writing > Meta/Life > The Strangest Love Letter - Part 1
Last Updated: December 2018
6 minute read

The Strangest Love Letter - Part 1

Part I

2007 Writing a "calibration" test at Olin towards the end of orientation Prof: Don't worry this test isn't graded or anything we just want to know where students are. We haven't asked for your names, these exams will be anonymous so we can use it for data *Math section asks something about Taylor series expansions* Me, internally: Who the heck is Taylor? This sounds like a geometric or logarithmic series. But I know I math good! I hear in America there are no "wrong answers" if I can present my unique individual circumstances appropriately. Hmmm. Maybe I'll just *writes* "I am not familiar with what a Taylor Series is. I was instructed in the CBSE (Indian) system (not IB/AP) and this was not a topic specifically covered. " *immediately nullifying the "anonymity" point of the test* "Judging from the context, this looks similar or related to logarithmic and geometric series (I was right![1]). However I do not have enough context to apply what I know to this specific problem without knowing what specifically a Taylor Series is. Here is a summary of what I know of that topic *inserts several log series expansion formulae and conceptual descriptions* Please take this into consideration when evaluating my response to this question" In a baffling progression of events, the test was subtly used to place students in tiered math class sections. I was placed in the "advanced" section which got 2 free credits for the differential equations class. Me: I think I'm going to like it here in America [1](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_series#Geometric_power_series) *** 2007 Prof. G (of Scottish origin): So if the electric field is in this direction, and the magnetic field is like so, in which direction is force? me: *raises hand* Prof: yes, Keerthik? me: along the Z (zed) axis *giggles around the class* me: *visibly confused* Prof: *sighs gently* Keerthik, it warms my heart to hear that, but sadly where we are there is no zed axis... me: *slowly realizing* oh...the Z (zee) axis Prof: that's right! so since the force is... *** 2008 S: How do you say her name? Me: Navyatha S: ? How do you spell it? Me: *writes it* S: Where's the emphasis? Is it Naavyatha? Is it Navyaatha? Is it Navyathaa? Me: nowhere? equally everywhere? S: *stares blankly* what *** 2009 A: Hey *snicker* how do you say your name? Me: Keerthik A: Hehe GeErdHicKK Me: ...it's my name. Am I being bullied? A: Hehe bUlLEEd Me: mmkay *** 2013 Creating a kickstarter video with my cofounders Me: ...Go on a run with your dad, or chat with your brother while you hike the alps A: *visibly uncomfortable* Me: What? A: Maybe I should just say this part too. I feel like...the delivery... Camera lady: Huh? No I think he's doing the best so far. Me: *trying not to nod in agreement, tensing up* Uhm, how do you want...? A: Ok I just wasn't sure if our audience would follow but if you say so Me: *suddenly in the most american accent I can muster* Ah gotcha yeah fo' sho *** 2013 H, the girl I was seeing at the time H: And then I have a baby and then you can pay child support Me: Ahaha right ok H: I wasn't joking, I think that's a pretty normal expectation Me: If that's true...is this "culture shock" I'm going through now? *** - coloring my hair In July 2018, I got my hair bleached mostly blond on top. It was the first time I, or anyone I knew who looked like me did something like this. When I met people, the number who care where I'm from dropped dramatically When asked, and I said "it's complicated", they eye me up and down and nod understandingly Many assume I'm an American. In the last few years, I heard this more and more. People mishear my accent. I tell them how my accent developed and I get "Oh I couldn't tell, it sounded like //no accent//American accent to me" But what does it mean to me? People think they're paying me a compliment when they tell me that I or my accent was American. But that's not only inaccurate, not something I'm aspiring to, but also erasure of my cultural complexity and my relationship to this and every other culture I have been a part of. - my friends' immigrant parents I see how some of my American friends interact with their immigrant parents. I know (some flavor of) what they went through. My friends' insensitivity hurts me. Maybe my friends are aware of what their parents have been through but not consciously thinking of in the moment of a fight. Thinking about these parents' patience brings me to tears. It pains me because I foresee that being my possible kids with me. - Being white MP: "I have lost all trust in this team" - do I even have the position where a team cares about my trust in them? I'm conditioned to believe I am but a spanner. The indignation with which he treats this problem seems beyond my capacity to comprehend. - On Muslims When I'm in America, I feel a responsibility to defend the humanity and innocence of Muslims. Having spent the safest 18 years of my life growing in an officially muslim state. I grew up in the most insular immigrant bubble I know. We never talked about local politics or discrimination or other social issues. We never ate Omani food except for the occasional shwarma typically from a stand run by immigrants. When I'm in Oman, I feel like an imposter for not actually understanding anything about what their life is like, at home or outside. Things I can talk about - Ambition, America, and the rest of the world - Public discourse - "We talk about things" - Being less than human to the system - Races and relationships - the good, bad and the ugly - Immigrating for a dream - being the most and least American at the same time - The things I do/did to achieve humanhood (permanent residence/citizenship) san francisco - chris bennett politics? we don't Style: autobiographical/story bits? Thesis: Watching people do things that aren't feasible for you Questions: Why don't you just...do those things Answer: ??? hi i was born/raised in different countries, none of them are home, but for my age i guess i've lived and gotten close to lots of different cultures, i have major identity crisis which is kinda popular for our generation, also immigration is a giant pile of shit, and americans have no idea how good they have it, esp with US immigration" - Trajectory/story - First taste of true cities - Boston, SF, having personality and traits, not just a place - individuals - The ideal learning environment for me -- absorption - Dreams but no way to achieve them - It's my Prison of Freedom - I looked in the mirror and for the first time i saw the eyes of someone who felt like he could achieve whatever he pursued. [dan int'l bait & switch](https://themargins.substack.com/p/the-international-student-bait-and) [sama no longer SF](https://twitter.com/sama/status/1096822724217827328) [dangerous thoughts of freedom](http://oliverzheng.com/2018/how-to-quit-a-top-tier-tech-job/) [why san francisco](https://bold.co/public/why-y-combinator-made-all-the-zvgxjl?t=tihkgug) [opportunities/dota5](https://blog.openai.com/openai-five/)