Captain’s Log 010120 – Eight hundred pictures later.

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Thanks to most of my important, formative years carelessly spent at the movies and watching sitcoms, the island of Manhattan was an extremely familiar sight even though I’ve stayed eight thousand miles away from it until a few months ago. It’s what all the fairy tales tell you meeting your soulmate is supposed to feel like – a brand new person you know you’ve never met yet certain sights and avenues feel so familiar as if they’ve been home all along. I’ve watched Spider-man swing through the skyscrapers, Ted Mosby obsess about its skyline, King Kong obliterate Broadway and scale the Empire State in a few leaps and a disorientated Steve Rogers stumble through Times Square as Fury and his minions swarm around him. This was my state of mind as we planned for a trip to New York City for new year’s eve of 2020. What more could it offer, right?

Three freezing days, aching feet and eight hundred pictures later, I can now tell you all the ways in which I was wonderfully wrong.

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1117 Poetry#20 – Resolve

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Would it not be great if we could clip our flaws like hair or nail,
and they’d grow back clean for us to be better again?
And if that were the case do you ever wonder,
when all’s cut and done, what would even remain?
So I made a list of all that to remove, bone from sinew.
To care about a cause that holds no personal reward,
refrain from hearsay and back-fence talk.
To seed integrity and grow a garden of faith,
won’t undo history but there’s at least hope for green ahead.
A caveman in routine – rise, work and fall with the sun,
A sage in impulse – think with the head. No, not that one.
After all, pleasure is reserved for the deserving,
what have you ever done?
To devour words and craft a hundred delicacies,
unearth new tunes and maybe even newer people.
To rein in thoughts yet leave dreams uncaged.
Revel in solitude but please keep the drawbridge down –
for the goal is to be happy alone, not unknown.
To free these hands of phones,
and make space for another to hold.
If all else fails, to just be a little better.
Hopefully this time next year, this list is much shorter.

Welcome to Rochester

Captain’s Log 0618-0619 – A year of sitting on my ass and the lessons that came with.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a night off with no impending deadlines. Technically I could be grading, freeing up the upcoming weekend or preparing for the presentation that I’m to give in about 20 days but then it’s 20 days away or I could be reading any of the 13 books I brought with me all the way from India spending precious baggage weight rather than a couple extra T-shirts or sweatpants, which I constantly find myself short of. But still, no “panic-inducing-watching Netflix while insanely guilty” type deadlines looming over my head. Just a cold, quiet, empty November night and honestly, it feels weird. Have you ever been to a public swimming pool at noon during summer and there’s children shrieking everywhere and water splashing and you hold your breath and go underwater and everything quiets away in an instant? But then you’re underwater. I mean, there isn’t much to do underwater rather than perhaps appreciate the weightlessness and try not to think about the fact that it’ll end very soon as you’re mandated to return to the chaos to stay alive. It’s that kind of weird. (more…)

En route USA #05 – Visa.

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So here’s what we should have so far – an admit, the I-20 form and hopefully a passport that doesn’t expire until after your course duration.

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En route USA #04 – Finances.

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Click here for Part 3 - Essays.

Assuming you’re done applying by say, December 31st, you have about 2 to 3 months to wait before the admission decisions start rolling in. While some do get a response as early as end of January or mid-February, the general consensus is around the beginning of March all the way till May or sometimes even June. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that colleges with earlier deadlines will respond faster. What goes behind the screens inside the admission committees is a mystery we’ll never unearth. I did find universities in UK responding much faster though. Most of them had deadlines open till late March or even rolling deadlines that never closed. Glasgow replied to my application literally the next morning. Bath, Leeds and Queen Mary took less than 3 weeks, as stated in their website. Imperial stated a wait of maximum 4 weeks but responded in the 6th week only. Still, all of them were mighty faster compared to US.

My point is, you got time to kill now. And this is usually when the mind starts to ruminate about what you’ve been doing the last few months and the reality of what’s to come. A big bummer in that reality is money, how much you’ve spent and how much you’re yet to spend and will it all be worth it and will you ever make it back. Here’s how much I spent.

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En route USA #03 – Essays.

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Click here for Part 2 - Exams.

One of the really cool things about applying abroad is that you get to make your case. As far as I know it’s all about numbers in India. You have a defined entrance exam and a set cut-off you clear. Reservation quotas might come into play then. Sometimes there’s an interview and even then it’s too technical. Nobody asks you about your story or what purpose you think you will serve by getting this degree. Foreign universities make space for this in the form of personal and academic statements, usually put together as one – the statement of purpose.

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En route USA #02 – Exams.

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Click here for Part 1 - Choices.

Once you’re set on colleges, take a look at their deadlines and start registering for the mandated exams. The General GRE is pretty much a standard for all STEM courses. Business and management courses will need GMAT. Specialized courses like pure sciences, literature and mathematics might need a subject GRE but few universities have begun phasing them out recently. Except very few cases, which differ with each college, you will almost certainly need to take a language test, either TOEFL or IELTS. Go figure.

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En route USA #01 – Choices.

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             So last week my visa finally came in and in another five weeks, I am out of the country for a minimum of two years. This time last year, I was clueless. I was taking online courses on computational fluid dynamics in hopes of landing a job as an aerospace engineer. Now I’m a month away from starting my master’s degree in physics. What happened? Either the best or the stupidest decision of my life, that’s what happened. (more…)

2131 Poetry#19 – Who’s happy ?

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Attempts at poetry, Commentary, Rants

Who’s happy?
The optimist is overfed on disappointment,
no outcome’s ever up to the mark of his imagination.
The pessimist walks away with his coin still in the air,
the odds are fifty-fifty, but who’s got time to care?
The realist is drenched in sweat for he knows he can never really know,
until the result is out but by then what’s the point anymore.

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1312 Poetry#18 – The Last one.

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Cover image

Nerdgasm 0003 – The How Works.

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It’s been 2 weeks since Endgame was out and it’s currently the number two at the global office just $300 million away from the reigning champ, Avatar. I myself have watched it about 5 times.

meme

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endgame cover

Avengers Endgame : A thank you note.

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Avengers Endgame was, beyond being a movie of spectacular scale, a love letter from Marvel to all its fans and a glorious homage to its history. This post shall be my love letter to Avengers Endgame. (more…)

Nerdgasm 0002 – Endgame Expectations.

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So the past few posts must have implied how obvious of a fan I am. While I did, unfortunately, end up glancing at few spoilers in parts, I have taken a hiatus from the social media world until I watch Endgame tomorrow when it finally releases in India. I’ve even not viewed most of the trailers or TV spots, barring the first couple or so. Fans have been theorizing what could happen in Endgame since Infinity war a year ago. I couldn’t possibly come up with a new theory that hasn’t been said or debunked already. So what I am going to do is make a list of all my “dream” scenes that I would absolutely love to watch on the big screen tomorrow. Now bear in mind that I have not viewed any of the leaked scenes or spoilers, so things I’m writing about here may have already been rendered impossible or have actually happened and even shown in the promo materials. Maybe I’ll catch up with everything after watching Endgame tomorrow night and figure out for myself on how far away or how close to reality I really was. (more…)

MCU Rewatch : Phase 3

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After phase one and phase two, I am very interested in how exactly Marvel is planning to bring the story to a close in Endgame because, in the current state of the MCU, it is practically impossible to have a truly standalone movie without the other heroes butting in.  Movies like Civil War and Homecoming fully embraced it,  CW became pretty much an Avengers 2.5 while every aspect of Homecoming from the villain’s origin to the hero’s journey directly stems from events in the MCU’s past. Then there are movies like Dr.Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel which found workarounds like time lags or secret kingdoms to justify being standalone, origin stories. It almost feels like the MCU’s bubble is close to its bursting point and Endgame absolutely must end some of the existing arcs and sort of “reset” the MCU so that future characters have enough space to grow on their own terms. (more…)

MCU Rewatch : Phase 2

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Kevin Feige said that all the phase one movies happened over the course of a few weeks and eventually led to the Avengers and that was perfect because it allowed the movies to completely stand on their own without neckbeards raising questions like “Where was that hero when this hero was in trouble?” and so on. Phase one puts that freedom to excellent use and only hints at the greater universe in short nods and background detail. Each movie is very different and very much standalone. Phase 2 continues that but then the lines are definitely starting to get blurred. (more…)