Friday, December 8, 2017

When Exams get too stressful

An "Emphathy Tent" in front of Sproul Hall

An ear or two
A heart that listens too
When exams loom large
Need an electric recharge
Empathy tent finds you. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Anahat 2017

Tonight was Anahat 2017 -  the annual Intercollegiate South Asian A Cappella competition held at UC Berkeley. UT Dallas Dhunki won, followed by UCLA Naya Zamaana and Wayne Ki Awaaz in third place. Other teams present were  Cal Dil Se,  UCSD Sitare,  UC Davis Jhankaar, and UW Awaaz.

Very entertaining to watch, including a performance by the Cal Bhangra and the Cal A Cappella.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bonfire Rally

The Big Game is the annual football game between UC Berkeley and Stanford. The Cal-Stanford  football rivalry dates back to 1892. Former President Herbert Hoover was the student team manger for Stanford that time and tickets sold out for the first game in San Francisco.  The Big Game was so popular that a large group of boys and men climbed onto the rickety roof of a nearby glass works factory to see the 1900 game. The roof collapsed killing 22 people. So there is quite a bit of history involved with the Stanford Axe as the  coveted trophy.

From the time of our orientation, there was a lot of buildup to this game.This year the much awaited game is at Stanford. The week before the  game is filled with Rallys. This includes the  Tree Chopping Rally on the steps of Sproul Hall on Tuesday. The X-mas Tree is the Stanford Mascot, so the Cal Mascot Oski the Bear was pretending to chop down the tree with an Axe. 

Friday was the Big Bonfire Rally at the Greek Theatre. OMG! It was a super grand affair with a huge turnout.  The Cal Chant was everywhere.
You know it. 
You tell the story
You tell the whole damm world this is Bear Territory.

Stanford is what?
Give that Axe back.

Alas Cal lost the Axe again this year - but the Rally was fun.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I see..

A bird flies by
Waterproof wings flap in the rain
I wave and it dips a wing
Fly with me if you will.
We have places to see
Stretch your wings and fly with me

I see...
Students walking Sproul Plaza below
Hoods on, umbrellas an optic cup
backpacks bent against the rain
They have places to go
Telegraph and Durant, its lunchtime

I see...
the pep rally team outside Sproul Hall
Promoting Bonfire Rally this Friday
Students needed, muster the troops
They have work to do,  shine or rain
The Big Game is Saturday

I see ...
a school bus parked on Bancroft
Braving the rain, excited kids
Colorful coats in liquid sunshine
They have lots to learn
Cal is a fascinating university

I see..
tree leaves red, brown and gold
Giving large evergreens company
Calmly they stand
No rush to go places
That task left to students below them

I see ...
Sather Tower point to heavens above
100 years standing, a campanile.
Hourly reminder to scholars and seekers
The 23 Bells of the carillon chime
What's your plan, young man?

I see...
West Cresent of Oxford and University
Grass glistening in new raindrops.
I must now go.
My next lecture is at Li Ka Shing next door

Monday, November 13, 2017

South African Dance Festival

Last night I got to see the South African Dance Festival at Zellerbach Hall. Lower Sproul looks quite nice at night all lit up. There were a couple of dance groups practicing their routines. Other students were busy with their laptops inside the MLK building - studying hard, one presumes. 


The performance  inside Zellarbach featured 2 dance companies from South Africa. The first was a musical dance drama about the trials and tribulations of miners; how they miss their families, their wives, the bonds they form with each other and the joy that they strive for in their life underground. All this was told through the vibrant,  heady and rhythmic beat of gumboots pounding on the ground.  One of the troupe members rendered an amazing serenade to the love he'd left behind. Gumboot dancing or Isicatholo originated in 1880s when young black men were sent off to gold mines by European settlers in South Africa. The miners wore gumboots and rattled their foot chains to communicate with each other. The Stimela Gumboot musical by the Gumboots Musical company was very novel  and  quite heart-stirring. The second performance by the Pantsula Dance was more contemporary addressing many of the unemployment and social problems of young men in modern day South Africa. The Pantsula dance originated as a sort of protest dance against apartheid and other injustices.  It had a  a lot of electronic and pop elements in addition to some pretty nifty footwork. Very catchy and quite entertaining.   (Below are some youtube videos of the dances)

Overall a very entertaining night!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Music at Cal

Love all the music I get around Cal.

11/9/17 Jazz and an Apple
Enjoying a lunchtime jazz musical performance in the Lower Sproul Plaza at Cal,  all while munching an apple.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Musical Salesman

Corner of Telegraph and Durant
Selling his wares was he
Students stop to listen
Drawn to music with a beat
Catchy indeed!

A very entertaining and musical salesman at the corner of Telegraph and Durant, pitching his wares

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Just Another Protest at Cal

Something or the other is going on outside Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley every day. Many a time it’s in the form of a protest. 

Today had to be the craziest of protests. A group of students were protesting vegan-ism and shouting “Save the veggies! and "Down with vegan-ism”. A guy in a carrot costume was inside a cage.

It certainly was funny. Maybe it was a parody counter-protest to the caging animals protest. 
A counter-protest for the sake of protest? Just another protest at Cal!

In sharp contrast was the animal caging protest at the beginning of the semester. 


Down with veggies video!!!

This is in contrast to this protest in August!!! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Coffee Beans

I tasted coffee beans for the first time in my life today. All in the name of learning about how caffeine affects our brain. Professor David Presti, who teaches “Drugs and the Brain,” at Cal, brought a whole bag of Peet’s Dark Roast Coffee Beans and passed them around for the class to taste. I’ve never tasted coffee before, let alone coffee beans, so this was a new experience. It was crunchy, kind of over burnt and somewhat bitter to the tongue. But I ate another bean anyway. I can see why folks love it so much. The effect was pretty immediate. I was more awake or maybe the immediate effect was due to the the bitterness.