Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm So Excited, And I Just Cant Hide It!

You know when you've been under some serious pressure? I mean, SERIOUS. As in my Thanksgiving break was not that great because I was too busy preparing six different projects that would all be due within the week we came back from the so-called "vacation." Besides the mountain of homework otherwise known as Mt. Kilimanjaro, I worked about 40 hours during break and my great grandfather who lived just north of Pittsburgh passed away. I mean, YIKES!

So back to what I was saying - you know when you've been under some serious pressure, and you've finally reached the top of your mountain with all of your work finished and you just want to rejoice just like how Rocky Balboa did when he got to the top of those stairs? - THATS ME RIGHT NOW.

I have read a 200 page book, and done a speech about it. I have done a movie review (for the same class). I have completed a journal for my Bi Sci class. I have completed an atlas of York County. Have done some serious math homework (three chapters worth, and I mean those chapters that are made up in decimals - 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 - all count as chapter 5). and I have now finished my speech for my CAS class which will be presented tomorrow.

Granted, I will need to type two papers before the semester is finished completely, but writing always seems to come easy for me. I just figured I would share my enthusiasm for finally reaching that end of "hell week" and now I can move on with my life rather than living at a computer or in the library.

Besides that - Lion Ambassadors had their retreat the weekend before Thanksgiving Break and it was more enjoyable for those of us who came!! Also I'm really looking forward to REAL Break in like two weeks. It'll be nice to just have some down time, and by that I mean living at work. HA. I'm also really looking forward to Spring semester since I'll be able to really get into my "major" based classes!

But until then, lets just keep enjoying these days of 2009!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The scars may have gone, but some wounds run too deep to be forgotten

For all the people living elsewhere in the world, it was a chilling reminder that there is no place that is safe from the clutches of terrorism..for those of us who call the city of Mumbai our home, it was the most horrifying vision of our lives. To see the very places that I had walked, talked and roamed about all my life, in the very train station that I passed by so many times, that very icon of my home- The Taj Mahal hotel and Oberoi Trident, the Nariman house..all of them falling to a handful of terrorists, burning these priceless pieces of the city's fabric into ashes, spilling blood on the pathways of democracy.. I could not help but feel frustratingly helpless sitting at my cousins place at Indianapolis. For the first time ever had I ever felt so strongly an Indian, a Mumbaikar.
My eyes and soul refusing to tear themselves off the images of explosions booming inside the heritage hotel, the lifeless bodies being dragged away as they left paths of blood on the floor of CST train terminus...
Days later, seemingly endless ones, the carnage was finally over...the NSG finally cleared all the hostage sites, killing the last of the terrorists at the Taj. It was a time where everybody now started asking the same set of questions...WHY? HOW? How was it possible for these few people to control the fates and thoughts of so many through their hateful and obviously fanatic deeds? What was the motive? In the name of religion? country? race, skin color? Perhaps the answer could be found in Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist to be captured alive..the one who was also captured on the CST train station CCTVs lifting his assault rifle firing at the innocent civilians. Perhaps in forensics analysing all the dead terrorists...but none more so than maybe looking at ourselves. Looking at the human within each of us, trying to see as to how an ordinary person like you and me could lose all our humanity in order to be able to kill an innocent person, as to how we could allow that to happen to ourselves, whether there is any good at all when we are born into this world.... Will I have to walk in fear everytime I now venture near the Taj, have a coffee at Cafe Leopold? Should I always have someone tell me that we should move on from incidents such as these, which supposedly only strengthen and display the 'spirit' of Mumbai?

Coming frm an extremely diverse campus, I find it extremely disgusting to even start to generalize the entire state of Pakistan as the one to blame over the attacks. I thought about this the most 2 days ago as me and Bethany sat down having a fabulous lunch of Butter naans, kebabs and Chicken Tikka Masala at a Pakistani restaurant in NYC. Was I betraying the Indian sentiment by doing this? or should I be rather thinking about how certain corrupt factions in both of these governments are lax towards their own attitudes on terrorism and on how the real cause of it is the huge ONE terrorist network hell bent on their psychotic jihad, existing not only in India, Pakistan and the South Asian countries, but in the entire world. History has proven that Pennsylvania is as prone to a hijacked plane falling out of the sky as is The Taj Hotel being burnt by terrorists. Maybe we should think beyond the countless candlelight memorials that were held in the immediate aftermath of the attacks....the ones with college kids displaying posters condeming politicians, shouting slogans that CHANGE HAS TO HAPPEN. Maybe now there has to be a consistent solution. We, the students of Penn State York did not hold that memorial last year to just mourn the loss of our countrymen and to condemn terrorism....and just get on with our lives the next day onwards...which is exactly what we ended up doing. I voiced my opinion on this that day, and I maintain this opinion today. Just as 9/11, I hope 26/11 is never forgotten. I hope that image of the burning dome of the Taj remains in my mind forever. On one level, I want to feel that hate, that pain, that anger that pours out against those men who caused so much pain to innocents. on another level, my soul feels that this is the time when WE as a world have to come together and take basic steps towards working it out, not hasty wars, nor long speeches by politicians and money being offered to the families of the deceased.

Our terrorist admitting that he is a Pakistani national does not help in the least bit. Sure he might be Pakistani, or Indian or Afghani.....who cares? All I know is that that man has no love left in him. No country should accept him as a national. He claims to have a family and the terrorist organization that brainwashed him into this deed apparently offered his family lifetime support...its cost the Indian Government 34 hundred million rupees to keep him alive so this time of economic crisis.What are we doing?

Right now, the support groups have faded away, all those petitions all those voices...have died out. Change, has only happened in the time. Its a year since 26/11/08 and nothing much has changed. Politicians still bicker and slap each other over regional language issues, security and army personel still are under equipped, and the spirit of Mumbai still wants to 'move on'. If big gaps remain to be plugged, how have we moved on? Arent we just as vulnerable as a year ago?
Instead of praising our heroes who aved us, regional politicians , legalized gangsters want to instead mock these soldiers just because they werent from the state of Maharashtra...hell if the NSG elite commandos hadnt swung into action, who knows how many more civilians might have died, how much more burnt the Taj and Oberoi would have been. Unless we start behaving like adults, even more pathetic people like these terrorists will continue to take advantage of it.
I love Mumbai dearly, and I miss being a part of its daily fabric. I miss that feel of my home, and its horrible not to actively and physically be the force that prevents such event from happening again. Its true now, that ordinary citizens can do very little to change the way things work.. noble though our intentions might be. The real power lies in the hands of these oh so awesome politicians, who have to realize that its not one religion, one caste, one state and one country thats at attack from the terrorist, but our entire world.

Lighting candles and moving on will not do anymore..... 9/11, 26/11 and all the others...cannot and should never be forgotten.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The break is here!!!

THANKSGIVING BREAK IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO. stop haha, sorry, just got a little too enthusiastic there!
just thought of posting something, which I havent done in a long time now, but I do wanna sit down and write for a consistent amount of time now during the break, which is one of the reasons of my excitement! and of course I want to attempt to match Maddy's enthusiam for life! haha its awesome to have her on this blog! Iv just become friends with her and shes already an awesome person! :)
alright I have to run for a marketing class now...uugh..cant wait till its done!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello, Guten Tag, Hola, Bonjour!

Well hello all.
I’m new to this whole Penn State York blog, but I’m sure it’ll be just as fun as the millions of other blogging sites out there such as facebook and all.

Anywayyy – Introductions I guess would probably be the appropriate thing to do at this point of time? I mean, you can read about what my favorite movie is and all the foods you could make for me which would automatically make me your best friend and all in the whole profile thing – but I figured I’d share random facts so that you’ll find me somewhat interesting and not a total dork – Haha!

Anyway, I’m a sophomore at Penn State York – love it! I’m a Dallastown grad, a Bed Bath and Beyond slave (totally kidding, I love my work 5 out of 7 days of the week) and I’m full of stories. I was on my high school’s track team, concert choir, and newspaper staff so I’ll probably just write random things to catch people’s attention, or try and catch their attention at that.

But enough with the past and onto the present! I’m a Lion Ambassador here at Penn State York. I haven’t been involved that long, but I’ve been busting my butt to have everything be as fun as possible. I also have traveled to Germany with the lovely Frau Deren and Penn State York crew which was literally the time of my life. I’m also literally the Boys’ Soccer Team’s biggest fan – WHICH I’M SO PROUD OF THEM WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS AND MAKING IT TO NATIONALS IN VERMONT. Anddd you may also know me around campus as that really loud girl who’s always laughing at something. I mean, just walk into the Lion’s Den - you’ll hear laughter.

Anyway – I’m not sure what all you would like to hear seeing as it’s in the middle of the semester, or better yet we’re almost to the end. ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL BREAK. How exciting is that?! However, that only means that I have like two weeks to finish like six different projects that are all due at the end of the semester – YUCK. I'll be living in the library for the next few weeks when I'm not at home or living at work.

Well I'm not sure where I'd like to end this. It's like one of those telephone calls where you've said all you've thought to say and all you can really say is - well, I'm gonna go now........... With that - I hope to have something interesting to write here next time. Better yet, I hope to have some EPIC STORY to write here next time. But until then, bring on the weekend!

Finding Your Fit!

Happy November everyone! Fall is the busiest time of year in the Admissions Office--Chelsea and I have been visiting high schools, going to college fairs, and we've just finished up our big Open can see the awesome Lion Ambassadors in full LA gear at the Open House in the picture! So now...we're taking a minute to breathe!

I wanted to talk to all of you about the importance of a college visit. This doesn't solely apply to Penn State, but to any college that you're thinking of attending. Before you fill out an application, MAKE SURE you go visit that college! See what it's to the to the the food!! I know that sounds silly, but that's food that you're going to be eating every day, so you should make sure you like it. Doing research on web sites is great, as is looking through brochures. But did you ever notice that on web sites and brochures, the weather is always sunny, flowers are always blooming, and everything just looks perfect? Those things are definitely true, but they are the very best of what a school has to offer--it's important that you go there for yourself and see the worst! Check out ALL of the buildings, see some classrooms, TALK TO STUDENTS! Students are the best resource!

They've done studies that show that within about 3 minutes of being on a college campus, you can get a sense for whether or not you feel like you "fit" there. "Fit" has to do with a lot of things--location, size, and most importantly, how you FEEL there. You wouldn't spend $50 on a pair of jeans that didn't fit you right--there's no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a college education at a place that doesn't fit you right!

That said, Penn State York has lots of opportunities to visit! You can take part in our "Be a Penn State Student for a Day" program, where you get to shadow a student for a day! Give our office a call if you'd like to come visit!

Have a great fall!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week 11 at State College

Hello everyone
It seems as though Shantanu is the only other one who writes on this blog but the good news is that I love reading his posts and I hope you all do too. I'm writing again, finally remembered in between all the bustle here at State College.

We just had Halloween, such a fun affair :) Paul and some other friends from York came up to visit and we walked around on Friday to see everyone's costumes (there had to be 20 pairs of Mario and Luigi walking around) then Saturday we watched the game and put on our official Halloween costumes. Paul and I went as Edgar Allen Poe's Masque of the Red Death and it was so much fun! I'll try to post a picture eventually.
It's starting to get back into the second rounds of midterms up here, busy busy busy. Most of us have gotten our positions for PUNC 2010 (the Pennsylvania State University Model United Nations Conference here at University Park) and I get to be the crisis chair for the Godfather Committee! I'm so excited!! We're still accepting schools so we hope to continue getting more and I'm really hoping that PSY's Model UN club comes, we had a blast last year.

I've also just joined the Golden Key Honor Society up here and I have to share the story of my first meeting. An email went out from the President telling us when the meeting was and that we were going to have a Halloween social with cider and cookies so we should feel free to dress up. I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to wear a costume (doesn't happen very often) and so I wore my toga to the meeting. When I get there I see maybe two other people wearing something remotely looking like a costume, cat ears. Turns out I'm the only one who decided to dress up and so the first time I met any of them: Hi I'm wearing a toga. It was quite funny though and I got a gift certificate to the Creamery so I call it a success!

Now I have to go finish a paper for my Ancient Greek class and do some more reading, can't wait for the PSU v. Ohio game this weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something different

Hey guys and girls,
Here's a thought to all that have been reading or have just started and/or will read the blog. Would it be a good idea to have interviews and special articles on some of the people who work behind the scenes at Penn State York? I personally think its a good idea and a great way for our current and prospective students to find out more about the entire Penn State York family, rather than just the students or the professors.
I just want to get a quick opinion on this before going ahead. Please comment or let me know in person.
I will be attending and speaking at the Open House at Penn State York this saturday, so am very much looking forward to that! I enjoy speaking about things I love and hence this should be very exciting!
Also the South Asian Club is having an Indian subcontinental cuisine lunch this coming Thursday ( October 29th 2009) where some of us are going to be selling home made food on campus. Last time we did that during Unity Week 2009 in April, the response was just mind blowing and all the food was gone in an hour (or less)!!! We hope for the same this time!! Please try and attend if you can


Monday, October 19, 2009

Just finished reading The Lost Symbol. Awesome read as expected from Dan Brown. Its definitely worth a read, and especially to people living nearby D.C. I for one, cant wait to visit these places and see the architecture for myself.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lights, mist and ABAP

Its Thursday.

(with an extra heavy 'Sigh!' at the end followed by an unbelievable urge to get away from it all and take a break at home sipping hot tea and snacks on the balcony with the rain and mist outside)

Unfortunately, I have to walk in my rain gear hoping it keeps me warm and dry on my way to campus for a whole day of classes. The festival of lights, called Diwali is almost us as is Halloween and my way of celebrating it today is to code in ABAP, then write an extra credit assignment for marketing, then attend corporate security, then again study for a test in marketing, and then attend the marketing class till 840pm. uggh! cant wait for this day to be over!!!!!!

On a positive note - I saw 'The hangover' yesterday! What a freaking awesome movie that is! I cant wait to watch it again man, that was so worth staying back after work.

BTW- the post before this 'Of mind blocks..' was written before 'That bottle...' somehow the blog put it in reverse order

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Of mind blocks and random thoughts

Aaaargh! for the longest time Iv been wanting to put up this long long blog post, but things havent been working for me. its either been myself too tired after tests, or a day at the lion's den, or just facing an enormous mental block. I planned to write this sudnay and again here I am on a sunday night facing nothing but a block, block and another block. I could just build a lego set out of so many blocks.....
On the whole though, I think this blog needs to reach out to the students and the general public more. The overall response has been overwhelming and everyone does want to read more and more. So we as the bloggers do need to get moving and write. We could definitely publicize it more by having signs and little posters all over campus.
I dont know why im writing in these little short unrelated paragraphs. Maybe my mind gets distracted easily these days. Or else im getting so used to multitasking that I tend to switch focus every 5 seconds on a different job/topic at hand.
Perhaps I do need to take it easy a bit, or maybe not. Right now the best thing that comes to my mind is a nice dinner and my soft bed, ready to comfort me at least somewhat for the long week that lies ahead. I have one test, one paper to submit and internship work to be done.
Have 3 articles on my drafts that I desperately want to post but cant till this irritating block removes itself from my head. Would gladly welcome any cures for the same.
Its been a while since we had a screening of a movie on campus. Transformers 2 is playing this wednesday and I really want to see it, but not as much as 'The Hangover' which is to be screened next week. People have raved and raved and raved (more so to piss me off) about how great the movie is and since I didnt get to see that either I am so excited to catch that. Last year there was a great response to the Indian movies that were screened and I plan to do that again. There are so many plans but so little time..grrr.
Anyways right now I am off to complete some reading again before I sleep. Speaking fo reading, Im getting a copy of Dan Brown's latest - ' The lost symbol'. Should be a fascinating read..when I find the time!!
Off to bed now,

Monday, September 28, 2009

That bottle of Coke

Here I am in the restaurant... one hand on the lid, as I share the drink with a friend. As the liquid travels up the straw and into my tastes as sweet as ever.

My kitchen at home has this glass cupboard..amongst all the chinaware there is this little miniature glass bottle of coca-cola. As kids we always have this fascination for all these sodas. A special treat if we behave well, a fitting dessert in the restaurant with parents, an amazingly sweet and tingly drink which you always enjoyed when you went to the movies or at the fair, with the burp that came at the end being particularly something to look forward to. That oh so bad glass of milk in the morning was so horrible and plain by comparison wasnt it? Back then it was drinking out of a straw...whenever we went on train rides to the neighboring city of Pune, hearing that familiar voice of the vendor selling soda in glass bottles was the best part of the journey. I dont know what it was...I truly dont. I just loved it. To this day my cousins still tell an old story about how once I persuaded my mother to buy 5 bottles of pepsi in 30 mins on the train...the good old days never can be forgotten...

When coke re-launched itself in India in the mid-nineties, it must have been the best thing in the world for me, because I reaaaaaly wanted a bottle and even then god knows why, Coke wasnt available freely. Cue one whole night when my dad drove and drove to find me that one bottle of Coke which he finally did in a dusty old shop. Me and my the time we were one and happy.

Those were indeed the happy days. Running down during lunch break (or the long recess as the school called it) after some really boring classes where the focus was more on reading my book or playing silent games with my bench partner; my stomach usually was growling. 1o rupees in hand and a big appetite were the catalysts due to which 5 mins later I had pushed my way through a gang of giggly schoolgirls at the canteen and had in my hands a delicious wrapped vada pav ( called by some the great Indian burger- although its more like a stuffed potato-pea pattie with bread and spicy garlic sauce) and a glass of coke. Satisfied with my herculean efforts I scanned the expanse of the dirt field to find some friends running around and walked slowly over to them taking care to see that my coke didnt spill, and although the rising dust from the thousands of feet trampling over it probably added a layer of extra spice on the drink, I was still the happiest boy in the world as I joined up with my pals. Most of them had the same combo in their hands...we were birds of a feather after all. Einstein's theory of relativity proved it self time and again however as these moments of ecstacy lasted for too short a time and as soon as I had first sipped my drink and eaten my ' burger' the food was gone and the recess was over. Time for class again. hmm...usually the sports class...which meant doing yoga in the gym.....the professor could never figure out why he heard so many small burps in that span of 30 mins when we performed our exercises. When it wasnt sports class, at least it was geography, which meant another sleep inducing professor, but at least at the time the caffeine kept us awake..and so did the lingering taste of the garlic sauce. Oh yes..we had some good times there. ( I think later on the professors did realize the reason behind the burps and so had aerated beverages banned in the school canteen..grrr... life was never the same..but at least by that time I was old enough to hang out outside school, so I could get my coke after school at least) - I mean Coca-cola.

Graduating from school after my 10th grade, I discovered that all of my friends were in the same junior college as mine. Suddenly I was exposed to the 'hip' college culture. No longer in school, seemingly unlimited opportunities seemed to present themselves before me. But the bottle of coke remained with me. I dont want to give off the impression that I was a poor academic student, I simply did all my work outside class. Sathaye college was another experience altogether. Suddenly boys started noticing a lot of other things in life...girls in normal clothes sans the school uniform, the concept of bunking classes, the football team, hanging out in the canteen singing songs, yes that was the life.

The average day started with everyone coming to college as normal. Mostly everyone in normal attire, but upon close notice someone would have noticed that 5-6 of us wore soccer cleats, or else carried them around in a bag. Not officially in college to play soccer, the cleats were brought in secret. But then who looked down at shoes anyway? One or 2 classes later, everyone met downstairs for a chat. It was only a matter of time though, and in about 5 mins someone expressed a desire for football, and then it was contagious. We were off, to the adjacent pitch or what we called a pitch. It actually used to be a site for an apartment complex, which had been razed down, but the floor never completely levelled. The foundations of the building still showed with bricks popping out of the ground at points. Some kids realized this was an opportune place to practice some ..ahem! productive activities and laid down cement and gravel on it till it was fairly smooth and then added the cherry on the cake, 2 small goalposts. We were more than happy. 2 of my best friends - Prasad and Aniket stayed beside it and thus their homes were useful to store our footballs. And so the games went on - from as early as 3 pm till it got dark and sometimes even after that. Finally when the ball couldn't absolutely be seen anymore, when the jeans had been all muddied and the ankles had been bruised up, the gang finally drifted out of the ground and onto the little convenience store right next to it, all sweaty and tired, but still unsatisfied. The only thing left now, was that bottle of drink, not alcohol mind you! but amazing, bubbly Coca-cola! To feel that cold glass bottle against the brow, the wet water condense from the bottle onto your gravelly hands and then on to your face as you wipe away the sweat...then finally take a deep sip of that soda - This was life . The rust on the bottle edge sometimes made it probably poisonous to the human body, but who the hell cared? This was the time when we needed the soda, 2-3 bottles worth! There we were..sitting on the little ledge of the courtyard of the store, watching the last rays of the sun extinguish behind the apartment buildings of the suburb of Vile Parle, then the slow yet sure rise in the volume of the televisions in all the apartments as the women sat down to watch their daily hindi/marathi/gujarthi about the game...without one care in the world! Tomorrow would be another day in college, and probably another game with it as well ! hehe.......Coke was amazingly sweet then.

Joining Vidyalankar School of Information Technology after 2 years of tramping about meant finally being seperated from my buddies. We had been together right form school through junior college and it felt horrible to be away from them...gone would be the days of bunking classes to play soccer just 2 blocks away, now I had to travel by the local trains to go to another part of the city for my education....The coke source shifted from the little store to the vendors on Andheri suburb station, from the cafe at Sathaye college to the canteen at Vidyalankar and more importantly...Classic restaurant. The first bottle of Coke was had on the first day of orientation when a couple of us...all freshmen..decided to explore and get to know each other in the canteen. It was the start of something new, and something to look forward to. Somehow, Vidyalankar felt right...the small classroom felt right...the whole atmosphere felt right. Days went by...table tennis on the teacher's desk, interspersed with classes, and lots of fun. We came to know each other pretty fast, and had frequent trips out together as a group...Classic restaurant and 5 Gardens was our favorite hangout zone. A beautiful expansive place from the British era, with footpaths as wide as the roads, and huge trees shading every inch of them, the name of the place derived from 5 huge gardens lying around each other where the Parsi community lived. Old mansions added to this charm, while the famous campuses of VJTI college, UDCT campus and Khalsa college finished what was an amazingly old styled place to be. Lunch however, was always at Classic restaurant. Simple, spicy and cheap Mumbai food. Masala Pav, Pav Bhaji, Dosas and Idlis and of course, the evergreen Coca-colas. The trip back home on the train was again punctuated with small burps along the way.........

Classic soon gave way to Gulshan..and some new people as well. The 2nd year in Vidyalankar was well on its way,and plenty of life changing experiences along with it as well. A relationship, a break up and in turn new ever lasting bonds of friendship formed as well. Gaurang 'Gabo', Priyanka 'Prish', Farhad 'Froggy', Rahul 'Mambo', Chintan 'CJ', Alina 'Loowis' Arnab ( I never liked the nickname 'Arry'!) Ashwathy and Mayetreyee. The Cokes were gulped down along with plates upon plates of Kheema (spiced mince meat dripping with oil..yummmmmmmmmmmm) and Bread. In fact we had cokes everywhere in the city- the beach, our houses, and all the corners of Mumbai. The summer of 2008 was so much fun. I wrote about them in another blog of mine before so I wont go too much into THAT, hehe although I would certainly like to. Again, one of the best times of my life with best friends. We all shared a coke pitcher with 8 straws.

Here I am in the restaurant... one hand on the lid, as I share the drink with a friend. As the liquid travels up the straw and into my tastes as sweet as ever. I look down at the bottle, and notice a strange thing that I never noticed before. These days. the label says : Coke Classic.
It so truly is. filled with classic and sweet memories.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Long time no see

Hey all,
I just wanted to leave a quick post here right now. Its 12 25 am and Im supposed to be studying for yet another test tomorrow for IST Corp. Computer and Network Security, but am delirious and instead listening to some classical Indian music and using my desk as a percussion instrument and waking up my roomies. Truly looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend when I can finally write a long post on something I have been thinking about but havent had the mental or physical energy to write about. The past few weeks have been truly crazy and senior year has made its mark at last!! 2 jobs, 15 credits, an internship and a research + homework .... grrrr!!!
Nayways (wait what!? - I meant 'Anyways') I do think I take insane amounts of time in between posts and so am gonna make conscious efforts and post regularly, even if they might be shorter. I still want to take time out to write fully on what I wanna say, but those long ones look to be relegated to my weekend times now sadly. For now, its the middle of the week, Im living on Snapple and Tylenol at midnight, and craving for infinite uses of the snooze button on my alarm in the morning!
See you at the end of the week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fourth Week at State College

I'm now into my fourth week at state college and loving it! I've brought my car up and have her in the long term parking (the cheapest on campus) so that I can drive home whenever I want. Labor day weekend was Paul's moving into Penn, last weekend was Kelly Clarkson at the York Fair, this weekend is Jeff Dunham also at the York Fair! (can you tell I love the York Fair?)
I'm currently trying to get some reading done and then I'll study for my Western Heritage II U quiz tomorrow. But I decided to come give an update since I've sort of neglected to do so recently.

If you're going up to State College at any point and decide to ride the campus buses (white loop, blue loop, red link, green link: all free) then please do this for me and your fellow riders: when you board the bus, please sit in any available seat as you make your way toward the back of the bus, do not stop midway. Continue on until you can no longer go father backwards, here's why: what most people do not seem to realize is that there are almost always about 10 people behind you also trying to board the bus which means that they must all be behind the yellow line at the front. If you stop before getting to the back, they have to stop also and usually that winds up being before the yellow line. This results in them either having to get off the bus or not even being able to get on, they then must wait for the next bus that comes by, if they're really really lucky, it'll be there within 10 minutes.
so please, for the sake of everyone's sanity, continue moving toward the back of the bus
(you'd think that this would be logical in a college campus, but apparently not everyone has gotten the memo)
thank you so very much

Monday, September 14, 2009


I have just returned from an excellent day in Happy Valley watching Penn State pull a lack luster win over Syracuse. The weekend started out by having six Syracuse alumni come and stay at our home. The alumni consisted of die hard fans who knew that they were coming to see a loss, none the less they came anyways. We know two of them very well as my wife's cousin was the link to the group.

Heather's cousin was the homecoming queen for Syracuse in 2007 and her fiance was one of the football team's managers while he was an undergrad. Several months ago they took us up on our invite to spend the weekend at our house for the game. As time got closer, more and more of their friends asked to come along on their trip. Since we had the space and extra tickets, we gladly invited all six of them to our home and experience football at Penn State. The couples arrived friday evening around 9:00pm and after some brief introductions, we ended up in the cigar room drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. This was an excellent time for us to get to know one another and discuss the next days events.

I explained to them that we would be leaving around 5:30am for the noon kick off. Since they were die hard Syracuse fans, they understood the importance of getting to a game early enough to beat the traffic and put in a full shift of tailgating. One of the guys was curious as to how the fans treat the opposing fans. He said that he had heard stories of how crazy the fans at Penn State can get. I informed him that most of our fans are good ambassadors to our university and like any big college program, there were always a few undesirables who tarnish the reputation of the entire fan base. I ensured them that they were to receive a warm welcome on Saturday as they were not posing any threat for an upset. I informed the Syracuse fans that this is not necessarily the case for the big games as I have witnessed PSU fans get pretty ugly towards opposing team fans. I told him that this is a very unfortunate occurrence because I believe that Penn State stands above other universities on so many levels, I wished that all of the fans would acknowledge that and do the same. As the night wore on, we continued the discussion of the game and lost track of time. I realized that it was 1:15am and we were getting up at 4:30am.

Well, as you can imagine, I did not factor in for all of the extra women in my house. Because there were so many women getting ready in the morning, we did not leave until after 6:00am. Once we were on the road, we had smooth sailing until we hit game traffic 12 miles outside Beaver Stadium. We sat in traffic for almost an hour until we started moving again. Once we got to the stadium and parked, we got our stuff together and made our way to our tailgating spot. Once there, our Syracuse guests were relieved to meet other Syracuse alumni. They all agreed that Beaver Stadium was the most impressive stadium that they had ever seen. I thought this was an impressive comment considering some of these guys traveled all around with the Syracuse football team and saw many other stadiums. After a while, it was time to go into the stadium and see the game.

The game was probably one of the more boring games that I had seen in person to date. If it were not for my guests, I would have broken my rule and left early to beat the traffic. Once the game was over, we met up at the vehicles and drank some more beer before we went home. I was thanked by all of our Syracuse guests for giving them a tour of the area and being an ambassador to my university. I responded with my courtesies and we got in our vehicles and trekked home to York. We spent the rest of the evening watching college football and recounting the days events. Alas, Sunday morning arrived and my guests had to leave. I thanked them for coming down to PA and visiting with us. They thanked my wife and I for such a terrific weekend and being host to them. I responded by telling them that when you are a Penn Stater, it is a privilege to let everyone know that we are the best alumni in the world.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Fall Semester is upon us.

Greetings to all! I don't know about the rest of you, but my Summer flew by pretty fast. I made a valiant attempt to take two ART class via the World Campus. Unfortunately, I dropped them because they were not as flexible as the previous ones that I took. Never the less, I kept myself busy by working on the basement and finishing my cigar room. It is not completely trimmed out, however it is operational. I just finished a nice CAO maduro and finished reading two journal articles. Hopefully this newly constructed room will help to make my studies a lot more bearable.
I attended a cigar/dinner event in Allentown and met Rocky Patel who is the man behind my most beloved cigars. Rocky invited me to Honduras to check out his entire cigar operation in October. The only paradigm is it is during the week of the Penn State v. Ohio State game. This is more tormenting considering that I already purchased a pair of tickets for the game. Two of my good buddies are the recipients of those tickets. I am also planning on going to the Syracuse and Iowa games. If you haven't been to a game, I strongly encourage you to go to one. There is nothing like getting up to Happy Valley at 8:00 am and cracking beers for a noon game. Beer and eggs are a winning combination for an excellent tailgating experience.
So, what are my plans for this fall? I am taking six hours of internship at York County Prison. This is especially beneficial to me as I am employed there and I can use my work hours as internship hours. On the other hand, it will be challenging because it is hard to write about something that is such the norm. Well, if there is something that I can do well, it's writing BS. It has carried me this far in academia, it can carry me through another semester. I am also taking an 400 level HD FS course. This one should be interesting as I do not have the prerequisite course and it does not have a book. So far, reading the required journal articles are just as lengthy as a chapter. The benefit is not having to pay for a book that is referenced lightly in the course. Time will tell if I really needed the prerequisite course. Oh well, too late for what if's.
I have also had the pleasure of assisting Dr. Christ with some of her Adult Learner open houses. I believe that Dr. Christ is giving pay back for fixing my admissions and such. I never knew that I would enjoy trying to entice others to be part of our campus. Earlier this Summer, I took it upon myself to set up a meeting with local veterans and Penn State-York administrators to discuss why many of these veterans are eligible for educational benefits, yet few of them are taking advantage of them. This meeting was in hopes of enticing them to enter the class room and taking advantage of benefits that these veterans earned. To date, none have enrolled at Penn State-York although several plan on enrolling for the Spring semester. You can lead a horse to water.....well you know the rest.
I was also inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society. This was a very meaningful achievement for me as I never had above a 2.7 GPA in high school. I think that I had a 2.4 my senior year. The induction was meaningful to me in that all of my sacrifices and effort was noticed. I am not one who needs a gold star to keep me driving towards my goal, however a pat on the back and a kick in the ass is needed from time to time. First week down, many more to go. I hope that everyone has a fantastic Fall semester and maximizes their potential.

For the Glory!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The pre-departure seminar

( Corey, Im really sorry to upset you, I didnt upload the whole thing, but now you know what kind of reaction it generates in reality)

In the last few weeks before departing for the United States of America, generally all Indian students are given a pre-departure orientation. This orientation seminar usually has not changed for decades and even in my short experience with it so far with my cousins and myself coming here to study, I now know what is said and fed to the students at the tip of my tongue. Here are a few quotes from this seminar:

‘You are all representing the great country of India; the reputation of our motherland is at stake’

‘We are culturally superior to the Americans’

‘If you are approached by an American, please follow the following protocol –

1. Throw a dirty look to indicate your displeasure

2. Whisper to your Indian mate that you are going to pretend to be friendly\

3. Settle down and convince yourself that if they say “Whats up?” the correct reply is “ Not much, whats up with you?” ( even though you might prefer to conveniently ignore it)

4. Put on the most fake smile in the world and pretend to be cool.

5. Say something in Hindi in front of them just to make a point that you can curse and get away with it.

6. Go home and then tell you mommy and daddy on Skype how dreadful the experience was and great Indians are.

‘Indian food is always the best in the world, there is no food that comes close and its perfectly acceptable to complain, frown and make puking noises in front of you gracious host who spent 3 hours cooking up the otherwise delicious Amish potato salad and Stromboli.’

' if you ever eat beef.....consider your Indian passport invalid'

‘It is ok to forget to say words like “Thank you” ,”Please” and “ Sorry” because hey, cmon yaar! In India, anything works’

‘Whenever you see another Indian in America, get excited and worked up as if you were Will Smith in “ I AM LEGEND” and you just met another person who wasn’t an infected zombie’

' If you need to do research on the natives, switch on your laptops and open a file called A.M.E.R.I.C.A.N P.I.E. 4 - T.H.E. N.A.K.E.D. M.I.L.E'

‘Good luck on your mission soldiers, the Government of India will reward you greatly* if you survive your stay in the enemy territory. ‘ (* conditions apply)

There are really so many misconceptions that we as international students, besides being Indians, or Pakistanis or Africans or Europeans, carry when we come to a foreign country like the USA which is so open to diversity. As discussed in my earlier posts, I certainly do not think leaving family friends and your natural comfort zone behind for 2 years or more is a small step, and neither should it be ever portrayed as one. But in no ways does that make the international student a superman compared to the American who just drives 2 miles everyday to the campus. It is hard for me to understand that when an Indian comes to Penn State York, a prestigious educational institution and a product of the USA, he/she does not even have the simple common sense to respect and acknowledge the opportunity given by the States to study here. Credit to oneself should be given when it is due, but not always. Whatever happened to’ When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’? Now it’s all about ‘When in Rome, make fun of the Romans and live in a bubble’
Its really painful to see this kind of thing happening being an Indian. I have never understood the concept of one race being superior to another, and I never will and never want to. I can unfortunately testify to have felt this first hand in this past year. Never would I have imagined (especially after that enlightening seminar) that the Indian people would be the ones who would cause me so much hurt and loss of respect for my own fellow countrymen and then for an American to become my pillar of strength and her family to make me one of their own. I have realized that national barriers do not exist if only we accept everyone and look at everyone for what their values are and how they are as people, not because of their color, passport or caste. ..can never forget those moments when the only solace I had was one in the faceless sheet of my pillow as I buried myself in my bed, afraid that I would crack if I so much as looked at my fellow mates, their hostility moving the very air around me. It was in these dark moments when I so wanted to go home, be with my true friends, and in the arms of my mother, that an average American person became my friend, her family became mine, and they carried me through it all.

The Snyders have been the one reason why my mother does not have her blood pressure raised everytime she sees me upset and angry. It is because of them and the support of PSY's incredible faculty and staff that I could survive and put on a happy face when my mom saw me on camera. During the whole of last year, and there have been members of the faculty who can attest to it, I went to them in desperation because I couldnt find one friendly face on campus. I lived in denial, even refusing to face my problems in my personal life simply because that support from back home was essential to my sanity here. But even then sometimes it wasnt enough. Even though I am an Indian, it hasnt been hard to feel what an American student would feel when a foreigner comes to the States and then makes fun of him/her in his/her own country because I was made to feel like that myself, by my own fellow Indians.

And still the madness continues. After a summer back home, it was really a deep desire to see things fall back in place. The new apartment, new semester, new roommates and the Snyders have really helped me rejuvenate myself. But again I guess me being so close to an American girl doesnt really qualify me for any gallantry awards back home, does it? At least thats the vibe given here by my Indians.
Remember the pre-departure seminar I talked to you about? Its not all just nonsense and arrogance. It does happen, those values and teachings are drilled into everyone who comes here. And proof of that was delivered just 3 days ago. Well, I already knew that because of my own experience, but now so does the average American.
It was a sick moment when 2 Indians made fun of and harrassed the one person whom I am indebted to for changing my life and making me feel loved and wanted here. Just because she was wearing an Indian dress which I got for her and shes a typical fair blonde.. thats why these 2 people chose to corner her and really make her cry.....

Its not fair to me, and most certainly not to my friend, because she has the right to be at this university; the right to be in her home more than any one of us internationals. These guys wouldnt like it if you or me went to their houses and started taunting them over their habits and race and culture.. so why in the world would an Indian come to the United States and then make fun of an American? Because they eat beef? because they have a different taste in clothes and food? Because they arent 'reaally cultured'? How can anyone make that judgement? Corey's response to my half post earlier is the reaction of my friend too, when such an attitude was thrown at her in reality, and so is my reaction as well. I hate the way that we, as Indians or any other internationals can even think that we are so much more smarter and deserving than the Americans just because of something trivial. Heck, most of the people at Penn State York have been the best people Iv met ever. I cannot imagine a better father figure ( apart from my dad) than Dr. Rodney, our chancellor. It all trickles down from him to everyone else. Does this love for Penn State York thus make me a lesser Indian? A traitor? a rebel? in my view heck no! I am just a person who cannot see someone for their nationality or race or caste or color. True, I take time in making friends, but then if our wavelengths match, then its friends for life. Amongst the very closest people in my life is an American girl and her family where I go to church with them, enjoy their food, have fun with their dogs, and just feel at home. Is that reason enough for other Indians to therefore target my American friend just because she proudly wore the Indian clothing I got for her? Arent Indians wearing western outfits? Maybe someone should pick on them about that... I wonder how cool these people would have felt right now if the people at PSY hadnt shown them the support to adjust in the first place.

At some point, there will be a meltdown, and noone can take this treatment for long. Penn State gave us this opportunity to come and study here guys, dont shoot yourself in the foot...belittling everyone else is really belittling yourself.

The Senior Year begins

Hello all,
It feels very refreshing to be back here at York after a brilliantly refreshing summer back home in India. This will be my 2nd and senior year here at Penn State and I cannot imagine that I only have a year left here. Its taken time to settle down, and quite a few hardships to endure along with it, but its been worth it. Towards the end of the year, I met one of those people who change your life forever, and become one of those select gems that you just know are going to be with you forever. I was desperate at this time to go back home to my mother and my closest friends, who formed the group i just mentioned above, but definitely I needed a physical presence here whom I could count on, and all those bad times in the last year have been worth meeting this person.

And so I have begun a new life....a new apartment, new roommates, new location, REAL friends on campus, a new job at the Lion's Den and yes, NO ACCOUNTING 211 AND THEREFORE NO MATH!! YESS!

On another note when I went to India it was a great experience to help out my juniors in my program and thus contribute to bringing them up here to PSY and seeing them here.
We have 9 Indians who came through my twinning program this year and I hope we all will help them feel at home.
Shantanu G Rajadhyaksha

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Valley

Hello everyone,
(I forgot to post anything over the summer, shhhh)
It was a fun summer, I worked at Kohl's as usual and was constantly at Paul's house. Then there was the whole excitement over the USS Shiloh (Paul was one of the MIDN on board).
Of course then I had to focus on getting ready for my State College Apartment (if you haven't figured it out already I've transferred to University Park for my last two years)
Today is the third day of classes, we moved into the apartment on Friday so we've slowly become acclimated. Sunday we figured out all of the bus routes and how to get to our classes so that we were all prepared by Monday. My first class today was canceled due to the professor's migraine.
I have two Graduate student for profs this year and four regular professors. My PLSC 014 class has an enrollment of 300 students!!! Luckily the other classes are more normal in size, 20-30 students each.
I'll post pictures of the apartment once we get around to taking them but now I'm off to finish cooking dinner (fried veggies, grilled chicken, and lemon garlic pasta, yummy!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

He came, he thrilled, he never left

Growing up in a generation where all the kids my age had access to various forms of entertainment other than just playing around my apartment complex, it wasn’t as much of a luxury to sit in my room and switch on my tv. But in a place like India, where most of the electronic media entertainment is dominated by the Indian music and film industry, its quite hard to think about anyone else who might even compare or even attempt to reach the standard that we as Indians made. Most of us desis enjoy a good spot of music, dancing to popular bollywood dance numbers, played usually at weddings, award functions, or on the radio. The arrival of MTV in India wasn’t quite at the same time as it did in the USA, and so exposure to the ‘western’ world to a normal average kid was very limited, except to those who had rich uncles settled in the states who could get them expensive music cassettes or whoa a CD!!! There were a few select places in Mumbai where one could get all this music, set up by some dedicated music connoisseurs. But cmon, as a 6 year old kid, all you care about is watching what you can on television and the local store. The Indian film industry was evolving and adapting to the television revolution, exploiting it even. The concept of the music video gathered momentum...Introducing a novel way of watching our film stars more regularly than just on the movie theatre screens. Amongst this barrage of material being pumped in, if you asked me or any of the kids my age or my generation’
‘Hey kid, apart from Hindi film stars whom do you like? (Please don’t say Mahatma Gandhi..I mean amongst entertainers)’ I can guarantee you there was probably a 99% chance that this kid wherever he came from, and I mean wherever ever, was bound to put on hand on his belt buckle with a thumb inside, one hand outstretched rising up, legs bent and head slightly tilted, and then reply in a cheeky voice’ MAAAYYYYY CULLL JAAAAKSON’ .. I admit I was one of those kids myself.
In between all the bollywood item numbers, amidst all the communal riots, the moral policing that the ‘western culture’ was trying to take over India and its culture, there was just one man who managed to penetrate all the levels, and he was the one who everyone knew, even if they had never heard his music, they knew his image, if they had no idea about this image, they knew his songs, if they dint know either, they had heard about this phenomenon from a friend, rich kids had his poster on their walls, ‘black or white’ blaring out from their expensive stereos, servants working in their homes stopped cleaning the floor to watch the strange flexible man on the television with looks of amazement ‘ Sahib, kya hilta hai ye aadmi, kya naam kya hai?’ (Master, look at the way this man moves, what is his name?). These servants went to their slums that night and told their kids who had just come back from playing on the street, who in turn went to the vendor in the city who was famous for distributing illegal ‘imported cassettes’ at throwaway prices, heard ‘Billie Jean’ or saw the man gyrating like no one else before, and instantly a new world altogether was opened up by one man to millions of people who till then believed that the universe began and ended with Amitabh Bachchan.
You remember those costume contests that are arranged just for us kids, either by the local community club or by your grade school? I can vividly see myself entering many of those (being entered by my mother, to be precise), and at every contest, seeing at least half of those kids with curly long hair, aviator shades, black leather jackets with glitter on them, and just one white glove. Eventually I realized that I should take advantage of this situation, and I never went in a famous MJ outfit instead choosing to be dressed as an Indian God, cuz honestly there HAD to be one person who had to be different right? If all the kids were gonna be influenced by the famous man, let me at least win for trying to resist his popularity! … I never realized at the time how much an effect Michael had on me, on all of us, till now. Later when I discovered the music of Elvis and loved it, I became convinced that he was the ultimate king of music and there was no one better. I went to ask my grandmother whether she knew the famous Presley…Unfortunately my hopes were shattered when she revealed that she only had ever heard of Michael Jackson.
I cannot believe the amount of excitement that was in Mumbai in the winter of 1996, when the king of pop dazzled at the Andheri Sports complex to a packed and overflowing crowd. We may have had several people who have held the world captive with their persona and energy, mostly being country leaders, military generals etc. But never before, had we seen one man see his name become synonymous with music and entertainment as much as Michael Jackson, and he certainly cemented his position on the stage every single damn time with his unmatched voice, his dance moves, and energy oozing off to the crowd, infecting everyone with the virus compelling the muscles to move along to his beats. No wonder then that he was treated like a God and all the other people felt his aura. As Jackson departed Mumbai, the staff at the Oberoi hotel where he occupied the Presidential suite decided to clean the room for the next guest. They found a pillow where Michael had left a note for India
“India, all my life I have longed to see your face. I met you and your people and fell in love with you. Now my heart is filled with sorrow and despair for I have to leave, but I promise I shall return to love you and caress you again. Your kindness has overwhelmed me, your spiritual awareness has moved me, and your children have truly touched my heart. They are the face of God. I truly love and adore you India. Forever, continue to love, heal and educate the children, the future shines on them. You are my special love, India. Forever, may God always bless you .
— Michael Jackson.”
Everyone in India was shattered when we realized that this promise was forever going to be unfulfilled. But Michael will always be remembered not only in the dirtiest slum, but also in the most palatial mansion, having touched everyone and proved that one man can indeed talk to all the people in the world through one language, music.
Don’t blame it on the sunshine
Don’t blame it on the moonlight
Don’t blame it on the bad times,
Blame it on his boogie
The world forever knows you through your music and dance and will always.

You cannot come back, because you never left us

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jai NO?

Watching Jamal struggling to identify Mahatma Gandhi's picture on an Indian currency bill, the Police Inspector-" Even my 7 year old niece can answer that’
Jamal-“ Who stole Mr. XYZ’s bike at Bandra on August 15th?’
Inspector (clearly caught off his guard)-“ you know who stole it?”
Jamal-“….everybody in Juhu knows who it is…even 7 year olds”
Sitting back at home in India watching TV comfortably on a couch after a year in a foreign country I was pretty much relaxed and glad to be home. Surely after 9 months of life changing experiences and writing about how much I missed my home country anyone would really expect me to be all happy and cheerful. That I most certainly was, there is no place like home. But wait something comes up on TV….a promo..for the world television premiere of INDIA’S crowning glory and milestone film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ ..bear in mind the emphasis on the word. One see’s quotes coming from actors and politicians ‘ Slumdog Millionaire has crossed boundaries, truly it has displayed that INDIA can compete at the highest level. WE AS A NATION are so proud..JAI HO!” ..cue the soft ‘sniff!’ and a couple of moist eyes. Then the television is switched off and the real discussion starts.
‘ How can anyone even like this movie!?’ ‘Danny Boyle is an ignorant man who knows nothing about our culture’ ‘Is Mumbai just a ghetto?’ ‘#$!@#!@ SLUMDOGS?...WE ARE SLUMDOGS?!!!! Who gives you the right to call us desi people SLUMDOGS…India is a progressing country, not a stagnant breeding ground for poverty and slavery’ ‘ There are so many better movies than SM..not Oscar material please!’----the tirade is endless. This is when I realize that the moist tear eyed man who proclaims ‘JAI HO!’ on the TV is the same man who uses glycerine to induce tears, bribes the very umm ‘slumdogs’ for votes, spits bright red-orange tobacco on the road and then puts up hoardings for his voting campaign with the quote ‘ JAI HO! LETS WIN INDIA BACK for me (subconsciously adding ‘ illiterate slumdogs’ to the message). This very person is the one who will announce a prize of free government owned housing for the child artists of the movie for their efforts on promoting India and then give these prizes to their so-called loving parents who in turn capture possession of these apartments leaving the children – in this case Rubina and Azhar ( playing the kid Latika kid Salim respectively) with nothing except a return to their real life slum where they are from. So yes it is not just that politican who is that teary eyed man, but the parents as well. And it just doesn’t stop there, oh no. We have all of us, the Indian urban masses, who are ready crucify the film and its message with just a mention of the name. ‘The West is ignorant of us. We are cultured. We are the best’..b..l…aaa..haha. What these people, some of my very own friends, do fail to realize is that when we call ourselves the Indian urban masses we are wrong at one crucial point. This group that is refered to as ‘WE’ is not a majority..WE are not masses. India’s masses are in fact the ones who live below the poverty line, who cannot afford to sit in chic cafes and have Slumdog bashing debates over lattes. They are Jamal, Latika, Salim and every other kid who is born to a parent who cannot afford to support them and hence must make do with the utter nightmare that their lives become. These masses..have to live in the ghetto, have to swim in shit, have to beg, borrow and steal just because our so called cultured urban people have deliberately blinded themselves to them.
When Aishwarya Rai makes a cameo in Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martini, WE rave and rave and rave…television interviews, page 3 parties, and the same old glycerine teary eyed man declaring how proud he is of Rai’s contribution. This cameo might be for 2 seconds or for the entire movie, the movie might even get nominated for the All time worst movie of the century, but in our tricolor tainted eyes, it’s the best..oh my oh my! But when an American filmmaker decides to make a movie adaptation of a novel written by an INDIAN – Vikas Swarup in this case (Q & A), not even my grandfather’s buffalo in the village gives a shit (ironic since that’s her favorite hobby). Cue 2-3 months ahead, and the critics(the true ones, not the ones Im bashing here) have raved about the movie, suddenly WE come to life. The above mentioned quotes are mentioned, SM is the pride and joy of India, especially after winning the Oscars. Not that India had much to contribute for the movie, or specifically WE had no contributions, it was the cast and crew who are responsible. Hmmm, the Indian public cant take this reality can they…if WE are not given credit, lets just trash the film. Suddenly the ‘pride and joy’ turns to ‘poorly researched piece of crap by a Westerner who doesn’t know the real India’ But no one will say that in public will they?
What India fails to realize is that everyone has the right to express themselves in the way they see the world to be. And when this expression is reality, even thought it might be a bitter pill to swallow, its better to accept it and appreciate the film for its true excellence. Slumdog Millionaire deservedly has won all the prizes and accolades because of the talent of everyone involved in the film. Danny Boyle came with a vision and translated it on camera. How can our country claim to be progressive when we do the very same things that he film portrays and then deny them with all our might? This clearly just signifies that despite knowing the truth, we are living in a state of denial. I certainly do not deny that India has progressed. We are one of the world’s fastest growing economies, have the most diverse culture and lots and lots of other things that we should rightfully be proud of. But if we can make a Hindi Bollywood film which portrays an America to be an oversexed culture-less country, then it is very clearly justified that the rest of the world pick up on our negative traits and portray them. If we rage against Indian students being ill treated in Australia but fail to even suspend the many police officials and other bullies who drug and rape foreign girls, If a politician can mix religion and education and deny a Muslim or Hindu or Sikh a seat in a college and then complain about why the Indian youth studies in the US and not at home…if the constitution of India declares freedom of speech and yet the government chooses to ban this very piece of written work , then India is not progressive, it is regressive.
Sometimes just knowing who Gandhi is does not make one Indian….or even smart.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finals are approaching

I am finished with today's class and about to head to work, one more day of classes before finals. I only have three finals and they're all on Wednesday, oh joy. The plus side is that I have all day Monday to study and then Tuesday before work. These are my last days at Penn State York before I go up to University Park. It's very sad and I'll definitely miss this campus and all of the wonderful people here but I'm still super excited to have an apartment and start out on my own. I'll come back to visit over the Fall semester and I'm inviting everyone to come up and visit UP. I'm rooming with Nicole Lau and we're going to have the coolest apartment ever! We plan to make our own curtains and decorative pillows! We've decided that the apartment's official band will be the Beatles and we're super excited to start moving in on August 22nd, it'll be crazy hectic since that's move in day for the whole campus. But first: summer!!!! I want more of the wonderful weather that we had on Monday and Tuesday but I suppose I shall have to be patient for that as well.
In other news: Paul comes home in about four weeks!!!!!! and then I get to see my boating friends in MD. I'll try to update with pictures over the summer but now it's time to head to work.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting Ready for the Summer Semester

Ah, the end of the semester is here. Although that thought is comforting, I am going to tie up my Summer by taking 2 classes through the Penn State-World Campus. Both of these classes are GA courses and by finishing them, they will complete all of my GER courses. After having taken several courses through the World Campus, I believe that this will be an excellent way to earn 6 cr hrs of course work without hindering my Summer too much. The good thing about taking online courses in the Summer is that I am still able to go on vacation and not have to worry about missing any class time. The only down fall is that I will have to either work ahead or take my course work with me on vacation. Another positive of taking online courses is that I can sit at home, have a beer, and no one is the wiser. Take that Penn State! To all who read this, I wish you all a safe and memorable summer.

Best Wishes, Corey Baughman

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why am I doing this?

I am so looking forward to the end of this semester. As many adult learners, I do not have the luxury of living off mommy and daddy while going to school. I have been doing the college thing since my days in the Army (1997) to now. At the end of this semester, I will have accumulated approximately 95 credit hours of college from 6 different colleges. Seven if you count the credit hours earned from my Army training. Although I am nearing the end, I still have until the Spring of 2011 until I earn my degree. That last thought chaps my ass.

I continually ask myself why I am doing this. I already have a nice house and a great family. The job I have now pays a significant amount more that what an entry level HD FS major will start out with. I need or want for nothing. I am pretty much on my own terms in life. When I get my master's degree in rehabilitative counseling, I will probably still take a pay cut and have a significantly longer commute. Two years until graduation seems so far away. I have not had a semester off since I have started to include the summer 2008 semester. I am taking 2 classes this summer, 3 classes in the fall 2009 semester, and 3 in the spring 2010 semester. Count it out and that is 7 straight semesters without a break. I feel that I am a glutton for punishment.
What I tell myself is that I want to accomplish this goal. I want to accomplish is when it is and is not conveinent for me. I want to be a role model for my kids and for others who are multi tasking like me. When others tell me that they can not do college, I just look at them and tell them that if I can do it under these circumstances and responsibilities, so can they. The biggest key to being successful and sane is time management. I accomplish the task at hand and prepare for tasks as few others do. I am by far not one of the smartest students at Penn State-York. However, I know I am one of the best at time management and preparing class.
What am I getting out of this? A bald head and a serious case of insomnia. No seriously, I am getting the satisfaction knowing that all of this education and training will one day go towards assisting service-connected veterans with their reintegration into civilian life. They will have the opportunity to had one of them identify and assist them. Why am I doing this? I am doing this for my fellow veteran and for our community and so that my children will understand the importance of education.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Greyscale to full blown color

Heyyyyyyloooo everybody,
after a really long time my mind has finally been reignited and has a myriad of so many different things to tell you about! To be honest I havent been having the best of times ever since spring break and went through a really rough phase where loneliness, sadness, depression and all those negative things crept in. You know how it feels sometimes that you are in one of those old greyscale movies which you found so dull and boring as a kid and everything around you was dull, lifeless with no chance of escape caught in that small TV box.....thats exactly how it was. Cut off from the world, I yearned for and really missed my mother, my girlfriend and all those wonderful friends whom I talked about before. Life needed some color indeed.........and I was done here, ready to go home....
Sometimes, when its dark, or grey, or white, with no seeming possibility to add that excitement, all it takes is a drop of color to drip on the canvas and its pure joy... such a simple thing can make the difference in the world! And thats exactly what happened when I joined the Unity Day planning committee. I swear to you at that moment there was no chance I thought this small decision to attend would change my life here. But it did... UNITY WEEK 2009 was here
For the first time ever Penn State York, the only campus that celebrates this event amongst all other PSU campuses, decided to expand the event from one day to an entire week , giving the opportunity for each continent to display its cultures & diversity with its food, music, clothing etc etc etc. Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas would each have their day. The ending day would be the traditional Unity Day, where all these continents came together and end the week with a big bang!After weeks and weeks of meetings with planning, running around, organizing this and that, hundreds of emails and worrying and brainstorming, the event was finally here.
Unity week opened with Europe displaying its art and history and culture. With tables from Germany, France, Croatia and french food, there was a hustle and bustle in the Student community center such as never before. Suddenly the hallway was filled with balloons, tables , posterboards, cooking utensils and nice food! Amazing!
Then came the Americas with their unique blend of latin songs and dances, awesome food and colorful posters. Laura had an awesome booth for her country Peru and equally good was her rice and meat dish.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Penn State York Model United Nations (PSYMUN) hosted the annual high school crisis simulation yesterday. I've been working on this simulation for the past few weeks trying to make sure the high schools have all the info they need, we have the classrooms, awards and IT support that we need as well as food for breakfast and lunch. Luckily, it all worked. We had five committees this year: France, USA, UK, Russia, China (they happen to be the five veto powers on the United Nations Security Council. Four high schools were able to attend (some of them didn't have school yesterday for Easter Break): Cedar Cliff, Susquenita, Red Land, and Penn Manor. Susquenita received the overall first place high school award and the top two students from each committee room received Outstanding Delegate and Honorable Mention. If you're interested in seeing what crises the students were confronted with as well as what actions they decided to take visit our newsfeed.
Thanks to everyone who helped me with figuring out how to put on this conference for the students.
Hunter Schenck
PSYMUN President
Lion Ambassadors Historian

Friday, April 3, 2009

Well, here I am one year later from when I started at Penn State-York. I have finally gotten into the groove of things and all my classes are going well. For the first time in my life, I kind of understand Math. I have just completed my world campus course 6 weeks early and believe that I will get an "A". All in all, my experience here has been positive. The staff and faculty at Penn State are top notch. I have had to use the Nittany Success Center and was impressed with the resources that are available to us students.
I have had several issues with my academic progress and was impressed with the amount of support that I received. A word of advice to anyone who has ever had issues with their paperwork, do not stop advocating for yourself. For any of the adult learners out there, Dr. Crist is a pleasure to work with and she is an excellent advocate for all of us adult learners.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Break and Lion Ambassador Conference update

Hello everyone
I'm back from Ireland, the best spring break ever!
I left the states on the 6th and flew from BWI to JFK and then on to Shannon, Ireland to visit Paul (who's studying abroad for the semester). It was a wonderful trip, I made friends on each flight there and back and got to meet his uncle's family and his NUI Galway friends (National University of Ireland). We flew out to Edinburgh for three nights and stayed in a waterfront apartment complete with a full kitchen, dishwasher, two bathrooms, one with a tub and the other a shower, as well as a washing machine and flat screen TV! It was only about 54 pounds a night which is the amazing thing. We saw the castle and Holyrood Manor (where the royal family still visits, The Princess Mary stayed one night while we were there). We then went back to Ireland and down to Galway where I met a bunch of the foreign exchange students and had a delicious dinner, kudos to the French girls. We went to Inis Môr that Friday and wound up walking at least 10 miles around the island over fields and rocks. We even climbed down to the Ocean, it was such a gorgeous place.
Then we went back to his uncle's house on Saturday and 'babysat' his cousins, Alanna and Fina. (we wound up watching American Idol, the first I've seen this season) Unfortunately I had to leave him on Sunday and come back to reality in the states: school and work. Oh well, I get to see him Memorial Day Weekend :D

This weekend a bunch of Lion Ambassadors met up at Main Campus for the All-Campus Conference. We had a ton of fun (the hotel even had a pool and hot tub so we got there early), I'll try to upload pictures once I'm finished typing this. We all shared different ideas about how to improve our clubs and then played a few ice breaker games.
Well, that's the update for now.
Hunter Schenck

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adult Learner Continuation

Here is a continuation of my academic history.

After returning from Egypt, I was deployed to Bosnia in September of 1999 in support of NATO. While I was there, I received 10 cr hrs from the University of Maryland and Montgomery College. Although running patrols and taking classes was challenging, I was able to multitask and make ends meet. Anywhere I was able to receive college, I was willing to step up to the challenge.
After returning from Bosnia, I was transferred to the1-501st parachute infantry regiment (PIR), Ft. Richardson, Alaska. I had always wanted to be in an airborne unit and loved the cold weather of Ft. Drum, Ny. The 1-501st PIR is the only arctic airborne unit in the U.S. military arsenal. After several months of being on jump status, I was injured in an airborne operation where I sustained fractures and torn ligaments in both ankles. Since I was out of commission for a while, I found that the University of Alaska-Anchorage and Central Texas College offered classes on post. From there I spent the next 2 years trying to get as much college as possible until I was medically discharged from the Army. At the end of my career, I had worked hard enough to accumulate over 60 cr hrs of college.
Once I got out, I moved my family back to Red Lion, PA and started working at the prison. Since child care was costly, I had to wait five years until all of my children were of school age in order to return to school. I had heard of the vocational rehabilitation program that was offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. I qualified for the program and have been at Penn State-York ever since.
Starting back in college was something that I wanted to do, however at age 29, it frightened me. Here I was making very good money without a degree. However, I knew that I needed a degree to pursue a profession that I am passionate about, which is counseling. The first two weeks of the Spring 2008 semester were the hardest of my college career. I had signed up for 12 cr hrs of class my first semester back in college in five years. I figure that if I could place the maximum amount of work on me and take it seriously, it would be a good indicator of how my academic career would carry out. I knew that I had to work harder than most of the students at the school. I knew that I would be successful because I had something that set me apart from many of the students. I had a "can do" attitude and was not afraid to burn the candle at both ends. I knew what sacrifice and deprivation were and was not afraid to endure either. The mindset that had kept me driving is that failure is not an option. I refuse to not give my best effort. If I am limping through college, I am wasting my time and that of the university. After the Spring 2008 semester, I had worked hard enough to be on the Dean's List. This was quite an accomplishment for me as I had never made any academic honor roll in my life. To be continued.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Break

Bleh...I've been sick since Saturday just finally starting to recover. Spring break sucks...

In all seriousness, I'm not off on some fancy trip like some folks and had planned on just hanging out at home catching up with old friends. I did go to the National Aquarium in Baltimore with a friend of mine but otherwise haven't managed to get out as much as I'd have liked.

So that's pretty much where I'm at right now...finally out of bed but still drinking lots of orange juice.

Hopefully someone else has an interesting story to share.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Not in vain..

Hey all,
I know I havent written in a long time here and apologies for that! There is a lot to talk about and I do want to sit down and get a nice long post about all thats been happening and some things that have not been happening as well! But today I just felt like talking about something else...
I know Iv spoken quite a bit about how much a lot of effort has been put into me coming here and getting this education..and today I wanna tell you about that one man whom I miss the most in this whole wide world and without whom I and my mother would not be here where we are today.
Girish Rajadhyaksha was born as the third child in a poor yet ever increasing family in Mumbai in the 1970s. Growing up in old Mumbai in a not so rich family wasnt the best deal you could get in the 70s. Life was difficult and Girish didnt find it a bed of roses either. His mother wasnt the most helpful of persons, and although his dad worked hard, it just wasnt enough to support 5 children and Girish like his siblings had to start working from a very young age. Tough times instilled tough values, and in no time , he was one of the most famous doctors in Mumbai, married to the woman of his dreams and with a perfect life. The only thing missing was a child....
Due to certain reasons Gauri, his wife could not bear a child..they decided to adopt.
On a fine morning in September 1988, the doctor and his wife visited the Children of the World centre in Mumbai. Gauri was a bit apprehensive...several babies lay crying or sleeping in cots in a large room. The nurse guided them inside, and they walked towards the babies. They passed one after another, babes either bawling or snoring. Somehow something wasnt right... they walked on. Then suddenly as they were about to pass another infant who was snoring in the nice soft bed, they saw it open its eyes. The baby looked at them, stretched out his hand and grabbed Gauri's finger, and gave the biggest smile in the world. This was it, this was the child. Girish and Gauri knew instantly. Within moments they had the baby in their arms and in no time the baby was home. They gave the baby a name...Shantanu Girish Rajadhyaksha was born.
I grew up always with one be just like my father. True, I was always closest to my mother, but dad or 'baba' was my hero. The best doc in the world. Growing up in those years was amazing...he did things for me that noone else would have done. I remember when Coca-Cola re-launched in India again in 1994, he drove for 5 hours just to find me a bottle of Coke, and only rested when he saw me sipping it with a smug grin on my face in my mom's arms. His clinic was just 5 minutes from our house, and I would always find time to go there and sit once in a day, playing with his assistant or with him whenever he was free. I was too small to have noticed how amazingly well he was respected by the masses. Everyone from all classes of society would come to him and he would treat everyone equally. My mom has countless stories about the number of times he performed miraculous surgeries or just brough people back from death. We had mafia bosses come to our place, get themselves treated by my father , and then offer him their allegiance. At the time int he early 90's, Mumbai was ruled by a very well known ganglord who was responsible for the Hindu-Muslim riots and the subsequent terrorist attacks in 1993. The papers would be filled with stories of murders carried out by this ganglords cronies..Bollywood stars being their prime targets. Yet they always had enormous respect for my father and he always kept them at the furthest distance, refusing to let him or his family get involved in any way. Life was good....we had a ncie house, we bought another big mansion on the outskirts of Mumbai, and were practically millionaires.
In February 1995, my uncle, my mother's sister's husband, got very sick. They lived in a neighboring city, and while returning from a religious visit, he suddenly had severe migraines and had to be admitted to a local hospital. Hygiene wasnt really that good at the place, and even though the doctors performed an emergency operation to remove a big tumour from his brain, my uncle developed an infection in his brain which put him in a coma. Naturally everyone was very worried, and both my mother and father rushed to be at his side. My father was more so needed at this time than any other. We made several trips, and I remember being there for a couple of days too. This time however, my father could not save him. My uncle's infection proved to be fatal.. and he passed away on March 4th. I was in Mumbai at my cousins' place and my parents were with my aunt to be by her side. My mom thought I should be there too. She almost never left me alone and she missed me a lot. She told my dad ' Could you get Shantanu here please?' He agreed and decided to drive down back to Mumbai to pick me up.
6th March 1995 : I was playing cricket with my favorite cousin at 7 pm at night. Dinner was almost ready and since I was about to win the game I didnt want it to be cut short. The door bell rang. Everything went silent for 2 minutes. Suddenly there was my aunt calling me outside in the hall . Oh! here were two of my father's friends. 'Hey Sunil Uncle, Hey Vilas uncle. How come you are here?' ' Shantanu you have to go home with them ok?' '' ' yes now, we will talk later ok?' ' Ok..fine' ..We drove home...there was utter silence in the car. Noone felt like talking. I couldnt understand it. Why didnt they let me finish the game? Are Mama and Baba home? 'Shhh Shantanu we are almost home' they said. We parked outside the apartment complex gates. There were a lot of people waiting downstairs ...dressed in white. 'Has someone died uncle?' I asked innocently. They didnt say.... I was led up the stairs. The door to my house was open...I walked in....My father was lying asleep at peace on the floor. He was covered in a white cloth. His eyes had cotton balls over them. I knew at that point what it was...but I didnt realize the shock. My father was no longer alive. He was dead. He had been caught in a car accident while coming back get me. He was waiting at a signal and a truck had backed up on our car, breaking though the windshield and ramming into my father, killing him instantly. The truck driver fled. There was my father....dead on the highway...after saving so many lives God took away his own, he called his angel back. I honestly say I could not grasp the pain, I just wanted to be with my mother. I went in. There she was, crying, sobbing hysterically just waiting for me to hold so she could let her emotions flow at the top of her voice. I still remember the exact words she said..'' Shonu..majhi Shonu...(My darling baby).. aata fakta tu ani me (now its just you and me)..Baba nahi yenar parat ....(Your father is not coming back)" and we just hugged each other and cried...I remember nothing else from that night.
Today its been 14 years to the day since he passed away. I want to tell my mom something. She was wrong when she said my father would not be coming back. Shes wrong...because he never left us. From that moment onward when people realized that Girish Rajadhyaksha was alive no more, the fame vanished. There were to be no celebrities, no glamour, no millions. All that was left was a woman who did not work and her little son. Everyone but a handful of people deserted us, offered us no support...But we survived. All the taunts, all the attempts to bring us down, spurred my mother even further. We werent out. My father had invested all of our money wisely and it was enough to last a lifetime. My mother learnt how to make use of it. She worked hard to learn the tricks of the trade, and we are at this point of time successful and doing good because of those efforts and invaluable decisions made by my father. My father lives on in me , my mother's husband lives on in her, Girish Rajadhyaksha lives on in us. The day I got my visa, me and my mother both thought of the same thing..' This is for you dad'
Even though my parents adopted me, I do believe today that I am my father's son. Whatever I do today , whatever good that I have done , its all because I just want to be like him. I know I will never be. I always want to be known as ' Girish Rajadhyaksha's son'.. wherever I end up. I spoke to my mother today, she doesnt cry anymore. Today she is happy, that her son has made his father proud. Somewhere up in the sky, somewhere in my soul, somewhere within me, I hope my baba is smiling at me.He died trying to reach out to me, today I want to be as successful as I can so that I may finally grab his hand one day and make that connection at last. I know he would have been very proud of me and my mom, and I feel that pride driving me on to those greater heights...
Never forget that we all are here due to the superhuman efforts of someone who loves us to much that even death doesnt stop them from making sure we get what we want..whether it be a bottle of Coca-Cola or a world-class education. Make those people proud..step up!
Baba I love you
Dedicated to the best father in the world - Girish Yeshwant Rajadhyaksha.

Dedicated to Girish Yeshwant Rajadhyaksha

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First blog representing the adult learners.

Hello, My name is Corey Baughman and I believe that I am a Junior here at Penn State-York. I am 30 years old and am married with 3 daughters who are 6, 8, and 10. I also work second shift as a Lieutenant at York County Prison. I have been at Penn State-York since Spring of 2008.
Hmm...where should I begin? I will start off by explaining who I am and how I ended up at Penn State-York. First off, I graduated from York Vo-Tech or York School of Technology with a certificate in electrical occupations. I was not the greatest student in high school. Although I was involved in such activities such as class president, vice-president of student council, captain of the football team etc., my graduating GPA was about a 2.6. It wasn't that couldn't grasp the material, I just chose not to grasp the material. I thought that it was more important to chase girls and party with the boys. This led me to me first career.
With school not being my forte, I chose to join the Army as an infantry soldier. Although I could have had my choice of jobs in the service, I wanted to jump out airplanes and shoot big guns. Well, I got my wish in the summer of 1996 when I enlisted and was sent to Ft. Benning to boot camp. From there I was assigned to the 1oth Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, NY. If anyone does not know where that is, it is above Syracuse, NY and is colder than your first meeting with the in-laws. Three weeks after I got to Ft. Drum, I left from a blizzard in upstate NY to the deserts of Egypt for a 6 month peacekeeping mission. This is where I received my first taste of college. At the time, I was less than a year out of school when my team leader suggested that I take up school. I said, " No way sarge, I didn't sign up to go to college. I am not a college guy." Sgt. Talbot said, "Ok Pvt. Baughman, While the others are sitting in class, I am going to smoke your bags for an hour." Needless to say, I chose to go to college over getting scuffed-up on a daily basis. Once I was in class, I found that it was an extension of high school. While I was over there, I received 6 cr hrs of college from Central Texas College. To be continued.......

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Just jumping on here to further procrastinate since I should be studying...2 exams, 3 midterms, and 2 papers due this week. I did get my first midterm grade back from last week though - I got an A thankfully since I put tons of work into that. I'd been studying nonstop for 5 days barely stopping to eat and sleep. It was quite a few terms and things to memorize, but it ended up being worth it. I still say studying is detrimental to one's academic success in art history, but it may help in civil liberties. Off to sleep through another lecture, see ya.

P.S. Welcome to the blog Hunter. When's PSY's crisis sim? Am I still welcome to be a chair?

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I'm currently up at main campus for the Penn State United Nations Conference. So far it's been a ton of fun (I'm Artemis in the Pantheon of the Gods), I'm about to head back to our last Committee Session for today, one more tomorrow and then we'll head back to York.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I feel the need to write about thon
I'm watching the webcast right now and the Icers Hockey team is onstage in the BJC (Bryce Jordan Center) dressed as Penguins. It's absolutely hilarious and I highly recommend that you watch the live webcast. I'm heading up to Thon tomorrow with Sara and everyone in York's van as long as the weather holds out. I'm going to wear as much green as possible! Now the Lionettes are performing Under the Sea.
I guess I'm done with my little blurb for now, if I get any good pictures tomorrow I'll try to figure out how to post them.
Hunter Bryce