Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Last Stand

Destiny has joined the ranks of God, milk chocolate and Cristiano Ronaldo in the elite list of things I can't make up my mind about. Far too often have I seen the plans and schemes of men go up in flames without rhyme or reason. I suppose life's course is determined more by the choices we don't get to make than the ones we do.

For the first time in a while, I went to the Ganga Canteen for a snack today. Friends and acquaintances from the gaon were greeted with 'what-ho's' and smiles. Respectively. Somewhere during the drill, a batch-mate was kind enough to point out that the trip might just as well be my last. I have reached that stage in the life of an R-Lander, I suppose. A glass of Ice Tea, a game of football, a walk in the rain- just about anything I do seems to make me wonder if Fate has another round written against my name.

I am eight hours away from my last end-sem as a student of Electrical Engineering. A wiser man would probably have hit the books ages ago, but the occasion is one that ought to be savoured, I decide, and take a jaunt down memory lane instead. Barring a miracle in CAT 2011 (or 2012, for that matter), this will be the last test I will be sitting through for some time to come. Hardly something I'll miss too sorely, of course, but this will also mark, in more ways than one, the end of the road, to borrow a phrase from this wonderful song.    

Times like these almost invariably make me relive that fateful day four years ago when a series of curious coincidences saw Electrical-Roorkee make that all-important leap over Engineering Physics-Mumbai on my preferrence list.  

'To think, all this was so close to never happening. This life was so close to never happening.' 

Sunday, 2 May 2010


It rained last night, albeit briefly. I possess what I am told is the quintessential Cancarian temperament- a susceptibility to mood swings and momentary lapses of reason. There are days when I am all sunshine and laughter and then there are others when my irritability tires even me out. Nothing reverts me to my cheery best as unfailingly as the rains- a consequence, presumably, of spending four long years in water lorry-infested Chennai. 

I woke up this morning promptly at the stroke of eight, defiantly resisting the ever-alluring alternative of the snooze button. The smell of wet earth still lingered in the air. Petrichor, I think, is the word for it. For once, I remembered to pour coffee powder into my filter (Yes, thank you PPT) just before I went to sleep. I set off for the mess, pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a reasonably edible meal of Maggi and corn flakes. Perfection, as one Chandler Muriel Bing would have put it. 

And that precise moment was when any semblance of normalcy disappeared from my daily rote. As the rest of the world set off for departments and laboratories far and wide, I was confronted by that one question I have faced far too often this semester- 'now what?'

4-2, for the uninitiated, is the master-plan of the R-Land administration whereby students are put through four months of mind-numbing inactivity in an attempt to set right the sham that thesis projects have now become. The reasoning, presumably, is that students will eventually tire of stalking people on Facebook and will find the idea of a project appealing. Sound enough. The scheme, however, overlooks the one thing mankind can never have too much of- sleep.

For the fourth time this week, I sit down with a copy of Gone With The Wind, determined to do Ms. Mitchell justice this time around. The effort lasts all of forty three minutes, seven more than my last attempt. Mrs. Dalloway waits on my bookshelf, as do Freedom at Midnight and The Brothers Karamazov. My head, however, sinks into that familiar depression in my pillow, as I gradually give in to the whims of Lady Slumber. The clock on my bedside table reads 9.22 AM.