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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SHUT DOWN TIME

This blog was started on September 9, 2006. And it practically ceased existing on December 9, 2006. For people associated with it, at least as authors and comment writers, these were two exciting months eliciting various kinds of emotions; from raw hate to polished sarcasm. Love, harmony and so many other emotions which cream the milk of humanity were not present; they didn’t have to. Emotions which needed an obfuscating façade were expressed in open, and though unappreciable at times, were appreciated. To bid a final farewell, we have decided to rank the comments in three categories, good , bad, and ugly, so, here goes the rankings:

GOOD COMMENTS: These are comments which conveyed a message without getting distasteful and losing direction. These and many more comments like these kept us connected with reality and at time even forced us to introspect and change.

1.

Anonymous said...

@Last Anonymous,
You have summed up the feelings of most new people very well.

This is with regards to the paragraph on who cares. It is true that not everyone can care about every aspect of ISAC's performance. Nor should every member of ISAC worry about every aspect of ISAC's operation. Thats why a collective thinking from both sides makes sense.
By all this, if we can conclude anything, then it is that, due to a lack of participation in decision making within the ISAC, a few blunders have been committed. I hope ISAC doesn't take this personally and changes its rationale for the better.
For the past and future ISA committees that did the same things, this is a suggestion to improve themselves in their current pursuits.

However, this is a warning to this blog too. One person's view or a single perspective on issues can not be correct on all issues. Bring different issues, look at different perspectives, be inclusive. Only then can this blog be what it claims to be.

One more thing. As pointed out in the last post, ISAC called off the picnic due to poor participation. What were the Desis of Vattier doing? Why didn't they volunteer to make sure the event occurs? Instead of ridiculing ISA, did they even try to be proactive? You have to walk the talk to be respected.

I sincerely hope that the vattier guys recognize this. Actions speak more than words.

--S.N

2

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed with the conversation between Izzu and Bizzu. One thing I want to clarify, why Desi community is waiting for ISA to come forward to ask for opinions, why don’t they contact ISA to share their ideas and opinions. How ISA will expect people will share opinions if the response for ISA events are little even ISA is offering it for free of cost. If they really fell to help ISA, ISA is not far enough to contact and also ISA never denied any ones involvement and ideas. Any one can reach with single e-mail to isa@ksu.edu. If ISA didn't respond well for your suggestions than it will be fair if you say ISA won’t care for people’s opinions.

When ISA is looking for membership drive, few people are waiting till one of the committee member to approach them and request to take. The first question they are asking to ISA was what are the benefits they are getting from ISA, if they take membership. ISA is not doing business, its student organization for Indian Communities. ISA is here to make people feel that they are not missing INDIA. As long as people not much responding to ISA events, how they can expect committee members will get more interest to doing more and new events.

If you want to help ISA try to help it, if ISA did wrong just show but don't expect ISA (having only 6 committee members) to come and knock the doors of all Desi communities (150-200 people), after all they are also students they have some academic work to do....

3.

Anonymous said...

Well...I remember the last time the new layout (the current one) was put up. It was back in 2003.

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ksu.edu/isa

I don't think it would demand so much time from a person to just update it time to time.

Another issue is that the information put on may not even be accurate (even if is updated on time) - like for the Independence day celebrations. It is mentioned on the Website that the flag hoisting would be done at 7:00, so I got there at 6:40 or so and the flag was already hoisted :)..

BAD and UGLY: Any comment which was not bad or ugly was treated as good; the criterion for being rated as bad or ugly was use of foul and uncouth language or intent and the inability of the author to communicate what he/she was trying to say due to his/her emphasis on deliberate use of expletives . Here we go with the ugliest and worst of the lot. Unlike the good ones, which really mattered, these didn’t

Anonymous said...

Just ignore these stupids, barking dogs don't bite.
Anyways, Kshitij was a big success. All credits to the ISA committee, the volunteers and everybody who directly and indirectly helped for making it a big success.

Anonymous said...

Get Well Soon Mamu!

Now, after the time pass stuff, I would like to thank everyone who participated directly or indirectly in this endeavor, by supporting us, hating us or just deciding to be neutral. I especially would like to thank those responsible for above mentioned hateful and incomprehensible comments, they added spice to the whole thing…

(The panel who judged these comments consisted of one drunk but self -proclaimed conscientious individual, who holds the ultimate authority for making these judgments for the simple reason that he/she has the password for this blog…..)

I guess this is the final good bye! Have fun..

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Friends, ethics and exploitation

This article is based on a recent incident where one Indian student behaved with another so cheaply that it is worth the effort to write an article about it. This article tries to explore the psyche of a person who is not only rude and caustic but also shameless. This article is published here so that the person takes a serious retrospection of his actions and understands his mistakes. This will also serve as a grim remainder for others that the biggest foe for a desi is none other than another desi.

What does one expect from you when he helps you? Probably he helped you because he is a good friend, probably you had helped him previously, or probably he was expecting something in return...irrespective of that, once you take help from a person, you are indebted to him in some way. What would you have done if you had not taken his help is an irrelevant question since you have already taken his help.

So, for example, when someone helps you shift your belongings to your new apartment, the least that you could do later is to behave politely with the guy who helped you. Does it take the brain of Einstein to realize this?

Moving on, since you took the help from someone else, in times of need, it is human nature (and quite right at that) for the person who helped you to expect that you would return the favor. How much help does he deserve, the time that you should devote to it etc, are all things that are case dependent, but the point I want to get across here is that you have to go out of your way now to accommodate him.

People have different expectations. So, when a person buys you lunch, he might expect the same thing from you or probably less or not at all... But, when you as a person calculate every penny of every transaction and expect everyone to abide by it, then my dear friend, when you take some one's help, they expect the same behavior (of keeping track of every penny) from your side in this case as well.

My suggestion to people who have already seen such types. Do not help such people. They do not deserve it and moreover, later in your time of need, they will not only 'not help' you, but also cause more trouble. If you really pity the person, give a strict interpretation of what you expect from him for this favor. It is hard, but ignore the person's situation at the moment because if you don't, he is going to ignore your situation later.

Blabbering stuff is easy, writing abusive scraps is easier, but what is hard is to think about why someone behaves with you the way they do. If a person seems to have no problem mingling with others and you seem to continuously get into fights and arguements with everyone including him, then I am sorry to say, it is YOU who has a problem.

People who hardly know you or who haven't come close to you do not have a reason to like/dislike you. If your impression with peers itself is so messed up, then obviously everyone is cautious about getting close to you. If they do, most of the time, it is to make fun of you rather than genuine friendliness. Think how pathetic such a situation is for a grown up guy. It is as if you are a malaise. One might say he doesn't care but reality is, you are affected by others, others are affected by you and moreover, you take help from others, they would have taken help from you.

It takes great time and effort for one to realize that he has done something wrong. But when the majority feel consistently that some one is wrong, then probably its high time you realize it. Cursing, hiding or humiliating others senselessly is easy, but to put yourself is someone else's shoes requires maturity, clear mind and more than anything else a good heart.

So, think about it. This article was not necessary. It is with great sadness that I write this. But when all other means of communication are broken down, the only way to reach out to someone with such a huge ego was this. For others, the fundas are: be clear of what you expect, be helpful but not naive.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Demand from an ISA member

This is another comment which the anonymous author wants to be posted. We reiterate that participation from the community will encourage us and will go a long way to enrich the quality and diversity of content on the forum. We welcome posts from anonymous or non-anonymous authors and we hope to have discussions regarding a wider variety of issues and concerns in near future.

Agree with the author or how the e-mails are worded these days. I don't think they are inviting at ALL.

I have one question to add to this - According to the ISA constitution, under Article V - General Body Meetings, it says "The Executive Committee, during its term, shall call at least two General Body Meetings. The Executive Committee shall notify the members of the ISA of the date, time, place and agenda of any General Body Meeting at least ten (10) days in advance. However, in the case of an emergency, a General Body Meeting may be called at a shorter notice."

I would like to know when this current committee plans to call these general body meetings?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Demands from an ISA member

Dear readers, one of our readers has sent this mail to us asking it to be published on our site. The sender wishes to remain anonymous. The sender's mail is published 'as is'. We welcome such mails and love to hear from you more.

Dear Vattier Daily,
I am happy to see that your blog has created a forum for us to share our views on ISA. As a legitimate member of ISA, I think I have the right to ask for changes or atleast know what is being done on the following issues.
(I can not send a mail personally to them because I do not want to loose my anonymity and hence, this indirect way. But irrespective of the means of communication, it is important to get the message to them. Hopefully someone from ISA reads this and responds)
  1. Recent mails from ISA are neither friendly nor do they sound inviting. I don't expect every mail to be grammatically correct. But, atleast ISA should check to see if the tone of the mails are friendly atleast. A recent mail said that ISA "will not entertain" late entries for the cultural event. Is this the way to encourage participation? If there is one single person who sends all the mails, may be someone should tell him/her about the flaws. I hope the real meaning of these messages are as arrogant as the mails seem to be.
  2. The discussion on the ISA website on your website is relevant and important. I want to know what the committee is doing to update the website.
  3. Does ISA want Indian students and faculty to be its members or does it not need us to be members? I am not particularly sure if being a member or a non-member makes a difference, but past committees seem to put substantive efforst for membership campaigns. I would hope that doing this would make ISA financially safe. But if the current committee has decided otherwise, I would call it a brave move and there is a thin line between bravery and stupidity. In any case, will ISA make its stand on membership clear?
  4. Can the ISA committee give us information of all the events they are planning to conduct in their term?
I hope ISA responds with answers/explanations to this.

Thanks,
XYZ

Your Opinion explained

Recently, we added a new feature to The Vattier Daily; Opinion polls. We have conducted two opinion polls and here are the results:
  1. How do you perceive The Vattier Daily ?
    (We have strong reason to believe that a few votes for the first option were posted repeatedly by the same person, 1 vote for the fourth option was a mistake of the author)

    1. Platform to discuss and know new things: 32 votes, 89%.
    2. It is a platform to vent out our frustrations on ISA: 0 votes, 0%.
    3. It is useful, but. (leave your comment on any post to complete sentence): 3 votes ,8%
    4. We don't need it: 1 vote, 3%
  2. Do you think the honor code works for Desi students?
    1. Its perfect. I follow it. Everyone else also should: 5 votes, 31%
    2. We have our own problems. But, I shall follow it none the less: 6 votes, 38%
    3. I want to follow it. But others don't. So why should I?: 2 votes, 13%
    4. I'll do anything to get good grades: 3 votes, 19%
From the polls, we can conclude that a majority of our readers believe that The Vattier Daily is useful. Our readers have mixed opinion when it comes to the Honor Code. But, a majority will follow the Honor Code.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Temporal Shift in Ideas

For a brief period, The Vattier Daily will operate from Lawrence, Kansas. This move is expected to give the journalists of The Vattier Daily a taste of the liberal Lawrence. The bureau will still be operational. So, you can stil send your articles and comments.

Thanks,
The Vattier Daily

ISA annual event : Atrip down the memory lane

ISA annual event: A trip down the memory lane

I have been involved with the last two ISA annual functions; I have been there behind the scene and I have seen it all; the best, the worst, the ugliest.

(I am confused about what to call these events. First was tarang and the second was utsav, but essentially they were the same. Let me refer to both of these as TATSAVAM – Let there be purity (first two letters of tarang and last four of utsav + am to give it the classical Sanskrit touch: TA + TSAV +AM, which means the pure form. And now , inspired by glorious bollywood titles like Dosti - Friends Forever, Family - Ties Of Blood, Dil Diya Hai - Love Happens, Anjaane - The Unknown and the monumental Don - The Chase Begins Again, I add the fruit of inspired creativity- Let there be purity.). But as it is too long and hard to pronounce, again in the bollywood tradition of DDLJ, KKHH, KANK, I’ll refer to it as TLTP).

So, usually the TLTPs start with general enthusiasm on the part of ISA committee members. The plans are made but very soon the realization sets in that many more people are required than the committee actually have. Committees try to get some volunteers but they are never enough. So plans are clipped down a bit. The first casualty of this clipping down process is always the marketing and event publicity efforts. There are always people available for designing and stuff but that is not the problem. The problem is getting the people to distribute it , or the people who have to do the chalk writings or to post the flyers in the department. So, anyway, people say, doesn’t matter if we distribute only 100 flyers, we’ll get the info on the ISC list serve. Don’t even think about the PR efforts or interactive activities. Anyway, this all filtered down to one ISA president doing chalk writing over the whole campus in the dark chilly night with two others only during one TLTP.

The most glamorous thing to do during these TLTPs is coordinating the programming. Looking for MCs is usually a very beurocratic sort of process. People who are close to the organizers or are considered harmless and safe speakers usually get to be the MCs and end up being just announcers. Programming is other area which is a potential minefield due to the large number of events and varied kind of conflicts you can’t even imagine of. And then, the last minute glitches; for example in one TLTP, at the last moment you get to know that the supply of drinks you were supposed to get won’t be available or the time when a high powered performer refuses to perform unless he/she gets to go first and then ensues a series of negotiations and tactical conversations. Things usually work out nice except some minor incidents or audio goof ups. This process requires a good number of volunteers, but it has some glamour associated to it and getting volunteers for programming is not a big problem. However, one of the major drawbacks of the event is lack of skits and other kind of non – dancing and non-singing performances.

Now, in the night people have dinner and go back, getting people for folding and arranging furniture is always a bit problematic but it somehow works out.

And then, after all this dies down starts another process, of talking about things, the fun people had together, the sharing, the euphoria and all those good things which go into consolidating the memory of the event. Once this sets in, the bad memories take over, memories like heated arguments, conflicts, goof ups, other disappointments and undignified things people had to do to get the show going. Some people drink, blurt and forget. Some don’t.

So, this was my take on this event, What IS YOUR TAKE! Is there something you would like to share – memories, opinions or just observations?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Get up, Stand up!

Recently, an article was published on the K-State Collegian criticizing the way in which SGA funds student organizations. A harmless, thoughtful constructive critic of SGA it was supposed to be, but the writer chose to spice it up by taking potshots at SABHA, an organization that was funded by SGA. Here are the excerpts taken from the article from KState Collegian published on Thursday 19 Oct. 2006.

"Have you ever heard of the Society for Appreciation of Bharatiya Heritage and Arts? Me neither. Yet our Student Senate found it necessary to grant this Indian dance group $3,000 to perform at K-State. About 10 students on campus are paying for this event to take place."

"The helpfulness of our Student Senate, it seems, stops with Navigators and Indian dancing."

"As a student, where do you want your $302 going? I am positive all of us would prefer to bring in an Indian dance group from a society we can't pronounce before we would give money back to four college councils."
SABHA on the other hand, had a few days earlier, flaunted that its proposal received the highest funding for a student organization this semester. We sincerely don't know why it had to be announced. May be it is the 'SABHA better than ISA' thing,may be its not, but nevermind..

Coming back to the Collegian, the article was filled with deriding comments about SABHA. The author achieved nothing from this article other than to effectively articulate his own ignorance on issues of diversity. It was self-defeating in many ways. Organizations that submit well-written proposals in a timely fashion (or have influence in the senate) get grants. Organizations that do not get them have only their leaders to blame.

The day was saved for the Desis by Sheena Nagaraj who wrote a well directed agressive letter to the editor, pin-pointing the ignorance of the author of the article. Kudos to Sheena! The Vattier Daily loved her comments. Here are a few excerpts from her letter to the editor.

"I understand that Armstrong was frustrated with the system and lack of money, but his issue should be with SGA, not with the Society for Appreciation of Bharatiya Heritage and Arts. I do not understand his need to not only blame SABHA, but also make sarcastic comments that only left him sounding bitter and ignorant.
The fact that Armstrong has never heard of SABHA has no correlation to whether it should receive funds. I attended the beautiful, unique, and educational event it sponsored last semester, and I'm very excited to attend the upcoming dance performances."

"Armstrong, I challenge you to understand that your ability to pronounce a word has no bearing on its importance."

"Lastly, I challenge you to learn how to express your frustrations without making ignorant, offensive comments about innocent organizations who are only trying to educate you on what you obviously do not understand."


So this is how it should be done folks. Stand up for yourselves.

(All the excerpts in this article are taken from The K-State Collegian)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Whats up with that??

Before we present another constructive comment on ISA ;-) we congratulate them for announcing the dates of the next event, Kshitij, the Horizon quite early. Keep it up ISA.

Now, for the bad part.
Are ISA events solely for people soaked in Indian languages? As if Sanskrithi, Tarang and Utsav weren't hard and confusing enough for others, we have a new kid on the block, Kshitij, setting the standards higher (some email services might even suspect this word as spam). Why keep such hard to pronounce words (we accept they are creative) to events that do not have anything new or original? As one could see, there are three parts: an exhibition, a cultural event (where Dr Minocha will sing) and a dinner. Whats so innovative about this, how is this expanding anybody's horizon, one is forced to ask...Whats up with that??

Readers who have watched Andaz Apna Apna repeatedly know this famous dialogue.. "pehle hi itna tension hai ? Karishma kaun ! Raveena Kaun ! us tension se nekle nahi...ki ek aur tension, ..."UNCLE Kaun ?"..a similar thing can be said about this event.

Seriously, a concept wholely misunderstood by past committees was so easily understood by a new student. He said, ISA needs to develop this as a brand name for the event, not a ego patting excercise to come up with a hard to spell name. Hopefully, ISA committees in the future give some thought about it. If you think about it, its not even new. Every college worth its name in India has its own cultural fests whose names don't change every year.

While past committees can not do anything else, they should atleast accept that they should have put ISA's future image first rather than their own legacy.

So, dear readers, forget the name. It is the usual desi cultural event. Buy your coupons early (don't beg ISA committee members in the end), go participate in the cultural exhibition, listen to Dr. Minocha and eat well. We hope you have a good time.

ISA website : The irony of abundance

No beating around the bush now. Go to ISA website. Start clicking randomly on the links and you will find that the chances of getting information which stopped being relevant around two to three years ago are way higher than chances of getting information which is still relevant. Or, just check out all the links mentioned below and you’ll know what I mean.

You will find initiatives like “Lipika” and “Market Place” which no one knows about. As far as I know they were not started during last two years. Then why are they even there on the website? They don’t have to be updated regularly, they just have to be removed once, and if it has not been done in all the years and by all the ISA committees after 2004, it indicates towards the lethargy and incompetence of ISA webmasters since 2004. ISA webmasters do work on the site; they post their names as webmasters and change the names of the executive committee members with every new committee.

Nothing else is usually worked upon as it doesn’t matter. Member lists are not updated, forums usually lay dormant, a memorial service notice from 2003 still exists, events printed in darker letters like tournaments and other celebrations attract more attention but provide only pre event information three to four months after the events took place and a lot more which makes a first time ISA website user feel cheated. After some time people get used to links which are useless and avoid them like old mines.

In a community where majority or something close to it is constituted by CIS students, there is no scope for excuse or explanations. The webmaster doesn’t know how to work on the webpage. No problem, get someone else to help him/her or replace him/her , and if any ISA committee finds it difficult to find a capable webmaster in Indian community, That committee is undeniably and categorically incompetent and unworthy of representing the community.

In the end I would like to point out that new committees inherit many vices and virtues from old committees in the garb of norms and traditions. Ignoring the content of the website is one of the biggest inherited vices. Talk to a committee member and he/she will tell you that it has always been so, but is it a reason enough for a committee to ignore this important aspect? This is one of the areas where past committees have failed terribly and where present and future committees can make a difference. The question is: WILL THEY ?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

SABHA and ISA: The Twain Shall Never Meet

(This article is by a renowned columnist, well acquainted with the Desi Community. As usual, please share your thoughts and comments)


Let us begin by asking ourselves, what is SABHA and then we will ask ourselves, what is ISA?

Chronologically speaking ISA came before SABHA. ISA was probably born with the advent of the first Indian student to Kstate. SABHA came later, much later. Maybe that is why ISA feels as if it is the parent organization looking after the so called fledgling which has unfortunately, long flown the coop.

SABHA is the Society for Appreciation of Bharatiya Heritage and Arts. As you can tell, a very contrived name which suits the acronym beautifully. As one erstwhile member of SABHA used to tell unsuspecting Americans, “sabha” also stands for a gathering, a gathering of like minded people, such as they maybe, to appreciate Indian culture.

If the gentle readers grew up in India they are used to being bombarded with Indian culture and know what it means when we say this is not a part of our culture. But asides aside, SABHA represents the cultural side of India. Hrrrmmph you say, ISA can do it equally well, why two? Two because one can never be enough for the diversity that is India, and one is not enough for the different thought processes that the two represent. The main function of ISA is to look after the Indian student on campus, make the longing for home a little lesser, and wrap them in a safety cocoon of a community that they can bitch about and a community that to some extent they like (Well at least in private). ISA also has the responsibility of representing the Indian population on campus when called upon. When disaster strikes a Manhattan Desi, ISA works in tandem with the university to set things right.

Then what does this so called SABHA do? SABHA is the fun part; it is the intellectual snobby part of ISA, a branch of the tree that overtook the rest of the tree. SABHA does the concerts, calls performers in the varied Indian culture to perform and bring to Indians things that they would not get to see otherwise. The regular desi student usually yawns at this, eh culture, who needs it. I am happy with my pizza party. SABHA desists. This culture that you refuse to intake is what makes you a proud Indian. That is what you don’t know about India, which is why you don’t know what to tell people when they ask you about India. But worry not, SABHA is there.

One of the reasons why SABHA exists is to bring superlative performances that we cannot afford otherwise, such as the Pt. HariPrasad Chaurasiya and Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt concert, to name a few. It is also to introduce to the non-Indian population of Manhattan, what India has to offer other than elephants and tigers, which we have killed off anyways. They truly have no idea of what beautiful art forms we have. They have no inkling of how much diversity and beauty exists in anything not-western.

But ISA can do all this, you still grumble. No, it cannot. It cannot do both things at the same time, it cannot look after the desi community and educate the masses. It cannot arrange so many things in one year. After all they are students too and ahem.. need to study.

Hence ISA with great effort (it takes great effort to part with power) gave birth to SABHA. The brain child that took over ISA, making ISA feel insecure in its place. Suddenly ISA and SABHA saw themselves as being on opposite sides of the fence, fighting for funds, fighting for audience and fighting, of course, because we love to fight. No reason required. Their events began to clash. SABHA concerts and ISA events would be on the same day, making people choose between their social and their intellectual side. For some it was easy and for others heartrending. Then came a committee to the respective thrones that decided that we should coexist peaceably. Envoys were sent to both sides and peace reigned. SABHA flourished and ISA as usual did everything with aplomb. Then SABHA flourished too much, people began associating Indian events with SABHA and with its dynamic committee, ISA became resentful of this attention and told SABHA to stay in its place and not to take over ISA.

Why do we always have to see each other as being on opposite sides of the fence. Both have important roles to play to make everyone healthier and happier citizens of Kstate. Roles so different, rules so different, yet we find a basis for comparison, a reason to point fingers. Let them happily enjoy and work apart and not interfere for the benefits they can and have offered to the community.

I do not believe that they can work together, too much chaos will reign that way, yet I also believe that they cannot be separate pieces either. Both are hands of the Indian community. One hand needs to know what the other is doing even if to only give people an impression of unity. If that is there the average person will be happier and both organizations will have adequate help when they need it. Instead of missing the forest for the trees, lets see how beautiful is this forest because of different trees coexisting peaceably within its bounds.

Our unforeseen Adventure… Konza Prairie

This week, we have a new reporter, a new comer to Manhattan. He has risen the ranks of The Vattier Daily fast and has gained both awe and respect from peers and seniors. This is his memoirs of the Konza Prairie. Please share your thoughts.

When you are in a place like Manhattan, which does not offer you much in terms of venturesome places, you got to search. Well one of the places I would suggest would be the Konza prairie. When I was admitted to K-State and was trying to explore Kansas, one of the key words that came up in my search every now and then was the prairie.

Many of us might not have really taken an effort to find more about this place. . Konza prairies is one of the largest native tall grass prairies in the United States of America and it offers an astounding view of the undisturbed vegetation. Well in our case, our trip to Konza which took off as an evening stroll turned out to be one of the most adventurous trips ever. About twenty to twenty five minutes drive from the campus, the prairies has more to offer than what it looks like at first sight. Well as I mentioned we started our walk in the prairies at about five in the evening. We were five of us and decided to take the 4-mile trail, so that we could get back home before it got too dark.

But then it all turned out to be different. Fortunately or unfortunately, we took a wrong direction somewhere and then the four-mile trail seemed to be a never-ending one.

We talked, joked, sang and came across some of the harmless grassland animals, birds and the native plants. Everything seemed fine as we kept walking until we reached the bison reserves. That is when we realized that we had taken a wrong direction somewhere.

Believe me friends; we made our way out around eleven in the night. Let me not break the moratorium by narrating the whole story. It was a treasure hunt…the only difference in this case was that the treasure we were looking for was our way out of the prairies.


But we had our share of fun too……the sight of the confused Deer’s skipping around, the Turkeys and of course the Manhattan city and some of the adjoining cities fully lit in the night from the top of the hill was indeed a treat to watch . It won’t be too long before we plan yet another stroll in the prairies and I bet if you get a chance, you too will.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dandia Dance Night

ISA organsized this year's Dandiya Nite last Saturday. We are happy to inform that the event went on well.A rotationg crowd of around 60 people was present till the end of the show, including many non-Indian participants. Many student and post-doc families too attended the show.
Two striking features of this year's Dandiya were:
1. Faculty participation was almost nill.
2. The traditional all encompassing big circles were missing. The crowd was divided into smaller groups allowing people to interact even while dancing.

Unlike other years, most of the desis adorned traditional and colorful dresses. The ISA committee itself was full of enthusiasm and the same was true for most of the participants. The committee did a good job in welcoming new participants to the dance floor and teaching Dandiya to first timers. The event also gave oppurtunity for the non-dancing desis to interact with each other and catchup on things.


It looks like the next ISA committe will have to look for new stocks of Dandiya sticks. A record number of Dandiya sticks were broken during this spirited event; partly due to vigorous smashing of Dandiya sticks by a couple of highly enthusiastic dancers. As expected, ISA again failed to have a proper DJ in place for the post-Dandiya part of the show and there was a mix up in the last 45 minutes or so . There was a little chaos in deciding on what has to be done next. Few people wanted to continue with Dandiya, few wanted general dance numbers and few people did not know what to do. Mulitple DJs tried their luck to steer everyone in their own directions but all failed and the confusion continued.
All in all, the Dandiya nite went well. Everyone who wanted to experience Dandiya got to see and dance Dandiya. Not all people were exalted, but oh well, nobody was seriously pissed off either. It might be too much to expect, but it might have been a good idea for ISA to have reminded people about membership through the mails and have membership forms available during the event.

In other news, as is the tradition, the Dandiya nite was followed by a long and enduring Dharu party, also known as the Curtain Raiser. Guests, Alumni, Freshers and everyone in the middle continued with the party mood set during the Dandiya show and danced their heart out.

In summary, this was a night to remember.

Disclaimer: The pictures used in this post were obtained from members of ISA and have been used with their permission. However, if anyone has a problem with any of these pictures, please leave us a comment and we shall remove them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

ISA committee requires; Whiners with excuses or Leaders with character?

Disclaimer: This article concerns ISA committees in general, it observes one of the general issues faced by all ISAs and it should not be interpreted as specific to one committee or individual.

“If you want to help ISA try to help it, if ISA did wrong just show but don't expect ISA (having only 6 committee members) to come and knock the doors of all Desi communities (150-200 people), after all they are also students they have some academic work to do....” – excerpt from one of the comments for previous blog

Every ISA, at one time or another uses academic involvement as an excuse for not getting things right. In my personal opinion, this is just a pathetic attempt to disown responsibility. After all, why is ISA required and what skill-sets do people require being in ISA committee?

ISA is required so that it can manage and organize events and issues both on- stage and off –stage in a central capacity with a consistent ethics of operation. I mentioned ethics of operation because this is the only factor which keeps ISA operatives aware of the fact that they are serving the community, not governing it. For this, ISA needs people who are good managers. I agree that academics are a major concern and not everyone is always in a position to balance both academics and ISA activities but that is precisely the reason why everyone is not in the ISA committee.

I understand that it’s impossible to ‘knock the doors of all desis in the community’ and I accept it as a major challenge for ISA. ISA is supposed to handle this challenge, not as a committee of helpless overburdened sorry excuse for organizers and event managers, but as a set of people who are good at finding solutions and implementing them efficiently under any situation.

Here comes the need for ISA committee to be creative, not in a poster and pamphlet design kind of way, but more in a way which directs towards understanding people and their motivations, delegation of authority and public image building. Here I am not preaching the impossible. I am suggesting something which I know is absolutely possible because I have seen and heard this happen many times in the history of ISA.

Sometimes, people found innovative ways to create and sustain networks, sometimes people created so much excitement around ISA activities that community got involved in the activity without any formal request or communication and sometimes they gathered, handled and disseminated information in ways which brought the community or at least the major factions of the community together. One remarkable thing which I noticed during all these was that every committee thought and worked differently depending upon the personalities and thought process of its members and came up with exceedingly different ways to find solution for the same problem. But most of them stood up to the challenges they faced and found a solution which worked.

Every committee, ISA and non-ISA, makes choices and once it makes these choices it has to own responsibility for them. If the choices are made by limited set of people they have to be answerable to the rest of the masses they are representing. However, if majority of the masses are involved in the decision making process at some level, the people who actually question your choices are in minority and it also makes the ownership of responsibility less burdensome because there are more people to share it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Reduced frequency: The neglect of the news media

The Vattier Daily regrets to announce that its sponsors and parent company do not wish to continue their support to run The Vattier Daily the way it is supposed to be: as a Daily. This is attributed to their neglect of the importance of news media and the voice of the commons. They perceive that their efforts and resources are better spent on academic duties.

Another point made by a person linked to ISA who chose to be anonymous is that, if an organization like ISA itself has forgotten its duties, (till date no information on Dandiya night has reached our news bureau), it is not expected from a non-profit, non-authoritarian organization like ours to be active frequently.

In such situations, we are compelled to rethink our strategies and fight a comeback. In these hard times, our publishing panel has decided to re-model the Daily to be a Weekly. From now on, The Vattier Daily will be known as The Vattier Weekly and will publish weekly articles and op-eds. We are down, but not dead.


Thanks,
The Vattied Weekly

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ISA and Community : The love hate game

This is another column by our renowned columnist JS looking at the interactions between ISA and the Desi Community.

Disclaimer : the names used in this article are fictitious. However, they do represent the opinions of real persons.

Izzu and Bizzu were sitting in the K-state union when the topic of ISA came up in their conversation;

Izzu : I don’t believe in ISA and whatever it does.

Bizzu : From my perspective, you don’t have any right to believe in ISA, even to criticize it, you were never involved with it , you never voted or voiced you opinions about how things should be done.

Izzu : But they never asked for my opinion and I have never heard of an election in the history of ISA. And since when has ISA started caring about opinion of others?

Bizzu : Have you ever noticed that they have been doing the things which they were supposed to do reasonably well. You are saying that they don’t care about anyone’s opinion. But if that is the case then who is making these things work? The committee can’t do everything by themselves. They need volunteers. And if they are getting volunteers then they must be listening to them to some extent. After all, who will volunteer if his/ her voice is not being heard?

Izzu: There are people who will!

Bizzu : But why ?

Izzu : Just to get attention , I guess !

Bizzu : For how long ? Why will someone keep on volunteering even after he realizes that he is not getting due credit for his contribution?

Izzu : Come on ! You don’t get it. Do you? Have you noticed that ISA events other than Tarang / Utsav/ Sanskriti are not attracting as many participants from the community as they should, leading to even scraping of some such events. And for Tarang / Utsav/ Sanskriti, most of the participation is from non-student faction of Indian community. Doesn’t this reflect that there is something missing in their approach?

The conversation above was real and the concerns and issues debated were and are real. One of the primary issues facing ISA committees has been student participation in ISA activities and meetings. Theoretically, ISA represents the whole Indian community in Manhattan and therefore should seek or have participation from all factions of the community. However, this premise seldom holds true. On one hand , ISA feels that community doesn’t want to get involved and on the other hand, community members feel that ISA doesn’t want to welcome them and their opinions in the decision making process. This problem is aggravated by the fact that in most of the cases, both the entities rarely involve in a dialogue on these issues and therefore, without any channel to bridge this communication divide, keep on believing in their own restricted perspective.

Usually, ISA committee is able to involve a critical mass from community to keep functioning. This critical mass is achieved through the personal relationships people in ISA have with other people in community. However, very rarely does ISA committee members are found to have personal connections with all the factions of Indian community in Manhattan and this always results in alienation of some groups from ISA. The problem of community involvement gets severe when ISA is formed of the members from the same group and the group doesn’t have any connections on personal level with other factions.

The solution possibly lies in identifying the different factions in the community, accepting that they have fundamental social and behavioral differences, and then focusing on the commonalities to have representatives from each community in ISA committee. This approach, though it seems promising on paper, may backfire if the members are not able to develop mutual understanding and respect. Another solution might be to create networks through complete delegation of authority to representatives from different factions.

This leads to another important issue : what should be the objective of ISA ? Should it be to involve the whole Indian community or should it be to organize temporary accommodation and tarang/Utsav/Sanskriti well? And what if one comes at the cost of other?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Op-ed: Desi Dharu Parties

The journalists of The Vattier Daily have been busy with their extremely important committments in the last 4 days. Hence, matters of The Vattier Daily had to take the back seat naturally.

During these 4 days, we are happy to report that atleast some new students had a pretty good time. One set of new desis had an unexpected visitor, whose kind words enlightened their minds; about the night life in Manhattan. Some weren't all that appreciative of this divine intervention, but later agreed that this was much more entertaining than institutionally supported desi get-togethers.

At this point, we would like to digress and take time to look at what makes a desi dharu party interesting. A desi dharu party by definition does not include the feminine gender. With this option ruled out, we venture into solving this mysterious problem.

The drinking abilities of the party-goers has long been considered as a benchmark for quality dharu parties. Not very long ago, a boisterous crowd of desis had created quite a stir at a previous desi adda. These parties drew quite a crowd and some new-comers were even hesitant to enter the party because of the on the high expectations laid on every party goer. Over a period of time, the gang matured even more and one could see an increase in both the quantity and quality of the alchohol consumed in their later parties. Gone were the days of cheap beers and bourbon whiskies and in came European vodkas and single malt scotches. The food prepared during these parties was also the talk of the town. One may even argue that any of the above virtues considered alone; ability to drink or the quality drinks or the quality food itself is sufficient to have an entertaining party.

Sometimes, a dharu party becomes enjoyable if it is officially supported. In the previous years, there was a strong recognition for dharu parties because the ISA committee itself was hosting curtain raisers and promoting such events. During the last year, institutional support for such parties came down drastically as ISA decided to not associate directly with such crowds. When committee members had to be involved, their reluctant participation (due to various reasons, including inability to consume excess alchohol) more often than not, inhibited the success of dharu parties. The mature crowd mentioned earlier was hence, the lone star in the desi dharu brigade.

Institutional support and leadership, it is argued, also bring a sense of responsibility in the minds of the dharu enthusiasts the lack of which is termed responsible for the many rogue and immature acts committed by many fledgling desi groups that arose during the last year. Incidents of indecent behavior have occured which give desi guys a bad name in an otherwise friendly Manhattan community.

Another very important feature of good dharu parties is good music. In the past, ISA had nurtured good DJs, who served the needs of the usually diverse desi crowd and brought everyone to the dance floor. Many times, dance nights were followed by extended dharu-dance sessions wherein every form of music and dance was accommodated. This year, however, the chances of any such a thing happening are bleak because even after repeated attempts, the best DJ ISA has in store hasn't proved to be any good.

As we come back to last weekend from this 'small digression', we find that nothing much has been happening at the desi front. As the ISA mails suggest, the 'small get-together' has been cancelled due to an even smaller participation. Considering the success of some events of past ISA committees and the luke-warm responses to some events of latter committees, one wonders whether ISA and such dharu parties are symbiotic in nature. It is for the reader to make her/his opinion. But, we at The Vattier Daily urge our readers to involve themselves more in this organization that could do much more to you, if you participate more in it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Swipe it on yo!


In this issue of The Vattier Daily, we give a rest to controversies and concentrate on something more practical. Your questions and comments are as usually, welcome!

There are three pillars on which desi student life stands in the US. These pillars are Credit Card 1, Credit Card 2 and the enigmatic Credit Card 3. No, seriously, student life with or without funding is unimaginable without credit cards. Credit Card 1 is used for daily shopping needs, groceries and dharu parties. Credit Card 2 is used to pay your already deferred fees. Credit Card 3, the 1 Year, 0% APR card, your golden asset gets you the return ticket to India for the winter.
One thing that we at The Vattier Daily have seen is that some desis are ignoring these vital life sources or grossly mismanaging them. May be, this is attributed to their false sense of self-suffiency because of the meagre funding they get. But, building a good credit history and maintaining a good credit score is as important as making those weekly India calls.

A good credit score means that bankers have faith in you and hence, are ready to lend you money whenver you need it. This is how you get great deals on your credit card. An important aspect of credit score is the ratio of debt vs. credit availability. Hence, if you owe $1000 dollars, it is better to have 3 cards on which the debt is spread rather than maxing the only credit card you have.
Do not be pestered by the number of credit cards you have. As long as they are free and you are not spending every card to its brink, having atleast 3-4 credit cards is a healthy practice. Spending carefully and paying your monthly fees promptly are vital too. So, even if you think you do not need another credit card, apply for it (as long as you don't have to pay stupid monthly/annual fee or hidden charges). Also, don't get overboard and spend all the credit you have just because you have it. Use credit wisely.

For those of you who are still searching for funding oppurtunities, it might be a little hard to get those juicy deals. But, don't loose patience. Something is better than nothing. Develop a good credit history and when you get that much awaited funding, धमाकेधार दील्स आयॆंगे!(dhamakedhar deals aayenge)

And lastly, please keep some cash on you. Don't embarass yourself when you can't pay even a dollar because you don't have cash.

Note:
1. Please do not hold us responsible if you mess up something based on this blog. This is just an introduction to the world of credit cards. For details, call your desi call center.
2. The image on the right hand corner is taken from the website http://www.credit-cards-information.com.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Temporary Accommodation FAQs

As a continuation of our last post, we present some tips and suggestions regarding temporary accommodation.
  1. Mis-communication is the single largest cause for confusion in the whole process. The reasons for mis-communication range between insufficient experience of the concerned people to complacency.
  2. Success for ISA in temporary accommodation depends on how well ISA chooses volunteers. The organizational hierarchy doesn't really matter, be it a temporary accommodation committee or just an extended executive committee, as long as suitable people are chosen, and given well-defined roles and full power to execute their respective roles. This is absolutely crucial.
  3. Using technology to the fullest is also a critical factor in the whole process. It is obvious that all the concerned people should understand the ins and outs of using such technology. While communication technology has improved leaps and bounds, the efficient and sensible use technology is still not possible for ISA. For example, Social networking websites offer exciting ways of communication but aren't really suitable since they are neither dependable nor safe. One has to carefully choose ways of communication that are guaranteed to put the message across effectively. At times, traditional modes of communication serve the needs best.
  4. A systematic and planned procedure is vital for handling the kind of uncertainities and missing information that is present in temporary accommodation. Last minute patchwork is sure to create trouble not only for ISA, but also for the volunteering hosts. A planned procedure also establishes an unambigous channel of communication between ISA, the hosts and the new students. As many realized, the hosts had a different set of expectations from the new students, while the new students had assumed something else.
Based on these three steps, one can plan nearly perfect scenarios for new students. For example, a to-do list when they land in the US, a to-do list when they arrive at Kansas City, a to-do list when they arrive at their host's apartment... these are simple procedures that help in telling new students what and how they are supposed to do things.

Individual emails, chat sessions and informal pointers not only show unprofessionality but also put doubts within the minds of new students. Similarly, a common meeting with all temporary hosts or frequent visits to their places from concerned volunteers not only make the hosts comfortable but also give them a sense of ownership of the whole temporary accommodation process.

One has to realize that after all, ISA is all about volunteering. Hence, whether it is the leader of the organization or the newest volunteer, everyone is in the same hierarchy.

Inclusive decison-making is a painfully earned lesson to many previous ISA executive committees. The faster the present committee realizes it, the betterit is for its success.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Hi, I am your temporary host"

"Everything was okay, but..."
This is how most new desi grads begin when asked about their experiences in Manhattan. When they elaborate on it, we realize that its not all bed of roses for them. Many who know the whole process of temporary accomodation believe that nothing is good enough for some of them. Also, there is also truth to the thought that one has to go through this cultural shock. After all, desi grads aren't babies. But, we think that we need not force a cultural shock by making it difficult for new students. We beg the concerned to have an unbiased retrospection based on the experiences of the people in the community to make the experience easy for everyone involved. The concerned here include the India Student Association, the temporary hosts, the new students and even the critics.

One thing we appreciate in many new students is that, irrespective of the trouble they have faced, they still have the smile left of their faces. The same is true for the tireless volunteers and committee members of ISA who have worked to bring this unique service to the new students from India. We can safely say that no other international student organization handles anything close to this complexity in Kansas State University in helping new students. We base this article on our personal experiences from the past and present, interviews from the new students and temporary hosts. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

Some new students felt that though ISA was attentive to their needs before they arrived in Manhattan, ISA wasn't there for them when they needed them here. In many such cases, people within the community, not linked to temporary accommodation helped the new students. This has proved to be a significant complementary service, and at times, equal in magnitude to the help offered by ISA. New students also felt that there were errors in the whole process, like not giving a formal introduction of ISA to the new people (even at Swagath) or assigning a full set of new students to an another new set of desi grads without realizing that both were equally helpless. Another problem that particularly affected the temporary hosts was that ISA did not really communicate the terms of their service to new students. That is, the hosts weren't effectively told where their responsibilities begin and where they stop. New students weren't informed about what ISA expects from them when during their temporary stay. Unneccesarily, some hosts had to bear the extra burden which could have been avoided if there was a clearer communication. There will always be some bad apples because of who others suffer, but it is unjustified to make a temporary host suffer because he or she offered to help. Few of the problems include:
1. too many guests at a time when the hosts themselves are shifting apartments,
2. new students expecting too much from the hosts, and doing too little in return,
3. hosts were left clueless when new students switched hosts.

There were also instances where the ISA committee was rude to temporary hosts. In reality, ISA had to be thankful to them because there were so few of them anyway. This opens a whole new plethora of problems. Why are so few people interested to be involved in temporary accommodation? Current students had a variety of answers to this question. Many feel that current students are too lazy to return the nice gesture shown to them when they arrived. Many students who had bad experiences in the past are indifferent to the cause. Some also felt that because ISA seems to be controlled by a few, delegation is tough and it is difficult to spread the message around. Another recurring problem of ISA executive committees has been that there are no effective ways of communicating with current desis.

In summary, one can find many reasons for the problems faced by temporary hosts and new students, but most raise from mis-communication between ISA and the community, unclear expectations and intentions. This leads to bad rumours of groupism, non-involvement of the community and selective treatment. There is no way one can prove these rumours but in the end, it results in a poor image for ISA. In the next issue, we summarize the suggestions we received from the community. In the meantime, we take this oppurtunity to introduce our first guest columnist nicknamed JS. This week, we present a really funny skit from JS named "Kutte or Duniya".

Kutte aur Duniya

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a group of dogs in an apartment. These dogs, unlike the others in community, were not pedigreed. They were all country mongrels (desi kutte). Though they tried to behave and live like their other urbane counterparts in the society, deep down in their hearts they remained what they actually were. Though it was hard to identify them as mongrels during the day light for which they should be given due credit, Friday nights used to bring their raw, rustic personalities out in the open. On Friday nights they would drink ambrosia and howl, some of them even danced on two feet; a trait they had acquired from the sophisticated denizens of the society. They enjoyed dancing as a pastime so much that one of them, the ‘teen taang waala kutta’, who had only one hind leg, learned to dance on one leg. Biting each other or anyone during those sessions was considered legitimate and had universal social acceptance among the mongrels.

The community, the web of enlightened suave individuals, was appalled. They couldn’t do much to control this bizarre bunch. The reason being that they liked to believe that they were so elite (they were convinced that some people are more elite than the others) that they had forgotten how to bite, a primal canine instinct. Whenever someone protested against the ambrosia sessions, he or she (yes, they had feminine presence in their elite circle, unlike the mangy bunch, who were accused of being too bucolic and blunt to have this privilege) would end end up with a bite on the rear. So, to handle this situation, they summoned a meeting and decided to have a delegation which would go to the mangy bunch and try to persuade them to cease their undignified activities for the sake of larger good. The urgency for this initiative was triggered by the fact that some of the elite members were seen howling in the ambrosia sessions the previous Friday night. The elites realized that talking about the larger good was a very non-elitist thing to do, but it was the only way out to preserve their way of life.

So , the delegation goes to the kutta house, and this is how the dialogue goes ( legend : Name ( E) – elitist , Name (K) – desi kutta )

1 (E) : Dear friends, we are here to discuss a matter of acute importance.

JS (K) : We will talk ,we will talk my dear friends, but first let’s make a peg for you guys.

2 (E) : No, No, No, we are not here to drink, in fact, we don’t drink.

JS (K) : But I have seen ambrosia bottles in your house, and that too the costly ones.

3 (E) : We are fine. We won’t drink.

SK (K) : ( snarled ) do you mean to say that we are too cheap for your taste in ambrosia.

3 (E) : I am not saying that, I am just saying that I don’t want to drink this right now

SK (K) : ( shows his teeth, growls fiercely ) you said it RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE you said it you.. (3 (E)’s tail reacts and finds immediate asylum between his legs )

SK is about to pounce on 3 (E) when someone from the inside shouts

RD ( K) : emergency ! OB (K) is inside the cupboard and he is going to raise his fourth leg.

SK (K) : hold him ! I’m coming . (runs inside , 3 (E) is relieved, takes a deep breath)

After a moment of silence , MS (K) speaks

MS (K) : So ! what do you want to say.

2 (E) : We are here to persuade you guys to stop ambrosia drinking.

MS : Why do you think so ?

3 (E) : Because ambrosia has a tendency to make people irresponsible and undignified.

2 (E) : and it also spoils your image

RD (K) who is sitting with 3 laptops (he is managing it well; with two legs on one laptop, two on the other one and the tail on the third laptop) hears this and starts growling slowly but doesn’t say anything. AC (K) who was busy in drinking ambrosia notices that something is going on ..

AC (K) : What are they saying?

MS (K) : they are saying that you shouldn’t drink ambrosia.

AC (K) : Why ? I am drinking healthy ambrosia and healthy ambrosia is good for health.

3 (E) : We are saying that drinking makes you behave irresponsibly. That’s what we are saying .

AC (K) : You have to check your facts. We are drinking ambrosia with ice and drinking cold ambrosia makes your mind cold and that’s why you think with a cool mind when you are drinking. Samjhey !!

3 (E) : How do you know

AC (K) : Arre bata rahe hain na ! Humko pata hai. Kahiye katkhanwa sahib..

VM (K) : humara naam katkhanwa nahin hai

JS (K) : And another thing, ambrosia drinking is good for health because it creates antibodies in your body which helps your body to build resistance against ambrosia.

3 (E) : You all are drunk, it’s useless to talk to you..

RD (K) : Who is drunk here, We have given you four logical explanations and you all have been saying only one thing. Everyone drinks..what do you think ! even bread pitts drink.

Meanwhile 1 (E) has been sitting with HK (K) and VM (K), both of them drank ambrosia for the first time and they are having an interesting conversation ..

VM (K) : Don’t be scared my friend. I didn’t drank and I’ll let nothing happen to you

HK (K): wrong grammar VM, it’s ‘I didn’t drink’. Am I right 1 (E).

1 (E) : Yes you are right.

HK (K) : See ! VM is not drunk and he used wrong grammar. I drank and I got it right. Doesn’t it prove that drinking ambrosia makes you more alert and intelligent?

VM (K) : Arre Haan ! I want to be intelligent (makes a drink and drinks it fast). DO YOU WANT TO BE INTELLIGENT 1 (E).(VM (K) makes a peg and holds the glass in front of 1(E)’s face).

HK (K) : have you ever wondered why VM is always the center of feminine attraction. Remember last Saturday. He was surrounded by the best of the species. Why? Can you tell me, WHY?

1 (E) : (in a weak yelp) because he drank ambrosia on Friday night !

VM : Now, when I think back I realize the power of ambrosia. Pehle main bahut pareshaan raha karta tha. Per tabhi mujhe ambrosia ke bare mein pata laga. Ambrosia ne to meri life hi badal di hai . I am a new man now . KYA AAP APNI LIFE BADALNA CHAHTE HAIN?

1 (E) : yes, I want to change my life. I want ambrosia. GIVE ME ambrosia VM (K). Give it to me.

1 (E) takes the peg from VM’s hand and gulps it down. Everyone claps and shouts to encourage 1 (E). 2 (E) and 3 (E) realize that their mission has failed and start running with their tails between their legs.

Later : Kutton ki duniya ke aur afsaane

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Hi, I am a new student from India"

Manhattan is a great starting place in the US for the new desi grads. In many ways, for the innocent desi, Manhattan gives the right introduction to US. It has everything the US offers, albeit in small quantities. The new student gets acclimatized to the ways of the US without being unnerved by its enormity. Manhattan is safe, the people are polite, the desi community is small and generally helpful and there is just the right amount of fun to be had for the beginner grad student. For the scientifically inclined, this is almost like a pilot study of the US.

Most people believe that new students do not go out as much as they ought to, to really know the place. While there are issues and uncertainties that trouble the new students, one needs to recognize that most of them make an honest effort to immerse themselves in the new environment. Very soon, they begin to appreciate the greatness of this place. Everyone we talked to had a story to tell. We begin our first series on the new desi students in Manhattan and their experiences so far. This being our first issue, we start by telling the good things some of them shared.

A new CIS grad student said that Manhattan is an attractive place and people are helpful and friendly. He is amused by the way things work in the US, the traffic lights, the pedestrian cross buttons, the electricity switches. He is amazed at the size of Walmart and loves the Burrito Bol at Chipotle. He liked the new things that he saw, like the lakes around Manhattan, Barbeque parties, the swimming pool and the recreation center, and the list goes on. The parties and dinners by organizations like Helping International Students introduced him to the diversity Manhattan offers. He enjoyed meeting new people, and offcourse, he was attracted to beautiful women. He had his first alchoholic drink here (or so he claims), which wasn't too bad either. He was also one of the previleged few who got to taste the food of Manhattan's best desi cook.

All in all, he has had a great time in Manhattan. But, all is not well for the new desis. Find out about it in the next issue of The Vattier Daily.

A new voice of the people

The Vattier Daily is an ambitious project to bring the voice of the people to the forefront. In this case, that of the Desi students in Manhattan, Kansas. Our mission is to know what is happening within us that is so important, and present a critical view on the same.

We have chosen the date September 9 2006 for bringing out the first issue of the Vattier Daily. Today is also an important day in world history. The space ship Atlantis was launched into orbit today. Eighty years ago on this day, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), was launched. Good comedians like Adam Sandler and Hugh Grant were also born on this auspicious day. Mao Zedong died thirty years ago on this very day. (In short, we have taken the effort to view the wikipedia article on Sept. 9). We are sure that our launch today will also be documented in history's pages in the days to come.

Please look forward to some interesting articles, event coverages and editorial columns on what is essentially, the essence of desi life here in the little apple.