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Archive for May, 2013

It’s 1-am right now, which is an uncharacteristic time for me to be awake, but now that I am, I have thoughts racing in my mind, beating against my head like drums.  Last night, I woke up after drifting for a bit with a pressing idea for a new poem; I wrote it down, pondered it, stared at the ceiling, gazed out at the lights of 116 from my window, thought about life a little.  And right now, lying under my colorful lamp, hearing the pitter-patter of the keys of my laptop and the murmur of Iron & Wine, I’m wondering about a lot of things.

I just watched Cloud Atlasand found that I surprisingly loved it.  Every bit of it.  Although, considering that Tom Hanks is a lead, I suppose it’s not too surprising that the movie was incredible.  It would be difficult for me to summarize it, but basically, it consists of many stories that take place from the 1800s all the way to the far, far future.  And after thinking about it for an hour and doing some research, I finally realized the theme.  No matter what, no matter when, no matter where, human nature is oddly consistent.  We make the same mistakes and behave in the same ways in any given situation.  History always seems to repeat itself.  Even hundreds of years from now, oppression will exist in some form; love will still prevail death; and thorough happiness will still be improbable.

I feel like it’s so easy for teenagers to judge life based on our short years.  With my friends, I’ve had endless conversations about life, about future, about connections.  Maybe years from now, we’ll laugh at our naiveties.  But I guess the truth we have to realize is that there’s an entire world we haven’t seen.  South Burlington is a speck. And the people we’ve grown up with are just a handful of what the rest of the world has to offer.  I suppose this is reassuring, in a way.  At the same time, it makes me wonder if we’ll always want more than what we have, if we’ll always have the urge to meet new people, if we’ll always fear losing the people so close to us.

Last night, I felt like a true writer.  Maybe there’s something magical about the late night that spurs inspiration like no other time can.  I think there’s something prime about the moment before falling asleep, as if we can see our lives running ahead of us, as if we’re trying to catch a glimpse and hold on and understand everything.  I always think of the most bizarre aspects of my life before falling asleep–things that have kept me up for hours and, on the rare occasion, all night.  Maybe this is the time of the day when we are most vulnerable, which makes it the best time for writing.  I often think I’m not vulnerable enough to be a writer.  We had to write college essays for my English class the other day, and everything I wrote felt empty.  Sometimes it feels like what I write is empty: decorated with an overdose of words, but lacking in meaning.  I’m often scared to be personal, even if I’m the only one reading it.  And I mean personal like inner thoughts, fears, things I would only say at 1-am.

My latest fear in life has been that I’m afraid of commitment.  I realize this is a cliched fear, and perhaps even surprising for me, but every time I become close to anything—a hobby, a person, an accomplishment—I pull away.  I am afraid of conflict.  I think this is the only thing that holds me back from any dream I ever want to pursue.  I want to be a journalist, a writer, a photographer–yet I can’t bear any sort of conflict.  Ironic, isn’t it?

Before every summer, I make a vow to myself that I will change my faulty ways, that I will make a difference in some way/shape/form, that I will be a better person by the end.  This summer, maybe I will finally stick to my word.  At this point, I can feel myself sinking into my bed, my eyes barely keeping awake, so I’ll save the summer bucket list until next time.

-B

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Sentiments

I still remember my first violin audition—-the smell of Elley-Long, the feeling of my fingers on the coarse strings, the stress of playing for the judges.  I was probably about nine years old, and the violin was my biggest enemy.  Seven years later, there is nothing I love more than playing music—even at auditions.  This past Tuesday, I auditioned for a solo for the Vermont Youth Orchestra with Jules Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs.  Seven years ago, if you had told me that I would’ve been auditioning for a senior solo, or even been in the VYO, I would’ve thought you were crazy.  Yet, I have never enjoyed myself as much as I did on Tuesday.  Meditation is one of those pieces that encompasses everything my musical style is about: it’s slow, beautiful, expressive.  While I lack a lot of technical skills, I still have a passion for the music that makes me try harder and harder, which I was able to exhibit through my piece.  And standing in front of the judges, playing the piece felt like a dance: I had to ground my feet and sway to the beat and move my shoulders to properly produce the sound the piece deserved.  Every moment of it felt genuine, like I could feel the crescendoes and legatos.  I felt incredible.

Unfortunately, I found out today that I didn’t receive a solo; however, I seem to be unfazed by this.  I think a part of me realized that I don’t have what it takes to be a soloist—the impeccable control a soloist needs.  Nevertheless, I regret nothing.  I truly enjoyed every minute of my piece, and I’m happy to have spent the time with it.  Even more, I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is to be a part of the VYO, of a group of musicians who are undoubtedly the best in this area.  To be included in that group is a dream that nine-year old Basundhara never could’ve imagined.  I guess I’m a bit of a clichéd person, but hard work always translates into some sort of success–sometimes subtle, other times more significant.  Over the past few years, my love for the violin has taken me to unimaginable places and allowed me to meet some of the best people in this world: musicians.  From world-class violinists (Itzhak Perlman) to inspirational conductors to the best friends ever, music and the violin have only made my life better.  So I guess this is a moment for me to appreciate music, which manages to keep me sane amidst a busy life.  Also, good luck to all of the talented soloists for next season!

Life is now just about counting down the school days.  But summer will not be butterflies and rainbows—I’ll be busy, though having fun as well.  I just found out that I was accepted into Yale’s Global Scholars’ program this summer, which is an absolute dream, but, unfortunately, it conflicts with the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism program, which is another incredible opportunity.  It was a tough decision, but DC it is.  Speaking of summer, there’s something so serene about thunderstorms, and Vermont is full of them.  Just earlier today, the skies were swathed with dark clouds and sunlight, creating this eerie, yet beautiful, scene.  Every summer day in Vermont is picture perfect.

With the school year wrapping up, I’m also beginning to realize that senior year is quickly approaching, which is a frightening thought.  College apps and goodbyes—I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for all of this.  It seems so idealistic to be able to venture off and follow my dreams, but, at the same time, I can’t leave home.  I get so sentimental about leaving Vermont, but opportunities await.  Besides all these frightening thoughts about my future, I’m beginning to realize that I have to say goodbye to some of my best friends.  Last year was bad enough; I can’t begin to imagine what the end of the summer will be like.  But happy thoughts for now!  I love the spirit of the end of the school year, with everyone signing yearbooks and laughing and enjoying the last few weeks together.

Happy almost-June!

-B

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ISWEEEP

I always feel my motivation plunge down this time of the year.  There’s just something about the sunshine and the blooming flowers that diverts my attention from school.  Ironically enough, this gets to be the most difficult time for school.  I’m almost done with AP’s, and I just finished NECAPS, so this is the home stretch, really.  Some good news—I just found out that I’m going to the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Fair again this year, and it’s in Oregon!  Not only will I get to see more of the West, but I’ll be able to return to what was my favorite part of last summer.  Unfortunately, all the people who made the fair amazing won’t be returning, but I’m sure there’ll be some new people to meet!

I got back from Texas on Monday, and it was probably the worst trip ever.  No worries—at least I’m back!  I think I just had high expectations of both the fair and myself after last year’s success, but I ended up not really making the best of the fair, and came out with no prizes.  At that point, I gave up on my research, but I guess I’ll have to try harder at Stockholm!  I did meet some interesting people in Texas though—a girl from China whose English was impeccable and who was greatly fascinated by the fact that we were all studying for AP’s; a kid from Colorado who spent the entire judging portion making origami shapes for his neighbors (a rose for me); a Swiss guy who got slightly annoyed when I said “that’s cool!” to him being from Switzerland….apparently he doesn’t concur; and some Jordanian girls who wanted to attend the Sorbonne in Paris and struck up a conversation with me about the beauty of the French language.  I love the way people around the world can merge together in an event like this.  On the other hand, Texas itself left me a bit depressed.  There truly is no place like Vermont—the rolling green hills, the openness, the fresh air.  It’s good to be back.

I have a three-day weekend now, but as it’s prom weekend, life is busy!  There are hair and nail appointments to be made, boutonnieres to be picked up, shoes to be bought!  In addition to all of that craziness, I’m trying to manage all of the work from the days I missed of school.  Nonetheless, as I was saying in my last post, the sunshine is keeping my spirits high.  Summer is around the corner, and I have three consecutive trips: Stockholm Fair in Oregon, AAJA Journalism program in DC, and then the Al Neuharth Scholarship program in DC!  I’d say life is good.  I’m also getting back into poetry, as you saw from the piece I posted a while ago, which always feels good.  No matter what, my notebook is always the place I turn to.

 

Have a great weekend (or Friday for those of you who have school)!

-B

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May Flowers

It’s been a while!

Last time I blogged, I was just barely in California, and soon, I’ll be on my way to Houston!  I suppose if I ever want to become a travel journalist, this will be my life.  The rest of the California trip was amazing.  I ended up almost forgetting that the purpose of the trip was DECA; rather, I was able to get so close to such a unique group of people.  I think it’s interesting how easy it is to judge someone without knowing them, and how much easier it is to understand them after traveling with them.  We built friendships off of the slightest jokes or experiences or moments in California—from getting ripped off by other states for pins, to finding the shuttle around Anaheim, to late-night stories that spurred uncontrollable laughter.  It’s refreshing to get to know new people—even people I see every day but never have a chance to talk to.  After coming back to school, it was as if I had forgotten they all went to SB.  But seeing them in the hallway always brightens up my day!

We spent the rest of Saturday going to Disneyland after not a single one of us placed in the competition (and somehow, we were okay with it…).  Disneyland was immense compared to Universal, but as I’m scared of rides, my main objective was to eat food.  I spent about an hour fervently searching for a turkey leg, and once I got one, I received lots of stares and comments.  In retrospect, I can see why it’s a bit odd to carry around a large turkey leg, but it was completely worth it.  I took no risks in terms of rides, but just limited myself to a wild river ride and Soarin’ Over California, which was a beautiful simulation.  It took us “flying” through various sites around California, and every moment felt so real and serene—we could even feel the wind as we soared over the sights.  Simulations are, by far, the greatest types of attractions for me.  I did make it through the line for Tower of Terror, but ended up backing out just at the last minute.  Nevertheless, I have no regrets.

On our last day, we took a trip to Huntington Beach, where Harry Styles was reported to have been….not that that affects me in any way, really.  There’s something so much more exciting about the Pacific than the Atlantic—the way the waves are so much more violent.  And although this is uncharacteristic of me, I would love to take surfing lessons one day.  Because I’m not a huge fan of beaches (too much sand, too much sun), I wandered around the shops, which were just like any other beach town shops, and photographed an ongoing protest for gun control (and showed my support!).  Of course, I ended up being a paparazzi for the rest of the trip as well, which should be no surprise (there were 2,500 pictures total).  Later in the day, we finally headed to LAX to take a red-eye home.   It was on the return trip that I began to realize how far California actually is—it felt a bit like an India trip.  Before, I had been debating applying to some colleges out there, but after this trip, I don’t think I can handle the distance.  New England is forever for me.

So although it was an amazing trip, there are still places I would like to visit in California: Hollywood (which we only saw from a distance), Warner Brothers, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Alcatraz (for some reason, this is really fascinating….), etc.  I can see why that state is so alluring for many.

Since being back, I’ve had the great joy of diligently studying for my chem exam, which was Monday and went surprisingly well.  This past weekend marked the last concert for VYO, which was more bittersweet than I had anticipated.  I suppose VYO has taken a bit of a backseat in my life in the past few weeks, but I finally began to realize how many people are leaving next year, which seems unreal right now.  Next season will be exciting, though: it’s the 50th anniversary of the VYOA, and we already have incredible events planned!  The most exciting will be a re-creation of the first VYO concert ever, with the epic Beethoven’s Ninth, conducted by former VYO maestro, Troy Peters.  I’m also auditioning for a senior solo in two weeks, so we’ll see how that goes!

The next great journey in my life is I-SWEEEP.  Houston is not my favorite city, but I suppose I’m excited to meet people from around the world.  It always seems as if my enthusiasm before any trip is low, but eventually increases.  Here’s to hoping that happens again.  Once I get back from I-SWEEEP, I have my AP Gov exam the next morning, Prom, AP Language exam, senior solo audition, SAT subject tests, ACTs, and then finals.  It’s full speed from here on out, yet, somehow, the warm weather and sunshine are keeping my spirits high.  Actually, now that I think about it, I genuinely enjoy studying for exams, which should probably be of concern.  I realized after my chem exam that I whole-heartedly love chemistry, and that I’ll miss it a lot.  In English the other day, we had to free-write about why we’re different, and of course, I have a long, long, long list of valid reasons.  But I embrace that.

I should pack and stop being the laziest person in the world.  Enjoy the sunshine, and happy May!

-B

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