Friday, December 31, 2004

Catching up!!!

Writing a blog after a lot of days.... 58 to be precise!!. A lot of things happened in these 58 days... trips to California, to Roanoke- Virginia, to New Orleans, to Atlanta, .... and a few things on personal front. As far as my future is concerned, I finally finished applying for PhD. So if all goes well from here, I should start my PhD in August 2005.

It was always in my mind to pursue a PhD. I kinda changed my field after I came to USA for my Master's. I was a Biomedical/ Electrical/ Instrumentation Engineer before and Clemson made me a Bioengineer. I liked this field... the concepts of Tissue Engineering and artificial implants somehow convinced me. I found this field to be very exciting and mesmerizing.... and that’s where a thought of doing PhD came to my mind.

I remember my last India trip, precisely one year back.... I was quietly sitting on shores of GanapatiPule... it was quiet... no one was around... had some leisure time and I was thinking about my future. "What do I WANT to do in life" was and has been the biggest question of my life. It’s not a question of "Can or cannot"... It’s more of a "Want to" problem.... anyways.... and a thought of doing a PhD seriously touched my mind. Before that I didn’t believe that I would be very happy doing a PhD... But I saw a dream... a dream of being a researcher... an inventor... a dream of doing something extraordinary... a dream of being THE best in this field.

I came back to Clemson with those dreams, and have been working towards making them a reality.

California trip was very good in that respect. I had gone there (to Anaheim, LA) to present my research. It was a good opportunity for me to catch up with some big-names in this field as well as to know what I exactly want to do. Those 7 days at Anaheim kind of changed me.... I was now convinced that a Doctorate was my ultimate aim... and it gave me a confidence that I CAN and WANT TO do it. “It’s all in mind"... ( no, I am not John Nash). After I came back from California, I spent 20 days on application procedure... had a couple of interviews with a few profs. And all that....

It was time for a big break then.... and New Orleans happened. It would definitely rank amongst my best road trips. Dsouza has written a pretty nice blog of that trip, I am pasting it here:

New Orleans baby:
”Just back from my New Orleans road trip. Was a fun trip. We (Vipul, Ankur, Jithu, Vivek, Korade, Viraj, Bonda and myself) left on 23rd night from Atlanta and reached New Orleans by 10 am the following morning. We checked into Sleep Inn. At around 2 we ate at an Indian restaurant called Tandoor. We just missed the lunch buffet and we were discussing over the table that we need to go somewhere else cause we were really hungry and we wld have spent atleast 25-30/person since the dishes were pretty expensive. The owner did sense that she was gonna lose business and so she gave us a a fat discount. Shld say the food was very good. :) We then went to Harrahs - New Orleans most famous casino. I did gamble a bit on the slot machines- lost all my money. Ankur did lose $20 on the roulette table. Korade and Bonda $20 each on the Blackjack table. Place seemed decent but think Las Vegas wld be much better.We then left for Bourbon Street - the hippiest street down south. Bourbon lived upto our expectations. The place was crazy. a string of clubs and party joints on both sides of the street. Variety too - live blues, jazz, rock, pop... We drank the "handgrenade", which was advertised as the most powereful drink on bourbon street. Yes now I know why... Ankur and Vipul got drunk lol. We then decided to eat some New Orleans authentic food- cajun(pronounced k zun) specialities. The food was just ok. I ordered the dish which was the combination of Jambalaya(sausage and rice with cajun seasoning) and Crawfish etouffee (a soup) and fried beans. We then started pub hopping. Of all pubs we visited we really liked the one which had a live rock band. The band was really good. They also played our favorites- sweet home alabama, american girl,...A bit of Led Zepplin too. We were a bit dizzy, thanks to the handgrenade. Beer on Bourbon street is very costly, $6 for a glass of beer. Drank beer for a while. We then started fooling around with the shot waitresses and tricked each other into buying /drinking shots. Now we were in the what I call the "Happy" state. Danced for a while. Left the bar without Bonda and Korade. Bonda was trying his luck with the bartendar. Bonda has this never die spirit that I am pretty impressed with :)

Woke up at 12 the following afternoon. Ordered Chinese food which was pathetic. We then thought we shld visit the Honey Island Swamp. We reached there at around 5.30 and it was pretty dark then so we drove back to the city. Went to Bourbon St again. Ate at Royal Rizou(not sure if it was Rizou but name was french) . Oysters is a New Orleans speciality so decided to order fried oysters(we dont dig raw oysters and sauce). I ordered steak sandwitch which was good. It was a long time before the food was served to us. Our behavior in that place got worse over time- Ankur made some Indian tea for himself and drank it from the saucer like we used to do in India. Bonda ordered some brownies and eveyone swooped down on it like vultures. Everyone in the restaurant was looking at all this... kinda pretty surprised - these guys had immaculate manners 10 minutes back and now... In all that commotion Vivek dropped a hot sauce bottle on the floor and now the floor was red lol. We left the place and started pub hopping again. Viraj and myself decided to listen to some live jazz, so we went to a Fritzels - an european jazz bar. The rest were enjoying in the bar we were last night. Dunno much abt jazz but it sounded great. The others now wanted to listen to jazz too. They came in, ordered the costly beer ($8 for a beer) , since it was a minimum 1 drink bar and had just taken their first sip when the band stopped playing hahhahaha. The band was done for the day. Hard luck... They were pretty pissed off and whenever a bunch of drunk guys get pissed off it isn't a grt site. Ankur then went on stage and started fiddling with the band equipment. Bonda wanted to kiss the waitress and was asking ppl to pay him $10 if he does go up to the waitress, ask for a kiss and gets it. We started fooling around on the street. Walking backwards in the middle of the street, moonwalking, shouting and a lot of things which I can't mention. We left for home at round 3 am.We had decided to leave for Clemson as soon as we are back We started our drive back at 4.15am. Reached Atlanta at 1pm the following day. Ate at Minerva. Rested at my place in Atlanta for a couple of hours and then these guys left for Clemson. I have taken many trips and should say that this ranks one among the best.”

It's been a good break for me.... and I am gearing up for some hard work, my mind says so... and "It's all in mind..."