Skip to main content

Life Updates - 2020 (Part 1 of 2)

You may remember my post from about two years ago when I wrote a rather detailed essay on my personal life. The aim of this post is similar; provide an update on what I have been up to, life lessons, challenges, what my future is, and what I envisage it to be.
This post is not going to be an extended personal statement that one would generally see me writing for college but includes a more personal touch and less about specific and individual achievements of mine over the last two years. Certain exceptions do exist.

The article is going to be divided into two parts. This one will talk about school, college and life in general. It is more of a report if I can call it that. The second article will be about what I have learnt in the last two years. It is a bit philosophical, so I figured that not as many people might be interested in reading it. 


In 2018, I changed schools and ended up studying at Mallya Aditi International School, which, despite its ups and downs, has been a great decision. My academic journey here has made me more aware of who I am, about the functioning of the world and given me an insight into many things I have been blind to so far. As cliched as this sounds, it is true. I believe in providing credit to most of my Humanities teachers for this.

Compared to my earlier 'education life', if I can call it that, I have learnt to focus more on aspects related to my development than primarily concentrating on getting that 'higher %' in an exam. The focusing on what the academic industry loves to call a 'holistic education', has been in instrumental in making me exponentially grow and has resulted in achievements as I shall mention shortly. My advice would be not to relegate your non-academic pursuits to one of secondary importance but bring it at par with your academic pursuits as both are equally important.

Related reading: 

College/ University

My "intent to study either Public Policy or Political Science or in related areas such as International Relations in the future", as mentioned in my post two years ago is unabated. As early as September-October, the application season for universities had begun which sapped a lot of my time and energy. I was lucky in contrast to many of my classmates because I was not applying to the US, in which, each application to a university warrants multiple (as high as 13 sometimes!) essays and other details. Multiply that by the 7-10 (or in some cases, MORE!) universities you are applying to; one can only imagine what many of us are going through! This, as well as general laziness, has been the reason behind my irregular presence on my blog.

I applied to a total of 8 universities across four countries. 

In the UK, I received acceptances into King's College London, University of Warwick and the University of Bristol. I think it is imperative at this juncture also to mention the two rejections I received; one from University College London and another from the London School of Economics AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (the second part of the name is unknown to most people, but it is their OFFICIAL NAME). 
I also applied to the University of Hong Kong and received an acceptance but decided to decline it because of the uncertainty surrounding the student protests.  
In India, I applied to Ashoka University and received an unconditional/firm offer. 

I am proud to say that despite the above acceptances, I was lucky enough to have the choice to reject them all because I got into Sciences Po, Le Havre, France. It has been a university of a top reputation for the last few decades and was recently awarded the #2 ranking for my course (Political Science and International Studies) by QS World Rankings. It is a fantastic feeling to know that the college I will be attending ranks one below Harvard, and, above the likes of LSE&P, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, Columbia and at par with Princeton.

The Le Havre Campus of Sciences Po (they have seven campuses spread across France) focuses on the Asia-Pacific, an area that I have an immense interest in, having born and lived in all my life. I hope the COVID-19 situation that has left us all in doldrums (and also postponed my last Board/Centralized Exam three hours before its slated start) will cool down by mid-August when I am supposed to make my way to France, a country that has been drastically affected COVID-19. My optimism regarding the situation has not yet faded. 

I have not zeroed in on a specific job that I hope to have because I am pretty flexible on that front. Although my interests are in the field that I have chosen to study, only time will tell about what I end up doing - consultancy, public policy analysis, academia etc.

Life in general

I remember writing about a diving Open Water Certification in my 2018 blog. My passion for the hobby did not stop there, and I went ahead and finished the level 2 - Advanced Open Water Certification in Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar. You can read about it here.
My extra-curricular activities were continued with the same, if not higher amounts of focus and dedication. It included both participating, organizing and chairing Model UNs, stepping into and being successful in Parliamentary Debate, among other things. 

Cycling has been a significant activity for me, and I still love it. In the past month, I have been cycling 15km-25km three-four times a week, and have been cycling regularly for years now. You can read about my cycles getting stolen here. 
On the sports front, my golf has improved to such an extent that my regular caddy thinks that I am fit to play in tournaments if I practise regularly. With an increase in upper body strength due to somewhat regular strength training and a better diet, I can now hit the ball much harder and further away which quite so often gets appreciations such as 'woooow' and 'brilliant!' as my fellow golfers track the ball disappearing into the horizon. However, playing golf professionally is not something I aspire to do since golf is a mere hobby for me.

While talking about sports, cricket is one that I still follow, despite RCB having not yet won a single season. However, I am incredibly proud of what the Indian cricket team has achieved so far, with certain, minor exceptions (the recent series in NZ being one).
Since we communicated last, I have once again begun following Formula 1. F1 is more than just a driver racing a car; the behind the scenes, politics, location change every week and the money and brand value that the sport entails have drawn to towards it to try and understand it better. If you want to get to know F1, I recommend you watch Drive to Survive (available on Netflix). Watch Season 1 to understand the 2018 season or skip to Season 2 to understand the 2019 season.

Among other news, I turned 18 in January this year. Officially 'adulting', or at least, I soon will. The first thing I did was get my Drivers License. The process took shy of two months in all, but I am glad I did it now itself. Contrary to public opinion, I managed to do it without hiring an agent or going through a driving school, despite certain obstacles that were thrown at me from time to time. I shall write about my experience soon. 

The COVID-19 situation has taken us all by surprise. The stock market has taken an absolute battering, and I fear to even open my portfolio and track my investments. That being said, it is a good time to invest, once more unobstructed horizons are seen in the near-distance. Stock are currently under-valued, and if we are to take any old-fashioned investor's (such as Warren Buffet/ Benjamin Graham) advice, it is the perfect time to buy into the market if you have liquid cash. 
As soon as my Mutual Fund account's tax-status is updated (I recently turned 18, so there were some tax-related updations to be done), I will be investing my money that has been lying idle for a while. 

That's all I have for now, please stay tuned for part two which will concentrate on what I have learnt in the past two years!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Visiting the Kasturinagar (KA-03) RTO - a tumultuous but manageable experience to get a Learner's/ Driver's License without an agent/ driving school

Ask anyone, and I can guarantee that they will have a story (and in most cases, many stories) about their trip, or rather, numerous trips to the RTO for something as simple as getting a Learner's License (LL) or a Driver's License (DL). In this blog, I hope to make your life a tad bit easier by guiding you through the entire process, which may seem easy at first but is full of (overcome able) challenges if you know what you are doing. I turned 18 in January this year, and besides cutting a cake, I worked on my LL application online. I challenged myself to complete the entire LL to DL process by myself and without the help of an agent or a driving school, unlike what the majority do. The lengthy application process and multiple visits to the RTO, impressed upon me why most people decided to pay a little extra to get an agent to do it for them. Still, I was determined not to pay a single rupee more than the official cost. I succeeded.  Do note that this answer is concerning the K

Beating the winter blues - Morocco

  After having spent just over two months in England, with short trips to America’s east coast on work and Paris for Diwali, I was itching to travel somewhere new – somewhere I hadn’t been before.     I found myself in one of the study rooms at university, unable to focus on my readings. Winter was setting in. The days were getting shorter, London was getting greyer, and the sun had gone into hibernation. An important question was running in my mind – one that would determine how I would overcome the impending winter blues – what will I do during the Christmas break? A typical international student’s response would be simple – book a return ticket to your home country. However, as a seasoned international student, my response had to be different, right? With a not-so-powerful passport in hand, I grappled with my options. Limited by choices of visa-regime friendly choices, I first laid out a bunch of criteria for an anti-winter blues holiday of choice. I wanted three things - the sun, w

A few questions we must ask ourselves about the situation surrounding the Babri Masjid/ Ram Mandir controversy

August 5, 2020, was a historic day in India for two reasons. First, it was a year since the special status of J&K was revoked, and the state was converted into Union Territories; it resulted in it being directly controlled by the Central Government in Delhi and no longer controlled by an elected government under the federal setup. It was simultaneously followed with a year-long (and still ongoing) internet and communications blockade. Second, it was a day celebrated by right-wing Hindu nationalists because of the  ground-bre aking ceremony (Bhoomi Pooja/ Puja) that was held to begin construction of a temple for Lord Ram; a temple being built on a land where a mosque that was demolished by close allies of the BJP in 1992 lay. Reaching this point was not easy. It was a struggle that lasted for decades, multiple cases in court, contributions from the Archaeological Survey of India, claims of Muslims invaders building a mosque over a temple etc. The court finally ruled in favour a temp

Living life out of a suitcase

  December 2022 As I sit on my fourteenth flight for the year, with two more scheduled before the curtains are drawn on 2022 (god bless my carbon footprint), laptop open, a glass of wine and a blank word document, I begin to ponder over my journey over the last few months. Penning it down and (at the risk of sounding philosophical) ‘reflecting’ on this journey seems imperative.  --- May 2022   After two wonderful years of ups and downs in Le Havre (thank you, COVID-19!), I said my good-byes, packed my bags and was on the train to Paris. But that was not my final destination – for now at least. After spending two nights at a friend’s, dropping my baggage off at a relative’s, catching the French Open and a round of golf in the middle, and a train to Beauvais (an hour north of Paris), I was on a flight to Barcelona. Checked in to my hostel, met my friend, went for 3 days of the Barcelona Formula 1 Grand Prix together, watched a Redbull 1-2 finish, celebrated with beer, sangria and tapas,

Vélib Bikes | A firsthand experience of Paris' Bike Sharing Scheme

Micro-mobility has always fascinated me. Back in April 2019, I test rode various Yulus which left me amazed by the concept and the ease with which I could get across town (relatively) carbon-free and cost effectively. When I was in Stockholm on an exchange trip in late 2019, I couldn't help myself but try out Bird and Lime scooters despite it costing quite a bomb. Though I can't quite remember the exact amount I paid but I remember it being upwards of 50 kronas/5 euros/400 Indian Rupees for a short 10-15 minute ride; something that was very expensive considering that I had a public transport card that allowed me to take unlimited trips across the city and to most of suburbs an hour or two away. A Vélib stand a stone's throw away from the Eiffel Tower While Bangalore has cheap modes of transport to get around the city, be it the buses, auto-rickshaws, cabs the metro or even Yulus and Bounces, one cannot say the same about cities in Europe. A single use ticket in Stockholm co

Kicking off a 'political career' in an idea-based, grassroots level political party

Despite having been following politics for the longest time, and now studying it full time, I never joined a political party. When people used to ask me "who do you support?", my answer was standard, "no one". Luckily for me, ever since turning 18 and being eligible to vote, there hasn't been an election in which I'd be forced to cast my vote and tell people that I have made a definitive choice about a particular political party. At a time when politics has become ever so polarising and dirty, I couldn't be happier to associate myself with the BNP. It was in February 2020 that I was introduced to the Bengaluru NavaNiramana Party. I found their vision, leadership and ideas incredibly refreshing. Though I was aware of their launch/ kickoff meeting that took place in Freedom Park in early 2020, due to a friend's TEDx talk taking place simultaneously, I could not attend. Then, between Board Exams and the lockdown that took us all by surprise, I forgot ab

The Young Adults Series at the Bangalore International Centre

 November 2020 With France reimposing lockdown restrictions, closing universities, and restricting people's movement to just 1 hour per day, I decided to fly back to India. My rationale was simple; rather than attending online classes in a foreign city, with no roommates, no extra-curricular activities during which I would have usually interacted with people, and it being illegal to meet anyone you are not living with, it made more sense to return to a safer environment in which I could enjoy more freedom, as Bangalore was in a pretty good state, at least compared to France.  While waiting to board my flight at Charles de Gaulle Airport, I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and came across a post published by the Bangalore International Centre . Clickbait-ly titled  'MUN Ki Baat'  (for those who don't get the reference: PM Modi has a monthly radio show called 'Man Ki Baat'), it piqued my curiosity, and I found myself watching a recording of it. When I in