Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cows & More

My Chinese and Korean suite-mates just semi-disturbed me. They knocked on my door and asked me to come outside and witness something. Gordon, the Chinese one, pointed to a take-away box which had curly and slimy yet garnished food in it, and said, "Try it."

"What is it?"

"It's a cow's stomach and intestine, deliciously savored with garlic sauce."

Gordon and Chol laughed at my reaction, and I laughed back. My religion condemns such actions but their religion almost embraces it. Personally, I really don't care. The only thing I cared about was the ghastly odor that the cow's intestine left behind. Currently, the addressed food sits in the fridge, waiting to be devoured and shut out from contaminating our suite...


I haven't blogged in quite a bit. It's not that I am blogstipated, in fact I have tons to say, it's just that I have been hit by time constraints - majorly. In a nutshell, October of '07 sets out to be the most dramatic and eventful month of my life, and I write that with no exaggeration. From gravitational and traumatic falls to the "biggest cultural event", October might not have had it all, but it did have quite a large chunk of it all.

I wonder if I will be able to write it all out.
Next month, maybe.

P.S. Recently, Austin, Texas experienced a 400F in temperature in a single day. Oh and my suite-mates are awesome . Also, I can assure you that our suite is by far the most culturally and educationally diverse - 1 Korean, 1 American, 1 Chinese and 1 Indian.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


If you know me and if I talk to you or if you are an Indian at the University of Texas, you better know what the “ICA” is. The ICA is a decently establishing acronym for the “Indian Cultural Organization”, and quite simply, the ICA is all about the spread of Indian Culture.

So why is it important for you to know about it? Firstly, it is very interesting and often borders a story of sheer devout patriotism, and secondly, I am in it – no Taylor, I don’t intend to sound conceited, it’s just that if anyone is reading this, you probably give half-a-shizer about the world around me. So before I lose you, let the story unfold.

Once upon an exciting long day, Sahil Jain told me that the ICA is loads of fun only if you actually make it into the core committee. That got stuck somewhere in the rear of my brain, and I enthusiastically applied for an interview for the position of a Junior Officer. After a slightly thorough interrogation that was my interview, Saheb led me out and said “good job man”. And later that night, it was somehow magically revealed to me through the brilliance of the electronic mail that I had made it into the ICA as the ICA’s Technical Consultant. Brilliant – Sahil’s words echoed in my mind like some super-filmy Bollywood film, and I was blissfully happy.

There are two major Indian organizations at UT – the ICA and the I(ndian)S(tudents’)A(ssociation). The ISA is largely dominated by the ABCDs or the Indians that have grown up in America, and the ICA is mainly dominated by the FOBs, or the fresh Indians from the Middle East and the Indian mainland itself. However, unlike a typical dramatic Hindi soap opera, there involves no unhealthy rivalry between the two. They both function in harmony, often working together, fulfilling their own objectives; which is a pleasant surprise, considering all the chaotic politics that takes place back home in India.

After having been debriefed on the mega-humongous Indian society that exists in Austin, I was all excited to attend my first committee meeting, and meet the ICA gang! The “ICA gang” has all the good types of unique people that The Almighty has ever produced. From the straight-out “nice” people, and the unbelievably hard-working people, and the academic geniuses, and the creative maestros to the hottest of Indians, and the Love-Therapists, ICA is a melting pot of humanity.

With a dozen or more events that happen through out the semester, which includes the biggest cultural event “Jhalak”, ICA means business. Once you are in, the commitment is hardcore. It takes up a good number of hours each week, and you start feeling the load even before the beginning of mainstream work. With 17 hours/week of classes, soccer activities, Texas Latin Dance and the random fun stuff, another major commitment like the ICA can be quite a dosage. There have already been times when it seemed to be an over-whelming burden. Jason, a very close friend, told me the other day, a commitment so severe may not be worth it, and I could completely get where he was coming from – I kept complaining constantly to him. But what he, or any other non-Indian, will not understand is that unexplainable bond that most Indians have with their roots. It’s so strong, that complain as we may, there is this bound duty that we feel that we almost owe our country. And it’s not negative debt, it’s this inborn urge to stay connected with our culture, and however occupying ICA seems, it is extremely fulfilling.

We freshmen are still new to the whole ICA work ethic, so I guess it will take a bit to get fully accustomed to it, but we seem to be learning and fitting in well - an inspiring senior workforce helps! A bunch of the senior members are doing hardcore double majors and other strenuous activities, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and taking on the third major that is the ICA. When you see such devotion, you feel ashamed to complain, and soon find no reason too. Instead, you get caught in the passion.

Jhalak ’07 is coming up. The Jhalak saga is ICA’s biggest event. It is entirely student driven and aims at the pervasion of Indian culture in the UT society. How does this happen? Indian dances, musical performances, comedy acts, fashion shows, video clips delineating the unique colors of one of the most colorful countries, accompanied by Live Video Editing, Indian food and this Indian ambience that is unmistakable to typical Indian. And to top all that, guess who is headlining Jhalak ’07? Dan Ninan – a stand up comedian who has done many shows with Russell Peters and has even performed for Hilary Clinton. November 2nd at the University of Texas at Austin is going to be one big Indian bang, and I cannot wait to be a part of it all!

P.S. The usage of ABCDs and FOBs was not intended to offend anyone. However if anyone does get offending, I apologize and want to bring to your notice once again, that this was not my intention. I proud to be Indian.