Writing is righting

But of course I had to begin anew with that title, for not only does it apply to my very intention with this blog--a look in the life of an Arts-aficionado International Student here at DePauw--it also applies to my current semester, where I'm taking all Writing-Intensive classes! It's been a lot of spending time with the pen these days!

A wee bit into my world, then: an initial Physics and Astronomy major here at this second-home of a Liberal Arts School--formerly an ITAP, Honor Scholar and Science Research Fellow--I've now sold and scurried over to my truest passions and calling: a double major in Writing and Film Studies (quite the switcheroo, eh?!) That's rather the very best aspect to studying at a liberal arts college--and one with such a strong variety of majors--I've been able to combine my every interest, however random and unbelonging it may seem, to allow me to customize my workload and semesters just as I'd like them to be. It's why I've directed my dreams half-a-world away, studying abroad at this home of a university!

The past month has already been rapid with activity, and all I'm doing, then, every minute, moment, scramble-of-a-second, is keeping my brain on 'On' mode, reaching and reeling for ideas for all the Writing I've been doing But it's great to be back and on the get-go--never a moment wasted, never a moment lost! That's the DePauw I've always known; that's the DePauw I've always loved.

And so I'm glad to have you join me on this journey, as I share with you just a few snippets and steals from my days at DePauw! I hope you enjoy your stay!

 

 

Meeting the Mind Behind ESPN: Mr Bill Rasmussen

Thursday, November 1, 2012 by Akanksha Chawla

Welcome back from Fall Break, world! (What's that? You thought Fall Break lasts all of fall, too?! I agree--breaks are always all too short--but that's the great thing about student life here at DePauw University: there's never a moment missable!)

Thursday, October 11, I had the incredible pleasure of meeting with Mr Bill Rasmussen, former DePauw student, a mind behind the Media Fellows Honors Program, and the Magic behind ESPN. I've got to admit: this series of 175 Years of DePauw has introduced me to some notable, notable alumni, and it's made me only prouder to be a student of the university--one from a world faraway, one International; one capable of engaging and easing with a myriad minds I'd otherwise hardly have access to. Listening to Mr Rasmussen's story, his start from the very scratch, as well as the ability to talk with him briefly while anchoring my World News section for DePauw's own news show, The Source--humbled and honoured me so: not only was Mr Rasmussen extremely patient and considerate about addressing student questions, he was so, so very down-to-earth and free with the students, mingling with them, becoming their very own. I then had the immense pleasure of talking with him again during my TV Production class, whereby we discussed Film Criticism a bit--and I was again raptured by just how willing and warm Mr Rasmussen was, awarding and aiding me in the time and inspiration I sought. It's these sorts of things--meeting marked minds, and yet finding them so very easy and humbling to be around--that has me awed and incredibly grateful to be here at DePauw!

 

He'll be here in another couple of weeks, so be sure to watch out for him if you're at DePauw, and if not--throw me a question you'd like to ask him!

(Oh, and do watch The Source, folks! World News is always good to be worded on. :) )

And it’s a summer day…

Thursday, June 3, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it’s here! The sun is finally out, casting each beam on your otherwise rather Whitecastle in as radiant a way as imaginable. You can imagine how very much yours truly, aka Indian/Saudi Arabian that would like to petition to spend winter—and most of even fall—hibernating—is very, very pleased to bask in the sunshine!

 

I’m at DePauw again this summer, digging deep into the very reaches of the universe in a hunt for Gamma Rays! Yep, that’s right, research makes a repeat this summer. Other than that, last week I was at Indianapolis at a friend’s, where I ate at a GREAT Middle Eastern restaurant and brought all those fond Arabic memories flooding right back!

 

During finals week, a terrible blasphemy struck—(kudos to me for being forever dramatic)—my computer broke! You’re probably aware that this is the number one catastrophe to strike a college student during finals. Well, well, well, what with paper deadlines, presentations, and exam notes on the hard drive, what’s a pressed sophomore double major to do? That’s right—run to her professors!

 

Thanks to the heaven that DePauw is, my professors were all INCREDIBLY understanding—I can’t even describe how much. They extended deadlines for me up to three days before graduation (but I didn’t need it; I have a tendency to overwork myself as you’ll shortly learn). And one of my professors let me borrow a laptop to work on in the meanwhile! DePauw gives. DePauw gives some more.

 

I stayed up four nights in a row, ate like a bird, and pretty much powered through everything—I’d lost all my research, all my notes, and had to start from scratch. By the end of it I was nearing collapse. I kid you not. But it’s my own fault—I pressure myself way, way, WAY too much. My professors kept checking in to see if I was doing alright, which is indelibly kind of them, but far from unexpected. But I managed it, and I managed it well, even if I do say so myself!

 

The other aspect that I wanted to highlight was my final project for my Gravitation and Cosmology class—while a typical upper level Physics class would require a Physics-based, grounded, mathematical research paper (or so I’d think, anyway), you know me, and of course I wanted to get creative with it. I actually ended up fictionalizing my paper. A FICTION STORY FOR A PHYSICS RESEARCH PAPER. Would that work at ANY OTHER PLACE, I ask you? I really would not think so. But it did at DePauw University! And that’s because we have some of the best, most creative, most original professors that any university can boast of—and I’m not exaggerating.

 

So now finals are done, I’m rested, and DePauw’s once again been to much the rescue (as has Apple, but that’s another story!) Honestly, sometimes I wonder what the roadmap of my life would resemble were I at another school. Would I be happier? Angrier? I know one thing for sure: I couldn’t have received the help that I receive at DePauw anywhere else on the planet. And that much I can say with absolute resolve, with undying conviction.

 

Film, film, film

Thursday, May 6, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And… another screenwriter!

 

This time it was none other than Shibani Bathija, a DePauw alumnus who’s really taking Bollywood by storm. Having seen all of her movies but for Kidnap, I can safely say that she’s proved monumental in breaking India away from the romantic norm in her move to explore political and psychological issues. Monday evening began with a free showing of My Name is Khan, which I enjoyed incredibly—almost as much as New York! We then had the chance to enjoy a discussion with Ms Bathija on topics ranging from her writing, her movies, and the Indian film industry in general.

 

You can imagine that my being a hopeful screenwriter, an Indian AND an avid film lover played much into my excitement! It was a really fun event—and then there was one to follow, as if that weren’t enough!

 

Tuesday morning I had breakfast with Ms Bathija—and it was a truly enjoyable meeting, at that. We talked more closely about her experiences and learning, and I learned much about writing in India, and what’s new with film in Mumbai—lord knows I could use some catching up.

 

Highlights:

1.     Summer’s almost here!

 

And on the darker side…

… that means FINALS! AND PAPERS! AND PRESENTATIONS!

 

Suffice it to say I’ll spend the next couple of weeks with the books!

 

Anyway, people—I decided that I would LOVE to talk to anyone that really reads this blog and answer any questions they have, specifically hitting nails on their DePauw heads. So shoot me an e-mail if you get a chance/have a question/just want to talk about anything under the sun! I’m akankshachawla_2012@depauw.edu, and I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, good memories from the Jason Reitman dinner! They had to make their way here.

Classes classes classes!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

Pretty soon I'm going to have THOSE COUPLE OF WEEKS hit--you know, those couple that always make breathing impossible because there's so much to do I feel like I'm going to choke! But in the meanwhile, as I get ready for it, I shall present to you the highlights of THIS WEEK:

1. This is more of a lowlight, but I really need to get more sleep. An average of 3 hours a night... is really most unwise.
2. I spent Saturday doing what I love best: writing. Literally. I spent TWELVE STRAIGHT HOURS at my computer with my screenplay, typing away, so that when I was done it was 4 am and I hadn't eaten/slept/showered/had any contact with the world outside my screenplay since Friday morning! I then worked on it some more, and 8 am came and left and I just realized what a sight I looked like. But I have to admit, I loved every single moment of it. There's something about doing what you love best that makes it unlike any other feeling, so that you'll continue at it even if you're dying, or exhausted, or whatever else. And that's one thing my education's giving me right now that nothing else ever perhaps can.
3. THERE'S ALSO NOTHING LIKE FINDING A NEW BAND THAT YOU LOVE AND LISTENING TO THEM DAY AND NIGHT...
4. ... or watching a good movie...
5. ... or enjoying summer weather in Greencastle!
6. ... or trying out new flavours of something that turns out to be DELICIOUS! (Read: Caramel Nut Brownie Luna Bar. To. Die. For.)
7. ... or spending hours at the hub being silly with your friends...
8. Really, I'm going to miss this place when I leave here. Do I say that enough?

I sent my favourite professor my screenplay--or the first two acts of it, anyway--and I'm really anxious to hear what he thinks. Wish me luck!

Always,

Akanksha
 

I could sure use another week of this!

Friday, March 26, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You guessed it; it's that week of the year where TV, sleeping in and staring into space for hours on end becomes an absolute possibility--and guilt-free enough, might I add! It’s one of the many things I love about spring break—and there’s more to follow!

 

So let’s see what I did this break:

1.     Unlike most of DePauw—and just about every college imaginable—I didn’t end up going to Florida. I imagine the beach must’ve been one giant college campus filled with the usual people—though that’s probably got to be a ton of fun. Instead, I visited with my second cousin and her family in Cincinnati, Ohio, and am happy to say have been having quite a blast my entire stay here!

2.     So what’ve I been doing? Well, for starters, basically no homework, but that’s okay for a change! It is, after all, the one guilt-free week, like I said.

3.     Add to that tons of TV watching, movie viewing, and my new favourite hobby… COOKING!

 

So I’m Indian, as you know, but a lot of people tell me they don’t get too much of that traditional vibe from me—I’ve been called all kinds of things from Eastern European to French to Mexican, so I’m not sure what to think. I get the ‘your accent is far more British than Indian’ a lot, and just the general not-so-Indian-fit. I know what it has to do with, however, for I was born in and grew up in Saudi Arabia and attended a British school—so it’s not surprising that I seem to be a mix.

 

However, one thing I think that thoroughly represents my Indianness—and my love for ethnic diversity and exoticness in general—is my absolute addiction to Indian (and Arabic) food! Lately, I’ve been obsessed with a healthy style of living, and ethnic food is some of the healthiest food around for you due to its spiciness and multitude of flavour!

 

Anyway, being at my cousin’s definitely gave me access to a kitchen and cooking facilities—something I don’t get much of living in a dorm—along with the time to try out some stuff! I ended up cooking my favourite matter paneer (peas and Indian cheese in a delicious curry sauce), palak paneer (said cheese with spinach in a soft, creamy curry), papdi chaat (which is an Indian snack I can’t quite describe, but yogurt and chutney based), paneer mini pizzas (you can tell I love paneer, can’t you?! It may be my most favourite food in the world—but being a vegetarian, since it’s pretty much my analog for meat, it HAS to be a staple. I just wish I could get any of it in Greencastle!)

 

And finally, I made my most favourite dessert in the world solo from scratch—and lord knows that being an avid dessert fan makes me have a billion favourites! Honestly, I could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and die happy that way.

 

My excitement was sort of over-the-bounds about putting together this carrot pudding—called Gajar ka Halwa—and so I had some pictures I thought I’d share with you. Lord, I’ve missed Indian food. I’m proud to say that its taste was DELECTABLE!










 

 

And it’s time for this foodie to sign out. Boy, that was a food focused entry, wasn’t it?! It’s really all on my mind these days, clearly!

... because DePauw gets better and better!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is going to be the BEST BLOG ENTRY IN MONTHS! And not because my writing’s improved or the muse is shining down on me or the heavens are on my side, but because it features—drumroll, please—I know I’m being rather corny, but pardon me while I allow the film addict in me to make her voice heard, and how!—JASON REITMAN!

 

Remember last week when I mentioned I had exciting news? Or how it may or may not turn out to have been exciting? Well, the news would read as follows: originally, President Casey had invited solely ME AND FIVE OTHER STUDENTS (I KNOW, AN EXCLUSIVE, EXCLUSIVE LIST!) to have dinner with Jason Reitman at the President’s residence! I was more than ecstatic, if such an emotion were possible. I was jubilant. Flabbergasted. Over the moon with delight.

 

Well, the guest list grew bigger and bigger as word spread, and the dinner, last night, rounded up to about a hundred people. I can’t say that I wasn’t slightly disappointed that it wasn’t as tight a group as I would have liked to—I know, I know, I shouldn’t be admitting my greediness to a public blog, but I’m only human, and I know you’ll understand! The one time during the dinner that I was truly slightly disappointed was when Mr Reitman sat around the students on every table but ours! I guess he just missed us? I can’t help but think it was because ours was the fullest table at the dinner, however—we were popular! J

 

BUT, then things began to magically look better and better, and I realized what an idiot I was being. Here I was, sulking about not being the center of attention, when the center of attention was WITH US, HAD FLOWN IN ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO LECTURE US ON HIS IMPRESSIVE ACCOLADES AND THE MOVIES HE’D MADE THAT HAD MADE ME LEARN, LOVE, AND LAUGH, AND I WAS BEING A BRAT! And then I remembered what had happened earlier yesterday, and so now I’m going to present you with the goods, the bads, and the BEAUTIFULs of the Monday I spent preparing for my meeting with an official god in the world of filmmaking—a world I want to be my own:

 

1.     Didn’t sleep ALL of Sunday night in apprehension/nervousness/paranoia/excitement.

2.     Went to class, etc. Thanked the universe that I go to such an awesome school that the professors would be as understanding and as enthusiastic about my own excitement so that I took an entire DAY off homework! :)

3.     Prepared for the Student Open Forum with Mr Reitman.

4.     Attended said forum. Boy, was it marvelous! Mr Reitman has a fabulous sense of humour, and he’s so easy to feel comfortable around! I asked him my question—which sent an awkwardness down the room and made everyone stare at me bizarrely—because I really put myself on the spot by asking something personal—not personal about him, but about how Up in the Air made ME feel as someone who connected to it—and hoped to have a happier ending—deeply. I’m not going to state the question here, but let’s just say that it was probably the best part of my evening, for when I briefly sat with Mr Reitman later at dinner, he remembered me as the one searching for ‘the meaning of life’! CAN I JUST SAY HOW MUCH I LOVE DEPAUW FOR DOING THIS?! I really owe President Casey a heartfelt vote of thanks! :)

5.     He then signed my copy of Juno, but not before ripping off the ’27 Dresses’ insert as an insult! I completely agreed with him!

6.     We then had dinner, where I ate some of the most divine ravioli and sauce I have ever eaten, along with a multitude of desserts that left my tongue and belly rather satisfied. It was ONE day that I wished I wasn’t a vegetarian! The highlight, however, was Dr Casey’s edible centerpieces for the table—we had quite a laugh attacking the delicious grapes, corsages and lemons on sticks that decorated the room!

7.     And then, finally, I had a picture taken with him, and he gave me a warm pat on the back for he figured how much this meant to me. I love moments like that—when people appreciate your commitment/desire and don’t see it as being a suck-up or pathetic because it’s genuine.

8.     And then for the lecture! Much like the student forum, JR (as they refer to him on set) kept us laughing so much that I went back with a stomachache from nearly rolling on the floor! We had an insight into his life, his learning’s, and his loves—but more importantly, he made me cry when he talked of doing what you love because there’s magic in it for you. He put something so poignant so succinctly that it lasted, that it froze the room, that it gave me—and several around—chills.

 

All in all, this was an evening I’m likely not to ever forget—especially because the dinner also gave me the chance to get out of my cocoon a wee bit, and run into people I had missed for a long time, and meet new, interesting ones I hope to get a chance to talk to again soon! It was a lovely day, one that left me sleepless two nights in a row, but one I have to thank DePauw, JR, President Casey, and my screenwriting professor, Rick Hillis, for.

 

And here’s for the fun part... pictures!

 


JR, my friend Stephanie, and me



Me and JR! Can't stop grinning, now, can I?!



Good times! :)

And finally, me, ecstatic:


 

P.S. I’m really sorry about the shortage of posts lately—I promise to make it up with exciting, interesting news and opinions and reviews so that you get to love DePauw more often with me! :)

Some like it Hot

Saturday, March 6, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

... and I'm one of them!

The weather's finally warming up! (Let's hope I don't curse it...) But honestly, I can just feel spring in the air with the sun spending its better hours with us and the ice slowly finding it being chased away. And as a devout lover of the warm, I will it to stay as long as it can! After all, it's really about time we did away with the depressing layers of coats and boots and faces that feel like lumps of frozen meat. Not a pretty picture, eh? :)

The past week--and the next couple that are to come, have been the usual: work, work, and room for play if you can juggle it! I've had a test, and I have a couple on Monday and Tuesday each. The Tuesday after that, I have my first screenplay due! I have to admit--after slacking off on writing it, I'm really looking forward to getting down and holding my pen again. It's been a long time since I wrote, and I can't wait to shape this idea. That's what I love about writing classes: they keep the couch potato of a lazy writer in me active and unable to become lethargic!

We had the Annual Job Fair a few weeks ago, and I have to say it proved to be an engaging, promising event. I met a LOT of potential employers offering internships, jobs, and something I consider the most important--mere information, for I deem it the most significant when you're looking to see what you want out of your life. You don't want to get trapped in a situation that you're not fond of. I've been really lucky to be at DePauw, honestly--to be at a great school in a setting that's just right for me--one that's not too fast so that I get completely lost in a new culture, and one that's small enough that it's welcoming and it's easy to make a warm place for yourself here. I really, really think DePauw is the ideal college environment--where you can mix everything into a brew and have it build a stronger, more resistant, smarter you! (Now I'm rhyming. Do forgive me).

That aside, NEXT WEEK JASON REITMAN ARRIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN HARDLY HOLD MY EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Jack's Mannequin is this weekend--although I'll have to miss it. Nevertheless, WHERE do you have TWO such celebrities visiting in the span of a fortnight, I ask you? WHERE? I really do pity those study abroad folks this semester--they're missing out! (Although of course, DePauw's giving THEM its share in a whole new--and one rather inspiring--direction!)

I can't remember if I stated that I am incorporating a Film Studies minor into my plan for my stay here. My readers will know how much I love movies (this past fortnight, I watched more than FIFTEEN!) I may attend graduate school in film. Though it seems like I do a lot, the truth is, I can't get enough learning, and since I'm only here four years, I want to make those four years the most rewarding and enriching ones of all my years. DePauw's doing as much as it can to make that happen. It's only my turn, then, isn't it?

We had a Physics club lunch for interest majors, and I helped out, as always! It was really exciting to see so many new interested faces. Here's a picture of me with my friend, Michelle:




Other than that, we also had Alexander Hemon read to us. He's a Bosnian writer that got stranded in the US as war hit home for him, and he's been writing here ever since. I really enjoyed listening to his work and asking him questions--I do, after all, hope to be a woman of the pen someday. We're going to have another writer here soon, and I'm stoked! I'll keep you updated!

Meanwhile, I MAY have some exciting news that I'll keep hushed for now! Expect a post in a week that tells--or not! :)

Enjoy the spring in your step--and let's hope the sun likes our company as much as we like its own.

P.S. A VERY Happy Belated Birthday to the person that makes this blog happen and run the way it does. To Mr Satyajit Dattagupta, I raise my glass (of water, I know--I'm pathetic)--may you have had a wonderful day lighting up a wonderful year--and several more to come! You are supportive, kind and understanding in every which way, and let's hope your day was as special to you as it should've been! Pip pip!

 

Back to the future

Thursday, February 18, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

... yes, I am! It's the future because it's love--you know what I'm talking about. I've loved movies since I was a kid, and the past few weeks I was sort of in a rut with regards to movies. Thankfully, my Screenwriting class has me back in that whirlwind. Other than that, having an 8 10 class this semester is proving really helpful: I get my work done earlier in the day, so that I can spend my evenings with some quality entertainment!

That being said, the highlights of this week were:



Can I just say WHAT a great movie this was?!

Other than that, there was:



... which I LOVED EVERY SINGLE BIT OF, and...



which was cute, too. Other than that, I saw Jennifer's Body-- a huge waste of time, in my opinion, because it tried really hard to combine comedy with horror and ended up failing at both.  I also saw Thelma and Louise and Chinatown, along with Happy-Go-Lucky and a re-watch of Gigantic. On the plate for tomorrow: ShopGirl, Funny Ha Ha and Happy Endings. Let's hope mine is, too!

I have to admit, my Soc class is helping me get back into the groove, too--it's one class like no other, and I'm enjoying every single moment of it. Can you see more reasons I wouldn't want to leave DePauw?! I wish the fifth-year intern programme was back and running--I wouldn't mind spending a good few years (or ALL) of my life simply learning! Ah, if that were a job, I'd be rich! :)

I'm really thinking of doing a film minor, because I really find my heart aching for it--I love, love, LOVE movies. I just wish there was enough room to study all that you want to: four years isn't even close to enough!

And now for the biggest highlight of the week:

JASON REITMAN IS COMING TO DEPAUW!!!

Yes, folks, the director of Juno and Thank you for smoking is coming HERE! It's bad enough that Jack's Mannequin (!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T EXPRESS MY LOVE FOR THEM ENOUGH!) is coming here and I can't go because I have three exams that week. But with Reitman in through the door, I may just burst into happy, happy tears.

I have to admit--I love this school. 'Nuff said.
 

And we're back in the whirlwind!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

So the return to DePauw has been action-packed thus far. I have to admit that getting back to Physics after a whole semester away from it wasn't the easiest, but now that I've had a week to ease into it, I'm trying to transition so that I fall in love with it all over again. This semester, my classes are as follows:

Physics 3
Physics 390: Gravitation and Cosmology
Screenwriting
Sociology of Madness
and SRF!

Week 1 has been packed with work (it is, after all, worship), but I have to admit, I'm loving it thus far. There's nothing like a day packed with things to do only to come back at night and settle down with your favourite snack (for me, it has to be Blueberry cereal with Vanilla soymilk) and a bunch of materials from ILL (Inter-library loan!) And the best feeling in the world is that of having earned it after a day's full of hard work.

The transition back-and-forth between India and America always takes some getting used to, what with jet lag and having got accustomed to living a certain way and being around a select group of people. DePauw helps every which way it can in such a situation, however--there's so much to do that there isn't a single moment to worry or be morose about the move. Take, for instance, my first week. I arrived Saturday, classes began Monday, and with the whole bunch of things to do and events to see on campus, I've hardly had time to think of much at all! It's a good break from your own mind to be able to invest your energies in learning, and thereby in such a positive direction.

Rush has been going on this past week, but since I honestly don't know very much about it, I'll try and engage you with the (slightly less exciting) highlights of MY week. I had my Sociology of Madness class twice last week, and I have to admit, it is one class I am more than psyched for. The professor has a very different approach to teaching, and his final project (nope, I won't tell you yet; I intend to post it to this blog!) has me far more excited than I've been for an assignment in a long time. I hope tomorrow's class is as eventful as the past two have been--the discussions are great, the readings appear great, and I'm just terribly enthusiastic about this class!

I also read the screenplay Chinatown for my screenwriting class, which I enjoyed every bit of. What can I say? I just can't get enough of school! Let's hope that the fifth-year intern program gets back into running--I'm really hoping I can get more classes out of my college education!

Other than that, it's just been work, study, and enjoy those last few hours before jet lag forces its bedtime upon me. Saturday brought about a (much needed) trip to Bloomington with a professor of mine, and I LOVED the place. It does help that they had HUGE libraries!

I'll keep you updated about the rest of this week! I'm hoping it's as fun as the last--I do, however, have a feeling that it will be! :)
 

Winter Term Journal

Sunday, January 31, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

One of the things I love best about DePauw is the fact that I get an opportunity to spend a month just the way I want to, engaging in just the kind of growth and development I need to make myself an even more well-rounded human being. Here, then, is how I spent my Winter Term--doing an Independent Study in India where I wrote forty five pages of a novel, read three novels and five screenplays, and visited a myriad cities to better engage myself with the culture so as to use it as raw material for my novel.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 3: Read first 130 pages of Satanic Verses. Loving it so far. Language--has to be read aloud; so dreamy, easy to get lost into. Concept, allegory, satire--hard to grasp; a little more attention than perhaps I'm giving it required?

Jan 11th: Am 5 not-so-good pages into first story, that I don't know if I'll title 'Fountain Stirred'. Here's an attempt for a writing exercise:

If I were a month, I’d be November
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Friday
If I were a time of day, I’d be 3 am
If I were a planet, I’d be Neptune
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a seahorse
If I were a direction, I’d be lost
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be a bookshelf that smelled of dust and chalk
If I were a liquid, I'd be molten lead
If I were a gemstone, I'd be an amethyst
If I were a tree, I'd be a wand-home
If I were a tool, I’d rather not
If I were a flower, I'd be a ghost orchid to have Susan Orlean write about me and Charlie Kaufman ache over me
If I were a weather, I'd be dingy and grey and cloudy so that you hated yourself
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be a violin charm on a bracelet
If I were a color, I'd be plum
If I were an emotion, I’d be frenzy
If I were a fruit, I’d be a grape
If I were a sound, I’d be breaking glass
If I were an element, I’d be water
If I were a car, I’d be yellow
If I were a food, I’d be a toffee ice cream cheesecake (if there were such a thing)
If I were a place, I’d be an empty Riyadh
If I were a material, I’d be sandpaper
If I were a taste, I’d be bitter
If I were a scent, I’d be apples
If I were an object, I’d be a notebook
If I were a body part, I’d be the brain
If I were a facial expression, I’d be expressionless
If I were a song, I’d be too many
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be yellow pointed-toe shoes

 

Overview Jan 4 – 10: Finished Satanic Verses and loved it, got first 10 pages of story written but am seriously unsure about its quality. Struck with big block due to emotional stress (no, these aren’t mere excuses!) Curled up with TONS of Wes Anderson for inspiration and solace. Read The Life Aquatic, Bottle Rocket, Darjeeling Limited and The Royal Tenenbaums. Missing Rushmore.

 

We spent a few days in Haridwar at Rishikesh where the immersion happened. I don’t know what I expected—some kind of spirit watching over me? Some kind of reconnection? Nothing happened, but for another jar that I saw being immersed. I can’t say it was any kind of rewarding experience. More like heart-ripping—it just reminded me of how much I’d lost.

 

Spent the next few days at Dehradun, which is just a basic small town set in the lower Himalayas. Got to see a good deal of terrace farming. Also got to go down to the river Yamuna every so often, which was quite a different way to spend Winter.

 

Paonta Sahib was by far the best part of my trip. I stayed with my grandmother’s youngest sister, and we spent hours of days just looking at pictures and building up memories from scratch. Visited Paonta Sahib’s most famous Gurudwara, which is a temple for Sikhs. I loved every bit of it—washing my feet in holy water, eating the sacred Prasad, looking down at the river from some rather high points in the Himalayas. We also climbed up an inordinate amount—what felt like 200 kilometers, but I’m awful with such minute details—to a mosque which is also the tomb of some priest called Bhure Shah, and where you’re supposed to get your wish granted if you make one after having climbed up the steep mountains barefoot. If your wish is granted, you have to come back to the temple. You also get to tie a holy scarf around a tree marked by thousands of such scarves, signifying your bond with the place. It was quite a steep climb, but I enjoyed every bit of it—and the scenery added to the tranquility.

 

Overview Jan 11-Jan 17: Spent most of this week finishing up to page 22 of my first story. Was pretty unhappy with it, so I started writing up the prologue and decided that after the first, I'm delving straight into the second. The book is not coming out the way I want it AT ALL. I really only have myself to blame—I’ve been adding emotional stress to mental and pushing myself to pull out a certain set pages a day, no matter how they read—and I don’t know how smart that is.

 

I also finished the Interpreter of Maladies this week. My opinions are really mixed—I don’t know if there’s much about Lahiri’s style that screams out to me, forcing me to read more of her. The stories deal with those major pangs of identity crisis by and large applicable to Indian Americans and really brought India to life for me, and perhaps the most remarkable facet common to these stories is their simplicity in the way they’re told and how clear the emotions and feelings of the characters rise on the page. Sukumar and Shoba struggle with words but their silences are enough to communicate so very much to the reader. Dimple and Sandeep struggle with having jumped into a marriage—both unsure whether it has really been too soon—and something so peculiar as signs and symbols from their house’s previous tenants become symbolic to stitch holes into their relationship. I think another one of my favourites was When Mr Pirzada Came to Dine, for I loved the innocence Lahiri instilled in Lilia’s character—it is, after all, so difficult to write with children protagonist, and she pulled it off beautifully.

 

We also visited Jaipur, the ‘pink city’, and at first that was the place Aurinel was supposed to convince Stephane to visit to find her, but then I realized that her roots (and my own) were stronger in my native Delhi. We visited tons of forts and palaces and indulged in some DELICIOUS Rajasthani cuisine. There was the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, which bore close to a thousand windows in five stories overlooking the entire city to form a breathtaking picture. The whole structure is made of pink sandstone. Beautiful.

 

Other than that, Jantar Mantar was perhaps my favourite spot—it’s an ancient observatory built by a Maharaja several hundreds of years ago, and it has these ancient astronomical instruments made of stone. I wish I had the names down, but they’re mostly in Rajasthani and my spelling would be dreadful. There was a huge sundial carved beautifully, however, and that’s something I can spell.

 

Others—Amber Fort—tons of cool bits of Mughal architecture with stones and mirror carvings. The pillars were lined with really beautiful carvings and prints of expressive painting scenes.

Birla Mandir—Built entirely out of marble and a temple devoted to the Hindu gods, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Has three very massive domes. Beautiful.

City Palace—I loved this place! The Mubarak Mahal has a museum where they have royal costumes on display (how I’d have loved to create some ethnic vintage put-togethers with those costumes!) Then there’s the Diwan-i-aam, with rare manuscripts and scriptures.

 

Jan 18-24: Spent most of this time writing, with the exception of the last few days of the week, which I spent in Virginia Woolf’s company. As usual, she had me hooked and torn and marveling. To the Lighthouse was beautiful, rich, sad—there’s a whole other report I’ll write on it someday, or a paper, or something, to describe Lily and Mr Ramsay’s and James’s ties and how I felt about each one of them.

 

Then visited Amritsar. GOLDEN TEMPLE! Boy, was it beautiful. Gold glistening on a beautiful water tank, and with the sun beating down on the gold, it truly made for an alchemist-y/artist-y moment. Lovely.

Then we visited Jallianwala Bagh—where General Dyer pulled fire on Baisakhi and hundreds were either shot or drowned by jumping into a well. It was supposed to be a peaceful congregation, but the British pulled fire on the Indians, marking it as a terrible event to remember. We weren’t allowed into the Bagh; we could just see it from the outside. Moving.

 

Jan 25-29: Spent most of this week finishing up on my writing, even though it’s far from complete.

Spent this week reading some more screenplays. (500) Days of Summer was adorable, as was Outsourced—the latter being very Indian/American culture-shock based.

All in all, this was one Winter Term where I spent a month engaging in such spiritual, educational, and overall personal development that I wouldn't exchange it for anything. And where else would you get such an opportunity but DePauw?
 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Term

Monday, January 11, 2010 by Akanksha Chawla

I'm really enjoying being home--just the simple ability to talk to family whenever I feel like it, to eat foods I've sorely and surely missed since being back at school, and to venture out into the city that's been home to me so long to watch it thrive and drive is one that I've longed for. I've spent the past few weeks catching up with family and friends and basically being at home, and I have to admit that what with my packed schedule at DePauw--which I absolutely love, for it never gives me a dull moment--I've really been savouring every moment in Delhi before I return to school for classes. Another factor about DePauw that I appreciate wholeheartedly is the concept of Winter Term, which is basically a month in January spent catering to a side of you that you haven't yet had a chance to explore. You can do whatever you want in Winter Term--travel to a place you've longed to visit and finally can with a well-guided school trip, study at another school, intern at a workplace you've ached to test out, take a fun and unconventional class on campus while using your free time to invest it in varied energies, and finally, design a project with your own spin--the last of which I am doing myself. I am currently doing an Independent Study whereby I begin composing a novel-in-stories under the very mined eye of my Writing advisor. Honestly, I could NOT ask for a project that fits me better--this way, I get the chance to read some books I've been longing to read for a while, to visit a few cities in India to provide me with the inspiration I need to embark on my novel, and finally--and above all--to write, write, write! And seeing as there is naught in the world I like better to do, I must concede that DePauw has provided me with an enriching, inspiring, rewarding month!

Living in the future

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’m now blogging from the other side of the world—and thus living a whole ten and a half hours ahead of Greencastle! (Don’t worry, I won’t tell you what happens!) The plane ride here was exhausting, as always (to say the least, really—a total of sixteen and a half hours of air plus airport transitioning and procedures is enough to drive ANYONE batty!) I’m back here in a bizarre state of cold, so that the winter absolutely pales in comparison to that in Greencastle, but the fact that there is no heat indoors ANYWHERE makes me have to wear a bundle of clothes everywhere I go.

 

The first few days have been daunting, because culture shock always appears to hit me worse when I come home than when I return to the US—perhaps it’s the fact that everyone thinks that you’ve changed so dramatically, perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so easy to get accustomed to a DePauw lifestyle that all else seems cumbersome and confounding. I have to admit that every time I first arrive at India it takes me a whole while to ease back into things—the hours, the wears of jet lag, the difference in food and water and just plain air. And then the fact that I have to spend a good chunk of my time at home by myself doesn’t help—it just makes me miss the constant buzzing at DePauw even more!

 

Nevertheless, it’s great to be back home—especially after the occurrences of this past semester. I just found out that our old neighbour passed away. It seems as if the year’s been fraught with deaths—heaven, I imagine, is very pleased this year. I suppose death is one of those things that you have to take lightly and calmly beyond a point—for it is, after all, inevitable. We’re all hurtling towards it, every single breathing moment, no matter how much we secretly believe we’re each not going to die. The only way to get past it is perhaps to take it a little less seriously, and to really savour and enjoy each moment we have here (I should’ve marked this paragraph with a cliché alert!)

 

Going back to the transition, however, the initial move always leaves me perplexed as to what my real home is now. You know that odd aphorism—‘you can’t go home again’? I always found it rather peculiar, rather offhandish—if you can’t go home, where can you go? But I’ve understood its meaning as I’ve grown farther and farther away from the typical definitions of home. It just means that once you’ve changed, home is no longer home—and you’re left uncertain as to what really is. Part of me will always long to be one with the culture and the people and the Indian world around me, but part of me will always belong to DePauw. And it’s that odd mix that perhaps makes me who I am.

 

It’s funny—the first few days are always spent in my complaining about the change, and the last few in the same, but for different reasons. When I come home I’m jolted by the shock—unable to sleep, incessantly bored, and mostly confused. When I’m about to leave I’m the same way, but only because I don’t want to leave. Human beings are an odd bunch—never satisfied, never at ease. But the sad part is that this constant dissatisfaction is what makes us take so much for granted—complaining about homework at DePauw seems like an inevitable, routine thing to do, but it’s when you’re stuck with absolutely nothing to do that you begin to miss that reading and discussing and just being by like-minded people. Likewise, it’s easy to complain now that I’m here—about the lack of heat and everything being spicy and the like, but what I often find myself forgetting is just how glad I am to be home: to be by family, to be by people that care and hurt and love me for love’s sake, and to thank them for putting up with my constant complaints. We’re petty, humans, we are. We forget. And we only realize a little too late.

 

This post has been very fluctuating and inconsistent, but the truth is, with the herald of the new year upon us and the end of an eventful semester and such a massive transitioning across the planet, it only represents the state of my mind—a whirlpool of frenzies and madnesses. In all honesty, I often forget just to be grateful for everything I have and everything I am. And it takes me moments of simply sitting down and writing (like this one) to realize it. And so I’m going to make that feeling heard—Thanksgiving’s gone, yes, and ‘tis now the season to be jolly, but I’m more grateful than ever right now. For my blog, for my readers (few as they may be!), for writing. For DePauw, for the ability to live and work and function two worlds apart, for home. For everything.

Grateful for Gobbles

Friday, November 27, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am SO, SO, SO MAD AT MYSELF! I just wrote an extended post I was extremely proud of and accidentally deleted it by hitting a tab shut!

 

Gah!

 

Ah, well. Here’s take 2. So I haven’t updated in a while, and I’m very sorry for it! I’ve been working a lot and finally Thanksgiving break is here, and so a much needed resolution as to why work is worship has finally made itself available!

 

Lately, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with ideas relating to food, and have avidly been following food blogs. This past year has been very, very eventful for me, and my outlook on life has changed radically. In terms of diet, I must admit that I gave in to the freshman 15—or the freshman 50, actually, and with losing my grandmother I’ve realized just how important life really is, and so am doing my best to ensure I live a long, healthy life. In an effort for the same, I’ve switched to a vegetarian lifestyle, and lately I’ve been enjoying reading, writing, and learning about food—it is, after all, an art!

 

I’m at a friend’s for Thanksgiving and am grateful to be able to bring my Indianness to the place! J We spent most of Tuesday getting here, Wednesday relaxing and preparing for Turkey day, and today finally arrived in its grateful glory. I’ll share some of the exciting bits with you.

 

We started the evening off with some delicious appetizers. There was barbecue chicken dip, cinnamon rolls, a traditional Thanksgiving Cheeseball, banana bread with filling and shrimps with a dip. I helped myself to crackers with cheese, a few pieces of banana bread and diet coke:

 

The entire feast was so, so fancy! My friend’s family is extremely affluent, and they have the BEST house (they even have a huge pond with a fountain!) I wish I had taken pictures. Meanwhile, I’ll use Google images to the closest to display our filling feast.

 

There was turkey and ham, but I chose not to eat any. Instead, I attacked the DELICIOUS sweet potato casserole topped with pecans:




 

 

And some lovely cornbread pudding to go with it:

 

Altogether with some warm mashed potatoes and a bite of green bean casserole:



 

 

Not to forget the soft rolls with honey butter:


 

 

There was also stuffing and gravy, macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan, and two more casseroles, but I didn’t try them.

 

I must convince I was absolutely stuffed, but I had to save some room for dessert! (Dessert is my most favourite part of the meal, for I have a crazy, crazy sweet tooth. As is evident, most of my main course meals really centered around dessert!)

 

There were 2 pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, a chocolate pudding pie, an apple cobbler and whipped cream. I helped myself to some of the chocolate pie, the apple cobbler and a bite of the pecan pie. Deliciousness.






 

 

All in all, I have to admit I’m more grateful today than I’ve been in a long time (and the meal does have tons to do with it!)

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

 

Just one of the few reasons I love DePauw (as if this blog weren't enough!)

Friday, November 13, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

So I've been going to a ton of readings lately, because I do have a lot of English classes this semester and it's always rewarding to listen to writers speak--after all, reading them write isn't an uncommon experience; it's hearing them feel their writing that proves to be chilling, gratifying.

I went to another reading at Peeler tonight and I have to admit it was one of the very best I've heard. It basically comprised of Micah Ling, a DePauw graduate and published author, and Jeffrey Bean, my advisor Barbara Bean's son, and a wonderful poet. :)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micah Ling certainly writes in an intriguing fashion, adopting a real life character and making her fictional. Her Amelia Earhart poems captivated me particularly—I’ve always been fascinated by Amelia’s story, and Micah helped give her a different voice, taunting our imaginations by making her a real figure on a lost island, the ‘black widow’ to her ‘corpse of a plane’. Amelia’s plane often becomes her child, and Micah depicts her possible solitude, unkemptness and overall madness on the island beautifully. ‘Not Crazy’ is a beautiful indication in this regard; its final line eerily pretty: ‘Talking to no one is better than quiet.’

 

Jeffrey Bean may become the best poet I’ve ever heard read—not only did he do a stellar job keeping the audience ‘on their ears’, his poems had that quality Joe Heithaus so rightly called innocent: these poems are comical but realistic, beautiful but true. His ‘Encyclopaedia of the Wheat’ made wheat into a person with emotions, feelings, lies. ‘Bread is the afterlife,’ says Bean. And ‘human eyes are not still enough to see the eyes of the wheat.’ Bean’s wheat has bones and skin—it is a person with embarrassment, haunting, movement. Its ‘name for you is secret’.

 

The other poems I really enjoyed were ‘Why I failed at Baseball’, with its ‘balls fresh from packages’; ‘In August’ for the way it spoke of fat wind, ‘Dreamboat’, simply for its hilarious, imaginative concept (Bean really could give Wes Anderson a run for his money—I now see why he isn’t a die-hard fan!) and ‘The Bread’ from the poisoned sonnets. He was a true delight to listen to, for he made writing real—the person standing on that stage was somebody you could reach out and touch, laugh with or pat on the back. He was a true writer—one that felt and breathed and made jokes, just like the rest of us.

Philosophy Phellows

Sunday, November 1, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

So, I've been meaning to take a quick diversion from studying for a big Philosophy exam, and my mind wandered to some of the highlights of this week: one of which was a Phil club meeting on Tuesday. I'm one of the Executive Board members, and we primarily spent the hour discussing Consumer Ethics. For instance, a couple of females sued McDonald's in the past year for allegedly 'making them fat'. In such a scenario, who do you decide to launch the attacks at--the corporation, for making such forceful advertisements as 'our food is perfect for Breakfast, lunch AND dinner!' or the consumers, for buying into that marketing madness and not adjudicating what's right themselves?

The group came up with some rather quirky insights, and all in all, the discussion flowed smoothly, being one that had you thinking about the questions long after the proclaimed hour had ended. I'm going to be leading a discussion on Cosmology sometime soon, and I'm hoping to incorporate a notch of Physics into my Philosophies--after all, what else is DePauw best for? Intermingling your varied interests into a holistic liberal arts education--that's what the 'uncommon success' is all about, in my book.

Phil club is a great way to kick back, relax, and spend some thoughtful time away from class and work indulging in issues you find provocative. That apart, it's a great opportunity to meet people who share similar or opposing ideas as you. And if that weren't enough, free food is always a good reason to attend meetings! It's alternate Tuesdays from 6-7 at Reese Lobby--I COMMAND you to attend in the future!

Other than that, this week has been pretty exhausting and flooded with work--just the way I like it. A friend of mine got me some Milk Cakes the other day (Indian dessert that's much to die for), and I shared it with some of my professors--and much to my relief, they absolutely loved it. I have my birthday in a couple of days, and at this point, I can't quite tell if I'm excited or not. It is the aphoristic TWO DECADES, after all.

More news to follow!

I had a temptation to sign off as Gossip Girl, but wasn't sure if I'm brave enough to do it. Let's see, now...

You know you love me,
Akanksha

(So I managed it! I guess now it just means I need to provide my readers a few more reasons to do so). :)

Diwali

Sunday, October 25, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

So we had the Diwali Festival at Columbus, Indiana today. It was sponsored by Cummins, which bears quite the tie both with India and DePauw, and so a bunch of us DePauw students had the opportunity to go and enjoy a myriad performances--dancing, singing, fashion shows and the works. The performers included every possible age group, and some of the kids were particularly adorable in that they went through an enormous amount of practice to put the show together. I feel like the biggest highlight, however, was certainly the food! (Lord knows I did my best at over-indulging, and how!) We had Malai Koftas, which are basically a kind of vegetable cutlet submerged in a cream gravy; chicken curry, and Saag--a sort of spinach in curry. We had Raita, too, which I've sorely missed--it's vegetables mixed with plain yogurt and spices. And as a grand finale, we had delightful Gulab Jamuns! (I'm not quite going to attempt at explaining what they are, because I doubt I could do them justice). All in all, it was certainly a fun event... and pictures are soon to come!

Other than that, this week's been really exhausting. It was Fall Break week, but me being me, I ended up burying myself knee deep in work interspersed with movie/One Tree Hill marathons. I can't say that it hasn't been deeply enjoyable, though--I've got a lot of work done, a lot of fantastic books read, a ton of intriguing movies watched, and a lot of hours with fun faculty spent!

I'll update this place soon with the Diwali pictures--be sure to keep a watch out!
 

On Workshops

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

One of the reasons I chose to come all the way to the United States was for an education that was so holistic and all-encompassing in its entirety that it actually proved rewarding. I know that this may sound repetitive and redundant, but I honestly feel like I should specifically begin to address some of the opportunities I have been able to avail of at DePauw that I wouldn't have been able to as a student in perhaps any other country (or at any larger school).

Take writing workshops at DePauw, for instance. Whilst the English department at DePauw is probably one of the largest departments here at all, the beauty of workshops--small in number and close-knit in feeling--continues to hold tight, even with the large incoming class. At workshops, we basically are given assignments to inspire our creativities, and this is perhaps the best homework imaginable: to actually be able to do something so leisurable and have it graded, have it critiqued, have it commented upon. Your professor comes up with an assignment, you go home and mull over it and come up with a creative piece, you come to class and turn it in, the other students take it home, read it and adjudicate all the pros and the cons to it, they come back to class and the entire class has a discussion on your very writing and offers you (for the most part) helpful, insightful critiques! Can there be homework any more fun and any more helpful to you in the long run than to have your very abilities discussed and put up in the room for marking? I think not. And the best part is that this helps you grow so much as a writer and buys so much room for arguments--a facet a liberal arts student would just snatch up greedily.

All in all, I think the workshops at DePauw are certainly helping mostly everyone that partakes in them in not only their writing but also to build strength, argumentative abilities and surety in their very own selves. I do think that a lot of people will say that they're the rather 'easy' classes and hard to get into because everyone desires to be in them, but to do the jobs loyally--the writing, the reading, and most importantly, the critiquing--is a task in itself. And for this, I applaud DePauw--writing workshops are, after all, a very American concept, and even within America, relegated to a very chosen, select few institutions--and I am so very pleased to be able to avail of them.


 
And that's the only picture of me I have in a class (an English class, but alas, not a writing one--a literature one with the genius of a professor, Dr David Alvarez), while I was in my freshman year at DePauw. I thought I would share it with you since it's been on the website for about a year! :)

 

 

 

 

 

This week in history (or in my history, anyway)...

Monday, October 5, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here are some of the highlights this week:

 

1.     Movie-wise: My copy of Gigantic finally came through! Thank you, Putnam County Library! Now I finally have something to look forward to.

2.     Dr Sununu’s midterm: Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the studying that was a highlight—it was finally being done with the exam! If you’re a DePauw student, there’s little chance you haven’t heard of Professor Andrea Sununu (I’ve made her a fanclub on Facebook—go join if you’ve had her and absolutely adore the woman that she is!) You don’t get a more challenging professor, but you also don’t get an experience that can ever be as enriching. The midterm was supposed to take an hour, but it ended up taking 3.5, and there were still four people in the room when I left! I have to admit it, though—this is one class I’m going to remember long after I have graduated from DePauw.

3.     Saturday evening—I had dinner with one of my favourite professors’ families, and we ended up watching I love you, man. Dinner was absolutely delightful, the company was fantastic, and the movie was eminently watchable. Weekends have never looked better (at least to me!)

4.     Inter-library loan and how it saved my life: I’m pretty certain I’ve mentioned this before, but this week Inter library loan did the undoable and got me a book from CANADA! It was about my favourite moment of the week.

5.     My sister’s birthday: And she’s now fifteen! Unfortunately, I couldn’t be in India for it… but that keeps the spirit bound right in!

6.     My last month as a teenager… that’s right! I’ll be the scary ‘two-decades’ old soon. And I don’t even have a briefcase yet! I have to admit it’s rather overwhelming.

7.     Fall break is in about a fortnight!

 

And so that’s been my week. Longer update after class, because that’s one thing you don’t quite want to be late for (even at a school as forgiving as DePauw!)

Things that happened this past week

Thursday, September 24, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

So here's a list of good things I've availed of this past week:

1. The Inter-Library Loan: This is one of the greatest boons at DePauw of all time. If they don't have a book or a movie you've been longing for, simply request it from another library, and they'll borrow it for you! Is this great or is this great? Really makes my weekends far more worthwhile than they've ever looked!

2. The Duck: What I like about this place is that it's still on my meal plan. The chicken paninis are ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, and what's great is that you don't run out of laundry money if you want to eat someplace fancy!

3. Philosophy: I'm certainly LOVING this subject, and if I could stay at DePauw for ten years just to do all the majors I want to do, Philosophy would be my next choice--right after what I'm already doing.

4. The Food Lab: Yesterday, I ate the best stir-fry I've ever eaten at DePauw. Last monday, I ate the best panini ever. The Food Lab just gets better and better!

5. And, of course, one of my favourite zones in all of Greencastle...

the Putnam County Library.

I'll always share a special bond with this place, because it's offered me so much in my times of need.

So there's a list of some of my favourite places and things at DePauw! Not to mention all the Physics and English, of course!
 

Grief

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 by Akanksha Chawla

The grief of the episode has still not sunk in, and I doubt it will until I have finally made my way home. I do think, however, that this has proven to be the most difficult period I have endured at DePauw, and that were it not for the faculty at this liberal arts school that helped me get back on my own two feet, I would not be able to be where I am today: fully functioning and whole. Due to circumstances I was unable to go home, but the Physics family here has only provided me all the support I need to get through this rough period. For this, and so much more, I will always owe DePauw wholeheartedly. The first week the only people I would talk to at all were the faculty members, for they seemed to feel my pain and were willing to go out of their ways to do as much as they could for me: talk to me, help me physically, help me with my coursework and getting back to class, along with just doing simple things like checking up on me every day and writing to me as much as they could. I was able to take the advice of one of my professors to do something in the US that would allow me to say a fuller goodbye, and so I composed a short story for myself whereby I used one of my most favourite professors and his wife as inspirations for characters. Where else do you feel like you have your family around you? Where else do you want to spend all your time with your faculty, for they have helped you stand and helped you walk when you only need crutches? I'll tell you: DePauw. And the truth is, I'm not even exaggerating. There is no way for me to thank them enough, and I think the only way that comes close is to try and verbalize just how much they, and every single person at DePauw who has helped me through this difficult time, mean to me. There is no truth in the world but love, and it is the only one we can ever hold on to us, right to the end when we ourselves cross over that tunnel to the other side.