Thursday, 22 March 2007

Y.A.W.N (Yet Another Wanton Night)

DISCLAIMER: The title of this article refers to the archaic form of the word ‘wanton.’ The author does not take responsibility for any misinterpretations, vulgar or otherwise.

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

It's a Mad(du) World

"Why did you come here?" "Why didn’t you go to IIT Madras?" "Do you celebrate Diwali down south?" "Have you watched a Hindi movie before?" "This must be the first time you’re tasting a roti, right?" "Do you know who Shah Rukh Khan is?" These are just a few of the innumerable annoying questions I had to dodge on my arrival at IIT Roorkee for committing the crime of being born a maddu (for the non-IIT junta, that’s short for madrasi.). I was seriously contemplating responding with something on the lines of, "For God’s sake, I’m from South India. Not from South Antarctica!" But I never mustered the courage to do so, and hence, the questions kept coming.

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?

Song of the Crow

DISCLAIMER: This is the work of a 13 year old guy, with whom I have nothing in common except for the name, and though I know that this thing is utter crap, it holds a special place in my heart for sentimental reasons. Any criticism of this piece shall lead to dire consequences.

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?

Contemplations of a Homesick Soul

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.