Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Wor(l)d War II

DISCLAIMER: All characters and events in this article are based on real people. Any resemblance to any person, dead or alive, is purely intentional.

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

Mush Matters

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.