Sunday, December 9, 2012

Getting over surprises

And the first surprise is: I haven't abandoned the blog! So,, here goes...nothing. I have no idea what to say. Me, super responsible and conscientious, have not been near blogosphere for almost 4 months. Properly ashamed am I for those who have missed me. You are all very kind. But after getting no comments on my last post, I was convinced that no one missed me and a short absence would go unnoticed. Only trouble was, the short absence became much longer than intended. Believe me, college life, especially with the semester system is more busy than carefree for students (movies really do exaggerate the "fun" of college life)

So yes, I do have many things about college I would love to share. In fact, I'd even made a list of things which surprised me about college. Now when I look back at it, I've been more of an old fashioned person than I thought.

1. Teachers wearing jeans and...being young - Guess my old fashioned mind is too used to seeing my teachers in salwar kameez and sari. But after seeing my teachers like this, sometimes with chic tops too, I had to cheer them on!

2. Calculators in the exams - I cannot even describe how truly happy I felt when we were told in class that we would be allowed to use calculators even in our maths exam. I felt like squealing the news to everyone that day. My source of happiness was of course that I would no longer make silly mistakes in calculations. It is true they compensated for this by giving tougher calculations, but at least my answers have a better chance of being right ;)

3. Girls choosing to go to the library for the fiction and study - Once again I was ecstatic at discovering that many girls of my class read novels with interest and preferred the library. I saw girls sitting in our common room and just reading by themselves in their free periods. Finally, it is not unfashionable for me to have my nose in a book!

4. Elections - Since politics was never very interesting to me, I've become quite used to knowing just a little bit about the more prominent politicians. And anyone would agree with me that here the males outnumber the females. So it was quite a surprise for me when a senior walked into my class in the days preceding the elections and began making all kinds of promises to every one of our college societies. There was actually canvassing going around me with all the "Vote ___" badges going around, seniors telling us to vote for people in our own department and often, candidates dropping in to tell us all about themselves and what they would do.

Right now I'm enjoying holidays after my semester exams. I'll sign off now. I don't promise to be regular, but I promise to come back a couple of times before the end of the year :)

Monday, August 20, 2012


Just 5 remarkable college experiences:

1. Interacting with Celebrities - The students of SRCC organised 'Youth Conference 2012'. I got to hear and ask questions from people like Suhel Seth (a political commentator, among many other things), Ajay Chaturvedi (who initiated the innovative rural project 'harva') and the one whom many of the girls came for (!) Gaurav Kapoor (actor, VJ, RJ...). It was so nice to see that celebrities are ordinary people like us and to imagine that we could reach the same level too.

2. Dealing with Disappointment - I didn't clear the second rounds of the debating or western music society auditions. And the Indian music one was a fiasco as well. But what I've learned it - there are some times when you just have to accept that things didn't work out the way you wanted. Accept that and move on, and keep believing that things will be better soon.

3. The endless stream of opportunities - At least five new posters clamour for my attention when I enter college everyday. Numerous competitions, placement announcements, offers to be campus ambassadors for companies and "vote for ___" are the posters on every noticeboard. It feels strange to realize that so much was going on in the world while we were caught up with school! Sometimes the world feels bigger than before and sometimes it feels smaller ;)

4. The difficulty of getting back to studies - The teachers are teaching, the students are taking notes...but how many are actually studying? It's a difficult question to answer. Perhaps it's because there isn't the closeness of school or maybe because nobody wants to be seen as a geek, but nobody is really discussing their study patterns or methods. It gives a false sense of security to think that if everyone else is planning to manage without studies, maybe you can too. But just as I start to relax, I remember one thing: most of the students in my class are science and commerce students who actually managed to cross those high cutoffs. No doubt there are lots of 'chhupe rustams' among them!

5. Strangers are not so bad - I had my first metro and bus rides alone and also my first few days in college, all in the company of complete strangers. But I was surprised by how nice some of them are. Many of my college seniors and the random passengers I met on the bus were so nice that I felt silly for being nervous about talking to them!

I wrote in my last post - "...going back to regular studies again, especially with every teacher sternly repeating that this is "College and not school", is a little jarring. The syllabus seems simple but the teachers teach it as if it's a jack-in-the-box and some horrific thing is going to pop out soon. The syllabus is the least of anyone's concerns however, when everyone is still making friends and griping about the weather. We're all really hoping that time speeds up so we can reach and experience the "fun" things that college is supposed to be about."

Guess "the fun" is here ! 

p.s. keep smiling :)  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I return; wiser in some ways, more foolish in others

I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.

- Jimi Hendrix

It's been a long, long, long, long time since I wrote on my blog. Apologies to all my friends whose posts I've missed out on and apologies to all those who were hoping to see posts from me (thanks for hoping). I'm not dead, merely in a sabbatical.

Most of you might know that the boards and their results are old news. It's been a week since college session started in Delhi University, where I secured a seat. Sadly though, I wasted a lot of time regretting not having studied harder for the boards and not getting a better college (hence no post for so long. I had to force myself to write this one).

But I won't write more about that. The exciting part was visiting a number of the prominent DU colleges to try my luck in the extra curricular activities' trials. My sports abilities are average, so I gave it my best shot in debating. None of them worked out, but it was fun visiting the campuses and chatting with the other hopefuls.

In these months, I spent a lot of time worrying about the future, but I also spent a little time exploring. I spent a delightful day visiting Hauz khas village and the Fort. Luckily, the day I went, there was no more than weak sunshine at intervals and it was fresh and breezy. It was a real treat walking around the HUGE lake, clicking pictures and watching all the squirrels and ducks in the surrounding park.

But now before anyone asks, college has been nice too. Of course, the first few days everyone made sure to dress well (but it's loosened up now). I've made some friends. I like the clean, green, unpolluted campus and the three-storey library.

But I have to admit, going back to regular studies again, especially with every teacher sternly repeating that this is "College and not school", is a little jarring. The syllabus seems simple but the teachers teach it as if it's a jack-in-the-box and some horrific thing is going to pop out soon. The syllabus is the least of anyone's concerns however, when everyone is still making friends and griping about the weather. We're all really hoping that time speeds up so we can reach and experience the "fun" things that college is supposed to be about.

I've had free time, so I used some of it to join Facebook. Understandably, my friends were shocked :P But I still miss them. What I wouldn't give to have one more full school day with my old teachers and everyone in uniform? *sigh*
I also drew up a list of things for me to complete by the end of the year which consists of absolutely unrelated things like "Draw 5 drawings/paintings" and "Meditate on 30 days". It's hard for me to settle on doing one thing for a long time, hence the varied to-dos to keep me busy when I'm alone.

And of course, there's the staple: I watched movies (The King's speech is marvellous) and read books.

I've had a little too much time for self reflection. Am still working on ways to forgive myself. And also on really accepting that other people are different, and have a right to be. I haven't dealt with all my dealt with all my bad habits. I haven't achieved all the things I dreamed of. I haven't stopped being afraid of making mistakes. I'm not yet free from every worry that weighs me down.

OH wait, and there's still the matter of discovering my identity.

There are a lot of hopes riding on college. So here's a fresher signing off!

- Charu

Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.

-Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The story of the storytellers - 2

(The first part of 'The story of the storytellers' can be found here)

Please welcome this week's writer : Baba Vaniteshwar from Saucy Jane 

" I'm the cat's meow,the bees's knees,the dog's whiskers. "

Your favourite hobbies aside from writing? How do you unwind?
 I paint, or just mess about with paint. Also, lately photography has put a spell on me.

Do you believe we need inspiration to write? Is your writing planned or spontaneous? Do you take out time regularly for writing?
 My writing is mostly spontaneous. Sometimes I'm watching a movie or just doing something random thing and BANG! An idea hits me.
Though sometimes, people or things do give me some inspiration.
Nah, I don't take time out for writing. Somehow I can't force myself to write anything. It comes to me.

Now that you're a better writer (I'm sure you are!), what advice would you have given to your past self if you could?
 I still have a long way to go as a writer but if I could advice my past-self I'd say-You're not writing for anyone else but yourself. Don't be afraid to let the ink flow.

Do you prefer any particular genre or do you just freestyle in your writing?
 I freestyle. Though, I avoid romance & philosophy.

The best thing about being a writer?
 This might take a while =)
         When you start writing, you get transported into a world which is wholly yours.

Your milestones and favourite moments as a writer? Any you're proud of?
 Ah, when I was in the fifth grade, my English teacher read my fiction post and was amazed. She told me I would go a long way if I would improve on my writing. I did. 
One favourite moment was when my essay was published in The Young World. It was then I knew I simply have to be a journalist.

And the age old classic, any advice for aspiring writers? 
 The same thing I would have told my past-self-let the ink flow.

The nicest compliment you've ever received for your writing or the way you write?
      That I create magic with words. ^_^

What question would you ask your favourite writer(s)?
 When is the next book coming out?

What are your thoughts on writer's block? If you've ever had it, how did you get through it?
 Writer's block. My life long nemesis.
To get over it, I just write. Even if it is random senseless ramblings, I just write.

What are your plans for and where do you see yourself in the near future?
 It changes everyday. One day I want to become a journalist, the next day I want to become a world famous artist.

Any author or personality, dead or alive, you would like to meet or work with? Any recent favourite book?
 I would LOVE to work with J.R.R.Tolkien.
         Recent favourite book-The city of Djinns & Palace of illusions.

What words would you use to describe yourself as a writer or a person?
 Eclectic, different, a wandering soul.

 If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
 A Comedy Of Errors.

How much of your writing is inspired from real life?
 Pretty much most of it is drawn from my own experiences and feelings.

Anything you would like to change or improve in yourself as a writer, blogger or person? 
 I wish I were more free in putting what's in my mind on paper.

Any other question that you wish I'd asked? What would be the answer? 
 You pretty much hit the nail on the head :)

Anything small or big that has frustrated you recently?
 My inexcusably bad performance in the recent exams.

What's one of your biggest dreams? 
 To have people come up to me and say “ I love your book! Would you please sign my copy? It's for my daughter. She wants to be like you one day”. [ I'm an egomaniac, sue me] :D

Share your thoughts please!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Birds - we've grown up with them!

Most of you might not remember that almost a year ago I started a series called Saving the earth. In it I suggested that we all do something to help the environment based on our inclinations and limitations. Recently I discovered an initiative on the net which I hope most of us would take part in.

You'll find the homepage of the Citizen  Sparrow Initiative hereThe project is run by the Bombay Natural History Society, together with a group of organisations interested in nature, birds and conservation from all across the country. Here is the introduction on their website:

House Sparrows -- who can resist these chirpy, cheerful and charming birds? 

Sparrows are found all over the world, almost everywhere that humans live. But strangely, sparrow populations have been in decline in many parts of the world, for reasons that are still unclear, although hotly debated! In India, sparrows used to be found in great abundance in all our cities, towns and villages; but sadly not any more. 

Where are sparrows still found in India? Where were they found before? In which places have they declined the most? 

The answers to these questions are crucial if we are to discover what ails them, and how to bring them back. 

You can help!

By spending 5 minutes documenting the presence or absence of sparrows in localities you know well, both at present and at any time in the past, you will join enthusiasts all over the country in helping sparrows. 

You will be asked a brief set of questions, including the precise location of areas you know (or knew) well, aspects of the habitat in these localities, sparrow presence or absence in these localities, and optional information about things like locations of nests, amount of green space, and so on. The questionnaire is very simple to fill, and there is also space for you to share your favourite sparrow stories

I can vouch for the fact that it takes very little time to create an account and contribute your observations and stories. 

This is their 'How-to' page which has all the instructions =>

You'll find a full map of people's observations here=>

People's stories about sparrow are here =>

The campaign has been extended till the 15th of June. Please, please take out some time if you can to look up this initiative and contribute something to it. Help in saving the innocent little bird that we have all grown up adoring before they vanish altogether!  

Update: Just came across an article in the Hindustan Times, June 5. The Nature Forever Society is launching a campaign called 'Bird of the Month' to raise awareness about 18 common bird species found across India.  It seems very much on the lines of the Citizen Sparrow initiative, except that there are more birds, like mynah and pigeon that are being observed. If you're interested in being a part of their 'Common Bird Monitoring of India' program, you can check out their very cool site at