Monday, 20 April 2009

The Unwavering Faith

It's a time for firsts. The first time, I've inked a post. The first contribution to my blog from amidst an MT class. For the first time since 1947, Chelsea has had FA success against Arsenal... It is also the first time this season, United have lost a critical draw.

Am I glad? - You may ask. The answer to that is simple, 'Yes'. But what doesn't occur to the Red Devils' fans is that I rejoice - not because I take joy in Fergie's men crashing out, not because I detest the World Club Team Champions - but plainly because I would rather have Chelsea play Cahill, Pienaar and Yakubu than Scholes, Rooney and the dreaded number 7; because I would rather have Lampard running into Neville than Ballack into Nemanja Vidic... and because I fear, more than the twice lucky Tim Howard, the all time great Van der Sar.

Clearly Dela and ManU fans (the very people who say 'Chelshit' and are not, by any standards, Chelsea haters) have clearly misunderstood my (I speak for myself as I do not clearly comprehend the happenings in Azad) intentions. Repeatedly, have I been accused by people of being a supporter of a club which 'bought' its Silverware. To them, I ask, "Would you stop liking ManU if, after Fergie's departure (yes, even he will have to leave some day), ManUnited goes through a phase of buying good players?" I have been a Blue since the days of Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjonsen and not just since Drogba and Essien... and I shall remain one, no matter what they do. For they still play amazing football. For the team was always great, now - only greater. For Chelsea, Chelsea is our name.

I agree the anti - ManU sentiment is at an all-time high and is still growing but nothing can be more unfair than to shove all the blame on Chelsea fans. Two days ago - I did not wince when I saw the video in Lefty's room, for the first time, of ManU's redemption - of Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Teddy Sheringham scoring in 90 and 93 - when he said, "Football, bloody hell!" In fact it was quite to the contrary - I actually felt that they should have won more, since 1999, than just 2 Champion's League finals!

14th April, 2009: Chelsea vs Liverpool - 

Kick Off - A friend (fellow 'fan') and I enter the TV room. Match starts and he gives me some stat about how Chelsea has never lost in ....

Half Time - Liverpool have scored twice and 'fan' leaves the TV room without uttering a word. I face the onslaught of a room full of Reds who tell me Chelsea was never destined to reach the Quarters.

48 minutes - 'Fan' reappears. Only now, he dons the #8 Gerrard jersey, and giving me but an over-the-shoulder glance, he joins the Red bandwagon.

A few mins hence - Drogba and Alex have scored - 'Fan' leaves.

Full time - 4 Chelsea - Liverpool 4 and Chelsea advance.

That is no fan, clearly. Neither do these people have a right to support any team, nor do their views on 'Joga Bonito' count. Such are the people who form the hater-base of a team. Not fans, please.

I am a fan. I have more important things to do than to hate teams. Chelsea plays brilliant football - some people just can't accept it. The only reason, I may not be watching every match in a TV Room is because of the lack of following here... I definitely do not like the idea of being the lone supporter against a sea of Reds, even though it gives me immense pleasure winning the draw after bearing their insults throughout the 90 minutes. Manchester United simply has a much larger fan base.

Apart from the true fans, every wannabe becomes a Man United fan because it is always the easiest team to support! But, there is always a flipside. All this also makes it the easiest team to hate. And hence, the hater-base!

Yesterday was a dismal performance from both sides, one in which ManU didn't play - it was just a bunch of reserves. Looked like Ferguson didn't want the FA Trophy anyway. The quintuple is definitely out... (and not 'out in the dumps' as some people misquote) Its still commendable that they are in with a shot for a quadruple, for which they'll hopefully play Chelsea in the finals of the Champions League.

So its probably not the best of ideas to divert one's frustration and anger after losing ONE match at some innocent bystander who said nothing controvertial, someone who definitely doesn't hate ManU! Having said that, I'm glad that our chances of winning FA have gone up several notches since yesterday night.

P.S. Maybe I must apologize on behalf of some Chelsea 'fan' who hates ManU. People support a team for different reasons - A Liverpool fan may be that just because he hates ManU... But there is a distinct possibility that he just loves Liverpool. Give him a chance, will you?

P.P.S. IPL is definitely not half as interesting this year!

Friday, 10 April 2009

To Forgo And To Forget

'Temasek' may not mean a lot to many (no, its not a Russian footballer) and fewer still would give the word more than a fleeting moment's notice. Others still, would see it as a chance of winning not only an all-expenses paid trip to Singapore (for six months), but also the unique opportunity of being able to forget about CGPA during the entire period while the insti maintains it for you. I have come under all the three categories of people I have mentioned during the course of the eventful week which has just elapsed.

I have always dreamt of travelling far and wide - seeing Machu-Pichu, Ougadougou, Vladivostok, Mogadishu... So what more could I have asked for when such an opportunity came knocking on my door - no strings attached? But soon after reflecting on it for but a few moments, I realized that there was, as there is to every good thing in this world, a flip-side of the deal... The implications of missing a sem and with it, one-eighth of my life in R seemed alarmingly profound. The profs who might be like - 'WhoTF are you?' when I get back... Friends who are separated from you by the Bay of Bengal and a few more seas... And juniors about whom you have no idea about in sections that you thought you knew! 'Hmmm, maybe it isn't a good idea after all."

But then, a half-hour spent with the Great Debator in the premises of the Ravindra Bhawan canteen laid all my worries to rest (and kinda made me look stupid to come up with them in the first place!) Paper work followed suit... We had to draft a matching plan with the names of the courses we would take in NUS in place of those here and then get it approved. It was just after the TS and we definitely weren't at our prime when it came to the speed and dexterity with which we were getting things done (Not that I'm any faster at my brisk best). Anyway, soon our hopes were high and my friend almost hummed a tune which sounded a bit oriental and a bit Tamizh!

However, the pace at which things went on, compounded by the many rules which bind our insti and the sloth which calls itself the Department of Chemical Engineering combined magnificently and resulted in a brilliant interview with the Dean of Academics. The prof. whose signature I needed on the all-encompassing subject-sheet did not set foot into the Department on D-Day (other profs refused to sign it citing difficulties in the matching) and I was left to fend for myself when I faced the panel.

The room had three inhabitants as I entered... The DoA, the coordinator of the NUS-IITR exchange (Co) and an Unknown Third Guy (UTG) (I didn't know him anyway). I made a grand entrance trying to look sad as well as hopeful - I had the required CG, you see... But the approved (subject) matching plan with NUS was not in my hands. Actually, the Subject-Plan was - just that there was no approval.

Trying to look guilty for my 'negligence', I sat there on the fourth chair as three pairs of eyes gazed keenly at me. My eyes, however, were fixed on the packet of Lays (American Sour Cream and Onion) placed at the centre of the table.

DoA: So (searching for the name) Anirudh, you have a good CGPA, we hear. One which matches our criteria.
Me: Yes sir. I understand that.
UTG: But we also understand that you do not possess the other criterion - the matching subject plan.
Me: Yes sir. (Avoiding the Lays packet now and looking straight at him) Actually, I do have the plan (holding up a folder) - only that it hasn't been fully approved. Four subjects out of six are oka-
UTG: That's a worthless piece of information you carry there. It clearly said 'Approved Plan'. You can read, surely?
Me: Yessir, I'm sure I can... But the head of the UG Committee didn't grace the department today. And we have shown it to the HOD als...
Co: Aapko leke aana chahiye tha. We can't wait any longer... Tomorrow is a holiday also.
UTG: What were you doing all these days? (Now to the DoA) Sir, we now have three applicants (only?!) - two, who don't possess the subject approvals and a third who doesn't match the CGPA criterion. (How convienient)
Me: Sir, could you give us another day? The TSs were the problem mainly and the fact that we didn't know what courses we have in the next sem. Regol has started now only sir...
DoA: I don't know if...
UTG: How can you even come up with such an excuse?? I'm sorry I don't think we can do anything about this.
DoA (now agreeing with UTG, who seemed to have sworn vengeance on me): Yes. I'm sorry Mr. Anirudh. The CG is okay but nothing can be done. Thank you.
Me: Thank you, sir. I understand that its too late. So if there is nothing that can be done... Thank you, sir.

As I left the room, I felt that maybe I should have insisted on a day's extension - maybe I gave in too easily.

But the next person into the room alleviated all those doubts. He argued for a while and ended up just short of being booted out of the room by the UTG, who now seemed to be on a roll having finished the entire 20 Rupees packet!

The whole experiance did leave me with a bitter taste. But then again, the plan may not have been approved even if the prof had arrived (though I'd have felt a lot better being rejected that way). One may feel it is 'sour grapes' if I say that now, 'I feel better that I didn't make it'. But that is exactly how I feel right now. The only regret I carry now is be the fact that I missed out watching the 3-1 Liverpool clobbering at Anfield (though I did watch the minute-by-minute commentary most of the time). All I'd say at the end of it all is the clichéd, but highly relevant 'All's well that ends well.'

P.S. The name is Ivanovic - Branislav Ivanovic.

P.P.S. Thus ended the first formal interview of my life (at least in R). In a nutshell, short and sweet (or sour, should I say)... I conclude here with the hope that I'll survive for a bit longer in the interviews to come. Amen.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

TSs come and TSs go... but jobless we remain forever

I’ve been working off some of the backlog lately – remnants of a bygone age, unnecessary and yet compulsory. I still remember that day. Semester 3 (2-1), it was. Those were the days when I was still young and reckless, grabbing at everything I could see, constantly ending up with a lot more than I could handle. But that was also the age when my evangelistic avatar was willing to accept the burden and work towards its culmination…. But all that was back then. Now, I lack the zeal and vigour to take up those challenges which I’d have been more than happy to take up back then. I lack the force to back some of the claims I make...

As I was saying, it was one of those overenthusiastic days when I accepted my first “job” in IITR  from Rockstar (no, not 'Wha') who promised us (which would be Pinkster and me) great monetary reward in return for our commitment and hard work. Realizing that it was a good way to make a fast buck and since the ‘job’ involved editing (which I (we) love doing), we plunged headlong into the trap! There began my (not our) woes… I never realized that editing could be so monotonous and irksome! Actually, the fact that I’m still normal after those 100 odd clones, which they call articles, mystifies me. They all involved Horosopes, Love-o-logy etc… yes, I too thought they would be interesting at first but then after learning all the signs of the zodiac like the back of my hand, I beg to change my opinion.

For example, I can now tell you that because lion denotes king (or queen), Leos need lots of worship and compliments in order to be sure they're loved and admired and authority is what they seek etc. and I realize that I can lecture Sybyl Trelawney on divination. Maybe the experience would have been slightly better had I completed my work in time (which the Pinkster easily managed), which was due last semester, but the experience would have still barely fallen just short of ‘sad’. The fact is that the work got buried and it was only weeks (or months, was it?) of joblessness later, just when the TSs are around, I am told to get the work done ASAP (as always, more of S and less of P).

I begin: ‘The Virgo – Cancer Relationship’, I read… Ahh yes, Virgo, my sign! Maybe this’ll help me, I think at first. But sifting through the wads of pages, I emerge dazed, confused and unenlightened, uninspired… Virgo with Virgo, Libra and even Leo had gone by – I felt numb. Those tips, I had sought for, had deserted me even as I realized that the key lay not in the stars... That quantum of solace had eluded me! Facebooking relieved some of those stresses and strains (which according to MT-201, are quite different) as it told me that I was among the 1000 best minds in the world and that I was an 'Exponentiation Function' when expressed mathematically…. I also realized that it was the first of April and that something was needed with immediate effect - something which would liven the gloom and unbury the ghissus from their piles of books. My actions, the world knows now. For those who don’t know (and for those who do), visit (and comment)…. The world laughed and hence, April first was a great day.

Feeling good, I would have gone on to ghiss… but slumber nabbed me when I was still in the process of devising the greatest quiz ever (it will be out in open market soon). Second of April was into its after-wee hours when I got back to my senses. An average day has ensued, but it is only towards the end that I have realized that I actually begun to like ghissing after a long while…. Immediately recognizing the weirdness (eeriness, actually) of the situation, in an attempt to remedy it, I sat down to write this post.

P.S. I really appreciate Jetty for having taken the blog in the right spirit (but it was classy, you ought to admit to that).

P.P.S. @ The Moustached Marvel, contrary to your requests, I don’t think I’ll mention Ms. Adjudicator ever. Beautiful as she was, she’s really not worth a post; an entity of the past.

P.P.P.S. @ All, Thank you all for the compliments for the other  (it’s no longer only for SHE ) blog. I recommend that everyone do something of greater scale next Fool’s day. As they say, add a li’l chaos into those normal, normal lives! 

And continue commenting (on that); we need to beat all blog records!