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Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen

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University

On complicated people.

People. I just cannot understand them. It’s not that I’m an alien, but human beings are so complex.
I love people watching, though. Sitting in a warm, cozy cafe, nursing a cup of hot chocolate and just watching people go by.
Some of them might be in a hurry, others taking their own time.
I love imagining their lives and wondering what their stories might be.
However if there was something that I don’t get is this. The way how certain people are so complicated. Everything is a struggle with them, from liking them to getting along with them.
This topic came about when I was randomly talking with a friend.
In my world, if I like some people, I talk to them or be friendly towards them. If I don’t like them, I’ll just not talk to them. But if they do need any help from me, and I am in a position to help them, I will.
But, a lot of people in my class here, pretend to be friends or pretend to be nice towards you, just because they want something from you. After they do get whatever it is done, they just ignore you. And when you turn towards them for help, not so they just refuse, they pretend that you don’t exist.
I’ve had people here who stop talking to certain people just because they feel that talking to them is below their level. Or what will others think if they see them talking to ‘those’ people? Oh! The tragedy!

Honestly, through all my eighteen years of life, I’ve not been able to unravel and decipher the mystery of people. Hopefully, I might manage to do that later in life, when I’m older and wiser.
Till then,
Peace!

P. S. If anyone of you have it figured out, do let me know in the comments box below!

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In memoriam.

Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away yesterday. For those who do not know who he is, he was a former President of India, a scientist and a great man.
I believe that he was the greatest Indian President that my generation has ever seen. I considered him to be a kind of role model ever since I read his autobiography in my 6th grade, when I was in an aeronautical scientist phase.
Even after I grew out of that, I admired him for his courage, his genius, his simplicity. He was a true role model. When he was to take the oath as the President, his special invitees were a cobbler and a small restaurant owner. Here are some more incidents that show how kind and inspiring he was.
He passed away yesterday, doing what he loved best, teaching a couple of college students. I did feel a little sad, but what annoyed me was other people’s reactions. Namely, my classmates.
Yes, I know that my classmates at college are a shallow, ignorant lot. But, even I couldn’t believe the depths they could go to.
When the news broke saying that the former-President has died, instead of having the courtesy to offer sympathy, the first thing that my classmates ask for is a holiday. The class group on Whatsapp went crazy with nearly 200 messages asking whether today was going to be a holiday or not.

When will they realise that when a person dies, it is not courteous to be happy about getting a holiday? What if the person who died was a close friend or relative?
This behaviour has disgusted me beyond the limit. How can people be so insensitive or immature?

“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” 

I dread the day when people like these become the father, the mother and the teacher. The world shall be doomed.

The colossal misfit.

Have you ever felt that you were born in a wrong place, at the wrong time? Perhaps your destiny is bound by something unfathomable, but you have always felt that this wasn’t it?

Well, I have. I don’t really know how or why, but I have always felt like a misfit here. India is my home country, they say. India is where you were destined to live, they say.

But, how about the fact that India still doesn’t feel like the home it is supposed to be?

Back in my expat days, I was as happy as I could be with all the tensions of getting good grades and the pressure of getting into a good college would allow me to be. I was surrounded by a close cocoon of friends and webs of acquaintances. I always knew someone everywhere and I knew whom to turn to when I wanted help. I had a group of close friends with whom I could share nearly everything and just being around whom made me happy. Even though we used to insult each other constantly, it was all light-hearted humour. Even though we used to fight, it was all resolved within a few minutes. And when it mattered most, there was always someone who would stand up for you and support you through thick and thin.

Then, we graduated from high school and each went to a different place to study.

I was uprooted from the place I called home for nearly 14 years and thrust into alien surroundings, where I knew no one. I thought that because the people there are ethnically similar to me, they would all be like me and that I would fit in there like a jigsaw puzzle. But, boy, I’ve never been more wrong! My thought process, ideas and beliefs were totally different and I didn’t seem to have a common ground with any one of them. Things I said were taken to be offensive.

I thought that back in my hometown, I would have cousins, at the very least. But the year I returned, two of them left the place, one became a mother and automatically looked down on me like I was a baby not yet conscious enough to fully comprehend the world. The few people I trusted in India betrayed my trust.

I was a misfit everywhere, in all senses of the word.The happy person with a lot of friends was replaced by a brooding, moody stranger. I practically stopped talking to people. So much so that I believe that the fluency of my speech has actually reduced. I stopped writing, something which gave me an inexpressible amount of joy.

After an entire year of miserable life, I decided that this was not the life I envisioned for me. I need something more, something better. I have taken to reading a lot of books and some of them have given me ideas. I have taken up an online course on a subject that I am actually interested in. I started learning a new language. I have started writing again, slowly, if not a lot. I took some time out. I went on a vacation to a place that made me happy.

Slowly, but surely, I want to bring my life back on track. I want to pick up the pieces of my dream and stick them back together. I want to be the one I wanted to be, the one that I really hope to be. Someday.

Of Indian weddings and auto-drivers.

Yep. I did it again. Although I never intended to. I swear I wanted to write more at the start of the year. Then, barely a month later, life took its own course and I ended up with a writer’s block (sounds more fancier than saying that I was plain lazy!) and couldn’t write anything for a month.

The past month was pretty eventful and hectic too!
On the first weekend, I’d gone for the wedding of my childhood neighbour and arch-enemy. Although we did grow up to respect each other once we realised that we weren’t all that different, just the same know-it-all bookworms who grew up to be addicted to books and TV series like Sherlock. Although, I can’t believe that the very same person is getting married now. True that he’s almost 10 years older than me, but I kind of feel old.
This was the first ever big, fat Indian wedding I’d seen.
The function went on for the entire weekend, stretching from Friday through Sunday. In Kerala, of all places. That’s one place I like the least, due to a few reasons. And the last time I’d been there was almost two years back.

Then, the next weekend brought forth a MUN, which is a Model United Nations, where college students pretend to be delegates representing various countries in UN councils. It was pretty fun, although tiring.

Right after coming back home, I had the mid-terms and as luck could have it, I caught the seasonal flu too.

So, here I am, after a eventful February, back to blogging.
This was meant to be a post on my adventure in a particular auto rickshaw, but look where I rambled too.
Well, to the point. For the past week, my driver has been on AWOL and ’cause I still cannot drive a two-wheeler or a car, I was stuck with hailing an auto to college since I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of getting on and off two different public transport buses and walking about half a kilometre on either end, because there isn’t a direct bus route from my place to my college.
So, an auto is this tiny three-wheeled motor-fitted cart like thingy which is one of the main modes of public transportation in India. And auto drivers are known to be ill-tempered men who haggle a lot of the price and will never agree to come on the meter-fixed rate.

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I even found a meme online about I’ll-tempered auto drivers!


Early today morning, I’d hurried through breakfast and making myself look presentable, all the while hoping and praying for my lazy driver to actually turn up today, at the least. But, that didn’t seem to happen, so, I had to hail an auto again, like I had for the past four days.
On Friday, I was late, late as in really, really late. My college began at 8, and I’d just stepped out of my house at 7:50 and it was a 15-minute drive, if the Gods of Traffic were so good so as to leave the roads free.
I waved quite a bit of autos down, yet, no one seemed to come for the price I said.
Finally, this random old man agreed to come by the meter-rate. And it was past 7:55 then. The Gods of Traffic deigned it to be a good day, so I reached college by 8:10.
I pulled out my purse to pay the auto-driver. That’s when disaster struck. I realised that my purse was empty. In my rush to get dressed and leave home, I hadn’t asked my mother for money and I’d bought something to eat yesterday evening. So, all I was left with was ₹50 and the auto ride cost ₹80.
I frantically prayed for some friend or senior or even a professor of mine to come by then, so that I could borrow money to pay for the auto.
Auto drivers are rumoured to start yelling and making a scene over something small too.
So, all desperate and subdued, I told the auto driver that I had only ₹50 and couldn’t pay. Strangely enough, the man said alright, it’s okay. Give whatever money you have.
I ended up giving him the ₹50 and another ₹5 that I found on digging into my bag and also a bar of Galaxy chocolate.
The nice guy that he was, he went away with that without making a scene. Bless his heart.
Then again, while coming back home, I got picked up by an auto guy, who was nice enough to take only ₹70, even though the meter showed ₹74, instead of the usual variety who takes ₹80 or ₹85, even if the meter shows ₹70.
So, for all those who categorise all auto drivers as wicked people, there are a few jewels of people too. Please don’t judge a book by its cover.

~SunSandStarsAndDreams

My lovely readers, have you had any experiences involving autos and auto-drivers? Please do share your stories in the comments box below. I would love to hear them!

Interview Adventures: Job-hunting mishaps at AIESEC

I was on a lookout for a job or internship where I could use my time fruitfully and take back something from it. If money was involved, it would be an added advantage because then, I wouldn’t need to be dependent on my parents’ money.
But, I didn’t mind volunteer work too, because at least then, I would have done a small part at the least to make the world a better place.
So, at around 12:30 pm today, I turned up for the local AIESEC recruitment interview.
For those who don’t know what AIESEC is, it is a student-run organisation, which supposedly has this big plans and volunteers and ya da. I was told that it was a really good thing and will give me a good exposure and so on.
I had to get an application form for ₹300 ($5) and submit it with a résumé. Then, they told me that they’ll call me for a group discussion ‘soon’.

After almost 3 hours, they called me in for a group discussion. I felt that the group discussion went really good. I was not aggressive (unlike a certain member in the group, who’s sole aim was to tear at other’s throats.) nor was I way too passive. I listened to others, put out my opinions and supported like-minded people.
Once the group discussion was over, they told us that all of us were selected and that they would call us all for a personal interview soon.
I waited there in the blazing Sun (no shade or chairs or even water bottles were provided!) till about 4:15pm and they still told me to wait and they’ll let me know my time slot for the personal interview ‘soon’.
Someone told me that I could go for the interview at 5:30. Another person told me at around 5. Then they told me that they’ve to give priority to SRM and VIT people ’cause they have a hostel curfew and they’ve to travel far because their colleges were far. So, they told me that I’ll be called by 6:30 or 7. So, I went home. Home was only about a kilometre away. So, I walked back home.
Then, I turned up again at 6:30.
Then those incompetent imbeciles out there told me that they’re sorry, but I was selected only as an associate member and that I wouldn’t need to give anymore interviews. An associate member is pretty much a member on probation. They’ll make you do small jobs for about 3 months. Something small, in the grassroots level. And then, if the higher ups in the organisation, who are also college students, think you are good enough, they might, huge emphasis on the might, upgrade you to a full member.
Or else, you’ll be stuck as an associate member throughout your AIESEC days.
I don’t mean to brag, but out of the entire group in the group discussion, I was the only one who spoke good English without an accent, or perhaps a slight British-Arabic accent, not the grating thick Indian accent. Also, no one apart from me, in the group won any international level writing contests or worked as an editor for their department journal right in their first year. Yet, everyone else was called for an interview and I wasn’t.
But then again, I was the only outsider in the group. The weird NRI (Non-resident Indian) kid, who just turned up in India and should evidently have no idea what India is all about.

But, what annoyed me the most is this. If those arrogant pricks out there thought that they are too good for me and and didn’t want me there, they should have told me at first itself and not make me wait for so long. That they didn’t. They made me feel worse than a worm squashed under their high and mighty boots. They made me wait at their footsteps like I was so jobless and didn’t have anything better to do. Even staying at home and reading a book is much better than having to walk nearly 1km to and fro, twice and wait in the hot Sun, where didn’t even have the courtesy to provide chairs.
This is beyond frustrating.
I don’t really understand why everything in India should be so frustrating and so complicated.
I miss the simplicity and the peacefulness of my expat days in Arabia.

Have you had any interesting and/or frustrating interview experiences? How did your first ever interview go? Do share your stories in the comments box below! I’d love to hear about it.

~SunSandStarsAndDreams

Curly Hair Conundrums

I have curly hair. So, there! I said it!
I have black, shoulder-length, curly hair, which is frizzy. And by frizzy, I mean that it is a mass of hair that puffs up way above my head, adding a few inches to my extremely short self.
It looks like a bird’s nest, only if the bird made its nest out of black stuff, instead of brown twigs. At its current length (about shoulder-length) the edges frizz out and makes my head look like a triangle, or as Princess Mia (from the Princess Diaries) would say, like a triangle road warning sign.
Each single hair is not curly, in itself. It has more of a half-curled, half-wavy texture, which makes me wonder whether I should call my hair wavy or curly. But, when it groups up, it is a mound of curls.
It tangles in seconds and I can barely brush my hair without the brush getting caught in them. Also, bangs are an absolute no-no!

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Since it tangles more when it is left open, my hair’s forever pulled back in a ponytail.

Many people, from the time I was back in the Middle East, used to exclaim things like, “Omg! How do you have such hair!” Or “Look how thick your hair is!” Point to be noted, it is NOT thick, the tangly, frizzy mess gives an illusion of thickness.

But, what bothered me was this. I was the only one I knew with hair like this. Apart from my mother, that is.
Every other person at school used to have this sleek, glowing straight/wavy hair and I was the only one with the tangled mess.
So, one fine day, in Year 11, during a routine haircut, I had a bright idea. I asked the salon guy to straighten it. Permanently. I thought it was going to be brilliant.
My mane would be less of a mane, and more of beautiful hair.

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But, that was only till I got home. My mum was furious, because I had gone and ‘ruined’ my ‘beautiful’ hair. My poor dad, nearly had a heart attack, on seeing the sleeky straight haired stranger.
In fact, when I woke up the next day and had a good look at the mirror, I was shocked. I looked different, maybe even pretty.
My parents got over it, but my friends didn’t. They kept saying things like, now your hair looks limp! In fact, the bushy hair suited you.
Then, I was confused. I slowly started getting bored of the stick-straight hair. Especially when it grew longer and the roots turned curly and my bangs grew out curly.
I started missing my frizzy mass of hair.
On another impulse, I went and got it closely cropped. That felt like the best thing in the world.
Now, it has grown out again, to about shoulder-length.

In my college, filled with pretty airheads, I’m again the only one with curly hair.
I’ve endured comments about how much better I’d look if I just get it straightened or at least smoothen it, so that only sleek curls remain.
But, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
I know it is a pain. I know that I can’t get my hair to behave. It is not possible for me to try out all those pretty hairstyles not have bangs. Not those long bangs anyway.

But, I’ve learned to live with it.
No! That’s not right. I missed it when it wasn’t there.
I learned to love my hair.
I love its massiveness, where I believe that I could actually hide a book if I want to!
I love how it behaves like it has a mind of its own.
I love how it doesn’t care about what others think of it.
I love how strong it is.
I love my hair for what it is.

Have you had any hair-related experiences? Or have curly hair? I’d love to hear about it! Do share your stories in the comments box below!

~SunSandStarsAndDreams

2015. A new journal to be filled.

Happy New Year, my lovelies! 🙂

It is 2015, already.
My New Year’s Eve celebration did not involve anything other than lighting up a cinnamon candle, and reading The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri (pretty good, so far) and going to sleep by 11. Although, I did wake up at 12, when the fireworks went off.
Yep. I’m a early sleeper. (Is there even a word like that?) And a late riser too. I know, kind of lazy.

Anyway, a year has gone by, faster than lightning. It wasn’t a very pleasant year for me. It was full of depressing moments and bad memories. Although, few and far between, there were some good memories too.
As it does not do to dwell on the past, I’m planning to focus on the year ahead.

I am not a fan of New Year Resolutions, mainly because I always end up breaking them.
But, I have decided to make a bucket list (guidelines) for 2015, which can also be accomplished in 2016, if I don’t do it this year 😉
So, here goes.

1. Be Happier – What has to happen will happen, and always for a reason. Be contented with what you have. And if you can’t change the problem, change your outlook on it. (Yes, the end result of constant drilling in Indian philosophy.)

2. DO. NOT. PROCRASTINATE – Okay. At least try not to. (But, that doesn’t seem to work, seeing that I am procrastinating already. I am supposed to be working on a project for college, not blog)

Borrowed from Sabrina of Books And Bark, who by the way, is pretty awesome and you'll need to check her blog out asap.
Borrowed from Sabrina of Books And Bark, who by the way, is pretty awesome and you’ll need to check her blog out asap.

3. Read more books than I did in 2014 – Goodreads informs me that I read 45 books in 2014. In this year, I would like to read more. Not just light-reads, but strong classics too.

4. Stay focused.

5. Lastly, blog more. – Blogging gives me this amazing feeling, and all of you there are awesome! But, unfortunately, I did not blog as much as I wanted to in 2014, due to some major life-changing events that happened. (As I had mentioned in my earlier posts.) This year, I hope to write more regularly than I did last year.

So, no more pointless blabber for now, folks!

See you all soon!
~SunSandStarsAndDreams

How did you all celebrate New Year’s Eve/Day in your place? Did you make any resolutions/bucket lists? I would love to hear about them, please share in the comments box below. 🙂

The pains of moving

Before you all get any ideas, I’m not moving my blog anywhere! I love this current blog of mine and I hope to keep it for as long as I can.
So, what I’m talking about here, is moving to a new place. Or shifting.
That, in itself is a big, boring, dry and panicky task.

After I graduated from high school, last April, my mother and I decided to move back to India for my undergrad.
So, we began the first chore of moving; packing. Towards the first of May. Then came an unexpected vacation to Dubai.
And after that, it was one hurried, frantic packing, stuffing things into god-knows-where, filling up nearly 70 cardboard boxes in the process, so that they could be shipped a week before we left the place.
Then, we flew over. To a new place, a new life.
And yet, our container was shipped only three weeks later.
After yet another three weeks, we came to know that the container had reached the port in India.
But, then again, we weren’t destined to get it.
All the containers containing household articles were supposed to be left in the port, till the owner of the goods comes and signs a release paper.
But, industrial goods are taken to a shipyard.
And as luck could have it, our container with household articles was taken away to the shipyard, due to some neglect of the authorities.
Somehow, finally, after yet another three weeks, we got to get our container out.
The night when we got it home, it started raining heavily. During the middle of the summer. That rain soaked up nearly all of our things. Which contained around 8 boxes of books.
Then came the drama of shifting the furniture, including beds, couches and a glass-top dining table, from our house in the outskirts to the one in the city.
And once again, nature played spoilsport, soaking the mattresses, and the couches.
If I did think that the travails of the day were over, the workers lost their grip over the glass of the huge dining table and it cracked into a million pieces. So, currently, we are stuck with an amazing net table, which isn’t a table for all practical purposes.
We tried to claim compensation from the packers and movers, but, in true Indian fashion, they are playing the “we have no connection with this” game.

All I can say is that I sorely, fervently hope that all these misfortunes of moving are done with. For the time being.
At least I got proper wifi now, so please excuse me which I go and watch cat/dog videos on YouTube in a sincere attempt to cheer me up from all the misfortunes.

True dreams, passion, do they exist in India?

IndiSpire EDITION #22
Born in India? Are you an Engineer or a doctor? True dreams, passion, do they exist? Are they being chased by this generation?

I remember the day I told my parents that I did not want to be either an engineer or a doctor. The resounding chaos and the shouting match that followed made it seem like I had committed a heinous crime and was sentenced to death.
All of this coming from a supposedly well-educated family.
I wanted to go for law. But, somehow, my parents were against that as well. Their argument being that I had taken science at school and so I had to be either an engineer or a doctor.
Finally, I managed to mellow them down and they agreed. But, getting into the prestigious NLUs weren’t fated for me. I missed my flight and couldn’t write the entrance.
Then again, they latched back in to the idea of me going for engineering.
I refused and finally managed to get into quite a good college for a bachelor’s in business.
Although there are still instances when my mum resents my choice of a major, it has quietened down a lot.
I got to choose my major by being firm and stubborn. Even if it was my second choice. Plus there is the fact that I can always opt for a three year law degree after my bachelor’s in business.
A lot of my friends did not even have the freedom for that.
There was this extremely talented classmate of mine who had wanted to go for fashion designing but is now stuck doing something like Electronics Engineering.
That is the reality of India. Or rather Indians.
It seems like everyone in India does what they actually wanted to do, only after getting an engineering degree. And after realising that the engineering field is not exactly a bed of roses or everyone’s cup if tea.

But, the good part is that at least a chunk of the young adults out there do go on to chase their dreams and pursue their passion, even if it is after studying engineering for four years only for the parent-pleasing aspect.
And also to avoid the drama about how you wasted your life and treaded the dark path only ’cause you didn’t go for either medicine or engineering. (Drama courtesy: Desi Aunties mainly)
It gets worse when you are a South Indian with extreme intellectuals in your family. So-and-so’s daughter is doing her doctorate in cardio-vascular shiz at Oxford. Why can’t you? Or some obscure Mani Uncle’s son (whom I have never met or even knew that they existed) is doing MS in Harvard. So, why can’t you?

Why can’t I? It is not that I am a simpleton. Or an yiddiiot.
It is just that I am not interested. I love something else. And I am interested in it. I’ll put my heart and soul into it. It’ll be with me day in and day out. I’ll breathe it, I’ll live it. It is my dream, my life, my ambition. And I’ll try to achieve it. Even if it is the last thing that I do.
But, unfortunately, it may not be valued by Indians ’cause it is not either engineering or medicine.

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