Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lyrics that have made me think

This one's from Teacher by Jethro Tull,a song I've listening to a lot in the past few days:

He said, "my name’s the teacher,
That is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
That I must impart to you.
It’s an old expression
But I must insist it’s true.
Jump up, look around,
Find yourself some fun,
No sense in sitting there hating everyone.
No man’s an island and his castle isn’t home,
The nest is for nothing when the bird has flown.’’

Damn!Sitting there and hating everyone.That's what I do.Maybe I should jump up,look around and find some fun.

Hey man, what’s the plan, what was that you said?
Sun-tanned, drink in hand, lying there in bed.
I try to socialize but I can’t seem to find
What I was looking for, got something on my mind.

The next few lines really sum up what happens next.I try but I can't seem to find.Status Quo.

This one is from my current favorite Baba O' Riley

I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland

The teenage wasteland bit is mysterious.There have been a lot of interpretations,so I won't place mine,but nevertheless it sounds good.

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older

These four lines were my status message for a long while,and I have a post on them.So needless to say how great it feels to listen to them again and again.

And then there is one of my childhood(even 9th std. seems childhood now,however bad it felt then when somebody called me a child then),Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles:

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all belong?

One the most haunting songs I've heard,this.

Spinal Tap isn't exactly the kind of band which would make you think.But since I try and make most points through humor,I love it when someone else does:

Stop wasting my time

You know what I want
You know what I need
Or maybe you don't
Do I have to come right
Flat out and tell you everything?

Gimme some money
Gimme sone money

I'm nobody's fool
I'm nobody's clown
I'm treating you cool
I'm putting you down
But baby I don't intend to leave empty handed

Gimme some money
Gimme some money

Don't get me wrong
Try getting me right
Your face is ok but your purse is too tight

I'm looking for pound notes
Loose change
Bad checks, anything

Gimme some money
Gimme some money

Smile everytime I hear this one :)

One each again by Tull and The Who:

So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
just like it used to be.
And as he flies --- tears in his eyes ---
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.

And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die

Hope the same spirit wil remain in everyone :)

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

In the present political scenario,this is my approach.As I've already mentioned here

I will keep listening.And keep thinking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The day we got REALLY high (illustrated version)


Where are we heading Mr. Navigator?

As the walk begins,I seem to be asking that question.Notice the mean look on Modi's face.If you look carefully on his t-shirt,it says "Go F*** yourself".No wonder he looks mean.


Enough pictures,we walking away

Raka tries to capture every moment of the trek even as we walk away.We have a trek to focus on.


The first base

We climb over Naneghat!! OK,OK it's just the sign indicating the base camp.


HOT and WET!!!

Mishra falls into the brook as we cross it.And gets all wet in the process.Still manages a smile though.That's becuase we are laughing our heads off in the background.


Look behind me

Gulti poses in front of the cliff we have to climb.Seems really intimidating then.Both Gulti and the cliff.


We give up!!

Sabka give up ho gaya.Notice how I'm not in the picture.Because I don't give up :D


Don't look at me like that

I manage to smile,but just for the camera.We always do that.


Men on top

Raka smokes the moment away.Modi looks mean again.Jassu joins him in looking mean,or he is just angry that he didn't get the sutta :D


The pass

It's the pass Naneghat is famous for.Built in the Pre-christian era,this takes us into a different world.(taken from the link in the previous post)


Hangin' on the edge

Gulti shows us a Hindi movie stunt by hanging on to a tree on the edge.
WARNING:This stunt has been performed by highly untrained amateur.All the more reason not to try it at home or anywhere else.


On cloud nine

With just one hour of sleep going into the trek,no wonder I'm feeling sleepy.


Aww..Look at us!

Modi and Laddoo get cuddly-cuddly.For once Modi doesn't look mean.Maybe this is what he was looking for.


Livin' on the edge

Jassu and Raka show us what that phrase is all about.


On a high

This time gulti feels the smokin' moment.We are just passive.


Time for acknowledgements at the end.

A big thank you to:

1.GOD,for creating a thing so beautiful.
2.Gulti,Raka,Modi,Jassu,Laddoo and Mishra for making these moments unforgettable
3.The shepherds and dwellers and benevolent trekkers for showing us the right way and offering us water and food.
4.Jethro Tull and The Who for keeping me entertained as I wrote these 2 long posts.

Thank you all.

The Exodus:The day we got REALLY high

The trauma called the mid sems and all that led to it was over.We decided to escape from the boredom and monotone.The trek was finalised at 2.30 am Sunday and we got 7 people to go on such short notice.Trek to a place called Naneghat,2750 feet above msl.

Read about Naneghat here.

RANDOM MOMENTS

* Rajeev decides not go with us saying that he already had 2 unfinished treks and since we were already late,it was 6.30,the same story would be repeated.

* We get the train as soon as we reach Kanjur,get the bus to Murbud as soon as we reach Kalyan and another bus to Vaishakhre from there after a 2 min wait.Rajeev's theory shows signs of breaking down.

* A 2km walk on the highway(NH-233),after lunch at a roadside motel,to the base camp.Seemed much longer.

* We see the board saying Naneghat at the base camp.The journey begins.Onwards ho!

* After 30 mins of walking over relatively flat piece,we get to a beautiful running stream.Mishra tries to cross it without wetting his shoes and falls in that effort,thus wetting everything but his shoes.Cruel justice.

* Bad,bad weather.The sun is up,our throats are dry and all the water we brought almost over.After about 30 more mins we reach another flat stretch.

* From here the clif looks intimidating and apparently we had lost the way because we could not find any indicative arrows.

* A few shepherds show us the way.We didn't understand their language nor they ours.But our motive was pretty clear to them.

* The tiring part begins.Spiralling relatively steep,rocky climb to the top of the hill.

* We stop so often that a group that was way behind us overtakes and comments,'Why are you so slow?'

* After about 2.5 hours we finally reach the top,and now it starts to rain!

VIEW FROM THE TOP

The world is a different place from up there.The air is thinner,the breezes transform into high winds,the clouds swirl around.The meandering river down below looks like some heavenly silver snake fed by the rains.The hills around surround the tabletop making it look like some celestial arena.The edge of the clif looks intimidating,a vertical fall of 2750 feet.The waterfall trickling down from the top to the very bottom looks amazing.
It can't be put into words,it can't be captured by pictures.It has to be experienced.All that tiring journey and the exhausting trek amount to this,and it more than covers for that.

We have our heads in the clouds but our feet on the earth.A different form of getting high.Really high.

* The feeling on top is so amazing that after an extended photo session,all of us just lie down on the edge.Close our eyes and soak in the moments.

* I wake everyone up after 30 mins and finally it's time to come down.A final look at the picturesque view and we march down.

* The rains make the descent pretty slippery and we fall every 10 steps.

* Modi and me run down without care and later realise that we left the others far behind,too far to even hear our voices.

* We decide to wait and after 15 long mins of waiting suspicion sets in.We shout at the top of our voices.The response comes but far away from where we were,and ahead of us.

* A little bit of panic sets in because we can't find the route to the voice and we can't retrace ours.So we decide to forget routes and just run through the thicket.We slip,fall down,get pricked by the thorns,slide into the stream.After 15 long minutes and quite a few bruises and a torn t-shirt later,we finally see them.

* Raka exclaims,'Abe wo log to jungle,jharna ka beech se aa raha hai!!'.Yes ,we had no alternative.

* We realise that the path Modi and me were taking was the one we took for ascent (notice I'm not saying it was the right track).A bit of lost hope,but the dwellers again help us out,showing the alternative way.

* The alternative way,it turns out,was actually the right way as we can see the arrows now.

* We trot towards the bottom until a confusing stretch of land comes up.There are a few trails in two directions and obviously we choose the wrong one.

* We end up at the brook once again.Cross it,find nothing,cross it back again.No luck.A bit of despair creeps in,with light fading pretty fast.We had no torches,so darkness meant night out in the wilderness.

* Too tired to even walk,I gather courage to run back to that confusing intersection and see if there is anything.After 5 minutes of running I finally see the right track.I run back and tell them to follow.And run with me.

* We realise that it was the same track as the beginning of the trek.We keep walking fast and running so that we reach the base before it's pitch dark.

* Finally after 20 tense minutes,we see that board at the base camp.We look at the time and it's 7 pm.We made it in the nick of time.

* The return journey is pretty peaceful as we get jeep from the base camp to an intermediate stop and a bus direct to Kalyan.Being on the highway helps a lot.So Rajeev's theory is proven to be incorrect,and his hindside is in lot of trouble after this conclusion is reached.

* We reach the institute by 11 pm.Too tired even to eat,I take a bath and just sleep.

We always mess up even the easy treks.But in retrospect that adds to the adventure element :)
I'm already planning for the next trek this weekend.Trek whenever I find time.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Acknowledgements

This digresses from the normal posts I usually have,but I was so overwhelmed that I consider it necessary to do this.

Ever since I posted this about the sleep patterns,people (especially my classmates) seem to like the idea of doing such a thing.I have enjoyed experimenting with observational humor and I'm glad that people appreciate it.

So thank you everyone for pointing things I can include in my later posts.Be it the fraudy labs,the strange habits of the professors (and students too!),a humorous canteen table conversation,weird habits that people develop to make them look different and so,so many more.I have so many ideas in my mind currently that it would take an unimaginable amount of time write each and every one of them.But time is never a factor,and I love to write,so that shouldn't be a problem.Keep coming up with ideas,you have now got your own freelance journalist :)

I really appreciate the support,approval and enthusiasm shown through IM's,daily conversations and comments here.I will continue my efforts and hope that you find it worthwhile.

A special thanks to my brother and some close friends who point out the mistakes I make in my postings.Grammatical,typo or just poor structure (my bro is really ruthless on those).Feels great to know the involvement from your side.Sometimes I'm too lazy to correct them all,forgive me for that.Keep pointing my mistakes,it's more important that I learn them than correct them here.

And thanks to those who can connect to what I write,specially the new blog I just begun.I was really sentimental about my hometown and it's nice to know that my friends feel the same way too.If you can join in and contribute (friends from JSR obviously),it would be all the more special.

I will get back to the regular stuff now,with a huge on the trek in the pipelines.Just keep coming back :)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New kid on the Blog

Just begun my long due series on my hometown Jamshedpur memories.

Do have a look:

http://www.back2jsr.blogspot.com/

PS:Have to go for a trek in 2 hrs time.It's 3.30 AM right now.Otherwise would have explained more.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What happens next?

She has dropped her books.She's bending to pick them up.What happens next?


This here is Tanushree Dutta.The ex-Miss India and now a bollywood actress.Both these terms are confusing and interchangeable these days.The prize for Miss India crown should be made an offer in a Bollywood flick.That would save a lot of trouble and time.Anyway that's not what concerns me now.I would not have known of her,let alone seen her movie,if it wasn't for one common thread that binds us.Hometown as Jamshedpur.

You may not recognise her by face.This would be highly unsurprising considering she had so much else on offer in her pathetic first movie Aashiq Banaya Aapne.I wouldn't have cared that she is branded the next sex symbol who would usurp the Malika Sherawats in days to come,or she is someone who goes on screen saying she is all comfortable with 'bold' and steamy scenes,or claim that there is nothing wrong with what she did on screen.I wouldn't have bothered but for the small town fraternity that comes in between.Especially since I have partly witnessed the frenzy associated with her rise to fame back home.

Go back a year.She was hailed as the biggest thing to have happened in Jamshedpur.(Priyanka Chopra had that tag earlier as her birthplace is Jamshedpur.But her poor geography where she placed Jamshedpur in the western part of India when asked about it,took the sheen away from her).She was welcomed warmly in her school DBMS where she studied till 10th and little girls ran up to her saying their dream is to be like her.She was the queen of the town.The school principal had this to say:

Principal Prema Balasubramanium said: “Tanushree was not only a beautiful girl, she was good in studies as well. She was always willing to take up any task assigned to her with full zest.”

Wonder why always studies come in between things.She didn't need to study to be doing this.Neither do people for whom she is doing this.But I guess this is stereotypical.

It amuses me to think of the situation now.Would the then smitten mothers still allow their little kid girls to emulate her? Would the principal watch her movie,and that song and that kiss and still say that all those were principles infused in her by the school ethics? There is a professional side I know,but I don't see how people would take her now,being so psuedo moral that they are in small towns.

This is how they felt about the movie back home.Very predictable.

How do I feel? Nothing,I feel nothing.Just feel bad that people back home are let down.High hopes.

Rajeev,me and few others from Jamshedpur are on a mission these days.Not letting anyone watch this movie.Unless they somehow find out that she is from Jamshedpur and somehow blame that poor little place for such an acting fiasco.So it's not about Tanushree,it's about Jamshedpur.

Wonder what will happen when she will visit town and her school again.And I won't be watching her other movie Chocolate or whatever it is.And they tell me it's a rip off of 'The Usual Suspects'.All the more reason not to watch.(TSU was good).

For those few who don't know what happens next in the snap I posted,watch the movie in slow motion at around 5.00 minutes.My advice,don't blink.

Photo courtesy the highly dedicated movie watchers who took the screenshot frame after frame after frame.Not me of course.Don't ask me for the next in sequence,at least not here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Road Ahead

The exams are over.This means I can-

1.Pull the shades,switch off the lights,lie on my bed,close my eyes and listen to Baba O' Riley over and over and over in a loop.And smile when these lines come up-

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older

Keep listening and then sleep.Without any worries.

2.Think,think,think.Write,write,write.Think and write,write and think.Right or wrong,just write.Just think.And sleep.

3.Play football.Barefooted on wet concrete,on a muddy field with sneakers on or the lush green main ground with footballing shoes.Just doesn't matter.Just play wherever,whenever I get a chance.

4.Resume my prolonged attempt to learn swimming properly.Get up early in the morning and run to the pool in the diffused light with raindrops falling on my head.Then swim with heavy rain falling.Has a great cleansing effect.

5.Go to Sameer hill top on weekends.Just run to the top and soak in the fresh air.Feast my eyes on the almost union of the two beautiful lakes with mountains covering them on all sides.Mountains of earth or mountains of concrete,doesn't matter.Feel blown away by the high winds standing with hands stretched out on the edge.Forget dope.THIS is the meaning of getting high.

6.Read,read a lot.Read whatever I can lay my hands on.During lectures,after lunch,before sleeping.Anywhere,anytime.

7.Watch Jon Stewart clips,Monty Python scenes,Seinfeld episodes for the millionth time.Just whatever makes me laugh.Then laugh hard.

8.Figure out what else needs to be done.

Just thinking about my daily routine in summer,can't beat that:

Wake up at 6.
Run to the basketball court,play for 1 hour.
Rush to the swimming pool,have a blast.
Come back,sleep,wake up and watch Seinfeld,West Wing or some select movies.
Play TT whenever time permitted.
Read in between.
Play cricket sometimes from 2-4.
Have tiffin,play football for 1.5 hours.
Come back,watch French Open,NBA repeats,Wimbledon or live cricket,confed cup soccer,F1 or whatever sport was on TV.
Get exhausted and go to sleep.

Glory days,wonder when will get that kind of time again :(

Thursday, September 22, 2005

L

Lame Limerick

Looking,listening then listing what I see
Laughing at things,that's typical of me
Lots and lots I had to say
Loony ,thoughtful on different days
Letting my thought train just run free.

Lucky some found them worth a read
Leaving praises or just words that plead
Let me end and raise a toast
L stands for 50,this be my 50th post!
Longing to be 100 when C will be the lead.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Barberic Tale

Getting your hair cut isn't as easy as it seems to be.Especially after an upbringing in a pious and sometimes superstitious background where everything has to have a pre-defined time and place.Haircut is prohibited on Tuesdays,Thursdays and Saturdays.I don't know about Saturday,but I don't want to take chances.The problem being complicated by the fact that in hostel daily life it's pretty uncommon that you remember what day of the week it is.

I wake up every day and realise that my hair has grown so long that it's becoming difficult to see things with it falling into the eyes.I make up my mind to have a hair cut and tell my friends about it.They immediately reply,"Not today mate,it's a Thursday".After weeks and weeks of postponement due to lack of auspiciuos days,one day suddenly everything falls into place.The stars,the moons and most importantly the calendar have the right look about it.It's a Friday and I remember that I need a haircut.Going to the saloon 2kms away on foot is the easier part.

Now I'm not the adventurous and experimental type when it comes to hair.The only reason that my hair grows long is that I don't find time to go to the barber.Long hair with bandana and hair gel may look 'cool' and trendy but I stay away.I was relieved to know that I'm not the only one who thinks so.My friend Neeraj whom I meet every summer when he comes back from Singapore (he studies at NUS) tells me that he lets his hair grow long just becuase the barbers back in Sgp charge way too much and the first thing he does after coming back to Jamshedpur is rush to get the good old 10/- cut.Now that he has gone to Philly on a one year exchange program,I expect him to come back with longer hair than most traditional Indian women (although the definitions for this term are changing pretty fast).

And about shaving your own hair,well I'm not that brave enough either.I adore Ronaldo and even got a jersey with his name on the back,but the admiration stops with football.

I enter the saloon and as always it's full.No matter what time of the day,what day of the week,what week of the year I've entered into a saloon,I've never found it empty.There are always enough people who have to get a haircut,shave or maasage.But every saloon follows a common code for waiting customers.They provide them with reading material.The fashionable ones have the latest magazines and newspapers kept neatly while the ones I visit back home have outdated newspapers which may be well be used that very instant to gather the hair waste.That's service for you.That's why the rates here are 3 times that of my city.The news lag is compensated though by the overzealous barber who talks of everything from the present form of Indian cricketers,the present state of Government in Sudan or Belarus,the regular movie chit-chat and some alarmingly irregular ones to the ill health of the buffalo of his milkman.And that's way more entertaining than reading stuff.

I am called when a chair falls empty.It's strange but a vague sense of achievement takes over.I look at the other people waiting and make a face that could read,'Look who's the chosen one'(refer Seinfeld to see what I mean).I sit down on the elevated chair.I glance here and there and my eyes fall upon the regualr haircut chart where they have the snapshots of all possible haircuts in all possible colours hanging on the wall.That does not confuse me though.I feel that colored hair is good for feathered birds,who need it to attract mates.I'm not sure if that works well with human beings too,but I'm too boring to find that out.So I go for the regular 'medium' cut,whatever that means.I used to be a 'short' kind of guy earlier but I ditched that style after being the butt of many a jokes during schooldays.

The white sheet is wrapped around me.Symbolic of the death of long hair maybe.The snip-snip of the scissors begins to take over with frequent instructions from the barber to tilt my head in sometimes impossible angles.I am left to myself here,for the barber is the quiet type,typical of a big city man.There is no spontaneous bondage that two unknown people strike when they meet in smaller cities.My mind wanders and tries to figure out what people think when the barber is cutting their hair.The regular things they always think about or does the change in setting carry the thought train in a totally different direction? As I'm thinking,a few more instructions are given and I oblige unknowingly.I don't know what I'm thinking,or maybe I'm thinking everything I just wrote.

It's never too long before the thing gets over.Time passes like it always does.It stops sometimes if the weather is hot and there is no power and you are sweating like a melting snowcap underneath the white sheet,but that's rare.The white sheet comes off soon enough and I'm left with the tiny remains of my beloved hair on my clothes.And an immediate urge to have a bath and to dust of that vile cheap smelling powder.The baber asks just to make sure,'Anything else..shaving,massage?'.My puzzled and bemused look gives the answer.Who gets a massage in a barber shop? I pay and I leave.To walk that 2km again,this time with prickly and itchy hair all round my body.

Carefree for another 3 months or the time when the hair grows long enough to poke me in the eye.Whatever comes first.

Footnote:For all those kind friends who visit this blog and the kinder ones still who remind me to update as they want to read more of me,I'm sorry to say that things won't be the same this week.So before sending me an IM think of your poor friend who is hanging on the edge and seriously needs time to study to pass his courses.The regular me willl be back after a week.Respite for most,disappointment for some,mostly me.So long and thanks for all the wish(es).

Before I go,if you've seen the Jon Stewart classic on Crossfire,this is what Jon had said when pressurised to act like he does on his show(Daily Show)-"No,I'm not gonna be your monkey".But I'm too nice to say that.You must have got the message though.And remember this a joke,and every joke is an exaggeration,so don't feel bad and shun this humble friend of yours.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sleep Patterns:A Case Study



1.The Initiation-The lecture begins.The chap in the green tee thinks the time is ripe to have a little harmless nap.He somehow adjusts in the cramped position and goes to sleep almost instantaneously.His friends in the blue and red tees look on,almost with envy.They keenly observe the method.The intricacies,the techniques,the subtleties.Now they are thinking,"Heck,I could do that!".The transformations have begun.






2.The Propagation-By now everyone in the last bench has emulated the green tee guy.This is clearly seen in the image by the unobsctructed view that the last window gives.While the window in front of it is eclipsed by people who have yet not succumbed to this spreading effect.But it's all going to change now.The guy on the extreme left of the image is seen giving hush-hush instructions to all his fellows around him to join this wave.The exact opposite of the Mexican wave you see so often on TV.And people are listening.



3.The Steady State-The effect spreads like wild fire,even faster maybe.The consequences are self evident.Except the first benchers,who somehow have developed a permanent immunity to this extremely contagious phenomenon,everyone is in the surreal dream world.Afterall if our dreams shape the future,then we need to sleep.And we do.




All these photgraphs have been taken by an alert photographer during our lectures who has sacrificed his sleep to prepare this amazing footage.Kudos to Hitesh for doing this.

As for the guys in the green,blue and red tees,puhleeeeze dont lynch me for this!It's all for the case study.We all gain in knowledge after watching this.You are not alone,as clearly shown by the pictures.

Sleep on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Poetry in Engineering

The Mid-sems are upon us.So it's time I took out the books,dusted the thick dust cover and turn to the first page of the chapter.A wonderful surprise!

The introduction to the chapters in one book on Ceramics and to one chapter in the Physical metallurgy book start out with poems.What a departure from the regular you're-gonna-cry-on-this introductions!

Here are some excerpts-

Hymn of Breaking Strain

The careful text books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff -- the Man!

This one's by Kipling.Complete verse can be found here.
A very good one too.I look at this and then I look at my attempt.Then it becomes clear what it means to be a poetic genius.In case you didn't figure that out,it's Kipling I'm referring to.

Now for the ones in the ceramics book.These are by John Updike and all of them are excerpts from his huge poem called Dance of the Solids taken from Midpoint and other poems.

All things are Atoms:Earth and Water,Air and Fire,all
Democritus foretold.Swiss Paracelsus,in alchemic lair
Saw sulfur,salt and mercury unfold Amid Millennial
hopes of faking Gold.Lavoisier dethroned
Phlogiston;then molecules analysis made bold
Forays into the gases:Hydrogen
Stood naked in the dazzled light of Learned Men.

another one-

The Solid State,however,kept its grains
of microstructure coarsely veiled until
X-ray diffraction pierced the Crystal Planes
That roofed the giddy Dance,the taut Quadrille
Where Silicon and Carbon Atoms will
Link Valencies,four-figured,hand in hand
With common Ions and Rare Earths to fill
The lattices of Matter,Glass or Sand
With tiny Excitations,quantitatively grand.

I could not find the poems on the web so I typed the excerpts myself.I liked them that much.Here's another one,and very true indeed-

Textbooks and Heaven only are ideal
Solidity is an imperfect state
Within the cracked and dislocated Real
Nonstoichiometric crystals dominate

In case you're wondering what rhyme scheme and punctuations are these;wait till you have a course in literature.You'll get to know about the Spensarian rhymes,Miltonian and Shakespaeran sonnets and the caesura,enjambments et al.Good luck.

Here's the one that started it all,by Robert Browning-

All that is,at all
Lasts ever,past recall,
Earth changes.
But thy soul and God stand pure,
Time's wheel runs back or stops:
Potter and clay endure.

Nice way to start a book on ceramics.

It would be so very wonderful if the chapters itself were written in verse.Here's a job for me,if and when I don't do anything else.I won't be any good,but I'll try.

It's all great.Now I have to get past the introductions.Into real world.

Hindi hain hum watan se

Today is the Hindi Diwas.Supposed to be celebrated with a plea to speak in Hindi for at least this day.Ironically,due to a number of reasons not far to fathom,I write this in English.A language often blamed of depleting the Hindi awareness and base.There are misunderstandings on both sides.And as happens with everything else,it's the radicals on both sides who cause them.

There are people who think that Hindi is the language that villagers speak.Or rather fit to speak.Eliminating those double standard ones who still listen to songs and watch movies in Hindi,we are left with ultra radicals who connect hindi with everything vile.Movies,songs,pathetic serials and media in this language add to the woes.And sadly this is what makes up the perception.The wonderful literature that's been written figures nowhere in the arguments.Because people don't read them.

There are people on the other side who consider English to be the leftovers of the British empire.A thing that the Britishers should have taken along with them.They publish mouthpieces,talk and force upon their agenda of pure Hindi.However impractical that may be.

The situation is that Hindi is dying among people like us,the very people who are going to run this country tomorrow(whoa,that's lofty!).With Hindi as the national language.There is no problem in talking in english or watching only english movies and listening to english songs and reading books.The problem lies in detesting Hindi as a language,based on the perception that it gives through poplular media,culture.It's far deeper than that.

My knowledge of Hindi literature isn't too much beyond the school curriculum.But whatever I was taught,I enjoyed most of the parts.Still remember some of the favorite poems and still can talk about all the other stories,plays,essays that came up.What I liked most was the reading sessions with dad,where he would read parts of books he found enjoyable,for us to appreciate.That worked well for English literature for I read almost all the books he ever read us from.But unfortunately couldn't go through the Hindi ones,which now I think I must.

There is so much to connect to while reading in Hindi.None of the church spires,fashionable avenues,strange menu items,uknown festivals and other such small things that become sometime hard to imagine.That's for someone like me brought up in a strictly middle class family in a sleepy semi town.Hindi literature has it's own joys;of familiarity if you may say so.But unfortunately for most people the touch is lost when we are out of school.Then comes the false sense of Hindi-loving by quoting from the movies and humming the songs.This is not what Hindi means,this is an aberration.

I don't watch Hindi movies(no not that many english movies either,just not the movie buff),hardly ever listen to Hindi songs (mostly becuase they almost exclusively with love,desire,longing,separation and similar stuff).I read whatever I can lay hands upon,and that's almost exclusively English.But that doesn't mean I'm a Hindi-basher.I talk in Hindi as much as I can,that's not just to hide my poor speaking skills.I read in Hindi as much as I can,that's the least I can pledge continue doing this Hindi Day.

The English radicals may think I'm a villager (used in a derogatory sense!,imagine) to do so,I don't care.The Hindi ones may think I'm just doing this to gain sympathy (who does that??).Again I don't care.Let them both remain in their delusions of supremacy.

Me? I'll just continue soaking the best of both worlds.As I see them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ashes are back home


" Bowlin',Shane",a last shout from Gilly and Ashes is gone for another 1.5 years.This one won't be forgotten for long though.It won't be forgotten for a very,very long time to come.

The drama.The intensity.The climax.And above all the result with England reclaiming the Ashes after 16 long years is what make it a special one.Some unbelieveable individual perforamances,sometimes against all odds make it even more unforgettable.

Warnie,ah!Don't know what will people do when he retires.I don't think I will ever like watching spin bowling again.The rotund figure taking those nonchalant steps,a final swirl at the end and then the ball doing magic.Who else can do that spell after spell,innings after innings,series after series.The fact that he rose above a troubled and highly publicised personal life to give an entirely professional performance is a lesson in itself.Forty wickets in a series,around 300 runs to add as a tailender;take a bow Shane Warne.

This series will be Freddie's though.England have found another Botham afterall.If he continues to blaze the way he did this series,Botham may well might be branded as the earlier Freddie.Gutsy with the bat,mean with ball.There is little more than a team could ask for.

It's unbelieveable to think that this was Kevin Peitersen's first test series.He showed none of those precarious debut traits that most normal players do.Counterattack,that seems to be the only word he knows.Just saw this amazing century of his where he withered the early Lee storm and launched a counter attack to take the Aussie hands far away from the urn.New generation test cricketers,none of those Boycott type I'm-gonna-sleep-at-the-wicket or I'm-never-hitting-a-six Atherton type fellows.

I liked the joke at the end that Atherton made though.KP came in to accept the man of the match prize and Atherton said to him-"You made English people forget all the mistakes you had done (ref. drop ctaches),even that haircut of yours.Let us see that for the last time."And KP takes of his cap to show the weird hairdo,with a sheepish grin on his face. :D

I'll also remember the way two of my favorite cricketers put in their bit.Brett Lee gave all that he could and more.With the bat,with the ball.Almost winning the match at Edgbaston,drawing it at Old Trafford.Coming in and bowling in at more than 90mph everytime,striving to go faster.That's why he is a favorite.
Michael Vaughan is another one of my eternal favorites.The way he batted in Australia last Ashes was something that legends are made of.Although his form wasn't that stellar during this series,the big hundred he got reaffirmed his batting genius.And the leadership he demonstrated added just an extra dimension.

A great series.Forget world cup,forget India-Pak.This is how cricket had begun and will be sustained.Already I'm longing for the next Ashes.

A pleasant surprise when my mom phoned in the evening:
Mom:What are you doing?
Me:Nothing.
Mom:I'm watching the wondeful match..
Me(surprised):What match?
Mom:The Ashes of course,how come you are not watching?
Me:Of course I am,I didn't tell you becuase I thought it was synonymous to doing nothing for you.But apparently not.

She never watches the K grade soaps like most others do,mostly becuase of our sports frenzy tastes or Dad's news channel swapping spree.But I didn't expect her to watch anything but the India matches all by herself.Just goes to show..

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where were you?


The scars haven't vanished yet.The wounds aren't healed yet.The moment is too fresh in memory to do a where-were-you analysis.So much has been written,seen,said,heard about it that a redundant post like this can do no justice.But I couldn't just let go the moment.So I thought I would put down the horrid moments,as they unfolded before my very own eyes.

It was a clear September evening.My brother and I were having the evening breaker and tea.Restlessly changing channels to agree upon something to watch.Or to eat quickly and run out and play.A news channel showed a tall building,flames coming out from the very top.Breaking news in extra large fonts and red colour flashing at the bottom part of the screen.Our first reaction was that some floor of WTC must have caught fire.The scaled down images were a huge mislead that make us think that.Then we saw the enormous holes in the girth of the building,that alarmed us.We started listening to what the broadcast had to say.Words like probable,attack,terrorists,aeroplanes,death,destruction started pouring in.

Wait,AEROPLANE?What has an aeroplane got to do with that?
The news reader ended the suspense.Said that aeroplanes crashed into the tower and the explosion caused such massive destruction.It wasn't known yet if it was an accident or a planned move.This struck us hard.A boeing jet doesn't collide with buildings very often.This was something out of the worst nightmares.

Suddenly,suddenly in front of our very own eyes and millions around the world,another plane curved in from the background.It was headed straight for the second tower.Horror of horrors.The news reader didn't know how to react.All he could muster was "Seems a second plane is headed the same direction.....Oh My GOd!!!".The impact was immense.An explosion,the smoke cloud,shattered rmains of the once tallest buildings.We were dumbstruck.Too unreal to have happened.It was like a nightmare.

We remained glued to the TV.Slowly it started trickling in that there had been similar attacks on the Pentagon and another plane had crashed on the ground near Pennsylvania.Then people started talking about the connection of these events,and it didn't take long to figure out.The attacks were clarified as being terorrist attacks and people were said to stay calm and stay home.A high security alert was sounded,ironically after the events had taken place.

The most striking image was when the tower crumbled giving in to the huge imapct.There were shots of camera where the unassuming cameran was taking shots of the destruction from below and suddenly there were shouts to run away from the place.The tower was coming down.The camera shots showed a huge blat of smoke and rubble just rushing through the air in the lanes.People shrieking,shouting for help and running as fast as they could.The tower crumbled and fell to ground.Taking so many lives with itself.It wasn't long before the second tower came down too.The aerial shots showed how the building crumbled floor by floor,layer by layer much like a pack of cards.In a few minutes time there was a gaping hole in the face of New York.Forever.

After these lightining fast happenings,the time came to analyse and take stock of the situation and the damage done.3000 people had lost their lives.Some of them were fire fighters who were trying to save people when the building came down.There were official statements about the incidents,all air traffic to and from the country was banned.

The most disturbing image I saw was of people jumping from the top floors of the towers.Panic stricken and short of ideas they just jumped from such a height to take a chance of saving their lives.They just floated in the air for a while,a long while.Then the camera lost them.A few seconds later the world lost them.Fear of death imminent must be such an overpowering emotion.They were staring at their own deaths as they zeroed in on the ground.On Ground Zero.

I woke up till late in night to watch every telecast possible.Then I woke up early to rejoin the telecasts.I was in front of the TV for the entire week.The newspapers had a gloomy,gory look for the entire month.I had saved the newspaper of 12th sep, but I guess I lost it somewhere.

The war followed.If something this heavy hits the ground,the earth is bound to be shaken.In this case there was an earthquake.Afghanistan was razed to the ground.

Once again the entire imagery flashes before my eyes.The towers float into oblivion.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Fraud surveys,deceptive surveyors

A friend (amazingly still remains a friend after that) knocks on the door one summer night.Bag on his back he looks suspicious,for my place is not known for people coming in with bags.Cricket bats,soccer balls,even skateboard is normal.But bags must indicate a hidden purpose.And so it proves to be.

Out of his sack he takes out printed forms of some kind.Some 8 pages of the most unwanted and private questions you'll ever answer.All for his project he says,we are supposed to co-operate.The project is on brand consciousness among today's retail clothing consumers so obviously the questions are very tricky.He is doing this project under the guidance of some Prof in IIM Lucknow he adds,giving pseudo credibilty to the act of his.Why IIM,what Lucknow,who project,where IIT;a confusing pattern floats in the mind,but we are supposed to answer questions not ask them.

"Are you patriotic?".This hits me.What does this have to do with buying clothes.I don't wear khadi,if that's what patriotic means.Anyway khadi is way to expensive for my tastes (read anything below 300 bucks,gifts excluded).So I figure I'm not patriotic and I write that.
There are a few regular ones after that.

Q.Do you friends influence what you are going to buy?.
A.Yes,depends on the amount of money they can lend.

Q.Do you always go for brands?
A.When someone else is paying,inevitably yes.When I have to pay I run to fashion street and get one for less than my budget.

Q.How much do you spend on clothing each month?
A.Depends on how many of my clothes are unwashable and torn.Usually 0 bucks a month.Get all new clothes when I get home.

Then the serious ones start coming-
Q.Are you insane?
A.Are you insane?

Q.Are you are satisfied with what you have achieved till now?
A.No,but I will if be I complete this form.

These questions rephrased repeat in a cycle.The are 5 choices-strongly agree,agree,neutral,disagree,strongly disagree.I give every one of the bubbles equal oppurtunity to be filled.Something I used to do in tough multiple choice exams.The pattern formed by the filled bubbles looked good.So I submitted it.

Finally there was one last question-
Q.Are you in complete control of your mind?
A.I thought I was,this form will make me rethink my position.

This friend of mine had to catch other innocent preys like myself so he leaves.Later I find out that he filled up half the forms by himself.He liked my bubble pattern theory and followed it in most questionnaires except when he was going insane.He got paid for it. &%$#@!.If the government wonders where do all they money given to IIM's and IIT's go,look no further.

I've answered surveys before this too.There was this survey regarding IIT and patriotism by our Hindi newsletter.My unique answers irked the surveyor,who quite understandably wasn't a friend of mine.We got into a bit of spat where he questioned my sanity.I tried telling him about the truth behind such surveys and opinion polls,but he was too sentimental about this.So he got eyeball to eyeball until a few friends interrupted.Obviously I was the one who was saved.

Another one was when a few outside college students distributed questionnaires to survey the psychological bend of mind of IIT'ians.My answers amused them more than anything and I guess set a wrong precedent for what IIT'ians really are.I couldn't resist it though.There were actually questions like "Have you ever contemplated suicide?".I wrote that once I went through these questions I seriously considered that option.They took my form away.I went ahead happy.

A SOM(school of management) student knocked on my door yesterday and uttered the word survey.I ran as hard as I could.

The question still remains in my mind.Do these surveys actually prove anything? Or they remain cover stories of health,business mags or newspapers who conduct surveys on virtually evey topic they can think of? Nothing more than that.

How is your opinion going to change if you find out that 80% of the people use the brand of toilet cleaner you're using? Or if you find out that the shoe polish you just used accounts for just 17% of the market share?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

People are strange when you're a stranger

Some people I'm wary of.Rather too afraid to go and talk to them.Lest I make make fun,they feel bad.Or I get beaten up and I feel bad.

  • People with tattoos and body piercing-Anyone who can give that much pain to themselves to look..well..different can be pretty dangerous.So I stay away.

  • People having pink pencil,pen,slippers and other color coded stuff-If the people in question are schoolgirls,it's understandable.Girls,OK considerable but what about boys who do this?Can't talk to them.

  • People who wear trousers so low that the underwear brand is visible-What's the point in doing this? Look I got branded undies? Or pink undies? Or pink branded undies?

  • People wearing sunglasses in shade and feeling good about it-The equivalent for such situation would be standing in the shade with an umbrella.And you won't want to disturb such a mind.

  • People having their favorite books as "Who moved my cheese" or even better "You can win"-Slight difference of opinion.I would rather not bring that to the fore.

  • People who have the words 'cute' in their dictionary-I'm afraid,they can use it against me anytime. (think Monty Python and "the knights who say 'nee' ")

  • People who talk more than 1 hour on phone-I'd rather call them up than meet them.

  • People who go to corny chat rooms and add cornier friends on Orkut-Have we stooped to this now? Or is it normal?
  • People from north India who have spoken hindi all their life talking to similar other people in English,made up English-If learning be the motive,I understand.Anything else,beyond my comprehension.Probably that's why my English is soo bad.I will do the same now.

  • People who love "Titanic" and similar movies-They might start singing "My heart will go on" and that scares me.Had a rough experience with that song,when in a school event a particular year every girl team that came up sung that.A boy team tried doing that but the audience ran away.Sean Penn had once said that half the people are fleeing Canada because of Celine Deon.I think it's people who try to be Dion who are bigger threats.

  • People who talk about life,love,friendship and get SMS's that explain the same-Don't blame me.Blame Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart.They have brainwashed me,my sentiments,my emotions.Now that they have,I can't stand these these things.

I'm out of things to say,but this is a dynamic post.A lot of additions will be there as and when I find people to run away from.Suggestions of course are most welcome.Just like my Orkut about me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Footballer within

Writing,they say inspires.I hope this inspires both of us,just enough.Not like those over enthusiaistic things that run around everywhere.Nothing inspires better than our own past.At least for me.

I was undecided on whether to touch upon this or not.But Rai's comment about not playing football and the motivation to play it again made me write this.Ironically both of us had quit playing after the same match during which we were shouted upon and substituted.One bad day is all it took.We played in small groups and grounds later,but that was nothing like running on the entire stretch of the field.Quite symbolically the No. 9 jersey bearing my name(I was quick,I was considered good,I was the forward,hence the number) that I wore was lost by someone I lent it too,I kind of lost my name.I quit playing and haven't seen the main ground for an year;him too.

I look back at the first day of the NSO course we had to do for one year.My first priority was cricket and I was selected in the first 30 but let out in the final 15 for the day.I had chosen to bowl instead of batting.I was a better bat but for reasons I have already mentioned before,I chose otherwise.My next choice was football.After just 5 minutes of trial my name was noted,Rai's too.With 20 odd other future teammates.

The first day with the team.We had small matches on half the pitch.I scored 4 goals,still remember how I did.Apparently even Rai remembers one of them as being good when I turned,stopped,waited and shot.Sir immediately decided that I was going to play ahead.And he reserved special taunts for me when I didn't do all that well.Rai was the only one who could play both left foot and right but his talent was hardly utilised.Mostly beacuse he was too lazy to turn up for the course,2 days in a week.It became more of a schedule for me too,and I started bunking.

I missed the hostel team practices,Rai never turned up.I was made the substitute for the hostel team.Sir was very hurt when he heard about that.He lectured me for around 15 minutes,in front of 10 odd people.Said something on the lines of Carl Lewis not being allowed to go for his fourth gold medal in 400 mts (?) beacuse he hadn't qualified for it in the U.S team itself.This when he was the defending champ I presume.My what-the-hell attitude laughed that off with my friends when I came back.Only now I realise that it meant much more than a comment on not making to the first team.Much,much more.

Seeing all those football videos that are trickling into the LAN,the lost fire is being rekindled.I just watched a repeat of the ManU-Munich UEFA match,which I had watched live in '99,waking up until 2 for that.How I loved football,and then how I dreaded playing it again.

Non-committal and brilliant.Responsibilty and abysmal.Synonyms for me.

Anyway I hope this post will inspire me (and him) enough to take up football again.Not to try and achieve anything,but for the pure joy that it offers.We may not be good enough,but amateurs should be given that much freedom.To try and do the Zidane roulette,the Ronaldinho passes,the Shevchenko runs,Rooney volleys,Gerrard long shots,Nistelrooy headers or Adriano's dead ball expertise.Fail yet continue to try.

I will end with the description my first goal,lest I forget.No one is going to write about that,so I very well thought I might:

I took the field after a gap of many days.The usual left wing position.Think Figo,think Giggs,think anyone you wish.But just to get an idea of the position and type of role I was supposed to play,not the talent.We were trailing 3-2.I was near the halfway line when the ball was passed from the right wing.There were calls of offside,but I was not.Forgetting how bad I had been playing and what I was supposed to do,I just ran with the ball.Took an angle that closed in to the goal.I ran half the pitch with the ball and no one overtook me.I was running like the wind,I was the wind! There were calls to pass the ball.I wasn't passing this time.I got near the D-edge area.The goalie was on the near post to cut the angle.I shot.The ball glided into the top left corner of the near end.A goal.Satisfying as any could be.
I just ran back and took my position.No celebrations.I knew I owed a goal to the team.I just did what was so long coming.No reason to celebrate.That should have spurred me one to play further but I didn't.I just slipped away.Like I so often have.For the record we lost 6-4.

Manufacturing Consent?



A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)




Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)



Just went through a report in a newspaper about the contrasting interprations in the captions of the two photographs.As the blog from where I took it sums it up nicely-"It's not looting if you're white".

This immediately reminded me of the documentary "Manufacturing Consent" featuring the views of Noam Chomsky where he held the press responsible for doctoring the opinions of people worldwide in the context of the War in Iraq.The press did this by biasing their views and news in the favor of the side they supported,not hard to figure out which side.Something similar being done here?

I have not been to the U.S,but from what I gather from relatives and friends and media (???),the stereotype view is that the criminal is always the colored man.Is this another reflection of that stereotype?

The black man "loots" and the white man "finds".Interesting.

Monday, September 05, 2005

one night @ the call center

In case you are wondering what sort of corny title is that,think no more.It's the name of the new book (yes a book!!) by Chetan Bhagat,the king of college fiction (fps WAS fiction,although many of my friends still see it as autobiographical).The writer of Five Point Someone is back.If this is a sequel then it will send chills down the spines of real five point someones =)) .Did they end up in a CALL CENTER ,of all places?? Suspense,suspense!

I have these strange little overcurious queries about things.One of those was to see if authors actually replied to their guestbook entries.Although I had an initial interest in his first book 'Five Point Someone',because afterall it was about IIT,the entire enthusiasm vanished once I read that book.But the initial fervor motivated me enough to scribble in the guestbook and make him my guinea pig of sorts. The reply came back in a day or two. Thanked me,was oh-so-nice to me and then subtley slipped in a request asking to popularise the book through word of mouth (or click of mouse,whatever).I did that solely because I hadn't read that book.After I read it,I followed up with even more publicity.This time of a negative kind though.

I'm bringing that up because I found this mail in my inbox today:

Dear All,



This email goes out to a special group of people - those that personally made the effort to write to me about "Five Point Someone".



I am pleased to share with you the limited release website of my second book which will release next month. The website is only for my readers, well wishers and their friends as of now. This time the topic is totally different - call centers. The book is called "one night @ the call center".



The link is:
http://www.chetanbhagat.com/mail.html



the password is 463



Yes, you can (and please do) share the password with your friends.



I thank you once again for your mails to me. I know I have not been able to reply to all of you yet - mainly because of the huge workload associated with the second book's release. I apologize for the same. However, rest be assured that I have read all your mails, some of them more than once. On days I am feeling down, it is your mails that keep me going.



Lots of love,
Chetan.



Boy,they still haven't forgotten me.And they try and make me feel all proud and sentimental that I am a part of the select few who got this mail! Maybe they didn't,but I hated that book so I presume they did.

The masala filmi type first book ensures that I'm not going to read this one.But I respect this guy's business sense.Bring out a book on IIT,everyone will read it.And they did.The 'catchy' storyline made sure it became popular among the students.A bit like "Catcher in the Rye",every not so sucessful student started seeing it as his story.This added to the success.He sold a story,and we bought it.Then tried to live it.

Now he brings another one on call centres.Huge reading market to tap considering the number of BPO employees.Obvioulsy everyone will try and see what's it all about.The storyline (I'm presuming here) will have the same sort of effect.Another point scored.

As a vague acceptance of his superior money earning skills (I still have none),I publicise his book yet again.Not reading it though,not this time.Which is good for him considering that there won't be any more negative publicity if I did read it.

One thing I couldn't figure out was why the preview site is password protected? Any explanations?

Stop Press:I gathered courage enough to read the excerpt and I didn't like it.
Six people. One night. Call Center. Call from God. The phrases keep repeating in my head.They begin to irritate me now,and I don't want to know the suspense.Good luck to those who do find out.Hope you get a call from God.

So long Sania

I wouldn't have written this had I not seen what I saw today.Infact Dhoni's innings and Kimi's fightback meant a lot more to me today.But I won't write about them.That would be saved for 'dear diary' blogs.This was unique.

I have a reputation of being a sports fanatic here.Something I don't deny being.Probably no one can watch golf,rugby and ice hockey with equal joy as cricket,basketball and F1 as I do.Having so much idle time helps,but at least this is better than the virtual computer games.So I wasn't surprised when I received a large number of queries about the starting time of the match.Of course I didn't disappoint them,but the volume of such requests started to bemuse me.People who I hardly associated with watching a tennis match were talking abot Sania and Maria.That's hype for you.And beauty.

I walk into the lounge after the Hewitt-Dent match,soemthing I couldn't watch entirely due to academic comittments (read last minute assignment cogs).And there are more than 50 people packed in that small area! Shouting,making cat calls,whistling and clapping.This was unprecedented for a tennis match.Cricket draws such crowd occassionaly,football does it sometimes but this was a new one.

Every shot is being cheered.The blazing forehands and backhands of Sania.The breathtaking returns of Maria.The faults that Maria makes or the winners Sania scores.But the shots that draw the most applause are the close-in camera shots.Of Maria bending down to serve or Sania jumping in anticipation to receive the serve.Now,NOW the motive is crystal clear. :))

But I guess whatever it takes to make the game more popular.So every little girl that picks up a racket today is aiming to be like Sania,or Maria for that matter.If their idols can play well and look good at the same time and be conscious of both the facts,there is noting like that.Just an extra dimension to the game.

Meanwhile Sania loses.Nobody expected her to win.Except those who were watching a tennis match for the first time.I'm sure this won't be their last.

I tell them about the Hantuchovas,Golovins and the still to be popular divas.They seem excited enough to watch.So WTA owes me a lot for publicity.Sometimes there is more to the game than you can imagine!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Girl on TV...err..PC!


I spent about 2 hours on the re-beautification of my desktop.And thought that my efforts shouldn't go un-noted.So here it is,my re invented desktop's screen shot.

I don't usually have females adorn my desktop,I find nature much more beautiful.But somehow the icons on the full photo made the pictures look less beautiful in all my earlier desktop wallpapers.Then I found her.

This was the perfect wallpaper I was looking for.Icons having a space of their own.The picture having a beauty of it's own.There is a story behind this picture,which I guess only my bro could have guessed by now.The title is a hint,so the entertainment buffs may take their shot here.Because I'm explaining up next.

I have been listening to this song by LFO (Lyte Funky Ones) called Girl on TV lately.I have a collection of such obscure songs that I used to listen on MTV as a kid.After coming here I hunted back those memories and luckily found some of the songs.Anyway this song is dedicated to Jennifer Love Hewitt who is in the picture.These guys had a huge crush on her,so they made a song about her.The lyrics is quite simple and straight forward.Here is an excerpt:

Wish for you on a falling star
Wondering where you are
Do I ever cross your mind
In the warm sunshine
She's from, the city of angels
Like Brady Davis, James Dean and Gable
Never know what she means to me
I fell for the girl that's on TV

Somehow this captures all those little memories I've had of times gone by.When I would wake till late in night to see the aired english videos,and watch football matches alongside.Been watching MTV since Rahul Khanna's one hour slot on DD-2.Happy days.

So the Girl on TV is the girl on PC now.And I got her without wishing on a falling star.I fell for her all right.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Another day in Paradise?

Hindu religion has around 65 million gods.That was on the last count,dont know if new ones have been added.Sorry if I missed out on some.
The procedure of selection is not very transparent and rigorous like in Christianity where they follow a process which may take 1000 years to materialise.By that time a new Jesus could come along.Or even Islam,where there are two sects depending on the number of Gods followed.Buddhism and Jainism and Sikhism are pretty clear in this regard,though it's quite unclear who the God is.Fire,tree,book or something else.

Anyway that's belief and I'm happy with whatever makes people happy.And that includes me.

The hierarchy in IIT is pretty close to Hinduism though.The percentage conversion rate could be even better.Every other person is a God out here. You have the God of small things good at any one of acads,sports,cult etc.And thern there are God of all things.Everyone I've tried to find out from someone else,the first sentence is always the same, "Wo to GODDDD hai!! " .Minor things like knowing a few commands in Linux,finishing 25th in the cross country,or coming 5th in the inter hostel events is enough to qualify you as one.

The system of Gods is absolute in Hinduism.Here it's relative too.One person's God could be someone else's mere mortal,or even worse.Depends on the skill levels.Or the PR.An Inter-IIT medal,a position in an inter college fest,grades above 8,a foreign PT or an event manager tag immediately raise you above the mortal few who exist here.The problem is that it is assumed that those with that special tag consider it unworthy of conversing with 'mere mortals'.People (read juniors,Gods to be) start worshipping their idols and then there are wars between groups on who is a bigger God.

The lesser Gods exist at hostel levels.Who just fail to have enough firepower to take that extra step.So obviously they are idolised at hostel levels.See this as the regional Gods.Gods like Rama,Ganesha being worshipped all over India while those like Balaji and Vishwakarma in a slightly local domain.These Gods are the life and blood of intra IIT events.

There are provisions of pilgrimage too.You need apping fundaes,go to the God who has got an App from MIT.If God-of-that-magnitude is unavailable,just talk to the one who is going to Kansas or some other non ivy-school.You need to win a Dram event?-no problem,just go to that-God-who-directed-the-award-winning- play.Don't even bother to ask what award.Or what play.

I was amused at this idol worship even back in school.The system her provides constant amusement.People have such shallow ideals.Being like a God.Like that's what matters.I thought the Gods (real ones) would have been happy if we stayed human beings,good human beings.But I guess we follow a parallel religion here.

I am the atheist then in this microcosm.And no I DON'T wear that athiest-God tee shirt.

It's just another day in paradise for everyone else.

And Gods please forgive me for this one.I still believe in you.And hope for a miracle everyday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dear Hansie


Dear Hansie,

We miss you out here.Ironically the people who threw you out also do.But you know they can't accept that publicly.It's the month you left us,and I chose to remember you on the very first day.

I have read 'Hamlet',and I know that you can recite that by heart.I have read 'Julius Caesar' too.But a tragic hero like you is impossible to find.And you were for real.I can't forget the look on your face when your team was declared losers in the '92 world cup after the rains disrupted your match against England.Then '99 was another heart break.And believe me,we cried with you.You might have seen the '03 incident too.And I know you would have been feeling equally crestfallen where ever you were.

I saw you cry at the King's comission testimony and I felt a lump in my throat.You said it was "an unfortunate love of money... I am not addicted to alcohol or nicotine, but I believe this is very similar to an alcohol problem." Aren't we all addicted to money ? You said it was "greed, stupidity and the lure of easy money" and claimed "I was arrogant enough to think I would get away with it". I know this can't be explained but couldn't they forgive you and let you on? For all that you had done? There are so many people who are misled from the right path,but they are given at least one chance to redeem themselves.Politicians in India do that on a regular basis.Are we following double standards here? Was your crime too heinous to be forgiven?

I remember your appearance on a MTV show where you sung your favorite song which went like this:

And then a hero comes along,
With the strength to carry on,
And you cast your fears aside,
And you know you can't survive.
So when you feel like hope is gone,
Look inside you and be strong,
And you'll finally see the truth,
That a hero lies in you.

Why didn't you listen to this before giving into your addiction? And why didn't you follow this after things went wrong?

Who else will hit Murali for 4 sixes in an over when follow on is looming large? Who else will have the leadership and guile to guide an average team to victory in
India? Who else will just slog swipe any spinner that dared to dominate? Who else would just come in with his straight swinging deliveries and break partnerships?No one but you.

You had an unfinished dream.The dream to lift the World Cup.Why did you let an aberration come into the way? You can't answer this question and you didn't.But we can't stop asking.Why did you do it? And why did you leave us with an unfinished answer?

If you chose to come back in a different incarnation,come to India.We need leaders of men like you.And you will get enough money not to get misled.You must be thinking that it's our country that started all the trouble.I must tell you that places like ours which are sentimental about cricket are very unforgiving.See what happened to Azhar,Jadeja and some others.Why couldn't you figure that out early enough?

Anyway I loved you for your cricketing life and will continue doing so.Whatever you did in your personal life,which unfortunately was linked to cricket,wont stop me from being a fan of the way you played.

I will celebrate the life rather than mourn the death of a cricketer.

WWJS,
Nikhil.

The Social Dilemma

My social circle has zero radius.It's a dot.There are people who are infinitely close.Then there's no one.The dot lies at the intersection of many circles but it remains there.I am talking terms with everyone I know.But when it comes to exchange of ideas or sharing tastes,it's back to the trusted few.

Music,movies,LAN games,TV series and sports are the major talking points for any group of people.Yeah,no books.I hate games,especially the violent ones.I would rather go outside and play something,which I do.Movies aren't great help either,but at least people look upto me for advice instead of arguing.Music gets tough when I talk about bands nobody has heard about,and don't want to talk about the ones they want to talk about.TV has similar problems with the huge fanaticism for 'Friends' and teenage dramas I detest.Books are out of question.So what am I left with?

The problem is compounded with the opposite sex,where even cricket is ruled out in most cases.At least that was the case back in school,and I didn't bother to try much after that.I had the rare fortune (misfortune?) of being partnered by girls in almost every class since 6th as bench partners,lab partners and sometimes quiz partners.And the lack of things to talk about was alarming.While in the chemistry lab all giggly girls would gather around my table and talk about the affairs of the girl who danced on top of a train in a prticular song,or a particularly obscure actor who they somehow all finded 'cute',I would be playing with acids and bases.Didn't have a clue.I used to wonder how my illustrious friends manage to talk around 2 hours on phone to the same girl.They still do and I still wonder about what they talk.

Around 12th std. when everyone felt they were going to be separated as a class,huge social groups were formed.They would talk in the recess,stay back after the bell or just gather around in the labs.Or play that horrific game of 'Antakshari'.Me and some other bored friends of mine chose to play,sometimes in 45 degree temperaturesor torrential rains rather than join in.In picnics either I was absent due to some prior comittments (mostly city quizzes) or I took along my cricket bat and ball to stay entertained.Not that 'paper-dancing' type you see.The problem came to the fore when some of my friends were dubbed "Socially backward" by the class sir when they thought it was better to play cricket than have a dance with girls! What I did on the last day of school,or the way I filled up slam books so that didn't get any later,or the 'incident' would be talked about later.Ok not the 'incident' :P

So I chose to form a closed group of friends,who not necessarily thought alike but were good company.The most important part being able to understand the oblique jokes,sarcastic remarks and other RV (my school!!) specialities that I find lacking here.It's pretty much like 'Seinfeld',where they are just not compatible with anyone else.They try,but they always find something irriating,annoying or disgusting enough to stay away.In my case,I don't try and stay away,but I don't go ahead and join in either.But they way they talk about seemingly worthless things,that's what happens with us too.

I follow a sort of middle path.A protocol.

So my social circle remains a dot.And if I try and increase it,it would become a blot.