Oh me!

We are so small between the stars & so large against the sky. and lost in subway croud, I try to catch your eye …..

Update: Third week at Columbia University


This was a hectic week. My workload has suddenly taken a quantum leap and I’m literally hitting the books and computer keys for the most part of my days. Interestingly I have classes only on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the HW is just too much to do. A key differentiator of US education is the depth it provides Vs the breadth of Indian Education. And this suits me fine. I am a jack of all trades and master of none. I hope after 3 semesters I am still a jack of all trades and master of one.

On a more concrete note, this week I learnt how to identify American trees by looking at their leaf. I walk to college every day and while coming back collect leaves of 2 or 3 trees. then at home I look and identify them on the net. I now know that we have Pin leaf oaks, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Ginkgo and other trees in and around the university. This is really fascinating! When I went to Houston I saw a fossil imprint of Ginkgo leaf next to a bird’s remains, and it so turns out that this tree is among the oldest surviving species of trees in the world. It sort of amazes me that how some things are permanent in this ever changing life of ours.My roomies have declared me a weirdo for collecting leaves although :) They are eagerly awaiting Fall when our house would be leaf-free.

In Architecture , I spent some more time on understanding “Beaux-Arts”, one of the prominent architectural styles in New York. My house was itself made in Beaux Arts (1905) and has the defining features of this era – Gibbs Surround, Egg and Dart Motifs, rusticated first floor, a Cartouche under the front door, neo-classical pilasters etc. I’m really fortunate to be staying in a house that is made in a particular architectural order. On a person note, I find cities that have an order appealing to me. India has a lot to learn from the western world on the urban planning.

By the way, I stay opposite to the “Manhattan School of Music” at Claremont Avenue. This is considered to be a prestigious institution and many of the performers – teachers and students – live in my building. It is not uncommon to hear a piano playing Beethoven or Mozart on a lazy Sunday afternoon. While I’m deeply immersed in Markov Chains and other arcane mathematical fundas, this comes like a breeze to me.

This week also saw my birthday. A number of people wished my by email/phone/Facebook and I’m thankful to them. I did not imagine that my roomies would have any idea of my b’day and went off to sleep, but these guys woke me up at 12. And with them were 10 more classmates who live nearby. Really nice of them. We cut a cake and ate some other stuff. But otherwise my b’day was quite drab. I had to study for 16 hours, I did not have people whom I could say, “let me treat you”. The day was spent in coding MATLAB programs that didn’t work. So on and so forth. However, at 3 in the night, when I was just about to call quits to the sad day, my computer program finally executed and I was really happy that something good came out of it. Also, the next morning I found a parcel from India that had a B’day card and two coupons of the Haagen-Dazs ice creams, the ones I’ve always thought of eating here. This made my day!

Today was an Indian fresher party. I went there for the sole purpose of having food, so I wouldn’t have to cook. (I had tons of assignments to do). It was pretty boring till dinner time. But after that they thought of starting the music and it was really fun. I think letting your hair down once a while isn’t that bad an idea.

My days are getting more and more hectic. There’s just toooo much stuff to do, too much to read and too much to code. I have to study at least 12 hours per day including weekends. Strangely I’m enjoying it till now. I hope my interest persists.

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