What Do You Feed On?

One thing I've learnt from various authors is this:

  1. The Mind is a garden. What you sow in it is what you reap in the real world. 
  2. If you are careful about what you feed your stomach, then be careful of what thoughts you feed your mind. 
  3. If you will not permit weeds to grow in your backyard, do not let similar negative thoughts to be sown and grown in the garden of your mind. I.e. beware of suggestion! 

What you may or may not realize is that people in our environment influence us with their suggestions - their comments, their opinions, their advice, their baggage, their criticism, their approval, their disapproval, their compliments ad infinitum. The concept of suggestion is to install a thought into a mind - be it another's or one's own.

This is the fundamental concept behind hypnosis and it is very much effective, as you will come to realize if you look back on how many times you watched events occur in your life just because your MIND acted on another's suggestion.

You may not be as sensitive to what strangers or mere acquaintances may say to you. You may ignore some suggestions as they come to you. Nevertheless, you ARE permitting several suggestions, on an hourly basis, into your head.

What you read/hear/watch on the NEWS affects you. What you read/see on Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp affects you. You are surrounded by millions of suggestions, everyday.

What you think about yourself or your life affects you. This is called autosuggestion.

I do not mean to say that all suggestions are harmful. I'm only trying to warn you all about the fact that we are constantly being shaped by the people we communicate with or interact with, on a daily basis. So be aware of suggestion! Use positive autosuggestion to keep your Mind's Garden free from parasites.

May your Garden be evergreen!

A Manifested Reality

I would like to draw some of my favorite inferences (based on a reasonable understanding from several other psychological and philosophical books) from 2 of my most favorite trilogies - Star Wars and The Matrix.


George Lucas' Star Wars Trilogy has a lot to teach us. Basically, it's an admitted adaptation from several Eastern Philosophies such as Hinduism, Bhuddism, Zen, Taoism etc. Nevertheless, it puts a lot of things into perspective for the contemporary man.

1) Fear, anger, hate and aggression are gateways to the Dark Side. The Dark Side may promise power. It is quick, easy and seductive. But the ones who take it are merely weak and enslaved. Thus, when any one of these negative emotions knock at your door, acknowledge them but don't give in to them. This will not be easy, but it will make you proud of yourself on the long run.

2) Nothing is impossible, no matter how big it may seem. If you don't believe, then you cannot. 'Do. Or do not. There is no try.'

3) Passion may not always be constructive. But compassion is required. Give love, but don't get attached. This may not be as easy as it sounds. But it's possible as long as you look at everything you do or have from a third person's point of view.

4) We all derive our energies from an all pervading energy field. This energy field is infinite in nature and connects all the living as well as the non-living. If one can feel this force (which is going to require a lot of meditation) then it shall prove to be a very powerful ally.

5) The power of mind and intuition will always be the most predominant of all. Technology can facilitate man, but it cannot compete with the power of the mind. The strongest of minds can manipulate their realities.


The Matrix also give us a fair idea of this very concept:

1) Our 'realities' are merely lucid dreams, virtual in nature. 'There is no spoon.' Our dreams are condensed versions of our thoughts. Our realities are manifestations of our dreams. If we can understand the nature of our reality, the influence of our subconscious mind over it and the fact that we create our own realities, then we could do the 'impossible'.

2) To train the body, one must train the mind. And vice-versa. (This also explains why Jedi Knights, excuse me for the relapse, train themselves physically as well as mentally.)

3) Anything that the mind can perceive, can be achieved.  We just need to 'program' ourselves to think along the right direction.

4) There will always be those who want to 'install' their programmed thoughts into your mind. Do not let them, lest you turn into one of them, losing your individuality.

5) On a more spiritual note, we're all plugged into the Matrix. Realizing that you're in a dream will bring you to a conscious state. Realizing that even 'reality' is a dream (as prescribed by certain philosophies) will wake you up to a state of realization - i.e. Nirvana.


A deeper understanding of these concept can be obtained from certain books like - The Secret and The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.

I also understood how the Indian Philosophy of an all pervasive Force (as adopted by the Jedi) which manifested into the universe (as against merely creating it) works for us. We're all merely droplets of the same ocean.

We work with the same Infinite Power (of the universe) and under the same Creative Intelligence (the subconscious mind). That's what makes hate, insecurity and jealousy pointless.

Think about it. The law of Karma (What you sow is what you reap. What goes around comes around.) is simply based on the fact that whatever we send out there into the universe (thoughts, words or actions) are merely being absorbed by us ourselves. That's why we feel bad when we curse someone, think spitefully about them or hurt them. And likewise, we feel good when we make someone smile or help someone out. Because we're basically doing to ourselves whatever it is we do to the others.

Thank Your Teachers

“Some people come in our life as blessings. Others come in our life as lessons.” ― Mother Teresa

Life is man's best teacher. It's lessons are harsh, but they are profound if understood and taken in the right spirit. Life will teach you the SAME lesson again and again until you learn. It is a very patient and yet mischievous teacher. 

Life sends us many who share the sunshine with us. Some may share the moonlight with us. But when life throws challenges in your way, you will see that only few would remain standing by your side. 

When you're in the dark, your shadows will disappear and so will your false friends.

Judas may betray the Christ, selling his identity to his enemies. Brutus may conspire against his very own 'best friend', Julius Cesar, and stab him right in the heart.  Delilah may betray Samson, by becoming his weakness and using it to bring his very downfall. Such men learned their lessons only when it was too late. But YOU, on the other hand, still have the opportunity to LEARN!

You may curse and condemn the ones who hurt you. You may hold a grudge against them and brood about your injuries for days. But then you will only be carrying them around your necks. They may have hurt you ones, but you would be reliving the episodes over and over again in your head. This is how we hurt ourselves more than anyone else does.  
The true nature of every human being is to be humane, to love. When people hurt you, it's because they themselves are damaged and weak. Such people need to be sympathized with and forgiven, because nothing can annoy them any more than this. 

Anyway, thank the ones who hurt you, esp. the ones who betray you. They are your ultimate teachers! If you learn to handle them, you shall be ready for life's NEXT lesson. Because of them, your eyes were opened. Because of them, you are now wise and enlightened. Because of them you have suffered, and suffering will ALWAYS make a man stronger. Thank them, because without them, you would have never learned such a valuable lesson. 

Be brave. Laugh! This will frighten them, because they wanted you to weep and to suffer forever.   

There SHALL be those who do genuinely intend to do you good. But when you're too preoccupied with the wounds of your past, you cannot see the healers of the present.  Live in the present, because it is actually a much better place if you could remind yourself that the past is OVER!

The only revenge you can take against the bitch who made you suffer is to laugh and be happy, showing her that she failed miserably.

Letting Go

"Justice is about harmony. Revenge is about you making yourself feel better."  - Batman Begins
There comes a time (or more than just one) where one may feel that he/she has been wronged.
It's often more tempting to take an 'eye for an eye' than 'turning the other cheek'. I often found the preaching of Gandhi and Jesus to be ridiculous. It takes a lot of strength (and perhaps, foolishness) to pray for one's persecutors. Revenge often appears to be the sweetest option.

Unfortunately, vengeance isn't the most gratifying option. Often, it may not even fill the void the mishap left to begin with. And until the thirst for vengeance has been 'quenched', one does not permit even himself/herself to rest. It's a poison which eats away one's own spirit.

There are those who may betray you, forsake you in the middle of your life's worst battles, injure you, humiliate you, belittle you, laugh at you, tease and taunt you, and ultimately deny having done any such thing. No matter how much your blood boils because of these things, you can only make it worse by seeking vengeance.

Let me explain! Who ever wronged you did with the sole intention of seeing you hurt, crippled, defeated and destroyed. If you react in anger, you are doing exactly as he/she expects you to. And you will not only make a fool of yourself and regret this, but you will also fuel your adversaries.

True strength lies not in one's ability to inflict or return the same damage, but in one's ability to stay in control of his/her emotions, no matter what.

"I find vengeance to be petty." Said a friend of mine. "It might sound thrilling and fulfilling, but it's immature."

And then when I think about it, I realize why Jesus prayed for his persecutors on his cross. Carrying a grudge against your persecutors will not harm anyone but yourself.

Hate is a powerful weapon. It turns a man against himself in the battle of life.
Forgiveness isn't a necessary solution. It's definitely not an easy solution. But if you can walk away with your dignity, you'd have at least learnt your lesson. Thus, you will be a better man while your persecutors are left behind, where they can no longer harm you. And they will realize how pathetic they are when the time comes. Leave vengeance to Karma. She'll do a neat job for you!

Let go: not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because you deserve peace.   

Don't Empower Your Enemy

There's one lesson I learnt, the hard way, last month around this time. There will be those who will try to provoke you by any means possible. They will taunt you and try to crush your spirit by hitting you below the belt. Such times are the ultimate test of a man's patience and strength.

My immediate reaction to such a scenario was to scream my head off and use abusive language, which I'd never done before, esp. not in public. (I would have taken to physical abuses, but my adversary was a woman and unfortunately our 'male dominated world' sympathizes with the woman first, no matter what.) I lost control that day. And I realized that I was also defeated by my own actions.

Anger is like hot charcoal in your hand. It burns your hand before you can throw it onto someone else. 

When you raise your voice, use abusive language or take to physical violence, you might think you're holding up the fort. But the truth is that you are doing exactly what your adversary wants: you are reacting! When you react, you encourage them to taunt you even more. Eventually, you will break and make a fool of yourself. This is how the enemy often succeeds. Beware!

There is only one good solution to facing jerks: smile, hold your head high and walk away. I know that this is easier than done, but it's a lot better than the other alternatives. It saves you your honor as well as your energy. You will not give your opponent the satisfaction of getting on your nerves and at the same time, you will not commit a mistake which you might regret for a long time.

When your foes taunt or tease you, all you can do is remember that they are doing so only because they lack the maturity to respect the humanity within you. And by inwardly laughing at their spiritual and intellectual inferiority, you can walk away with the satisfaction of being better than them. If they do have some shame left in them, they will someday realize that you walked away with their honor as well as your own.

The Patronus

The first thought which the title of this post might bring to your mind would be 'Harry Potter'. But this concept isn't merely for HP fans. It's a very profound idea given to us by J.K. Rowling. Within the pages of the third book of her first fantasy fictional series, the author has explained to us how to combat 'dementors'.

Now, before you call me crazy for saying that dementors are real, let me explain to you what I mean by them. In the fiction, a 'dementor' is a dark and shady creature (by nature and not just appearance) who feeds on one's happiness, will power, energy and vitality. Sounds familiar? Yes, there are dementors in our world. These dementors may be people, events, memories, thoughts or even places.

Some time we feel sad whenever we someone, due to whatever reason. They may or may not enjoy making us feel so. Some events may make us feel miserable. Some places could be very morbid and hence draining. We often brood over memories of such people, events or places which may have hurt us only once but now we hurt ourselves over and over again. And thoughts... most of our worries are either about things which may not be so, needn't be worried about, cannot be fixed or could simply be fixed.

Thoughts have the power of  making 'could be's into 'would be's.    

And what better way to fight a dementor than a 'patronus'? Now, I'm not asking you to take out a 'magic wand' and shout 'EXPECTO PATRONOM!!!' every time you see your ex, your dream-girl's boyfriend, a very rude professor or other jerks, or whenever you enter your own personal hell of the mind. Actually, doing this might lighten up your mood, but it also makes people consider throwing you into an asylum.

A 'patronus', as per the fiction, is a great source of power, generated by the happiest thoughts or the most pleasant memories, which could repel the 'dementor'. It is ironic that the beings who feed on your happiness could be repelled by a patronus. But I think it's because when you're so happy, not even a dementor could digest that much of happiness.

Every minute you waste on thinking about someone or something you dislike or unpleasant, you take away 60 seconds of your life which could be dedicated to someone who loves you and wants to see you happy.   

The only way to be happy, is to be happy. The choice is ours. Don't brood over dementors. Hang around with people who radiate positive energy, with friends who care about you or with family members who love you like no other. Don't spend too much time with pessimists, fatalists, nihilists and other dementors in general.

Start a weekened club, a whatsapp/facebook group, or a mailing list, if necessary, which could help you share patronuses with each other. I personally have a whatsapp group called 'Hakuna Matata' (in swahili, this translates to 'no worries'). The members of this group share positive throughts, happy thoughts, pleasant jokes or just images which could help each other smile and ultimately produce a patronus whenever necessary.rules of this group have been simple: (1) you only speak about nice/pleasant things (2) no politics, religion, sexism, vulgarity, profanity, communalism or hate (3) no brooding over the past or bad situations.

'Hakuna Matata' is yet another concept, but from The Lion King. This beautiful animation for kids, released 20 years ago, teaches a very profound fact:

Yes, the past hurts. But we can either keep running away from it or simply learn from it.
Also remember what the story of 'Peter Pan' and the anime 'Dragonball Z' tells us: The only way to truly be able to fly is by thinking happy thoughts. Perhaps this is because when we do so, we become lighter and hence become free of all the worries which hold us to the ground.

Change in Strategy - Smile!

I've always thought that fear, pain, anger and hatred were very good motivators. We human beings ARE animals, after all, right? We have the three basic instincts - fright, fight and flight - when it comes to facing adversities.

Fear can push you to the edge, where the best of you could be forced out of you. But fear could also chain you to the dungeons of your life and keep you away from pursuing your dreams. Moreover, the vicious wolves feed on the fear of the innocent sheep. Don't feed them!

You cannot escape from your responsibilities. There's no point being overwhelmed at something which cannot be bigger than you. Thus, fright and flight are not wise options!

Anger is a very powerful weapon, if harnessed well. But it is also a hot piece of coal in one's hand. It burns you even before you can throw it at someone else.

Hatred is a poison which drips onto our minds and slowly consumes it like an acid. It is an obsession and it makes you think more about the ones who you hate than the ones who love you. The more you curse or conspire against your enemies, the more power you give them. Is that really worth your time and energy?

Pain is inevitable. But suffering is an option. Your pain is caused primarily by your revisits to hell - the place where the bitter past and insecure future exist. People and events can hurt you once. You could walk away from them. Or you could hurt yourself a lot more by digging deeper into your wounds by brooding over your injuries.

Thus, my war strategy so far needed some changes. I've come to realize that in order to face the outside world, I need to make peace with my inner world. Yes, I shall fight, but with different weapons now! 

  • I shall face my fears with inspirations. 
  • I shall extinguish my anger with forgiveness (not because they deserve it, but because I do).
  • I shall forgo hatred and instead think about everything which makes me smile.
  • I shall let go of pain as I love myself and hence ought to not let anything take away my happiness. 

I cannot carry unnecessary baggage on my journey towards success. But I can carry my smile, my hopes, my dreams and all the good memories which I could cherish along my way. And I hope to see you too somewhere along my journey. As for now, cheers!      

Victory or Valhalla

Their evil descended upon our civilization
Bringing an end to our peaceful days.
They preached their invention they called ‘salvation’,
Seeking to enslave us with their evil ways.

But we refused to kneel to their lies and their steel.
We chose to fight for honour until the end.
They knew not what power our own weapons could conceal.
They watched in horror as blood and metal did blend.

The battlefield burned as metal sliced metal that night.
We were outnumbered, but we NEVER surrendered.
They fought us with deceit, we fought with our might.
Through their darkness thus our army thundered.

My brothers fought alongside me, embracing death and doom,
for we never knew what fear even meant.
The enemy had power, yet we sent each one to their tomb.
We crushed their bones and made them repent.

They were foolish to challenge those who knew no defeat.
We’d never submit to their god and their lies.
They made a blunder by provoking the elite.
Their fates were sealed by their own battle cries!

We have nothing to lose, for death is our messiah.
We’re always ready for both - victory or Valhalla!

Hail Odin! Hail Thor! Hail Gods of war!

 photo 392390_417233901636107_982797011_n_zpsef35a50e.jpg

  1. In Norse mythology, Valhalla (from Old Norse Valhǫll "hall of the slain") is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. Chosen by Odin, half of those who die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death, led by valkyries, while the other half go to the goddess Freyja's field Fólkvangr. In Valhalla, the dead join the masses of those who have died in combat known as Einherjar, as well as various legendary Germanic heroes and kings, as they prepare to aid Odin during the events of Ragnarök.

Images used in this post do not belong to me.

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Ask The Church to Explain This

1.  I quote the 'Holy' Bible (as you Christians love quoting this book) 
 Mathew 10:34-38 :
 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

2.   And then, 
Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”

3.   And now I would like to post one of my favourite memes from www.atheistmemebase.com (http://www.atheistmemebase.com/2012/10/29/heaven-is-hotter-than-hell/)

4. Jesus never even existed, the Christians stole all their fundamentals from the pagans and the Bible is misinterpreted astronomy. Here’s my evidence and source.


5. I now quote Encyclopedia Dramatica (https://encyclopediadramatica.se/God) which quotes and interprets the Bible in the obvious sense:

However, fucking pies is still fair game. As is, apparently, consensual sex in the missionary position:

§  Song 2:3: "Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."

§  Song 4:16: "Awake, O north wind, and come, wind of the south; make my garden breathe out fragrance. Let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!"

Giving your woman a hand-job is perfectly fine

§  Song 2:6: "His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." [some great lulz to be had with that coy mistranslation]

So is performing cunnilingus all night long

§  Song 2:16-17: "My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies until the day breaks, and the shadows flee."

DFK - no worries!

§  Song 4:11: "Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride.; milk and honey are under your tongue."

And sniffing poontang

§  Song 4:15-16: "[He]: You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water ..." / [She]: "Awake north wind! Blow on my garden that its fragrance may spread abroad."And generally getting it on

§  Song 5:4-5: "My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him. I rose up to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, and my fingers flowing with myrrh on the handles of the bolt."

Oh yes, they explain this stuff away with lulzworthy material such as: "to find the key for unlocking the Song, interpreters have looked to prophetic, wisdom and apocalyptic passages of scripture", and: "the Song is an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel, or between Christ and The Church". Anything, it seems, other than the perfectly obvious: "The Song of Songs" in the Bible is about fucking.

Video Conference With Sunnita Williams - Part 4 - After the Conference

6 PM

My day didn't end there. I still had another pressing matter to worry about. It was 6 PM by the time the conference ended. I called a couple of my classmates who were also attending this tuition. One of them was Mayur weho had my fees. Neither of them answered just then.

Drats! Perhaps the class had already begun? It would take me me 20 minutes to reach Sadashivpeth. I was worried that even if I did attend after this, I would have missed 20 minutes would hence be lost and restless. He doesn't waste time with pointless introductory lectures. All his lecture are complete - quantitatively and qualitatively. Missing 20 minutes could be disasterous. And it would be embarrassing going there late. And where WAS this class going to be held? TMC surely couldn't be taught in the same classroom as CONM (of the previous semester), we were expecting a larger number of students from various colleges this time and that room was too small for that purpose. Perhaps I ought to go back home instead, after the conference, like mom suggested?

I went to Cafe Durga, one of my favorite places to catch a smoke. Soon, I got a call from one of those 2 friends mentioned earlier, but he had to pass it onto another friend to answer my queries. (a)The class had not yet started, (b) it was in the same room as last semester (at least for today) and (c) it wouldn't begin for another 10 minutes.

I thanked my luck and rode will high velocities, using the power of 'The Secret' to ensure that class does not resume until I reached there.

I reached there at 6.30 PM and peeped into the classroom hesitantly.

Prof: So, how's Sunni? 

Everyone laughed. I smiled widely, embarrassed.

Prof: Did she ask about me? 

They laughed again. I smiled even wider, shaking my head.

Sir's father (smiling): The class has JUST started. 

This gave me a great relief. I rushed inside, dumped my bag onto the table where bags are left and went back to sit, hurriedly. Sir in the background made a joke about how all the astronauts must certainly know about him.

The lecture, like each and every one of his, was very entertaining and enlightening. That's why I always enjoy them. He's not just a professor. He's a performer! He fills the class with not just clear concepts, but even comedy, theatrics, examples and interesting out-of-the-world facts.

After class got over: 

Me: Sir, it was fortunate for me that you began late. 
Sir: I know. I did that intentionally. I knew that you would come late.

I love this guy! I hit the sack that night with a feeling of fulfillment :)

Video Conference With Sunnita Williams - Part 3 - The Conference

Jan 3: 

Finally, the day of the conference had arrived. I had no clue as to what I was going to ask her, IF I even got the chance to. After college, I handed over my tution fees to Mayur. There were (allegedly) 5 students already on the waiting-list and I didn't want to lose my seat.

I quickly accessed the Facebook group, the Symphony of Insanity, to recollect Nitin's suggested questions. I choose to ask this: 'When you're in space, how does it feel aesthetically?'

Due to sentimental reasons, I decided to leave out his other question - 'Considering that the first Indian woman to go out to space died on her way back, were you terrified?'

Komal, Harshavardan and I met at the entrace of the Civil Department, around 4 PM. It was crowded with students. We signed at the counter, obtained sheets onto which were were supposed to write our questions and went upstairs.

We had to write our questions? The questions would be selected? And we were allowed only one question per individual? All of this made me realize that I was right not to expect too much.

The other two went ahead. I waited for Vibha and Tejas (another Spandanite) at the 'Knowledge Corridor', as it's called. We filled our questions and other details and submitted it to a volunteer. Then we were asked to enter the Vivekananda Auditorium (where the conference was to be broadcast) from downstairs.

There we met Adarsh (Co-Secretary of Spandan), Aditya and even reunited Harshvardan and Komal. I reminded everyone that we were to take notes and promised Vibha that I'd write the article. I shouldn't have, as I later got to know.

The entire hall was filled. Hundreds were there amongst the audience - students, professors, volunteers, organizers and media. And I thought 3 from each department were chosen. But they were just sent in hopes that the rest would follow. I couldn't get you a photograph. So here's a copy of the article from the Indian Express - PUNENewsline:

Questions of 10 students were selected. I was not one of them. And I had been half-hoping that I wouldn't. I didn't want to make a fool of myself on stage. I have stage fright, you see. And Sunnita is after all a celebrity. What's more, the media was covering this. And anyway, I didn't deserve to be selected. A few days back, I was the only one asking "Who is Sunnita Williams?" However, from Spandan, Adarsh, Komal and Tejas were selected. Thus they had to go sit up front.

The program began with a compere reminding everyone about the basic courtesies and ethics. If you ask me, in my college, that was a necessity. Then we had to watch a pointless episode about Baratiya Chatra Sansad (Student Parliament, the host of this Conference). And then we watched an short introductory video about Sunni Williams. This was followed by a filler - the compere gave us facts about Sunnita.

Around 5 PM, the video conference finally began. As expected, it began with a lot of audio and video tests and rectification. And there she was - right on screen. As instructed earlier, we remembered to get up and applaud. The compere handed over the mike to Rahul Karad who spoke a lot about Baratiya Chatra Sansad to Sunnita. Poor lady had to listen to him for a while. Then the camera focused on all of us, making her even more conscious. She gave a very sweet introductory speech about herself and her journey. Her childlike enthusiasm, american accent and fluent speech made me given up on taking notes even before I began. I left that to poor Vibha and Aditya. All I wanted to do was listen to her.

She'd just landed back on earth about a month ago. And then, she broke down. And this was not the last time she did that day.

The students were allowed to ask her questions after that. I tell you, there were terrible questions! Most of them were too emotional to have been raised. I blame the ones who did the selection in a hurry. Some of these questions made her even more emotional.

One of the students asked her, 'Being an Indian, how did you get to be in the NASA?'

I though to myself: You moron! First of all, she's american! And secondly, Indians are not rare at the NASA. Get your facts straight!

The media had a question: What do you have to say about the Delhi Rapes and the need for respect for women?

Was that question necessary or even relevant? Anyway, Sunnita answered all of these questions very well, enthusiastically and diplomatically. Perhaps, only she could have given such an answer. I was impressed.

Over all, it was a good hour spent. I now felt that I had a better picture of who Sunnita Williams was.

Video Conference With Sunnita Wiliams - Part 2 - The Preparation and Uncertainities

One of my friends posted a comment on my Facebook status message that 'it's just a video conference'. I later even confirmed this at college. So no autograph for mom. Anyway, at least I'd have the honor of being one of the lucky ones to interact with her. I was told that 3 students from each department were selected. My group had an additional Harshavardan (also my classmate). So I asked some of my close friends to help me with valid questions to ask her, provided I had the opportunity. Only one of my friends gave me the right kind of questions I was expecting. But later I came to know that even that was more than enough.

I rang up Vibha, the current Secretary of Spandan - our college magazine. Komal and I are ex-spandanites. And so I thought we might use this opportunity to interview Sunnita Williams on behalf of Spandan. It turned out that Aditya was also attending this, on behalf of his department. (And much later, even Vibha, Bhagyashree etc., from Spandan, attended.) So we agreed to keep in touch and get things arranged for this conference. Even if we couldn't interview her, we'd take notes (or use an audio recorder) and make it an article.

Arti responded to my call much later with an SMS. She apologized for the delay and asked me as to why I'd called. I told her that she was selected to volunteer for an event, but that I gave my name on her behalf as there wasn't enough time to confirm her attendance. She kept insisting that I tell her exactly what I was talking about. It was too long a story to text her. Hence, I sent her a Facebook message explaining what she'd missed. (No, I generally don't prefer phone calls or personal conversations.)

She called me, and almost pleaded to be put back on the team. I said that I wasn't sure if that was possible and that I'm not the one in charge of all this. She said she'd talk to Nadgire and the Principle. I didn't protest. But I was worried that they'd prefer her over me. After all, just a few days back, I didn't even know who Sunnita Williams was. And Arti said that this was her dream. And besides, the society is always quick to sympathize with a woman.

Meanwhile, people congratulated me. I felt guilty because (a) I didn't earn/achieve anything here and (b) I may not  even get to go there in the end.

The program's timing would most probably clash with that of my first day at TMC tution. I had to inform my prof and reserve the seat.

Jan 2: 

Me: Sir, I wouldn't be able to come to Tution tomorrow. I have a video conference with Sunnita Williams.
Prof. Dixit: Do try to come. Tell Sunnita Williams that you have TMC tution. I'm sure she'll let you go. Haha!

Video Conference With Sunnita Williams - Part 1 - How I ended up there...

Dec 27:

My phone rang. It said Prof. Mujumdar. This woman scares me, because she always teaches Design related subjects. I hate design. After debating on whether or not I ought to answer this, I answered, fearing the worst. I had to face her sooner or later. And what could happen at the worst?

Me: Hello, ma'am. This is Iyer.

People here call me by my Surname. I don't know why, but I do find it cool anyway.

Ma'am: Iyer, are you in college?

I was cutting class at that very moment and I was afraid that she might be inquiring about that. I had just hit bed for a nap after lunch. So I decided to lie.

Me: Yes, ma'am. I was even there this morning. (Remember, I came to the staff room searching for another crazy prof.)
Ma'am: Could you come and meet Prof. Nadgire?
Me: Er... (Oh my God! Was I in trouble? As the class representative I'd made my entire class cut more than a week right after the end of our vacation. I.e., I generously extended their vacation with the power of SMS. My classmates generally don't attend when I declare a common off. It's nice of them that way) Ma'am, do I have to come in uniform?

It was a Thursday. Mondays and Thursdays are uniform days. And right now, I'd changed back to my casual-wear.

Ma'am: It's alright. Just come.

I put on my jeans and rushed to college, afraid that I was going to be questioned. Not even fags could calm me down just then. No one was at the staff room. I checked the RAC lab right beside.

Me: Um... Prof. Nadgire? (I.e. who on earth is he?)
Sir: Yes, I'm Nadgire. You must be Iyer?
Me: Yes, sir.
Sir: Sunnita Williams is coming on Jan 3rd. And I would like you to suggest the names of 2 students to interact with her.
Me: Um... I would volunteer. But what is this all about?
Sir: Sunnita Williams! You don't know Sunnita Williams?
Me: Er... No. I think I missed the first time she was mentioned.
Sir: She's from NASA.
Me: Oh! I see. I'll volunteer, to begin with and...
Sir: The HOD has given me 2 names.
Me: Who are they, sir? (And why on earth did you ask me to suggest names?)
Sir: Suryawanshi and Khumbar. (Surnames again.)
Me: But sir, there are 2 Suryawanshi's in our class. Which one?
Prof #2: Komal!
Me: Ah alright.

Some profs probably believe that I'm a guy who gets things done in my class by virtue of being in contact with everyone. Prof. Mujumdar, although she doesn't like me that much, must have recommended my name for this.

Sir: Ask them if they're willing and if they are, get me their details.

I called Komal and she confirmed. But Arti Khumbar did not respond to my consistent attempts.

Me: Sir, Komal is ready to come. But Arti's not reachable. Has the HOD suggested any other names?

He made a call. And then...

Sir: I would like you to suggest me another student who could interact.
Me: I volunteer.
Sir: Alright.

But just to be fair...

Me: Sir, what if I do reach Arti later?
Sir: Alright, but I must send the details to the Principal by 4PM.

That wasn't going to happen. There was hardly an hour and 15 minutes left to 4 PM. Arti didn't respond until later in the evening.

Prof #3: You don't know Sunnita Williams?
Me: (Slightly embarrassed now) I think I've heard the name. But I just didn't make the connection.

Back home:

Me: Mom, I'm going to meet Sunnita Williams on Jan 3rd.
Mom: Wow! Get me her autograph! I'm a big fan of hers.

I narrated to her the conversation I had with Prof. Nadgire.

Mom: At least if you'd mistaken her with a Tennis player, I'd understand. But this is unacceptable.

Then she lectured me about how to do some research before I went to meet someone that great. And also told me how to take autographs.

That afternoon, I forgot my nap and looked her up on Wiki, and also some astronaut biography. Then I followed her on Twitter. Apparently, she's quite famous. Having read quite a bit now, I decided to show off. For the first time in my life, a guy and that to like me gt 30 likes on his status update.