Monday, August 2, 2010

I.I. of T-The first few days

I have gone through the six steps needed for a selected aam admi to become an iitk-ian.And though there are no visible changes, no sudden gyan added, I have to admit, you get the feeling that you belong. Right from getting the email,through to the id card, the Director's address, the registration, bank account, the health check-up, the process gives you wings I think, without drinking a drop of Red-Bull. So much so that we had gals jumping up in the informal session and saying that they already felt part of the group. The Counselling service had done a fabulous job and except for the girls and few guys who came in the end and had to share rooms-ahem seperately, we are not into co-accomodation yet, as the Director took care to point out. Must say that the Director's address was one of the finest speeches I have heard.

 After the whole orieentation program, we had talks with seniors. And that was when the real fun began. The unravelling of the mystery that surrounds the iit-behemoth. The goods and the bads were all discussed and finally all six of us-oh forgot to mention there are six of us in our gang, were of the opinion that this was a tough case to crack. We learnt that t stands for termination..and I have developed a strange kind of loathing for that word ever since. We finally decided that enough was enough and we could get ourselves a better grade than 6.5. Thats right, there are no five-point someones in iitk 'cos they are all sent back home. Moving on to other colourful things in life by which I dont mean the peacocks of which iitk has a good no., but to the girl brigade, I must say iitk is colourful. Having heard that iitk is a dry area, it is refreshing to know that there is nothing dry about it, be it the lush lawns or the girls of the insti. Both are equally good to look at, though the balance tips heavily to the latter. Theres amazing flexibility in the learning system be it the option for auditing(sitting in classes without attending exams-fun eh?) or electives for anything you want to take up.

All in all, its fun to sweat in a/c lecture halls. That happens when you can't make out a thing thats being said and some goof screams out answers from the back. The FOOD is a revealation in itself. You will notice that I have written it in capital letters. You will soon see why. Firstly to all the people of the North we just can't understand how you survive with all this potato in your bowels. I have lived in the North and have no aversion to aloo-see they have even named it sounding lovely; but I just can't get it how you manage to take it in such large quantities in every meal of the day and don't explode. I have become a walking gas chamber with a very precarious safety-valve. And thank God for the a/c in the class rooms. Today the Maths guy was teaching us relations-the math kind, and like the guy who found out Benzene in his semiconsciousness, I realised what I was going through. To sum it up in my words, verified and attested to by all six of us-"To sit with a stomach full of aloo is akin to being a nuclear reactor with the explosion in control. You can catch all the remaining neutrons and leave three to cause damage, and only when all the control rods are working properly. In a similar manner you can eat aloo and sit with dignity in class but only with the unnerving feeling that it could all go wrong in a minute." I slipped out of my reverie, happy with myself at having found a similie to the situation to find that the Math guy was teaching something called groups and writing english on the board that made no sense to me. That is the 'iit effect'-post symptoms include sweating in cold temperatures of 23degree C.

Moving on our hostel or Hall as we call it here, is said to resemble the ones in m.i.t. See Indo-U.S co-operation for this insti could have terminated a long time ago but that doesn't mean we can't still romance about it. Romancing apart, I had like to ask the m.i.t ians how they manage to shrink their 6 foot something bodies into these cramped rooms. The building is beautiful really but the rooms are kinda small. For instance there are rooms where you can't open the cup-board without lifting the cot. That said its a beautiful building,well-maintained and green all round with several shuttle courts,a gym,a recreation room.

Now for the finale word,the facilities-mind-boggling. It can best be described as a science guy's paradise. There's every sort of equipment and amazing freedom to do what you want. The faculty is brilliant and the infrastructure be it scientific or otherwise like sport complexes and well maintained grounds,amazing. More later on, 'cos as they say here-"use your time efficiently", and they mean every letter of what they say.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wish

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 12; the twelfth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


“I wish, I wish, with all my heart to fly with dragons, in a land apart”
(From Dragon Tales which I used to watch with my kid brother).

There is no particular reason as to why I wrote it up there,,except that whenever I think of 'wish' this line keeps running around in my brain. Now no particular reason has been found for this strange phenomenon and the only reason I can think of for an answer would be that it rhymes. The cartoon itself wasn't anything special, just an innocent show. Now to get going, there is no logical path in what is to follow, but order probably comes from a lot of chaos doesn’t it? Well now that all the serious stuff has been said, wishes are probably the most fun-kind of topics from all the fairy tales we have read. So I was sitting on the pot, for that is where there is all freedom for thought in this world, though not so much freedom for expression, wondering what do we wish for anyway? It got me embarked on an exciting journey to find out what people wished for in their lives. I asked quite a few and this is what I came up with:

1. Wealth
Many people among the diaspora asked, wanted it all in bling. They said, the more the better and that there is no happiness in this world without money. There are few things that money can’t buy they said, and being extremely ‘pragmatic’ they were willing to settle for the bigger number compared with mundane things like 'love'. As I recall, one was emphatic that all his troubles would cease to exist if Lady Luck gave him one billion dollars. And that was when the devil in me, raised his head.
Me: Ok Guy1 fast one. If you were to make a wish at this moment what would it be? Now this is not one of those forwards and you will not get any funny answer at the end of this. But this is for something am writing so being as honest as you can. And as serious as you can.

12:37 PM Guy1: 1 billion dollars$$$


Me:Ok you'll squander your wish for 1 billion dollars.Thats it? Nothing else?


12:38 PM Guy1: I didn’t get you dude.


Me: Ok you only need a billion dollars? At this moment were you going about your life dreaming about 1 billion dollars?


12:39 PM Guy1: Yaw man .That’s the ultimate aim:)Why?


12:40 PM By the way it’s not much. Only 4000 crore Rupees!!! :)Did I ask too much?


12:41 PM Me: No just was gonna remind you that you’d better come up with something to cut your wealth tax. Place some tight security around your house. Plus hire some C.A guys to do your accounts for all the unaccounted cash that you are getting. And 1 billion dollars is not easy to hide either. Remember Ramalinga Raju?


12:42 PM Me: So you better come up with something to do for the fat bundle of cash that’s gonna be dumped in your living room.


Guy1: Dude I’m not a crook, I want my billion to be neat white.


12:43 PM Me: Hey, God or whoever who’s gonna do this transaction is guaranteeing nothing. It is just gonna be dumped in your living room.


Guy1: Then I don’t want it in cash; I just want my assets to be worth 1 billion

12:44 PM Me: now that’s a lot t be wishing. Even Cinderella got her wish only for one night. And she’s the luckiest I’ve ever heard of.


Guy1: Man what’s this crap all about? Did u lose it all?:)


Me: Just wanted you to know to be careful what you wish for the next time.

There ended my conversation with Guy1 who was not sure whether he wanted his 1 billion Dollars now.

2. Satisfaction
Hmm...From the ‘pragmatic’ people we go to the yogi types who wanted satisfaction. Personally I just can’t fathom what it is that the real yogis want when they go and sit in the biting cold and ahem, look for ‘nirvana’. Well for one, why can’t they do it sitting here where normal people live? Now if they blame it on all the distractions in this world, I say, weren’t they supposed to be the ones with the ‘inner eye’ and concentration? Anyway the person who wanted satisfaction was far from a yogi, and he was as far away from the Himalayas as possible, in the hustle-bustle of Bangalore. Now I can understand this coming from a person in a mid-life crisis or someone with a lot of tension. But surprisingly Guy2 was neither. Well I can’t have it my way all the time and he was quite confident that a dash of satisfaction was all he would need. That got me thinking; this guy was clever. Well ‘cos satisfaction in your life was what people have been chasing for centuries and what hundreds of those yogis who bath nude in the Ganga each year, go into the biting cold and the harsh surroundings of the Himalayas searching. And that’s what my friend in his A/C cubicle in the Silicon Valley would be getting. Now that was a good deal except I didn’t think he would be far better off either. See, being satisfied has its draw-backs. Picturing his life another ten years down the road-same old car, same old house, and same old designation, with former colleagues as his superiors, not much of a problem since he is satisfied with his job, eh? Let’s look further, a disgruntled missus who now thinks she didn’t get the best deal. And so on, and so forth, ‘cos apparently being satisfied with one’s life isn’t enough, others surrounding us have to be satisfied as well. And the fairy doesn’t promise a full package.

3. Weird Requests
In this category, I have many. But only one worth mentioning:

See the future:
Here was someone who said that all she needed was the ability to see into the future and her life would be complete. And I agreed. Well at least I could remember from that Nicholas Cage movie where he manages to kill off his would-be attackers by just looking into the future. And while we were discussing about how wonderful this new gift was, a strange thought came ringing into my mind. If you were seeing your own future how is it that you are going to change it? If you change it in the present then it is no longer your future ain’t it? The reason was pretty simple-no one has ever been given the ability to change future, ’cos that’s God’s own power. I’ve heard that astrologers in India the seriously good ones and the famous ones who are now dead were in reality very good mathematicians-Vedic mathematicians to be precise. The art of astrology was in fact a science and has its base in pretty serious Math. That brings to my mind a story about one such astrologer of yesteryears. Apparently our man was lying on the floor looking at the stars and planets, performing calculations. His wife interrupted him and asked him to go have his meal. After the meal she laid out a slightly raised platform with a mat for him so that he could take some rest after the meal. She was gone for some time and returned to find him highly agitated. He was pacing up and down, muttering to himself. He told her that he could not get his calculations right anymore. After much searching it turned out that the culprit was the slightly raised platform. In itself not more than a foot off the ground, it changed calculations which were of the order of several billions. Such was the precision of our astrologers and they themselves claim that it is a probabilistic approach-never perfect. Now to have that kind of power in your hand is one thing and to meddle with it? “That is best left to God”, I told her, “remember Bruce Almighty?” And to know the future and not being able to change is like knowing you are going to ram into a ten-ton lorry as you are driving along peacefully and knowing you can do nothing to change it. That’s why most people want to stay away from knowing their future; so as to not hear impending bad news and then having to live with it knowing it's going to strike you soon enough. It's like the Midas Touch, you ask for it and then you slowly realise that you were much better off without it.


That brought me to one question that was ringing in my mind ever since I started questioning these people. What would I want, I who have shamelessly trodden on their wishes? Too late, I remember-

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
-W.B. Yeats(He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven)

Now for the world to question; I wouldn’t want all the riches in heaven, nor satisfaction, nor to look at the future. All I wanted ever since I thought about it, is to hear the roar of a particular jet-engine,nothing more, nothing less. So it is that I have waited long to see my room filled with bright light and fairies to appear, but all it gets filled up with is moonlight and shadows of the mahagony tree outside my window. I realise that the fairies of this world have taken a holiday, and the well in my backyard doesn’t throw up anything either. Just gobbles up all the coins you throw into it. All I am left with are my dreams and the satisfying feeling that no one can rob me of them...

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Friday, June 18, 2010

NO HEAVEN FOR TULIO!

The one-horse town of Chikkulli in South India had nothing much to speak for itself.It was just a matter of dusty lanes and a few streets into which were crammed the few shops selling house-hold amenities, and well, the usual stuff.Apart from this the town had an old temple on the outskirts and an equally rambling church.The people were mostly tradesmen and farmers with lands in the outskirts of the town.The main street of the town held the shop of the jeweller Krishna-an old, stooping man whose otherwise dull eyes lit up on seeing the yellow metal..The greed in his eyes notwithstanding, the folk of the town had no options but to buy or sell gold at his place.Then there was the grocer's-the grocer Raju was a kind man with twinkling eyes,who often gifted kids chocolates.And then there was the baker's-THE BAKER-an old shop.No one knew how long it had been there.It was as if it had always been there.And everyone bought their bread from there..It was run by Xavier-the baker,and it had always belonged to his family.The Garcias as they were called were probably the first to have stepped off the boat that arrived first from Portugal, 'cos everyone in the town remembered a Garcia in their time.And bake they all did, unparalleled in taste in all these years.They had carried their trade over the seas, and had mixed with the people of this land.And had stayed back like many others, long after the last of the Portuguese had left these shores.Xavier Garcia and his wife Martha were affable folks and they ran a roaring trade, and were quite well-off.

Now,they had a son named Tulio.A strapping young lad,he attended St.Angus school where the people of the town sent their kids.Tulio was eight,with blue eyes-his mother's and long straight hair which he inherited from Dad.It was evening and he was out playing with his friends-Kishore,Arjun,Asif,Ramya,Divya and his cousin Fernando.They had many games to pick from.Sometimes it would be marbles,otherwise hide-and-seek,or driving with cycle tyres.Today it was those tyres..Tulio liked them the most.You had to hit the wobbly tyres with a stick and make them run,balance them and do lots of tricks with them.It was fun to make the tyres jump over sticks placed as obstacles and of course to be the fastest to go around their houses.They were playing thus and Tulio was turning the last corner with the others in hot pursuit when it happened.A car had taken a sharp turn and overran a cat.Tulio looked at the furry creature as it lay spread out on the road.He had seen it before..But where?His question was answered soon enough..

"Oh!!my Taffy!!Oh!not you!!..no..no..."He turned to his side to see Kishore running like mad to the dead cat.And then it came rushing back to him,Kishore's Taffy,a sweet little thing it was,always playing around in his courtyard.They would give it a paper ball and watch as it played with it and then it would come purring back to them exhausted.Then Kishore would give it some milk in a saucer and they would watch as Taffy lapped it up hungrily.But all that was over,Taffy was dead.They finally helped the inconsolable Kishore carry the dead cat back on a piece of card-board.The cat was buried in Kishore's backyard.No one felt like playing anymore and they walked to Raju anna's(elder brother's) grocery store.Raju was good at stories or solving fights which broke out between them, and the children liked him.Raju was dealing with some customers and they waited till he was done.

"What happened to you lot?Fighting again?"Raju asked.
"No anna Kishore's cat got run over by a car"Asif replied, and he explained the incident.
"Oh Iam so sorry to hear that.I know u loved that cat Kishore.Come sit down all of you."They sat where they could find space."You know...you couldn't have stopped it from happening.In life you lose certain things you love.Maybe one day you will have a stray cat wander into your courtyard Kishore, that needs looking after and you could love it just like you did Taffy..But you will have to wait for that o.k?"Raju said kindly."Now you must have these new chocolates which have come today"And he handed each one of them a chocolate each.
"Raju anna where do we go when we die?"asked Tulio
"Well if we are good then we go to heaven dont we?"
"And Taffy?Will he go to heaven too?"
"Taffy?no.He wouldn't go to heaven dear"Raju said."But he will be safe wherever he is don't you worry"he added 'cos he knew the children were upset."Now off you go while I check my register".

They went to their homes.And Tulio couldn't stop thinking about it.He had a pet dog-Waffles and he was really fond of him..He couldn't bear to think that one day he would be seperated from Waffles.He would probably be going to dog-heaven and I would have to go to our heaven.Why does it have to be that way?He would have to ask mom more about this.She would know more..

"Mom will Waffles go to dog-heaven when he dies?"
"Yes dear"she wanted him to be happy.
"But wont that mean he will be seperated from me?"Now she hadnt expected this."Well he'll be happy where he is dear".
"Mom when you die and go to heaven you will be waiting there for me right?"
"Now why all this talk on dying?Be good and we will all go to heaven.Now come on I have made some hot chocolate for you".
Tulio was silent as he sipped his hot chocolate and watched his mom sew up two holes he had made in his trousers while playing the other day.He had torn them while climbing up the guava tree to play 'pirates'.Divya,Arjun and him had been part of a pirate gang and they had taken Fernando prisoner and tied him to the tree.Then it was upto the others to come rescue their man.They had a great game and his team had been victorious and had 'sunk' Fernando's team on the slope nearby with mud-bombs from up the tree...He loved his friends dearly and it pained him to think that they could be seperated from him..He should ask them to be extra good so that they could meet up in heaven,especially Arjun, who had a knack of carving big fat lies out of nothing.Only the other day he had told them hadn't he?, that he had seen a buffallo with big white spots wading in the village-pond.And they had all run helter-skelter to find that there was no buffallo, just the village priest who had come to take a bath.And he had shooed them away, afraid that they might hide his clothes like they had done the day before..How they had run!But Arjun was quite good at heart really..Didn't he dig up the 'grave' for poor Taffy all by himself?Still I should ask them to be extra careful...

"Mom when I die and go to heaven will I be a big man?"
"Well you will have to grow old and die wouldnt you?So yes I think you will be a big man.Now enough of this Tulio,or you are not going to get any more cream buns.Remember all you have to do is be good and God will take care of you".
Tulio liked his cream buns and didnt want to make his mom angry.So he stopped asking her.But it didnt stop thinking about it as the evening grew.Mom would grow old and die and so would I.And we would meet in heaven as big people.Now what fun would that be?He didnt want his mom to grow older.He didnt want to meet her like that in heaven.He just wanted his mom to be the way she was now and he, Tulio, would want to be the same too..He thought about the others..Kishore,Ramya,Fernando..No way, it wouldnt be fun at all if they were older in heaven..How could they play at pirates then?Old people never played at pirates..The time came for the evening prayer, and while he prayed Tulio was lost in thought.He made up his mind."God"he prayed"I dont want to come to heaven.I just want Waffles,Mom,Dad,Kishore,Arjun and all just the way they are.I know that You want me to come to heaven and I don't want You to be angry with me..I'll be a good boy here".He opened his eyes and looked at the figures of Jesus and Mother Mary in the small alcove.Shadows danced on their faces with the flickering of candles in the alcove.

Tulio went to bed that night thinking he had finally solved the issue..Meanwhile in heaven there was a whole lot going on.For in all his time God had never got as strange a request as Tulio's.There were all sorts of requests coming by the channel now-"help me God for my interview..dont let the boss fire me!..I will never be a bad boy again God,but please let there not be any surprise tests today..God please don't let mom notice the broken table..I know it lies dead-centre in the room but pleeease let her think it was someone or something else.."And God solved each one with a flourish which only, well, He could manage.. But Tulio's request hung at the back of His mind.Ah...well,He would have to do it then...

Tulio dreamt a very strange dream that night..But suddenly the dream was cut short when he was well getting to be the hero,by a sudden flickering of light..he dreamt on..Shortly the flickering stopped and there was a pleasant white light..He was walking along a road with a lot of other people and they were queueing up at a great golden gate..and on it were the letters...HEAVEN..
"Oh no!!am already dead!!I can't see Mom and Dad again!!..Oh no.."poor Tulio broke out into sobs.
"Oh no you aren't!"He looked up to see St.Peter at the gate..
"So where am I?"
"Well you are at the gates of Heaven arent you,my boy!"boomed Peter"but you are not dead yet..you asked for something didn't you?So God thought He might throw you a little surprise and show you heaven.."
Tulio looked at St.Peter.He looked wise and old, but a little tired it seemed.Presently someone came upto him dressed in white robes and started talking to him.
"Well..well Peter the line is a bit long today eh?Thought I might give you a bit of company..Good Lord! wasn't the party yesterday just wonderful!..You were there weren't you?"
"Who me?No I was at the gate the whole time..they are dying in droves nowadays..Don't even get time to take a short nap..and don't even mention the party..I must ask God to give me a partner..But you see, people expect to see me here and if they don't, they'll think that they are getting tricked..So I dont know how am gonna attend any of those parties.."Tulio felt sad for poor Peter.."Oh gosh!you are still standing here Tulio!o.k here change into these white robes, and up the path you will meet St.Gabriel the angel..Know him don't you?He will show you around, and around afternoon God will see you..Now off you go!!"And off he went in his new white robes,and met Gabriel.He was just like Tulio knew him, all in white with a handsome face and pearly-white wings.
"Hello St.Gabriel!How do you do?And does everyone wear white around here?"
"Iam fine dear Tulio..and yes everyone wears white 'cos thats the official colour of heaven isn't it?!And we don't seem to get it dirty so its always pearly white.Now come on I have quite some things to show you."And off they flew with Tulio holding Gabriel's hand right to a party set in a rolling meadow..People were singing and dancing.They were all dressed in white and they all looked young.Infact Tulio couldn't figure out how old they were.Neither childish nor oldish..kind of in the middle..a fresh young kind.And men were strumming on the harps and some were playing the banjo and there was a wild jig on the dance floor.The men and women looked really happy and there was plenty of nice-looking food on the tables.
"So what do they do after the parties?..Do they go to work?"asked Tulio.
"No! theres no work here, its heaven remember?..We have parties and then sometimes God comes along and He speaks to His people..Boy does He have a way with His stories!..Has everyone in splits..And sometimes we have bonfire nights.."Gabriel explained.
Wow that must be some life..He remembered the New Year party which had gone on and on..'twas great fun..He had danced with Emilia, his cousin..But a little after midnight, we both felt so drowsy..and in the morning my bones ached..Must be different in heaven if they were to party and have fun all the time.Have fun all the time?Where had he heard that before?Ah yes..that was when Mr.Swamynathan his science teacher had thundered.."All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy..So now even though you have had P.T and had lots of fun,you must rest your minds a little and get set to understand how the Earth moves around the Sun.."The children like Mr.Swamy,even though he was a bit strict..He was a sport and didn't he take them all to the village pond and teach them how to catch fish?And he had shown them how they breathe too..

"Now we most get going"said Gabriel and of they flew to a valley with a beautiful lake.There were people on the banks and wild flowers grew there.Some people were in the lake on boats and the water was as still as glass.."Go on, taste the water,it would be the sweetest you had have ever tasted.And run around and play if you like for sometime.We do have sometime before we go to meet God."Gabriel said.
Tulio scooped up a palmful of water and drank..It was indeed very sweet..He ran along the bank with the water lapping his feet.There were couples along the bank with their feet stretched into the water and some were making wonderful patterns with the grass growing along the banks..Some were playing with the water..Tulio joined them and they had great fun splashing water onto each other..It made his robes wet however and he decided to sit for sometime on the bank to get his white robe dry..He would have to ask Gabriel for another set of robes..And he wondered if he could get another one..He liked this place, but at the back of his mind he felt something missing.Waffles-he wouldn't be able to bring him here,and how he liked the village pond!He would tear up the banks and roll on the grass like crazy..It would scratch him more and he loved swishing his tail this way and that on the grass..And the children took him to the pond whenever they went..He could swim well too and would shower them all with pond-water when he shook himself dry..Now he felt really sad,Waffles would have loved this place and he would have loved it too, with Waffles and the others.
"Come we must be going..We have to meet God.He is every where, but He said He'll meet you at the Palace."Gabriel said.So they flew to the palace.When they came to the palace,Tulio was surprised to see saints scurrying to and fro the steps carrying huge bundles of papers with them.
"What are they doing?"asked Tulio.
"Those bundles they are carrying are the prayers that people send through the saints.You see, God has this huge channel by which people can get in touch with him personally,but people doubt their own closeness with God and rely on the saints.So it is that the saints have to work non-stop even after coming here,whereas the work they do is what God is ever-willing to do all by Himself.Increases a lot of paper-work but people just don't understand you see".
They entered a big hall and Tulio could see God in all His glory seated on the throne.He knelt on the floor and bowed low.
"Arise my son..but, I see you still don't like the place eh?"God said smiling.Of course Tulio didnt need to say a word,God knew exactly how he felt.
"God you know how I feel.I liked a lot of things about heaven,but it just isn't the same as what Iam getting in Earth now.True there are sad times.But when Iam happy with my friends and family,..its like we are with You in heaven..so please, could I please have it that way?"
God was silent for sometime and Tulio could feel his heart thudding away.At last he spoke..
"You know....what you said is right from your heart and it is pure and innocent..So I couldn't agree more dear Tulio."So saying God scribbled on his note-pad and it read something like this"NO HEAVEN FOR TULIO..NOT THIS ONE ANYWAY!"
"Iam your God and if you keep your promise on being good, then you will have what your heart desires"."Now off you go, you have a busy day tomorrow"said God smiling at Tulio.
Tulio remembered His parting words...And woke up the next day to his mom's call.
"Tulio!!get up..get ready for school.."He wondered whether it was all a dream.Pulling himself out of his blankets, he decided that he would keep his end of the bargain and dream or no dream, God would keep His.
"Coming mom!!"Where is the tooth-paste now?!!"...

ps:@Sundeep..thanks a lot dude..u were the one who got me started on story writing.
    @Sapphire...if it wasnt for your thoughts on after-life i would not hav got hooked onto this one..thank you..

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Munnar...Re-birth,desi-goats and some firangi(foreign) cows!!!

The title is not part of a jumbled-up list,no no no..thats what my 9th std. trip was, an lots more..My friend Sundeep went trekking and his account stirred up memories of this one...Munnar is a hill-station in the Western Ghats,falling in Kerala..Known for its wild beauty and lush tea-plantations,it is a must-see in the tourist map of Kerala..

The trip was a 2 or 3 day one..i dont remember..We set off from school in high spirits and it was singing and dancing in the bus right from the start...its fun dancing in a bus..the bus' swinging this way and that and very little space..50 odd guys dancing-or trying to dance, and the bus driver's heroics make it even more exciting...the lads were spirited and we sang our voices hoarse...i wonder which made more noise-the bus's air-horn or our singing?anyway we stopped for breakfast which we found had been meticulously packed by our mess-chettans(brothers)...it was bread and some gram curry..but for 70 hungry guys..twas more than enough..back on the bus we continued with our singing and our mimickry..thats right-we imitated every one of our teachers and brought up hilarious accounts ..and all of this loud and clear on a microphone..whoever thought of keeping a mike in that bus was brilliant..but wait-i havent introduced everyone in the 2 buses..my mistake..there were 2 teachers accompanying us-Mr.TM(art) and Mr.P(geography).'twud be a good idea to describe these 2 guys as they couldnt be farther apart in profile as the closer they sat in adjacent seats...TM was a young,jovial guy who was relatively new to the school..he had a penchant for art and he often had a dreamy look to him..and his class resembled that of Harry-Potter's when the pixies had finished with it in 1st year..Mr.P on the other hand was relatively old but with a young heart it seemed(someone told me he used to be a hockey player and it showed),had an everliving love-story with geography..true,I have never met a more spirited geography teacher..and he had the wisdom of age wrapped into the many wrinkles on his fore-head..why am i describing these gentlemen in detail?you will see..so it was with the old and the new and our adoloscent hearts that we headed to munnar..

We had dinner at Basil's place where his mom (bless her!) had prepared chapatti and chicken curry for all of us..so it was that in the dead of the night we reached munnar and our lodgings at Bethany Retreat Centre..there followed an exciting game with the mattresses which were provided, which was brought to a halt with a very irate fellow tourist and the lodge-keepers..I woke up very early the next morning to try my luck at the only 2 bathrooms in the dorm..and found that i wasnt the only one who thought so..the guys who came out gave repeated warnings that the water was very cold..i decided to bath anyway..and i poured the first mug of water and two or three in quick succession to beat the cold..twas only then that i stopped to feel the cold..I swear I couldnt feel many parts of my body!!The WATER WAS FREEZING COLD!!...I WONDERED WHY IT WASNT ALREADY ICE..many vital parts of my body already were..i worried for my future generation and for myself..it was the only time apart from that one time again in ooty that i had a 'near-numb bath' as i call it..After breakfast,we found out that there were 3 spots to see-the Eravikulam National Park,The Tata Tea-Estate and the Swiss Diary Farm...

We headed to Eravikulam home to the Nilgiri Tahr,which is a kind of mountain-goat,very nimble and it can climb up some of the steep rocky faces in the Western Ghats..we had to walk up the hill which is part of the park to see the goat..about halfway up was a waterfall and the road passes over a bridge with the water continuing down thr rocky slope undreneath,down below to the town of munnar....the sight is beautiful as you can stand on the bridge  and watch the water as it falls down the slope infront of you and pass below..I surfed and found a pic from a blog which am quite sure is the spot..
As we were watching one among us who was from a hilly region decided that he wanted to climb up the slopes.Before anyone had any time to react he was clambering up..then it was monkey-syndrome and everyone was climbing..all this while Mr.P full of wisdom was unaware of the situation and by the time he noticed the commotion,it was too late..on the other hand TM lover of art and full of youth didnt see anything dangerous in our exhuberance...I could see all the wisdom pouring out of  Mr.P's wrinkles and him asking us to get down but to no avail..TM meanwhile was still drinking in the scenery..I dont wish to blame either one of them in the slightest for what happened;it all happened so fast..Meanwhile I having seen the boys in action on the slippery slope had hung back..but heck who misses out on a chance to create history..these guys were probably going to conquer the water-fall and i was not one to miss out on the action..So I, taking leave of my good senses, started climbing up the rocks..It was only then i realised, that the rocks were wet and slippery to the nth degree..years of water flowing over them and the moss on them had left very few and dangerous foot-holds..why so dangerous?'cos the water flows under the bridge and down the rocky face to the town of munnar way,way below...and we were all climbing up in such a manner that we had to catch each other to keep ourselves from slipping very often..and one imbalance could have sent not only me but several others around me all the way down with not a thing to hold on to..the damn bridge also didnt have a centre pillar..it was small anyway..by now a guide had arrived on the scene and was shouting his lungs out at us.."its damn dangerous what you are doing and also this is the water which the wholle town drinks!!"We had conquered the waterfall all of us and hurrahed in unison on our 'achievement'.All this while I had felt my B.P grow as i kept moving my arms to maintain my balance..the veins on Mr.P's temple had grown to bursting point and he was asking us repeatedly to get down..TM too had woken up from his siesta and he was gesturing wildly to us..I started praying,pleading to God to save me..and my mind made a collective request to all the saints I knew..I looked down and saw the whole town beneath and imagined the after-life..We started the descent ..more horror..i discovered that Newton's Gravitational force which till now had helped me to stay on Mother Earth was now doing its max to take me away from her..I still remember the terror in my mind with every step that i took and the near-slips and the slips,how i hung on to anything in reach-human or rock..and the frequency of my prayers?Iam just happy that God's network doesnt get jammed like the insti's site when results are announced or online tatkal booking at 8am..Let me repeat-'its damn harder to climb down a slippery slope than climbing up'.When i got back down I felt God had given me a second life..in continuation with the first one that is...I felt like Gautham Budhha and Mahavira on enlightment day minus the extra knowledge..so happy to be still there..that was REBIRTH...Meanwhile Mr.P and TM looked highly relieved that they could hang a photo of us all at graduation day and not one with a garland on it when they got back home..

am sorry that this has to be such a long post,but this story is best told in one sitting..we reached the top of the hillock and the people there told us that we had just missed the goats by about 10 min..and that they had moved onto the other face of the neighbouring hillock...disappointment crept into the ranks..but the very same guy who was the villian in the waterfall episode was not to be undone by this news..apparently crashing through thick bushes and creepers and what-not was second nature to him..so off he went and we followed for all of us knew that it was the only way we could see this elusive creature..this wonder of wonders which climbs up steep rocky faces with no ropes..i wondered what could possibly go wrong here,after all there werent any slippery rocks here..so off i went ..and lo an behold there lay a group of goats on the neighbouring slope..beautiful,sturdy creatures they were..i tell you the way we greeted those goats people would have thought celebs were parajumping on the opposite slope..we were so glad we could see them after the long trek up the hill..we got bacck and that was when the trouble began..almost all of us had leeches sucking in our shoes,pants..and there ensued a mini-panic trying to get them off...and few of us yours truly were anxious 'cos we couldnt find any on our person..so it is not enough that you are not bitten by leeches but now we had to be absolutely sure they werent hiding and sucking our blood!!but all in all if it was not for that jungli amidst us i wouldnt have experienced rebirth,nor seen the GOATS..guess we hav to thank you Rupesh and gang from wayanad..

Now a final word-even though munnar is in India,the weather is from U.K..more often than not its wet and cold..with a perennial drizzle..so it was that by the time we reached the Swiss Farm at Matupetty(called so because the cows and not the people there, are from Switzerland),we were wet from the rain..and rushed indoors to the cow-shed..twas all the same except the FIRANGI COWS were fatter than our normal Indian ones and apparently gave more milk too..there is a system in place to clean the cow-sheds and the cows and to feed them...but cmon they are cows and who can blame them if they feel like peeing all the time,with the weather urging them on?so it was that the place reeked and we were happy to rush through the place and i noted that they had given the cows their original firangi names and kind of nice names too..

We enjoyed the bus-ride on our way back to school.And we went our seperate ways a lot later,but the memories of that trip and other incidents in my school-life will remain with me forever...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Gr8 Indian Admission Rat-Race!!

As i write this i've completed "The Gr8 Indian Journey" which every1 in my rank prof for GATE has had to take..It began with Kanpur,through to Mumbai,and then on to Delhi and finally back home,in the process skipping Kharagpur too.so it is with a lot of heartache,sunburn,fond and not-so-fond memories that you have sent me back home,my countrymen-and women!!

Firstly, thanks to the present Railwy admin we never got a single 3AC ticket throughout the entire journey..One might ask wat has the admin got t do with it..For 1 thing its a blatant and open fact that the admin is hand-in-hand with agents and u never get t c an Available seat for 2-3 months flat..its alwys waitin list t the tune of 100 or more..u might say its due t the vacation season,but the scene gets uglier in the tatkal queues..agents are alwys 1st in the queue or their cronies are..and they even get their tickets going inside the counter-room..its a fact that in N.India..u wont get a tatkal ticket by standin in the queue...So while the aam-admi gets it up his rear tickets are sold for double-price even!..shd say the scene ws better with Laloo..mamata's durantos too re useless..v call them durantam(disaster) down south..so much for railwys..

Part 1 : Kanpur..shd say love the iit but hate the city..has t be 1 of the worst cities i've ever been to..more of a dump than a city..but the iit..beauty!!!every bit of it..loved the infrastructure n plannin..but boy oh boy didnt v get the treatment in the interview..t sum it up..i understood that u dont need knives t inflict pain..giv him an iitk interview anyday!!but it feels gr8 t be selected...

Part 2:Mumbai...on an overnight flight t beat the iit strategists at their game in mumbai,i found that 70% of the ppl in the flight were goin for the same thing..u c iits this yr hav scheduled their admission process so tht the aam-admi wont make it to more than 1 or max 2 iits t try his luck..in mumbai i found out tht this yr its heavy competition even for aero which isnt given the sort of attn. it got at iitb..over a 100 ppl turned up for 19 odd seats..apart from the admission process i ws there cos i wanted t tour mumbai 2..so it ws with renewed vigour tht i set out the nxt mornin frm my uncle's place..tried out the metro all along 1 length of it..LLLLLLLLLovveddddddd it!!!!!!i loved the crowd..the fact tht u dont hav t do anythin..u jus stand still n they push u inside an they push u bac outside..neat eh!!u'll never get this much of personalised attn in the delhi metro..i like the spirit of the ppl in mumbai..their lifes hectic..every1 alwys near-runnin..yet they ALWYS find time t sing and pray on the metro..i hav t giv it t u mumbaikars..for
1.the way u enjoy ur metro journey swingin by 1 hand at the door
2.they way u guys sing and pray noisily in the evenings.
3.going thro the same process again an again n still doin it..
BUT like evrythin it has its downside too..i ws once standin near the doorway n cos it ws not my stop i started t go inside..there ws this guy in his late 30s who gives me such a stare as if he ws the don of mumbai..twas as if i ws pullin his balls with me as i started to go inside..i bein the cool guy i ws of course whistled at his face n continued..tho must say..too much reaction for nothin!!i heard that this kinda thing happens a lot-ppl get really angry if ure standin in the wrong queue t get dwn frm the train..Arey!!itna tension kai ko lene ka?..no one is going to prevent u frm gettin down n if v want t move aside n let u get dwn u shd b happier na??seedhi baat no bakwas!!there is mumbai left t b explored but all-in-all i kinda like the place..

part3:delhi..the delhi iit is much better than iitb in terms of looks n the city is cleaner too i guess..the delhi metro is cool but it lacks the spirit of the mumbai 1..the city i cldnt explore that much due t the heat,but frm wat i saw of it twas o.k..the ppl,the youth-brigade re quite cool..n the gudis of delhi impressed me...but i left delhi with lots more left t explore..i badly,badly wantd t go t noida but cldnt..n i really wantd t c the night-life properly in these 2 cities..but thats for another time i guess..

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The 'Right Dress'...

Well for all those unfortunate ppl who wrote GATE this time..urs truly included,it is interview time...and as soon as i got my interview call for kanpur,my mind well....did not focus on studies,rather on the all-important question on what to wear.So it was that with a bride's vigour for a wedding gown,i ramshackled the cupboard for the 'right dress'.speaking of the 'right dress' its time to move backwards to my third year in college..
There was this college-placement-cell-evaluation committee which was visiting our college.Together with speaking to the students about the facilities,and making notes about the college,the committee would also be conducting interviews of selected candidates from each branch to test the quality of training imparted by our CCR(placement)department.Now this was an opportunity to bunk classes and i didnt let it pass..So it was that i found myself waiting for my turn to get interviewed..There were two guys interviewing and we soon found out that one was asking only technical and the other only HR questions..Now i being the true-blooded engineer that Iam(cough),i couldnt think of taking an HR interview when there was a technical one going on..I like challenges u see,case in point-my college-bunk episode..but more on that later...so my turn came and I wished the guy and took my seat..the next 2-3minutes was SILENCE..the guy wouldnt look at me..he just started leafing through papers lying on his desk..I wasnt perturbed,remembering the Golden rule-"never speak until spoken to and never more than what is necessary"...finally feeling contended that all his papers were safe,he looked at me and asked me to introduce myself.I gave a short introduction.He clears his throat"Is this the way to dress for an interview?"I had worn a light-blue half-sleeved shirt with tiny white dots that can be described as nothing but formal..no flashy colours..no bizzare designs..'twud have a brought a smile on the clergyman back home if i had worn it to Church..Next to uniform-crazy martinets the clergymen are the most difficult tribe on this planet...anything flashy and they look at you as if you were something the dog brought home..and iam pretty sure my light-blue shirt would have won his respect anyday..To couple this i had worn my steel-grey trousers and all of this neatly pressed the very same morning....when a hostel-guy goes to this much of trouble for a pseudo-interview you should get the idea that i stop at nothing when it comes to dressing well...So i couldnt believe my ears when i heard him say that..let me take a break here by giving a pic of him-guy in late fifties..greying hair,short..thats about it..Now when i heard him say this my brain and spinal cord were in a nervous-frenzy..not nervous mind you-but full of nerval activity..why?cos this was the kind of behaviour exhibited by certain profs..the ones who hate their lives and want others to hate theirs too,think that though the laws of science were made by some brilliant dude,they have the right to ammend them at will-hence the concept of "the right answer" (according to them)..more on the wonderful qualities of the prof-bitches later on..
My brain was spot-on with its verdict"tread carefully"..So i countered"sir, i selected a good clean shirt with a fairly o.k colour and a matching pair of trousers which i thought were suitable for an interview".
"you think you can wear a half-sleeved shirt and look, it looks like you wear it to a party".
i wondered whether this old fool had ever been invited to a party...i decided that it was best to keep silent..after having had several opportunities to face prof-bitches i knew what to do..He then proceeded to comment on my poor grades in my first sem..and having 'tsk...tsked..'a couple of times asked me a few basic questions in the subject,which i answered..after all THAT was what i had come for right?
in the end he asked me if i wanted to ask him anything..i asked him about his background..he waves his arms..
"i passed out from iit delhi with a b.tech in electronics..and i was then employed by (some gov.company)..i worked my way to be(some top designation i dont remember now)..and i left it..i was consulted later by many companies..the blah-blah company here once came to me to check out a site for a future plant.i studied the survey and checked out the site and passed my verdict that it would be a total loss if they started it there..they didnt listen to me an got the plant okayed and then later it became a huge failure and then they came to me asking me what could be done.i said nothing can be done,close it and you can only start an i.t company there."(from where did he get the idea of an i.t co.??he was supposed to be giving info for an electrical firm..wonder how i.t got into the scheme of things even if the former was not feasible??")
i bit my lips to prevent myself from laughing out aloud..this self-conceited jerk was making an idiot of himself..i was certainly enjoying the show now..but he stopped at that(sigh)..twas time for me to get out..which i did without further ado..
you might think that that was it..but the best part of the revealation was about to happen..we were having lunch in the mess when 1 of my classmates discusses the whole issue..i asked him how it had gone for him..he said that it had gone quite o.k for him..he had also been to the same guy and it turns out he had quite a nice time with the old guy..i couldnt believe my ears for the second time that day...i narrated my bizzare interview story..after hearing me the guy starts laughing"hoho...thats not surprising...that guy was an iyengar(tamil brahmin) and iam an iyengar"..now what the heck has that got to do with my story??
"you see you are not an iyengar"..
"huh?what has that got to do with my blue shirt..?"(apparently the amount of criticsm my blue shirt recieved was still not forgotten)
"hehe..your blue shirt has got nothing to do with anything at all..you see iyengars when they are young are o.k but when they grow old turn into irritating people(hmm..must remember this in the future..i remebered caterpillars metamorphosise into butterflies...but wasnt that from something ugly to something beautiful?maybe nature decided to do the opposite with the iyengar....i read that nature has a way of balancing things..maybe this is it..)
"so that was why he was so rude?"
"must have seen that you are not an iyengar....even hindus who are not iyengars get the treatment....i know because i have seen it at family get-togethers..the older ones are always grumpy..even i will be like them some day..."
i looked at my friend..he looked quite o.k to me...cheerful...it felt quite weird to think that my friend would turn into a grumpy old iyengar....maybe all iyengars are not like that..maybe nature leaves some of them to be normal people to show us the change that could have been.....maybe my friend would stay the same...
thinking back i remembered the lines from "my name is khan"-"there are just good people and bad people and nothing else".
(P.S. iam not racist..and have nothing against iyengars..but i will not rest my quill if such characters take it upon themselves to give us all a laugh).
anyways that was a long post..end of story i have just got my new pair of trousers from the tailor's and they fit perfectly....

Monday, May 3, 2010

WAIST-LINE ISSUES...

For all the ppl who don't know me..Iam someone who wants to "live by the second"..the rest u will get to know when u read the blog..As of this moment,am livin in the aftermath of yet another exam..GATE..what else..now if there are some things which the competitive exams in this country have in common..they are the unbearable tension both before,after and during the exam..and the aftermath..every single one of them leaves you with sneering aunties and uncles,disgruntled parents-if you belong to my category that is..and a sense of hollowness in the head..but what really gets ur nerves is when u look in the mirror..at first u think u are looking into a parabolic mirror..i know the feeling..the college had one..was at a junction in the campus..kinda stupid really..the mirror was supposed to help drivers see vehicles coming from the other side..tho it was so confusing that u had stare at it for quite sometime before u knew which direction the image was coming from..so fat lot of good it did to the drivers..anyways coming back to the mirror..the one in my room is not parabolic...it was jus that my tummy had opted for a new look..funny how i hadn't noticed it durin exam time..well i guess then my mind was too busy with the equations to noticin the new curve my tummy was taking..anyways post-exam it reveals itself..a sort of invinsible monster..i was not one to take things lyin down...and i decided to combat this one with the old school-routine..running my lungs out..such was the vigour in the activity that months One and Two passed in a frenzy...of course there were days when there was no running ..but who would let such trifle happenings spoil the big picture...month Three brought with it the results and the monsoon...the results you can talk about anytime, but the monsoon?-ah! that is altogether a different thing...they say the monsoon changes everything..the fields once dry brown cakes suddenly turn into swimming pools and hot fishing spots..why, the other day me and my cousin went to the water-logged field and we played-well i don't know what anyone calls it..but all it involves is skipping stones on the water..fine game that one..u select flat stones and u throw them so that they skip over the water..and u see who throws the longest with the maximum no. of jumps..well like i said, the monsoon changed everything,even the dry plants on my balcony...and together with that,my running routine..then put in the equation my results and running was given a pass..so it was that the interview dates were announced and I decided to try on my old pair of trousers to see which ones I could take..needless to say it wasn't that difficult..there were only 2 pairs which would actually fit me...so it was that i took the new cloth i bought to the tailor's nearby..for someone who has lived the past 8 yrs with the same waistline..it came as a near mortal shock to hear the tailor announce a 2 inch jump...i knew i was overweight..but this!!?now for most of you this would hardly seem out-of-the-ordinary..not for me though..there were times-whole years when i would eat like a pig just to put on some weight,in these 8 yrs..and my body showed no signs of yielding...i had concluded that it was the work of genes which some anscestor(God save him) had passed on and resigned myself to the thought that no amount of eating could change me..now consider the confounding fact that the tailor announced and you can sense my disbelief..and the glaring reality that running my lungs out hadn't changed it..infact GATE has done what time and eating could not...well now that it has been proved without doubt to me,let me share this-eating doesn't increase weight but sitting in the same position for hours does..in short, inaction for 5 months has achieved what action couldn't in eight years....