Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Movie log of the eternally jobless

There are two kinds of people in the campus right now. Those who have got a job and those who are nervously wondering if ever they will get a job. Combination of a not so favoured department and a lethal CGPA make sure that I will remain nervous for a while to come. I'm following a proven antidote to these testing times by indulging in movie watching binges.

As a result I decided to keep a log of movies I watched recently, lest somehwere down the years I rent a DVD and realising halfway that I have already seen the movie, have to rush to the store to get another one. Future planning, you see. You might argue if I had been such a visionary as far as my grades a concerned then this post would not have been there. But then, there is only so much a man can learn.

Anyway here is a list, and brief experiences (I prefer not to call them reviews.)

The Philadelphia Story: Sarcasm, smart ass comments, in your face psychoanalyses. Funny throughout. Why don't they make such movies anymore?

Casino Royale: This was the end-of-end-sems-wtf-let's-go-to-theater movie this time. I am not a Bond fan, hardly watched one or two of the older ones. None of us who went knew anything about poker, so we sat poker faced for about one-third of the movie. After that Bond fell in love, which is never good. Why am I even trying to review this one. Forget it.

Lawrence of Arabia: It's a great movie. Honestly, I couldn't watch it in its entirety. Blame it on my mood. Someday I will though.

American Beauty: I saw Kevin Spacey's acceptance speech when I was a schoolkid, always wanting to see the movie but not being able to for some reason. Finally the time came. It does ask you to 'look deeper' and you actually do for 2-3 hours after the movie. It becomes your favourite movie too, until you watch another one.

Vertigo: I saw it again. Pretty intense, but why does have to end that way? I think I'm another one of those kids who like happy endings. Specially in these times :)

Leon: Natalie Portman is 12 in this movie, wow! Pretty weird though, a pre teen girl learning the trade from a hitman, not to mention fall in love with him.

M: This might be the oldest movie I've seen yet, but if you have the patience it's worth it. I don't know about the underlying theme related to Hitler and Nazism but considering the fact that it was made in 1931, it is great stuff. The last scene does get you thinking.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: "I know what gold does to men's souls". Well now I do too. Bogart in one of his rare non-positive (negative would be a wrong word I guess) roles, and good at it.

On the Waterfront: My GTalk friends would have been bored of reading the message "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am". Masterpiece of a propaganda movie by Elia Kazan, Brando being his allusion in the movie.

Blade Runner: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die." I realised I might be a replicant after watching the movie. I can never be sure until I run into Harrison Ford (was he, or was he not a replicant) and he performs the Voight-Kampff test on me. We'll never get to know some things.

Rebecca: It's been a long time since I read the book, more than 12 years. This movie was a nice refresher course. Sadly I knew the twists in the plot which made it that much less exciting. Nothing to take away from the movie though.

Some Like it Hot: One of my favourite comedies now I guess. And I think this is the prototype of guys-dressed-as-girls comedy situations in many movies to come.

Cool Hand Luke: Again a sad ending, but a nice movie overall. And the lines, 'What we got here is a failure to communicate.' Lesson: don't act cool just to impress your peers. It's much more serious than that though. And boy, the car wash scene! Gave enough material to Playboy and the likes to build on for years to come.

Annie Hall: Anyone who even remotely considers himself a snob or an intellectual or is blamed to be so by his friends should be able to see himself in Woody Allen's character. Unbeatable sarcasm again, great movie.

The Graduate: Funny in parts, otherwise there are many questions about the characters and the way they behave that I would like to know. Maybe will watch the movie again sometime.

Toy Story I and Toy Story II: There was a time when I used to run home to watch 'Home Improvement' and Tim Allen was an idol. Just about the intermediate time between these two movies. And about then Tom Hanks was the only superstar who I knew could actually act (sorry Arnie, Sly, Bruce.) I was desperate to watch these two movies, needless to say I enjoyed them fully. Second one has the touche element though, alongwith better graphics and all.

Charade: This began the Audrey triple bill one fine day. The twists and turns in this one would surely beat any hindi flick in which the heroes and villians change hands on the trigger during a typical save-kidnapped-mother-tied-in-a-godown final showdown. Seriously what was with the godowns? Audrey looks pretty, and that is more than enough to make it worth watching.

Sabrina: Again Audrey looks pretty, no other explanation needed. Bogart looks a bit old to be romancing her though.

Breakfast at Tiffany's: Audrey looks very pretty. Also if you watch her sing 'Moon River' on the window sill and then ask "Hi, Watcha Doin'?" and don't miss a heartbeat or two, then well, get that piece of rock replaced by a real heart. I downloaded about 10 different versions of Moon River after watching this one, apart from cutting the part where she sings it. I sang it too, until people refused to talk to me unless I stopped.

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end--
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

Listen to the one by Sinatra and of course Audrey herself. I'm in a trance again.

A Good Year: Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, I expected something much better. But if a friend is paying for you and you get to sit in an empty spacious PVR, there is little else to complain.

Babel: You shouldn't be watching supposedly profound movies with a headache, empty stomach and under the after effects of watching a movie like A Good Year.

Magnolia: 'You might be through with the past, but the past is not through with you.' So true. But waiting for three hours and then watch toads fall from the sky is one thing you hardly wish to bear with. Again, I lack profoundness.

Borat: I don't know, I am not a fan of the kind of humour shown in most part of the movie. I did manage to laugh in a few parts though. Or maybe I saw the movie with a lot of prejudice, doesn't matter.

The Deer Hunter: If you watch the entire movie, without fast forwarding the seemingly boring parts early on and let the characters build in and then not feel like crying at the end when the remaining cast sings 'God Bless America' then I must say you are most likely to be a replicant and not a human being. This movie inspired a string of Russian Roulette suicides around the time it was released. Why, you'll know if you watch the movie. One the most 'real' flicks ever made probably; none of the fancy cast with picture perfect manufatured surroundings, cliched co-incidences and the likes. One of the better ones I've ever seen.

Kiss me Deadly: The drive to watch all film noirs led me to this one. The amoral hero and his quest to know something that wouldn't matter to him anyway make this a bit off mainstream. Then there's that famous glowing suitcase everyone's after (inspiration for Pulp Fiction I gather.) Watch to find out why :)

The Departed: People went for Matt Damon and Di Caprio. I was more eager about Sheen and Nicholson. Di Caprio surprised me though, and I happen to have seen everything from Basketball Diaries, Romeo+Juliet, The Beach to The Aviator. Maybe I just can't get over my eternal prejudice against people involved with Titanic. Rest everyone knows.

For a Few Dollars More: I don't know how many times I've watched it before. But still, a masterpiece.



There's so much more to watch still, and probably so much time to do it :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Re-cycling Transport

[Probably the most 'impactful' of all pieces I've ever done. The DoSA (Dean of Student Affairs for the uninitiated) immediately granted provisional funds to get something done after reading this in the current issue of InsIghT. Getting things done; now that's the tougher part.]

About two years ago, a friend from IIT Delhi had come to visit me. I welcomed him with the customary stroll around the campus, to let him admire the famous lakes and the picturesque scenery. But, unlike any other person I have taken around campus, his reaction was most animated when he saw the multitude of unused cycles lying in a heap near the Main Gate. His reason-these cycles would have been ideal for the ‘alternative campus transport system using community bicycles’ project he was working on. That was when I first heard of this idea and given the similar situations of the no-bike policy in both institutes, it made a lot of sense to me. Somehow I chose to ignore it back then.

Now, feeling the pinch of the no-bike policy coupled with the sudden vanishing act of the tum-tums and further compounded by the fact that I live in Hostel 13, the time was just right for me to ponder over feasible alternatives. The community bicycle program that I shall describe perfectly fit the bill.

A community bicycle program is not an entirely new concept. It has been successfully implemented in several countries and university campuses. In all these places, the basic idea is the same. Old and unused cycles are collected and painted for recognition. These are then placed at various hubs inside the operation area. Users can issue cycles from these hubs, via a manual or electronic interface, against their names for free or a nominal fee required for maintenance. The cycles can then be deposited at any hub inside the area, which makes it very helpful for short-term users.

Given the pathetic state of internal transport in the institute, this program could be adapted to work as an excellent environment friendly alternative transport system. Here’s what could be
done:

1. The old and unused cycles , so many of them,at the Main Gate , hostel basements and other areas could be collected and repaired. In addition, a pool of people willing to donate their cycles when they leave the campus could be made to refresh the cycle bank every year. The good thing with cycles is that the cost of repair would be minimal.

The endless cycle: Heap of unused cycles lying near main gate



2. These cycles should be painted with a uniform colour to facilitate recognition. As a result, even if one is stolen, it will have little or no resale value and it will become easier to track lost or stolen cycles.

3. Hubs would be chalked out at major activity points and a fixed number of cycles kept at each hub for issue.

4. The cycles would be issued against ID cards, in a similar manner as library books are. Card readers, if possible, could be used at the hubs by security guards who could double up as hub caretakers. This will also ensure round-the-clock operation.

5. The issuing process could also be automated, as the IIT Delhi students have mentioned in their proposal. The cycles would be locked by magnetic locks which would open once
the ID card validation takes place. Thevalidation process would involve magnetic strips, like ATM cards. This automated process, although better, could take time and much more investment.

6. The cycles would be issued for use only within the campus for a fixed amount of time, failing which a suitable fine would be imposed on the offenders. This fine could be used for their maintenance.

7. A separate hub for cycle maintenance could also be made for users to deposit defective bikes.

Small repairs like punctures etc. should be the user’s responsibility while bigger damages with justifiable causes could be looked into at the maintenance hub. Some might argue that once in operation, certain issues are bound to crop up with this system.

1. The peak hour traffic, when all students will move between the hostel and academic areas, could create an imbalance in the hub pools.

2. Estimating the extent of damage to a bike and subsequently holding a person responsible for it could prove to be a roadblock.

3. Even though ID card validation and uniform paints of the cycles would deter theft, it is difficult to eliminate it altogether.

However, solutions to these are by no means impossible. Putting everything in perspective, it would be a nice initiative if this alternative transport arrangement could be started on a trial basis. All issues regarding operation could then be identified and possibly rectified. Who knows,
we could have a long-term solution to all our commuting woes in the future.
To read more about the proposal and feasibility reports of the IIT Delhi students,
please visit this link.

Credits: Kaushal for giving me this idea. Audi and Krishna for co-writing and editing respectively. Abir for taking the wonderful picture which in itself speaks more words than I could ever write.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chhat Puja at Juhu Beach

[For the uninformed or the non-biharis, do go through this if you want to know what Chhat is and what it means to us.]

For 3 years in a row, I've had to read how lakhs of people turn up at Juhu beach for Chhat puja delebrations and curse myself for not being a witness. Afterall Chhat was a fest I looked forward to when I was back home, as you might have judged by the link I gave. Anyway this time I along with Rajeev and Abir gathered enough courage to see what it's like. Priyanka Chopra's expected presence made the choice that much easier.

Everybody seemed to be going to Juhu. We were stuck in traffic for a very long time. Long enough to witness sugarcane sticks tied together kept on top of taxis, women with sindoor upto their noses sitting in luggage autorickshaws and open trucks, sounds of typical Chhat songs floating around. Quintessential Chhat atmosphere. We might as well have been in Jamshedpur, or Patna for that matter, if the Best buses and the big black Merc parked alongside were to be neglected.

We finally reached Juhu beach. This was the my first visit to this oh-so-famous tourist spot; as you might guess I'm not too keen on symbols. Tourist symbols at those. The sun had set and hence the puja was over, which was a huge letdown. Nevertheless the gathering was unprecedented. Here's a pic to give an idea:


One sea meets the other

And this was just the sparse side. On the other side two huge stages had been put up. One by the Bihari Front, organised by Sanjay Niruapm, and the other by Uttar Bharat something something. The Uttar Bharat one had some freaky show where 2 singers singing bhojpuri songs were hung up in the air in a box by a huge crane which moved them around in the air while a spotlight miserably tried to follow them. Scary stuff, quite obviously the kind the crowds liked. The Sanajy Nirupam one was slightly more sober and politicsed. He greeted the crowd in Bhojpuri and Maithili (that's my mother tongue if you're wondering) and then continued in heavily Bihari accented hindi. He mentioned how he fought with the BMC and moved the SC to allow celebrations of Chhat at Juhu, with loudspeakers and firecrackers and all. He then welcomed Maragret Alva, some top post holder in Congress (yeah I can't recall what) who he stressed multiple times had flown from Delhi for specifically this purpose. The crowd believed him and cheered wildly. Alva came on to speak. The firecrackers that were bursting in the background one after another maintained a better speed than the words in her Hindi speech. I don't think that shook the belief of the crowd.

We came, we saw, we came back

We got bored by now. Announcements were made that Nagma (bhojpuri film actress) and Manoj Tiwari and some other household names of Bhojpuri entertainment would continue with the show. Later Priyanka Chopra would grace the stage with her presence. She has a pretty face allright, but risking your life (we were intimidated by the potentially stampedisih crowd, yes) for a pretty face who won't even get to know that you did, didn't seem to be great idea. Plus we felt terribly out of place, and prasad would not be handed until morning session of Puja. We decided to give it a pass.

But not before Abir tried his hands at his new found hobby: abstract photography.



10 more days and I shall be a werewolf again

Gathering experiences, not of the terribly wild kind, is a quest; probably even a purpose. Here goes another one.

Friday, October 27, 2006

एक अर्से बाद

(re-discovered this brilliant site, where you type in hindi using english alphabets and the software does the conversion to hindi bit. there might be font issues, but couldn't restrain myslef from doing a hindi post :) )

मुझे
याद भी नही पिछली बार मैने कब अपने मन से हिंदी मे कुछ लिखा था. अब तो कभी कभी ऐसा लगता है की मैं हिंदी लिखना भूल ही गया. ये अजीब सी बात है की दसवीं कक्षा मे मैने अपनी हिंदी शिक्षिका से हिंदी पदहने की औचित्य पर एक लंबी सी बेहेस की थी और आज मैं एक महीने पुरानी अख़बार की ढेर मे आधे घंटे तक उस ख़बर को खोजता रहा जिसमे इस site का ज़िक्र था. ख़ैर वो विषय से ज़्यादा विषय को पढ़ाने वाले के लिए मेरी चिढ़ का नतीजा थी.

अभी मैं ज़्यादा कुछ लिख नही सकता क्योकि करने को बहुत कुछ बचा हुआ है . हमेशा की तरह अंतिम दिन ही सब कुछ करना है . लेकिन अब जब हिंदी मे लिखने का इतना आसान सा तरीक़ा मुझे पता चल चुका है , तो उम्मीद है आगे बहुत कुछ लिखता रहूँगा .

( इस उर्दू-हिंदी के मिश्रण के लिए क्षमा चाहूँगा, आजकल बहुत सोचने पर भी हिंदी के शब्द याद नही आते . और school मे कहाँ हम जयशंकर प्रसाद और महादेवी वर्मा के कठिन अलंकार पढ़ा करते थे..)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The gathering storm

[This post is what happens when you become a dormant blogger]

These days, these times I constantly feel like a grain of sand trapped in an hour glass. The tiny grain that has rested for a while, then accelerated and caught speed, finally to fall through the interconnecting passage and then rest again. Rest and watch layers of sand stack upon it. Right now I'm free falling; through the passage separating the dependent life and the independent life. Things are happening in a blur. Only this idyllic Diwali vacation gives me some time to chronicle what has been going on. After all as W. H Davies has aptly put, "A poor life this if, full of care/We have no time to stand and stare."

Viva La Liga!

Intra football couldn't have been more fun. This time we decided to experiment, albeit on a format that had already been in place in H-4, and it's been a huge success. All the players who registered for the La Liga as we call it were rated on a scale of 10. People who wanted to be managers had a total of 45 points to choose 8 rated players, pretty much how fantasy football works. Currently there are 10 registered teams, which amounts to 80 willing players. Unprecedented in a hostel sporting event. The matches are pretty charged up affairs, with the overall league winners taking the jersey of the team name they play with. It is unbelievable fun playing under lights for 45 minutes, with hostelmates lining up on the sides cheering (actually there is much more of jeering) for you. Our team Liverpool, managed by Giddu (Abrahamovic minus the money and the babe, lucky with star players), is on top right now after 2 rounds, beating Mohun Bagan 7-0 (the team names suggest the disparity) and Barcelona 1-0. The 2nd match being a bitter, bitter encounter where I was virtually mauled and manhandled before managing to score the winning goal. And I am in contention for the golden boot, leading the scroing chart with 3 goals, but that depends on who scores how many goals against Bagan :)

Trivial Matters and the Unibrows

It was very, very satisfying to complete all the 30 levels of Trivius, a highly addictive cryptic trivia game hosted as a part of SJMSOM's fest. Vaibhav and I wasted just about 5 days, discounting another 5 where we gave up on level 21, brainstorming and scavenging the internet. Of course we were helped on some levels, most thankfully on 21 by Vaibhav's cousin, and on one by Surdy. There, you had the acknowledgements, we'll take the prizes ( Honestly we owe you a treat, just keep reminding us.)

The Rock Trivia was kept as a part of the Music GC. The first time I saw the posters, I knew this was the only time I could be a part of a position winning team in a music event. After being psyched by KP for showing up late for the elims, where I was conveniently substituted (temporarily much to my relief), we made it through to the finals with relative ease. The finals weren't easy. Rock trivia can be as obscure as you choose to make it, as teams except H8 an H13 found out. We were trailing by over 25 points coming into the final round, but an amazing display of quizzing reflex action by Vaibhav and a few chip ins by KP and yours truly won us the quiz by 10 points to spare. So I, of all people, have now a music GC first place to my name.

Potpourri, which includes dumb charades, tinto, manhunt etc. is always fun to practice and take part in. Ever since our mesmerising performance in my 2nd year, it has been a thing I look forward to every year. Last year was a disaster, Mood I was a heartbreak (waiting lists always are), so we decided to step up on practice. Sujay took charge of acting since Kela passed out and Krishna came into the team. He coined the name Unibrows for our team, a name reflecting the fact that all three of us coincidentally share the freaky attribute of having joint eyebrows. It is always great fun practising for events like dumb c, specially when you have slightly slow guessers like me and slightly impatient actors like Krishna (the pogo stick jump to represent a horse was a classic.) The main event would have been a cakewalk for us, had we not got Mattle Toys as a brand name. It took an eternity to be guessed by us, not helped by the fact that I hadn't heard of this company and that Krishna, who acted, is an amateur scrabble champion (which made it a frustratingly obvious guess for him.) Nevertheless we managed a respectable 3rd, within 10 seconds of the eventual winners. Mood I will be the swan song for me and Sujay, hopefully the song will earn us some money too.

What else?

Another Diwali minus the firecrackers, but thankfully had a taste of long forgotten home food at LG's place. And also the remembrance of old days and the friendly banter once I got together with cousin sisters, almost a decade since that happened last and god knows how much more since that happens again.

I did not go home citing academic commitments. Thankfully no one asks for a proof. The results, well, they cannot get worse from what they have been past 4 years. Even if they improve, it's way too late already.

I could stretch the grain sand analogy here, but it would hurt more than I can handle once I read this blog a few months, or even a few weeks from now. Already it has become difficult for me to sit on the chair and type, thinking about the content of this post. I'm not changing it anyway :)

Oh and do read my arti on blogging (for InsIghT) if you can spare the time (2nd last page, We-blog.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Muddied Oafs

Except that there was no mud out there that day. Only concrete. Concrete and those mosaic pieces to cover it, so that it would grate your skin if you tried to slide. Slide we did, nevermind the consequences. Reminded me of those rugby union ads that came on TV, 'Sometimes without pain, there is no gain'. An option between spending your evening singing 'Who'll stop the rain' and getting out and having fun doing something new. So the terrace of B4 witnessed the first ever game of mini rugby played on concrete, putting the NZ imported rugby ball I so insisted on having brought finally into use. Here is a pic to give an idea of the setting. Four floors above, wet concrete, a few willing boys; willing both to play and listen to my rendition of whatever makeshift rules I knew of rugby, chairs for goal, big rain drops and the great lake beyond.



The last time we had tried this, a year back in the football field with a football, most of ended up taking a booster dose of ATS injection. I must thank that day for sparing me another visit to the hospital. A few others were less lucky, bruises, battered bones, sprains...best part was those very people coming and telling me that it was a good idea and we could have a game sometime soon.

Even better, a few foreign exchange students who have actually played this game, agreed to hold a session and maybe continue it further. The ball has been set rolling, let us see how far it can roll.

Maybe it's time to dust off that skateboard and bring it out in the open. Any takers (that's an anagram for skater :P) ?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

the blog post about a blog post

And you never thought this was possible? Anyway let us make this an anniversary post that never was.

A year ago I had written this post about sleep patterns in a classroom. Had made me a minor celebrity that time. Mess, canteen, class; sometimes I was approached by people I hardly knew and told that I had done a good job. Publicity helped, people had it as their status messages, forwaded in IM's mails and someone suggested me to send it to Desipundit. It got linked and that put me thick into all this blogging business. Reading, hopping madly, writing, linking, commenting, fighting, bitching, sulking.

A year old, a year wiser. Thankfully all that is passe. I would like things the way they are right now. Few people that I read now, few people who read me now.

Blogging is one place I learnt to despise collective whining and groaning. People talking about 'issues', holding a view that is no different from a multitude of others and yet thinking it's important to put down, being the yes men...oh now I'm whining. I am but one of them.

Not that I'll stop doing that :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lincoln's letter to his son's teacher


He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader...
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick...
Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books...
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat...
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong...
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon...
Teach him to listen to all men...
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad...
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness...
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he's right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient...
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do...
He is such a fine fellow,
my son!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

IITB Litclub Open Quiz-9 (answers)

1. X was a 16th century French reformation theologian and the originator of a system of Christian theology named after him. Y was a famous 17th century philosopher whose most famous work influenced western political philosophy. However their last names find a very important place in popular culture. Funda.

A: John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. Hence Calvin and Hobbes.

2. Connect these two pictures. Name of the shop has been blanked out intentionally.




















A: U2. Bonavox hearing aids from which Bono got his name and the U2 fighter plane.




















3. What's common to the Norse god of thunder, a Greek titan honored for stealing fire from Gods, a mortal woman from Greek mythology who was the daughter of Tantalus and wife of amphion and the Norse Goddess for fertility?


A: Thor, Prometheus, Niobe and Freya ( Vanadis) --all have elements named after them.

4. This picture represents the first ever instance of what?





A: Computer bug and hence debugging.

5. While at college, this company's founder was given the Cornell Lacrosse team cap by his grandfather. People would turn to him to solve their problems and he was referred to as that guy in the ___ ___. He lost the cap, later the manual of the company's product had an appeal to readers (anyone finding it) to return his ___ ___. Easy enough, name the product.


A: Red Hat

6. T.S Eliot said that "The Waste Land" was inspired by the books "From Ritual to Romance" by Jessie L. Weston and "The Golden Bough" by James Frazer. These books are shown as a part of collection of a very famous movie character who quotes from "The Waste Land" in the movie. The character and the quote?

A: Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now (I mistook the quote as being 'this is the way the world ends/not with a bang but with a whimper' but Kurtz although he reads from 'The Hollow Men' doesn't get to this part, it is uttered by the photographer. All apologies.)

7. The protagonist of this very popular show of 70's-80's was written out of the show in the 6th season, leaving to join the US Army because the actor wanted to pursue his desired and later highly successful career in direction. Who?

A: Ron Howard from 'Happy Days'.

8. Famous picture. Identify both.



A: JFK and Bill clinton

9. This place had maximum requests for songs on Vividh Bharti radio programs during its heydays (as in people from this place had the maximum number of requests for songs to be played). Most people thought it to be a fictitious town because of its rather uncommon sounding name, much like Timbuktu. Identify.

Jhumri Tilaiya (I planned to give the Google Earth image too. Tragedy being I couldn't find this place.)

10.


___________________ I stand
___________________ I stand
A sprig of wattle in my hand
A native of my native land
Australia you little beauty.

Fill in the blanks, with the same phrase, and connect to David Boon.

A: Under the Southern Cross. Autobiography of Boon (singing tradition in the Aussie dressing room might be a vague connection).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Same old noon

I had this diary when I was somewhere around 10th std. A bit like this blog in the sense that I hardly wrote regularly or about topics that would interest anyone who derives thrill from peeping into a stray personal diary. It had scores and reports from friendly cricket matches I played in, for there was no one else who would keep that record. More importantly it had all the details of the animated football matches we played during recess and hence the only existing record of the fact that A section beat B section by a huge margin in the overall record. But then these things stop mattering, infact become a trifle childish, when you graduate from school.

Anyway what I was coming onto was that I was the lyricist of this imaginary band called 'Alter Ego' (later changed to 'Status Quo') and wrote pathetic song lyrics for them. Not intentionally pathetic but something that couldn't be helped. Probably one the reasons why you haven't heard of any such band as yet. This summer as I was browsing through that diary, counting the goals I had scored, runs I had made, wickets I had taken and taking an imaginary bow, I came across this amusing bit of 'song' lyrics which wasn't titled as yet:

Don't wanna be just another proper noun
Wanna get famous
They have a statue of me in every town

Don't know how, don't know when
Will figure it out very soon
Until then it's the same old day, same old noon.

The signs are pretty bad when you have your own 'song' stuck in your head.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August beginning (and July ending)

It's not like I didn't try to write. A new semester, an escapade to Goa before it began, the world cup and the jersey store I've got myself after that. And yeah thanks to all those precious friends who wasted their hard earned money to bring back something for me. I'm richer by a Yankee cap, official World Cup merchandise and of course the rugby ball- the dream lives on. What was funny though was the look on my dear friend's face when he gifted me that ball, bringing it all the way from kiwi land-- I took roughly 30 seconds to point out three words in fine print " Made in India". I don't know if that's supposed to make us proud or anything. Thanks for the chocolates too, most of them tasted like wax, but you eat wax if it's from Germany or Australia or Hungary. I did.

What pushed me to write was the fact that I recently saw Easy Rider. Putting that and the Goa journey in perspective, it gave me a lot to think about. Roaming around the rustic landscape on rented bikes for three days, with just a tourist map in hand and no fixed destination with just the right kind of people isn't something you would forget in a lifetime. All that minus the girls, marijuana and LSD, money and of course the looks of Peter Fonda, but we did learn a lot. Without getting into too much trouble at that. What's getting hassled by the odd police checkpost when you put that movie ending in perspective?

Anyway Jack nicholson lived in those brief moments he had in the movie. And here's something I might quote the rest of my life:

George Hanson
: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.

I'm not a hippie, this is not the 60's and my life is not a movie. But I would like think I'm free. Whatever that means. Then Nicholson says this:

George Hanson
: I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.

Very true Jack. Very true.

Anyway what's a blog post about Goa without one of those photographs. This one is special though. Photoshopgiri at it's best. Best as we know it atleast.


Ah! To be free..

Friday, July 07, 2006

Nothing but the tooth

Dear 3rd molar on the left jaw,

Losing you has been painful. Very painful. I couldn't eat or sleep properly when the realisation set in that I would be losing you soon (which is why I had to let go of you actually) and it will be a while before I can do that. You have left behind a huge gap in my life (and the left jaw) . More sadly it can't be filled as of now.

I can't thank you enough for having kept my company for these 20 odd years. I can half imagine the euphoric scenes when you raised your little head and everybody cried out 'Look the baby's got a tooth'. Tears came to my eyes when I saw you lying today coated with blood, wrapped in cotton, the black shadow of bacterial decay eclipsing your beautiful white built. Maybe the grind (and chew) of day to day life got to you. Or maybe it was just the evil mess food.

So long 3rd molar. Your other molar (and incisor) friends will have a tough time without you, so will I. Hope you reach your ivory white heaven for the service you provided during your lifetime.

Tearfully yours,
Nikhil.

PS: Agent Mulder, The tooth is out there. (I have vowed not to improve.)

Very soon I will have FAQ's on everything you wanted to know about tooth pulling but were afraid to ask.Wait.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bring on the drumrolls

This blog turned a year yesterday. Hopes, fears, laughs, tears (no tears actually but what the heck, it rhymes) . A proper anniversary post shall be put up when I get back to Bombay. That's another 15 day respite for you.

I'll get back to the world cup now. So long.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tee time

My tees/jerseys are getting some attention in the boring blue uniformed company I'm doing my internship in. The other day one of my guides said, "Abe tu Cadbury Gems waale colour ke tees pehen ke kyun aata hai?" .The other guide said, " What is this colour? Lilac, Purple?". I promptly replied, "When I had bought it, it was violet. Then I was on mission rainbow." Understandably so, as my football jerseys that I wear to work don't come in intricate patterns or sober colours that might be acceptable to them.

The best part was when the Divisional Manager came on a visit to the lab, looked at me and asked,

"Hmm so what are you upto today?"
'Sir, MS testing and all..'
"Hmm why are you wearing clothes like you are roaming in college?"
'Sir, I don't have a prescribed uniform."

Apparently they expect me to turn up in a formal/semi-formal shirt. Sadly with the World Cup just round the corner the exact opposite is going to happen. Just pray the shining bright orange of Holland goes well with them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The sun is same in a relative way but I'm older

I turned 22 yesterday. It was scary for a while. 22 is not the age immortalised in songs; limited to 'solah-satrah' or even a 40 year singer singing about being 18. Only thing there is, is Catch 22, and that's not good.

Then I turned to the newspaperss. Dennis hasn't grown old, neither has Calvin. Then Spiderman and Superman are also the same, albeit a bit older. That made me happy.

Cartoon characters and/or superheroes don't grow old. They remain the same.
Amen.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Boring discourse on boredom

You can't imagine the kind of resolve and patience it takes to blog from an umcomfortably small cyber cafe cubicle with a stubborn ball mouse and a cranky faded keyboard. Sit down, don't clap. One hour is a hell lot of time to spend online specially if you are supposed to pay the same amount for an hour or less. So here I am.

This summer I'm supposed to do my training, or internship if you like to use a more refined word. Thanks to the TATA's, there is no dearth of companies at home that can bear with a bored 'metallurgist' with nothing else to do for one summer. After weighing my options I chose this company to torture, and as of now they are ready to let me do it. It's been tough convincing them though. Very tough infact.

Now, the office is located within walking distance of my home, walking distance being anything around 2kms. It's a difficult job walking that far in 42 degree heat, but thanks to the glorious past of playing cricket in midsummer, I can happily bear with that. The thing that hurts though is having to wait in the AC waiting room for an hour or more at a stretch, with virtually nothing to do.Which brings to me to the most important point -- what do people do/think while waiting?

I took a look around at the magazine/newspaper rack. Same newspaper as the one I comprehensively read in the morning. The rest were business mags, on which I'm not very keen though it's scary how my peers lap them up with glee. I decided to revise the paper. Then I decided to count the number of alphabets in a line, a paragraph, the article. I stopped there and made a rough estimate of the total characters in the page and chuckled at my super intelligence. Then I got bored again.

I've had a heavy dose of Sherlock Holmes since my childhood. Right form the abridged stories to the complete works; it's all been covered. I decide to do a Holmes and try and make decisive observations about the people that come around. The closest I get to is guessing a guy who came in to be the postal guy, and he was carrying a Blue Dart bag. That wasn't pretty smart.

The clock moved like a sloth, even slower. Finally I got a phone call from the HR lady.
"Sorry Nikhil I can't find the guy incharge. Please come again tomorrow."

Damn!

PS: In hindsight this was better than the ordeal I have to go through now : 9 to 5. Later maybe.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Nostalgia-Life at IITB : a short video






This video was edited by Ankur along with Ankur Shah (both passing out batch 2006) and Krishna as the man on the bike. Some of you, those who haven't been to IITB anyway, won't have any idea of what's going on so I'll take it upon me to explain. It's basically the footage of a bike journey from the main gate to Hostel-13 (yes that infamously famous multicrore hostel) via all that's in between. Simple as that. In between you'll see classroom shots, profs, OAT before PAF etc. etc.

Firstly the extremely poor quality of the video, entirely my fault, would seriously hamper your opinion about it. So I plead you not to do that and if possible get to watch the original video to get a grip of the idea and the execution. Only then you'll be able to get to see the synchro of the audio and video, something that took quite a while to do. Things like the first bump co-inciding with the first bumper on bike, marching sounds when the students go past running and few other minor details would go unnoticed. But the upload limit that youtube gave prevented me from uploading the original decent quality video. So I had to encode the video, crawling through manual pages of mencoder, linux groups and what nots to finally reduce the size to less than a third of the original.

But then it was never meant to win the short movie award at Cannes Film Festival, so I guess putting up something was better than putting nothing. I've done my bit of explaining because apparently it's been linked on some site (thankyou to the site people by the way for doing that) and the poor quality is affecting the opinions of people. Now it never claims to be the flame bearer of what IITB means to the world so I don't see what's putting off people as such. Still if you'll strain your eyes to watch a youtube video in which Aishwarya Rai drapes Oprah Winfrey in sari and feel all proud about that, then I guess I can't say anything more.

And you wonder what people do after exams get over?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I feel summer creeping in and I'm tired of this town again


Homeward bound


Too many songs as post titles? Latest muse it is. Appropriate though. Exams are over and in about 5 hours from now I'll be on my way on a jam packed train for a 34 hour journey back home. That too on unconfirmed tickets as of now. This when most of my illustrious friends would be booking flights to different parts of the globe for summer internships. Me? I never bothered to even make my resume. Home it shall be, although it's not what it used to be earlier. Remember this exchange from Garden State?

Andrew Largeman
: You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your stuff that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You'll see when you move out it just sort of happens one day one day and it's just gone. And you can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I mean it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for you kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place.


I had mentioned this earlier on my blog too, and this feeling grows stronger.

This and that

There are a million things to write now, but I don't think I can fit them all in one monster of a post. I'll have to do with the highlights

* The insane amount of time I spent on youtube during my endsems greedily moving one form one music video to another, one Monty Python sketch to the next one and the heady nostalgic stuff I managed to uncover. The opening track of Silver Spoons and other forgotten sitcoms, videos of Ring of Fire, No Rain, Gloria and a list of other favourite videos, favourite movies scenes like the ones from Cinema Paradiso, The Good The Bad and The Ugly and so on. Priceless I'd say.

* The end sems themselves. But Giddu has done an amazingly honest review here. So I don't need to do that.

* The epic football matches. Spurs almost beating Arsenal but for the phenomenal Henry goal. Villareal doing everything but score a goal against Arsenal. Liverpool beating Chelsea with a superb Garcia goal. AC Milan losing out to Barcelona with some Ronaldnho magic, but only just.

* My own footballing adventures and the matches we play until 9pm with the super arrangement with the lights and an inviting footer field. And the minor recognition that comes with playing decent football. Nicer feeling than anything else. Of course I still have to do justice to that on the bigger occasions and I'm trying.

* The summer ration of books I'm taking to pass time back home. Finally got hold of The Golden Gate. Will try my first Joyce with Potrait of an Artist as a Young Man and a random Greene novel. Then there's Calcutta Chromosome and of course a mandatory re-reading of Catch22 I do every 2-3 months. Hope that'll be enough.

* My arrangement with friends going all over the world to bring back sports memorabilia. If things go according to plan I would have Australian Rugby Union tee, a rugby ball and also an All Back tee or a Shane Bond jersey, Swiss national football tee, Korean 2002 world cup jersey, Spurs jersey with Keane on the back, German national jersey with Schweinsteiger on the back and few more arrangements. Friends, what are they for afterall.

* The sem round up, proudest moment being part of the Bronze winning footabll team. Second proudest winning the Main GC trivia quiz. And then being given a cult colour along with my quizing mate Audi and also a sports special mention for football. Though honestly I didn't do justice to my place in the team. Hopefully there will be a next time.

* Movies I loved lately and am taking back home. The Manchurian Candidate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf being two of the better ones.

* The back to back trips to Maddu Mess at 5am in the morning. Watching the sunrise on Sameer hilltop on one of those days with the two lakes and an ocean as the backdrop. The utter disappointment on the new face of the Sammer hills which look more like a high security fortifies area than a favourite getaway spot. They are ruining everything.

The Sleep Dilemma

Joshi had this problem last night when we were coming back to hostel after watching the football match. There is this fish tank place in the MB and as we were passing by, he wondered if the fishes ever slept.

Joshi: How do these fish sleep, or do they ever sleep?
Me: They have to move continuosly as they exhale Carbon di-oxide and that place becomes insufficient in dissolved Oxygen. Wonder how they manage to move while sleeping.
Someone else: Like we breathe during our sleep?
Joshi:But we have a bed underneath, we don't stay afloat in air. Fishes have to stay afloat in water. ..(then he gives this arbit funda)..maybe they go to a place where the density of water equals that of fish bdy and hence stay afloat.
Kareena: Maybe there is some air filling mechanism that keeps them afloat while sleeping.
Joshi: Seriously how do they sleep, without support like we have beds?
Me: Ever wondered why 'ocean beds' and and 'river beds' are called so?

Nobody argues after that killer logic of course. Seriously how the heck do fishes sleep?

I have time enough to watch Discovery and Animal Planet to find out the answers. Hopefully I will and let you know. Till then Sayonara!

Let the summers begin.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I wanna be sedated


Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated

Nothing to do nowhere to go I wanna be sedated

Just get me to the airport station and put me in a plane train
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane I can’t control my fingers
I can’t control my brain oh no oh ho

~The Ramones (with suitable edits)

Just one more exam to go. Then I'll sing this other song.

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

School's out for summer
School's out forever

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

~Alice Cooper

A nothing post really. But it's one of the things I do before my last exam.

You know it ain't easy
How hard it can be
The way things are going
They gonna crucify me

~4 blokes famous than Jesus (or so they claimed, but Jesus never came around to clarify. So..)

Enough already. I wanna be sedated.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Speling misstakes


Q. requiem or requeim? receive or recieve?

A. i before e excpet after c'
-- the best thing we learnt in our Chemistry-101 course

Point out a few spelling mistakes and you're considered snooty. Laugh and make fun and you run the risk of being ostracized and then guillitoned perhaps. I'm no trail blazer when it comes to spelling; heck I never even made the team for the inter class spelling contests which asked you to spell 'psychology' or 'xenophobia' at best.

I've seen people pointing out mistakes in notices and banners outside shops, placards and what nots. Just the other day I saw someone sniggering at our laundry room notice which said 'loundry'. Immediately I thought that it's not right to expect some washer dude to be a lexicographer. Then I recalled that it was me who had burst out laughing at a Durga Puja mela merry-go-round banner which said 'Ticket Kawnter'. Dammit, I'm still sniggering -- bloody hypocrite that I am. One thing I wondered is that if they can come up with such innovative alternative for 'Counter' then why not get it right. Well.

A month back it was me who pointed out that the Techfest-06 table calendars had 'Calender' written on the first page. It's a word, but I'm not sure that's what they meant. That's unforgivable though. Just 3 days ago on our work visit to Ispat steel plant someone pointed out that the huge hoarding in fornt of their main gate spelt 'Mision' or some other blunder like that. Again that's a sin. But a semi town curio shop 'wellcoming' you or the overcrowded bus labelling seats as 'ledies' or 'ladise' is forgivable and ignorable I guess. Smile and forget.

I like my mistakes being pointed out, that's how I've learnt half of my spellings and going by history that's how I'll learn many more. I spelt my department name as 'Metallurgicall' in some certificate and that was embarrassing (not 'embarassing' as I've seen many, many good people spell it!) I termed my performances as 'absymal' which was rather abysmal and the best one was my spelling of pilgrimage which went something like 'piligrimmage'. Unholy.

All this takes me back to my 4th std. where the English teacher asked us to spell career and everybody was raising their hands and saying things like 'carrier', 'carier' and stuff. I wondered why the teacher hadn't noticed my vigourously waving hand. Finally she looked at me and said, 'I know you know the right answer Nikhil, I'll just write it down for everybody now'. Boy, such confidence! Of course I was going to spell it incorrectly. Which shows another fact that I'm not even half as good as people think I am, but things like this stop that from coming out.

So, I don't laugh when people 'loose' their things or think they are 'privilaged' to be here as they are 'geniouses'. No. I just politely point out and take two steps back. Then probably walk away.

But, if they say 'Thatz ma style.....Gotta liv wid it dood......Dat's me frndz bcos I luv 2b kewl!!' Well then I don't walk away, I run. All the while wishing I had wings.

Added later: This just gets better. I just recalled that we had lost some city school quiz final to then reigning BQC champs Sacred Heart Convent because I spelt assassination as 'assasination' ; a huge upset win it would have been. Now what kind of quiz asks spellings, well I did mention BQC in the same line didn't I?