Friday, February 27, 2009

Munia's offer from CMU and my Birthday with Delhi 6: the film

Yesterday when I reached home after a boring day's timepass at CES office, I found a big envelop delivered by an international courrier service waiting on the centre table in our drawing room. It was for Munia, and since she was now living in Mumbai (working with ICICI), I opened it. It was from the Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. It was an offer letter for Munia for a PhD course in Econmics in CMU starting from the Fall semester of 2009. The offer mentioned a complete tution fee waiver (around $47000) and a felowship of $25ooo yearly for the next three years. The Tepper School of CMU is one of the top schools of its genre, that boasts of a number of Nobel Laureates among its faculty. To get an offer from such a place is in itself a great achievement, and I was immensely pleased. I called up Munia on her cell phone, and she was literally ecstatic. She said at it was her dream fulfilled. Later I also phoned Rupu and she was excited too. Munia later SMSed me "I love you Baba", and I messaged back promptly "We are so proud of you".

Incidentally, yesterday was my birthday; I am now 65 - a bit old, would you not say? Actually it was Munia in the morning who called me up earlier in the day to wish me. Later, when I told her about the CMU letter, and also informed her that she has to report at the university in Pittsburgh on August 11 (which happens to be our wedding anniversary day), she exclaimed that these were really good omens that the offer letter comes on her dad's birthday and she must be there in USA on her parent's anniversary day. I do not know, but there is some coincidence, is it not?

Munia had applied to a number of top US universitie this year, and I have a feeling, she will receive a few more offers of admission with financial assistance. Obviously, Munia has to decide which one to accept, but CMU being the first offer (and a very good one too), I think it will get some preference. She has got upto the second half of April to take a call.

Rupu and I went to see a movie in the evening to "observe" my birthday. The movie is called Delhi 6 and the it was screened at Satyam Multiplex in Nehru Place. It is a well made movie, with a potent message about purging of a "beast (kala bandar)" resideng in the minds of the society in this country. The AR Rahman music was out of this world, a mixture of Indian classical and folk, and western pop and orchestra tunes craftily put together. I have to buy the soundtrack CD. The reviews in the press has, however, been a little unkind, and rated the movie beteen 2 and 1/2 and 3 stars. (For reference, the movie DevD, which I have not seen yet, got a 5 star from Nikhat Kazmi of TOI, and Slumdog Millionnaire got a 4 1/2 star). I suspect that for many professional reviewers, the storyline of Delhi 6 was perhaps a bit too revolutionary, directly attacking the Hindutwa philosophies, especially caricaturing VHP and Uma Bharti. There are lots of shortcomings in the film, of course, yet the concept of liberalism and modernity that continue in the ordinary folks in an old Delhi suberb is very refreshing. The dream scene combining New York streets with Chandni Chawk melee was superb. Using the Ramayana drama as a part of the background of the film was also a novel way of expanding the underlying message.

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