Friday, February 09, 2007

In Da land

Q. Who painted Monalisa?
A. You and Me: Da Vinci
Them: Vinci, Da!

(Akhil on our way back from IITM)

It is almost fascinating how the IITM junta manage to insert that ubiquitious filler word in almost every sentence they use. They don't say a plain yes or no, they make it special: No da, yes da. I'm not saying it in a derogatory sense or anything, but it is as I said; fascinating. Not 'astonishing' as you might expect me to write these days, I'm discussing entire theories on the possible use of that word in place of 'surprising' (as in it's 'astonishing' to hear from you, rather than 'surprising' to hear from you) with a lot of people. Almost everyone agrees that astonishing gives a "I thought you were dead or something before I saw your message. It was a pleasant thought you know.." sort of feeling. Without getting too far, for people who would be astonished on this digression, the word is fascinating. Plain fascinating.

Not surprisingly then, it got itself a paragraph in the most famous research paper to ever come out of IIT. Also the most read thesis paper among all IITians. Ironically it has got nothing to do with science or technology. Quite understandably it would have no readers then. I'll quote just a part:

The word da means friend or buddy in IITM slang and is usually used at the end of the sentence, for instance in the sentences, I have to go now da, Come here, da or Can you do me a favour da. In Tamil da seems to be a lexical, bound morpheme which is used as a suffix at the end of the verb. This suffix, for instance in the request Vaada! (in English Come here!), is a highly informal form of address towards a male person and shows a lack of respect for the addressee. Although the use in the sentence Come here, da. suggests that this lack of respect is also prevalent in the IITM slang, examples like How are you da? and What are you doing da? show that it may still be a very informal form of address, but not necessarily disrespectful because these questions imply a certain care or interest in the addressee. The sentence final position in the slang may be taken from Tamil syntax in which the verb is put at the end of the sentence.

By the way, do try searching 'IITM lingo' on Google. See what almighty Google has to say :)

This probably is the only paper that has the phrase KLPD in it, in an attempt to explain it. But, I'm sorry 'mam' there are so many contexts and connotations that you are not aware of, but you cannot be blamed for that. I don't know why but this paper gives a feeling of what our profs think while we give our presentations and reports. They know the topic inside out, they see all that could be, all that it means and all that we are doing wrong. We on the other hand, with our meagre knowledge of these issues, just try and come out unharmed. Going through this thesis always gives me that feeling, albeit with roles reversed. It's not a good feeling though. Makes me feel vulnerable.

Anyway, beyond all this pointless drivelling about lingo of all things, we had a fun trip to IITM. Saarang itself wasn't very exciting or involving, but the four of us: Audi, Akhil, Maddy and I did manage to keep ourselves busy for the duration of our stay. I don't have too many ideas of what kept my dear friends busy; I for myself had an excellent host in my schoolmate Tushar whose high level student body post helped us in getting a fair amount of free food through coupons every evening. That too without moving a muscle, except those to procure the grub coupons. We talked about good old times and ate free junk food. Sheer joy.

There were a few other reasons except visiting my friend that had brought me to IITM though. The most important one being the famed all night main quiz which starts from midnight and lasts till the break of dawn. It's like the timeless test match of quizzing. Pure unadulterated quizzing. Of course I was a part of the audience; for I am not qualified enough to qualify for the finals, but every bit was worth it. I loved the way things are so informal, nothing is predecided. There are 3-4 quizmasters, they roam around, mingle with the small but dedicated crowd in which somehow everyone happens to know everyone else. Suddenly one of them decides to grab the mic, open his folder, click on any of the multitude of text files in notepad, format if necessary and then just let the participants soak in the question. I slipped in a nap or two in between a question and answer. Infact the thing is so informal and laid back that at around 3.15 when the participants were given a break, the sound guy promptly packed up his system and shut off the power supply without anyone noticing. They only did notice when it was time to get back to asking questions!

The one thing you can be sure about is the quality of questions. Sometimes there were 30-40 slide long visual connects, 18 clips long video connect each of which was played long enough to last an entire quiz in lesser places. Some questions looked like a collection of short stories from our ICSE books. Some had so many X, Y, Z variables that you could have been in a linear algebra class. But when the answer was given, everything started to make sense, every bracket closed itself perfectly and the program got executed beautifully. Perfection.

The other beautiful thing about this trip was that I got to see the IITM Chemplast cricket ground. I know for most of you that means nothing. For me, when as a schoolboy I found out that an IIT had a cricket ground where the Indian Cricket practised occasionally, it thrilled me beyond words. Probably provided an extra incentive to try hard and get in too, only later did I learn that it is not used on a daily basis. Anyway, the ground is amazing. It provides a perfect backdrop for an ideal Sunday afternoon. Laze around in a smallish, green ground with friends and watch good cricket. The South African way of watching cricket.

The rest, well, if you take out the lit events, Saarang isn't that absorbing. Maybe having watched three Mood I's biases my judgement, but I see no comparison if you take out the lit part. I won't even try comparing.

The freely roaming deers and blackbucks also deserve a mention, they look exceedingly charming until you get bored of them. Contrast this with what we get in our campus: stray leopards and crocs. Wow!

We had a great trip back there. Sure we burnt a few things and didn't own up to them. I don't think burning yourself is a solution to get rid of mosquitoes. But that is very nearly what we achieved courtesy of a Mortein coil. Considering everything that could have been, everything else is collateral damage :)

Time to pack up da. Macha. (I don't know what the hell that means)


kaushal said...

Now that IS 'Astonishing', I mean your level of 'fascination' {with/at} the event =))

Nikhil said...

Had it not been 'astonishing' there is no way I would have made a trip to Madras on my own expenses. It had to be a notch higher than just 'surprising' :)

thedq said...

'Macha', Did you mean Machi? Everyone says Machi here :)

Nikhil said...

[thedq] since I have no idea about what it means, I have no idea about what I mean, if you know what I mean :)