Saturday, October 23, 2010

College Essay Writing is Fun.

Looking back at my posting schedule, I seem to post one post per month, so it seems the time has come to add something to this blog. I considered writing about my college search, about all the and issues it brings out, but it's kind of overdone.

I want to talk, er, write, about writing college essays instead. No, not how to write a college essay, because I am far from a master at that particular art, but how our elementary/middle/ high school careers prepare us for this kind of task. In two words: it doesn't.

We are taught to write what other people want to hear. In AP English I, that comprises of the literary devices utilized by authors, and how they contribute to the main theme. In AP English II, it comprises of literary devices used by poets, and how they contribute to the main theme. Even though teachers say that there is no right or wrong answer in English, there is obviously always a right answer. We are coached to write a certain way, with expression of one's individuality shoved to the side in the face the right answer.

This hidden emphasis on right and wrong rather saddens me because we don't learn to hone our own voices and develop our own style. I personally found my style through poetry and practice, but it ill prepares me for the arduous task that is college essay writing.

I believe that there are two types of mindsets one has to be in when faced with writing challenges. The first is analytical, in which there is obviously a right and wrong answer, and the type of mindset that is taught by our English department. It teaches us to appreciate language, to look for the devices that help us delve deeper into a piece, without direct allusion to our own opinion (as in, not directly stating, This piece sucks, in my opinion. It's "the author uses repetition to emphasize the sounds made by a horse's carriage, and the greater significance that the horse has in relation to their childhood"... don't ask).

The second is infinitely more personal, with the concentration on our own goals, aspirations, beliefs, attitudes, personalities, etc. This is what colleges want, and this is the voice that we aren't particularly encouraged to use in writing for analytical English.

Now that I've actually sat down and written one essay, I realize I used the first one predominantly, and the second mindset was quelled in favor of letting an admission officer see the generic response thousands of other seniors would have given. After receiving feedback that my essay was basically crap, and the closest I even got to being impressive was when I wrote about my own experience with flourish, rather than my typical solve-the-problems-of-the-world goals and dreams. So I rewrote my essays, keeping in mind that my "poetry voice" impressed college admin more than my "English voice," which is really not easy, because, like in blog-writing, I can't see my audience, so I do not know how to gauge their response.

So I would advise potential college-essay-writers to ignore that voice that tells them to write the obvious answer for these questions. Take it as an opportunity to self-reflect instead, and it'll seem a lot more fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


What I don’t get is why the majority of people seem to love the rain. To quote Tony: It’s just another type of weather!

I feel the magical qualities attributed to rain is over- exemplified. We believe it to be the miracle of God, spiritually and literally cleansing. We are more than happy to believe that a bit of water can untarnish our souls and undo the wrongs we’ve committed. I think this magic is only a myth.

I would never say rain is not beautiful, I appreciate the beauty of nature just as much as the next person. What I want to say is that it’s not magic.

More often than not, rain is depressing and gloomy, and forces an otherwise sunny day to become one filled with dark clouds and humidity. To the highlighting of the profoundness of nature, I can agree. In nature, at least, rain is uplifting. In normal, everyday, suburban/ city life, rain is nothing more than a hindrance, an inconvenience, sometimes a break from the monotony of sunny days, because those are so drab and boring of course. (I guess you can argue that without rain, you’d never be able to appreciate sunny days, but I think sunny days can always be appreciated for their sunniness).

In media in general, rain is used to set the scene for a dark, gloomy day (and romance too.. but as Mumm-Ra said in "she's got you high," "We've lost romance..."). Rain, in excess, can be the harbinger of destruction, such as this unfortunate place, just a little country called Guatemala, where only a few thousand people died because of the sinkhole caused:

Although Tony alluded to the Great Flood as a source of good rain, God brought rain upon the sinners to destroy them, not cleanse them. They were killed, not reborn.

So, I’d say, rain is beautiful, by far the most common weather-type miracle in the world, but it is nowhere near magical or spiritually cleansing.

PS- This sounds more like a MUN response to someone else's post.. sorry 'bout that :P

Friday, August 20, 2010


These words I pretend to come up with
Should instill meaning forthwith
But alas I can only find
These musings running through my mind
Are only borrowed from others
Given my druthers,
they fit in methodically
In a poem
Hopeless to a certain degree.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I started this blog with a post about new beginnings. I feel like I should add something about endings now too, considering the closure I always need to move on with my life. For example, I've been taking a summer course at Columbia for the past three weeks, and today was the last day, but it ended so suddenly that it really didn't feel like it ended, which caused me to fall into a slump.

Maybe it's the Bollywood in me that always thinks beginnings and endings should happen at bus stops, train stations, and airports. Some people find these places poetic and mark something special. I personally feel they are only to be dreaded; they're only markers of change, small and/or big, neither of which I'm very comfortable with.

So yeah. I just had that to say? I'm surprised. Maybe I just needed to b*tch about it to get some closure, who knows?

Friday, June 25, 2010


So I just read a book called Born Confused by Tanjua Desai Hidier, and rather different, I guess. It put words to a category of feelings I haven't acknowledged and perhaps never would have had it not been for the Namesake or Born Confused. I feel like there's someone else besides me who has to face how much to assimilate into American culture, how much to let go of the past, how much you can blend into creating your own identity. Everyone I know seems to just magically transform into the norm of this place, while I always stick out with my misplaced W's, Kayshas, and aluminiums. I don't want to let go of that Indianness, it's what I feel most comfortable in. I don't want to be that fobby Indian girl with the accent and whatnot but I feel like I have no choice. In my school, you're either fobby or an oreo (brown on the outside, white on the inside).

I think giving up my accent completely encompasses more than just speech patterns; it includes all the other societal values associated with America that I'm proud to have learned as an Indian and that others wouldn't appreciate, thinking it's so old-school and traditional. Someone once told me I'm the most Indian person they've met, and at first I was affronted, thinking that is so not cool. I think that's a better way to be than the most American person than they've met. It's kind of ironic though because my dad complains that I'm so American all the time.

I once wrote something about not wanting to be Indian, a girl, or even human. I still identify myself as Indian, which disappoints some people perhaps, but who cares what people expect of you right? All that matters is what you think of you.. and here I should insert quotes about being true to yourself and all that shit, but having someone else tell you the stove is hot and you experiencing it are two completely different things. So for now, I'll stick to being an IBCD, NRI, alien in America and all those other things. At heart I am only Srishti.

I've also been thinking about a belief I previously held that whatever needs to be said has been said, that there's no room for originality. I've started forsaking caring about individuality though for just getting the point across. It has, I think, to do with my realization that I do have opinions that do not have to coincide with anyone else's, that don't have to please anyone, but are my own and that matters. That has been a huge breakthrough for me because I'm surrounded by large personalities with opinions on everything, and I've always shied away from forming my own opinions for fear of offending anyone. But maybe that's an opinion, too. Who cares?

I feel very old at sixteen. Looking back, I feel like emotionally, I've come pretty far from that dark spot in 9th grade. I think I've become more resilient, more egocentric, more unsure, more aware, more confused, just more of a person. I'm glad.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Truth Lies in the Eye of the Beholder?

Listening to: Slip and Fall by Lomaticc, Sunny Brown, Baba Khan

I was reading Bleach (the manga) yesterday when one of the characters says something very interesting: There are no truths or lies. There are only cold, hard facts. Sure, the character who uttered these somewhat cold words was the evil manipulative demon hell bent on destroying Soul Society, but he wouldn't have become Captain if he wasn't smart now, would he?

Anyway, I was just thinking how this makes me extremely uncomfortable. My English teacher says that things that make you uncomfortable are often true, and that definitely seems to be the case with this "truth."

I think there are always different versions of the truth used by people to get what they want, but there is always going to be one fact that can only be based on actions (which is why I look favorably upon the phrase "Actions speak louder than words"). Who has access to these facts though? Certainly not Judge Judy; she is just human, and despite being a judge always has her prejudices and biases that will apply to her decision.

I'd like to think there's an omnipotent being, rather than a God, who watches and always knows. This being is an invisible layer that envelopes mankind in some sort of matter (I've always imagined it as being a sort of white gossamer cloth that might be what souls are made of, like in the Pensieve) that always knows. It's like an object in your house, like a blanket or a wall, that's always there, but it can't be seen or removed, like an itch you can't scratch. A select few are capable of touching this Thing, which grants them entrance into the world of the Known. The rest of us just barely scratch the surface of this layer of real truth, and instead just manipulate what we know to fit our needs. The very idea of anything (note that it's not a living thing) knowing and watching everything sounds sort of creepy, like Santa Claus or God. Honestly, I find comfort in knowing that everything I do and have done has not gone to waste, and won't be judged by somebody else's sense of morality or justness, like the Christian God (I prefer Hinduism maybe because of this). Maybe I just want to understand; I don't want to judge or be judged, just know. Somebody I know posted something about learning everything in books, but I think books are often just ideas. I'd love to have read even half the books in my library even, but I think the contents of books are often in the realm of the impossible, the incomprehensible, the imagined, unlike the OB. They might extend our knowledge of ideas and style and language, which is again determined through somebody else's idea of "good."

The idea of having everything in your life explained is the reason I really enjoyed "5 People You Meet in Heaven." In the story, everything in the main character's life is explained through 5 people he meets in his life. Just knowing everything, I suppose, would be quite a relief, we just have to wait, according to the author's theory. I don't believe a Heaven exists though, and God as portrayed by humans is human himself, with his own ideas of justice, fairness, good and bad, which is why I'd rather believe in paganism than Christianity; the one constant in our planet is the force of Mother Nature. Maybe it's the one that knows it all?

However, in Indiana Jones, the one person who does find out everything from aliens hidden in mayan temples has her head explode and is completely destroyed, so I don't know if the very idea of knowing everything is a plausible or viable one.

My rant's officially over, now. If I were reading this on my friend's blog, I'd probably ask myself "What does this show about her?" because that's the kind of AP Student I am.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Beginnings

New beginnings are uncertain at best. Seasons, schools, people, etc., beginnings usher in an era we are uncomfortable with initially (that might just be me), but can often turn into something wonderful. However, that is yet to happen as things in general tend to disappoint (It's realism, not pessimism).

However, in the spirit of new beginnings (as in spring started, and it's the 9th to last Wednesday of my Junior Year), I guess I'll start this blog. In a way I guess it's the beginning of my adventures in writing, actual writing, not just poetry, and an attempt to discover some hidden wit perhaps.