On Movement and Trains (and College)

I’m not quite sure what time it was when the train started to move (ten, fifteen, maybe 20 minutes after it was due to leave the station? Czech trains sadly lack the timeliness and efficiency of its German and Austrian neighbours), but its departure was signalled by a familiar musical refrain – a buildup of…

Stanford Essay!

After much deliberation and a deluge of requests, I’ve decided to post my favorite of the three essays I wrote for my Stanford application! (Yay.) Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development. (100 to 250 words) I’ve always seen myself as a…

Oxford Shenanigans

“Oh, so you blog?” “Yeah, I do! Well, kind of.” That murky wave of guilt laps at my conscience and I remember that it’s literally been months since I last posted. Sitting across a new friend at a beautiful coffee shop in Oxford, I begin to recall why I started blogging in the first place….

To Marguerite – Continued

By Matthew Arnold Yes! In the sea of life enisled, With echoing straits between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild, We mortal millions live alone. The islands feel the enclasping flow, And then their endless bounds they know. But when the moon their hollows light, And they are swept by balms of spring, And…

The Lesser Seen

It’s been a long time since I last posted on my blog; I’ve been quite busy with university applications, scholarships, exam preparation, meet-ups with friends (before they head off to college this September!) and the works. But this holiday I’ve found the time to return to the weekly Wednesday Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS) at my local constituency…

I Am Macbeth, and IB is my Lady.

Forget the small issue of conflicting gender roles; we are all Macbeths, and IB is our Lady Macbeth. Admit it. We started off this journey fresh-faced, seduced by the allure of being inquiring, knowledgeable students of the future, compelled by the thought of being challenged intellectually… But over time, we’ve struggled to catch the false…

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

Beautiful, quirky, and utterly engaging. Admittedly, the book title’s typography and design is not great – it literally screams ostentatious ‘teenage hipster literature’ all over the front cover (although that may be the point, if teenagers are the target audience). Teenage hipster literature? A slight fidget, an inward cringe, a heavy sigh. Is that even a genre??? Yep —…

Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all. Beautiful, reflective, and charmingly nostalgic, Brideshead Revisited paints a captivating picture of the British aristocracy in the prosperous age before the Second World War. This is a novel that speaks of religion, love, art,…

New Year, Old Concept, Same Life

At the debut of every new year, the vast majority of the 7 billion (and steadily increasing) human inhabitants of this earth sit down at their desks (or stand in their showers, take a run in their parks, do handstands in their rooms for all I know) and mull over the past 365 days with…

Household Gods, by Philip Hobsbaum

Household Gods “I mirrored their breaking lives,I saw their pale Distraught coming and going, lined despair, His shaken bulk, her calm pose in the doorway— I saw them. I was there.” “I have so long been silent, even now Hardly at all remember how her slim Long fingers once caressed me—was that how At one…

Siem Reap: Savong’s School

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy. – Kahlil Gibran The rickety drive up the bumpy, pot-holed path to Savong’s School was always one of suppressed excitement; the pit of my stomach would…

Siem Reap: Colorful Characters

The most exhilarating part of traveling is chancing across an intriguing, colorful array of people along the way. This trip to Siem Reap not only led us on a journey of self-discovery and service, but brought us on an adventure to meet a myriad of different characters, each with their own riveting stories. Often taxi drivers…

Siem Reap: Epicurean Explorations

Food is the language we all speak. Food is also the door to another culture; the physical manifestation of complex undertones of emotion, complicated webs of history, and ineffable human connections and individual refinements that all coalesce in a beautiful explosion of flavors. One mouthful is all it takes to taste the rich Cambodian history,…

Siem Reap: Culinary Creations

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. – Julia Child The kaleidoscopic array of colors arranged so stunningly in an amalgamation of lettuce leaves, carrot strips, cucumber bunches, crisp basil and petite onions sat alluringly in the center of the table. Dinner plates from…

The Outsider, by Albert Camus

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee? It is this strange  insouciant detachment that characterizes ‘The Outsider’; that makes it such an unsettling and yet morbidly compelling read. It is a story that leaves you with an aching sense of gaping vacuity, a feeling that perhaps life has no meaning, and no…

It’s All in the Mind.

It’s that time of the year when work starts piling up- multiple IAs and assignments lie in a stack of unkempt, disheveled papers at the corner of your desk- constantly reminding you, beseeching you to pay some thought to your neglected duties. But all you can think about is how to avoid studying for your…

Why Teachers Matter.

This post is dedicated to all the teachers out there. To the teachers that have touched my life, and the lives of many others, from tottering toddlers to angsty adolescents – this is for you. I simply cannot express how much my teachers have influenced my life – every single one of them. You get…

Taking a Nap: A Break from the World

I never really believed in the power of naps – quite frankly, I considered them a waste of precious time that could be put to use productively. It pained me to think of wasting thirty minutes on pure lazing around: there was simply too much to do to take a break just for the sake…

Sri Lanka: Rustic charm amidst quirky delight

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. -Gustave Flaubert I’ve always loved elephants, so I was delighted that we were going to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage this trip. Baby elephants are always objects of wonder for children and adults ‘ooh’ and ‘awwwh’ over, but a small pat…

Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

I am a feminist. Abashedly, such a declaration makes me cringe. A voice in my head adamantly screams fury and repulsion, refusing to let me associate myself with the characteristically outspoken, obstinate, and vehemently bitter female advocates of feminist rights. But I am a feminist. I believe in social, political and economic equality of the…

Perfume, by Patrick Süskind (Translated by John E. Woods)

If no one asks me about it, then I know what it is; but if someone asks me about it and I try to explain it to him, then I do not know what it is. ~ St. Augustine, quoted by Patrick Süskind in On Love and Death A quote intended to describe time, but aptly adapted…

Why I Love Maths

Why; I Love Math Yes, you heard correctly- Why I Love Math. A question people ask frequently It never ceases to puzzle me How could you not love math? It is wonderfully adept with many possibilities in fact Infinity to be exact. It is much like a lover. A lover, you say? Yes, a lover…

Hair for Hope and Beautiful Lengths

Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else. June 4th, 2013. It was our first major event as a council, but perhaps represented much more. Hair for Hope is a tradition in our school – an amazing cause that never fails to raise donations and…

Busy.

I like the pace of my world. It’s busy, but for me, the less I do the lazier I get. Another incredibly hectic week. After a frenzied week of missing school intermittently for Tobacco Summits, Director General of Education visits, etc.- I was greeted by a week of tests (that abashedly I only studied for the day…

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller

The flaw, or crack in character, is really nothing – and need be nothing – but his inherent unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity, his image of his rightful status. – Arthur Miller, Tragedy of the Common Man. I have fallen in love with…

Piffling Postages

Things have been a bit of a convoluted Christmas-light-esque jumble of tangled wires lately, but suffice to say these few days have been incredibly eventful ones. The past week has been frenetic- from helping out at Open House 2013 (a chaotic jumble of 400 people!) to watching The Importance of Being Earnest, to multiple IAs…

The Importance of Being Earnest, Wild Rice Productions

It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me? Words cannot begin to describe the stomach-aching, cheek-muscle-straining, giddiness-inducing two hours of utter enjoyment that Wild Rice’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest brought to the…

Krabi, Thailand: Foodscapade

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart. Life is short; why not eat? Good food is a work of art in itself- and like art, food has a immense history of culture and intense flavors that shape each type of cuisine. Thailand is no exception; perhaps…

Krabi: Escape into idyllic paradise

The throaty rumble of the boat across choppy waters Whooshes to secluded beaches in little splutters Advances towards the blissful haven Isolated; radiant heaven Waves roll gently in, caressing the golden sand Gritty specks, grasped in outstretched hand Blossoming flowers, tucked behind ears Whisper soothing tunes for all to hear There is little hurt blowing…

All My Sons, By Arthur Miller

‘[…] the underlying fear of being displaced, the disaster inherent in being torn away from our chosen image of what or who we are in this world.’- Arthur Miller, Tragedy of the Common Man.  The fear of not being that which you want to be. A pervasive fear; one that everyone falls prey to at one…

Lord Turnbull and the ‘Really Inconvenient Reality’

Lord Turnbull came to give a presentation on his ‘Really Inconvenient Truth’ about climate change today, but all I got out of it was the reflection of a ‘Really Inconvenient Reality’. His presence here was showered with prestige, but tainted with an unfair amount of conceit. Not on Lord Turnbull’s part- but rather, the entire…

Idyllic Sundays

Pumps of adrenalin surge through your veins as you cross the short expanse of the tennis court- legs flying over the green surface, breath gasping in short puffs, muscles stiffening in preparation for the impact;– then, all of a sudden, time stops. The ball falls slowly, exaggeratedly towards you as you screech to a stop,…

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Don’t trust your own judgement. Think. At first glance this hefty book may seem like a compilation of daunting concepts and unmoistened bare facts- the book is indeed dry and may come across as an esoteric psychological analysis of a specific area in the cognitive sciences. However, it is reasonably conveyed in layman’s terms- and…