Thursday, 20 December 2007
I went to Seef to watch ‘I am Legend’ the other day. For those of you who have never set foot on the ‘Island of Pearls’, Seef is the Middle East's answer to PVR, iMax and even Broadway. I was on my way to get my bag of pop-corn, when I couldn't help but notice one particular girl in the queue. She had a face you couldn't take your eyes off, (or, to quote The Reptile, a 10 pointer) like those on the cover of a Mills & Boon novel. Okay, bad example, but anyway, it makes my point. Just when I decided that she was out of my league and resolved to focus on my pop-corn instead, she walked right up to me. 'Hi Abhishek! How have you been?' she asked, leaving me cursing my memory, or rather the lack of it. How could I have forgotten someone so stunning? 'Now that Lady Luck has presented me with an opportunity, I shall not screw up. ' I decided. 'I shall come up with a reply so humorous and charming that she'll remember it for the rest of her life.' Humour has never been much of a problem. It's being charming that always has- more so for me than for anyone else.
'Very well, thank you' I replied, still unsure whether enamour was spelt with a 'u' or not. 'By the way, who are you?' Oh my God! I had done it again. Even by my standards, that was curt. She will now remember me as the rudest person alive, and rightly so too, I thought. 'I'm fine too,’ she replied. ‘Why didn't you call me up before you left for India?' She had misheard me! Talk about luck!
Everything seems to be going right. Despite putting up a mediocre performance United beat the Kops in their own den. Though I didn’t follow it too keenly, the Chennai Superstars, I heard, have won the inaugural ICL. What’s more, Liverpool have lost three games in a row, Chelski lost this weekend and John Terry is injured! I just hope the fairytale run continues.
As far as ‘I am Legend’ goes, it was quite good, though the CGI left a lot to be desired. The producers claim that they have spent a 100 mn $ on the movie. I seriously don't know where all that money has gone. In the opening scene, Will Smith is shown chasing a pack of 'deer'. I say 'deer', because those were the lousiest looking deer in the history of world, never mind Hollywood, cinema. Even stuffed toys would have looked more realistic! Otherwise, the movie was quite good thanks to a stellar performance from Will Smith (yeah, he can act too) and does full justice to the novel. Talking of screen adaptations of novels, 'The Kite Runner' is quite good too, though the pace is sluggish and I fell asleep twice. That has been the highlight of this winter-break. I have watched over half a dozen movies and, to varying degrees, they have all been brilliant.
While 'Stardust' is certainly one of the best fantasy movies ever, 'The Golden Compass' isn't too bad either. There haven't been too many good movies in Hollywood after the classic 'Return of the King', but Russell Crowe has set that record straight with two all-time great performances back to back in 'The American Gangster' and '3.10 to Yuma'. After the nightmare, ‘A Good Year’ and a couple of slack years, things are looking up for Crowe too. Hmmm... I don't seem to be the only one with whom Lady Luck is pleased.
P.S: To those of you haven't noticed, there is a new widget on the column to the right.
P.P.S: I have way too much free time too.
P.P.S: The title is intended as a reference to, and only to, my daily activities. Any allusions to a particular specimen of Cannis familiaris are purely coincidental.
P.P.P.S: I wonder if Gandalf would have a problem with my open plagiarism of his trademark ‘post-post scripts’.
Saturday, 8 December 2007
‘Unforgettable’ is a funny word. For some reason, we have this tendency of presuming that it has positive connotations, though, quite often, it doesn't. Take my 10th grade Social Science text book, for example. If there is one thing from my school days that I’ll never forget, it is the amount I slogged to memorize the names (and spellings) of Bihu, Tamasa, Kalaripayattu and the three dozen other obscure tribal dances that CBSE thought we, as the future citizens of our country, must know. (Ironically, the names themselves were highly forgettable, but that’s a different matter altogether.) Thank God it was only the names that we had to learn, and not the dances themselves! (I wonder what my grades would have looked like then. Hmmm....) I always considered Social Science the single most ‘unforgettable’ thing that ever happened to me. I was proven wrong though, and the antithesis came in the form of EMAMI.
They say that life’s greatest gifts arrive incognito. I’m not sure about that, but I’m confident life’s miseries do. Take EMAMI, for instance. Quite a fancy sounding name for what was the most frustrating subject ever. I always hated EMAMI, but never with a greater fervour and vengeance than I did on the 23rd of November. The occasion was our final practical assessment, and as you would expect, nothing went my way.
Well, almost nothing. Though the coil of my energy meter got burnt and my circuit looked more like a board of Snakes and Ladders, I had managed to get a seat right next to the invigilator, which meant I got to hear every single question he asked during the viva-voce. (The fact that my roll number was the last in our batch helped too.) Thanks to some dextrous eavesdropping, I managed to overhear every single question he asked, and also the fact that he asked only one question- ‘Expand THD.’
My pulse started racing. I somehow managed to call up a friend of mine and, frantically, asked him the million dollar question. ‘It’s total harmonic distortion. You don’t even know that?’ came the reply. ‘Of course I do.’ I said. ‘I was just checking if you knew it too.’ I doubt if he fell for that, but anyway, my job was done. When my turn came, I walked up to the invigilator in a confident stride that might have seemed unbecoming of a guy who did not know the name of the text book, never mind the chapters in it. Ah, who cares? I knew the question, and I knew it’s answer too. These were ten marks that were well in my pocket already. Here's what followed:
Invigilator: “Good morning young man. You seem very confident.”
Me: “I sure am, sir.”
Invigilator: “Then I assume you’ve thoroughly studied your entire syllabus?”
Me: “By all means, sir.”
Invigilator: “Then, young man, would you please explain the concept of total harmonic distortion?”
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Another TS has just passed, bringing along with it half a dozen highly forgettable grades that shall soon be forgotten, and all that shall remain as 'mementos' of the exams shall be the innumerable bakar (the R-land equivalent of 'chitchat') sessions we had. One such session was particularly memorable. It was at the Reptile's place, and as in most bakar sessions, one thing led to another, and we finally found ourselves discussing our electives in high school. I wasn't surprised by the Reptile's disbelief when I revealed my elective to him. Most people have reacted the same way, more or less, when they came to know that my elective was, put on your seat belts, biology!
What it was that made me pick biology is a mystery worthy of the investigative genius of Mulder and Scully. One thing I never told anyone back then, or ever, for that matter, is that despite all my lousy grades in biology, deep inside, I aspired to become a doctor. I don't know why. I suppose that's what watching Scrubs and reading Robin Cook does to you. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that I longed to have a steth around my neck, and in some deep corner of my ER-addicted mind, I still do. So, despite all that, why did I bunk PMPD (Pre-Medical something. Some exam you have to clear to make it to any medical college in the country.) and spend the day watching a dozen Lis and Wangs walk away with every single medal at the Asian Games, you ask? That is a question that would be answered better by any of the fifteen other bio students in class, or better still by our teacher (who, from now on, shall be referred to as, 'the May Bee'), who tried everything possible to get me studying. Alas, all her efforts went down the drain, and so would yours if you tried to get any of the aforementioned talking, as they are all mugging away to glory in different corners of the world. That means I get to narrate my story all by myself!
Biology classes were very interesting.... at least for the n-4 students who bothered to pay attention. For the quartet on the last bench, they were a laboratory of sorts, where they kept discovering new postures in which Homo sapiens could sleep. The quartet, here, refers to The Geek, The Freek and the Tweak (I have no idea what 'tweak' means, or if it is a word at all, but come on, I couldn't think of another word that rhymed.), and of course, me. Oh, and by the way, 'freek' hasn't been misspelt.
The fact that the others showed an over-zealous interest in the subject did not help our cause either. Not only did it make our lack of interest even more conspicuous, it also got on our nerves. On one occasion, I committed the blunder of sitting beside the God-of-the-Geeks, better known as PSK. It was an amazing experience, albeit a bad one. PSK, as always, was jotting down every single discernible sound wave that left the May Bee's vocal chords. 'She sneezed five minutes ago,' I muttered in sheer frustration, 'why didn't you note that down?' 'Why, of course!' came the prompt reply. Give me strength!
It has been my observation that, by and large, a person's knowledge of biology is inversely proportional to his sense of humour. I don't know how this works or why it is so, but, trust me, it's true. This explains why even some really lame comments like, 'there is a Periplaneta americana on my table' had the entire class in splits. This also explains the fact that though bio classes were okay to start with, eventually, they got corny enough to make Heyy Babyyy seem really funny (or should I say 'reallyy funnyyy').
In retrospect, I probably could have worked slightly harder. A lot harder, actually. But it's all for the better, I suppose. Had I done all that, I wouldn't have ended in this hell-hole we fondly call R-land, would I? Had it not been for the CBSE's absurd notion that guys who can cram a few hundred weird names that would all be worthy contenders for 'The World's Toughest Tongue-Twister' (try pronouncing Ophrys oxhyrrhynyis), and draw a dozen abstruse diagrams make the best doctors, I might have ended up in med. Alas, medicine was not fortunate enough.
Thursday, 4 October 2007
For more details on the quiz itself, visit http://thenameissushi.blogspot.com/2007/10/jeev-milkha-sing-meets-alfred-nobel.html
And just for the record, we won the quiz (where 'we' refers to The Politician, The First Bencher and me) and ended up spending nearly the entire prize money (which, by the way, was 1000 bucks. Not bad at all) on a treat at the Ravindra Canteen. Hmph!
P.S: Why did I post this, when all it practically is, is a detour to Sushi's blog, you might ask. Well, I wasn't happy with the detail Sushi laid on the fact that I won, and more importantly, self-glorification is something I've always enjoyed, and also something I haven't indulged in for quite some time now. Muahahahaha! I rock
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Picture this- you are exercising your bowels early in the morning and halfway through, the taps run dry. Nonplussed? You wouldn't be, if you were an IITD student. Four years in a place like that, and you'll never find any situation in life complicated, thanks to their water-for-an-hour-a-day system and the weird nomenclature of their blocks (A-long, A-short, A-perpendicular, A-parallel, A-tangential, to name a few.). “It's 10, right? Hurry! 'The Best Chick in Town' must have started,” advised the annoyingly huge first-year localite whom the Hick knew beforehand owing to the fact that they were both from the same village. I say annoyingly huge because his 6 foot something height was giving me an inferiority complex. I looked like a schoolboy next to him. I look like a schoolboy next to most people, but even so, a first year?
Anyway, getting back to the point, 'The Best Chick in Town' was picked and awarded. What do you do when some of the hottest girls in the country stand right in front of you? Well, nothing at all, if you are either Dela or the Bulk. True to the spirit of LitSec, all we did was gape at each other. (Oh my God, there is something wrong with me! I must see a doc about this.) “Now what?”, we asked the first year, to which he went on to name a dozen other voyeuristic events. “Isn't there a quiz or anything of that sort?” I asked. “What sort of a geek are you?” came the reply. Proving that I wasn't a geek meant I had to endure a 4 hour long ramp show. Halfway through it, the Bulk fell asleep. “Lets get out of here,” I suggested. “No way! We have bunked classes to come here. There are events for two more days. We can't go back now!” is what I thought would be the Bulk's response. But I was wrong, though. All he said was, “Yeah, sure. Let's go.” In order to ensure that our trip to the capital wasn't entirely fruitless, we had a couple of pav bhajis and half a dozen chuskis just before we left. (And after all this, the Bulk still claims he's on a diet.) An hour later, we were in the same rickety Uttarakhand bus again.
Friday, 7 September 2007
Like most dangerous expeditions, half our team chickened out at the eleventh hour. It was finally down to just the Reptile and me. At the stroke of nine, while the rest of the world prepared to go to bed, and the rest of IITR was busy planting bombs and detonating them, the two of us set out on our journey....
At the entrance of RJB stood our first hurdle, or rather MY first hurdle, as the Reptile had slipped away to Lipton with the pretext of getting himself a cup of coffee, leaving me all alone with the blood-thirsty security guard.
I found some strength in the fact that if I couldn't come up with a convincing story to get past this guy, noone else could. After all, I was Dela. 'Notice lagaana hai, bhaiya', I yelled to the guard, though my mind was still lost in self-admiration at the brilliant fib I had come up with at such short notice. The watchman, though, contorted his face and gaped at me as if I had just mumbled something in Swahili. 'Notice lagaana hai, bhaiya', I repeated, and this time, I even drew some sort of rectangle in mid air, in a desperate attempt to make the dolt understand. 'TV Room?', came the prompt reply. Disgusted, I was planning my next move. 'He doesn't understand me anyway. I might as well dish out a few of the many Hindi expletives I have picked up during my stay here', I thought. Just in the nick of time, the Reptile arrived, in true Bollywood-hero fashion and two minutes later we were in front of the mess that we all know and hate. Huge posters, in bright yellow, magenta and a dozen other gay colours, greeted us with the message, 'The-Act-That-Must-Not-Be-Named is Banned'. By the way, I'm avoiding the r-word as a security precaution. For all you know there might even be a clause in the SC Ruling that makes even the mention of the word a punishable offence.
The Reptile and I parted ways, as we set off for G33 and F46 respectively, in search of our progeny. I entered F46 and was distraught to find my former room with everything neatly stacked in its right place. What was worse, both my kids were busy studying! My legacy, it seems, has died away. My entry sent my 'betas' into a state of hysteria. They were suddenly were suddenly all, ‘Sir, bait jao, sir’, ‘pani lata hun, sir, ‘blah blah blah sir’ and so on and so forth. In an attempt to gauge my popularity among the fachchas, I asked them, 'Room Baap se mile kya?' I was not sure whether to be elated by the fact that someone had finally understood my Hindi or to be disappointed by the reply that followed. ‘Both our room baaps are useless wimps, sir. They both have pathetic GPAs.’ I was shattered. Damn these fachchas. Why do these guys reduce people to just a number? Son, indeed. I was beginning to hate both these creatures that had been thrusted upon my poor room. I decided to leave the room baaps topic aside, and went on to tell them a dozen tales from the days of yore- all starring, written, directed and narrated by Dela. Their naivete surprised me. I couldn’t believe my luck when they actually fell for the story in which I told them that I was responsible for the bandage that a certain Really Pathetic Man was sporting lately. I felt a sudden urge to reveal my true identity to them. ‘Luke, I am your father.’ I decided against it, though. After all, the moron had called me a useless wimp. Some day, I shall reveal myself to him, and while I’m at it, I might as well chop off his hand. May the Force be with me…
Monday, 13 August 2007
‘Lefty has Tagged you’, read the subject of the 3918th unread message in my mailbox. My cursor involuntarily moved to the ‘delete’ checkbox, when I received a scrap to the same effect. A scrap meant business, I decided, and off I went from one matchbox to the other, seeking the true meaning of the message, but my efforts were in vain. (My hopes soared when one of my floor-mates put on a ‘don’t-you-know-even-that’ kind of expression on questioning, but all he could come up with was, ‘A tag is that thing in shops on which prices are written.’ Duh!)
Either because I have been hanging around with too many geeks lately or because I myself have become one, I tried wikiing. (By the way, how do you spell that?) As always, it came up with over five dozen results, ranging from Tag Heuer to triacylglycerol. After a few cursory glances, I made a list of five ‘probables’. Deciding that it could neither mean ‘talented and gifted’ or ‘a type of metadata involving the association of descriptors with objects,’ I finally figured out that checking out Lefty’s blog would be a much easier thing to do. I found the answers to all my questions. Enlightenment, at last!
But, as I would soon realize, with enlightenment comes work, and it was then that I truly realized the depth in the saying, ‘Don’t ever go looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. In all probability, it is from an oncoming train.’ There was no turning back now, for I was the Chosen One, or rather one of the Chosen Eight. To quote Lefty, by being Tagged, I had just been inducted into a pseudo-elite group of bloggers who write random facts about themselves to either extol their inferiority complex driven souls, or just because they have nothing better to do.
You might, or rather, will, find this paragraph better written than the rest of the post. It is only because I, remaining true to the great lineage of ‘Taggers’, that I am now a part of, have shamelessly copy-pasted it entirely from Lefty’s post. The rules of Tagging, that now bind me, are as follows:
1. On being Tagged, the blogger must accept 8 as the answer to Life, Universe and Everything instead of the erroneous 42, and devote his or her energies in proving the same.
2. Having pledged to do so, the blogger must post 8 random facts about him/herself.
3. Next, the blogger is expected to enmesh 8 more innocent souls into the Tagged web. He must post a comment on their blog warning them of their fate and ensure that they have received his warnings.
4. A blogger who does not wish to accept the rules of Tagged on being Tagged would find himself in an imbroglio. It would be prudent for him to play along. If, however, he chooses to do a “Screw you guys, I’m a’ goin’ home”, he must remember that the Big Brothers of Tagged are constantly watching him and he would have earned their ire. Their favourite method of execution is to fill the bloggers mail/scrapbook/comments with Tags unless he of she loses his sanity or the will to fight, whichever is earlier.
537 words, and I still haven’t got to the point! Wow, I have grossly underestimated my ‘beating-about-the-bush’ capabilities all along. So, for those of you haven’t gone to sleep already, here are the eight random facts about myself:
1. Though I was christened Abhishek, for some inexplicable reason, the name has never stuck. I have had more than my share of nicknames- Tyson in kindergarten (though my savage behaviour in class had more to do with it than my biceps), Sundar in Middle School, (which, by the way, always got on my nerves. No offence meant, Dad, but somehow, I never liked your name much.) and of course, Dela ever since. I am tempted to narrate the story of how the name came about, but as it has already been repeated more often than the Bulk’s ‘Ding-dang-a-ding-dang’ drones, I won’t . I shall narrate it sometime, when I have completely run out of ideas for my next post.
2. I have this uncanny knack of tricking people into believing things that never happened- something some people, unfairly, call lying. ‘I do not lie. I make fables, like Aesop and those guys.’
3. Like all the others in my lineage, I love food, but unlike them, I am a big eater. (Maybe Lefty and Matty Boy have tremendous appetites too, but their sizes seem to suggest otherwise, right?) My gastronomic prowess has got me into many an embarrassing situation, the most noteworthy being the one that took place during a buffet I attended with my family. Seeing that the food was unlimited, I helped myself to what some might call a lot of food. The host saw my plate and commented, “What a good boy! He has brought food for his entire family.” Hmph!
4. Another fact that very few people know is that I am a reasonably good poet, though most of my poems, like Phoebe’s books, have only been read by me. I write only when I’m feeling terribly depressed, and so, I myself find most of my poems unbelievably soporific. I haven’t written for quite some time though, my last work being ‘Specs Appeal’, a self-consoling poem I wrote nearly half a decade ago, the day the ophthalmologist heartlessly broke the shattering news that I’d have to wear glasses for the rest of my life.
5. I am a huge football fan and have been one right since the days of Cantona and Schmeichel, though the JEE and CAS created a two-year hiatus in between. Manchester United-Arsenal games are huge rituals at home- awaited with bated breath by my Dad and me, and dreaded by my Mom, because whatever be the outcome of the game, it results in uproar. My living room has now been replaced by the Cautley TV Room, and my couch by an armchair thrice as old as me. I haven’t really had time to notice though, owing to the undivided attention that I give the game. Glory, glory, Man. United!
6. My tryst with music, sadly, hasn’t been a pleasant one at all. Despite my trying my hand at various instruments, my interest hasn’t lasted over a year. My innate singing talent, though, is undeniable and has made me the idol of most of my lesser-talented counterparts. (Readers are requested to refer to clause no. 2 again.)
7. Sadly, there is something in my face that makes me the hot favourite among the Gods of PJs- The Reptile, Jumbo the Junior, The Bulk and most importantly, The Grinning-Geek. (Lefty has been deliberately excluded from this list owing to the fact that he comes up with PJs come-what-may, whether or not I am present is secondary.)
8. Unlike Noida, there were no Kala Sangams in Bahrain, and so, my drawings have gained a reputation of being the worst of their kind ever. I have always avoided drawing whenever I could, but in the school where I studied, drawing was a compulsory course. (It wasn’t exactly compulsory, but we had to pick either drawing or dancing, so I had no choice.) On one occasion, we were asked to draw a horse, and while the others were still struggling to complete their pictures, I finished mine well in time. With pride written all over my face, I showed it to my teacher, only to be spanked by her. “Do you ever obey anyone?” she bellowed, “I asked you to draw a horse, not a dog!” I have never ventured into anything even remotely related to art ever since.
Now, on to the best part- the (un)lucky 8. And the winners are: The Reptile (the obvious choice), iPot (though whether or not he is a blogger is a debatable issue.), The Lazy Labrador (hope he gets out of his bed and reads this.), The Grinning Geek (Yep, he blogs too. Refer to the list of links on the right.) DeeKay (The Geek who Lived!), The Incredible Bulk (Yeah, I know he isn’t a blogger, but sorry, I don’t have a choice. I’m running out of people.), The Hirsute Hick (read previous comment.) and Bihari Potter (read the last two comments.) (Here’s a ninth fact about me: I am pathetic at HTML, and anything techy, for that matter. I guess that explains the fact that unlike Lefty, Matty Boy and my other predecessors, I haven’t provided links to the respective pages of the guys mentioned above. The inconvenience is regretted.) (And here’s a tenth fact: I use brackets quite often.) (And here’s fact no. 11: I can’t think of a conclusion for this post.)
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Here are a few more eye-openers:
· http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1lahm1IgZo : It’s Captain, again. Why bother with bullet-proofs when you can frown.
· http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_to_3zAhBf0 : To think, there are people still worried about the energy crisis. Who needs petrol, when we have, ‘Jai channakesava!’
· Sunny Deol in Gadar: I couldn’t find this on youtube, so I’m hoping you’ve watched the movie beforehand. Sunny is driving a truck, and oops, he’s crashed into a car and there’s a huge explosion. No sweat, the car’s gone, but the truck’s safe. The petrol in the car’s gas tank must have fuelled it. Oh no, he has crashed again, and it’s a vegetable cart this time. Another explosion? Err…well, I guess why Mommy made such a fuss about veggies.
Absurd, gibberish, nonsense…. My initial reaction was somewhere in between shame and outrage. I spent the next few hours grumbling about Bollywood, Kollywood and every other ‘wood’ I had heard of. Questions like, what kind of an image would this create about our country in the minds of foreigners, kept irking me.
However, with further thought came a sense of clarity as well as pride. I finally realized that we probably had the best film industry in the world. Come to think of it- the primary purpose behind making movies is to entertain, and a 20 second 'Captain' video is as funny as an entire episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Newton would probably have hung himself had he ever watched any of these videos, a friend of mine comments. Well, probably, yes, but I doubt if he himself could have suppressed a grin.
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
After the entire hullabaloo about tickets, packing and, lest we forget, grades, we eventually return home. We return expecting a royal welcome, complete with your favourite dish for dinner and a smile on your dad’s face that says, “You’ve done it, son!” Much to our chagrin, the reception is lukewarm, to say the least. The entire family sports an expression that says, “You again!” After the mandatory, “You’ve grown so thin! Don’t they feed you well?” you’re left to yourself, longing for the welcome that never was.
This time round, though, there was a twist in the tale. No, there was no warm welcome this time either. It’s just that, in my case, the return was overshadowed by the journey.
Though it may seem inconceivable to the guys who know me now, there were days in the not-so-long-past times when I used to read books that weren’t all from the shelf that read, 'fiction'. The epoch of the studious Abhishek started and ended in my twelfth grade, and it was on one fine day then, that I came across an interesting analogy in one of the books that I have not spared a glance since the day I set foot on R-land. The analogy went thus: Picture yourself traveling by a bus. Your destination is A, and to get there, you travel by a deluxe bus with every facility possible. However comfortable your journey is, your memories will always be of A, and the things you did there, and not of the bus journey. A, here, is analogous to the concepts of physics, while the deluxe bus corresponds to mathematics. (I know the analogy is absurd and irrelevant, but I just want to prove that, contradictory to common perception, I can act geeky too.)
The analogy set my rusting gray cells working. I could never think of a situation where the journey could eclipse the destination, until I actually experienced it. As I mentioned previously, I was heading home by the earliest possible train. The fact that I had The Incredible Bulk for company meant I was assured of entertainment, food (courtesy Indian Oil Corp.) and a ride back home from the railway station (courtesy Indian Oil Corp.).
The journey of a thousand miles began with a single step and a three hour delay. Trains do incredible things to you. For the first time in over a year, I was up by six in the morning, though I had to go back to sleep as I had forgotten to bring along my toothpaste tube and the Bulk was still fast asleep. Eventually, I managed to wake up by ten, and much to my dismay, The Bulk was still fast asleep. Frustrated, I shook him awake. He responded with, “Ass, I have an alarm” with the simultaneous thrusting forward of his phone, while his eyes still remained tightly shut. Be it Seat 11, Tamilnadu Express or S46, Rajendra Bhawan, this was one universal action- unaltered by time, weather or location.
The Bulk eventually woke up a tad past the stroke of noon, which meant I could finally relieve my mouth of the appalling stench that a dozen hours of sleep brought with them. With no sign of any interesting events or people in my compartment, I got back to reading the novel that I’d brought along. The lunch cart came, and went. So did Agra, Bhopal, Itarasi and sundry other stations I had never even heard of. The Bulk was behaving strangely, oops, that’s not something new, is it? Let’s just say, he was behaving in a strange manner that was different from the strange manner he usually behaves in. Was this the real Bulk or was it some solar-energy-dependent-alien masquerading as the Bulk? Come on, this was the Bulk. The slightest mention of anything remotely related to food should have made his digestive juices itch for action. Instead, here he was, engrossed in (of all magazines!) Lion, our institute magazine.
As we crossed the dreaded Chambal Valley, I gave up on the Bulk, and decided to work on Mission Food all by myself. India is one hungry country. Nothing turns us on as much or as well as food does. The picture of a typical Indian station is incomplete without a dozen food stalls on the platforms. Traveling by a train passing through twelve states is one hell of a gastronomic experience. Nothing unites India the way food does. Apart from trains, that is.
Nagpur brought with it shrill cries of ‘meedo-soan papdi’ and two Indian Oil employees desperately vying with each other to impress the Bulk. In their attempts to do so, they brought us some food as well. Hang on a second, did I say ‘some’ food? It was enough to feed half a compartment. Though it was delicious, we could barely finish one-fourth of it. Thankfully, India has no shortage of beggars, and on this occasion, it was an old, maimed lady who turned lucky.
Another good night’s sleep later, I woke up at 7AM sharp. There is a common belief downsouth that the first thing/person you see after waking up determines how your day will turn out to be. If it is true, I must have a hilarious time today. I woke up to the sight of the Bulk lifting up and down each of his suitcases, one after the other. “I’m practicing now, so that lifting them won’t be a problem once we reach Chennai” was his explanation. Who needs comedians when you have the Bulk? Chennai Central finally arrived and so did a Ford iKon with the Indian Oil Logo on its bumper. There are some things money can’t buy. For every thing else, there’s Indian Oil.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
No single person or event has contributed to our vocabularies as much as World War II has. From fascism to blitzkrieg, WWII jargons have become such an integral part of our vocabularies that we tend to forget their origin. However, many a noteworthy patois has remained lost in the ruck of such words. For me, two of them stand out- ‘little boy’ and ‘fat man’.
For some reason, the mention of these does not bring bombs to my mind. It reminds me of two entities I have known for quite some time, and yet, seem unfathomable to me. They are both quite similar to bombs; the only difference being that they are human (or so they claim). The two are a study in contrasts. The only common feature is that they both belong to an exclusive group of individuals, more commonly known as the Gang Of Geeks (GoG). Before going further into their respective characters, I should throw some light on certain concepts that one should be familiar with before analyzing these guys.
Allotropism, according to Morrison and Boyd, is the phenomenon by which an element exists in two or more forms, and more often than not interchanges reversibly from one form to the other under certain conditions. What has this got to do with the two specimens under analysis, you might ask. Though allotropism is generally exhibited only by elements, both these entities we discussed exhibit the phenomenon.
Take, for a start, Little Boy. He can be found in two allotropes- ‘giggle’ and ‘frenzied’. ‘Giggle’ mode, as the name suggests has each phrase prefixed and suffixed by a giggle. The topics he loves discussing include GoG, his grades, GoG, his professors, GoG, basketball and GoG. His favourite phrases include, “*giggle* GoG is *giggle* such a *giggle* cool group *giggle*” and, “*giggle* all my professors *giggle* love me *giggle*.” However, all his giggles are cut short by even the smallest of provocations, due to which he enters ‘frenzied’ mode. The frequently used phrases, in that mode, are too profane to be put up on a public portal such as this one.
Fat Man on the other hand exists in two avatars indistinguishable from each other, viz. ‘hungry’ and ‘very hungry’. His favourite phrase is “do you realize that,” though, the fact that uses it 493 times a day is something he doesn’t realize. Another interesting feature of Fat Man is that, though he never drinks, he sounds drunk after 8 everyday, and 8, here, refers to 8 AM. Fat Man-Little Boy confrontations are more entertaining than even an Indian Parliament Session, though they’re rarer. I was fortunate enough to overhear one such conversation the other day, and it was something of this sort:
FM: “HEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYY!!! There is a mosquito on your nose.”
LB: “*giggle* Why did that *giggle* need such a *giggle* huge ‘hey’ *giggle*?”
FM: “Ass! This place is full of mosquitoes. Do you realize that?”
LB: “This is what I hate the most about you guys. You just can’t stop cribbing. According to the Mosquito Manual, our institute has the lowest mosquito-to-student ratio in the country. In fact, GoG has……” (The lecture went on for another half an hour. (Un)fortunately, I fell asleep and missed the rest of it.)
Monday, 9 April 2007
There are some words in the English language whose origins seem to be more than just a mere coincidence. You get the feeling that the guys who created the words did so on purpose, in order to have a dig at whomsoever was concerned. Take the classic example of ‘board’- is it just a mere coincidence that it sounds uncannily similar to ‘bored’? I doubt it- the one who came up with the two words must have had a torrid time with his professors and must have come up with them to have a dig at his teachers and the words have remained in use long after his time. Why else do you think 'school' has a 'cool' in it while college has....err.....ummm.......'olleg', which is Swedish for 'nightmare.'
I was having a long chat with a friend of mine. He, like many of my other childhood friends, had mastered the art of impressing girls- the one thing that I’m worse at than even drawing (refer previous post). While discussing the tricks of the trade, he made a comment that it was all about being smart or something of that sort. I wanted to retort saying that it was just about acting mushy. I googled ‘mush’ with the hope of finding its ‘politically correct’ equivalent. And lo! It was then that I discovered this word that I certainly won’t forget for the rest of my life- bathetic.For me, it was love at first sight. What a word! It was easily the most beautiful word I’d come across (though that isn’t saying much, considering my limited vocabulary). It wasn’t because it sounded like an adjective for a person who loves bathing. And it was certainly not because it sounded similar to ‘pathet’, which is Sanskrit for a ‘really cool way to live.’ (If you aren’t a F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan, you don’t deserve to live.) Move over Einstein, the guy who came up with ‘bathetic’ is the greatest genius to have set foot on this planet of ours. It’s just one word and yet, it conveys so much- you call the guy mushy and pathetic at the same time.
Studying in an all-boys school has been a huge handicap for me. Impressing girls is something I just cannot do now. Let us face it- all said and done, impressing girls is all about satiating their gigantic egos by saying the right stuff (read ‘mushy crap’) at the right time. This is something I am terrible at. (I was about to use a more ‘politically incorrect’ term for this, but well, I guess I’m finally catching up.) The other day I was talking to a girl with the sole intention of flirting with her. She was bragging about her new Limited Edition Avril Lavigne DVD (?!?!?!), for which she had shelled out fifteen hundred bucks. Any Casanova would have advised me to say something on the lines of ‘how lovely’ or ‘can I borrow it?’ or better still, just shut up. However, at that very moment, the DAVian in me took over, and I found myself saying, “What an utter waste!”
It is at moments like these that I regret my un-bathetic (grammatical error admitted and regretted) nature. However, one look at my neighbour’s poem to his girlfriend (“Roses are red, violets are blue…..”) is enough to make me take back my statement. How bathetic!
Thursday, 5 April 2007
There are times when you start wondering how you qualified as Homo sapiens in the first place. We all confront such situations day in and day out- during exams, when two IMG geeks get started on LINUX, and of course, at least for the elite gang that cannot ‘visualize’ stuff for nuts (which happens to be headed by me), during MD practical sessions. Like almost every other class, MD (short for machine drawing) classes are predictable, the only difference being that you can’t even take a nap. It starts with a session of blank stares at the labyrinthian diagrams in the sheet, hoping against hope that Einstein hadn’t died decades ago and would come to your rescue that very moment. This session seldom lasts over ten minutes, except during the week immediately after the Mid Sems, when we make (and subsequently break) resolutions to ghiss for an hour a day, never taapo (IITian for copying blindly) tutorials and so on and so forth. I finally come to terms with the fact that MD was never meant to be understood by subhuman minds like mine, and find solace in Snake, the once-ubiquitous mobile game, delighted that there are things in the world that make sense even to me. After an hour of furious gaming, I copy the nearby ghissu’s (IITian for nerd) sheet without the slightest clue about sections, projections or……sorry, I don’t know any more MD jargons. Does ‘snake’ count as one?
PS: Just for the record, this crap was also written during an MD session, when I’d got bored of snake.
Thursday, 22 March 2007
There are (n-1) blogs on the web with bloggers prattling on day in and day out on how their day turned out. Unfortunately, this is one thing I just can’t do even if I wanted to for the simple reason that every single day in my life is pretty much like the one preceding it.
My day starts at 7.50, which is quite late considering the fact that classes start at 8, and after a quick brush and an occasional bath, I’m off to the mess in less than 8 minutes. One look at the menu is all it takes to make me skip yet another meal. That’s one of the few good things about our mess- it doesn’t let you waste time on trivial stuff like eating. The cycle journey to the lecture hall is a cumbersome task made even tougher by the steep slopes which make you jealous of the guys on the Tour de France. They get paid millions for doing the same task that you do everyday without reward, unless you could call a couple of boring lectures ‘incentives.’I make the most of my lectures to catch up with all the sleep I’d lost due to the midnight footy games and bakar (translation: chitchat)-sessions. The entire afternoon winds on in the same fashion, with the only intermission coming in the form of a lunch break, which isn’t something I look forward to either thanks to the exciting mess menu, which consists of aloo, aloo and more aloo (translation: potato).
For some reason, from time immemorial, sunrise has symbolized hope and sunset, the end of all joy. In my case it’s the exact opposite though, as, to me, dawn symbolizes lectures and dusk, football. After two hours of football, I return to my room, determined to study for at least an hour. Before I’ve read even a single page, I’m informed that there’s a bakar session in some adjacent room and as usual, I’m only too eager to join.
Considering the fact that I never sleep before 3, you might make the mistake of thinking that I must be having enough time to study, despite the footy and bakar sessions. Well, I don’t, though I myself don’t know why.
To quote Ronald Reagan, "hard work has never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
However, the greatest problem I’ve faced as a maddu in non-madduland is my knowledge of Hindi, or rather, the lack of it. Even simple sentences like, "bhaiya, do samose" in my maddu-accented Hindi are enough to have my batch-mates in splits. The Hindi problem is mutual- I don’t understand their Hindi, and they don’t understand my……well, can I call it Hindi? Hindi numbers are one thing I’m confident I’ll never manage to master all my life. Why can’t they have some amount of logic behind them? Why do they have to be as absurd as they are? Well, had they not been absurd, they probably wouldn’t have been Hindi. What else can you expect from the language in which a chair is female, whereas a table is masculine? (Okay, I know I’m going to get killed for writing this. Cops! In case I’m found dead, my murderer will, in all probability, be a guy from F47, F42, S46 or G54.)
But being a maddu has it’s advantages as well. While my less fortunate counterparts from other parts of the country shuddered at the thought of leaving RJB during the ragging season, I didn’t have to fret about any such thing. I never bothered about following the ‘dress code’ either. I had a secret weapon to hold off seniors. Every time a senior came up to me with orders like, ‘intro de’ and ‘dress code pata nahin hai kya’, I put on a blank expression and said, "I’m from Chennai. I don’t know Hindi." in the most pronounced maddu accent I could manage. Either due to my poor Hindi or his poor English, or a combination of both, I was left scot-free every single time.
Eight months have passed since my arrival here. I have stopped looking desperately at the calendar and counting the number of days I would have to survive before I could get home. Even my roomie has finally stopped recording my Hindi. At long last, I think I have become an IITR-ian in the true sense. I’ve been proven wrong by my canteen guy though, who’s telling me that I owe him ‘unathis rupaye.’ That’s thirty nine bucks, right?
Once upon a time (talk about cliches!) in Crow-Asia, there existed two provinces- Cawland and Bawland, ruled by the short-tempered Caw and the Machiavellian Baw respectively. Despite their fierce rivalry in all fields (there was an annual Crow-lympics held between the two provinces), the two regions coexisted peacefully. While Cawland was rich in grains, Bawland was blessed with millions of mice, and hence, the two nations signed (with their beaks?) an MoU according to which Cawland would receive 800 mice, in return for 100kgs of grains. The trade flourished amicably, until one fateful Sunday.
Cawland had exported their due share, but in return, they had received only 798 mice. Caw was aghast. Being the brusque person that he was, he immediately declared war on Bawland.
The war went on for years. The two sides seemed evenly matched in every manner. Just then, Baw used his cunning, and made the Commander-in-Chief of Cawland betray his country by offering him lifelong supply of the finest mice in Bawland.
The Commander fell for the trap. Cawland was conquered and Caw imprisoned. After a trial, he was given the worst punishment a crow could possibly get----- he was fed to humans.
Caw had been a mighty ruler and a legend in his own right. yet, he met a disgraceful end because he lost his temper over the absence of a couple of mice. That is why, when crows see humans quarreling over the most frivolous of issues, they sing, ''Caw, caw" to remind us of the fate of Caw. Will we ever learn from the song of the crow?
When does one start missing home? Is it when they miss the people, the familiarity, the actual buildings and houses that give structure to the memories? Or is it simply a fear of further adjustment and change? I can't say I miss home, I wouldn't consider myself homesick. I miss people of course, I miss little things about Chennai such as the dosas, marina, and footy matches. I think about the people, my family, my friends and classmates all of whom have made little niches for themselves in my heart and mind. It's sad not to share things with them anymore, and all the while I'm carving new niches for new friends who will be equally hard to leave in a few years. And when does a friendship grow to be strong enough to support something of this great magnitude, the distance and the pain because of the distance? Who do you keep in touch with, who do you choose to remain a part of your life. How far can an email go to maintaining a friendship? How deep is deep enough and how long is long enough? When is the trust built strong enough to share these feelings with people around you? When all you really need is a hug and a pat on the back, who do you turn to when your entire world is new and you're simply trying to remember what brought you to this place in life? It's times like these you look inside to memories to keep you happy, you look to new friends for renewing laughter and you look at yourself for the strength to keep it together when everything may simply fall apart. It takes a different kind of strength, a different kind of trust, a different kind of patience, to do what, I'm not sure, but all I can tell you is that it is different. It just feels different. No one said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it. They were right, they are right, it is beyond worth it. I wouldn't change it for the world - because right now, I already have the world. And the fact that it isn't easy rarely crosses my mind, I'm too busy making it all worth it.