A Week in Masters

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Tuesday feels like Thursday’s here
Thursday feels like weekend’s near
Sunday feels like it should be Friday night
And Monday feels like a hell of a ride!!!

Repeat.

I’d like to say that my blog has shifted to http://www.nitinkhanna.com

Also, can someone make a tune to go along with this? Post your videos in the comments please 🙂

A month-old Adult

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I complete, today, one full month in the US.

This day, one month ago, I got on a plane and left India. I have done that before, but this time it seems that the time gap when I will be getting back will be a lot longer. There’s no sense of regret and sadness for me today. It is not that I am indifferent. It’s just that I know that here, I am building a future of which I will be sure and in control of.

So, here I am, a one month-old adult in the US, working for myself and I present a few lines from a paper I am writing about Leadership qualities to be submitted tomorrow…

No one is born a Leader. This is the premise in which I have believed all my life. We all have certain qualities which if nurtured properly, can make each individual a Leader but no one can stand up on their own and become a Leader.

Some random thought – Whenever I sit in a park or anywhere close to nature, I immediately start examining the stones around me. It’s a habit I have kept from childhood and as a result I have collected stones from the deserts of Rajasthan to the shores of South Africa, from the beaches of Mangalore to one which came out of my Father, taken out by a mystical healer woman somewhere in the Himalayas. Today, as I sat waiting for a bus, I once again started looking at the stones around me. However, today I did not collect any stones. I realized today that they are always the same type of stones. All my life, from all the various places that I have collected stones in torn and over-loaded jeans pockets, I have always seen the same stones. I am not a gemologist, but today I am bored from those valueless stones. I want new stones. Or perhaps that’s what is wrong with my outlook. I will probably not collect stones from now on. I will no longer look down at the earth to pass time. I want to look up, I want to grow. I want to collect the clouds now.

The Great American Cheeseburger.

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So here I was, standing with some friends at a McDonald’s in Boulder, Colorado and we’re excited at knowing that there’s a whole menu for just about a dollar for us poor Indian students 🙂
We stalk the lady at the counter asking her about the various options we had and we settled on the Cheeseburger as it seemed the most vegetarian and superbly cheap! We then asked her about the ingredients of the cheeseburger to confirm our suspicion that we had found a veg burger in the heart of one of America’s greatest junk food joints! She told us that the Cheeseburger has cucumber, pickles, onion and cheese.
Cheese.
Cheese.
Our ears were ringing and our blood pressure shot through the roof thinking about cheese. We quickly ordered three cheeseburgers and a large coke(another dollar~fixed price for any size) and received our order, filled up our coke, picked up some ketchup and sat down.

The first thing I noticed when we sat down was that the cover of the burger said something odd. It said “100% Pure Beef”.

As I looked at the packed burger and then at the happy faces of my friends, I felt a bit of guilt but I pushed it away and waited with bated breath. They opened the packages and dug their first bites into the burger. They looked at me and I looked at them. I was perplexed at their reaction, either they were supposed to react crazily to the taste of beef or smile at me and tell me that it’s really tasty. But they looked perplexed and were probably wondering why I was not biting into my cheeseburger! I slowly asked them how the burger felt. They responded in the affirmative. I noticed that there was a tikki(cutlet) in the burger. From past experiences in South Africa, I knew that in meat-eating countries, a tikki in a burger is bad news for vegetarians.

So, I got up and went to the lady at the counter and asked her a simple question- Does this burger have beef in it?

She slowly, sweetly, responded- Yes.

Ugh.

I was holding cow’s meat in my hands. I went back to my friends who had dropped their delicious burgers due to my suspicions and told them that there was beef in the burger.

They looked at me wide-eyed. Religion was in question here! They had just bitten into beef! A few remarkable reactions later, we were still confused about what to do. Then, a kind lady sitting next to us asked us what our problem was and told us to be firm and ask for the Manager and ask for a replacement.

We went to the counter, asked for the Manager, explained what our religion states and got the burgers replaced.

My appetite was dead by now and I just ordered a coke(another dollar down the drain) and finished it in peace.

For this strange reason, it wasn’t a typical ending to a day. After all, we had just experienced what the Real American Cheeseburger is all about!

Happy Independence Day with a twist

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Ok, it’s our Independence day. It’s the day when India gained the freedom to make it’s own mistakes, to quote what Gandhiji had said once…

But I was not celebrating independence today. Woke up at 11 AM(11:30 PM in India, half an hour to the Midnight of that dawned…) and realized that the software companies in India had finished celebrating our Independence on the 14th as it was a working day. Then I got dressed and with a few friends, went out to Wal-Mart, apparently the most famous and amazingly cheap store of the US. The concept of Wal-Mart is inspiring but it’s fodder for another blog post, so, later…

The Bill was about $78 for three people(reason- we had a girl in our midst!).

While returning, we boarded a bus from outside Wal-Mart and told the driver to take us to the closest Bus Station. When we had settled, the driver started the bus and without turning, softly said to us three Indians- Happy Independence Day.

I looked at the driver. He was an American. He was educated. He was an educated enough American to know that three Indians had boarded his bus. He did not assume that we were Pakistanis. He knew for sure that we were Indians. I know this as he said that Pakistan had gained independence a day before us and all he had noticed was that we were speaking in Hindi.

So here I was, sitting in the heart of the US of A with two Indian friends and getting wished by an American on a date which is of grave consequence for every Indian and which we had completely forgotten about. For a second, it was a haze. Was this true? Was this happening? Really? Wow.

I looked at my friends. They were as amazed as I was. This was weird beyond a great degree. I talked to the driver a bit more. He knew a bit about India but a lot more than one would expect him to know. He knew we had a bit of a tiff with the Chinese. He knew we had a nuclear bomb, though not the year when we got it. That was a piece of fact even I didn’t remember! He even had a stereotypical view about some clans in India. I was glad to clarify that India has never been a nation of Attackers but instead defenders. We only retaliated in case there was a threat against us. He was glad to have to talked to me. I was still in shock when our destination came.

I got down. The air was fresh, the wind was a light breeze and caressed my face with a loving touch. The sky was a deep blue color with the clouds playing with the setting sun. This was a foreign nation. Back in my country, people we getting up and wishing each other a Happy Independence Day. I looked at my friends and wished them a Happy Independence Day, with a twist.

It Rained

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Yes, it did. But not on our dreams and aspirations. Rather on us. It was beautiful rain. Soft, drizzly at first and slightly harsh later. Not something which would make me regret being out in the open but just perfect. Of course I’m getting ahead of myself. First of all…

Train! A Train! A Whole TRAIN!!! I still cannot believe that underneath the Denver International Airport, they have a whole damn train!!!! It goes from one end to the other, taking passengers from any terminal to the next and even to a completely separate Luggage Collection Area where people can just pick up their stuff and move out to catch transport. First time I’ve seen anything like this, a completely dedicated train service just for passengers travelling through the airport and I am amazed!!!

Next up, Boulder. If you take a cycle and start on one end of Boulder, you can cross its breadth in about an hour of slow sightseeing! Boulder may be a small town but it’s extremely scenic and it’s beauty reflects in the attitude of the people. It’s rush hour and there’s traffic on both sides of the road. A few cyclists have just come to one side and are waiting on the pavement for a break in the traffic so they can cross. Suddenly, traffic on both sides comes to a complete halt. The people in their expensive cars are waiting for the cyclists on University-rented bikes to cross. Awestruck, I peddle forward with two of my friends, the cycle groaning under me. It’s a good concept. The University loans out bicycles to Regular students of CU-Boulder for 2 days for free. The students have a means of transport and can easily appreciate the good nature of the people of Boulder and the city controls the urges of students to buy cars to commute from one end to another.

But, I save the best for the last. Boulder has pine cones and mulberry trees both in the gap of a few feet. I love pine cones but there’s nothing comparable to the Mulberry and its soft deliciousness lingers on my tongue for long.

Even before the journey started, I had envisioned writing about how I’ve found Riverdale, the place where Archie and his friends reside, in this peaceful College Town. I’m happy to say that I haven’t.

I’ve found Boulder.