not get along well with my father, but I have much to be grateful for. They did not seem to bother much about me studying 24/7. They were more easy-going. They want me to succeed in my life, but they don’t believe that grades alone script a success story. And they do support me even now, after I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in business, despite studying science in school. I know quite a number of friends, who pursued engineering because everyone else was, and they are miserable. I might be miserable in a way, but I do not regret not pursuing engineering.

But, what I wished to say in this post was this. You do you the best. Marks and grades do not really matter in the long run. Only passion and faith does. Good luck! 🙂

Money matters

Hello there!

I am back after a terrible attack of writer’s block, coupled with finals and just some general health problems. Nothing major, but quite tiresome indeed.

At the place I live, summer has started. This year has turned out to be especially hot and humid.

With summer comes the rush for finding summer jobs and/or internships. However, with India being a bit too obsessed with nepotism and what sort of influence/recommendation you can bring with you, finding summer jobs are not exactly a walk in the park.

But, by constantly pestering them and creating a general nuisance of myself, I managed to get an internship with a reputed NGO working for child rights. I loved the job at first, thinking that I am creating a change in the lives of underprivileged children et al. But, a week into the job, I was asked to do rather tedious work, which totally did not reap any sort of benefit: either to the children or to myself. Besides, it was unpaid. So, I quit the job.

Call me a spoilt brat, but the main reason I wanted to do a summer job or work part-time was because I do not want to be dependent on my parents’ money. I might stand to inherit it, but it is always my parents’ fortune.

I guess that this part might sound a bit confusing to almost everyone other than Indians or other South Asians. But, Indian parents do believe that it is their responsibility to bring up their children, educate them, and incur all the expenses related to their children’s education, living, and even marriage. That essentially means that most Indian kids grow up with their parents willing to pay for all their expenses well into their twenties.

As a matter of fact, I have met a certain ex-neighbour of mine, whose father paid for his medical degree, and then a Master’s degree in medicine. Then, he expected his father to buy him a brand new luxury sedan because that was expected of his in his new status as a doctor.

Well, you might think that I am exaggerating, but it is one hundred percent true.

But, that is not what I wish to do.

My parents are always there for me, as they keep assuring me. But, there is some independent streak in me, which makes me want to earn and use that money for my further needs.

Yes, I am in an undergraduate business school and my parents are paying for it. But, what I wish to pursue after this is not something that my parents totally approve. So, maybe it is just a whim, but I want to work and fund my further education. I guess it is just that when you expect your parents to do everything and pay for it all, you can’t really fault them about not letting you do what you wished to.

Up next:  A lack of choices in India when it comes to education, career or any sort of life decision.

Is it the same in your part of the world? Do you believe that parents should be responsible for their children till they are way into their 20s?

2015.

As with everything else, 2015 comes to an end as well. It was an average year for me, not something I would love to look back on and cling on to.
Like every year, it had its own share of ups and downs.
At the start of the year, I had made a sort of bucket list of things to be accomplished. Not a lot of it was crossed out, however. So, those will be the ones on the list for 2016. Recycling. Not that bad an idea, eh?

This was my bucket list for 2015. A lot of memories were made and some unexpected disappointments too. So, here goes:

 

1. Read at least 50 books. – Done.
I managed to read exactly 50 books this year, accounting to a total of nearly 20,000 pages read, which averages to around 400 pages per book. Which I believe is a very good thing. I read quite a few nearly 1000 pages books too, like the entire Game of Thrones series (except book 5.2) and Shantaram. Another thing I am proud about is that I started reading quite a bit of literary fiction and loved them.

2. Write at least 30 blog posts. – Nope.
Unfortunately, blogging ended up taking a back seat this year, due to a lot of things.

3. Learn to drive a car and get a license. – Done.
Although I haven’t perfected the art of driving in the midst of heavy traffic, I managed learn to drive adequately and got my driver’s licence just two days back.

4. Go on a solo trip or a trip with friends somewhere. – Nope.
Had to happen, planned on it happening, but got postponed to 2016.

5. Go for more MUNs. – Done.
From attending my first ever college MUN in January 2015, I have attended quite a bit of those conferences in 2015 and plan on attending some more in 2016.

6. Write at least half of the novel that you were planning on writing.– Nope.
I had a massive writer’s block stretching for the major part of the year. My muse seemed throughly exhausted and I was pretty drained out, so that didn’t happen.

7. Learn Tamil. – Kind of.
I learned to speak some more, but it is still not perfect.

8. Do something productive after college. – Done.
Quite a lot of things actually. I interned with this awesome place and earned my first every pay check, went for some classes, met a lot of new people.

9. Learn to bake the perfect chocolate cake. – Not quite.
I did go for a baking class, but whether I actually learnt anything from there, is pretty doubtable.

10. Visit any other country, apart from India and Saudi Arabia. – Done.
Well, UAE is another country. Even though I have been there countless times. Some more foreign tours were planned this year, but never materialised, although I hope it will happen next year.

11. Volunteer somewhere. – Done.
Some time in August, I began volunteering with this NGO called Bhumi, where I teach English to underprivileged primary school children in orphanages. Although, it seemed like tiring and exhausting work, it was what gave me my much needed energy and happiness at the end of the work. The experience of actually doing something good, is really a pleasure.

12. Be happy.
The hardest one on the list. With one of the hardest answers.
2015 was a year with its equal shares of ups and downs, but the valleys were deeper than the hills. There were days and times in this year, when I felt that everything was lost, everything was just blank space. Really dark times and really lonely ones. Days when I was really afraid, although I seemed normal. Days I feared a relapse, days I thought I was actually relapsing, days when all I wanted to do was escape from it all.

But, for each of those days, there were a few, who stood by, who helped me up, my really good friends from school. But, when my best friends turned out to be battling demons of their own, hope seemed lost.
However, we survived. We are still strong, here to see what is hopefully a better year.
So, I have to say, what ever it was, 2015 was a successful lesson. Taught me a lot of things and showed me where my loyalties lie, and who remained and remains loyal to me.

Is freedom just an illusion?

From the time I entered my junior year of high school, or Year 11, I used to think that college will entail more freedom. I used to dream about all the things I might be able to do, not wear an uniform, get to go for classes of a more relaxed nature, so on and so forth.
However, I joined college in a place that I never dreamed of, and naturally found faults with everything. It is an all-girls college. There were a certain amount of rules, such as a fixed college timing and having to attend all classes. The inability to just leave whenever we felt like. And the rule about clothes: nothing shorter than ankle-length to be worn.

I felt that it was the end of the world and just couldn’t wait for the three years to end so that I could get away from that place to something better.
That was definitely not what I imagined college to be.

However, an issue which has cropped up recently in the city I live in, has got me thinking.
Students of a certain engineering college in Chennai have gone on a protest against the barbaric rules and regulations enforced by the management.

For those who do not know what I am talking about, check this and this out.

Some of those rules are absolute shockers, and will make people wonder, “Is it even a college? Even prison is way better!”

ToDoListCollege

Not only is that list of rules which went viral, extremely sexist, it defeats the entire purpose of college. A few friends in that college told me that not only were there such bizarre rules for girls, there were rules like that for boys as well. For instance, they are not allowed to wear anything other than formals all day, every day, but they are also not allowed to wear branded formals which has the logo displayed on it. Also, the colour black is prohibited on their campus on certain days, because it is a holy colour for them. There have been reports of girl students being verbally and sexually harassed by the so-called guardians of discipline.
Plus, it being an engineering college, with future techies studying there, the ban on all forms of technology seems ridiculous.
The funniest one I have heard till date, a student was fined for “touching the ducks in the pond”.

What is the point of studying in a co-education college if you are not allowed to interact with the opposite sex?

Colleges like these made me believe that my college is way, way better. However, it makes you doubt the entire system. It makes us doubt the point of it all.

Students are protesting, however, the trend will stop only if parents and students collectively shun such colleges. But, the sad fact is that many parents don’t mind sending their children to such colleges, because these colleges guarantee a well-paid job once you graduate. The makes us wonder, when did the rat race for a well-paid job end up in this?
My parents studied in the same country, around 20 to 25 years back. Then, it was different. The rules were not there. Campuses were more liberal and everyone was off exploring their freedom, the feelings of love and heartbreak.
Now, all of those are restricted in a lot of colleges. Students are being denied their basic rights and are treated as something worse than scum.
So, are we actually progressing as the years pass? I think not.
India is a secular, democratic nation, which guarantees respect, freedom and equality for all of its citizens regardless of gender, religion, caste and community.
So, aren’t these students also inclusive of that? Or is freedom just an illusion?

~SunSanStarsAndDreams

So, what do you all think about the issue? What other ridiculous restrictions have you come about in schools/colleges? Do let us know in the comments box below! 🙂

Flaws make you beautiful.

Why is it that the one thing nearly every human being craves for, whether consciously or otherwise, is acceptance? Acceptance from peers, society, family, so on and so forth.
Why are we so afraid to stand apart, for fear of being criticised?
Why are we, other than a select few, afraid to stand up for what we believe is right, or for who we really are?
Maybe it is just the way we are conditioned. To be no more than a clueless individual ourselves, and yet make fun of those who have it figured out, although maybe not in the conventional way, and make them doubt themselves.

I remember being a person that I wasn’t, only so that I will be accepted by my classmates, my relatives. I did not recognise myself at all.
That’s when I thought, fuck it all. I don’t care what others think of me. This is how I am going to be.
After I did that, I managed to get a lot of friends, back in high school. I had a minimum of 100 good friends that I could count upon and at least 500 acquaintances.
However, after college began, I went back to being needy and desperate. I was the new, awkward foreign-kid. I turned into a stranger in a desperate effort to get accepted. I did selfish things, rude things. Yet, I still felt foreign. Honestly, I felt a lot worser. That was not me, the kind who teased the kid with the learning disability and made her feel bad about herself. I was too afraid to speak out against those who did that too, under the fear of being labeled weird and not being accepted as one of them.
In the same time, I started missing having friends from back home, as I started acting distant towards them when they called, the rude act adopted for being accepted still in place.
A semester passed and I was still miserable. I fit in with a random group of classmates, but like a square peg in a round hole.
That was when I decided to drop the act and be myself again.
I knew that I was not perfect, but I was good enough.
I knew that even if I tried to act too cool, I will always be judged for something. If not for the messy, frizzy and curly hair, then for being curvy or for being too lazy to cake my face with makeup.
I know that I am not flawless, but I accept myself for who I really am. I know that although I might not be conventionally pretty, I know that I am a good person, I try to be intellectual. I decided to stand up for what I believed to be right. One day, I finally snapped at those people who made fun of the kid with a learning disability. I started volunteering to teach English to underprivileged kids on the weekends.
I may not be the most popular kid in college. I may not be the first choice for anything in college, whether it is a play or a contest or anything. I may not have a lot of friends in college.

But I do have friends from school. They may be living kilometres away, but they are still there and we are still close.
But, what ever happens, I will not give up my identity. This is who I am, and this is whom I shall always be. Ordinary, perhaps. Pretty, no. But, a dreamer, thinker, ambitious, smart and compassionate, yes.
For those who don’t wish to accept me the way I am, I am sorry but I have nothing to say except that I don’t care.

Sometime last night, as I lay thinking, I came up to a conclusion. To have others accept you, you must accept yourself first. The flaws are what make you beautiful.

Stay magical. Stay happy.
~SunSandStarsAndDreams

Do you agree with my opinion or not? Do feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments box below.

Some happiness and awesome fusion music!

Hello lovely people!

I’m back after another unintentional disappearing act. I’m much better now. I did what I thought was the best possible way to recover from another low in life: immerse myself in a lot of work.
Yes, I am a kind of a workaholic at times and pretty lazy at others.
This time, I took up a virtual internship, started volunteering at this place to teach English to underprivileged kids, and participated in this amazing MUN. But the being-busy thing did work. I am really a lot more content with life, although I can’t say that I am super happy. Things have been going at an all-time low for me. From emotional drama, to having a best friend who seems to be falling into some kind of mental illness but who lives way too far away to actually comfort her, and losing out on everything. It was a pretty bad month for me. But, it was also a month of lessons.
I’ve emerged happier though. Or at least I seem to be in a sort of happier point today.

Like I usually post, I have an exam tomorrow. Not a major one, but an exam nonetheless.

This post was actually supposed to be about the awesomesauceness of this band.
They are an Indian fusion band who have played the soundtracks of nearly every amazing thing that there is. (Harry Potter, GoT, Sherlock, Pirates of the Caribbean!)
I stumbled upon them quite randomly and I was hooked.
They don’t have a lot of videos on their YouTube channel, just about 5 or 6. But, I was swept off my feet.
There are a lot of fusion covers, and then there is the Indian Jam Project. They are totally a class apart.
I am someone who grew up in a South Indian family, though living outside India, was pretty proud of their roots. That means, I grew up listening to a lot of Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental. Just listening to the Indian Jam Project’s covers made me relive my childhood. Especially the Harry Potter one. Two things that made my childhood, Harry Potter and good music.

I am not the best singer or instrumentalist, but I do have a weakness for good music.

I’ve been having their covers on a loop right now. All through writing this blog post and trying to study for my exam.

Okay. Enough of my raving.
This is the Harry Potter one.

Do listen to it. It’s pretty amazing! I got goosebumps and happy tears after listening to it. :’)

The Sherlock one.

~SunSandStarsAndDreams

P.S. This is the first time I am putting up a song/music video/band which I loved. Tell me what you guys think. Should I continue this or not?

Also, if there are any other beautiful covers or any music that you like, please do share in the comments box below! I would love to listen to more new music. 🙂

Life gives you lemons. However lemonade is a whole new story.

I went on another unintentional week-long blog hiatus. Life is a totally jealous bitch. It is jealous of the time that you are content, and pushes problems down over to your path.

I was finally content with the place where I was in. All through my first year of college, I had way too many adjustment issues and adaptation issues, having landed in a totally new country for college even if the said country was your own one.
After the start of this second year, I was slowly starting to feel at peace. I still did miss my life back in the place I called home.
All right, it is not like I love it, but was getting to be happy with what went along.
However, certain people have disturbed the peace for me. I just hope I don’t relapse into my dark days of depression again. I thought I was over it.
I have never come across a situation where someone steals my team’s work after all the effort we put in and claims it as her own and takes credit for everything, and not even a mention of our names in the final project. Not even mentioning the fact that she tagged along when we were doing it. That she got the idea from one of my teammates. okay, she might have done some follow-up work, but he initial idea, approach and everything was ours.
That too from a new transfer student whom I thought was my friend. The new girl whom everyone but I ignored. Now, she is ignoring me. I didn’t except gratefulness, but I didn’t expect betrayal.
I don’t know what to do. I have stopped expecting people to be good. Now, it is like, everyone here is bad.
I had been so angry yesterday, I was nearly in tears. And I am supposed to be this person who never cries. (That technically is not true. I never cry in public. I only cry myself to sleep, or perhaps in private.)
I feel hurt. The people whom I thought were my friends have turned against me so badly. Not just the new student, two other people as well.
I was hurt and angry yesterday. But, the anger has been replaced by this icyness that I have no idea where it appeared. Some day will come. (I do watch House of Cards.)
P.S. I apologise for the spelling and/or grammatical errors in this post. There is bound to be many. I did not write this post with a rationally calm mind.

How I study for exams. 

Since it is the mid terms now, I was randomly going through the old posts on my blog. I came across one on procrastination. I realised that I’m still the same. 

I had two major exams today and this is what I did yesterday/today. 

I’ve another major exam in Marketing tomorrow, and I think this is what I’ll do today as well. Somehow I can’t help it. 
1. Read a paragraph from my textbook. 

2. Blog. 

3. Comment on other blogs. 

4. Visit Facebook, Instagram and every social networking site possible. 

5. Read something from my class notes. 

6. Read the novel which I got bored off and put aside. Haven’t read a nicer book. Loved it. 

7. Eat something. 

8. Watch some TV series. 

9. Study one line. 

10. Sleep. 

11. Message people asking whether they have studied. 

12. Spend time brushing my hair and trying out different hairstyles. 

13. Study one paragraph again. 

14. Reply to the messages sent out. 

15. Apply nail polish to all nails and groom them. 

16. Eat. 

17. Sleep. 

18. It’s the exam morning. 

19. Cram 10 chapters in one hour. 

20. Write the exam. 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑