Monday, February 28, 2011

What's in my pigeonhole?

Last Friday evening, while waiting for Kak Zalyah at the Plodge (Porter's Lodge), I noticed the blue Newnham College Roll Letters in our pigeonholes. There was a woman standing near them. She smiled at me and said, "This makes a nice photograph. But what is even nicer is to come back and see how well you all are doing. So when you become scientist or artist or author, we will write about you in the Roll Letters!"

The woman was a former Newnhamite who didn't know me but our college bond was strong that her encouraging me seemed like a natural thing to do...

O Cambridge, my love for you grows and grows!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meeting of Minds - Part 2




Peter Sanders, Idris Tawfiq, Tariq Ramadan and T J Winter.

I'm glad to be able to hear them speak at 'Experience Islam Week (EIW) 2011' in Cambridge. Such great minds, such humility.

Sabiha (the student with the Union Jack in the video below) told me that when they were filming the EIW video (praying scene outside King's College), the English non-Muslim porter came out, not to chase them away but to tell them that the direction to the East was not that way! Ahhh... this is why we love Cambridge!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love's Dizziness

Even with the heated debates on rising fees at Cambridge, the varsity papers are also abuzz with Valentine's Day debates. Argghh... my mailbox is flooded with College Speed-dating Swaps and Blind Date invites (proceeds from both will go to charity). Alas, I'm jaded and disillusioned with love. Even 'Demon Wind', my short story that will be published in the Newnham Short Story book, is about what else but love and betrayal. I jokingly said to my ever enthusiastic friends who wanted to introduce me to potential soul mates, that "Men just disappoint me that I have to turn my attention to vampires!" Hee3. Oui, my current crush is on the unbelievably hot Salvatore brothers of 'The Vampire Diaries' series! *wink
p.s Euminl, you're to be 'blamed' for introducing the series :)

My against-Valentine's-Day-bah-humbug heart softened when I saw Vampire Diaries' 'Crying Wolf' episode. Bonnie finally put aside her prejudices and judgement and saw Jeremy in a different light (see video clip here). Although I've seen better kisses, theirs I felt was Epic.

To all jaded souls like yours truly, perhaps we should give love another chance. Yes, you preppy varsity Blues rower, perhaps this time, you could smile back at that shy girl who had been stealing glances at you during the Cambridge Union Society debates. And you, law girl with the tortoise rimmed glasses, can't you see how that dark-haired lad in the Vermont T-shirt who seemed interested in discussing your essay is so into you?

As for me, yes, I think "you're hot. Enough already." *blush

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Great Rivals


Oxford (left), Cambridge (right)

"That sweet city with her dreaming spires" vs "the beauty of all beauties - King's College Chapel". I've always wondered about the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry. Is there really one?

"It is often assumed that the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry is a shared Oxbridge joke to baffle the yokels outside. In fact, there are hostility, and suspicion between the two places. Oxford fears and rejects the cold, ruthless spirit of inquiry, the questioning of accepted ideas, of Cambridge. Cambridge mocks the liberal 'amateurism' of Oxford, and especially the many politicians it produces."
- Birmingham Post literary editor Keith Brace describing Oxford/Cambridge rivalry in 1986

"Cambridge has more Nobel laureates but Oxford has more prime ministers ... Oxford people think they rule the world, whereas Cambridge people don't care who rules the world."
- German writer Peter Sager on how England's 2 greatest universities differ in 
'Oxford and Cambridge: An Uncommon History (2005)'

Oxford, I found, had greatly the advantage of Cambridge in point of country... The town, however, made amends; and Cambridge has the advantage of Oxford in a remarkable degree, as far as regards eminent names. England's two greatest philosophers Bacon and Newton, and (according to Tyrwhitt) three out of its four great poets, were bred there, besides double the number of minor celebrities.
Yet they are divine places, both; full of grace, and beauty, and scholarships; of revered antiquity, and ever-young nature and hope.
- Leigh Hunt, Autobiography (1850)