Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Be Afraid, Be very afraid !!

The last week in retrospect has been a very frustrating week in terms of what I expected it to be and what it turned out to be instead ..

1. I set out for a place with high hopes of finding a particular motor which would satisfy my constraints..reach the shop, who raises the bar of hopes by saying that the particular rpm motor is available and then...it simply exceeds the dimensional constraints and hence, rendered useless. This was probably an omen of things to come, I guess.

2. We set out to "conquer" Mood-I Quizzes/WordGames over the weekend. The quotes have been used for conquer coz I know it would probably be too Herculean a task to win all the events in the purview as the competition was actually fantastic, something which I never expected compared to last year's participation, but getting cash back in return would have done an almost bankrupt man like me a favour. Well, we qualified for the Main Quiz finals and apparently topped the prelims ( a bit of C2D was involved, to tell the truth but we did deserve to get till there is our opinion)..only to be steamrolled in the finals. As for the Word Games event, we did quite decently in the prelims and would have even come back home with cash except for one stupid buzzer round which changed the tide of the finals and we ended up missing the top 3 spots by 5 pt ( as to why the buzzer round was crucial : each question was worth 30 pts and we knew the answer all along and forgot to press the buzzer and allowed the team which beat us to sneak ahead. D'uh,I know, but this was yet another instance for me coming so near, and yet so far :( )

3. Never before has it happened that my ticket in the Tatkal quota couldn't be booked..and this has to happen when I wanted my ticket as desperately as possible !

4. An ambitious project we are working on suddenly goes into Plan-C/D/whatever_the_letter mode due to employees of a certain motor mfg. firm being on holiday. And this news comes right after the firm seemed possible to deliver us the goods, in probably as early as 2 weeks when compared to the normal 1 month standard expected. We must be damned, I must say.

The above 4 sets of events have all seemed as promising to deliver and yet failing. Is this a sign of things to come or has the storm passed ? Have I failed yet again to read the omens or have I read it correctly finally ? I guess only time shall tell me the answer which makes me very scared coz I never trust the surprises, pleasant or unpleasant that the future holds for me. All I can do is pray that the good times have begun (and I certainly don't intend to fly by Kingfisher to Fly the "good times", unless they are offering me a free ticket! ) coz what lies ahead of me is as good as a make or break situation for whatever I'd set out to achieve at the onset of the current academic year.

I have a Dream ..And I bloody well want it to come true !!

P.S. The only set of events expected which I didnt mention earlier were my grades, which for now also seem to give me a ray of hope and expectation and I hope they don't end up the way the earlier set did !

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life Without Walls

I was watching the recent Test match between India and England at Chennai on TV and there flashes the Windows Skydrive ad with the following tagline :

" Windows A life without walls " .. which sets me into thinking .." If we don't have walls, where will we have the Windows ? :P Paradox max Ad !!

It seems with the exit of Bill, the Walls have crumbled around the Microsoft office :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

To B.E. or not to B.E. ?

Hmm, I was going through a certain book on word etymos and something which surprised me was the term, Bachelor -- meaning an unmarried male, in common parlance. Now, I have been pondering on this term for a while coz I have never been able to figure out why is someone is awarded a degree stating " Bachelor of Engineering " , so on and so forth..Do they mean that the poor chap who's awarded the degree is unmarried to engineering,when ironically, he's spent 4 precious years trying to figure out the nitty-gritties of the same and in all likelihood has failed to grasp them!

Now, it's surprising that the Forum for International Feminine Associations (FIFA in short) hasn't launched a scathing attack on the powers that be, to find the Bachelors degree to be disappointingly sexist and thereby launch a Spinsters degree for the females who would have been otherwise awarded the Bachelors degree. But the fact that they won't crib over the Masters degree is evident coz after all, its Mistresses who anyway rule over the Masters in most prevailing conditions. Anyway, here ends the reference to the title of this post. On to more serious issues..

Getting an admit into IIT (not the Illinois one) is a matter of prestige for most of the wanna-be engineers and their parents in the nation. But has anyone wondered about the situation of the fellow post-entry into IIT ? It has become an awkward state of mind for the lad when he returns home (especially, if he is not studying in an IIT in his place of residence, if there exists one). Any allegation on me bearing charges of anti-feminism can be mailed to : thisismankindnotwomankind@grantmeawebsite.org and for those without allegations, can continue reading this post, if they are interested to..Now this guy who comes back has a burden of the IIT tag on him. Yes, I call it a burden coz every move of his is scrutinized by the dastardly elements of the society wishing to prove that IITians are human in as palpable a manner as possible. The funny part is this - IITians never claimed they were superhuman, but have always maintained the fact that they are human. So what's the need to prove someone down in this process ? The problem is, this tag stays with him forever until he retires and comes back as a prof in an IIT coz then, he's living with people of similar backgrounds.

Another embarassing situation arrives when this lad is introduced to some friend of his parents as " My son studies in IIT-X*" and there falls the sky on his head. And God save the poor chap if this Mister whom he's introduced to, has a son/daughter aspiring to be an IITian and is probably preparing for the famed JEE ! It's not that he doesnt wish to help out but it's just the fact that he wouldn't want to be pestered with people asking for advice. After all, coaching classes are meant to be there for the same reason. They too have ex-IITians as some of the faculty members. Well, my interaction with students of other IITs has been limited but from what I have gathered, life at almost all IITs, remain the same, except for a bit of grading differences and maybe certain facilities and probably, ragging. But this fact just doesn't sink into other aspirants, moreso their parents I would say. It's good to be concerned about one's ward's future but excessive advice seeking never did anyone good unless they were going to start up their own firm with a database of these advices.

Now, it's the time for this IITian ( let's call him XY, poor fellow will have a name ot identify with his chromosome at least )--ok XY goes to a nearby mart whose owner (O) has known him for the past 6 years. Seeing XY after a long hiatus, he enquires about his education and the conversation is as follows :

O : So XY, coming back from a long vacation huh ?
XY : No sethji, just came back on a vacation from college.
O : College ? waah, badhiya hai. Which college ?
XY (with a sense of pride) : IIT - Delhi ji..
O : Arrey, ek ITI toh apne Mulund mein bhi hai na, yeh dilli-willi kyun jaana ! (Mulund- a suburb on the outskirts of Mumbai)
XY : /*Damn, this fellow doesn't know difference between IIT and ITI*/
XY : Arrey nahin, IIT , like the one in Powai..IIT Bombay..suna hai na ?
O : Oh achcha, like that bolo na..toh why Delhi beta ? Powai mein donation dena tha kya ?
XY : /*Damn, no point explaining him. Next he'll ask me my CET score and tell me that I could have got in VJTI itself( VJTI-- is the "best" engineering college in Mumbai, if IITB is not considered into picture) */
XY : Haan, that was the case. Chalo, I've work to do. Will come later.
O to another customer : Poor fellow..was a brilliant chap but couldn't get a seat in Mumbai itself. Had to go to Delhi of all the places !

This above conversation is not a myth but a morphed version of the real one which I encountered last summer. And I thought IITians were famous. No wonder, the political party floated by a certain group of IITians ( I think it's called Lok Paritran ) is a disaster !

Above all this, there's always the fact that your friends,( those who are fortunately/unfortunately not in IITs despite deserving to be so) will view any statement made by you with a prejudiced attitude, unlike the times before you cleared JEE. It's a part and parcel of this process called life that you move on from one time period to another and in this process, I think it's humanely impossible to keep in touch with anyone and everyone you knew well prior to joining IIT. And once you come back to your residential town and if you dont call up these bum-chums, they would think of you as "another IITian who doesn't care about us now that we aren't fellows in his league ". A popular misconception, I must say. I agree that it's a bit difficult to maintain the same bonhomie prevalent earlier and getting that spark back again does take time; added to the fact that every damned person has some expectation or the other from this XY that he's totally confused as to what to do and gets pained by trying to please everyone ( but in the process, ends up pleasing none coz he's worried about the statements he makes which become a bit formal over a period of time as he's unsure as to how the world shall react to them--once again leading to the Pre-IITian and Post-IITian schools of thought :( )

All said and done, I guess the only way to sort this thing out would probably not consider IITians as geniuses; at least don't be prejudiced in judging a person's statements, whether he's an IITian or not, coz we are all human after all, and mistakes or correct decisions are never decided whether a person is an IITian or not.

** There do exist female IITians but I have never been in their shoes to corraborate the same into my post.
## I hope this post is not considered with prejudice as an IITian's post or else, my whole purpose would be dissolved !