Thursday, November 24, 2005

Before I say goodbye.....

My exams got over today and another semester ends with that.I am off to home tomorrow,with a two day pit stop at Nagpur.I had a lot on my mind,a lot of things I wanted to write about but just didn't have the time.Now I don't have the enthusiasm to do that,so this post goes out to broadly list them,so that I don't have a feeling of incompleteness before I leave.

I wanted to carry on from my earlier post and list all the lies I had come across,specifically in news dealing with IIT's.The overblown ragging incident in IITD (I came to know very minute details of that story through my brother who lives in that very hostel),another badly dealt with case in IITKgp and then the real life encounter with the Aaj Tak journalist who wanted to interview us about the 'panic' that had set in with the crocodile sighting in the pond and the state of terrified campusites after 'numerous' panther sightings before that.I thought them over and realised that I would not be pointing out anything new.News is a thing to be marketed and half truths are manipulated and presented to have a sensational value.Emotions and common sense take a back seat.Infact it would have been a hypocrisy of sorts to write about them when all my life I have read and believed everything the media had to tell me about Iraq,about Israel and numerous other issues.So I just let go.

UPDATE: Varun's blog has pretty much everything blogosphere thinks of the incident,along with repercussions and discussions.

Then there was the end of the 15 year old mis-rule in my home state Bihar.My dad and uncle and a lot of other close relatives being in the state goverment,I have heard and witnessed chiling tales of misgovernance and chaos and it felt nice that finally such a rule saw the end of the day.Although I don't have any immediate hopes with the new one,but it feels nice as a symbolic change.I wanted to write something about that,but I just have the right song in mind:

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

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


I wanted to look back on the 5 years of Ganguly at the helm,which had more ups than downs.But that will have to wait.

Inspite of the fact that my exams were going on,I didn't miss most of the sporting action that happened this week.I saw India stop SA's winning run,read about Federer's run being stopped in monumental 5 setter by Nalbandian,saw England choke on their sub 200 chase,read about the Real drubbing at Barca's hand courtsey some Ronaldinho magic-I wanted to mention all of these somewhere,now I just have.

So now I can leave for home.Maybe continue blogging with a small post here and there,but I think it's a test of patience to do that over frustrating connections in small cyber cafe cubicles.Maybe I will take a break.

Mood Indigo will take place form 26th of December this year and I will most probably be there for that.Will resume full time then.

Adieus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The truth is out here

[This is my first in what I plan to be 2-3 posts on the unfortunate incident that happened in IITB,and my very own hostel and the utter half truths and full lies that media is putting forward to people.]

I am not touching on the issue of the unfortunate incident and the controversy over the apathy shown by the authorities,whoever they might be.It's an entirely different debate and is going on in our internal newsgroups and I think it should remain there,at least now until things are being discussed.Neither am I talking about the stress and pressure involved that led to such an extreme step.There are confilcting opinions and accusations and counter accusations,there will always be.Us students will will blame the system and they will blame us,it's a never ending debate.I am already engaged in that in internal forums and I'll keep it there for now.

What has utterly disturbed me is the way the newspapers are twisting and making up stories of their own and even misquoting people to add sensational value.It's really disgusting that anything related to IIT's which the media have painted to have a 'holier than thou' image is splashed over with added creative inputs from the reporters to add shock value.It has been done before,I will cite those examples in my next post.Here I'm restraining myself to the case in hand.

"Hacking take toll of IITians" screams the headline of the TOI article.In my three years stay here I have never heard of any hacking competitions that seemingly takes toll of our lives,let alone take part.Neither have any of my institute mates.It gets really interesting with the followup line:

"Hacking competitions, gaming competitions, music downloading and file-sharing, chatting and blogging are taking a heavy toll at the elite campus-affecting attendance, grades and even personal lives."

Taking on each term would be childish and I won't do that.But this a classic case of jargon throwing to dupe common people.Gaming competions yes,there is a part truth in that,people do play games on LAN.But not to the extent that it begins to 'affect their lives' and 'taking toll'.Rest of the terms don't even deserve a discussion.LAN games are blamed for poor turnout in cultural and sports events but there is more to it than meets the eye.Banning of freshie GC where 1st year students take part in events is the major reason for that.It is then when interest is developed and can be sustained.Trying to do that after one year when the enthusiasm levels are lower is slightly tough,and this is exactly what has happened.It is more a combination of factors than one alone,and that has not been put forward.

All this was bearable.Until they started misquoting people.One of our profs was quoted as saying 'He was not fit enough to be in IIT' in the print version of HT.One of the students mailed him to know if he really said something like that,this is the reply that came on our newsgroup:
I have been as much shocked to see this quote attributed to me and we
sent an immediate protest to HT.

I do not make such comments about
anybody much less about someone who has passed away under such tragic
circumstances.
A journalist came to me yesterday with a statement that students believe
that XX grade is respoinsible for the suicide of this boy. I had not
known the student personally nor was acquainted with his academic
performance. What I did was to call up the academic section immediately
and asked for the academic data of this boy. The factual data was given
to them and I said that he would have cleared the courses with one
additional year. I was then asked as to why a transfer to Computer
Science Department was not given as the student was so bright in
computer related area. I said at that time that we have some strict
norms on transfer of Departments and in view of his performance at the
end of first year he would not have got such a transfer.
Incidentally HT has also reported that two attempted suicides were not
reported, which is a fabrication. I have no explanation of this yellow
journalism other than to say the new publication from Bombay is trying to
sensationalize the issue.
I apologise to the entire campus community for the anguish that this
report has brought to them
You may kindly forward my statement to iitb.general if you feel it is
appropriate.

There is little left to say at this point.Making up quotes of people for shock effect is the lowest they can stoop to.

I can go on,but considering that I have an exam tomorrow,I will leave that for a later time.

And of course these views are my own,and of many of my fellow mateswho have discussed this on the newsgroups.Everyone else is free to decide the version of truth they think is true.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Multitude

If we all
See ourselves
As 'just another brick in the wall'
And try and move out
Then
Isn't the wall
We all lean on
Going to fall?

It's all connected!


A few days back it happened to me again.Things that are on my mind,like books,movies,songs,which seem totally unrelated at first,somehow with a stroke of cosmic luck end up being connected.Some of the connections are too vague to consider it a coincidence,but most others do end up giving me a strange feeling.But,I guess if you try enough,you'll find any two things in the world being linked.And there are enough people in the world doing that,that's why we have trivia quizzes.And the six-degree-separation games.

Here follows the weird connection I found this week-

.1. A few days back while looking for some new music(not necessarily recent),I had downloaded the best of Iggy Pop:Nude and Rude.I enjoyed listening to it.

.2. I found out that 'Almost Famous' had resurfaced on the LAN and I watched it once again,the first time I had seen in parts,about 2 years back and I didn't remember most of the things.Since it was a movie based on Rock 'n Roll,Iggy Pop being played by the DJ after being requested by the Creem mag journo wasn't entirely surprising,but it was amusing.

.3. At times I look for details of movies that I had seen on TV while still in school.This time I looked for DiCaprio starrer 'The Beach',which was quite controversial as it ruined some beaches in Thailand.Then I thought about the first movie I had seen DiCaprio in.The first was 'Romeo+Juliet',but the first complete one was 'The Basketball Diaries' which is based on the true story of a man called Jim Carroll.

.4. I looked for Jim Caroll and I found out that apart from his works with Blue Oyster Cult (one of my current favourite bands),his life also inspired the book and then the movie 'Trainspotting'.

.5. For anyone who has seen or read that book can figure out the heavy referencing of Iggy Pop,which is one of the bands that influenced Welsh's writing and is idolized by the characters in the book/movie!!

So I was back to the start,with Iggy Pop!
Now if you put in A,B,C or X,Y,Z or anything else you like instead of the names I mentioned,there you got yourself a trivia question.A very arbitrary one if I may add.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Close Encounters of the GBM Kind!

Prelude:This is the unedited version of the article I wrote for InsIghT,our newsmag.Since the newsmag finally came out yesterday,I thought of putting this here,for it's in the same spirit as most of my posts.And goes well with the copy-pasting-saving-time thing I'm doing keeping endsems in mind.

[For glossary see below,for there might be many terms unfamiliar to people outside our institute.]

After endless nights of campaigning,running around with manifestos and convincing people not to vote for others the student council finally takes shape.It is nominated as there aren't enough candidates these days,the election procedure being just for fun.The SOP box is even more fun.But there is nothing that a responsible or irresponsible elect worries more than the GBM.Which means it is the fun most.

The GBM itself isn't pre-planned.Whenever people get free time and can't find enough ways to waste it,a notice about the GBM is put up.After 4-5 postponements due to varied reasons such as heavy rain outside,hot weather,scarcity of water,a panther sighting,croc in the lake or any such calamity,suddenly one day all the post holders gather in the lounge expecting everyone else to turn up.But hoping that they don't.The Warden is also given a mandatory invite,but the frequent rescheduling of the schedule means that he stays out.A carefully planned move so that there is at least one person to blame for all the shortcomings,and he is not present to clarify.

I am a regular audience for this visual and audio feast and this is the story of one such GBM which could be every GBM you have ever seen.

9.30 PM.Empty corridors.Everyone in the rooms,or other's rooms doing regular work which includes playing LAN duels,watching movies or just chattering away.This is the prospective audience for the GBM.Those who study at that time (imagine!) won't even bother.A cracking voice trails in the air-"Junta the GBM begins in 5 minutes,everyone please be there".What it really meant was "Please continue what you are doing,don't bother us".But as responsible hostelites we consider it our duty to talk about the policies and the problems of the hostel.Truth being we have nothing better to do.And an open war of words with lots of muck-raking is always inviting.Especially when you can play an active part.

So people start trickling in.One and zero at a time.The warden if present generally gets frustrated with delays and leaves.Good for everyone.After about an hour,if we are lucky,the show starts.The policy makers and executives stand with grim faces,ready to be grilled with questions and showered with abuse.The spotlight is on them.
Generally the Cultural Council comes up first because there aren't enough people yet to discuss more serious issues.The usual issues come up-


Us:Who are you?
Them:We are the Cult Council.We are here to help you.
Us:Why didn't you help us before.
Them:You never asked for help.
Us:You never offered help.We needed it.You let us down.Anyway let's get to the issues.
Them:Issues?
Us:This question to the SOC secy.Why don't we have movie shows?
Him:Because every one has seen every movie we can show at least 2 times.
Us:So,what makes you think we can't do that a third time? We have a bigger screen to focus on.
Silence.
Us:You should also show educational movies,you know.
Him:Oh yeah like I don't try.The higher authorities prevent me from doing that.

Higher authorities could be anything from Warden,Deans to even God.And of course they are not present there to explain.Maybe God is,but he chooses to stay silent.So case closed.

Us:Why didn't our hostel celebrate Ganesh Chatutrthi.
Him:Lack of funds.
Someone:You should have gone door to door and said "Bhagwaan ke naam pe paisa de do" (give money in the name of God).You would have got some.

Laughter,applause.Embarrassment for the council.We move ahead.Music sec. comes up.

Us:Why doesn't our hostel have an electric guitar?
Him:We don't have funds to buy that.If you could only contri..
Us:That's it.No more electric guitar.
Us:What are your funds like?
Him:Just enough to afford a harmonica.The best one.
Us:Poor chap.Who plays harmonica?
Him:No one.That's why we didn't buy it.We save money so that one day we will have enough for a flute.A nice one.
Us:Good.Get lost.

The Lounge and Library secy comes up.

Us:
Why isn't the remote working?
Him:It doesn't have batteries.
Us:Don't tell us that you don't have funds to buy that.
Him:We have the funds.But we need cash-memos for anything. Transparency in transactions you see.And we still haven't found a shop where they give memos for batteries.
Us:Here take the money.All 14 bucks.Stop the pain.
Him:Thank you.You all are very supportive.
Us:Why doesn't our hostel subscribe to educational magazines.
Him:The mags are a waste of money.We are at a high level of education.We don't need no education.

Good point.

Us:Why don't we have hindi books in the liby?
Him:They are very tough to find.The only books available in hindi now a days are Nandan and Champak and you won't read that would you?
Us:Oh is it?We must have lost touch.Haven't read any Hindibooks since my schooldays.Ok maybe you're right.

The Dram secy comes up.

Us:
What do you do?
Him:I am the one responsible for PAF along with the Cult Co.
Us:And the rest of the year?
Him:PAF takes a year man.You don't know how big it is.The sets are huge.The script is intense.The atmosphere is mind blowing.
Us:Shut up,we are not freshies you are trying to impress to coax them to cut bamboos.
Him:Please,please do that.Please.
Us:Get lost.

The Lit. and Debating secys come up.

Awkward silence.

Someone:
Koi kuch to kaho.

Awkward silence.They just drift away from the scene.No one can think of anything to say.

By now the lounge is packed.The people seem hungry.So who better to feed upon than the Mess Council.The climax of the GBM.Two hour showdown.No free food mind you.

Us:Why have we never seen you until now?
Mess co. takes the question.
Him:We were busy working,maybe that's why.
Us:Busy working to prepare the worst menu in the entire galaxy?Yes that must have taken time.
Him:C'mon it's not that bad.
Us:Why,have you sampled all the food the galaxy has to offer?Do that and the truth will dawn upon you.

Awkward silence.

Us:Who decides the menu?
Him:Us,we prepare a menu of all the food being made in all hostels and then select the ones that..
Us:..are the worst.
Him:We also had a referendum and you had to decide.
Us:We didn't see any referendum,when did that happen?
Him:It was conducted online.
Us:Why weren't the notices put up?
Him:They were also put up online.
Us:Ah there's the catch.Good job,next time stick to good old pen and paper.

Now the grilling begins.Every menu item of everyday is analyzed,cross analyzed,dissected and debated upon.Some people voice their reservations about the colour of the gravy,some complain about the dilution of Daals,some the smell of fried rice.The only physical properties that aren't discussed are the viscosity and optical behaviour.But that's only because of the lack of abundant time.We won't mind doing that.

After about 40 minutes I feel uneasy.Then I see the mess council standing in front and wonder what they must be feeling.I take a break,go to grab something to eat.Come back to find the questions still being fired in.This time the topic of discussion being U.F.O sightings.For the uninitiated,U.F.O means Unidentified Floating Objects,and they can often be seen in mess food.Like their elite namesakes their presence is vehemently denied by the people in power.Like here-

Us:What about the hideous U.F.O's that we see so often?
Them:The truth is out there.We shall investigate.X-files shall be reopened.
Us:Wow! thanks.

People don't get tired of asking questions.But they need a break.Mess council decides it's perfect time to wrap things up and they get away after promising a brand new menu.The major show being over,it's time for the sidekicks to join in.Enter maint council.

Maint. council has a strange way of dealing with things.Everything that's functioning in the hostel goes to their credit while all the rest of things that don't work well has to be the higher authorities.

Us:Most toilet flushes aren't working,why?
Them:We complained,they sent no one to do that until now.Keep your fingers crossed,and always take in enough water with you.The taps are untrustworthy.
Us:Gee!Thanks for the reaffirmation.

Us:And why aren't there any tubelights in the wings?
Them:You played cricket and broke them.We could either fine you or have no tubelights at all.What do you want?
Us:We want to play cricket again.

Us:What about the dysfunctional water cooler,the broken doors,the stationary lifts (that's hostel specific) ..ad infinitum...?
Them:One answer.Higher authorities.We have complained,no action till date.
Us:Are you here only to complain and do nothing.
Them:I thought you were doing that.Putting it that crudely,yes maybe you are right.But that's our job.
Us:You are doing a great job.Congrats.Thank you.

The crowd becomes thinner and thinner every moment.Boredom and expected answers being just a few of the reasons.So the rest of the people have a relatively easy time.Sports council comes up.

Us:Why haven't the grounds been prepared?
Them:We talked to the SAC people today and they said they would be sending the concerned people soon.
Us:Why did everything have to wait till today?Why didn't you do that earlier?
Them:Why don't you submit your assignments on time,your tutorials on date?Isn't this the same thing?Why have double standards?
Us:Now that you put it that way,things seem so much simpler.Sure,don't do anything.Just what you were elected for.

There are usual rantings about the lack of sports equipments,the irregularity in the issue of the sports gear and the pathetic quality of the stuff that's already there.But now it's all in good humor.

Comp. concil is next,and thankfully last.

Us:Why aren't the proxy servers working?
Them:Due to heavy bombardment on the subeth(0) network there is damage in the protocol which hampers data transfers and chokes network traffic.
Us:Come again please,in lay man terms.
Them:There is a problem.You are causing it.In fact if ever there is a problem it's dumb people like you who don't know anything about computers that cause it.We shall see what we can do about that.
Us:Why are you being so hot headed and heavy handed?
Them:CC instructions.In fact as soon as we became Comp secys. and SYSAD's the CC has reprogrammed us and we are presenting their agenda.And since all of you have signed CC policies,you cant do anything to stop us.Mu haa haa haa.
Us:Stop freaking us out.We are leaving man.

Everyone runs away.The GBM ends on a scary note.A rather abrupt one.Lots and lots of promises are made.Even if a miniscule fraction is incorporated till the next GBM we can call it a huge success.We are working on what questions to ask till then.You do the same and let us know the interesting ones.

Glossary:

GBM:General Body Meeting,an open meeting where the post holders of the hostel are asked questions based on their work till then.The very basis of democracy in IITB.
CC:Computer Centre.
PAF:Performing Arts Festival.The biggest dramatics event of the institute where 2-3 hostel team up to make a huge set in the OAT and perform a 40 minute play.Obviously the freshers are the ones who have to do the most of infra work :D
SysAd:System Admin.
SAC:Student's Activity Centre

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Friendly Fire

I love my department.I love my department group even more.We have had so many interesting exchanges on that platform and I can't help but look back at them and smile in retrospect.You have already seen an example here,this just adds to that.

Some necessary background information first.Ever since there have been groups,there have been forwards that supposedly make you laugh or amaze you.Like check-your-eyesight,see-actors-in-childhood,the-funniest-joke-in-the-world or those I-need-your-blood-urgently ones.Frankly I don't even read messages which have a fwd tag in them,most people don't.Now this student had filled our inboxes with all kinds of weirdly irritating fwds and this is where patience of people ran out.A like minded friend summed up the matter beautifully:

hi all...

first of all best of luck for the endsems...

next... as we all know, the group is generally full of
crap... we all know this... acknowledge this.. and
still no one is ready to do anything...

but no one complains... we got ultra high bandwidth
connections... sites that open in a flash... and at
this speed we dont really bother that the fwds we get
daily have been seen atleast n times by a large
majority of the group... also, mails actually get
deleted when u click on the delete button ;)

most of us will be going home now (ahhh... finally)
i dont know how many of us have got broadband
connections at home... none that i know have. we use
the cybercafe's and pay up money for using the net
over painstakingly slow dialup connections... or we
use the home phones for the said purpose... paying up
huge phone bills for meagre amounts of transmitted
data...
mail sites take ages to open... and even higher
amounts of time to delete mails ;)

so... no more stupid forwards (this goes out to
*name removed*) ... we never wanted them to be in the
first place, but ppl have been courteous...

no more one-line mails with subjects such as
"important" and "plz read"... which generally contain
nothing but crap... are u listening *name removed*...

*ironic dude* tried... i applaud him for that... but this mail
goes out directly... explicitly... and from the very
bottom of all the hearts of the ppl who havent
mustered up enough courage to speak out nething on the
group...

groups are places where sensible stuff is to be
discussed.. better to keep urself away if u r not
sensible...



Now this led to a lot of I-support-you and be-sensible type of posts,but the real message got across,and we got this reply from the accused:

hi all
good that finally Mr.*like minded friend* voiced out his opinion directly, unlike
Mr. *ironical dude* who took irony as a means to do the same, confusing me.
i'll stop forwarding humour to this group.no problem with that.
for Mr. *like minded friend*,
as far as your after-going-home-difficulties are concerned ,in any
case i am not going to mail during holidays.here the bordom drives one
to keep mailing what you were calling "scrap".home, it's not the case.
so,i think this should settle the tide of "sensible-mail-want-demand"


The storm faded away.Until a few months later when the same student had some problems in a class and chose to voice his/her opinion:

hi junta,

iam being coerced into writing this mail after i was baffled by the
ignomious response in the morning lecture.
if you had wasted quarter an hour thinking of something ,you would know
what could congeal out when you were denied the right to express it.iam
neither being didactic nor calumny, iam just asking you to let me express
what's on my mind.if you find this as my temerity, kindly donot bother to
answer this and i can assure you this shall be the last mail from me this
semester.
thanking you,


If you understood this then I bow to thee.We were clueless.There were some replies like 'I couldn't crack the code' or 'Kya ho raha hai baba' which although asked the pertinent question,couldn't drive the point in.This is where I took over.I generally don't indulge in group mail activities,mostly because of laziness,but this was unmissable.I replied:

Forgive me if i am alone but if there is anyone who
could comprehend what's going on here..please,please
enlighten.
You know my Wordweb almost crashed while
reading this by it's frantic use..and i had been told
wordweb is a pretty stable piece of software.The only
thing i could comprehend was that people have started
preparing for their GRE and giving us the unprepared
souls a huge inferiority complex.
Jokes apart what is this all about? Maybe i
am too ignorant which is justified by the fact that i
didn't attend today's classes but it would kill me if
couldn't get behind this cryptic masterpiece of a
reply.
O master of suspense,let the light fall upon
us.
Amen!


This message was follwed by smilies and all and some real life chuckles by friends but I guess the point got across pretty well.And pat came the reply,in slightly more comprehensible language:

ok,
all i meant was that not to stop me from answering in class and one should
understand the disappointment others experince when they r stopped from
expressing their views.and i am not being sentimental,i am being rational
and telling this so that this maynot repeat,propelled by any wrong
notions.


See? It's not that tough being simple.

NOTICE:No one was hurt while typing in this message.I hope no one will be hurt after too,especially I hope I'm not hurt.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Non-Resumable Achievements

The make-your-resume season is in it's full swing nowadays.Afterall the time has come when based on your life in two-three A-4 sheets you can become a part of the Great American Dream,get a summer watching World Cup soccer in Germany,chill out in Israel or do a winter internship in Australia while others are dying in the summers.I would have loved to join this frenzy fun of applying everywhere in the world but for another one of those A-4 sheets on which my grades are printed.And the worst part is that I can't change the details on that horrific page.

But,I do have to print my life in 3 pages,list my achievements,in Times New Roman.Now there are not many things to be written there,but anyway that's not the point of this post.This post is about all the 'talents'and 'achievements' I have that wouldn't be appreciated in those official documents,or anywhere else.

So I list all my unofficial 'achievements' here,just to make sure that if ever there is such an oppurtunity that values these,I wouldn't have to think a lot.

-> I can write mirror imaged english handwriting with both my right and left hand.Used to do a lot of that in boring classes at school and later all my lectures here.And I can do that at considerable speed.

-> Have hit 6 sixes in an over in Stickcricket.Now if you love cricket and do not know about this amzingly addictive flash game,then you are missing something in life.You are missing a wonderful way to waste time.Most (read all) of my illustrious Stickcricket champ friends haven't still managed that.

-> Can bat both right and left handed.Infact people,and later me got so bored of my right handed play in mohalla matches (yeah,yeah I batted well enough),that I switched to left handed play.I got runs more quickly that way,once 30 in an over,and later people were reluctant taking me in the team.I forgot to add,I played with kids,sometimes 13-14 years old.I was 17 then.

-> Perhaps the only kid with a skateboard out here,I know a thing or two about skateboarding.That's it,a thing or two,nothing more.I tried to learn how to ollie (the jumping-your-skateboard trick for the uninitiated) but then cooled off when I realised that I needed to be insured before even trying that.

-> My blog,afterall this the platform I misuse,would feel bad if I didn't add that this post of mine had got more than 400 hits,250 odd in a single day.But of course it was well advertised too.Featuring on Desipundit helped.So did featuring on my dear friends' status messages and our department group.That's advertisement for you.

That's it for now,I may have a few more but they are too emabarrassing to list as of now.Very soon I'll grow shameless enough to list them too.

Game,Set and Match

6-1.

The scoreline reads like a one sided tennis match.One sided it was and there were some smashing forehanded and some cheeky backhanded shots too.I won't push the analogy any further,but game,set and match it is for India.A new side doing the job.So reminiscent of the post '99 world cup new team that had such a high run up until the year before.Hope it continues,and culminates in India actually winning the World Cup,not losing in the finals.

I've already said much about Dhoni,but I get a feeling I haven't said enough yet.After the horrendous decade,maybe more,of searching for a wicket-keeper that bats well,not a batsman that can keep,he seems to be the dream find at the moment.Anyone who has the resolve to hit a six and win a match,never mind getting out as he did today,is pretty rare to find.Already he is being billed as India's answer to Gilly,but he has to keep pretty well to have that tag.And he know it,judging by his statements.Nevermind,we are more than happy with his batting.Well deserved Man of the Series.

Rahul Dravid made sure in this series that Ganguly won't be missed.Rather people have started wondering what took his ouster so long.Things don't look too good as he got out for a duck against Zaheer Khan in the Duleep Trophy match today.But if he does come back,he has to be in his prime form to that,it will be very exciting for everyone knows what his prime gorm can be like.You just have to recall one name-Taunton!

The bowling side was pretty well handled though I don't think some of the bowlers will get many more chances.Pathan did brilliantly entire series,dazzling with the bat as well.RP singh is the only prospect who seems to have a future.Santh and Yadav,I think lack anything that can mark them as different.

Anyway it was really exciting to see the way India played this series.Now SA would be a tougher opposition although without the 'absconding' Gibbs and Boje slightly depleted.

Kemp vs. Dhoni,now that's a hard hitting battle we all would love to watch.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

In the Name of the Father


I had seen 'In the name of the Father' a long while back.Last month I suggested 3-4 of my friends to watch it,and the timing of this suggestion freaked me out.The opening sequence of the movie literally blew me away and did the same thing to my friends too.Apparently this scene also finds a mention in the 'Greatest Films Moments and Scenes'.It's a very long list but I guess finding a mention there does mean a thing or two (why do I have justify,why why?).

Where this gets weird is that probably at the same time that I was re-running,explaining,singing along with the opening sequence,disturbing things of a similar kind happened in Delhi.I could almost imagine moments frame by frame,happy,innocent,unsuspecting people chatting,having fun,entering into a shop and *BOOM*.Silence forever.

Rajeev cut the opening sequence,he liked it so much,and for the benefit of people who do not have access to the movie can download it from here.It's around 10MB but is worth the pains.Try listening to the opening track with full volume,it will hit you hard.I get goosebumps everytime I see it.

There is one major reason why I like the opening sequence.For me U2 was at their best in the earlier years,loosely defined by the period where Bono didn't wear those sunglasses.This opening song 'In the name of the Father' is probably an excellent example of their earlier style-distant haunting voice and repetitive,overpowering background music.In fact my favourite U2 song is a not -so-famous one called 'Gloria' from the album 'October'.The other songs form this movie are also great,especially 'Thief of my heart' by Sinnead O'Connor,which makes for a classic OST.

Watch the scene,get blown away.And if you like it,go watch the movie too.Although if you like the song,I might be of some further help :)

[As always those of you in IITB itself don't need to bother.Just check my server,of course I can't put that here,but then most of my friends here already know.Nevermind.]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Life of Brian

It's not easy making fun of God.Well it's easy making fun of Him,or Her (right,I'm into the Monty Pyhton mode) but it's very difficult being actually funny.Monty Python do it effortlessly in Life of Brian.Fewer laughs than Holy Grail but much more satirical.

And they re-released this controversial movie with Passion of Christ!! Talk about brillliant timing.

The ridiculous ease with which these people ridcule things is inspiring.I did a post on Zodiacs 2 post earlier,then I heard this dialogue exchange at the beginning of the movie:

Brian's mother: What star sign is he?
Wise Man #2: Capricorn.
Brian's mother: Capricorn, eh? What are they like?
Wise Man #2: He is the son of God, our Messiah.
Wise Man #1: King of the Jews.
Brian's mother: And that's Capricorn, is it?
Wise Man #3: No, no, that's just him.
Brian's mother: Oh, I was going to say, otherwise there'd be a lot of them.

Truly inspiring.Then there was this one on various factions,terrorist units that somehow sound all the same:

Brian:
Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front?
Reg[pausing,then giving an angry glance]: F off! We're the People's Front of Judea.

The blind following of a Messiah was dealt on pretty ruthlessly too,which was of course the prime aim of the movie:

Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!
Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

And the funniest one:

Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, f off!
[silence]
Arthur: How shall we f off, O Lord?

Enough of copy pasting for now.When exams are coming up and you need to do your daily bit,this is the best thing to do.Or maybe the best thing is to just shut up and fake studying.I'll get back to doing that now.

How shall we f off ,O lord?
He he he..cracks me up everytime I think of it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Journey into Garage

The first time I heard a garage band was probably one of those late night/early morning sessions of TV watching where they used to play some different music.Most probably it was 'The Strokes' playing 'Someday'.I remember that song particularly well beacuse it featured Al Borland from 'Home Improvement',Tim Allen's sitcom I watched daily.I fell in love with garage that time.The short riffs,repetitive lyrics,uncomplicated sounds-it all felt so amateurish and yet so good.



Sadly,that wasn't the sort of music I could get in the music stores.So the only garage I had was courtesy the music channels,CNN's The Music Room and my lovely radio.Some other bands also came into my notice like 'The White Stripes','The Hives' and my current favorites Australian garage rock band 'The Vines'.Until then I listened to a lot of grunge,the mainstream ones like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.I got bored of Nirvana,but not until I had heard Nevermind about a million times.To fill the void I moved onto Brit Rock/Pop with bands like Oasis,Radiohead,Blur and lately Coldplay.I longed for something different all along in the meanwhile,something that even Planet-M couldn't give me.



Things looked bleaker when I came here and found that barring 2-3 OST songs,these bands didn't even exist on the LAN and I did not have powers enough to bring them.Disappointed,my interest grew in British Invasion bands and post-punk,pre-grunge.Bands like Ramones,Mudhoney,Pixies ruled my playlists.The Who,Jethro Tull and some other British Invasion bands still do,but they are a parallel interest,a passionate interest nonetheless.

Finally a few months ago,my perennial fight to get these bands started yielding results.I got 'Room on Fire',a great album by 'The Strokes'.Then somehone brought 'Elephant' by 'The White Stripes' which was another great album.With added enthusiasm,I got a few videos and songs by 'The Vines' and 'The Strokes' and one of the videos ranks among my all time best.I listen to 'Winning Days' (downloadable) at least once in a day,dark lyrics but put in a very nice way-

The winning days are gone
Because I know just where I'm seeing
Was given eyes I know

I can hear
Cause underneath there's gold

I need to get around to find it

And when I want to go

I can dream

I've been trying

All my time


And of course there was 'Ride',which probably defines the repetitive element of Garage.

And today,I finally got the 'Winning Days' album by 'The Vines'and another one by 'The White Stripes',which is what motivated to chronicle this journey that becomes exciting by the day.I am listening to all the new songs,feeling content as I write this.



I got into Indie,which stands for independent labels mostly funded by the performers or their friend circle, in the summers and found it tremendously exciting too.'Interpol' for one is an Indie garage band which is sort of best of bot worlds.I found a lot of 'Modest Mouse' on the LAN and soaked all of it as it is probably one of the best Indie bands I have ever heard.'Hot Fuss' by 'The Killers' was another garage album I liked a lot.Sadly their albums are still not available in music stores I know of,and probably never will be.

For me these are the bands which will save Rock N' Roll,if it's not dead as yet.
Long live Rock N' Roll.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How the West was won and where it got us


Somehow I can't stop singing that song after I just finished my self declared western movie week.I was so smitten when I had seen 'The Good,The Bad and The Ugly' about 5-6 years ago that I vowed to myself to watch every western movie I can lay my hands upon.I had also vowed to get a cowboy hat and cigar,and chew up the end like Clint 'Blondie' Eastwood.But then I grew up.The pledge to watch every western movie still remains though.For the lack of options I saw GBU 4 times before this week,when finally I decided to improve upon my record.

First one on show was 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'.This one had been on to-be-watched list ever since I had answered a quiz question in my 8th std. about the film featuring the song 'Raidrops keep falling on my head'.I had just heard it from somwhere,most probably the radio or some other quiz.Finally I decided to watch the movie too.For someone who loves westerns,the start was good-with the looting,running,chasing,hiding and the rough,rocky,sandy,sunny terrain.Then I began to wonder if something was wrong when during that song Newman started to do tricks on the bicycle to impress his girl.Somehow the concept of love creeping into a cowboy movie didn't appeal to me,and the 'cute' tricks further ruined the mood.I watched it nonetheless but bank looting in different language and acting as fools when looting a bank thing just didn't strike well to me.Anyway overall I kind of liked the movie,mostly because of the western element.Too lovey-dovey to be a tough western though.And a tragic ending to add to that.These things don't generally happen in a cowboy movie,or maybe someone like me who holds a cliched view of westerners can't appreciate it.



Next in line was another one in the Dollars trilogy,'For a few Dollars more'.Eastwood,the epitome of cowboy style as far as I have seen,again impressed me a lot.This time I thought I would get the honcho and the colt,but then I again realised I had grown up.I liked GBU more but this one was right there too.Looked like a low budget movie and I later discovered it was exactly that,which adds to the beauty of the movie.Typical western action,and Leone trademarks with sparse dialogues and rough,unshaven and ethically non-characterised roles.And of course the duel scene and the background music.Music wasn't as awesome as GBU,can never be,but it was still worth listening.I'll be watching this again,as I did with GBU.



The final one for the week was one of the best,'Once upon a time in the west'.Now I generally can't watch a movie continuosly for more than an hour.So this one took me 3 different sittings to complete.But again,Leone made me fall in love with Spaghetti Westerns as the term goes.I missed Eastwood in a Leone movie,but Fonda's role as the villian made up for a bit of it.I think 'Sholay' took some minor traits from this movie like the hunting in pairs of the lead actors,the massacre in the beginning and most strikingly-the harmonica.There isn't much of an acting element in Westerns as there is the Style element,at least for novices like me,but Bronson fitted that bill well.But for the length of the movie,I would have watched it again.One thing to notice though was the improvement in the technical aspect of the movie.But then,Leone must have gotten really rich by then and he did perfect justice to the money he spent.

After all this,I get dreams of standing in a dusty farm,with nothing but the Colts standing between me and death,eyes narrowing,tense background music playing,nervous spit in the dust and *BING* *BANG*........Who's DEAD?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

You're my Sunsign,my only Sunsign



There are a lot of things that intrigue me.Like the necessity of announcing new moons of obscure planets,the popularity of a French singer called Alizee in IIT's,the problem of breaking the egg from the bigger or smaller side (this one's been troubling me ever since I read Gulliver back in school).But,at present nothing intrigues me more than the sheer ease with which people are graded according to their sunsigns and how people,highly knowledgeable ones,actually trust them to judge people.Really beats me.

It all started when back home one of friends asked me,

'What is your dream job?'


I normally don't dream (seriously can't even remember them when I wake up),and if I did,jobs would the bottom priority.But I have an answer for each occasion,

'Ant farming in Zimbawe'

'What??'
'Oh,you haven't heard.It's really catching on,only problem is Mugabe,but I can handle that.'
'What's your sun sign?'
'How does that matter,anyway it's Gemini'
'Ah,you are ridiculous.Typical Gemini.'
'I lied,just wanted to see.I'm Taurus actually.'
'Oh liar,that's typical Taurus.'

I quit at that point,because I saw where this was going.But ever since,I have heard and seen a lot,which is slightly unnerving.I see my friends and their friends actually quote someone called Linda Goodman to characterise people.So the guy who does not lend books or notes is Leo,the guy who flirts becomes Libra and the bloke who comes late in class and sits on the last bench and sleeps is Gemini.Of course I filled in the Zodiac signs at random,but I guess you get the point.Everything in the entire universe right from love,job,home to serial killing can be effortlessly explained by the sunsigns.

Mendeleev spent I don't know how many years to prepare the Periodic table.It took him 18 groups to club similar elements,with careful studies based on so many physical and chemical properties.That's elements,non-living and inanimate.People,on the other hand,need just 12 groups if you go by this classification.Really tells something.I wish they make one of those tables where they list all the properties of a particular group so that before I'm going to deal with someone,I know if he will treat me with his money or share the bill or make me pay it.Would come really handy.

People and periodic table would an interesting fusion though.The active ones would be either acidic or alkalis,the noble ones would be..well noble metals,the lazy ones would be inert,the colourful one be transition and the dangerous ones radioactive.Something at least as ridiculous as present system.I'll be Nickel,we have just too many things in common-similar sounding name,pretty close weight..isn't that enough? Choose your element :D

Hitler had one ball,was a mass killer.Aww..that's typical Virgo? I dunno,just taking a guess.There are exceptions I guess.

Linda Goodman,I'm going to kill you if I ever meet you.But I have a feeling that one of the newspapers will carry a report in which one of her close friends will reveal the conversation that she had before her death,

'Oh Linda was a great woman,very prophetic too.Just yesterday she told me that she has a feeling that she will get murdered.And the murderer would be a Taurus,that's so typical of them.Linda was a true Aquarius and only a Saggi like me can understand her.'


This would make a fool of me,so I'll rather not do that.

I'm happy with what the weight ticket that comes out of those flashy kiosks at railway platforms for Re. 1 says about me-

'You're charismatic,funny,ambitious,truthful and very down to earth',and has a hazy picture of Aamir Khaan above this insightful sentence.

Ok I made that 'about me' bit,is that typical Taurus?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Watch Dhoni's innings!!

For those of you who missed Dhoni's amazingly belligerent knock of 183,here is a consolation.You can download a package of all his boundaries,courtesy a zipped file I have upped on Rapidshare.

Here is the link.

Nowhere near the real thing,but I guess something is better than nothing.
And don't tell me to get the 2 sixes he hit when 12 runs were needed in that last match.That was unmissable.

Hail Dhoni.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Answers to the India Quiz and the Megaconnect

ERRATA:There are a few glitches in the answers provided read the comments section to get them right.And add on if you find more.

For those who don't know,here was the quiz and the link to download the India Quiz.

Finally I got so much time that could do do what I have been putting off for a month now.I have upped the answers into a zipped file.I tried my best to ensure that all are answered,but I missed out on a few beacuse either I can't recall or just don't know.Sorry for that,but I couldn't do any more.

Here is the rapidshare link to download the zipped file.

The file contains the questions along with the answers so no need to download separately for those who can't locate,recall or remember that quiz.

Cheers.


And of course in case of any problems let me know,I may or may not be of any help.But you can always try :D

ANSWERS:
1.Famous cricket journo John Laker's idea of Heaven: "Lord's in the summer, the sun shining, with ____ _____ bowling at one end and Ray Lindwall at the other".Just fill in the blank.

Bishen Bedi.

2.When Waqar younis made his test debut,there was another player who was playing his first test match in the same test.Who? (I know this is very,very easy but I couldn't find enough questions for this man n such a short time :D )

Sachin Tendulkar.

3.His chiselled features and rugged good looks made him an obvious successor to Keith Miller and Denis Compton as a Brylcreem model.Who are we talking about?

Farokh Engineer

4.Hanif Mohammad,Inzamam-ul-Haq and and Sanath Jayasuriya are the only other Asian players to have achieved this feat.Who is the fourth in the series?

Sehwag and triple century club.

5.Once when he visited his uncle,he noticed 4 India test caps and asked his uncle to give him one,as he had so many.His uncle refused saying that it had to be earned.This child went to earn many more caps than his uncle did.Identify.

Gavaskar and his unlce Madhav Mantri

6.After Scotland were admitted to the National League of county cricket sides on a three year trial basis in 2003,they signed this player as their overseas recruit.Who?

Rahul Dravid.

The connect being they are the players who have been selected for World XI sides to play Aus. XI in official 6 day tests.



Smoke on the Water,Fire in the Sky


I have been singing that song since my 6th std. now,but only tonight did I find a perfect place to sing it.Watch the Diwali fireworks by Marine Drive someday,and you would sing along with me,with the guitar riffs and all.The brilliant fireworks blaze the sky while the smoky remains graze the sea.Anyway while walking,the playlist in my mind shuffled to 'I'm still alive',and again it was a perfect moment to sing that song.Crazy,sick,amazing,picturesque,unbelieveable-these are the keywords if you ever want to search for the experience in my mind's search engine.The processing speed will be slow,but if you're reading this,you can spare that much time.

Seriously,there is no limit what enthusiasm can do.Ours and theirs.I was so,so bored and blue on this Diwali day that I had to go out somewhere,somewhere far.And it's not hard to find at least one like minded person as company,in this case my long time school and now institute mate Rohit.Clueless as to what to do,we took a bus and headed off to Bandra,hoping to catch Diwali,filmi ishtyle.What we got was a few eerie moments of silent staring into the sea at Bandstand and then the Guard pointing out that the place (I couldn't see what place and why) closes at 9.Off to Charni Road then,which has established itself as my favorite local train station.I have a habit of listing every favorite thing lest I be given a pink colored slam book which inevitably asks for a favorite stuff I've never though about.So better to be prepared.Anyway Charni Road is right next to the beach at the terminus of Marine Drive (I could have said Chowpatty,but I just don't know).And our journey,an exciting one began then and there.

The view from the beach was good,infact it felt like New Year at Sydney which they show on TV.There were people crowding on a flyover nearby,which made the analogy complete with the Sydney Harbor Bridge.Poor man's Sydney I thought,and felt happy.

We started the walk to get into the action arena and boy,it was frightening.People go essentially mad in Diwali.There were cars parked all along the road,with mean looking kids and beaming parents coming out of almost each one of them.Each of the vehicles had a supply of firecrackers that would make a terrorist outfit blush with embarrassment.And the most important thing is that they didn't care that they were just about 2 feet from another scene of action.We on the other hand were scared like hell.We took to the farthest line,moments when I thought I would fall onto the stones (are they?) separating the sea from the boundary walls.
I have been through two crazy,crazy diwalis last two years in hostel.Imagine one entire hostel with about a room full of firecrackers on a terrace just about 100 square metres.And every corner occupied by insane people who wanted to get the most share and burst it.Imagine and shudder.That was just my first year.Second year the space was more,say 200 square metres area in front of mess entrance,but there were 2 hostels this time.And hostel 12 had an even more enthusiastic army of people armed with a larger supply of crackers.What happened next was utter chaos.Rockets whizzed past our ears,big crackers burst near our feet and there was almost a warfare scene out there.I took part and survived both of them.
Marine Drive on the other hand was utter mayhem.All 3 kms that we walked.It looked like and extended version of all the Diwalis I have mentioned earlier.Only this time we weren't taking part,we were trying to save our souls.I remember my seniors telling me during our first year itself not go near Marine Drive during Diwali because rockets may get inserted into all the wrong parts of the anatomy.Now I could see how prophetic that statement was.

Leaving aside our dangerously exciting walk,the rest was beautiful.There is something about firerackers,not the crashing sounds one,the one that go high into the sky and then spread out in beautiful colors,that take your breath away.We constantly gazed at the brilliant display,spread across the breathtaking backdrop of the mumbai skyline and sealine.The crackers constantly woke us up from the trance,but if there is ever a day to fall in love with Mumbai,today was one.

Not a bad Diwali afterall.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A lonely Deepawali


I am reminded of something I read a while back somewhere on the web-

"Time is a machine converting reality into memories and memories into words.In the end only words will remain,words without connotations"

A lot of things come into my mind right now,the final hours before lights take over the world around me,before the sound of crackers and universal cheer fills the atmosphere around me.Just a few years back I was a part of all this.Rushing to the market for the smallest errand,happily crowding near the cracker stalls for my share of fun,helping mom dry out and then fill Diyas,climb on every unfathomable corner of the house to put candles.Come evening and I would rush out to light all these,then get down and look back and admire my masterpiece,my home of lights.I would join my parents with folded hands near the deities,wishing for everything a kid can and maybe more.Then I would enthusiastically take my precious lot of crackers outside and watch in delight the brilliant display of lights and feel strangely satisfied with the ear bursting sound.My friends would join me and share their experiences and crackers too,after which we would make a group,swelling by the minute, and terrorise many a locality.I would come back home then and ensure that no light source goes out before I closed my eyes for the day.And then sleep satisfied.

And now,I'm sitting alone in my room,most of the people having gone home.Nowhere to go,I don't even know what I'll do this most important and festive night of the year.Don't have a clue.

Ironically if I were transported home right now,I'm not sure I would do most of things I mentioned.There are no friends to form groups with,no interest left in bursting crackers,no enthusiasm to run around and fill all those earthen lamps.Is that supposed to make me feel better,I don't know.

I had a lump in my throat while I wrote this,maybe that's why wrote in the first place.
Rightly said,only words will remain.
Shubh Deepawali Everyone!!!
Don't be as blue as me.

Stop Press:My playlist began playing "I'll be coming home next year",a Foo Fighters song.Dammit,how cruel can fate be :(