Thursday, 20 December 2007


The darkest hour is just before dawn, it is said. After the draconian head of academics was dealt with (at least temporarily) the winter holidays are here and things have finally brightened up, and how! Nothing, it seems, can go wrong. A phone call to any of my batch-mates enquiring my GPA for the semester that passed is all it will take to dampen my spirits, but why bother? College begins in about two weeks’ time, and at least until then, I want to remain in Lady Luck’s good books (or at least believe that I still am).

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

Testing Times

Fate has this annoying habit of laying out situations upholding Murphy’s Law just when you least want it to. Case in point: the last ten days of my life. Every time I thought things just couldn’t get worse, they actually did. There have been so many lows, I just can’t seem to pick one situation that I could call the lowest of the lows. That being the case, it was quite tough picking a topic for my new post (which, I hope, explains the hiatus.). But for sheer hilarity, one of them stands out.

‘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?”