Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tanned

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So deeply tanned my skin has become that it can attest to my love of the sun.  Like Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood, I'd be a terrible vampire because I won’t feel right without a tan.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

so i'll reign in my thoughts

Monday, August 27, 2012


I have to restrain myself from writing down every little thing. I feel I could take note of every little thought and describe every molecule of this cell and every moment of my life. I have plenty of time.  I have all day. But only so much paper. and only so much faith in your patience, so I'll reign in my thoughts.

~ Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Too Early

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And so I applied for my visa to India today, only to find out that wanting things organized and prepared two months in advance is not a very good idea.

I took the metro to Ayala and from there walked more than a kilometer to the visa application center, BLS International at One Corporate Plaza along Arnaiz Avenue.  An hour early, I didn’t mind the wait for I brought a book with me. Come 9 am, one of the personnel checked my documents, announced that everything’s complete and gave me a number. Glancing at my application form, she suggested that I change the length of visa requested from 6 months to 2 months.

I waited some more. After 20 minutes, they called my number. I approached the counter and handed over my documents to the same lady who checked them earlier. She went through the documents once again.  I told her that I cannot change the duration of visa. Because the validity of an Indian visa starts from the date of issue, 2 months would be beyond my travel dates, which are in October and November. That’s when she realized that I won’t be leaving till October. (She didn’t see it while looking at my papers.)  She then gave back the documents and told me to come back in October.  “You’re applying too early,” she said. “Well I want everything in order the earliest possible so if ever I won’t be granted a visa to India I can make alternative travel plans,” I said, curbing the urge to argue for the virtues promptness and preparation.   “Just come back a week before my departure date. Visa processing takes only four days, anyway. We don’t know but the embassy could give you a one-month visa, which you won’t be able to use given your travel dates.” she replied.  She has a point there, I thought. But why would the embassy give a visa that obviously would not correspond to the applicant’s travel dates?

If I wanted to wait till October to get my visa, I could just go for the Tourist Visa on Arrival facility in New Delhi.  This is one case where procrastination would have helped.  Disappointed that I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, I walked all the way back home.  If not a visa, at least I would get a good exercise from this, I thought.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Questions give us no rest

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And questions give us no rest. We know not why our curse makes us seek we know not what, ever and ever. But we cannot resist it. It whispers to us that there are great things on this earth of ours, and that we can know them if we try, and that we must know them. We ask, why must we know, but it has no answer to give us. We must know that we may know.

~ Ayn Rand, Anthem, 1938

Thursday, August 9, 2012

India-Nepal Trip Checklist

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lists create order and make infinity comprehensible, or so says Umberto Eco. Perhaps that is why making a list of things to be done helps whenever I’m obsessing about something. So here’s my TO DO list before our trip to India and Nepal:
  • Apply for three-week vacation leave (DONE)
  • Purchase round-trip plane tickets to New Delhi and Kathmandu (DONE)
  • Book hotel in New Delhi (DONE)
  • Book hotel in Kathmandu (made reservation through email but still waiting for a reply)
  • Make train reservation: New Delhi to Agra (DONE)
  • Make train reservation: Agra to Jaipur (DONE)
  • Make train reservation: Jaipur to New Delhi (DONE)
  • Make train reservation: New Delhi to Amritsar (DONE)
  • Make train reservation: Amritsar to Pathankot (DONE, but could only purchase waitlisted tickets)
  • Make train reservation: Pathankot to New Delhi (DONE)
  • Have 2x2 ID picture taken (DONE)
  • Photocopy first page of passport (DONE)
  • Fill out application for permission to re-enter India within a period of two months
  • Fill out visa application
  • Get a copy of bank certificate
  • Apply for visa
  • Book hotel in Jaipur
  • Book hotel in Amritsar
  • Book hotel in McLeod Ganj
  • Book hotel in Pokhara
I just hope that the Indian Embassy will grant me a visa.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Choosing What We Pay Attention To

Monday, August 6, 2012

There is something about David Foster Wallace’s writings that will always resonate with me. I reread his commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005 and his words made me think about what I think about:  

“Twenty years after my graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.  It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.  Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

His words make so much sense to me; yet when I think about it, choosing what we pay attention to is not that easy.  Our mind wanders all the time and oftentimes I’m not even aware that I am already dwelling on the things that I do not really want to think about.   How can I exercise vigilance over my thoughts when there are times that I want to simply relinquish consciousness? Choosing what to pay attention to and understanding why I need to pay attention to it need moment-to-moment effort.  But still, I try.

For now I want to pay attention to finding the right words to finish this post. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crap

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Me: A paper has already been written about that. 
Him: Do you mean this (while glancing at the paper)? This is crap. Who wrote this? 
Me: I did (while looking at him straight in the eye). 
Him: I’m sorry. This is so awkward (his face reddening in shame). 
Me: It’s fine. I’m professional enough not to take offense at your remark. You obviously have not read the paper so… (shrugged) 
Him: I browsed it. I’m so sorry. This is so awkward. 
Me: So what makes it crap? 
Him: (bowed his head and said nothing
Him: (after a long and uncomfortable silence) I really want to apologize. It was unprofessional of me to say that. 
Me: Forget about it. It’s nothing, really. I know myself too well to let such things bother me. So it's crap. You can throw it away. You don't have to use it. Let's just move on, okay? 
Him: I’m new here and what I did was unethical. 
Me: Then learn from it.
 
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