Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cooking in grad life....!

When you are a grad student and you don't know how to cook well you are fucked up. You must have to be a good cook along with being good in probability and graph theory to be successful in your graduate life! Span of graduate life is lower bounded by five years. You can't spend all of these years just on maggie and granola bars. It becomes even harder if you had not ever been to kitchen before your graduate life. Believe me, I never loved cooking...I always loved to deal with cooked food, i.e. to eat. I never cooked anything except bread with butter and egg boils. When I was supposed to land in USA, I thought I would do research for 20 hours a day and food would be tertiary to my life. I thought I would I would be able to live on  boiled rice and daal for my PhD life. I realized pretty soon, the reality is very different from what I thought. I soon realized that good food is very important for me given that I am single and too lazy to get a driver's license. So I can't visit some random places to eat good food, however most of the good restaurents are pretty costly and only handful of them are good. So whenever I and my roommates wanted to get some respite from studies, we have eaten and got drunk and played 29 (which has become impossible now as I have only two roommates and I don't know any version of 29 with three people)...! I tried most of the food places around college park (the places which are walkable from A V Willams building). I gradually realized nothing is comparable to what I used to eat at my home. I started missing the road sides foods from Calcutta, Biriyani from Arsanal....sweets from kamdhenu and Swapan's Phuchka (Panipuri) and last but definitely not the least : my mom's cooked food.

I tried learning cooking.......As a result of this my roommates were the initial victims of my learning process. I always thought cooking is a random combination of one or two vegetables along with 3-4 spices chosen randomly with their quantity being also highly randomized. As a result of this with very high probability I used to cook food with arbitrary taste.....Initially I used to like my cooked food. But the main reason was my roommates used to cook good food so I was fine with the variety of my food...I never realized how bad I cook. Now days passed. Gradually I learned something, which is better than what I used to cook but still nowhere close what we can call good food. The major problem is that it is not impossible to cook good food once in six months but definitely not every week.

I do not have a solution. I think the problem is well posed. I could try to be more patient and not being lazy and try learning properly OR marry someone who knows cooking (believe me, that's not my intention) OR live in this state....I know the third option is most likely. If anyone has a good suggestion, please let me know. I would give you a big treat...!!! (Don't worry I will not cook , will get some pizza for you)......

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life of a Grad Student...!!!

I am not going to tell you guys the normal story of a graduate student. It is entirely my story or the story of a handful like me. However I think it's interesting.

The thing you are supposed to do is research in grad life and probably that implies you are supposed to do nothing else. It is not like I am doing research 24 hours and I don't have time. It is like I don't have anything else to do in my leisure time. I agree 29 and beer can lift your mood up for a while but it is certainly not the thing you look forward. I think you need something more...probably a friend...a girl friend...?? When you step up to the 24th year of your life (whatever your parents say), girl friend is not a luxury, rather necessity and you should have one. You know why you feel so bad if you don't have one? You would always see other grad students are talking about their wives or children.and you don't get to participate. Some also talk about their girlfriends/boyfriends and you are supposed to go to a party with your significant other half(what does that mean???). Let me tell you a story. When I started my graduate life in 2009, there was a Korean guy in my department, who was wandering why he does not have a girlfriend etc. I tried to console him and wished him best of luck. Last month I met him in the department with his wife and she was pregnant..!!!.. It made me happy. I think there's still hope. However you feel different (and try to be indifferent) when your fellow college mates start to think about marrying within next year. 

They only way I can be in peace is by looking at some emails exchanged between me and XXX, some months ago and I realize having a girlfriend is pain. And some time I feel the other way around. Sometimes I try to analyze why I don't have enough female friends...reduced sample size...(higher study...!!!). All these analysis everyday ends in me feeling sleepy and going to bed...!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Student politics, violence and beyond education....!

An American Political Science junior asked me today "Why did you come to US for graduate studies? What is different here?" .......Good question indeed...!!!

I thought but could not give him a good answer I think. I do not really know about other cities in India but I know about Bengal...I know why it is struggling....why most brilliant minds move to other parts of India and abroad..But 45 minutes of train journey was too short for me to explain the truth...!

Any Indian would probably know one student was killed in student violence in a college near Kolkata last week. Another lost his eyes...There was a student strike today from a political party against all this...There will be another one shortly, I believe  from the opposition within next couple of weeks...This will continue and no one knows when it will end... I do not know why is it like that.....Politics is good, but as long as it does not compromise with education.......We know Presidency College was one of the very best colleges in India...but it lost its reputation and fame mainly due political interference. Shibpur BE college is warned every year that it's national status will be discontinued if it does not stop its campus violence...and even this institute lost its spark , which it had during 70's or 80's. I do see the same future for Jadavpur University in next 10 years. Who will suffer? Not me and not you and not even the guys who are responsible for all this but our generation next.

Most people of our generation would be aware of 70's political violence and naxalite movement, that was also not acceptable but only good thing was bunch of highly educated guys fought for some ideas( read today something about this in Anandabazar). But today violence and dirty politics in colleges is introduced by "political criminals" who are no way involved with a University or a college. It is a sad thing.Most of the students in Bengal try to find a way out from Bengal and do not want to go back. Some of them don't find a party culture over there , I totally ignore them, but others think lack of opportunity is the main reason and I agree with them. We do not have work culture , the same person who spends 16 hours a day in "gachtola" in JU, without doing any work can very seriously work for 18 hours a day any place outside Bengal. Why do we waste our energy? Why do we get happiness in semester Boycotts? Are we too emotional ....we get too involved with silly things...or we think politics is in our blood and we have to show our blood as much as we can? I do not know the answer......I am pretty sure not many people know. We know this is not the way..We are moving towards self destruction...we also know what should be the ideal situation...we only do not know how to transit from this present state to the ideal state...

I hope I will have a better answer next time when someone asks , may be in a negative sense or positive.......

I would only request my fellow juniors to get less involved in college politics now and concentrate on your studies. I do not encourage anyone to join college politics in Bengal given present scenario. Undergrad four years are golden time. Do not waste them....!!!..We all love to fight for making something perfect and we should try to think how we can do that...But we have to change the procedure...We know present system is not going to work...we have to modify them.....otherwise not a very good time ahead...!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

India and it's 64th Independence Day

[Thanks to friends who started following and commenting on my blogs. I wish they continue even after I continue posting more arbit stuff]

Last Sunday India celebrated it's 64th Independence Day. I couldn't feel the pulse being far from India. But even in US, Indians celebrate that day with great enthusiasm and spirit. 

Independence is the best boon India ever had, but I personally would love to spend some time before independence...may be time machine or something like that. That will give me a better realization of what Independence is. I have been looking for a proper and comprehensible definition of  "independence" in Indian context and  I read some editorial from Anandabazar and that was very interesting. Since I am independent I can hear music and I can select the song,frequency and intensity as long as it does not disturb others. It explains everything....!We can do whatever we like as long it does not hamper others' right of living their own life.

In my University the Indian organization organized a small cultural program( and-celebration-1.1536399). But let me now come to the point why I am writing a post on Indian Independence living all other interesting stuff happening across the world(like CWG and Maoists in India). Because I hoisted the flag that day. I was randomly selected from the crowd to do the job. It's a great feeling to hoist a flag abroad. It gives me a sense of patriotism and truly speaking I could introduce myself to the beautiful girls in Maryland. After that I was interviewed by a beautiful non-Indian lady(I should mention, initially I thought she was coming for an autograph). 

The only point which I would like to make that sometimes Indians try to be western but end up adopting the worse features of the Western Society. It is true even in my case. I live the weekdays like Indians(when I do some work and some rest and Americans work for the whole day) and weekends like Americans(Where I don't do any work but I am supposed to given my weekdays schedule). As soon as we will not be doing these kind of things, we could proceed way ahead. We have got the talent, we have to channelize properly.

Whatever, I see a better future for India, I might be optimistic....but let's see......!!!!!


Writing a blog for the first time in my life...!..In fact writing something non-technical,that too in English almost after more than 5 years....!So I do not expect this to be a fluent and grammatical error-free stuff.....If anybody cares I am sorry..............................!

I read some blogs regularly......One is great bong,which I think most bong people and many Indians read...I know there are many other good blogs ,but being an extremely uncultured and distant literature person,I don't read anything else. But I definitely read some of my friends'.  They are crazy I know, their blogs are even crazier...but I love them.....they write random stuff....I love anything which is random....

I think I have told enough of what I read....I am a Ph.D. student, that's why I should read a lot...anything ..random or deterministic ..technical or non-technical....But I do not love to read. Some professor in JU told me that if you read a lot you will be a teacher....But to be a should think more than you read...Lot of reading make you biased and hinders your natural thought process.....I partially agree with that.......

BTW, I know cooking : which I think everyone in the earth should know. This is the toughest thing in life. Even harder is to cook for some others....I would really like to thank my room-mates who have fed me good food for the last one year and agreed to eat what I prepare with little grudge.I will post some interesting stories about our cooking in some future posts......After I started cooking, my respect towards my mother,grandmom and aunties increased by some 1000 times....I wish I could recruit a cook in my apartment for like 100 bucks or so....

I love to play cricket , although I dont play well...I love soccer more...and I used to be a good golie or defender in my school or college days. I should mention its surprising that as I grew older the people around me became worse in playing a sport....I dont know if I should generalize some linear relationship between higher educational degree and capability of playing a sport....

Ufff....I have written enough....I should stop now...Bye...!