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life on the road.... OR... what websites don't tell you

In my boots on the 22nd of August 2006, anybody attempting to pass themselves off as even partially human would have found self-abuse an easy art form.

Yours truly finds himself in a new country, studying for a degree the name of which, when mentioned to the general public never fails to draw the creased eyebrow and the puzzled frown followed by the "umm...cool... but what is it ?" As if that were not enough, I've just been informed by my academic adviser in a cheerfully manner that bordered on the vulgar, that I wont be receiving any financial aid this semester. Not content with this bit of blight, I've also been summarily informed by the very same still cheerful personage that I will be taking extra courses this semester as well, that will not count toward my final degree. Yes, yes, on cue I oblige with the double take as well as "what the... why the...". You, astute reader must have pictured the scene by now. Not what I'd consider the most warm welcome to a new life, but as people who know me will testify, my day-to-day existence is straight out of a Kafka plot.

Back to the drama... apparently, an on-campus job is a pearl beyond any price in this neck of the woods... and the earnestness with which our desi public chase down one of these gems can shame any tiger stalking its prey. And you guessed it... little me, yes me... the chap with the by now vacuous expression on my face and the Bambi eyes, is too late to get one this semester for either love or money...both of which seem to be in short supply anyway. Can't you just feel the chagrin ?? Studies come a distant third on the list after aid and work. House hunting is an activity reminiscent of the adventures of Shikari Shambhu... or Bertie Wooster, for you lot with the taste in English literature... you find yourself with a roof over your head in the end, but wonder how you survived the experience. Your roommates.... ahhh, but that is another tale for another day.

It has now been 7 months since I got here... and yes, I miss home, and my beloved Pune acutely. Only those of us who have left India, know what it is to miss all things Indian. Granted, walking into the unfamiliar has its plus points but there are times & there are days when.... well.

And by the way, here is the University of Alabama at Birmingham... and for those with the markedly intellectual bent, contrary to what you may think it is not in the U.K. It's in the U.S. Yes... it is... deal with it. I'm studying Criminology. All further questions on the above matters will be addressed by Google... make sure you get the spellings correctly, otherwise you may find yourself looking at a web page advertising cannibalistic rites in some god-forsaken part of the planet.

Up next: NO plague - getting an on campus job - the chicken or the egg - incredulity and delight

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