Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Carrying forward from my previous post (and thanks to a comment by an anon appreciator), I thought I will put forth some interesting trivia which I came across in different forms of literature. Needless to say, the interesting stuff is related to wordplays(mostly anagrams) again as indicated by the title of this post and I've tried to post only what I found out independently, but where the case seems extraordinarily strong, I've included externally referred ones as well :

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosophers's Stone by JK Rowling
The 'Mirror of Erised' is a play on the word Desire. It literally means to 'mirror' "erised' into our eyes, i.e. if we mirror it, we are in a way "reversing it back"..meaning Erised reverses itself to Desire. Rightly so, it reflected one's deepest desires/wishes as explained by Dumbledore in the book. It could work well as a crossie clue in fact, a simple one at that.

The most famous wordplay in the whole series is of course "Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort" which I hear has given many translators a headache! I will obviously not name the spells which derive a lot from Latin and of course English.

2) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown :
Needless to say, this book had infinite codes decoded but I'll try and have a look at ones which I found have been left purposely undeciphered.

One of them is Robert Langdon's editor's name : Jonas Faukman. Interestingly, Dan Brown has managed to get his own editor's name anagrammed individually and made him a part of the book. Brown's editor's name : Jason Kaufman!

Another trivia which I picked up from the news is the name of Sir Leigh Teabing : Which is apparently an anagram of Baigent and Leigh, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (a very interesting and eye-opening book I must admit)

3) This one was totally an unexpected one and I don't know if the film-makers made it intentionally. In the movie, Ratatouille, the celebrity chef is known by the name of Auguste Gusteau. Not until I checked up the IMDB, did I realize that the Auguste was spelt with an 'e' at the end. If we see carefully, Auguste and Gusteau are anagrams of each other!

4) This one I'm not sure if I've come across in the TFE earlier, but also struck me independently while going through the wiki page for the movie "October Sky". Apparently, the movie is inspired by a book called "Rocket Boys". You would have guessed by now that "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys"!!

5) Another one which I picked up on the net and couldnt resist posting here. Paul McCartney's album "Memory almost full" is an anagram of "For my soulmate LLM" where LLM fits the initials of Linda Louise McCartney, his deceased wife. Still unsure whether it was intended again. If it was,

6) This was an original : Shashi Tharoor Tweets == Oh, he sorta writes trash! :D Composed just for the sheer fun of mocking Tharoor's joblessness and nonsensical sense of diplomacy.

Will try and continue when I come across more such ones. Adios for now

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Hmm, as far as recent opinions about me go, I could well be described as a person who appreciates less and critiques more, and maybe is cynical about most things in life. The opinions might be justified coz I've always believed in appreciating something which lasts the test of time and is not a one-time wonder. Hence the few things which I do appreciate, I believe are real stuff by geniuses and sometimes I cannot differentiate between God and Genius (yes, with the capital G).

This post is related to something which is close to my heart - word plays. Be it anagrams or anything to do with playing around with words and giving them a new meaning. To most, this would sound like solving codes and getting the thrill out of doing so. To an extent they are right. Anagrams were the first kind of wordplays which caught my attention, way back in Class 2, through the mode of what still continues in the TOI supplements as JUMBLE. It was a different kind of thrill altogether, way better than those puzzle books which kids solve. And the only game which existed then to satisfy my appetite was Scrabble. No doubt then that I bought a board for myself as a birthday gift to satiate my love. Unfortunately no one in my family had played Scrabble properly or knew the rules and I got a taste of it only in Class 8 thanks to a great Prof whom I must thank profusely for igniting that passion again. This passion continued in me when I joined IITM where I realized that there were people of exceptional calibre in solving wordplays which I could not even fathom after an hour of thought on them. But I started appreciating the person who sets these codes (for the lack of a better word) because therein showed their ingenuity and creativity. The Hindu crossie sets my pulse racing and so does a game of Scrabble, but nothing has got me this close to heaven such as the wordplays (and in most cases, the p(h)unny ones) by 3 guys who have happened to leave a deep imprint in my life. Sadly, one of them is no more, being afflicted by an illness claimed to affect one in a million. Unfortunately the one in a million on Earth happened to be chosen this time. Coincidentally, all three happen to be a year senior to me : two from IITM, who passed out in 2009 and one from IITB, who'll pass out in 2010. I hope I can write in brief about this trio and do some justice at least to their brilliance!

I shall not name these seniors, but I have left a clue in the title of this post. All those interested can crack the names, which are written as they appear on my gtalk list. The two seniors from IITM were not known to me in the first month, although one of them did "interact/rag" me, being my hostel senior. He was the first guy from whom I took 'fundaes' on solving the Hindu crossie. Not extensive, but sufficient to get me going. Cracking came a year later through another senior, whom I shall refer to as MoJo ( first guy I know to get a nick of that kind thanks to his younger brother! ). So this senior of mine was known to be good at wordgames and stuff. I hadnt heard of the other chap until I encountered both of them in a game of Scrabble at Lit-Soc. Having beaten other seniors until then, I felt that this duo could also be beaten (considering the others were also veterans and played decent Scrabble). But boy, did they prove me wrong! I didnt even bother to play the next game in the tournament and preferred watching their moves, something which has never happened before whether I lost or won a game in a tourney. That was an ominous sign of what I would be witnessing in the next three years! Come Saarang 2007 crossie, they showed me that they weren't just good, they were God! Being in their second year themselves, they were giving their final year 'studs' a run for their money and with some luck, these guys would have run away as winners. That was to happen of course, the following year where they left the other 'studs' behind by a huge margin. You could probably say they were the Aussies dominating the cricket world (in the Steve Waugh era of course), with the only difference being these guys were pure class and everyone actually liked them! Nice men finishing on top is not a frequent occurence. And humility along with top class is another rarity. I was probably thankful to have seen both in this duo. The best part about them was this : they did the stuff the way they liked it and not how others wanted it to be. Have you ever heard of someone packing the finals of an event at Saarang just because it was overnight ? These guys did. No one would dare to attempt a triple-triple bingo in a Scrabble prelims when a straightforward bingo lay elsewhere, for the fear of losing points and missing out on the final. These guys did and to my utter dismay and other players' relief, their word although seemingly existing, didnt find a place in the Scrabble dictionary and made them miss out on a berth in the finals. The other senior (being from a hostel which shares its name with the "dead river of India" ) was probably more gifted in writing really really funny articles with the best set of wordplays possible, but the duo, once together were probably the best you could get in India. And I'm not joking about this having seen people who are amazingly gifted and yet have found it difficult to surpass these two. Their WTGW and Crossie prelims have been a delight to attempt and solve, with the kind of questions being way different from the stereotypical ones which any experienced guy can crack within minutes of seeing them. But their questions, probably only Geniuses at par with them can crack. I have seen a couple of juniors of mine who could probably reach their level but only time will tell regarding their status.

The third senior from IITB, is a chap one rarely comes across. For one he is a Tam chap sporting a mohawk! Get me the odds on that one, will you? And he is amazingly cool ( or atleast anyone who is a logophile would find him so). My appearances at Mood I for the past 3 years (including this year) have been satisfactory solely due to the existence of this chap. He is the guy who sets the wordgames there and boy, he continues to amaze me every single time. It's like you know there's going to be something new out there awaiting you, to mystify you and the only way one can demistify and get enthralled is by solving them. One's respect for him jumps every time you solve one of the questions (again, questions for the lack of a better word). I have attended WTGW/Crossie/Scrabble at other culfests down south, where there's a lot of competition apparently but nowhere does anyone come near to this chap (barring the IITM duo) in setting word games questions( and of course, cracking them). He mixes it with a bit of all kinds of trivia and an ingenious manner of setting questions which leaves the person with a smile on his/her face after reading it and you cant but help wonder, is this another Avatar of God ? He'll be passing out but knowing that Mood I outsources its events, I'm hoping I can have yet another go at cracking his wordplays! My last 3 attempts (along with my 2 other teammates) have left me just short, here and there. Maybe that is an indicator that you can try to match the geniuses, but you aint one until you succeed them. That is unlikely to happen in this birth for sure and I hope I can continue on this post some time later with a few delectable ones from their papers (although it wont do justice to them unless I provide the full questions, in the form they were).

To Mr. Jilanar, DNK and Makhow I toast!*

(*Names changed to reveal their identity only to those fit enough to figure them out ==> those who would have already figured it out by now!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The acronym was made up in the hope that it would catch people's attention and a random google search would eventually lead to my blog one day. Oh yes, the acronym stands for... well, I dunno what it stands for, but will post soon once I do figure out what it stood for. (Trust me, it did stand for some pseud name I'd come up with during Shaastra 2009 but I've forgotten where I kept that piece of paper where I'd written it down!)

To an avg IITM-ian, Shaastras come and Shaastras go. Well, that's to an extent the truth barring this point : Every Shaastra has had something different about it, or atleast in my last 3.5 years' existence on this amazing campus. And the last one for me was exxxxtra special. Yes, extra with the extra Xxxs. Being a member of the group which sat, envisioned and planned out a near flawless Shaastra this year (near flawless is an exaggeration, I know but just to humour me, assume it to be so), it was a privilege as well as a humbling experience working with a set of really stud people committed to something which we have all cherished as a part of IITM history (once again, at least for as long as we have been on campus). To give an example, I shall quote one of my co-cores -- " I would like to convert to Dual degree just to see next Shaastra da!" The fact that he was semi-drunk doesnt take the sheen away from his statement as it was still from the heart (most studies reveal that a person speaks the truth when he/she's drunk, which makes me wonder why can't they get a person drunk instead of asking him/her to swear on the Gita/Bible and allow him to get away with a lie. Anyway, more on that in some other post..)

Nostalgia is one of the right words which describes the series of emotions which filled my heart during the closing ceremony of Shaastra 2009. 5 months of hard work, inumerous decisions taken which I hope were all for the good and handling a team of 11 people whose calls would literally give me a heart attack, every single time I saw my phone beeping. Thankfully, I dont have any BP problems yet, else I might have found myself lying more often in the hospital than at any other place where I should have been. The Evolve dept of Shaastra might have had a DREAM, but I seemed to have nightmares, which luckily didn't materialize. If there was one word which could summarize everything I felt at the end of this Shaastra, it was 'relief'. Relief for having achieved against all odds, against arbit comments from arbit people who had no sense or knowledge of what they were talking and to some extent, against my own expectations. Another reason why I didn't have a Shaastra hangover, while others seemed unable to get out of it for upto 4 days post Shaastra!

Now that Shaastra 2009 is over, there seems a literal void in my life. Life is about asking oneself : What next? And after Shaastra, frankly, I've no clue of what'll come next. I wanted to write a loooooooong post on how it felt over the past 5 months, but I knew I wouldn't do justice and I thought of writing a brief instead. If I were to attempt to describe it in a few lines, I'd say " Life over the last 5 months was like the Sensex. You never know when it would be bullish and when it'll throw you down the roller coaster ride. It's a bit of regret that we cant control it as per our will, and the more we try to control it, the more it gets out of control"

Hope whoever came to Shaastra 2009 'adapted, evolved and enjoyed' it. Here's wishing you readers belated Diwali greetings. Dunno when I'll post next. Hope I can find time pretty soon, coz there's loads to write about and there's even greater inertia against it!


A bolt from the blue,
Made me write this English Haiku,
Before I got swine-flu.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What an idea Sirji ?

Hmm, wanted to write about this for a long time and finally got the time today.

Circa : A month back, when the TN CM Karunanidhi announced a scheme of gifting a gold coin to the family which gives their newborn a Tamil, oops Tamizh name. Now, pop comes the question to my mind. What exactly classifies as a Tamizh name and a non-Tamizh name ?

Let's see 10 examples on what kind of names would be ...er..lucky to get the few gms of gold!

1. Akash -- This will get a score of 1.8 on the Tamizh Scale (a patent pending scale developed by yours truly). Why so ? The TN supremo will claim its etymo from aakasam, which incidentally also means the same in Tam. Well, if Karuna decides to go against what his name implies, this name will get zero or maybe, negative, if he realizes that its origins are actually from Sanskrit.

2. Vikas -- Surely negative. No existence of any linkings to the Tamizh bashai. Of course, this scheme is not meant for those who want to Vikas in their own style (vikas meant progress if I rem my tenth standard Hindi well!)

3. Joseph/Abdul -- Woe betide the followers of Islam/Christianity if this scheme has any value. Poor chaps, they might have to make it Abduzh to even make it count to one extent. No sanskrit origins here might even infuriate the TN supremo, although he doesnt care a damn about Sanskrit. (This was just an example to prove my point and I'm not liable for any religious discrepancies arising from this post!)

4. Mayawati -- Karuna would love to take a gold coin from the family naming their newborn thus. Politically speaking, the newborn would be condemned to Upper Parts of the country, whereby developing narcissistic feelings (read : Too proud to listen to anyone, caste being no barrier here) and erecting statues which will get razed down by the next govt. In fact, Karuna might impose a Mayawati tax on her family so as to generate 1000 cr for the exchequer by the time her Maya is cast! You still interested in finding out the score on the Tamizh scale ? If so, then you're surely Mayawati!

5. Jayalalitha -- Hmm, tough one here. What does Karuna do as the Tamizh scale cant make any shit out of this name ? He uses his veto powers and shuns the name, to be condemned to the Hall of Shame. Anyone crying foul play ? Dont blame the Tamizh Scale, it's apolitical and unbiased!

6. Sonia -- Uh oh! Surely a zero on the Tamizh scale and if Karuna were to strictly follow the recommendations, he would lose out on getting cabinet seats for Maran(which incidentally is the name of a coal block in MP!)

7. Dayanidhi Maran -- Now, dayanidhi is undoubtedly un-Tamizhish but due to Sanskrit mixing(Karuna calls it polluting) with Tam, it might get a 2. Maran ? I thought I mentioned a coal block above with MP origins. Sheesh-- score == Zero!

8. Stalin -- What's that ? Russian right ? All those poor people who voted for the Dont Marry Karunanidhi party to power and hoped that naming their newborns after the CM's son might get them luck are in for bad news. Oh, Friends, Tamizhians, Countrymen, Karuna denied you your rightful gold coin, but Karuna is a noble man. Unleash the dogs of war you idiots!

9. Kannimozhi -- Finally, something which scores above 8.5! Why ?
a) It has the letters 'zh' in it in succession
b) People who have lived outside the venerable Tamizhnathu dunno how to pronounce it properly (including my Geography teacher!)
c) She's Karuna's daughter! (this is not on the basis of the Tamizh scale but coz Karuna forced me into adding an extra 0.3564 points. Ah, if only I had the power!)

10. Seshagiri -- Hmm, this will get 6.5. Why ? It sounds perfectly Tam right and sounds similar to Karuna's son (remember Azhagiri ?)? But didnt you forget, the scores seem to get tampered every now and then by the powers that be. Did I ever mention how the TN supremo prefers upliftment of masses ? And the masses apparently dont have too many Tam Brahms (ob. They are sitting peacefully in Benguluru or US of A!) So to promote populist culture, the name doesnt score above 7.

So, what kind of names should the people of Tam land give to be entitled to the 'elusive gold coin' --

Any name scoring greater than 5 on the Tamizh Scale-- which implies the following :
a) end the name with 'an' or any of the endings suggested below
b) have a 'zh' in any part of the name
c) having 'giri' at the end of the name might help sometimes
d) having 'swamy' at the end of the name is better
e) having 'samy' or 'mani' at the end of it is even better
f) start the name with a tam word for anything. It doesnt matter; it should just be of Tam origins. So, even if you start the name with the tam word for 'bullshit', you are probably the lucky owner of a BIS un-certified gold coin!

So, if my parents had ever made the mistake of settling in TN and had I been born in this year and had my parents made an even bigger mistake of being lured by the 'Gawd of all schemes', I would have probably been named Raghavan (ya, Raghav is a more northy sounding name to the ears of Corona-nidhi!). Luckily, neither of the abovementioned took place and I'm living to tell a happy tale from my keyboard!

If anyone planning to live in TN and is interested in buying the 'Tamizh Scale' in the hopes that their child will shine bright (I say, it depends on the gold quality!), can reach me by mailing to : noqueriesentertained@tamizhscale.co.fu)

PS : All names involved here have no right whatsoever to sue me for using them as this post was intended for purely academic purposes!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quote of the Month

This is one of the statements which I heard, made by an employee of L & T, Powai where I'm currently interning.

My boss : Arre bhau, kasa aahes ? (Marathi for : How's life bro ? )Bahut din baad dikhe ho. Sab theek na ?

Employee : "Arre, mast hai. Peir theek ho gayen hai. Socha kabhi apna munh yahaan dikha doon. Waise LnT main kaam aur paisa kahaan hai saab. Isse achcha toh bagal ki Kali Maa ki Mandir ke trust ka President banke aur fayda utha raha hoon "

I had to control my laughter in front of my boss and escaped saying that I was going to get tea :)

My experiments with truth - Part I

Hmm, it was a good outing today at this place called Azzuri in Mumbai. 6 of our close gumbal from school decided to meet up as one of our friends was just going to graudate with a B.Com degree and he had decided to treat us. The chap has aspirations to become a CA and I wish him good luck in his endeavours.

As far as Azzuri's concerned : It's a place which serves alcohol and in good measures and is apparently pretty economical compared to other places they have visited. I stuck to my teetotaller image and had a cooler while the rest downed themselves in Tequila shots or Smrinoffs. The good part about the place : The papad! Aye, the rest - DJ/Music sys/Service pretty much sucks. Wonder how it was carried as a review article in one of Times' weeklies.

Well, why am I writing this post ? I certainly don't intend to describe a more-or-less trivial affair (barring the fact that I got to meet all of my buddies after a gap of 1 whole year!) . I came back home at 11 and prompt comes the question from Mom : "So, where did you go to eat ? " I was hesitant to answer coz my Dad knows about this place but decided to stick with the truth and told her. Then my Dad provides the spoiler "But dont they provide liquor there ?" And I replied "Aye, but they drank. I didnt" . Nothing whatsoever could convince them at first that I went into a place serving alcohol and didnt consume it. Thankfully, a bit of 'trust' prevailed and they agreed that their son has still stuck to the 'teetotaller' image.

This brings me to this very important question : Ever tried telling your parents (or any elder for that matter) that you went to a place serving alcohol/hookah and you didnt consume any ? I would love to know their responses, which I am safely assuming would be in the negative.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Word-dict is out ?

Hmm, so the world's gung-ho about the English language acquiring its millionth word. And India's "Jai Ho" about it, thanks to the media glitz and what not. Apart from all this paparazzi hype, I still dont get this fact, "Jai Ho" are TWO words, whose realization brings us to the pertinent question, which one of them is then in the race for the millionth one ? It certainly can't be 'Ho', coz it already exists, albeit with a different meaning compared to its Hindi counterpart. Therefore, by the above logic, it should be "Jai" which should probably be a strong contender for the race to come out trumps amongst others for the "Millionth" word.

But, keeping all the above views in mind, any non-rocket scientist can also tell us that "Jai" alone can't make it to the top ten contenders, leave alone top them, for obvious reasons. And it's ironic, that "Jai" can't come on top (ironic due to its Indian meaning). It's another irony that one of the "words" to be in contention for the millionth word in "English" is of Indian origin, which the Brits never quite understood completely, notwithstanding that anglicized accent. Oof! Not that they ever understood their Greek/Latin properly, but it must be accepted that they understood it much better than Hindi.

Another Indo-English/American stuff which the Indian media gloats over is stronghold of Indian-origin kids in the Scripps Spelling Bee competition. The Indian origin kids have produced 6 champions in the last 9 years. Wow ! Stunning fact right ? Well, not so stunning to me, considering that, my ideology has always remained that an avg. Indian is much smarter than an American, when it comes to memory recall while there are other issues where the Americans do beat us. A lot has got to do with the Education system, I suppose,but I'm not getting into that debate now. I'm not belittling the feats of these young achievers and I back them to the hilt to go miles in the future, and probably govern the USA in the near future( i.e. if the USA does exist after surviving potential threats from the Korean nukes!).

The whole essence of this post is to show that the Indian media has a tendency to highlight Indian achievements in a big way, but I think the real reckoning comes when an outsider does the same for us. It's all right to get a feel-good factor about being an Indian, but in some ways, it shows us the kind of insecurity we have as Indians to celebrate "Indians going global" news with glee only when such news is highlighted, while bemoaning the sorry state of the country for the rest of time. It's not that I value "The Sun" or "The NY Times" opinions greater than that of the TOI or The Hindu, but it's just boils down to this fact : Let the world speak about you rather than just you yourself. That is when we will pass the acid test for the global recognition of our abilities.

All said and done, I'm still proud to be an Indian and will be forever. Jai Hind! or should I say "Jai Ho!" ?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Batak to Matak ?

Ah, a long long time ago, in a Solar system not so far away lived a mortal named X. X's career desire/path kept fluctuating after he entered an institute called '-T'. .... blah, blah..at the end of 6 semesters in this '-T' college, he decides to write again. His sadistic desires were back at play. And forth came out of his keyboard.

Well, what a lazy sem it has been (in terms of acads/blogging). Enjoyed a better Saarang, mech courses didn't seem that painful (the exams on the other hand defied Newton's laws for handpower-required-to-complete-a-paper!!) and yes, a sem in which I saw the least no. of movies (that's irony, coz I was supposed to have more free time compared to my batchmates coz I had postponed one of my electives!)

Anyway, I'm back home for my first full vacation in the last 3 yrs and boy, I sure do wanna make the most of this opportunity! Home-grub is ossum as usual, life without lan and slower net seems a pain but yes, a welcome relief from the searing Chennai heat :)

I enter my matak year next sem with 7 core courses on my palate. Will hopefully be interning at a place where I want to and even more hopefully, will get paid for it. 6 sems have gone by in a whizz but nothing seems like a blur though. Vivid memories of what seem to have happened just a day back. But well, time flies like an arrow. Dunno why it could never fly like a boomerang though. 6th sem, was eventful for me, to say the least! Here's a version of sem 6 ,post Saarang 09, DD-IITM_v6.0.zip


Acads -- decent. Won't talk much as grades are coming out now. We shall discuss this in the extraaaaaa innnings sans Ms. Bedi, who I guess won't be interested in it as it doesn't feature any pulsating action or her chummy Yuvi baby.

Lit-Soc -- Ah, one of my most memorable ones. I didnt wanna write about it coz there's loads to write to do it justice. But well, here it goes. Jam finished 2nd in Lit-Soc, its best position in 18 yrs (earlier info of 12yrs by a former lit-sec turned out to be wrong! Ironymaxxx ). Well, our team managed to place in all Lit-Soc quizzes finals and that's a high in itself but yes, all-time highs would have been putting 48hrs fight for a inter-hostel creative writing entry and winning it by fair means while others had it all discussed out over 2 weeks on google-groups etc :) Unlike the results of a couple of group events which left a sour taste behind in this wonderful experience as the Soc-Sec of my hostel (yes, including the bumps I got! and of course, for ensuring that we got a hostel t-shirt this year at least after a barren wait of 4yrs !!)

Grub -- Tried out different cuisines in Chennai and wow, must say that they were excellent. That they were expensive is the downside, but when you are part of a treat who doesnt have to shell much except for the travelling part, I aint complaining.

Hostel-Night -- again, undoubtedly my best. Well. goofed it up while trying out the grub here, but everything else was more or less perfect. And yes, I once again resisted the temptation to get sloshed and instead, enjoyed the revelries of my other mates, who gave-in to the hydroxyl group :) Farewells bid to another illustrious batch of seniors and somehow, a sense of emotional void did creep in. Maybe, bonding with ppl for 3 yrs does make a diff.

I think the above 3 segments were what stood out in particular for me. The other highlights -->

1. "Indian coal contains 40% ash! " -- a statement I used to hear at least thrice in every 50 min of our Power Plant course. Obba, that's the only thing I remember distinctly about the course now :)

2. "Chachuration " -- another word etched in our minds, thanks to a certain Refrigeration prof, who also happens to be Chairman, Council of Wardens :( Trust me, if you pay proper attention in this prof's class for one half of the sem, you'll probably sail through the est of the course and also, your english will tend towards the rotten side. My writing will tell you how much attention I paid :)

3. Fiction -- Ah, if there's one person who should not be lectured about anti-feministic thoughts, it's my Fiction prof. And guess what, I happened to do the same for my presentation :( Ah, but then again, the course was appalling in the way she took it and somehow, it didn't satisfy my appetite except for the fact that I read a short story called "Dumma and Dummi" !

4. V-Day -- got bumped maajarly thanks to a prank, which was followed up on my hostel-nite. Got frust a bit, but still enjoyed the fact that people actually put fight to pain me. Well, some are not gifted to pain others on the spot :) V for Vendetta machan, so trust me, I solemnly swear I'm upto no good, when Sem 7 starts i.e.

5. W -- > or how close I came to getting one in each of my courses this sem. Would be surprised to find an attendance grade of 'G' in any course, barring my labs!

6. Elections -- closest I came to following an election, thanks to 4 of my good friends battling it out for the top posts. 3 won, but 1 lost. Got to see the true side of people's faces during this time and yeah, a rich experience as put by one of my friends "Haarne ke baad bahut kuch ssekha yaar!"

7. "JoJo ki maa ka " -- a quote which shall be immortalized in the annals of Jam history. Reason : the guy who made this statement is JoJo' elder sibling. Talk of foot in the mouth! Well, both the bros are Arse-nal fans, so can't expect anything better than this.


That's more like my sem, barring our 2nd round exit in Cricket Schroeter, where I swear, I would have bumped my Captain had the team supported me in holding him!

Post sem trips :

a) I attended a religious ceremony in Trichy in the first week of May. Mercury levels read : 41 degrees. Add to the misery : There are 4 LCD panels telecasting the ceremony, but just 2 standee fans for a gathering of 300 odd junta !! Preposterous. It was a good thing that as per religious norms, the menfolk needed to wear just the traditional dhoti and had to stay topless (aye, naked torsos floating around!), so we didn't have to strip to bear the heat. Just had to carry the extra towel to wipe your brow and back from time-to-time. A few other things of note included a conversation, which I happened to accidentally eavesdrop :

Note :A= Aunty == Maami = M, in Tam slang. The words in brackets are the translated versions of the tam dialogues (I've included Tam for the few readers who could probably relish it that way)

A1 : Maami, ongu pennu ka kalyaanam aidthaa ? ( Aunty, is your daughter married ? )
M1 : Illaiye, ippodhaan jadhagum patindu irrakom ( No, just going through exchange of kundalis and all)

A1: Oh, ho. Seshadri angeyu orru payyan paati vechirukkan. Avantu pesulama ? (Seshadri there, knows a boy eligible for marriage. Should we speak to him ?)
M1 : paakulamein. Engayi irrakan payyan ? ( sure. Where's the boy ? )

And now's the twist. I can hear this although I dunno who these ppl are and I know they are pointing somewhere coz their dialogue had stopped momentarily. Next moment, I get a tap on my shoulder asking me :

A1 : Onnoru peir inna pa ? (What's your name son ?)
Me : Raghav. Yen (Raghav. Why ?) .. at the back of my mind, this voice seems very familiar for some reason.

A1 : Inna padchirkai ? (Educational qualification ?)
Me : IIT Madras la Mechanical padchinda irrakein. ippo 3drd...

She cuts me short and speaks to M1 : Nalla padchirkaanein, IIT aachey (Has studied brilliantly, IIT boy na!)
M1 : Aaama, jadhugam shikrama paakalam (yaya, let's exchange kundalis fast then)

I sensed something wrong here and interrupted : Maami, na 3rd yr leda irrukein. Inno mudiyalei (I'm still in 3rd yr, not yet done!)

And as providence would have it, the guy named Seshadri and takes the embarassed aunties to the "right" guy ! Phew... This was also a pt which irritated me. I mean you come to a religious ceremony and end up gossiping or discussing marriages!!. Cant you do that at homes, at your leisure, under fans and not in this heat, where I had half a mind to go back unless my parents hadnt insisted I come tehre? And these are the same people dictating the orthodox stuff I'm supposed to follow in life. So much for their devotion and all that crap.. Hypocritemax !!!

b) Venue : Aircel shop, Mumbai --> I was on the hunt for a sim/network which would fit my tariff range and I decided to visit this Aircel priority store, which I presumed would give me a better offer. And when I enter, I see a hot chick there, in her minis with a pom-pom, ala an IPL cheerleader girl. Baffled by her presence, I continue with my necessary checking out rates, was happy , bought their SIM and was about to leave, when one of the promoters asks me to play this computer game simulating me as a CSK player in the IPL. I play it only to realize the purpose of the "cheerleader". She started doing all the wiggly-niggly actions made by the actual cheergirls in IPL whenever I hit a boundary on the computerized game!!!! WTF^3.. I thought I had seen enough crap, and now this incident adds to my list of stuff-which-no-one-can-argue-about,-but-can-be-assumed-to-be-stupid all the same.


More later. Sayonara. (IPL has caught my attention again while typing, not the cheerleaders though!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Somewhere between 42 and infinity, lies the power of my creativity !

The following was my entry for a Poetry writing part of Creative Writing during Saarang, 09 ( It's slisha longish but please have the patience to read it till the end, as I think it's not that bad; the results of Creative writing might not indicate the same !)


The Man who knew infinity,
Didnt know his divinity,
Until he met the astrologer,
Who said he could read his future.

The astrologer said to our Man,
You are gifted by a boon from Pan
Which you received in your previous birth
And is the reason that you bear such a huge girth !

Said our Man to the astrologer,
What is this boon you talk about from a Greek character
That I never encounter in the papers I publish,
Or are you back to your ways of speaking gibberish ?

The astrologer replied,
Ignoring the Man’s snide,
You could be more famous and enjoy thy romance,
I shall not tell forth until you pay my advance

The Man had no option but to cough up the cash
'Coz he loved listening to such flattery and trash,
After all, when one knows about infinity,
You needn’t worry about 42 or its complexity !

The key to success lies in your path,
Thus replied the miniscule psychopath,
The only thing which blocks you,
Is the birth date which mocks you !

How can it mock me,
When that’s what defines what you see
Unless it’s another stale line from your "Period of lunacy",
Hurry up, or I shall take back your fee !

This is the latest discovery my son,
In numerology, since the forecast of World War One,
You needn’t change the spelling of your name,
To end up gaining Sonu Niigaam’s fame !

A simple combination of digits can twist your fate,
Which you could ensure you a night with Ms. Winslet,Kate,
About whom you fantasize while sleeping in bed,
But alas ! your birthdate seems to deem the signal red !

The Man was impatient to know more,
For he now found this interesting to the core,
And for those who found this poem to be a bore,
I will honestly kick thy butt if you read no more !

Oh, divine messenger!
I didn’t know my life was ruled by a number,
Please do anything you can,
As I’m Ms. Winslet’s biggest fan !

The astrologer went into a trance,
Or so it seemed at first glance,
"How do I get the most from this impotent faggot?",
Was actually the aim of his wicked plot !

He suggested that our Man add four
To his existing birthdate,
Which would allow him to implore,
The finer intricacies of fate !

Unknowingly when he did it then,
His destiny changed drastically,
To counter which, the astrologer told to add another seven,
To his birth month to counter this anomaly.

By the end of this exercise,
Which lasted fifteen minutes and seconds thirteen,
The astrologer couldn’t be more precise,
When he said “Now you are as young as a teen !”

The Man was eager to test this update,
And knocked on Winslet’s entry gate,
Only to see her come out with a pink nightcap
And deliver on his face,one tight slap !

A costly lesson it turned out to be,
Which also ended his forecasted ‘romance’
He understood then that "Love by Numbers" wasn't so easy,
And was nothing but purely a matter of chance !

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Motorcycle Diaries ?

What is this life if full of care, If we don’t have time to stand and stare,
For trips like these to Pondy, are oh, so very rare,
With 3 bikes and a scooty, one didn’t know whom to pair,
Until I tried the wheelie, raring others to dare !

We knew not what may befall,
Nor how may the trip stall,
But we knew that we had the gall,
To face anything but the ‘dreaded’ parents’ call !

Woken up at five in the morning,
I wished my cell-phone wouldn’t ring,
For I knew the trip ahead was gonna be tiring,
But who cares, it was very well satisfying !

The above poem, was in short, a description of a memorable trip to Pondicherry ( or should I say, Puducherry ? Never mind, I’m the author, and I have the rights to use what I want  ). But the painful chap that I am, I’ve never left things to be as short as they could be, and following the same rule of thumb, I shall delve deeper into the ‘trip’ that was.

But allow me to put a little bit fart/fact before that..Why ? Coz I am writing this and well, I wanted to put it down.

Shaastra – An ISO certified technical festival, planned and organized over 6 months of hard work, by the students of IIT Madras, valued at upwards of Rs. 1 crore !

Pondy Trip – An idea which struck someone for a vague reason, who thereby put Pressure to initiate things; was “organized” within a span of about 50 hrs, by the students of IIT Madras; Priceless in value ! (Well actually, the total expenditure is not yet summed up :P )

It all started when I received an sms saying “ Are you in for Pondy tomorrow morning ? “, while I was busy trying to get a dribbler in shape using polyurethane, which was rigid-ized using liquid Nitrogen ! From there onwards, the things moving in my head were all about how we would go, when do we start and come back, do we have enough Plan B’s to ensure that we go and come back safely,etc.

The night was spent in scouring for enough bikes so that the trip could actually proceed well but all the while I had this premonition that something was bound to go wrong. Not that I’m a pessimist, but my premonitions have never been wrong so far, be it exam results or Rahul Dravid’s innings..I was given a rude shock when someone told me that we have to start at 5 in the morning ! This was actually terrifying coz it would be freaking cold at that time, and it was just 9 hrs before 5am next day, that I was informed about this. I knew then and there, that my sleep was gonna be ruined. And needless to say, I crashed at 2:00 ( and so did more than half the ‘trippers’, if I could call them ).

My premonition’s first part came true as soon as I woke up.. a ‘confirmed’ bike was not the case now! What do we do : Go to an IIT alumnus’ place who’s willing to rent us his TVS Victor at 8 in the morning ( oh, our plans got derailed is another part of the premonition, but trivial compared to the others). The bike did give me the heeby-jeebies for I was certain that something wrong is gonna happen with this bike, which was proved to be true later in the day.

And so, our trio on two bikes reach the insti, where we realize our other trippers are done with their breakfast, while we were left to start off the trip on a hungry note ! What’s worse, they had even rummaged into our backpacks which we had entrusted in their care ( which I got to know just a few hours before typing this down !) A pity, that I never thought about it, but luckily, there weren’t any embarrassing stuff inside, so no problem..We finally started off at around 9, along the ECR ( East Coast Road, in short), which is a marvellous stretch of highway to ride/drive on. An unexpected stop at an Ostrich farm owned by the uncle of one of our fellow trippers also provided the necessary break in the morning to gear up for the events to follow. A pity for the ostriches, that they weren’t allowed to eat choco-biscuits..Sad life, seriously ! But I wouldn’t mind as I was hungry, and w.r.t. biscuits, the more the merrier.

While starting off, our ‘Bike+Sunscreen-Fundaes-Man’ asks us to use generous amounts of sunscreen lotion, which as per his demonstration seemed like ‘Shampoo-ing’ our arms or any other part of our body visible to the sun. Now, who was to know that our Victor had encountered a tyre burst amidst all the action and off we went to the nearest mechanic shop, a good 1.5 km away from the farm. Here, we split up into two sets of two pairs ; one set, went on driving as though there was no end and ended up soon in the beautiful place that is Mahabs..and the other, as expected, was doomed to find shade near the mechanic shop ! After putting enough tam fundaes, the bike was ready to explore the roads, although with one catch : It had quantum speed-shifts, moving at either 0,40 or 80kmph ! Wow, a motorcyclist’s work was never so easy ! As we went further, we realized that the brakes too were dysfunctional ...My, oh my, were we even gonna make it to Pondy ?

Now, all fixed and done, we start off where we suddenly face the “Who shall ride the motorcycle(s) and scooty problem ? “ coz the person riding the scooty had mixed ‘Emotions’ on whether to continue or not. Here comes my ‘pivotal’ role into the picture...I start the bike,{ after having been a pillion rider for a while now, to help out the ‘pressur(e)-ised’ guy with Tam fundaes in mechanic shops } and put a wheelie for 0.3 seconds and the rest,..well I don’t remember what followed ..I mean my memory auto-erased the boring part of the story and asked me to continue forward. I realized then that one man’s stunt, is another man’s ‘Poison’ ( :-P, I know I’m trying to convert my stupid act into a brave heroic, but then, I’m the author :P ) and I was condemned to driving the Scooty ! Ah, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me, as my pillion rider then pained me enough to let me get off and take the back seat and enjoy the beautiful scenery around, instead of tiring my hands  So somehow, we finally reached Pondy, and what better than doing a bit of peit-pooja, after all we needed a bit of food for thought to grasp the pretty vague and winding directions provided to us by the locals, with their accent being an eclectic mix of Tam coupled with the soft Francais ! Oui, ze languaze waz a beet of a problaim ..Lunch was more or less decent, where the highlight, if I could call it, was a fork-fight for French-fries where the person who actually had it in the end, never did enjoy the last laugh.

Freshened up, and raring to go, we wanted to see the Paradise we had dreamt of, but alas, it turned out to be an island and we missed the last ferry, by a few minutes ! Damn, starting off late was now showing its effects but since we had decided to have fun, there was the Sand beach which enticed us through a winding route. So finally, we were on the beach where TP was the theme of those couple of hours; being it zipping close one of the Event C(h)ores of Shaastra and enjoying the sadistic pleasure of him trying to come out of it like a caterpillar out of its cocoon or be it collecting sea-shells of different kinds or be it making a castle out of the sand ( which was really soft, cant deny admiring it) and attempting to break it down, but only being scared away by the law-suit for attempt to destroy property ( read : being hit by sand-balls, which crumbled halfway through their motion and thereby dirtying your already wet jeans !) or trying to figure out a route to this Paradise, only to be kicked out by the coast-guard when you had wet your pants already ( erm, the last part refers to just 2 members of the group, and I was certainly not one of them, for those who had raised eyebrows !! ) or be it just relaxing yourselves at the beach, with the waves kissing your feet tempting you to go deeper..Once again, time was a limiting factor here, and we had to bid adieu to this wonderful beach, but now, things just don’t move as smoothly as you think, do they ? We lost a key to one of the bikes, but then as they say, when one door closes, another opens ! Luckily, the Victor’s fuel tank key opened up the Yamaha, whose key was lost and we were saved the pains of pushing the bike till the main road ! We echoed together, “Everything happens for the good ! “

And then, began our final sojourn to our home that is insti. And if there’s any word which would describe this drive, it would be ‘COLD’ ! I was lucky driving the Scooty as it wouldn’t be allowed to rev up above 50kmph, thanks to its owner’s instructions, but then again, it was a trade-off for the time taken to come back. In between, I got a call from my mom, and luckily this happened when we had all stopped by a tea-shop, thus giving me time to think and convince her about my ‘safe’ journey..From here started my 100km ride, with just 1 pit-stop in between ( thanks to the cold, which was increasing with the passage of time and my pillion rider, dozing off every second minute ! ) while others, thanks to their bikes’ speeds, were having cold feet much before I did (pun intended :P ), and had to make several more stops. Finally, after making it to insti, and faking an arbit address to the security section, we had reached! The trip was worth it after all, despite the niggles and pains, felt on the return journey. But then, as I would put it “ Pains last for a day; the memories, a lifetime ! “

A few pointers to be noted from the trip ( a habit I picked up after getting pained while going to Big Bazaar and their likes, for what NOT to do and save time, and head back home at the earliest rather than waste time looking out for things which have offers, but are of no fruitful use to the family !) :

1. Spontaneity is the essence of anything related to fun, but it’s always better to plan a bit in advance. It’s ironic, that I never follow this well, but then, I know I’m a hypocrite :)
2. Coconut-water is never sweet all the time..there do exist ones which taste salty, and this is NOT coz of their proximity to the sea ( as explained by one of our trippers, who hails from God’s own land..Ironymax, I know ! )
3. Carry sunscreen ( thanks to our FSAE man for that :P ) and carry a good enough cam, after all “Pictures do speak a thousand words” and you wouldn’t want to have very few memories of such memorable trips, would you ?
4. Don’t lose hope ! I know that “ Jab kismat hai gandu, toh kya karega Pandu ? “ (thanks to Shiny for that quote !), but still Hope does set us free !
5. Do not attempt to start off in top-gear when you haven’t touched a bike for as long as 4 yrs ! You could end up doing a wheelie, and be proud of it, but an afterthought would tell you that you were lucky enough to escape unhurt !
6. Carry a set of trousers and wind-cheaters/full shirts if you feel you might return in the night; if possible, even gloves. This ‘cold’ experience was sure enough an eye opener..
7. Last, but not the least, enjoy the scenic beauty during the trip..Let your beautiful memories not be a blur, especially when the starry sky , the ‘yellow’ moon and its reflection on the rivers passing by are a delight to watch ! ( It also explains the first line of the poem, but the fact that it’s one of my favourite poetic lines could also be a factor for its inclusion :) )

I’ll stop here, I guess, as “Too much gyaan, spoils the blog ! “

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Do a choppy rider rotation ?

The title is an anagram of " A Road Trip to Pondicherry "..and is self referential to how the trip went as far as the riders and the pillion riders were concerned.

Will post soon about the trip as soon as my hands become normal enough to type a post longer than this :) ( a sudden excursion to a place 150 km far does take its toll, I guess !) They are quite normal right now, but I'm lazy :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

The longest call of Someone's Life !

This is dedicated to the poor "salesman" from ABN-Amro Bank, who tried to sell my dad a medical insurance scheme,over phone, via an STD call from Bangalore, which apparently took care of all his family members' thyroid related illnesses, if any were to arise. It's not coz of the pity that I'm typing this down ( I'm known to be merciless, unless I make an exception), but due to a similar painful feeling endured over last summer..

Key :

Salesman from ABN : S
My Dad : M

Salesman's manager : C

S calls up at 1 in the afti on one fine day. My dad aint at home and I pick up only to tell him about it. I ask him to call back after half-hour when he was expected back home, and surprisingly, he follows it up diligently. Once again, to his disappointment, M aint there and I ask him to call up at 2:30pm..which he does again, and to his relief, M is available at home. I know I have a firecracker in hand when I see one, and I felt this was going to be another as here was a salesman, willing to make STD calls to get hold of a client and knowing my father, who knew such stuff due to his professional experience, I thought the man was going to have a tough debut ( as was to be known later in the dialogue that followed, that my dad's no. was the first in his list of assigned work !)...

Here's what transpired :

S : Good afternoon, Mr. M.

M : Good afternoon, yes.

S: Sir, I'm calling from..blah..blah..We're pleased to inform you that you are being offered an excellent insurance scheme called "Thyrocare" from our bank as we value you as our customer..blah,blah ( he goes on without even allowing M to speak a word until he was stopped by..)

M : One sec, one sec..could you repeat the name of the scheme again ?

S : Er..sir, (a sound of flipping through pages :P)..Thyrocare !

M : Ah, ok..and who's offering this scheme ?

S : ABN Amro bank sir..

M : No, No..I meant who's insurance scheme is ABN offering ?

S : Er..It's Reliance Health sir..

M : Well, what all benefits are my family entitled to..if I'm not mistaken, you said my family can enjoy the benefits too as well..

S : No, sir..I never said that Sir..

M : oh no, you did..

S : ( flips through pages again..) Oh yes sir..I'm sorry, even your family can enjoy the benefits..

M : Ah, ok and if I have to blah, blah.. ( he started with one of the many permutations and combinations he could come up with..)

S : Yes sir..yes sir..I guess yes sir..No sir, not that way..( and a series of similar dialogues with just the set of words being interchanged as per his increment in confusion levels due to the level of complexities my father drew him into.. I'm pretty sure he wouldnt have expected such a Chakravyuh in his first prospective-client-call itself..surely must have cursed his boss, and in all likelihood M as well :P )

M : Um, well..your benefits in a quantitative fashion seem ok, but can you elucidate on the actual tests that will take place..you mentioned 57 tests and I'm pretty sure, so many tests can't take place in a day..and I thought there were just 6-7 tests..

S : Sir, these 57 tests are actually sub-units of the major tests..

M : And what are these major tests, may I know ?

S : ( bulbs maajarly)..erm, er..I'll just get my manager on line.. I think he can help you out on this as I'm not too sure Sir...

< and the whole set of conversation above itself was 30 min deep..

M : Ok, please do so...

C : How may I help you, Sir ?

M : I was told of this scheme caled ..blah, blah..I want to knwo about teh exact tests which are conducted ?

C : blahblah, blah..blahblah...( and M's listening to all the gibberish he's telling over the line..btw, I had asked M to continue the convo in loudspeaker mode..so that I could have my share of sadistic fun :P )

M : Fine, but you seem to offer just 2-3 tests actually which are of use to me..what about the following ? blahblah..blahblah ( I never knew M knew so much about med stuff ! )

C : ( bulbs for a while )..er, actually they total upto about 57 sir..

M : agreed, but what about the rest I asked for ?...

C : urm, let me check up about them sir.. ( and conveniently escapes from the scene :P )

M : Ok, please make it faster..

S : Urm sir, so will you take up the insurance then..
M : Well, get back to me with set of tests first, please..

S : Erm, yes sir.. ( prays for his manager to come back with the vital data..)

..C has escaped completely from the scene..and S tries to fake some stuff..

S : Sir, these are the final list of tests on offer..blahblah..

M : Ok, that seems fair enough to me..

S : So will you take up the insurance sir..I've the papers ready right now, and canI have your address please ? ( he was evidently ion a hury to close this deal..already 40 min were up, and he was getting nervous from his tone)

M : Oh come on, how can I say yes so easily..I'll have to consult my family about this..gimme 2 days time, I think we can talk then..

S : but sir, you know the details well right ?

M : why dont you email me the details coz I feel, even my family members should not know the details..and written data would be better than hearsay right ?..plz mail me on..

S : but si, why dont you accept this..I'll mail you soon..

M : Please dont hurry up Mr. S..as I told you erlier, I need time.. I cant make a decision just from 1 call..

S : ( Puts up a very senti speech on how this was his first call, and how much he hoped to clinch this deal..for his mercy, I wont print the details..it's anothe fact that I dont exctly rem the words except the theme of his speech :P )

M : ( starts of on a profit-and-loss part of the scheme in which if his family members dont use one part of his, he would be losing Rs. X k of money, and so on and so forth..)

S : Sir, but this is a very good scheme sir, and for your benefit that we are offering..

M : Look Mr. S, it's related to my health and I cant take a decision so soon..please mail me the details, we shall talk later...

S : But Sir, why cant you just say yes, when you are convinced about it ? ( his tone was getting a bit impatient her, and I'm pretty sure, had M been in front of him, he would have bashed him up with his chair ! )

M : I cant. am sorry..not now, at least..

S : Sir, never has anyone asked me so many questions as well sir.. I thought you were going to say yes ( obviously trying to repair the damage inflicted by his first set of words.:P )

M : As a client, I'm supposed to ask questions and you're supposed to answer them..Please dont think this job of yours is easy..this is a part and parcel of the process..you should allow us our rightful time..

S : ok, sir.I shall call you day-after-tomorrow then..( sounding impatient to cut a call effot gone in vain)

M : and the e-mail ?

S : I shall do that also Sir..

M : thank you for your information, Mr. S..

S cuts the call abruptly.. M gives me the triumphant smile that one would give after a lawyer has won a case ! This whole talk lasted about 50 min !! that too on STD :P

No e-mail was received by M from S nor did S call back after 48hrs..that was the last of him..at least I hope so :)