I haven’t written in ages. I always felt like it. Waking up in the middle of the night, my phone screen ablaze. But I couldn’t get myself to write. There was something there — in the vast expanse, I call my imagination — gagging me, crippling me to silence.
I read a ton of articles online and I see a lot of my acquaintances churn out content. Some of them — amazing work, which makes you go “WOW, I wish I could write like this”. And the others, so bland and forced, it legitly made me want to puke. And it hurts me to the core how people assume this to be good content. I’m no expert. But I’ve seen better stuff. This haunted me. This feeling of being judgmental. I wanted to run in the opposite direction, painstakingly bidding goodbye to a hobby I held close to my heart — writing.
Working as a freelance content writer for over 3 years and founding a medium publication can do that to you too. Be wary when you set out for tasks of a similar nature. You have been warned.
But not anymore. Why? Read on ahead.
I’m just 22, but I feel like I’ve faced a lot in life. I was born to very mature parents. Perhaps that’s why. My grandmother, once chuckled to my mother, that nothing makes sense in life. I had seen a tear trickle down her cheeks and my mom had embraced her tightly. My grandma didn’t survive long after this incident. I had never really understood what she meant that day. But now, as the days go by, I see her words come true in every little thing around me.
Let’s be HONEST.
We live in a senseless world. I’ve seen people who loved one another so truly, question their love, a year later. So many times, I’ve lost count. Random people helping you out as if you were family while your blood relatives don’t even bother to talk to you. The grass always being assumed to be greener on the other side. Students want to grow up and work. The working class want to go back to school to study. People who go abroad pine to be home and those at home, can’t wait to get out and be free. The dumbest kid in your class can be the most successful person in the future. The smartest guy could be barely getting by. It’s totally bizarre — what we define happiness to be. To some, money is the answer. Others say it’s love.
This happens to you. Me. And every person who in between.
And it’s only natural. Way of life, as some people describe it to me. I find it particularly funny. Living in the present is never an option. And it’s beautifully painful. Yes, we need to learn from our past. The future is what we should work on. But let’s not forget the present. And yet, we do.
Day in, day out — we try to make the best of the world we live in. Through our own eyes, we see what we want to see. And when we don’t, all hell breaks loose.
And oh boy, that’s not something we look forward to. I’ve lost my cool over little things so many times. Like today, for instance, I felt I was disrespected by someone who I had helped dearly. This story for another time for can still feel my blood boil. Lol.
You would think these experiences are all there is and it ends there but, fortunately, it doesn’t.
On Christmas Day, I had a traditional Christmas with turkey, apple pie and everything. It was lovely and I’m grateful for my neighbours for inviting me. I was in the presence of a guitarist and two opera singers. We spoke about life, love and dreams. It felt magical. I spent 3 hours at their place — listening to their stories and sharing mine. It was a scene right out of the movies.
There are days like these when you feel happy. How? Why? I don’t have the slightest idea.
The only thing that makes sense is — nothing makes sense. And with this principle, tightly wrapped around my head, I continue to write — today and forevermore.
Making sense of all those tiny pieces that make you, YOU.
I turned 21, a few days ago.
21 years on this planet. 5 years since I left my hometown. 3 years since I joined college.
Yet, 0 number of times where I knew where I was going.
I know what you must be thinking. Enough with the number games.
I’m sorry I just miss math. 😛
This is gonna be a whole piece on self-introspection. So be warned. Lot’s of icky, boring, weirdly relatable rant coming up ahead.
I do realise, I’m essentially blurting out about my life on the internet. But, I guess it doesn’t matter, there is nothing here that would interest stalkers, money launders or drug dealers, yet!
Unlike every other excerpt I have read of eminent people out there, my childhood was not simple and boring. It was the exact opposite. I had fun. I mingled. I scribbled. I found ways to make the most of my time.
The only exception?
All I had to me was well…me.
I built a world of my own where I reigned supreme. It was fun but at the end of the day, I knew I was all alone. My parents and my sister loved me but they functioned on a whole different wavelength of their own. As a result, I had to resort to my own universe in search of joy.
And That’s How it All Began
My mom has found paper notes stashed away in pillowcases, in the almirahs while cleaning up my room. It all seems so funny and silly now. But it does feel good to realise that this madness of jotting down everything under the sun had an early start to it.
From having being awarded for my writing skills only once in my entire school life to having made my favourite English teacher teary over my excerpt on her, to getting my story published in a book for having secured 2nd prize in an all India writing competition, I have seen it all (almost).
But you know what’s even more exciting? I still keep having those pangs of doubt even today.
Loving it At the Bottom
I’ve hit rock bottom and have stayed there for months altogether.
Fear, ridicule, apprehension have been my close buddies for as long as I can remember. You can keep fighting it. But one day you come to realise how this war can never ever be won.
You can’t change who you are, now or ever.
So how do cope with it?
You learn to love it at the bottom!
Which Brings Me to my Birthday!
I turned 21 on the 25th of July 2018. I didn’t cut a cake at home. I didn’t go party with my friends. Heck, I didn’t even change from my pyjamas the entire day!
But that particular day turned out to be really amazing!
Everyone I knew did so many tiny things which meant a lot to me. And I can’t help but write this post to thank all of them. I do realise its super late but I just have to write it.
My people, if you are reading this, know that I love you and thank you for all your beautiful heartfelt wishes and gestures.
My 21st birthday was indeed a memorable one.
A Study in Red
A few days prior to my birthday, precisely on 18th July, I received a strange message on my phone…
“Order Placed: Your order for Lavie Women Casual Red… with order ID OD112878766992311000 amounting to Rs.610 has been received. You can expect delivery by Monday, Jul 23, 2018. We will send you an update when your order is packed/shipped. Manage your order here”
And soon, I received two more messages saying the item had been shipped and that it was on its way!
I immediately called up my mom, she confirmed what I already knew. She, in fact, hadn’t purchased anything. My sister had the same thing to say.
On further investigation, I unearthed that the parcel was being delivered to my home! I knew it had to be somebody from my close circle of friends. But who?
I was yet to find out!
And then, before I knew it, the day had come!
What People had to Say to me on my Birthday 🙂
Lakshmi Sreekumar, the most chirpy junior I have ever met so far (hands down) called me a TIGER WOMAN, which is kinda true, I guess because I’m a Leo after all!
And apparently, there are people who…..
Sasna Sanil is and will always be my muse. Her words “a girl with a million dreams” holds true not just to me but to her as well.
Amrin Kareem was spot on ( pun intended) when she announced to the public that I’m crazy, annoying and blessed. But, I wouldn’t be any of this if it weren’t for her charisma that allowed me to goof around!
Pavithra Hari with her prowess over her words had a lot of sweet things to say.
A word that I found was doing its rounds everywhere (from wishes to posts) was “crazy”. Ha! People were finally getting to know me 🙂
If you hadn’t noticed, my blog is named “crazywaywithwords “too!
Parvathy Mohan, the selenophile on the other hand, resorted to poetry to express her feelings:
Niranjan, my rani schoolmate was all happy when he wished me. To see what this one hell of a man is up to — check out his latest post here. Gayathri, another classmate of mine, who is all busy buried in her books studying to become a doctor, made time to wish me which is really adorable!
Ankitha G Nambiar is this beautiful person who I had the good fortune of meeting during my Thrissur stunt at PC Thomas Coaching centre, her lovely message on FB, reminded me of the wonderful conversations we had back in school.
Ameen, Ajith, Siva the boys from CSA were pretty generous with their statuses and wishes.
Tiya Jose class topper, straight-A student, Technopreneur Head, was all mushy mushy when it came to her Whatsapp story. If she considers me her inspiration, I would like her to know that I consider her my strength.
My dear hostel mates including Theres, Kavitha Muraleedharan, Sredha, Reshma, Shilpa, Induja, Sreelakshmi had wonderful pics (weird poses) of mine from my alternate hostel life to post.
I had a 40 min conversation with my best buddy Ankith from preschool. It was magical, he had called after such a long time, it felt like an eternity. We made up our minds that we would meet soon, so I’m really looking forward to that.
VANDANA S, Viswam, Jeena, Merin, and everyone from class had their special part in making my day beautiful!
All the blessings and wishes from my teachers, previous Principal and friends from school on FB truly brightened my day.
And now, I’m gonna troll myself now, courtesy of Sachin Jose:
The awesome Jitin Varghese Philip had a bit of mercy on me and told me how he personally refrained himself from teasing me in public! Birthdays can be a messy affair sometimes. Sharon, my love was
The Excel core had their part in my birthday celebrations. M.G. Krishnan who is my work buddy saw it to that I had work during my birthday too!
I was left speechless. This has got to be the most thought out gift ever!
It was super adorable when Deepti, the acclaimed “Literatus of Layatharang 2017”, who is now studying for GATE, tried to get me on the phone so that she could be the first person to wish me. But alas! Shweta Jayasree was three steps ahead of everyone!
Finally, we come to the very beginning,
It all started when Ankita Mathew posted this status:
So after calling up the Flipkart official, because I was left with no other choice( my father was convinced I had a boyfriend), my secret admirer turned out to be my senior friend from college who was out on a mission to prank me.
AND YES, HE HAD A GOOD LAUGH OUT OF IT -_-
Thank you, Asif!
So What’s the Point of all this?
To this day, I worry about how tomorrow is going to be.
I cry, I rack my brains over something that I have no control over.
But all the instances of love portrayed above was possible only because I made sure I was a 100% in everything that I did and stood for.
Things can go right or wrong. The only thing you can count on is you!
And that is why, whatever the consequences might turn out to be,
The application process for the GHC student scholarships is pretty simple and hassle free.
First of all, all you need to do is click on “apply” button on the GHC website. You will be directed to an application portal where you can create an account, fill out your application form and submit your completed application when it’s ready.
Once you create an account with your basic information (name, email address and a suitable password) you can start filling out your application form.
Here is the link to a sample student scholarship form:
So before we dive into it, let’s take a look at what the scholarship offers to the students:
Student Scholarships Include:
Individual registration for the three-day conference. (Getting a ticket is a very competitive process and to put things into perspective, tickets got sold in 20 minutes when the registration opened up this year!)
Flight to Houston to attend GHC booked through an AnitaB.org travel consultant (For most international scholars, this is a very important perk as flight tickets can be really expensive.)
Hotel accommodations arranged by AnitaB.org (Student scholars will be assigned a roommate and this is a great chance to make new friends and forge new bonds.)
Visa Processing Fee — (GHC will take care of your visa processing fee which is an added bonus for internationals scholars.)
GHC Stipend — (If used wisely, the stipend will cover transportation costs to and from the airport, baggage fees, meals, and other travel incidentals.)
Moving on to the application, make sure you meet the student eligibility criteria.
You must be a full-time student enrolled in an accredited degree program at a college or university at the time of the celebration Those graduating prior to the celebration are not eligible unless accepted to another related degree program (such as an M.S. or PhD program).
Show satisfactory progress toward a degree such as, but not limited to, electrical engineering, human-computer interaction, math, physics, or management information systems.
Be able to demonstrate an interest in computer science.
You cannot have been an AnitaB.org-GHC Scholarship recipient in 2017.
You must be at least 18 years of age by September 24, 2018.
You cannot accept more than one scholarship to GHC. (Other companies offer scholarships to attend GHC including Facebook, Twitter, Yext etc. More on this later!)
If you receive a scholarship and do not notify AnitaB.org that you cannot attend prior to the celebration, you will not be eligible in future years as this takes a scholarship away from another student that could have attended.
Here all you need to do is fill out your basic information including full name, address, institution name and email address. This will hardly take you 5mins!
Anita Borg Institute is committed to bringing in a diverse audience and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Here you need to specify your age, gender and answer details about your background. (You can also decline to answer this)
You need to specify your citizenship and U.S. Residency status as shown in the sample application form here.
Education and Career Information
Details including student type ( Freshman or 1st year, Sophomore or 2nd year, Junior or 3rd year, Senior or 4th year), type of degree, graduation date, institution name, area of study (branch) and technical areas of interest needs to be filled out here.
Pro tip: Indian institutions will most probably not be listed in the form. You will have to make use of the option names “other” and manually type out your institution name.
Pro tip: For the question “Does your university use a GPA system?”, opt for the no option as it will disable the option to enter your GPA. You can upload an unofficial transcript of your grade cards to show your grades in the upcoming section in the form.
Attendance and Scholarship Information
Here, information regarding whether you are a previous scholarship winner and or an attendee needs to be entered.
For a first timer like you and me ( when I had applied for the application), just select No to all the questions and move on to the next section.
This is by a large margin, the most important section in the whole of the application.
According to the application guidelines:
What are we looking for in a student scholar?
Student scholars are active in their community including being involved with campus computing/STEM clubs and working towards the advancement of women in computing.
An understanding of how attending GHC will have an impact on the scholar and any messages/key learnings they take back to share at their school.
The essay questions include: Q1: Tell us why you want to attend GHC, what type of impact will being at a conference focused on women in computing have on you? (maximum 200 words)
The GHC website guide says:
We strongly encourage you to share any experiences with overcoming unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background. While not an exhaustive list, some examples of unique challenges could include: the quality of your early educational environment, your socioeconomic background, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, having a disability, and other life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for your career as a woman in computing.
Pro tip: Keep the essay as personal as possible and bring in stories, personal anecdotes, incidents which helped you realise your path in life. Also include hardships and obstacles you faced in your life, be it monetary problems, societal restrictions or behavioural issues like lack of confidence, imposter syndrome etc.
Q2: How will you share your experience at GHC with others? What type of impact will your experience at GHC have on others in your community? (maximum 200 words)
The GHC website guide says:
Please tell us why you would like to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration and how you plan to share your experience with others (including your school community) after attending the conference. This is your opportunity to share any information you believe will have an impact on being selected as an AnitaB.org GHC Scholar.
Pro tip : Here you can focus on giving back to society, coming up with avenues to share your knowledge with others, seeking opportunities to empower women with skills to take on their male counterparts.
CV / Resume and Unofficial Transcript
Here you need to upload your resume and unofficial college transcripts.
Pro tip: Make sure your resume is only 1 or 2 pages long, doesn’t include your pic and lists out all your important projects and positions of responsibility. Start working on your resume as soon as you can. There is no hard and fast rule that needs to be followed. Just make sure you do what interests you and make it a point to include your love for Comp Sci through your resume! 🙂
One recommendation is mandatory for all student applicants. Only one recommendation may be submitted. AnitaB.org highly suggests that you notify the recommender prior to their receiving the request for your recommendation.
It is mandatory that the recommendation is provided by a faculty member.
Pro tip: Get in touch with your faculty member, preferably meet with them to tell them about GHC and the scholarship. Furthermore, inform them how GHC offers faculty scholarships too.
And the final step includes agreeing to all the rules and submitting your application for the review!
Yay! That is all!
Seems simple enough, right?
I genuinely hope this post inspires you to apply next year. And there is no better time than now to start preparing!!!
Please feel free to ping me if you have any doubts or queries, I’d love to help you out.
Next post: The Final Verdict — A short piece on why we need to “Apply Apply and well…Apply” (To be updated soon)
She had just left my hostel room a few seconds ago after having finished our weekly talk sessions where we got together to rant about our mundane yet oh so happening lives. It was half past eight and she was still in her uniform.
And I knew she would have to come back in. She was my senior at college but she was more like family to me.
“I will let you know when the submissions open”, she said as she put her head round the door and stretched out her hand as I handed out her Id card back to her.
“I will be sure to check it out, ma’am!” I replied, winking at her.
“You better!” she said, as left for her room. Sharon was one among the 200 students who were awarded the prestigious GHCI student scholarship. Basically, I dared not to defy her.
The scholarship was an all-expense paid trip to Bangalore which let you take part in the Grace Hopper Conference which was held annually in the state. To know more about GHCI, check out the awesome GHCI Rethink Wiki
It happened to be one of those Fridays where you knew you had assignments to complete but you would rather google random stuff than finish your work. Since I had some free time on my hands, I decided to learn about GHCI and how the submission works.
And… that is when it happened!
I stumbled across the magnificent GHC conference. (Thank you Google!)
So what exactly is GHC?
The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. It is produced by AnitaB.org and presented in partnership with ACM. GHC 18 will be held from Sep. 26–28 in Houston, Texas.
Honouring Anita Borg, a pioneer in the field of computer science, the GHC conference is conducted annually to celebrate and empower women to pursue careers in technology.
Reading into it, I found out that the receiving the scholarship meant an all-expense paid trip to attend the conference and boasted of a chance to participate in a career fair where reputed companies and firms all over the world would take part in.
Frankly, that’s all I researched about it.
I knew, for better or for worse, I just had to apply!
And over there, two people (wink wink) held their hands for the first time. It was so adorable!”, She cooed.
“Not to mention the corridor next to the staffroom, students have waited there for so long, I felt like I would crumble down with exhaustion just looking at them.”
“Thank god, you didn’t. That would have been quite a situation”, I shrugged as I muttered under my breath.
“Oh, all the shifting between classes and the running up and down the stairs. That is always fun to watch. Young adults gasping for breath and clinging on to dear life sure makes for a very pretty spectacle.”
“Yup, I still get to do that!”, I replied.
She howled with laughter. I closed my eyes for a split second. I knew she wouldn’t stop anytime soon.
We have all been utterly disappointed when we first set foot in our college campus. A tiny structure mimicking the design of Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, certainly did read well on paper. But in reality, it was far from what one would expect from a college campus.
All we have at our disposal is a small building with 5 floors decorated with faulty switches, fans which barely work, broken chairs and desks – the scribblings on which will put Michelangelo to shame if he ever did get to see them!
But once you accept the fact and realise how this is it; there is just no stopping you from falling in love.
You learn the most important lessons life and experience could ever teach you, right here in college. The most important of the lot is the ability to adapt. Life is all about adapting to new environments!
Little do you know that soon enough, this building where you have been at your best and your worst would be your most cherished safe haven.
Bunking of classes for long lunches at the canteen, sneaking out for water breaks only to return the next period, arriving just in time for roll calls are few of the tricks you pick up along the way.
The Friday lunch breaks provide for jolly episodes every week for quick bites around Kochi owing to the 2 hours long recess time. Oh…how we have all daydreamed picturing the buttery rotis and spicy curries from Mallus Dhaba.
And the strategic placement of LuLu mall was a welcome moment for all of us!
Be it Kismet’s hot steamy chicken biriyani or Paneer butter masala from Saravana Bhavan, Friday was the best day of the week without question!
And the stingy ones settle for the handy snacks available at the Sweet Palace aka Zam Zam. Royals is our comfort place when we wish to beat the scorching heat with a soda serbet or an uppu soda.
And the deal with the classes…
Classes would go from interesting to meh to boring to “I can’t stand it”. But such is life.
The corridors resonate with the whisperings, cries and laughter that have shaped the beautiful bonds forged between classmates, batchmates and amidst juniors and seniors. They stand witness to the relationships and friendships that have transcended time and space.
To add to the fun, the quick dashes to NetSavvy is always encouraged because you can never run out of photocopies.
The trips to the library right before the sem exams and the big excavation of books that ensue because issuing of library books is a prerequisite to scoring a 9 pointer.
Yes, the all-seeing walls of the institution know it all.
The thrill of staying in college after 7. The flickering of the dim lights to make you question yourself how on earth you ended up here. You wonder if your life could get shadier than this. But, when college ends, you wish if you could witness the divinity in those lights just once, again.
College arts and Excel, two mighty occasions where you realise the true potential of the building and realise how beautiful it becomes when you actually spend time glamorising it.
And of course, the power and vigour on display when all the students come together to celebrate technology, engineering and art is extremely delectable!
Drama, drama and more drama!
The fights in the classrooms, all the arguments, the bashing and finally the making up.
And where would we be without drama! Everyone and everything needs a little bit of drama, even the walls!
The scribblings, mud and dirt bear testimony to this. Well, that’s what we told ourselves before we got money to paint the building. Now, it looks just the way it should – yellow, proud of its heritage and ready to inspire and innovate the generations yet to come.
This is where we learnt to live life.
There is where it began and this is where it will end.
The four walls of MEC have numerous stories to share. The onlooker, the silent spectator to every little thing that has materialised in college, adorning the memories of every student that has walked around the corners of this mighty structure.
When you get the chance, stand in the middle of the amphitheatre, for I’m certain the walls will speak to you!
Dedicated to the 2014-2018 batch of Govt. Model Engineering College. All the best for all your future endeavours.
And a special shout-out to all the X-mecians out there! Hope this article brings back sweet memories!
Special thanks to Sharon Rachel Manu for the splendid idea and MG Krishnan for all the help!