Monday, 3 November 2008

I am a Walk-Sleeper - The Thomso Report

It's not often, even by Rke's slack standards, that a bloke gets 2 holidays in a row; first an unbearable 2 weeks and then another. Spice it up with a couple of Tests and a Thomso in the middle, and I begin to wonder who made the academic calendar... During the first bout, I found myself at home, idling away with my laptop, as other colleges didn't seem to share Rke's enthusiasm in supplying holidays thick and fast. And then, the festival of lights... I had one of the most boring Diwalis of my life. Crackers to be burst only after 7 : 30! What do you expect?

'Twixt these 2 sessions, we also had classes. But with 20 contact hours a week, I sometimes wonder if I am really here - in an IIT... The TS's blitzkrieg, however, blew away all those notions which tended to imply otherwise. Hot on its heels, Thomso 'happened' - chilling out all those overheated minds (at least, that was what it was designed to do). Then - Why, I ask myself, Why more holidays after Thomso? Here, for once, I agree with whoever chalked out this order-of-the-year. Thomso, in no way, brings rest and relaxation. In fact, it stretches you out till you are on the brink of insanity and the threshold of physical self-destruction. No wonder, we need a holiday to recover from it! Thank you, Mr. Clever Year Planner.

At certain points during those tumultuous four days, I wonder how I sewed up so many things without disturbing the space-time continuum (read : I didn't teleport under any situation). The previous year's Thomso had left me with sweet memories and good expectations to the extent that I remember mentioning to someone that we must have 2 Thomsos in a year. I take my words back - Let not such a punishment befall me! I never knew that the process of making an event fun for the others was a health-hazard for the organizers!

Thomso saw me in a variety of roles... all at the same time. 

(1) First 'Thomso Bytes' The Editor - The editing would be done during the small hours of the day, I was told. Unfortunately, this morning work often went on for a little longer than we expected, with the Day-1 morning stretching to 1800 hrs IST. Definitely, didn't get too much of Thomso that day! Over the next 3 days, rapid improvement was seen - (Taylor's principles and Gantt Charts were in use - read BM for more). The improvement, though, was short lived as Thomso ran out of days. (On Day 4, the work was done and the newsletter was out by 1 p.m. - I know, we rock!)

The delays notwithstanding, the Bytes was great - so say the junta - at least if one ignores the errors in the Errata.

(2) Then the MMS quiz - A QuizMaster - that was good. I love seeing people flabbergasted by a range of perplexing, outlandish and phenomenal questions. (I don't vouch for the latter part of the statement - but I assure you that the people were astounded)

(3) Pentafore - The Organizer - The event which got postponed, cancelled and then advanced. Well, that's how we work; the organizers get to guess when an event may happen and then struggle to reach the deadline. Nevertheless, it was my personal favourite. It would have been loved by any JAM aficionado; for that matter, anyone would have enjoyed the way a particularly zealous participant accused a certain organizer of the event of being a Catamite (I hope I have used the word to proper effect and please don't mind the spelling if it's wrong).

(4) Tissue Paper B-Plan - Thank goodness, I didn't do this too!

(5) A Passive Observer - I really didn't get to play this role much. And whenever, the observation was done, it was definitely passive. I barely had the energy to bat an eyelid!

It was night on Day 1, I believe... It was only after having completed the creation of the MMS Quiz in a room in Govind Bhawan that I realized that I hadn't brought my beloved Atlas-Flame along. What the hell? I can walk back to Cautley! At least those were my initial feelings. But as the cold enveloped my half-asleep self, I regretted those very thoughts. Firstly, I normally cannot sleep in the cold. And secondly, I don't usually walk when I'm asleep. But, that day something wierd happened. I was busy counting my steps as I walked that lonely path at 5 a.m. to prevent myself from dozing off and staggering into a gutter. 223, 224, 225... I was near the Chemical Department. 226, 227... Then blank. A few seconds later - 228! I was across the road in front of NIH! Had I just 'walk-slept'? That too, in a straight path? I don't know what happened after 227.

Amidst all these roles I played in Thomso and considering the fact that I had barely any time to actually enjoy the events, I still had fun - though I would never wish to do it again. A consolation, perhaps, is that people say Thomso wasn't great this year... Hmmm, maybe I didn't miss out on too much?

P.S. Yes, this hair-style is deliberate! People have made comparisons with Michael Scofield and Ghajini, so if you can't say anything good about it, don't say anything. And it means all you laughing jackasses out there!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Elephants Can Headbang - Stories From Mallu-land

Its been long since I made a post... I acknowledge the fact. I also realize that there have been a myriad incidents around me which I could have and should have posted; but everytime I start, there are more such incidents and I decide to put them in too... And now that I have an overflowing bank of these, I had better start posting before they slip away into oblivion.

First things first - Why such a caption? It's because - they do. I do not like uploading videos (especially since I'll have to transfer them from my HandyCam to my Desktop and I'm really lazy to go about doing that) but if anyone wants proof I have 2 minute clips of a number of pachyderms who think that they are in a rock-concert. Head-banging, neck-breaking, tap dancing (elephants crowd-surfing, anyone?) - elephants do love shaking-a-leg and that, I mean literally.

My trip to Kerala, a vacation-cum-temple tour, was definitely eventful - especially towards the end. Because that was the time I reached the much talked about Kochi Airport (no points for guessing who talked about it) hoping to catch a glipse of 'India's own Heathrow' - as I was told. Well, the outward appearence was goodish and for a moment I actually believed that it was the quintessential Indian aerodrome. But they quickly made amends. First, I found one boarding gate pad-locked (there were two in total). Alright, that's not my concern, you'd think. But wait till the rest - Once I reached the gate once the boarding call was issued, I realized that the van was not yet there... The flight was already 2 hours late! Irked by the possibility of further delay, I went to the Airport Authority to ask him what was causing this 'new inevitable delay'. 

'Where is the bus?'
He retorted promptly - 'There is no bus...'
'Ya, there is no bus... Thats your plane.' He was pointing at a distant aircraft, some half kilometer away!

Yes, I walked.

And there went the transcendent airport. The flight turned out to be good though, (maybe it was because I no longer held any expectations) and I won a 3k watch on a scratch card. A high point of the hols, no doubt. In fact one of the only highs in an otherwise plain vacation.

Making a post on ancient history (read : a month ago) is a gargantuan task as it becomes difficult recalling the nuances which actually lent flavour to the happening. (No wonder autobiographies make boring reads!)

Thomso came and Thomso went; and along with 'The Happening' came many more worth-writing-about stuff but I can't just cram it all in here. Jumbo-posts are never good. So I guess I'll have to save that up for later...

Happy Diwali to all! (Mine's pretty boring here...)

Friday, 12 September 2008

The Day The World Changed - Forever...

The league of extraordinary gentlemen : Richard Gatling of the Gatling Guns; Irene Joliot-Curie, the nobel prize winner; Yao Ming, at 7 feet 6 inches; Jesse Owens; Nathan Bracken;  Nuno Valente... And of course - me. Every one of these aforementioned illustrious people graced this world on the twelfth of September. Wiki went on to mention the less known - King Francis I and Fernando Cesar de Souza; the unknown - Ricky Rudd, Yang Mi and Stanislaw Lem; and the notorious - Gerald Stano, an American Serial Killer. But, as they say - #*It happens.

They said "Sweet 16" when I was 10, and I knew that 16 was the age to be. Many years later, when I finally turned 16, I was informed that "the awesome age"  it was not 16 but 18 - the time you become a major. Well, I am not stupid you know... Once bitten, twice shy. I had already been bitten twice. I had rightly discovered then - there were no "awesome ages"...

Well September is the month of birthdays - and not a single day has passed, since the first of this month, devoid of chapos... Ah well, today's different. Today's wierd - Its the day when I offered to treat everyone to the delicacies of the Cautley Canteen only to be politely turned down... (Of course only after having mentioned that they would be delighted to accept it the day-after-tomorrow) How often does that happen? And often is a guy let off without the mandatory GPL? But it truly is an experiance, not too pleasant, but an experience nevertheless to celebrate (so to say) your birthday on the day of a TS.

My first resolution was drawn before the stroke of midnight - I will cease studying at 0000 hrs - so as to not suffer the disgrace of studying into your birthday. And I also decided to complete this post before retiring to get my dose of 8 hrs before the exam. All of this behaviour may seem bizarre and eccentric, I know... (I've had people staring at me strangely) I don't know what has come over me... But let's just say that I'm hoping - birthdays are lucky for you.

Its time to hit the sack now and begin the new year, and what better way to debut this year than writing a test when you are half out of bed.

Monday, 4 August 2008

La Roue A Tourne

Abey line me chal - One of the first lines that I heard in IIT-R. It was one of those highly dreaded lines drowning the spine in shivers.White shirts, black pants and leather shoes were all around, with a few people hurrying to buy the set in Civil Lines. The Dress Code: The shopkeeper made his fast bucks and the seniors had their share of fun. In fact, I remember the few who bought 3 sets of those to avoid laundry problems!

I delve into those days long ago when baths were regular and laptops -luxuries. The times when every face was new and there existed this deceptive feeling that we had entered the most-fun-phase of our lives (not totally untrue though). But then, the first semester of college leaves you with impractical expectations for the times to come which seldom is met, if ever. And soon it had dawned upon me that perhaps college wasn't anything different after all... It all had come down to routines and schedules.

But now times have changed... We have come a full-circle and the quizzers will be quizmasters soon. It has taken me a little while to realize the full implications of these changes. Now the very same faces which I once saw filled with trepidation are on the prowl. The prey has become the predator - it seems to me. Ofcourse, I don't have a violent bone in my body, but it was fun nevertheless when a kid came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and asked whether I was a freshie; I merely said 'No', but I still don't know if he heard me as he had fled the scene before I said anything more! (The next kid didn't even last that long when 'Mr. Athletic' asked him - 'Tere ko hum facche dikhte hain kya?)

The sophomore year seems to have other benefits as well. No more poster sticking for me! Well I don't mean to undermine the task, but it definitely isn't the most pleasurable job... Not only does it hurt your pride, sticking stuff on walls with everyone staring at you, but I hated cycling up Mt. Central Library (I don't want the meillieur jeune anymore!)

And recruiting the juniors seems to be fun job as well... Well, the new year has begun and I've begun to count the enormous number of changes (most of them seem to be for the better, but I'm a firm believer of Murphy's laws). But whatever happens, good or bad, definitely La roue a tourne!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Needles, Omiprazole and Related Sufferings...

Well, I admit to committing the crime... I confess - I ate that ice cream, blissfully unaware of the fact that orange-flavoured ice lollies may hospitalize you for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was a message; I was cribbing too much about how boring the holidays were getting and the tiresome lack of variety in what I was doing... But this wasn't quite the kind of change I had in mind.

With doctors dumbfounded as to the cause of the ailment, they also seemed to treat me as this wierd specimen with a one of a kind sickness! Needles, Omiprazole, bad nurses (who never seemed to realize if fluids were to go in through those tubes or blood was to come out...) and endless hours of television passed during which I gained a substantial knowledge about which MPs were already with the UPA and who were required to be given 25 crores... (In fact I can bet that I know more about that July 22nd trust vote than Sonia Gandhi!) The stomach pain often seemed to be diminished; Only later did I understand that it was because there was more pain due to the needles! 'Everything Is Relative'...

The intense pain actually did fade out after the initial couple of days; All was over was what I believed... But NO, it was the beginning. Many days and many more litres of IV fluids later, I was 'discharged' only to be advised to stay on a liquid diet for a few more days. Here I must mention that though I never realized the time passing as nights ran into days and Sundays into Mondays as I lay in that room, oblivious of the world that lay outside, I finally understood that my holidays were about to end; especially when all my friends left the city... (Again, I don't understand why the IIT system has to be so kind by bestowing upon us more holidays than we need.)

But then again, I would never be able to explain the last two weeks as they seem to have been 'Shift-Deleted' from my holiday time... Well, these holidays have had its moments and then again the valleys (like the one I find myself in right now). And hence I've taken time-out in order to type this post out and the recent happenings... After all, all my readers get pretty restless when I don't post for such long stretches. But now I gotta go, I've got a mountain to scale. So cheers!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Incarcerated Mind

Ahhh... The long expected and longed-for sem-break is here... Wonder why I don't care about it any longer. I've never agreed with - 'Good things come in small packages'; I've always thought, to quote a friend - 'Better things come in bigger ones'... But as the seconds crawl by to form big minutes and the minutes gradually develop into hours, I wish my holidays were shorter!

Yesterday, college reopened for some of my friends after a 6 day summer vacation! Well thats torture for sure, but this is too... Two and a half months to kill and I wonder why the year was made with 12 months... Well, Ludlum can keep me busy for a few days, but not even the best libraries of the world can save me from the inevitable- I've been sentenced - Death By Boredom!

For long, I've been fighting to maintain my agility - not physical, I've ruled out that possibility (Jogging in the mornings is too strenuous and playing football in the evening is unimportant when compared to lazying around at the beach); it's mental agility that I'm concerned about! Long has gone the time when Yudhishtra said - 'The human mind is the fastest thing in the Universe', I proudly boast of having the slowest mind... So much so that I'm worried that when asked my name, I'll begin with - 'Du...uh...'... Of course, 'it' is bloody brilliant at times, often gushing with ideas, its full of poems and stories and ways of solving the oil crisis! And so, with a pen and paper, I sit down to write down these brilliant fabrications of mine and >>>>
BLANK... The creativity is gone and I'm dumber than ever... This has happened twice so far and I was determined never to let it repeat. Desperate times call for desperate measures

- I'll never feel dumb again - I'll never touch that pen and paper again!

Later that week, I was watching the NDTV interview of Jeffrey Archer. He was apparently telling us what it takes to be a writer - I always imagined writing to be spontaeneous and instinctive art. Instead, he says that he's got it all sketched out - 2 hours in the morning, then a break before another two hours. Then two hours in the evening and 2 at night! Well, if it takes all that, I resign!! The damn man has the whole thing planned. But who blames him, writing is his job. I ain't gonna do that the whole day!

But I've not lost hope, in fact I've hoped for so much that I ended writing a poem on 'Hope'... Guess I'm not as bad as I thought. Perhaps, there is a chance to realize these dreams and develop a greater vision. But for that, I've got some serious 'mind-freeing' to do...
Anyone, see Neo??

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A Brief History Of Time

It's been really a while since I've typed, and with thoughts gushing through my mind right now, I'm finding it difficult to keep pace with it! Well, these two months have zoomed past at supersonic - It was April : I was cozying up to the daily schedule of CS, movies and novels (much to the extent that it began to get boring) when I realized that the sem was drawing to a close! It's just amazing - It feels just like yesterday when I was hurriedly flipping through the pages of 'Morrisson And Boyd' making some last minute notes before the JEE and Presto! Here I am, one-fourth and engineer!

The fall of the semester saw a lot of ghissing though, a last ditch attempt though I hope it didn't come too late... Whatever the means, my life seems to be running into monotony, be it too much of fun or too much of work. And breaking away from the shackles of boredom and humdrum (especially when its so tempting and pleasurable) is almost impossible. Things began to get out of hand and that's when IPL made its grand entry... THe Mike Hussey ton, Mat Hayden's classy knocks, Murali's wily turns and Morkel's huge hits (of course coupled witha due bit of regional pride) made me a CSK fan - IPL was the saviour of the bored! I soon found out that it gave me immense pleasure to sit in a room full of Delhi supporters and be the only one smiling when the result was announced. I can proudly boast to be one of those few who have watched every one of those IPL T-20 matches. And that's not all, April proved to be more beautiful... Chelsea not only won back title hopes, it has made its way to the Champions League Finals - Moscow may soon be the land of the Blues!

This one year at IIT has also taught me a lot though I haven't learnt anything - that there is no point in working too hard (you can be brilliant at a subject and still hit rock-bottom and you can ace a test when you don't know a thing); that anything can be done given dead-line, however unrealistic it may seem (I've seen people complete the entire syllabus of the sem in a couple of days when the exams are tomorrow); that when the going gets tough, even the tough get stuck out here; that you need to flush out the entire previous sem in order to store the present stuff in those grey-cells; and no matter how badly you do, there are always others who do worse... I've realized that it's better to write what you know than asking the guy next to you what he copied from the guy next to him (Mr. White, are you reading this??)

Everything seems to look more beautiful when you don't possess them - My gruelling days before the JEE, I want to relive those. God alone knows how much I'll miss this place once I leave... I've cognized that life is about now - and not about what it was or what will be... And there's a long way left to go - But right now, 25% loading complete, 75% to go... PARTY TIME!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Contenders For The Championship!

Well, its been a long time since I've made a post but thats mostly coz I didn't have much to write about but now, todays achievements cannot be ignored। And hence this post... Not very often do I do somethin so remarkable in the field of sports!

An intense fear swept over us as we took the field... Playing the 'Playboys' in the ICL semis, we had quite a chance to get into the finals to vanquish the 'Destroyers'. Well, we were determined to rewrite history - The revenge of the Meta-ans would be complete if we took the trophy as the 'Destroyers' had defeated our brethren, we had vowed to fight to the finish and avenge them! But first, in the way were the Archi guys of 3rd and 4th years। Would we survive till D-Day H-Hour?

The 8 players took field। Soon the coin was tossed, one which we lost... But who cares? We still had the game to win!

First Over: Dot। Dot. Cheers all around and the oppenent was psyched out... A swish and a miss. The few guys in the stand were proving that they could create much more of a ruckus than a filled Eden Gardens... Another dot - Brilliant stuff! Then a six... The supporters of the opponents were up on their feet cheering wildly as I felt helpless. Last ball and chants were around 'Lappa! Lappa!' - (literally meaning 'Fluke!') The next ball was a full toss. He was bowled!

It continued on this note and soon the opponents were crumbling under the crowd's pressure। The strangest fact is that 'their' supporters outnumbered ours 5:1... But they had chosen to stay quiet and we took full advantage. Following a series of ordinary bowling, electric fielding and deafening crowds, they had only 57 on the board when they ran out of batsmen.

Our innings was going just fine; then a hiccup - My opening batsman was out. He cursed his luck as he walked. Then a quick wicket and the pressure was on us...
The 'Playboy' supporters cheered and my supporters applauded them mockingly. They were quiet soon! Inwardly I hoped it will not come down to the last batsman (as they were an inexperianced lot). Then luck smiled upon us - A missed run-out, 2 dropped catches and an endless array of wides which stopped only when the batsman pleaded with the bowler to not bowl any more of those... I wanted to win with the bat! As the saying goes - Its not whether you win or lose... Its about how you win!

6 runs needed... Single. Double. Dot. Overstepping - No Ball. Next Ball - Batsman is caught in the deep... Of a free hit!! (Single) Next ball... (pleeeez DONT!!) WIDE! We won!! Here we come 'Destroyers'! I'd done my part in the team's victory and I am proud of it...

Before I get too carried away, did I tell you I wasn't playing the real match. No I was more important than that... I had urged the team on from the crowds!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Chosen Ones...

I was in 10th grade then... It was mid-summer and we were out on an excursion (one of those few times a teenager is conned into believing that he has finally gained the much anticipated "freedom") to Mysore...

Well we made the usual stop at the Palace(some guys seemed to be totally awestruck by the splendour of the 18th century emperor's palace... But I was more keen to get into some shade to avoid getting sunstruck) and a few other places including the evening shopping trip(Which the girls went ga-ga about; Which the guys simply detested.) The itenary for the next day morning said "Chamundi Hills and the Chamundeshwari temple". Well, me and a few of my friends were getting pretty annoyed by the way they kept carting us up-and-down without any place to rest, forget having fun. But well, you can't do much in that situation. So there we were, in the bus, early the next morning waiting "eagerly" to see the Hills...

Having alighted from the bus, a teacher told me that we would be visiting the temple first. As we walked towards the temple (which felt like all of a mile, in the blazing heat) an old lady approached us. She held each of our hands and saying that god would bless us, she handed each of us a lotus. We were bewildered at first. Why on earth would some arbit old woman come up to us and do such a strange thing?? Then I noticed that some of the girls who were just getting off the bus had seen the incident and they seemed pretty puzzled too. One of them, a friend of mine, asked - "So what do you intend to do with those flowers?" Not wanting to admit that I was puzzled too, I said - "Look! we were chosen from amongst this large crowd... God has selected us." My friend, by chance an Anirudh himself (actually it wasn't by chance... You see I have 3 friends by the same name as mine (all of them were there)) says -"We're the chosen ones" Quickly my other friends seconded him.

As we made our way into the temple, the thought of these words clouded my mind... Could we really be the chosen ones? (I'd been watching too many movies at that time I guess) But what must I do with the flowers?? Common-sense told me that I should offer it to the goddess inside... And then perhaps, I could sit back and say - "Take thou what course thou wilt." (I can't be sued by W.Shakespere, can I?) But, my mind being filled with the thought that I could possibly be the Messiah, I totally forgot about the put the flowers as offering and brought it out...

We sat by the temple steps wondering what the implications of our actions could be when suddenly I saw that old woman again, walking towards us... This was my chance-I would, at once, ask her what it was all about... She spoke first however-"Naa ungalukku poo kuduthirenthene. Paisa enga?" (I had given you people flowers. Where is my money?) We didn't know what to do... After all we weren't the chosen ones, it was just a new sales tactic! She even managed to bring the rest of her family when we said we wouldn't pay... It was only with the help of some of the peons who accompanied us that we managed to escape unscathed from the hostile territory. Ofcourse, we couldn't help but notice a few girls giggling as they passed us...
But I swore to myself - "Never again, in any circumstance would I ever be chosen for anything (however godly the task seemed)"

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

That average winter day...

An average beginning to a cold January 9th resulted when the third back-up alarm rang... Trrrrrrriiinng! (I hate that noise) It's 7:30 a.m.! Automatically my self-defence mechanisms took over; my left arm swinging out involantarily to switch off the screaming thing... And well, I continued sleeping in the warmth of my blanket for a few minutes(or so I imagined)
I took a minute to brace myself for the intense cold that would attack me as soon as I stepped out, and then with a deep breath, emerged bravely out of the safety of the rug... My eye caught the clock...

OH MY GOD! It's 7:51...(An 8' o clock lecture) I jumped to the closet and snatched a handful of stuff(my eyes were still closed - so there's no way I could know what I'd taken.) Well, the 3 months of college life have taught me a few things... I need 3 and a quarter minutes to brush my teeth and do my thing, and another minute to pull some clothes on... Leaving a standard overhead of 30 seconds, I could reach the mess by 7:56...

I got there by 7:57(Darn! I'm getting rusty) Grabbing an apple and a burger I dashed for class... I reached at 8:03, Maths lecture, the prof was strict... He had the front door closed; but I've grown smarter in the short while I've spent here in IIT... I saw an opportunity in a gaping back-door and crept quietly into the class. Crawling behind the cover of a few tall benches, I reached the nearest occupied seat and slowly emerged from below when he was turning towards the marker-board to adjust it...
YES! I did it! (Should have been a WWII spy or something.) - I thought beaming widely... But who could have predicted that this would be the only day that the professor would forget his attendance register and the wouldn't be any! And there I sat, bored and sleepy, in a trance, for the next one hour...

We were free at 1 that day... No practicals, great! So I sank into my usual life again... Orkut, reading the newspaper, a novel or even a textbook, putting off taking a bath as much as possible and more boring Orkutting... (I sit there even when no one's around to scrap! Just keep switching between "Home" and "Scrapbook" in the hope that someone would scrap) It was evening after a looong time(I used to laugh at relativity till that day... how a few hours could feel like days! Damn!) Then came a scrap... One of those dastardly common scrap-to-alls (I hate them but still, it was a scrap!) It said, "Paste this Java script on your address bar and see the magic!" and then there was some Java scripting below... I was bored so I copied the whole thing and Ctrl+V on the address bar and Poof!! "Your Orkut profile has been deleted... Thank you for being with Orkut" I didn't believe it! Oh god, my internet life was ruined... Well, I felt helpless and stupid... How could I have been so dumb??

Anyways I wanted to do something which would save me from killing myself(...or hurting myself badly trying to do so) and also prevent me from venting out all the anger on the guy(the "friend") who had done this to me... So I sat down and started to create this blog in which I'm posting this first scrap now... So there it went... That average winter day