What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Things Fall in Place

Or - Mid Year Resolutions

Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed novel discusses the philosophy of things falling apart. In the novel one event is the catalyst for another in a downward destructive spiral. That much is true in life. One event often leads to another in a downward destructive spiral. But I don't believe that things fall apart. My personal philosophy has always been that eventually, things fall in place. What happens, happens all for the best and the ending is always happy. Perhaps it is the result of a lifetime of Bollywood cinema, the unfettered hope of being an Indian cricket fan or the knowledge of the powerful literary device called deus ex machina that can magically fix anything and everything. So life is a mess? Things appear going downhill? The economy is tanking further? Company laying off more employees and you? Don't worry, everything can be fixed with a deus ex machina. At least in my version of optimism, you wake up and find everything falling in place.

For example, just a week ago I was kind of an emotional wreck virtually. Everything else was perfectly fine, but I am uber geek which means that there is a very fine non existent line between virtual and real life. The best example I can cite is Sheldon Cooper who calls 911 when someone steals from him in World of Warcraft. What do you mean it is not real? I'm real, the internet is real, data is real! What else do you want as proof of reality. It is not as if I'm asking you to jump in a rabbit hole or crash your mirror to enter some Wonderland. Virtual is real and real is virtual. The Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter are not real, unless you are on an acid trip. So I suffered a virtual crisis and took a temporary virtual leave of absence. Things were falling apart in a downward spiral, but it is falling in place too.

For starters student for now student debt rates will not be doubling, which means that I will only be buried in debt but not six feet under and then some more.

Obama care is considered constitutional which means that America actually took a small step in being equal to all other western civilized nations.

I have not gained an ounce of knowledge in my Management accounting class but it is almost over and I think I might just be barely passing.

On a more serious note, today is ironically the first of July. It is an ordinary Sunday. It is not Memorial day, Independence day or Labor Day. It is not a big deal like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year. It is not even solstice or equinox. But July first is Mid year. Six months have gone by and six more to come by. It is the perfect time for lazy people like me who are late on the uptake. It is the time for mid-year resolutions.

With summer vacation coming up allowing more spare time for me - my resolution is very simple, focused and dedicated. One goal, one resolution, one outcome - Foreign Service Officer. Earlier this year in February I was fortunate to pass the Foreign Services Written exam. With some good writing skills, I was blessed to make it through the Quality Evaluation Panel. Now in September I go to Washington DC for my Oral Assessment which is a day long grueling affair. I have been advised not to be too hopeful. Some of the finest candidates come this far and don't make it through, and I'm not that much greater than the others. I will admit, I am a very ordinary person with less than ordinary career and school accomplishments. My life and career honestly have nothing to brag about. But I think I have two things going for me, two things that I really want to sharpen.

Firstly, I am a product of dual cultures. I was born and raised in India. I speak English, Hindi, Marathi and Konkani quite fluently. This was not a semester abroad or a job abroad or volunteer period abroad. I've actually lived in a foreign country as a citizen. I've lived their lives, eaten their food, shared their hobbies and passions, experienced their dreams hopes and aspirations. Then I moved to the United States and adapted to being an American. Now I live the American dream. I know what it means to go to another part of the world and not just be an employee, visitor or student - but understand what it means to be a citizen. And for a diplomat to be abroad, to engage in cultural exchange, to share the American dream of freedom and democracy with others - understanding what it means to belong to a different part of the world can make a world of difference.

My second asset is my MBA degree which I will have very soon. I didn't major in political science, law or history. I'm not a super smart engineer or doctor. People may perceive that MBA is good for corporate careers or for the management cones. But a business degree gives me an edge in public diplomacy that law, politics or social studies might not. Good business is about social responsibility. Good business is about public relations. Good business is about building communication channels. Good business is about building and being part of great teams. Good business is negotiations in creating win-win situations.  Good business is about managing organizations and motivating people. Good business is about adapting to change and expecting the unexpected. A good MBA candidate is sharp, articulate, succinct and can tackle group tasks and case management exercises effectively. I'm counting on that to get me through. I was never and never will be climb the corporate ladder and mint money kind of business student - I've always been a make a difference, take on a challenge, do something good kind of business student. Public diplomacy is a great way to do that.

I'm going to focus the rest of my time on achieving my goal. And being a Foreign Service Officer is about being well rounded. So that means a whole lot of things. I hope to try and up my reading pace and soak in a lot more. I have some books on sharper writing and creative writing exercises and I hope to crack them open and practice. I bought Crack the Case and I want to work on cracking cases like a fine business consultant. I want to learn calculus, advanced math and dozens of things I never did in my life before and want to engage in the pursuit of knowledge. I fixed my sister's broken down bike this weekend, I hope to be outdoors, get fit and bike trails as well. I want to spend more time with my sister, grandmother and my family. Since you can't put all eggs in one basket, I will develop resumes and research into what I want to do post graduation. On the whole I hope to be a better, smarter, more well rounded human being. That in turn will be the magical deus ex machina that might solve my virtual crisis as well.

Didn't I tell you in the beginning, one event is a catalyst that leads to another and things always fall in place!

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