Thursday, December 4, 2008

Distress, apprehension and other mishaps

I have been wanting to do this for quite sometime, but never got around to sitting where I am sitting now because I know that my life for the next 2 years (hopefully, one and a half) will revolve around this very seat(in front of my computer, if you haven't got it already). How could I not mention my two(seems like ten) year old computer and a perpetually down they-say-it-is-100Mbps connection which will be replaced by a shiny new laptop(Yes, I am an engineer. But shiny is the only word I have). So, I have finally dragged myself out of dunes of wistful thinking(Or have I? I still have a month to go!) to face reality.

I am leaving for the United States on January 8th for a Master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an intention to specialize in the field of Biomedical Signal Processing. At this point, I harbor a hope of returning to India for a short vacation next summer, essentially to spend time with family which includes my 8 month old pup, Tucker, who I am awfully attached to(and the reverse holds good too). Tucker's doctor says that young dogs will not miss their loved ones much- a piece of information I am certain I am happy about. The vet also said that Tucker might soon forget me- this is not what I hoped he would say. I have resolved to talk to him everyday via speakerphone!

Most engineers intending to pursue a Master's degree abroad leave in the month of August for the Fall semester. I, however, am lagging by 6 months. Well, lagging is really not the right word(And I do not know a well suited word; my vocab is poor) because these six months have been pretty much the best time- reading for hours and hours, spending the best time with family, seeing Tuck grow from a cute little fur doll to a handsome young man(sorry, dog), and oh, I almost forgot the few(actually, many) hours spent at the Indian Institute of Science(IISc) as a project assistant.

Leaving India is by far the hardest thing I have had to do(apart from understanding network analysis)- I will miss getting pampered, yes. It is distressing to even think of coming back home and not having my mother to listen to my incessant rambling. Also, there is the good South Indian anna-tomato saaru that I will terribly miss. The bitter truth that I eat a lot compliments my unworthy culinary skills. I am relying heavily upon the Indian stores in Madison to have a good supply of MTR ready-to-eat Indian food. And there is the infamous Madison winter to worry about. For a person who wears sweaters in Chennai winters and uses velvet razais in Bangalore summers, Madison should be quite a bagful to deal with! Besides that, I have heard that a grad student's life is similar, in many ways, to a pauper's; a life of privation. My paltry monthly allowance will make the frequent chocolate and icecream treats rather sporadic. The very thought fills me with dread.

There is, of course, something rather enticing about independence. I look forward to, with a great deal of anticipation and excitement, the idea of living alone for the first time, and studying seriously for the first time. The prospect of choosing subjects is indeed rewarding, after painfully wasting inestimable energy on, and barely passing, a course like EEM(if you don't know what it is, consider yourself blessed). Of course, there is the lovely snowfall and the pleasant Madison summer that people talk about. I am sure there are other things as well, and you will certainly see those updates on the blog. And I promise to whine a little less(if you thought this was whiny, that is. But hey, I am leaving in a month and I am allowed a little bit of fussing!)


jbhushan said...

Nice one.. Its one of the best ones i have read all week :)
But u forgot to mention us :( :(

Manish said...

Your Tuck'a will be the happiest around! without his mistress pinching his neck and pulling his ears! :P
But on a more serious note, the very thought of two years of solitary confinement to an 8x8 would run a high voltage line through my head.. And leave me sleepless for another week! And ah!!! Mom-made food.. Its making me hungry! :D

Ashwini said...

His name is Tucker. Not Tuck' more attention to my spellings, disciple :)

Pooja Adiga said...

neat!! :)
Dummi no mention of me or jan.. so quick outta your mind huh?
i want the next one dedicated only to the two of us..

And stop exaggerating on your life of poverty :)
miss HM


Arvind said...

nice piece of fiction!! I say fiction since you found it necessary to mention that your vocab is poor!!

Raghu Sethuram said...

nice once ash..... the infamous madison winter will be fun.. don worry.... its cool to wear 2-3 kilos of warm clothing on you and venture out to face that bone-chilling wind...
and as jan and pooja said there is no mention of us :(

Amar said...

Hey nice :) ..Best one I ve read in a while .. Hardly surprised :) .. And no mention of me as well .. hmmmmm :P

Ashwini said...


Thank you. I was telling jan that the next one will be about just the three of us even before you mentioned :) And HM?? Please.. Interesting that you call ME that, with all your perfume stories :)


Thank you. I find it necessary to always mention the truth unlike some other people :)


2-3 kgs of clothing? You know that I find it hard to drag myself from my room to the kitchen and you think its cool to drag yourself out with 2-3kgs of clothing??


Thank u :)