Month: April 2009

Tagaytay City, Philippines

Somewhere among the clouds lie the highlands of Tagaytay, green and misty, 2 hours away from the busy city life of Manila, the capital. It is here that I spent the weekend, treated to a gorgeous view of the Taal lake, and among people so warm and friendly that it almost felt like home. The trip was sponsored by Accenture, for a 3-day Student Leadership Conference (SLC), during which all of Taal Vista was filled with what I believe to be some of the brightest minds in the Philippines. It never ceases to amaze me that despite our geographical remoteness, the journey we undertake as students tends to bind us in no time at all, like we were always in it together. The SLC was styled with seminars conducted by senior Accenture executives, and intersparsed with team activities that made me feel like a college freshie again! The highlight of the stay was the post-conference bonding with students from different parts of the Philippines, including Baguio, Cebu and Manila. It took me less than a …

Off the beaten track

College degrees are analogous to fashion trends. The ones that manage to attain critical mass sell like hot cakes, albiet periodically. The 80s were for med schools, the 90s saw students flock to engineering, the early 2000s started the fad of computer wizards, the last 4-5 years have generated an inordinate number of bankers, and the next few, I predict, will see the masses revert back to the doctors and engineers. In fact, fancy foreign banking experience, which once scored points for eligible bachelors (particularly Indian, since the arranged marriage concept is almost alien to other nationalities), has become quite the tabboo this season. During my own time in college, I have seen many a talent wasted in the race for the most popular college degree. Off beat degrees, it seems, are still only for the daredevils, the rich & hence financially secure, and those who can’t make the academic cutoff of mainstream courses. Of course, there are those who discover only midway through college that they are not cut out for the rat race. …

Keep Off The grass

I finally found, read and loved a book that hasn’t been extensively reviewed (yet) on the blogosphere! If you aren’t already enticed by the title, get a load of this: an Indian investment banker on Wall Street, born and brought up in the US, decides to quit his million dollar job to go to India to find his roots. He enrolls himself at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Bangalore, and what ensues is a hillarious chase of answers, grades and weed.  Obviously, the IIM turns out to be completely different from typical B-schools in the US and elsewhere. Samrat Ratan, the protagonist, once a Yale valedictorian and a big-shot banker, is pitted against the super-brained IITians from the country, only to discover that mediocrity has its own virtues. His constant struggle between his American upbringing and Indian roots initially finds no solace in the rat-race of grades and jobs, until he realizes that relationships are what really matter.  In his quest for happiness, Samrat meets Sarkar and Vinod, the former an incredibly smart guy with …

Saturn & Stargazing

2009 is a special year in the night sky. The Earth is exactly at the same level as Saturn in space, allowing us Earthlings to catch a vertical view of the second largest planet in our solar system, a one in 15 years phenomenon. To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, the Science Center in Singapore has opened up its Observatory for free stargazing sessions every Friday night. This week, the main telescope was aligned to focus on Saturn and its moons, and it made for a spectacular sight. In the magnified view of the telescope, Saturn appears exactly like it was depicted in secondary school geography textbooks, complete with the rings. The rings, which are really pieces of dust and ice moving at tremendous speeds, look gorgeous! Of the 62 moons of Saturn, only 4 of the brighter ones were visible through the telescope, and appeared as though they were protecting the rings of Saturn. To the naked eye, or through a pair of binoculars, Saturn only appears as a bright star in the sky. …

Untitled

This happened in the summer of 2007, when all I wanted to do was lie under the mango tree in the backyard of my house, and make patterns in my head by tracing out the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds, visible through the small peep-holes made by the leaves of the mango tree. It was still a fortnight and a rain shower before the first batch of mangos would be magically transformed from raw green to the color of the sun whose rays they bathed in day after day.    It wasn’t a particularly hot or dry summer. I spent many an evening sprawling under the voluminous mango tree, listening to the evening cries of birds that nested in my backyard, watching the leaves dance in the occasional breeze, toying with infinite thoughts about our universe. On one such daily dates with nature, when the birds hadn’t yet started chirping, the silence of the evening was broken by my pet dog howling in the distance. His pitch would rise and fall, but …

Perspectives

As adults, we often train ourselves to think in ways that favor us. Instead of rotating thoughts, ideas and opinions through 360 degrees, we fix them at an angle and refuse to twist them. Gradually, everything starts to enter a region of grey, and we reach a point where it’s hard to seperate good from bad, right from wrong, and black from white.  I guess my point is that as we make our transitions into adulthood,  it is important to open up to perspectives. We are often ingrained with opinions about people and ideologies, and it can never hurt to switch shoes and re-evaluate them. I didn’t mean this to be a motivational post, I promise. All I wanted to get across is that the world is full of perspectives, and if only we loosen up, we’ll start to enjoy the 360 degree view. Here’s a video on perspectives, courtesy a friend. If you aren’t wowed yet, watch it again. The words, when read forward paint a picture of negativity. The same words, when read …