I'll be honest, I've run out of ideas. When I started the blog, ideas just flowed out like water from a tap. I could write a post every week, sometimes even more frequently. Now, I need to rack my brains, and I still cannot think of anything. The flow of ideas has dried up. Dry like Bombay's water supply.
Another change has come over me. I've begun to think that I don't have enough time to write. I don't even have enough time to pursue any hobby, to read, or to do any of the tasks I'd assigned myself. And I've joined Cornell (Screw you Nishant, I've gotten into an Ivy League university (Though I've nothing to do with the Ivy League)).
In related news, I think that Nishant is an ass. Nothing personal, it's just the way he is. Barely a day in Berkeley, and he blogs that he's there, and about how he got a Macbook Air from his advisor. Here, I'm trying so damn hard that I don't get a Macbook Air, or any other Mac, except the one that shields one from the rains. I mean, come on; I can buy a dozen System 76 laptops for the cost of a shitty Air, which fits in a Manila envelope, and has less processing power than my desktop from the 1990s.
It's a different experience being totally on my own, in a foreign land. Of course, I've interned at ETS, Montreal, so the experience is not all than unexpected, but a PhD is a lot more work than an internship.
Three classes into the semester, and we are assigned our first homework, to build a music recommendation system. Pandora running in the background, I'm coding in Python over the labour day weekend. Three days with glorious weather, holidays, and I let them pass. Think of the alternatives. I could have gone around and taken some photographs of Ithaca, oh so beautiful! The only pictures I took in Ithaca were when I just arrived, so that would be some time around the 15th of August. Actually, it was the 15th of August, because that's when I had taken my camera to document a bunch of people come together to wave a certain flag with three colours on it, and sing a song which almost everyone had learnt by the sounds alone, just like "Beasts of England", and then listen to some random talk in a language that already sounds foreign.
My Pentax K-5, obtained through gentle nudges (given at strategic intervals) to my parents lies inside a drawer in my desk, untouched until today, when I fitted the two filters (purchased online for a pretty sum, in the hopes that they will help me take better photographs), tested the filters, and put the K-5 back in the bag, which went inside the drawer in the desk.
fossphotographer.blogspot.com is almost as dead as this blog is. I've not posted anything in ages (almost a month). I've not processed any image for that long, except this image of Libe Slope at Cornell.
I had planned to port Darktable on Windows by the end of the summer. Three weeks into the semester, I'm no where close to achieving that goal. Not only is the task of compiling all the dependencies on Windows rather boring and time consuming, it hardly gives me any satisfaction when I compile on dependency and move to another.
In other news, I logged into Duolingo after a break of around two months. I realised that I had forgotten most of the German basics that I had learnt two months ago; but I struggled through one lesson yesterday, and none today.
Meanwhile, I see my friends comfortably settling into their jobs, posting about their first salaries on Facebook; bragging about their relationships, and having a good time. Social life has taken a big hit. I walk into an almost empty house; cook a meal, call up home, speak for quite some time, and then sleep. Sometimes, when I'm lucky, I see my roommates.
The part about not going home for more than three weeks has now begun to affect me, subconsciously. After spending the last four years counting the days of the week by the number of days left before I go home, time seems to have stopped. (Ironic, or apt that Clocks (by Coldplay) is playing on Pandora right now?)
I write long emails to people back in India, chat with some folks I know for minutes before I realise that I've to run off to some class, or to meet some professor. As you would not know, I'm still "shopping around" for an advisor. There are some (dis)advantages of having a fellowship. Of course, as a friend/labmate is quick to point out, almost everyone who comes in for a PhD comes in with financial support; and fellowships are as common as the common cold.
Yet, here I am, working at the Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) in Cornell, hoping to get a PhD, to learn all those things that I never learned during undergrad... I'm here with some awesome people, who are really talented and smart. If there are some things which are different, they will be, and I'll soon get used to the difference. I've got some folks whom I still consider "good friends"; some relations just don't change over time, and that's what allows us to stay sane though everything around us changes.
This post is just to show that not everything goes according to plan. It's the parts that do that count. Dream a thousand dreams, and be elated that some of them come true.