Archive for the ‘All about Me’ Category
I spent the better part of my week promenading the City of Krowsville*. No, not the pub capital of India (or was it Asia?). Nor the symbol of the nation’s faith in the future. Nay, I was in the Kapital resting my backside in the humble abode (in his own words) of the Mallu Panjabi, to whom I owe my heartfelt gratitude. The most productive aspect of my sojourn was discerning that despite the bravado that he exudes and the numbers that he readily provides about his Punjabi comrades, the fact remains that the MP is all avial, and hardly any sarson ka saag. More so than even he would like to believe himself. But this post is not a chronicle of MP’s Hefner-esque lifestyle, and as envious I may be of him, I divagate to return to Krowsville. Legend has it that once when Akbar posed a conundrum to his courtiers asking about the number of crows in K-ville, the ever-so-astute Birbal promptly retorted, “Your majesty, there are exactly forty two thousand crows in K-ville”. Birbal seems to have missed a zero at the end. Or two.
I strongly believe that, God, weary of six days of arduous labour, decided to give the seventh day a miss, thereby making seven the magically most indolent number. As he was resting, he saw a bunch of aunties roaming around in oversized shades, and conversing in an accent even he couldn’t fathom. Impressed by their demeanor, and mindful of their esotericity, God in his usual benevolence uttered, “Let there be a place teeming with such elite individuals, abounding with beauty and kindness. This place shall be known as Krowsville”, creating what we call today our national capital. This is why Krowsville is so affluent, be it the magniloquence of the people, or the resplendent beauty it provides to the beholder. Wise men proclaim that there are two sides to every bed. Krowsville-ites unfortunately have heard of only one, the wrong-side.
Yet, even the sharpest critic of Krowsville cannot but laud the sheer impeccability of the Krowsville metro and amount of foresight that must have gone into its construction. Madame Diskhit, a self-confessed fan of the inimitable Mallu accent, decided to call a 75-yer old Keralite out of retirement just so that she could sit back and laugh at the accent in press conferences. All was well with the world, till some guy pissed the above-mentioned Mallu off. Deciding to punish every single male on the face of the city, the Mallu engineer created a separate cabin for women in the Metro. The rest as they say is history. Deprived of my primary metro sport and what is probably the national male pastime, of bird-watching, I decided to turn to my secondary avocation. No, not guy watching but the lost art of observation. Observing people always gives me kicks. Paraphrasing Al Pacino, “Big ones, small ones, stupid ones, scratchy ones”; I’m not too sure if god was a fricking genius, but he sure did have a good sense of humour. The Krowsville metro reminds me of Lord of the Rings, and middle earth in general. There is always a venerable dude with a “Fly you fools!” expression on his countenance. A slovenly, shaggy fellow flirting with a fair maiden (Yes, in all probability the only lady in the cabin), a couple of blokes shivering as if they are on their way to Mordor and a short, fat, belligerent man. Of course, the rest of the cabin can be divided into goblins and orcs, who get into a brawl every time the door opens.
In the interest of safety of the few people who do read my blog, here are some general guidelines for the Krowsville Metro.
1) Keep your hands in your pockets all the time. You’ll appear suave and worldly to the few female passengers inhabiting the cabin. More importantly, you won’t get pickpocketed
2) Sit or stand next to someone who is on the phone or is messaging furiously. Eavesdropping is an excellent source of amusement. In fact, I was sitting next to a guy on the phone with some girl and he kept me entertained from Kashmere Gate till Gurgaon. Overheard:
“Yaar, just because he said so, why did you remove me from your friends on facebook? This is just not fare yaar!”
3) Twitch your face to act as if you are in great pain, or constipating. It’s hard to tell the difference but at least people won’t come anywhere near you.
1) Keep your hands in your pockets all the time. People will know you have something valuable in there.
2) Give up your seat to the single ladies who enter the general cabin. It’s like encouraging begging really. The more you give, the more you’ll find.
3) Offer to play with babies or little kids. Before you know it, they’ll have peed all over you. Or worse.
But that’s enough cribbing about Krowsville. In other news, Ricky Pointing is a rich, rich man, my old school cricket coach has invited the West Indian board for an 3-ODI away series, Saina Nehwal has left her lucrative Squash career in order to patent her new discovery – oil which ain’t oily and oh, I seem to have achieved something big. Or at least, so enunciate the myriad congratulatory messages on my wall. For some inexplicable reason, I find the nomenclature “Wall” extremely comic, not that “Scrapbook” betrays any superior intellect. “Writing on Walls” – as Chandler would say “Come on! Surely, that’s got to be funny”. But I digress. Anyone afflicted with facebookerlust stumbling on to the aforementioned wall would mostly assume I am getting married this weekend, glimpsing at the sheer deluge of laudatory posts. Nothing succeeds like success, it seems. Strange are the ways of people. Stranger, the ways of the Social Networking clan. The reclusion has begun.
I am not exactly a bibliophile nor does my done-reading list come anywhere close to that of the few abstruse nerds this place has introduced me to. And yet, there is something about holding the papyrus and savouring words that can bring cheer to even the most despondent of aortic pumps. Combine this with the 20% discount that Midlands offers and you have all the makings of a sweet dream. Thank you Messrs. Rajaraman and Mateen and wishing my (non-existent) readers all the very best for the upcoming test series.
*For the uninitiated, the word krow is also known as “Peter” in some dialects and “Show-off”/”Pretentious Moron” in the queen’s tongue.
T’was, if my memory serves me right, the fall of ’00. Fall of course being a misnomer as far as Chennai is concerned. Despite senescence stripping from my memory most joys experienced as a kid, vague recollections indicate in ways more than one that I was in fact the rockstar of fifth standard C section. I had fulfilled the ultimate fantasy of many a fifth grader. I was in possession of a box full of Imation’s very best, 3.5 inch magnetic drives better known as floppy disks. That year saw my fame flirt with hitherto unseen levels. I had it all, the setup of QBasic obtained by coaxing the computer teacher, DOOM, Alladin, a million other DOS games, and virtually anything and everything that could fit under 1.4MB (Oh wait, I had the split software as well). My time at the top though, was extremely short-lived. Imation started manufacturing CDs and the morons who called themselves my classmates soon discovered that 700 is metaphorically a million multiplied with 1.4. I painfully watched the blessed ones burn their way to the top, literally! I was at their mercy, for Claw, for Visual Basic and mp3 files which had by then gained prominence. I patiently bid my time. Revenge, I promised myself, would be sweet.
2006, a million RAM and motherboard failures later, we decided to go for one of those sleek new AMD Athlons. I was a man with a vision. Nothing less than a DWD RW +- would satiate my hunger, I growled. “Smart young man”, the chap who helped us assemble the system patronized, with sarcastic undertones that went totally over my head. 4.7GB was still a lot. I even bought a DVD RW with a friend, promising to update it with the latest software, a geek repository of sorts. Blinded by the constant burning, I was totally underprepared for the USB revolution that would follow. ‘Flash’y drives, no bigger than my own thumb had pied pipered my entire school. After that, I could never catch up; always two steps behind. My own 4GB pendrives became obsolete as the world oohed and aahed at those portable hard disks. 320GB, they claimed. More space than you could ever hope for, inside your palm. The following summers were filled with woes, and vows. I digress.
This summer was memorable in more ways than I myself could have ever imagined. Unlike the Pahadi Shutterbug, the sole purpose of whose internship was to return with a few million photographs, I do not have the fortune of sepia to relive my summer. No relics but for two Digital Versatile Discs with tales from a galaxy far, far away. This summer, I also treated myself to a Seagate Freeagent Hard drive. 1TB (931GB to be precise) of zeroes and ones shall fill my precious. And very soon, I shall once again be in vogue. Life comes a full circle.
P.S: I know that 2TB hard drives are commonplace nowadays but what the hell, Bill Gates once said
640K ought to be enough for anybody
The very best of mankind’s creations have one thing in common – they have all been inspired by nature. Even nine year olds know how the avians inspired us to build the airplane, someone wiser about how owls led to the bullet train and an elite few as to how Jar Jar Binks was probably inspired by Lucas himself. Biomimetics is just a fancy term for one of the few things we are actually good at, reinventing the wheel. In this light, the thought of modeling network traffic along the lines of swarm behaviour no longer seems a ludicrous thought. But of course as is always the case, revolutionary ideas take a backseat in lieu of other pressing issues, namely a few lines of code and a report. Research, I’ve realized is pretty much the same everywhere. Just when you start making progress, someone else publishes a paper superseding yours and you get to take out all your frustration on the gullible B.Techs. Can’t wait for my postgrad really!
An uncanny love for faltoo facts and arbitrary capitalization (refer to the title) made sure I was never popular company on the net or off it. I’ve been endlessly chastised and termed useless but did you know that the word gymnasium is derived from the combining form gymno-, meaning nude or bare (in ancient Greece, they did train with nothing on). Any networks guy is bound to be fascinated by torrents, in my humble opinion one of the greatest innovations of this decade. There’s everything and voila, there’s nothing! But having discovered their true potential only this summer, I am in the words of a wise person ‘A child, just learning to walk for the first time’. Torrents are also a voyeur’s dream. A world where you can IP-search and kick out your peers just for the heck of it. Last I checked, a random Korean was leeching a Rajinikanth movie off me. And then there’s a certain linux distro ironically named humanity. Ubuntu keeps chucking more problems at me than life itself and yet there is something so alluring about the terminal. She’s not the hot girl you fantasize about, nor the one who keeps hitting on you. She’s the quintessential girl next door; the more you talk to her, the more you realize she’s awesome. And you’re probably going to end up marrying her. sudo get me a life.
My daily schedule leaves nothing to imagination. Hot chocolate in the morning followed by a session with the president on issues of national importance, some tips to Xavi and co on how to improve their passing and research during the rest of my time. Publishing papers by the morning and hot girls swooning over me in the nights, nuff said… All that in a different universe though. In this world, I just have coffee, savour the kannadiga’s greatest contribution to mankind, some more coffee, hone my LaTeXing skills and go back to sleep. A life-changing decision this summer notwithstanding, no points for guessing that it is this universe I prefer. I guess everyone has to go through the stage where they wonder whether they would have been better off with the blue pill. Though I guess it would hurt less if all you can see is code and have a kick-ass (literally) girlfriend to boot and oh, you get to smooch Monica Bellucci as well. I digress. A thousand splendid ideas and here I am just where I started. Perhaps I need a break. Maybe I need one of those pensieves. Maybe I need a hard kick. Maybe, May be, I just need more coffee. All is well with the world.
I vividly recollect being sentenced to the gallows long, long ago for excessive usage of abusive language. (I also recollect furiously searching the dictionary under “O” for “obusive”, but that story I shall save for another time.) Yes, I had the makings of an epic badass way back in grade six. My favourite maths teacher (no doubt with the help of complex integrals and transforms) somehow decided that my constant references to the canine family were responsible for global disasters ranging from my 99 in the mathematics examination to stock market crashes to even Thalaiva’s only failure in the past two decades. It wouldn’t have taken me long to establish the merit of dogs and their ilk in a Big fight-isque scenario presided by the likes of Ms.Dutt, but as Murphy would have it, the news reached my folks and the rest as they say is history. Metaphorical aeons later, I found myself in the company of a few good men who were bent on proving that words other than the four-lettered one could be recycled and used as Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, etc. From Mothers and Sisters to Brothers-in-law to private body parts, nothing was spared in their ruthless endeavour to establish the might of desi expletives. The perpetrators always have the “It’s nothing personal, just good business” line in their defense but as Michael Corleone rightly pointed out to Hagan, “In this business, everything is personal”.
I’m not too sure I recall the time when the word “high” only meant flying on a jetplane. One of the few things I do recollect about aeroplanes is that the odd shape of the wings leads to the development of a pressure difference which in turn provides an aerodynamic lifting force. But I digress. I grew up in a society where a drunkard was always a bad man, where the cine villains always “high” and mighty (at least in the 90s, never mind the new age hero) and where an alcoholic was always a failure in life. It didn’t really help that my family went one extra step and labeled alcohol as “bad tonic” in Kannada; it was always referred to as “ketta aushadha” in family circles. Two years, some old and many new friends later, iconoclastic virtues have all been shed in favour of pragmatism. Hearing about the drunken revelry of an old chum hardly shatters any more glass, nor does being in the company of alcoholics anonymous. While the very thought of a period where I would have no control over my own actions is mortifying, the idea of cheap fun at the expense of an inebriated soul does seem tempting. The comparison between Churchill and Hitler is stuff of lore, and yet it raises pertinent questions about judging of character.
We at Morons Inc. have some inexplicable fascination for the world’s oldest profession. Before you get the wrong idea, this particular topic happens to be our stark favourite during debates and GDs, whose sole purpose as far as I can comprehend is to project the image of a group which is vela enough to discuss such issues of national importance. Two years and a million opinions later, I still don’t have an opinion. “Why do you care when the ones doing it don’t seem to themselves”, I had once argued just for the sake of giving the appearance of an intellectual. Inconsequential as it may seem to most, I have spent many a sleepless night pondering over the root concepts of good and bad. I have always had a bad habit of passing judgment on people. The guy who copies, the one who proudly pronounces himself to be another, and ironically one who is not as fluent as myself in the world’s most important language and yet might be infinitely more intelligent. As perverted as this may make me seem, what is the crime in flaunting one’s (god-given or sugery-given) assets to get things done in your favour? Any publicity is after all, good publicity.
An ardent devotee of elegance, I’ve always been smitten by dichotomy than taxonomy in general (though I’m sure some smartass would like to argue that dichotomy is merely a special case of taxonomy). Yin and Yang, Jedi and Sith, 0 and 1, nature has hinted to us in more than a million ways that there is no more to the world than a lazy scientist’s third law. Electronics has a taught me a simple way to classify signals; anything less than 0.5 V belongs to “Logical LOW” and greater, “Logical HIGH”. Till a while back, I used to apply the same to life. My NCERT-ish definition, “Anyone who does not indulge in activities that harm others or the society in general is a good person” once used to satisfy the thinker deep inside. I’m not too sure now. 16 Mutual Friends on facebook would probably agree with me. Any organizational setting has to exist in a framework of rules for its own sustenance. But at the same time, mere lack of conformity to social guidelines does not a bad person make. As corny as this may sound, and as much as I would not like to end a so-called profound post with this, when it is time to pass judgements, the judge would probably end up becoming mental.
There are two kinds of people – those who know binary and those who don’t. Neighbours however, belong to the third breed, those who make you ponder about the reason why the human race exists in the first place. These 42 days in Ajaad (approximation is one of the quintessential qualities of an engineer) amongst the finest postgraduates our nation has to offer has added many new dimensions to the word “neighbourly”.
As a tribute to these fine, young gentlemen (PC demands), I present ten innovative ways to shower affection on your wingmates and continue maintaining the good relations you’ve built. Guaranteed to have your neighbours squealing with delight.
(in no particular order)
1. Meet the Smokers
“Sutta na mila” is a farce, period. The swine flu prevention mask that you bought has finally found some use, albeit for something completely different; wearing it inside your room prevents asthma (Pre-Order your chocolate flavoured mask today!). The flipside is that the various cigarettes scattered around double as a good tool for brand identification/equity (thanks to which we stood second in the legendary shARE quiz).
2. Keep it “Brief”
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s just the neighborhood chuddi-maan! In the lineage of Marvel and DC’s crimebusters who wore their underwear over their pants, comes the omnipresent undie-man, who errr….chooses to wear only his underwear and roam about. Never has a single man evoked such a plethora of reactions – inspiration, disgust, amusement and (rarely) indifference. Though “Come on ra, it’s only a boys hostel” can be used to his defence, you have to take into account the opinion of two horny southies who exclaim with anguish, “I can accept the boxers but wearing V-cut chuddies all the time is ridiculous”.
3. Loved, Louder
Now, before you mistake the benign souls who play loud music on their 5.1 surround speakers, let me explain. These gentlemen only wish to provide free entertainment to the entire wing (or sometimes, the whole hostel) and what better way than Backstreet Boys and Pritam Chakraborty. Altruism knoweth no bounds.
4. What the Flush
Recent studies indicate that pressing the flush after you are done requires an average of 35.42J of energy. Blaming the folks who do not use the flush is incorrect as they are merely following the principle of conservation of energy. A wise man once said, “It is understandable if people forget to use the taps above the urinals but…………………………..” you get the picture, don’t you?
I am totally flus(h)tered.
5. Maddus are from Mars and Haddus are from Pluto
If you ever thought all those residing south of the Vindhyas were similar, think again! Apologies to my Haddu Brethren, but when you’ve grown up on Illayaraja’s and ARR’s very best and end up hearing the same in another language, it is but natural to curse the entire gult cult. During an I’m-missing-maddu-land phase of life, “Anjalu Anjaloo” is probably the last thing you want to hear. Had it not been for S.P.B’s divine baritone, I would have probably gone mad by now.
6. Election Manifrustos
“Do you mind, if I stick a ‘Vote for Ajay Mishra (that’s me)’ poster on your door”. “Hi. I am standing for mess secy. Please get me atleast 40-50 votes from your batchmates”. “Food is neither B.Tech nor M.Tech, so I am counting on you to get all B.Tech votes”. Nuff said.
One reason to welcome Azad’s banning the elixir of those who swear by, “I drink, therefore I am”. In adherence to nature’s fundamental law of “What goes in has to come out”, the Bevdaa brigade once decided to defile the bathroom after their endeavours at sea. The result being no one in the wing was able to have a bath for the next few days.
8. Moan(a) Lisa
Moaning Myrtle’s got competition. Introducing Moan(a) Lisa, based on a true story. Not so long ago, in a galaxy close to the gaon, existed a particular room which emanated all sorts of noises. Moans, Shrieks, Wails, howls, you name it, they were all there in their full acoustic glory. Legend also has it the intensity of the sounds was inversely proportional to the distance from the nearest TS. Considering it was a double room, the lesser said, the better!
9. Read my blaag
Blaaaagging it seems, is the latest fad in the insti. Though not that common a grouch, “go read my latest blog post and make sure you comment” has become more of a command than a request. Inspirations are plenty though, especially when your neighbour’s blog is reassuringly titled “Change”. Obama, watch out!
10. Hairy Potter and the basin of hairyness
Tolkien would have probably said, “One day the hirsute shall rule the world”. Rajinikanth opines in Thillu Mullu, “Moustache is the mirror of the heart”. Neither of these however, can justify the presence of hair in the washbasin every single time. Do we need any more reasons to introduce TM-101 (Toilet Manners) as a compulsory course.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead (especially those residing in Azad’s fifth wing) is purely co-incidental.
Posht Script: In Steven Tyler’s wise words, “All the things you do come back to you”. By this very logic, one can expect the aforementioned gentlemen to be blogging about a little chronophilic rat in their midst. Do keep tuning in to “Change”, ‘the unofficial pipth wing ka blog’ for further updates.
It is that familiar time of the year again, when every group family on campus worth its aloo-subzi hyperactively initiates its annual family planning ritual. It was however during a completely different and predominantly enterprising endaevour that I found myself back in Fort knox, the only difference being that I was now the hunter. The smell of fresh meat pervaded the atmosphere, being on this side of the table was sure going to be fun, such sadistic pleasures came to foreplay. *Pop (goes the weasel).. These “confident, interesting, outgoing <insert cliched term used by freshers to describe themselves>” people burst my bubble by prefixing, suffixing and affixing every possible statement by three irritating letters Sir(jee?). Being a firm believer in the philosophy that “Respect should be commanded and not demanded”, this is one thing about R that had always irked me. Yet never had reality hit me this hard; whoever said “giving is better than receiving”, sure wasn’t kidding. “I’m just 18 for christ’s sake, not any older than you, and in all probability no smarter either”, I wanted to scream out loud, but the morons’ adulation for me knew no bounds. Before I knew it, sirs were being hurled at me left, right and centre. The I-was-just-waiting-for-this paranoia of being too old soon started knocking my door.
19 years on and Senescence still remains one of the more arcane elements of life. Perhaps it is the Almighty’s own divine way of saying with panache, “Screw you… I’m the maaaan”. As I enter my last year of teenage-dom (Or have I already crossed it? The 19 completed, 20 running thingy always confuses me), the metaphorical difference between 19 and 20 has never been so apparent. I shall soon embark on the journey that from the land of the young to that of the young-at-heart, while the clock (relentlessly) ticks life away. As the all-encompassing 21.2 looms large, I seek solace in Mathematics. If there exists an average, then clearly the set must contain ATLEAST one element below the average and I consider myself to be the chosen one.
One fine day when I’m 63 (which FYI is 42+21), I shall be regaling my grandkids with glorious tales surrounding mah heroism – my romantic escapades, innumerable concubines, jostles with the templar knights, revelling in my imagination. And then my second childhood shall set in.
But it’s not the bard’s magical words which ring in my mind but a classy one-liner from a even classier maddu song, “Jalsa” (Do download it. It’s worth the effort, I promise you).
Irukara varikum anubavikka ilamayae yethukko da
(Learn to accept youth till it lasts)
Happy Birthday, bah, a poor excuse to pick a man’s pocket every year.
P.S: *bows to Freddie. You are a legend.
P.P.S: Happy Birthday rapu-ra!
If signs could kill, this could have as well been classified as manslaughter. Right from the seating, (5 rows from the screen, it could have been a 3D movie for all practical purposes) to the terrible reviews, nothing seemed right about the film adaption of one of my favourite works of fiction. To add to the misery, The Hindu’s, “You are better off reading the book” and Mr.Rajeev Wannabee-Sarcastic Masand’s two on five still lingered in our minds as we entered one of the city’s coveted theatres feeling like Harry Potter after a meeting with a dementor.
And guess what, the state of expectations tending to zero actually helped our cause. The age old trick of an open mind did make the movie quite an enjoyable experience. Ofcourse, this won’t go down in my all-time-list but atleast it has the honour of not gracing the “Rotten Tomatoes” either. The movie is no way even half as gripping as the book but then again comparisons are unfair because as a wise man once said, “A book is a book is a book”! Moreover, compacting Dan Brown’s gargantuan blend of fact and fiction into a two hour movie is no mean feat and Ron Howard has to be appreciated for his half-decent effort. The subtle yet observable differences between the book and movie while might irritate some die hard Dan Brownians, does lend some credibility and originality to an otherwise predictable movie.
Most conspicuous in the movie is lack of strong individual performances. Weird hairstyles and in-emotiveness notwithstanding, Tom Hanks has clearly done a better job than Da Vinci Code. But yet, coming from the same actor who stole the show in Forrest Gump, his performance leaves a lot to be desired. Vittoria Vetra would probably be better off as Langdon’s pet dog. The strong independent young lady portrayed in the book is replaced by an anxious scientist who prefers flirting with Langdon all the time apart from displaying a newfound interest in Christian history. Sadly, she isn’t eye-candy either. The assassin, one of my favourite characters in the book is non-existant. His brutal flamboyance is sadly missing, instead in his place we have a bespectacled joker who only follows his unknown master’s instructions.
The show however, belonged to Ewan McGregor. Obi-Wan Kenobi returns in a new avatar to stun the audience with a performance par excellence making full use of the Camerlengo carefully sketched by Brown. Comparisons to Ledger may seem inevitable. While he may not win an Oscar for his role, he is without a doubt the Man of the match.
Overall, I wouldn’t go as far as to call the movie a “must-watch”. If haven’t read the book, then don’t ruin your life by watching the movie first. If you have and are suffering from the “Extreme Velaness Disorder” (read as jobless), then give it a shot. If you aren’t vela, but are a Dan Brown fan, you shouldn’t miss it either. Either ways, you’d probably be better off watching this Hanks rather than his son in that awful excuse for a movie.
My rating – 3/5