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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Debarun Bhattacharjya's LiveJournal:

Monday, October 2nd, 2006
5:08 am
Scandinavia and the Subcontinent
Curses to you, jetlag! It's 5 AM but my body thinks it's nearer the other 5 o'clock. Anyway, I'm back in school! And I have a cold, I caught it on the airplane. (Sniff.) Apparently 20 hours of airplane air is not good for you when you already have a sore-ish throat.

Summer was incredible, one of the most fabulous ever. Technically I went to 5 countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, India) but I guess only Norway and India really count. Time spent in the other 3 countries varied from 30 minutes to 2 days!

I was in Norway for almost 3 months, doing research at NTNU in Trondheim. I feel like I couldn't possibly have learnt more about Norway in general. It's one of the most beautiful countries I've visited and almost everyone I met was really friendly. Most importantly my Norwegian collaborator, Jo, turned out to be a fantastic guy. He's a pretty young chap, only about 7 years older than me. He gave me SO much time for questions and research (he even did important parts of the coding, can you believe that? THE CODING!!). So research was highly productive (I could see the Trondheim fjord from my office room :)). And Jo took me fishing, mushroom picking, hiking, traveling, swimming in freezing Norwegian lakes... Plus I did some traveling on my own (sadly none in Northern Norway). Extensive traveling happened in the centre and the south: Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Roros...
Quick highlights from Norway: Hiking to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and seeing the spectacular view of Lysefjord from the top of the cliff, lazing in the Oslo harbor and lunching on torsk (cod) and cold beer, playing cricket every week with Indian and Pakistani dudes in a beautiful lawn at NTNU, there are just too many to recount...

I met an old school friend, Pallavi, in Germany. I only spent a day with her, wish I had been there a tad longer...

Then I was in India for about 3 weeks, mostly in Delhi. I met my parents, my sister, my bro-in-law Saurabh, and my niece Tara. I was seeing Tara for the first time. She is undoubtedly the most adorable baby I have ever seen in my life. And I'm not just saying that because she's my niece! She cried when she saw me first (hey, she was a 7 month old baby, what does she know?) but later she got along with me really well. I played with her, sang to her, and I'll miss her like crazy. My parents and I, we went on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. My mother's idea ofcourse - I wasn't too keen on the plan. We went to Rishikesh, Haridwar and then Badrinath - famous for this temple (supposedly Lord Vishnu's abode) at an elevation of 3000m. The drive was tiring and frankly just too much effort, but the hills were incredibly scenic. Bathing at the hot springs, and watching people swarm inside the temple for a fleeting glimpse of an ugly idol were fascinating experiences. The spectacular diversity of India (in all its aspects) is unbelievable - it just HAS to be seen to be understood. I had some interesting debates with my father about religion during the LONG drive, but neither of us really gained much from the argument I think. If anything, the pilgrimage made me more of an atheist and less agnostic. I also met up with old friends in Delhi, and loved catching up with them. I wish I had more time, I had several other things I wanted to do that I couldn't find the time for.
Quick highlights from India: Watching my sis make Tara do the 'Omkara' dance, seeing my mother pray with fervour at the Badrinath temple, meeting old friends, catching a French film with my sister and Saurabh late at night at their place, saying goodbye to my family at the airport, again too many to do justice too...

Anyway. So I'm back. And I may post bits of a travel-log I started writing and then abandoned. Or not. And I may post pictures from Norway. Or not.

Current Mood: awake
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
8:48 pm
"The news that truly shocks,...
is the empty page."

Current Mood: lonely
Saturday, December 31st, 2005
11:30 pm
Happy New Year!!!
I hope 2006 will be like 2005 :)

Current Mood: grateful
Monday, December 12th, 2005
4:52 pm
So I walked into the treehouse the other day.
Short-and-wierd-man-with-the-perpetual-amused-look-on-his-face-sporting-the-new-haircut was behind the counter. Let's call him SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH from now on for brevity. Being as polite as I could I said, "may I have the chicken-a-la-Kiev"? SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH looked up and said something that sounded like "what?". I repeated, "may I have the chicken-a-la-Kiev"? SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH gruffly announced that they did not have that.
"Well, how about the chicken strogonoff?" I inquired. SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH looked like he was losing his patience. He claimed "we only have what's up there." I couldn't believe me ears. As I looked up at the big board, it seemed to fade in and out of my vision. I began to see purple spots around the corner of my eyes.
After what seemed like an eternity (SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH might agree), I hesitated before I ventured, hoping against hope, "does that mean you don't have any tiramisu either?" SAWMWTPALOHFSTNH was already saying "next please" before I had even finished my sentence. I hung my head as I walked out of the treehouse (never to return again).

Current Mood: busy
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
11:45 am
Note to myself
Dear Roon,
Today you explained something to someone who stepped in during your office hours. (You know you're a TA right?) Anyway, you were, if I can say so myself, in good form. You had hardly slept a wink the entire night (thanks to harmonics auditions and crazy wierdness like listening to Brat getting drunk-er as the night progressed, and sneaking into dorms for callbacks, and watching Kay fit into unimaginably-small dorm windows, and organizing stacks for callback folders, and feeling nostalgic about when you auditioned for the harmonics, and let's not forget the caffeine) and you were still helpful and patient. Always be like that. And be prepared. Do you remember seeing the excitement in the student's eyes and feeling the understanding diffuse into her mind? Do not forget the fact that you enjoyed experiencing the awareness of comprehension.
Yours forever,

Current Mood: sleepy
Friday, April 29th, 2005
10:49 am
Bill Hare is a magician
And that is all I have to say :)

Current Mood: jubilant
Saturday, April 9th, 2005
11:03 am
woo hoo
Guess who got into the Ph.D program in MS&E at Stanford?
Oui, c'est moi :)

Current Mood: accomplished
Monday, March 28th, 2005
12:02 pm
Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa, Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa
Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa, Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa
Nai Lagda Tere Bina, Dil Mera
Hai, Nai Lagda Tere Bina, Dil Mera
Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa, Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa

Bindiya Mehndi Kangna, Chudi Jhumar Gehna
Pyaase Pyaase Naina, Sune Padein Tere Bina
Bindiya Mehndi Kangna, Chudi Jhumar Gehna
Pyaase Pyaase Naina, Sune Padein Tere Bina
Nai Lagda Tere Bina, Dil Mera
Hai, Nai Lagda Tere Bina, Dil Mera
Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa, Sajna, Aa Bhi Jaa

Current Mood: pensive
Wednesday, February 9th, 2005
11:05 pm
rising, ashes, phoenix, you get my drift
I swear I had a sensible (I'd even say intriguing) idea at 6 AM in the morning about what I wanted to write in my blog today . Unfortunately this sensational idea has escaped me completely. I can't remember what I was thinking about when I was tossing and turning in my bed from 6 AM to 9 AM. I vaguely recall thinking about a research problem in a completely new vein, after months of neglecting research work - something about a transition matrix that updates the state space (composed of binary variables of facies on every node of a reservoir grid) through a transition matrix and solves a markovian stochastic decision model to minimize costs for some oil and gas drilling venture. It was very exciting at the time. Crap, I should have written it down. I also think I was hallucinating and seeing things. Again I've forgotten *exactly* what these *things* were. Okay this is going nowhere.....

I finished arranging All The Things She Said! After struggling with it for eons, IT is finally over. It's nowhere near as good as I thought it would be, but people like it - I think most of them are just being nice. I'm not sure if it'll be on the album though - I guess there are 2 things going for the song: (1) It's a duet, so more people have solos on the album and (2) It would sound MUCH better after tonnes of mixing/recording tricks/etc. Sort of like the 'Porcelain' of Rock Beats Scissors. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

More later. And soon.

Current Mood: calm
Thursday, December 16th, 2004
4:03 pm
Adapted from 'Adaptation'
Life is full of things fascinating and fleeting.

Current Mood: drained
Friday, November 26th, 2004
2:40 am
Rush to the start
going back to the beginning and starting again is a beautiful feeling.
the feeling of sweet pain...
relating a story, recounting an incident, remembering the past, returning home, reviving a notion...
should i weave it into the present's tapestry?

Current Mood: thoughtful
Thursday, November 18th, 2004
6:34 pm
My Quarter-Life Crisis Update
people are getting married left, right and centre
yes, centre not center,
sukriti, neha, ruchika
i hear akshay dua got engaged,
what's happening here?

why do i struggle to catch up
with almost everything i do,
why am i not thinking about later
but only living in the now,
why am i not being responsible?

how come people are this way
incorrigible and incomprehensible,
they soak you with their warmth
and chill you with oblivion,
what does it all mean?

Current Mood: sore
Thursday, November 4th, 2004
11:41 pm
Watch them all fall down.
i went to my first cemetery today. no, i'm not in the habit of visiting cemeteries in my free time. i went to collect data for a demography project for my ecology class (which is, by the way, the best class ever). i biked till menlo park, down santa cruz avenue in exhilaratingly gloomy weather. the wind in my face was insane, like a witch shrieking and tossing her long and gnarled hair around. it was the kind that makes you cry even when you're smiling, makes your hands go numb with cold and you can't seem to thaw it out. it was drizzling intermittently too. the place was almost as beautiful as the bike ride. there were tombstones in and around grassy patches and under trees with the leaves of Fall and birds and acorns and i heard crackling sounds whenever i stepped on dried leaves. it was kind of scary at first because it was so dark and depressing, and leaves of all shades of red and yellow and brown were blowing in the wind, but very soon it got to be incredibly fun. as i noted their names and messages and the date of birth and the age of the deceased, i tried to recreate the faces and the lives of all these dead people. i learnt an incredible amount from one trip to a cemetery. first of all, there were far too many Mary's in the late 1800s - what's up with that? also, neat names - Adelina, Philomena, Pasquale, Federica, Euphrasie, Genevieve, Mehelena.... not so cool names - Joseph, Frank, William, Francis, Elizabeth, Catharine, and er... Mary. other facts: women tend to live longer than men. it is always sad when parents outlive their children. there was a touching message for a child who died when he was 4. tombs where both husband and wife are buried are touching. there was a patch where a family of 4 was buried (mother, father, son and daughter) - i kept thinking about how someday we'd all die too, but immediately after that i felt happy because i thought of the family i was born into... how incredibly lucky am i? someday we will be dust in the wind too, but till then, i'm with all the right people :) i biked back a different way and almost immediately got lost. i ended up on the 280 highway. then i biked around in a jungle near the golf course for a bit. then i accidentally landed up at the Dish (an amazing hiking trail). then i biked down a winding never-ending slope at a deafening speed in a region i wasn't supposed to bike in - it was undoubtedly the best bike ride of my life! then i was caught by a cop, but i pulled on my new international student act and he let me go. well, i only half-lied :) i got lost somewhere else for a bit, but then i found my way home after a LONG but exciting excursion. (sigh) it was bitter-sweet, much like the air around campus these days after elections and i needed the outing. i think it's always good to lean on nature when people let you down. oh well, the people of america may actually end up being screwed more than the people of the rest of the world this time around - maybe there is some kind of justice in the world. i just realized this is all one paragraph. that's neat. and probably pretty hard to read. oh well. g'nite!

Current Mood: indescribable
Monday, October 4th, 2004
10:50 pm
Back in Black (and Silver)
Someday I'll write about Kuwait, and how much fun I had with the family this summer :) For now, I will proceed to jot down stuff that is happening 'Right Now':
* I'm staying in the Harmonics! I was thinking about staying for a while, but I would have chickened out at the last minute because of the crazy auditions week if it hadn't been for that late night chat with Ben outside Flo-Mo. I don't think Ben knows how close I was to leaving the group :) Thank you Ben, I know it will be incredible! I already love the new members :) 4 international students, 4 grad students!!! woot! Carmel Retreat and Auditions Week were eventful, tonnes of fun but not so much sleep...
* I'm TA-ing 2 courses. Probabilistic Analysis (MS&E 220) and Geosciences with MATLAB (GP 112). It's cool to be working and studying at the same time. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to learn the MOST I've ever learnt in any quarter, with my eclectic course selection - a course in finance, one in ecology, one in artificial intelligence.....
* Living with Dhruv is awesome. It's so much easier to have 1 housemate and not 2, makes everything less complicated. The new house is nice too, way smaller than the old place but very cosy. Blackwelder is a more social place too, so hopefully I'll meet new people when I'm not doing the other ba-zillion things I should be doing.
* I brought some good music from Kuwait (thanks Dude). The three Fuzon songs are excellent, I've been listening to them for days now. I do want to arrange a fusion song for the Harmonics but it just wouldn't be practical. Oh well. Better finish ATTSS first, hopefully by the end of this quarter.

More next time!

Current Mood: hopeful
Monday, September 6th, 2004
5:27 pm
running through my head...
yo. it's been a while. hmm, 2 weeks of nothingness - feels good. mom is continuously stuffing me with food, i'm like a binary variable, i'm either state 0 (when i'm bumming around) or i'm state 1 (which is when i'm eating). and no i can't be both 0 and 1, cause when i'm eating i'm not idling - by definition. i think you see how it works. getting your axioms right is crucial i'd say.

sis got here in the morning!! i get 10 days to hang out with her - that's a million times better than 0 days - yay! the kuwait crowd is all good, the same questions and stuff. i don't like kuwait anymore which is strange cause i lived the first 10 years of my life here and u'd expect me to be nostalgic ... i'm not....

arranging is happening! all the things she said, all the things she said, running through my head, running through my head. God the research i've done (and still have to do) for this song is crazy: their discography, reviews, midi's online, etc. ok this is funny - i stumbled onto a t.A.T.u chat site and chatted with a random girl. She later claimed to be Lena from t.A.T.u (one of the girls in the russian teenage supposedly lesbian duo). i messed around for a while asking her questions to prove she wasn't Lena and having done my job fairly well (or so i thought), i told her to see a shrink. after a month i visit the site again and it says that Lena will be chatting with people at 5 pm on 3rd sept!! maybe that was really her? i'll never know....wierdness. i could have chatted with Lena. or with a loony....probably the latter.
here's what i've done with the song so far:
chorus, all parts - check
solo and bassline, complete song - check
verse 1, all parts - check
verse 2, only arpeggio - check
blasted song changes every 4 measures. all the verses are different, and there are so many interludes and a wierd bridge! i had to choose this out of the million songs on the face of this planet. still, it's got amazing chords at times and sounds good, is a rock-out song, and even fun to sing for the girls i think...ah we'll see how it goes.
more later. adieu. adieu. to ye and ye and ye...

Current Mood: bouncy
Saturday, August 14th, 2004
1:59 am
guess who's going to Q8?
* that would be......me! fiddle-dee-dee, i'm very very excited about FINALLY seeing family after almost a year. i do miss them like mad, and it's a wonderful time to go back, decompress, and then hit california again when i'm in the mood for another attack. dude's coming from india later, so it'll be just like old times. quality time with family, i'm going to enjoy sagar too this time :)

* the paper is taking WAY longer than I thought it would. it's all good though. when you're reading journals it doesn't seem like you're getting much done, but when you start writing, you suddenly see all the thoughts/work materialize, it's really satisfying... we already have something that's fairly simple but very useful and readable (or so we feel). according to tapan we'll be sending it to a geophysics journal - 'the leading edge', by october latest. yay! that should do wonders for my ph.d. application, if and when i apply...still unsure about the whole thing though.

* i read this wonderful book recently (a translation from Czech actually), 'the unbearable lightness of being' by Milan Kundera. He is so skillful! I haven't read anything so good since nabakov's 'lolita' (lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins... lolita, my sin, my soul.... lolita, the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palette to tap at three on the teeth ... lo... lee.... tah.... oooooh :)) but then I haven't read much this last year. the book was ironically a really heavy read, but totally worth the effort. you know a book is good when you have to put it down for time to time and catch your breath and say .. "wow, i never thought of it that way."

* the mad movie watching continues. i saw a lovely sidney poitier movie - 'guess who's coming to dinner' - apparently a controversial movie when it came out in the 60s, about a black man and a white woman who want to get married and the reaction of their respective parents. it was a low budget movie, really moving. it's strange how some things can still be an issue even after 40 years. infact, i kept thinking of the dialogues in the context of gay marriages, which is such a huge socio-political issue here in the USA now. There were several interesting and incisive arguments in favour, in the movie.

* i bought 2 excellent CDs at a sale recently: Graceland by Paul Simon and Ten by Pearl Jam. i swear i'm going to wear out the Pearl Jam CD. I want to bring back some good music with me, some Nusrat, some Fuzon maybe, hindi movie stuff - maybe Dil Se?.....

* every saturday - cricket with the cardinals tennis ball cricket team! it's so good to get back to a game that i've played most of my life. i must be the lucky mascot too, we've won all the games i've played in so far. it's intriguing hanging out with these older indian guys (and ALL from IIT: the same lingo, the same jokes - it's pretty cool) and listening to their concerns (namely marriage and their job). it's completely different from interacting with the harmz, here i actually feel like i have something to contribute to what's being said :) i guess it's a very different environment, both have their plus points... if i don't join the harmz next yr, i'm going to try to be a permanent member on the team!

* it's time to wrap up all the tasks I've been putting off for later, before i leave. i will get to it all asap. by asap i mean tomorrow :) gnite.

Current Mood: contemplative
Wednesday, August 4th, 2004
11:28 pm
intehaan ho gayi :(
khwaab jo toote mere aankh jo khuli meri hosh jo aaya mujhe maine dekha maine jaana
vo jo kabhi aaya tha
nazron pe chchaya tha
dil mein samaya tha
jaa bhi chuka hain aur dil mera hain ab tanha tanha
na to koi armaan hain na koi tamanna hain aur na koi sapna hain

ab jo mere din aur ab jo meri raaten hain
unme sirf aansoon hain unme sirf dard ki ranj ki baatein hain
aur faryaade hain
mera ab koi nahin
main hoon aur khoye huen pyaar ki yaadein hain
main hoon aur khoye huen pyaar ki yaadein hain
main hoon aur khoye huen pyaar ki yaadein hain

Current Mood: anxious
Thursday, July 22nd, 2004
12:24 am
i forgot my current mood and music! that's important :)

Current Mood: content
Wednesday, July 21st, 2004
11:22 pm
today was ben's bday! we surprised him and hung out at his place, ate some yummy cake and icecream, played a short ultimate game, was cool fun. happy b'day ben!

alright. this HAS to go down in my blog. So this has been a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock week and i've been watching a movie of his every day for the last 4 days - i've seen Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho and North by Northwest now. all amazing movies and now i'm hooked to hitchcock, i feel like i know the guy...good old hitch. he is such an astounding film maker, the way he uses lights, the style in which he builds suspense in his intricate plots and the way he uses silence to narrate a story to the viewer..that's it really, he's an amazing story teller.

i vaguely remember watching his television series late night in kuwait in the 80s, and maybe even some of his movies. what was the name of that show on tv with the late night movies? damn. dude wud remember. i remember getting freaked out watching 'the birds'. i've noticed so many common themes in his movies - he almost always picks a novel/short story with a great plot, his characters are similar (the men are everyday people and have a physical or mental illness and the women are blonde and are often humiliated and mistreated in the movie), and ofcourse the notions of obsession and reality and.....

of the 4 movies (incidentally all are in the AFI's top 100 movies) i thought north by northwest was the most entertaining, very good fun to see. i didn't like psycho all that much, i don't really know what all the fuss is about. it's black and white (it had to be, or it would have too gory for the times) and it misses out on all these funky things hitch does with lights. rear window was wonderful too, amazing the way he can capture the interest of the viewer even when the whole film is practically in this man's apartment. but vertigo is THE movie for me. yes. you know how some works of art call out to you, they whisper in your ear and say - "i was made for you". i feel that if you'd create a certain artpiece (a movie, a song, a book, anything) and do absolutely nothing for the rest of your life and still feel like u've lived it well, then THAT is the ideal work of art. i feel like that about vertigo. it is exactly the kind of movie that i wud like to make and wud be so darn proud of. now about the film:

what a wonderful movie - it's based on this french book called 'd'entres les morts' or 'among the dead'. now let's strip away the involved plot, the absolutely mindblowind ending (i was so shocked i cudn't move for a couple of minutes) and the brilliant acting performances, and we still have tonnes to talk about. i love the motifs in the film...i felt good catching them when they came, it's easy to miss things in a movie - the falling motif was awesome. so much emphasis on going down (the hero always drives down the san francisco roads, never up) and spirals everywhere (spirals in the credit sequence and the spiral staircase and....) and the filming innovations - using zoomout and back-tracking the camera simultaneously so that the viewer feels dizzy and gets the vertigo feeling like the hero. wonderful! i love motifs. think i'll have to make that a separate update someday. ofcourse, the film is essentially about obsession and questions about reality - what is real and what is not. i'm pretty sure there were references to Proust as well, but i missed them. that modern fiction class at iit really did me a world of good, i need to write in to Alok Rai sometime...i feel less techie when i'm talking about Proust :)

oh dear there's so much more i wanted to write before i forget these things about Vertigo but this is already an insanely long update. the film review kind of overshadowed everything else, i'll write a regular update soon!
Sunday, July 18th, 2004
11:17 pm
CAN this be happening? DO I have a 'blog'? ... YES!
this is crazy, I now have a blog! That means I can (from time to time) jot down my thoughts like when I tried in those diary days with Elvis Simba Moses Presley (yes, yes, that was my diary's name, I have NO clue why, i don't even like Elvis all that much) but this time it will work! no paper, no pen, and people will READ this! or so I hope. hmmm.... maybe no-one ever reads blogs.....well anyway, I can tell people to check out my blog and that means I won't have to email all that much (ok not that I do, but what if I did, huh?)
this is all very exciting :) yay again!

Current Mood: curious
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