Archive by Author | Kalyani Phansalkar

Ender’s got game.

Now that my second semester of grad school is in full swing, people ask me about my thesis and what I want to “concentrate” on. I try to conjure impressive answers…they’re usually different every time, and rarely ever true. It’s not that I don’t like what I’m studying or where I’m at. It’s just that these questions about the future really make me wonder what I want.

After deep introspection and meditation, I realized what I want. I think I kind of reached that moment everyone talks about – when life just makes sense.

I realized that I want the life of my neighbor’s dog, Ender.

He is the cutest and LAZIEST dog you will ever meet. I kid you not. This doggie means business when he refuses to go out for a walk. He stands with his feet firmly rooted to the ground or just sits on the sidewalk. Seriously. He just sits his big butt down and looks at you like “uhhh, if you’re not gonna carry me, we aren’t gonna be moving” Not to mention, when you say “Ender, sit!,” he kind of makes an effort to look in your direction, but just continues walking until HE decides to plop down. And boy, when he does…he’s not moving any time soon.

You will see him in the supine state above most of the time. It’s awesome. And I am so jealous. I would do anything to just lounge around all day, maybe reading a book or two. MAYBE. But really, I would just curl up and take nice, long naps.

And the best thing about Ender’s life is that he gets away with EVERYTHING. Why? BECAUSE HE IS SO CUTE!

You see him?? He is adorable. And so, even if he doesn’t sit or roll over or jump with his two front paws, it’s all ok…because his cuteness balances it out.

So yeah, I’m in grad school, writing papers and making presentations when I SHOULD be just taking a nap. Oh Ender. You make me realize everyday that you are living my dream…that this is what I should be doing:


FRIENDS (*cue music*)

Yoga teacher-training class

For me, like most others, the worst part about graduation (other than the incessant questions about my future) was saying goodbye to all of my closest friends – those who I have laughed with, cried with…and those who have laughed at me while I cried. Cheesy as it sounds, I knew I was going to miss them terribly (gross, I know). And of course, being an English major, I dramatized this situation in my head by dwelling over how I’m NEVER going to find friends like this EVER again and how NO ONE is going to be as close to me…blah blah blah.

Boy was I right! Well, partly. (Don’t worry; I am not a creepy, asocial hobo-lady who rides the metro all day.)

But, I did realize that college is the one time when thousands of people, in the same phase of life, surround you at every waking moment. Though there maybe differences in personality and interests, almost everyone has come with one purpose in mind: to find his or her drinking limit.

The real world, however, is not like that. There is no perfect community of hormone-raging strangers your age, who conveniently live within walking distance. And sometimes one can be surprised, if not shocked, at the kind of friends one finds after graduation. After pursuing a few hobbies and taking up new activities, here’s a list of some of my new friends.

Gabi the Fire-dancer: Yes, she dances with fire. And I know – it’s pretty incredible. She is a dance major at our community college and does shows in DC. For all of those who are wondering, there is a special kind of insurance for this profession.  However I don’t know what it’s called – but I’m sure it sounds badass.

Tai-chi Grampa: I cannot spell/say his name, so I just refer to him as tai-chi grampa. He is a 64-year-old Taiwanese man and in my yoga teacher training program; we’ve had lunch together (yes, it was sushi). He has more strength in his left pinky then I have in my entire upper body.

My mom’s close friends: So since I moved back home, I have systematically stolen my mom’s friends. Over the summer, my mom’s stay-at-home friends invited me for lunch because they hadn’t seen me for so long. Since then, we haven’t looked back. Now, going out to lunch with them is a regular thing. When my mom calls me during the day, I say, “Hey mom. Can I call you back? I’m actually out to lunch with Smita aunty.” And of course, all we do is gossip. We gossip about all the ladies in the friend circle, most of whom I don’t know. But I still smile and nod…and gasp when something is especially scandalous. I actually feel like I’m a part of the Real Housewives of Gaithersburg (look it up…it’s not too far from Winchester). Except that I go to school…and am still unmarried. And I haven’t gotten a nose job.

the TastyKabob Vendor: There’s a food truck on GW campus called TastyKabob that serves really good kabobs in pita bread. The first month of school, I was so nervous about the whole grad school process that I didn’t really explore much. But after I started to get the hang of it, I explored straight to this one food truck. I’m quite the wild child. Anyways, I went there so often that I made friends with the vendor. Well it started out because I would always ask for “extra” hot sauce – some on the pita and some on the side. And after the first few times, he would say “Ohh you are that spicy girl!” (I know it’s a weird thing to be known by.) But yeah, we talked about our backgrounds and our favorite foods…and the next thing I knew, I was stopping by his truck on my way to the library just to say hi.

Hmm, now that I look over this list of friends…I should probably start talking to people in my classes.