Jul 8, 2015

A Letter To The Shadow

                  I don’t miss your stalking, lurking and yet hovering around, watching and judging each of my activity. This is the first instance that the light has won a battle against you. I should be happy that the dark, shapeless blob that followed me everywhere has taken a leave for perhaps only a brief period. Isn't this what we all aspire for- the freedom from darkness, be it temporarily? And yet, for some unknown reason, your defeat has rendered me incapable of celebrating this victory that I have looked forward to all my life.

            I have never had the courage to interact with you, even though I knew you were vigilantly following me. You were deeply connected to the deepest, darkest gorges that reside in my mind, that would violently rise without a warning. Yet, you watched, and immensely enjoyed the disasters that stemmed out of my mind slowly destroying my spirit. All the while, I pondered on the reason for your existence, you convinced me that there was no reason that was worth my thought. Was it ever true? Now that I understand the truth, unbeknownst to me, you ruled my life. I ran around clueless, trying to seek out the reason of madness that resided in me, with intention of uprooting it. Well, following your greater plan, I never even came close to the root. I immensely suffered in the process, but I never came close to what I thought would solve all my problems once I sought it out of the mythical caves.

            I thank you for the lesson to pursue things that matter with determination and resilience. I finally have the victory that I desperately sought after believing that you were my source of misery. Nevertheless, I sit here, dejected at my incapability of finding the roots of my incapability. They have exponentially multiplied in my saga of uprooting them as I chased the red dot around while seeking for the the hand that held never even crossed my mind. Your presence perhaps served a purpose- probably to help me not lose it at one of these desperate chases while believing I was so close to whatever was chasing me out of my mind. You are finally gone, and I sit here attempting to capture whatever flows out of my mind- an unhealthy mix of confusion, desperation, and dejection.


Mar 20, 2014

The Disappointing Trend of Disappearance

The month of March 2014 has been horrible globally, at least news wise. With Ukraine and Venezuela’s burning bloods on streets, Crimea’s overwhelming referendum to “join” Russia, and the stupefying disappearance of Malaysia airlines flight MH-370 with 239 precious souls in it, have left us all asking questions that have yet to be answered. Usually bad news makes the headlines on any and every newspaper globally, nevertheless, these series of major events happening have left the schedules of both the reporters and readers frantically hectic.

We dwell in the most advanced time any generation has seen or believed in. the progress on technological advancement is unparalleled, leading us to prove our supreme status on this planet. Nevertheless, events like Crimea “joining” and Venezuelan protests and riots are the realities that we cannot overlook. Whenever I delve into my thoughts triggered by these events, I realize that even in the digital web of transparency where we follow updates by seconds in any part of the globe, it is easy to simply disappear.

(Well wishes for the flight MH 370)

In fact, it doesn’t even take a major physical or mental breakdown, or even a natural catastrophe to disappear. Disappearances have been widespread--whether it is a gigantic Boeing, human bodies, or even a region of a country. The Boeing disappeared leaving the world baffled; human bodies disappear on the streets of Caracas, Venezuela without accountability, and the identity of the people living in Crimea as Ukrainians has been buried with its referendum. With such trend in drastic disappearances, what would it take for simple souls like you and me to disappear? Is it a question even worth asking? 

As I keenly try to update myself with every news source available on the Internet to follow the progress on search for flight MH 370, I cross my fingers hoping for the outcome where everyone is found safe. I understand that it is naïve of me to seek updates with a juvenile conclusion in my head; nevertheless, aren’t we all hoping that these people be able to see their friends and families again? I cannot even begin to imagine the level of agony their families are going through. They are looking for answers, any definitive answers, and want to know what happened to their loved ones.  At this point, hope is all we have, as we join our hands to pray and hope for the best scenario. 

To follow live updates on flight MH-370:
 bit.ly/1hJIiYu  (Telegraph)


Oct 2, 2013

China Harayeko Manchhe

      It hit me today for the first time—the real test of detachment that I pride myself on for years. All these years, I thought I was able to compartmentalize my emotions about different people and issues. Yet, I woke up to agitated feeling in my stomach followed by a throbbing temple. I told myself that it must have been a nightmare that I was unaware of. Who knew that this would ever happen and affect me to this level?

      I must have dozed off while reading the last few pages of Hari Bansha Acharya’s “China Harayeko Manchhe.” Hurt shoulders, cramped legs, and half paralyzed torso were the results of trying to finish it in one sitting. Well, I thought I would be able to just finish it and move on with my life. How could I ever have known that I would still be trying to find the way to my world from even after finishing everything he had offered me on his life? Not in a million years!

      It’s funny how we think we are experts on someone’s life; so much so that we have answers to every problem they’re facing. They suffer because because they don’t listen to our advice, leading us to reluctantly say, “I told you so.” Likewise, hundreds of thousands of people cried along with Acharya in his immense loss; however, there were a few already offering their expertise on his life. He even faced criticism from them after his decision to find someone help him heal and move on leading him to explain and defend his decision. Personally, I cannot comment on how or why he made the decision he made, though I clearly understand and support his choice.

Image via Google Images

      Childhood memories are the merry moments that we recall and recollect frequently. However, like the yin completing the yang (and vice-versa), memories of sorrow live share their address with memories of joy. I laughed at most of the precious memories documented in detail, while my favorite was the one where he tore a page of the book everyday he was supposed to read. On the other hand, the unimaginable pain of losing both parents at a young age while dealing with adults with impure intent is beyond me. Nonetheless, the events that led to the formation of one of the most revered entertainment duo were more like the stories that formed the best comedies I watched while growing up. After all, it all made sense about how they could write stories relatable to millions of people.

       An actor portrays a character. If s/he does their job well, people see them as the character forever. Likewise, it was unbelievable for millions of people when they first heard about the untimely demise of Mrs. Meera Acharya. How could something like this happen to a comedian who has always successfully cheered millions of people? The character is supposed to make people laugh even in pain; it simply didn’t make sense that he cried in front of thousands of people. Nonetheless, the pain was real, the loss was real, and the tears were real. I could never imagine dealing with the loss of a loved one… even the thought of it terrifies me to the core.

       Although I had wanted to read this book as soon as it was released, the daily spins and bets for life kept me from getting my hand on it sooner. Nonetheless, once I started, I didn’t realize that I was so absorbed in his stories that I forgot to complete my chores of survival. By the time I realized that I hadn’t eaten all day towards the end of the book, my neck and shoulders were sore and begging me to take a break. I had hoped for a good read, but was instead lost in the vortex of the author’s world. I rode along with the tales he offered; I sobbed in his pain and laughed at the funny stories he detailed. In fact, I felt like I was getting more information on life of someone I knew well, which is partly true as I grew up watching him on TV and theaters. Despite the excruciating emotional pain I imagine he must have gone through, I am glad he jotted his journey and helped his fans understand him better. There could not have been a better way of letting his fans peek into his personal life without violating it. As a well-wisher and a fan, I’d like to send best wishes on his marital life and hope that the good memories override the painful ones. 

PS: We live in a world where a 17 year old thinks he's seen it all and his life deserves a documentary. Just to throw it out there, I believe he utilized this book to document his love and respect for his late wife while offering an explanation about his decision to move on with his life to his beloved fans. We should be glad he did. After all, he did offer us a way to know him better. 

Dec 29, 2012

Sarah's Key

As I type these words I still have a few pages remaining before I put “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana De Rosnay back into the fiction category of the bookshelf. Will I ever be able explain the horrid journey I had in these 294 pages? I suspect that. I traveled through an emotional voyage where I felt like I was experiencing all these events first hand, instead of being conveyed by the author. I wish. I wish it were that easy to just shake it off and hold another bundle of pages to move on. Again, I wish I had let the author carry me through her journey.

De Rosnay begins with her disclaimer statement that the novel is a fiction with fictional characters, but the events were very real- also referred to as the dark period in French (especially Parisian) history. This period marks the dark time where neighbors watched their friendly Jewish neighbors being marched in their local buses and trains to their deaths in Auschwitz, Germany. July 1942 witnessed the Jewish citizens of Paris being emptied from their houses to fill the stadium of Vélodrome d'Hiver, and thus would be referred as vel d'hiv. The entire period of World War II is marked as the dark period of human race with more than six million Jews slaughtered during Hitler’s barbaric rule. Nonetheless, Hitler and Germany were not the only barbarians- more than nine thousand Jews from Paris and more than 45,000 in total from France were driven from Paris to Auschwitz to their death camps.

The story of the protagonist, Sarah Starzynski’s is an 11-year-old girl born in Paris to Jewish parents is told after sixty years. She is one of those thousands of innocent and unfortunate Jews that paid the price of their government’s greed with their lives. She faces it all- pushed and stuffed in the stadium with thousands of people with no food or water for days, separation from her parents, brutality of the soldiers and constant fear of death. However, the only thing that keeps her going is the thought of going back to he home and saving her brother, Michel- to fulfill her promise to him. Sarah is determined to get back to save her brother hiding in their secret place; unlocking the lock of the camouflaged cupboard on the top and uniting with Michel was all that kept her determined. Nonetheless, the will of escaping from the camp to get back to Paris to save her brother becomes dimmer with every passing hour. With Rachel’s help, another Jewish girl’s strong will to escape from the barbarian soldiers; Sarah finally manages to slip away from the barbed wires of the camps. At a tender age of 11, she faces the most dreaded and loathed fear of humankind- the fear of extermination.

Image via Google Images

Her journey is an emotional roller coaster; she sees the barbarians doing the deed during the war, and a loving family that fosters her despite her origin. She survives the horror physically, however, she is unable to recover from the dreadful pit mentally, which ultimately seizes her life.  Sarah’s story is told via the author who has her personal struggles to face; nonetheless, her resolution of uncovering the truth about vel d'hiv via Sarah’s journey keeps her going.

I vividly remember the dreadful duration of civil war in Nepal during my childhood. I am not Sara, one of the thousands of Sarahs who faced the horrors of our civil war first hand, neither Rosnay who is obsessed with finding the truth and willing to sacrifice her personal life in order to provide the deserved tribute to those victims. The only thing I recall is being horrified about whether my daddy would make it home safe every evening, whether me, my younger brother or my friends could be the next victim of a grenade while playing on the streets, or whether I would be the next unlucky one to open a trash bag or carry a pressure cooker found on streets. I remember it got worse every year with increasing number of fatalities with no end in sight. I remember believing what the TV showed us or what the radio told. I recall worrying about whether peace would ever find its way back to the zone of peace. Traveling with Sarah has compelled me to ponder upon how lucky I was; I was not robbed of my childhood, my parents and loved ones. We were kids, and like Sarah’s parents, my parents did not want us to know and worry about the grave situation; in fact, they made sure that we got everything we deserved- hope, peace, and childhood memories with everything intact.

This was my experience of experiencing the trepidation of something that happened decades before I was born. I wonder if I’d have ever been able to picture the dreadful reality or even found out about this period in France had I never read this book. Everyone blames Hitler for being the ultimate evil, nonetheless, we forget to understand that he had help from people who shared similar evil intentions and helped him bring them to reality. Let’s hope that no child becomes the next Sarah to face deeds of such monsters in reality even though it is a wishful thought.

Jul 9, 2012

Reminiscence of Dreamtalks

Boy, this sure does feel like ages. Thinking about something, and actually trying to write and make sense out of it. We’ll see how it goes.

Lana Del Ray’s Video Games playing on the background boosts my memory of the first time we talked. The window seat in the corner of the coffee shop I’m sitting by as of now, and the empty parking garage does feel like déjà vu. Will I ever be able to forget the times and talks we shared? Phew, such deep thoughts and topics- about life, ambition, goals and imaginations about where we would be in the next 10 years. We weren’t dating, but you made me feel comfortable enough to share my dreams with you, and I never even had a proper chance to thank you. You left, just like that- just like you’d say- vanish in the vanity of space.

I vividly remember the first time we talked- when I heard an unfamiliar voice asking me what my true dreams were excluding my career. I didn’t see that coming in the speech club meeting, and you managed to baffle me for a moment. Now that I think of it, there couldn’t have been a better time to ask me that question- my dream of helping unfortunate children gain education came out in the spur of the moment. I had forgotten that I had that dream embellished in my mind for a while, and then let it go for no reason. And even today, when I’m by myself recalling our talks, I am still unable to find the reason why my priorities changed.

You always found a way to motivate me, encourage me in my low times- telling me that I was the pearl yet to be discovered. I never quite understood what that meant, but probably you left it open for me to interpret it as my phrase of motivation. Well, it worked- most of the times. Drinking coffee continuously, scattering worksheets all over the table, and occupying the same window table every time made us look like hard working students, but who ever had an idea that we mostly talked about stuffs out of those heavy piles of papers? We talked mostly about what we planned to do after graduation- you shared that you plan to become an entrepreneur while I shared all my inconclusive and confused plans that took me nowhere out of school. I enjoyed those talks so much that I never realized that someday you would leave so suddenly- just like you said. I guess I preferred to ignore that part of our talks- who likes to listen and think about unpleasant ideas to one’s mind? I sure wasn’t an exception.

Now that you are nowhere to be found, I hope you are living the life free of invisible boundaries- no calls, texts, emails, or social networking stuffs. You used to say that have you had an option, you would rather walk to school, have face-to-face conversations with your loved ones, and spend time with them in person. I never really comprehended the idea of not appreciating what technology had to offer. We differed, argued, and presented our perceptions heavily supported by our own reasons on that one. Well, every person in unique in his/her own terms, and I appreciated that about you.

My coffee is getting cold, and so are my unwritten words; I feel like they are lost in translation in process of conversion as my brain’s message to the words that are meant to be dedicated to you. Oh well, right now, I’m angry with you for not even saying goodbye or letting me say goodbye and good luck to you. I could just write, “screw you” but then I’m sitting on the table that used to seat you on the other side, and amongst all those reminiscences where I’m trying to find a valid reason for not having the last talk, I find myself perplexed and appreciative of your nature at the same time. Nonetheless, I wanted to thank you for helping me find my confidence and walk with it, and that I did not have to hide myself for not being able to fit in the crowd. Now I realize that, people don’t have to be similar to become friends, nor do they have to link their similarities. One can just be different and yet bond with people- like you did.

Oh well, the talks about the talks can be infinite. But, I truly hope I get to meet you someday and tell you that I was mad at you and missed you when I wrote this. Or, may be that I wanted you to read this and understand how I felt if I was never able to tell you in person. Or maybe we could end up working on a dream project of helping people build better lives someday. Who knows? The possibilities are endless, but for now, I want you to know that I have become a better person after meeting you- someone more confident, and less scared to speak her mind. I hope the next time we meet, you find me as the person who could make you proud. 

May 23, 2012

Nature Surfing!

On the top of the world!

Thriving innocence.

Season of the berries.


Pleasure meeting u.

You describe me!!

The lady with the star.

The light of hope.

Tour time!


May 17, 2012

Application of Statistics in Baseball (Moneyball)

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book authored by Michael Lewis about how Billy Beane the general manager of the baseball team Oakland Athletics applied statistics to improve the quality of his baseball team and revised his team of baseball players using drafted players. Although the panel of experts of Oakland Athletics intensively criticized Beane’s method, application of statistics to the performance of his team ultimately helped the team win 20 games in a row from August 13 to September 4, 2002. Although initially ignored as a medium to predict performances of players and wins, statistics today has become an important part of the baseball world.

Although I knew nothing about baseball in the beginning of the semester, watching a preview of the movie with Brad Pitt as Billy Beane sparked interest in me to learn more about the application of statistics in baseball. Even though I was aware that statistics could be applied in just about everything we deal in our daily lives, I was unaware that it could make such a difference even in the world of sports like baseball. As the career, success, and utility of a baseball player is measured in terms of how much money he makes, the rejected and rookie players are not considered valuable in big teams like Yankees, Boston Red Sox, etc. Therefore, the amount a player is paid becomes the most important determinant in whether the player will perform well or not. Oakland Athletics being a team with small budget of $40 million and players rejected by other teams, had basically nil to little chances of winning the series. Lewis’s question and answer about whether the continuous record-breaking wins was whether pure luck or truly the magic of application of statistics compelled me to think about just how much such an important measure is ignored in our everyday activities.

(Image via Google Images)

Billy Beane rejected the methods used by scouts and challenged their method by using statistics where he shortlists his players and values them at fair price in comparison to their baseball skills. He further selects his overvalued players and replaces them with undervalued players who actually had the skills he wanted in his players. Furthermore, he trades the average players from his team with those from other team who had higher chances of winning according to his calculations. His predictions and calculations work correctly, thus taking the Oakland Athletics to their first 20 wins in a row.

Although the scouts who followed their intuition about players in the name of expertise did not appreciate Beane’s method with application of Sabermetrics, application of statistics became a very important part of the baseball world shortly. As the methodology was revealed, every baseball team started hiring statisticians to revaluate their players and their performances, therefore, following the logical method of paying their players. Nonetheless, what surprised me was that the financially big teams like Yankees did not consider the use of statistics as a useful measure to improve the performance of their team. Wouldn’t a team that pays $125 millions to its players to assure its victory in every baseball series consider every single helpful method? They probably never considered that statistics could be that useful in sports.
 Billy Beane had a really good idea of using statistics to measure wins and trade players accordingly; however, even after initiating such an advantageous method, the Oakland Athletics could not make it to the World Series. I did not understand why even after using the method that helped them win 20 games in a row the Oakland Athletics could not continue to their big win. Nonetheless, what I did not realize was that even though the team’s win was experimental and rather astounding to bigger teams, every team followed different measures of statistics to evaluate their players and their chances of winning. Therefore, when every baseball team found that statistics was useful in baseball via Moneyball, they imitated the method and quickly corrected the subjective method of valuing players.

As every team began using statistics, the advantage that Oakland Athletics had in the 2002 series did not last for long. Billy Beane was later offered the position of the general manager of Red Sox with a much higher paycheck, which he declined. However, the dramatic continuous win halted for the Oakland Athletics since 2002, as they are currently not doing well. In fact, the Oakland Athletics have only been averaging 76 wins per season in the last few seasons. What I do not understand is, why did Billy Beane reveal his entire method and application for everyone to imitate? Had he not pondered upon the exclusive possibility that whenever a certain method proves to be successful, every other team would imitate his method and take the path to have better players leaving Oakland Athletics at the same point where they started?
However, what I understand is that the title Moneyball is not used in vain; the world of baseball is more about the power, big paychecks, and having the strongest players with better chances of winning in one’s team. A team is simply not a good team because of intense training or skills its players have—the major factor is money, where players are paid in millions so that they are seen as assets that could lead the team to victory. It is called moneyball because the game is not fair, and it is not played fair- a potential winner keeps changing baseball teams according to whichever team can better pay him. This leaves the young talents, players that suffered injuries, and those who are rejected by the bigger teams as valueless for wins predicted; moreover, they are taken by teams like Oakland Athletics as they can only afford such players.
The whole chain of moneymakers for their owners dressed as baseball players are swapped from team to team, whoever pays them the highest- thus proving that wherever these guys go, the team is certain to win. Thus, the concept of baseball being moneyball and the game as unfair game is justified. Nevertheless, the importance of statistics in the game is valued and applied by teams in order to enhance their chances of winning the unfair game.