Saturday, December 31, 2005

Three months and thirteen days

To stretch luxuriantly, all alone, over a double bed.

To ride my bike like a maniac through the familiar potholed streets.

To raid a well stocked refrigerator at 3 in the morning.

To be fed all my favourite dishes.

To laugh with old friends over a lingering drink.

To sleep 14 hours at a stretch, and not feel guilty about it.

To know that, in a few hours, I will once again see the waves rippling onto the beach.

To have time to put up this post.

To work on a Hindu crossword for the first time in ages.

To have someone to cuddle up to when I'm cold.

To begin clearing the first of 467 unread emails and 104 unseen Orkut scraps.

To call up classmates from IIMA, and realise I miss them already.

To spend 40 minutes in the loo with a good book, and not worry about missing a class.

To watch the happiness on my parents' faces as I show them pictures of my life over the last three months.

To be back home.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Absence does make the heart grow fonder

I'm typing out this blogpost from home. In Chennai. I've been home about 30 hours now, and I realise how much I missed the people and places I had taken for granted earlier.

I zip around in the chaotic Chennai traffic with careful recklessness, feeling a strange sense of liberation as I feel my car leaping down East Coast Road (which, for the uninformed, connects Chennai to Pondicherry) under the touch of my feet on the accelerator. I trade colourful abuse with an irate autodriver, doing it with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. I shake my head wonderingly at the sight of a potbellied policeman harassing a harmless urchin even as a PTC bus driver roars past the junction in blatant defiance of traffic laws. I sit on the beach, curling my toes in the crunchy sand and watching the timeless waves rising and ebbing, rising and ebbing, rising and ebbing...

It feels great to be back home, to catch up with old friends and see they haven't changed at all. To go to all my usual hangouts and relive memories of what were, in many cases, happier times. To learn of the problems, triumphs, romances, expectations, plans and adventures of all those who matter to me. To call up and rebond with friends who have left for foreign lands, pursuing dreams vastly different from mine. To test the strength of my emotions and relationships, even though its only been 11 weeks.

So much to do, so many people to meet, so many places to go, so much emotional baggage. I'm loving it. (Copyright, McDonalds')

But I also find myself, very strangely, missing IIMA. Already. So much so that I call up my classmates all over the country, just to ask them what's up. To hear their voices and feel the warm emotions that course through me as we both realise it's simply awesome to hear one another's voices again.

I think back over the last term at IIMA, supposedly the toughest grind one is likely to go through in one's two years at IIMA, perhaps through most of one's life. And I realise that what stands out, the memories that stick, are not of getting an F grade in a quiz, staying up several nights to complete assignments, long fruitless hours hammering away at a MANAC case where the accounts refuse to balance, crying in frustration over the workload, angering the Professor by sleeping in class, pages and pages of course material to cover overnight, desperate last minute rems from the acad studs in my class, being repeatedly told that we have to mug and mug and mug or else we will lose out in the race...

Nope, the images imprinted in my mind are of Antakshari at CT (Cafe TANSTAAFL) at 3 a.m., eating ice cream all alone at LKP (Louis Kahn Plaza) at night, sixty people shouting 'Aala Re Aala' as one, dancing in public and forgetting all the steps, walking around campus barefoot and in a dhoti/veshti (Why? All will be explained over the next few posts...), people sleeping on the desks in the classroom with a half coloured T-Nite banner as a sheet, chilling out with friends during power cuts, jiggying to arbit Punjabi songs (even in the presence of a Prof!), smiling understandingly at those who stare at me when I eat with my hands, celebrating birthdays with bumps followed by a mad dash for cake, discussing life with close friends until 5 in the morning, the entire class dressing up in formals just for the heck of it, tempo shouting till I lose my voice, surprising a half naked Oka in his room with a GUSSHOW and embarassing the two girls who were part of the group, putting up arbit replies to arbit responses to arbit posts on the Section NB in DBabble, cracking the most atrocious of PJs at the worst times possible...

Opening up to people and realizing that I need a shoulder to cry on just as much as the next person, sharing and caring like I never have before, getting used to the fact that I instinctively call my dorm room 'home', making friends and building relationships that really matter and that I hope will last all my life.

I love Chennai. I love IIMA.

Friday, September 02, 2005

At Long Last!

Yup, long time. Over a month since my last post. The cry goes around town: Where the @#$% is AC? In Suze's words, did I "die/fall under a truck/get caught in a natural disaster/faint??!?!?" (Of course, the context was different but the general underlying emotions are the same.) I've got loads of mails abusing me for not posting anything for so long, thereby depriving my working friends of another avenue to waste the free Intenet time they're offered at work (obscenity filters rule out other forms of entertainment, you see). I must thank you all, it makes me feel so loved... and thus I'm back after a little hiatus...

So the next logical question (yes, this blog does have some logic) to ask would be - so where the hell was I? What was I doing? What kept me away from my blog for so long? In no particular order indicative of anything at all, I have spent the last 35-odd days:

1. Sleeping in my room
2. Sleeping in my friends' rooms
3. Sleeping through group meetings
4. Sleeping in class
5. Writing a whole series of painful exams (our midterms, and a coupla quizzes)
6. Playing the occasional game of footer
7. Participating in T-Nite!

The first four are rather self-explanatory. The fifth - the MidTerms - is a periodic ritual that every student must endure at some point or the other. It's the most cruel, shocking and disturbing way to expose several things you had a sneaky suspicion about but weren't willing to investigate or admit. Examples being:

1. You haven't read half the cases in the material for the course. EVERYBODY else has, in addition to poring through thick reference books and high-funda websites.
2. What you thought was merely an insignificant appendix to the core chapter turns out to be the only paragraphs of any consequence in the textbook.
3. Scratching one's cheek with a pen, however assiduously the act may be performed, does not give any insight into an HR case.
4. You are presented with a surprisingly easy paper. Initially, you're pleased you've scored 22.5 out of 25. And then you realise 40% of the class has scored more.
5. Teaching/Research Associates can be astonishingly stubborn when facing a student grovelling for a hike in grades from C+ to B-.
6. Inky-pinky-ponky does not work with Multiple Choice Questions in Economic Analysis.

And quizzes... don't get me started. IIMA thrives on scaring the living daylights out of facchas by springing surprise quizzes on them after the last class of the day. Picture the plight of someone who woke up late and thus rushed to class with nothing in him but last night's dinner and, if he's lucky, a banana. He struggles through 4 hours of classes, propping his eyelids up with toothpicks if necessary. Come 1:10 p.m., he heaves a sigh of relief and conjures up images of him tucking into a hearty lunch of roti, rice, multiple curries, the works. Just then, the news filters through... QUIZ! He breaks down and begins blubbing all over his desk, his dreams of an afternoon of a leisurely meal and siesta shattered.

A little explanation is required here. When I say 'quiz', I don't mean the Landmark/KBC types. I mean an exercise in academic demoralization and panic that is conducted from 2:30 p.m. onwards on any working day the PGP Office picks. In fact, I can clearly picture the chap in the Office who schedules quizzes leaning back in a comfy chair with his feet up in the air, holding a large number of darts. Which he then proceeds to throw at the weekly faccha schedule 5 feet away. Given the high ratio of darts to days, and the years of practice he's had, he's bound to hit atleast 4 a week. Which means, for us beleagueared victims, an hour of frantic shit-when-did-he-teach-all-this, Rem-Balaji-Rem!, hunting for calculators, desperate prayers and, on occasion, skipped lunches.

But on to more pleasant topics... like footer! That's football/soccer, by the way, and after an excruciating gap of two years, I finally got my rear end back onto a footer field. Which was just as well, coz it had been ages since I had indulged in any activity that could remotely be considered exercise. And it felt gooood. My thigh and back ached like hell for the next two days, but it was well worth it. And then we went on to win the inter-section footer tourney, amidst a blaze of glory, a flurry of missed shots, energetic drum beats and a nail-biter of a penalty shootout. Awesome fun, and one hell of a welcome break from the rigours of everyday academic pressure...

Speaking of which, it's very interesting to note how my morning schedule has changed since the time I entered the leafy and run-your-ass-off environs of IIMA. Here's what I mean.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Wake up at 0720 to the polite beeping of the alarm clock. Have a good bath, comb my hair, fold my dirty clothes into a neat pile, pick up my bag (already packed with the required books the previous night), lock my door and push off the mess, ambling along peacefully, savouring the fresh morning air...

A leisurely breakfast with friends at 0800, laughing and chatting over an impressive spread of omlettes, bread, dosas, a banana, cornflakes and piping hot coffee. Leave the mess at 0830, and head to the classrooms.

Enter the classroom at 0840, only to find 60% of the class already present. The rest trickle in by 0850. Review my notes and go over the key points again. Classes begin at 0900.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wake up at 0815, after having hit the 'Snooze' button on the insistent alarm clock seven times. Have a rushed bath (perhaps just a quick wash of the upper body), chuck the dirty clothes in the approximate direction of the laundry bag, wear fresh clothes decided upon the previous night, throw books and papers into the bag, run to the mess.

Grab a quick bowl of cornflakes and an omlette. Maybe a sandwich, if I'm feeling adventurous. A glass of cold milk to wash it down. Rush out of the mess at 0850, and head to the classrooms.

Enter the classroom at 0855, and find 40% of the class present. The next 3 minutes see all the others troop in. Try to remember a few arbit points and catch a few winks before the classes begin at 0900.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Wake up at 0840, after 4 phone calls from concerned friends. I am, by now, absolutely immune to the banshee wails of my alarm clock. Then a tough (managerial?) decision - a. bath, b. breakfast, or c. none? Usually something between options b and c.

Wash my face to ensure that I don't look too sleepy. Change T-shirt if I can find a clean one lying around on the bed or under the papers. Grab my bag praying all the books are in it, and run like mad to the mess.

Head straight for the coffee, help myself to one hot glassful of essential caffiene (essential in that it helps me avoid sleeping through all 70 minutes of the lecture; my average now stands at 54 minutes). Grab a banana and head out the door at a brisk jog. Time: 0855

Enter the classroom at 0858, and find just 15% of the students in the room. Miraculously, all the seats are filled by 08:59:59. Ask my neighbour what class we have, and settle in for a little snooze until the class begins at 0900.

I notice I mentioned T-Nite on the list of stuff that has kept me away from you, dear, respected, patient and well-beloved reader. It's the single most incredible and life-changing event any student in IIMA can experience across the two years he toils here. It totally changes your perception of life! But considering the fact that it happened over two/three weeks ago, I'm sure you've read all about it already. In any case, I'll give you my two cents in my next post. That, and sundry other stories about G-14 (excited whispers across the galleries: "What's that?" "Sounds exciting!" "Is it a new type of missile?" "A new political formation!" "Mommy, can I go to the loo?"), campus romances, WIMWI learnings, adventures in the uncharted territory of the bathroom and more, coming soon to a browser near you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

D0604: National Park

He watched her through narrow eyes, judging when she would be close enough to be taken... She moved closer to him, then further, and then closer again, dancing to some unheard cosmic rhythm. She flirted and teased, flitting about just beyond his reach, taunting him to take her... He would wait. He knew his chance would come. When the trance-like movements ended, he knew he would have her. Only a slight shifting of his lithe body indicated his rising excitement... Blissfully unaware of his heightened senses and the small crowd watching the silent battle, she drew just a little closer. Too close. One quick snap of the jaws and two gulps later, he had had his fill...

I watched, fascinated, as a huge lizard ate an enormous moth just outside my room. I'm getting to watch a lot of this sort of live Discovery Channel stuff in my dorm over the last month or so. Even as I'm typing this, my eyes intermittently stray to a weird bug doing what appears to be a figure of eight on my Human Resources Management textbook (Which means it's touched it more in the past week than I have.) This insect seems to have a shiny black back speckled with bright green spots. It seems beetle-ish, though given the depth of my knowledge of natural history, you'd be well advised to bet against me on that one. Elsewhere, a grasshoppery crickety insect is performing a pirouette on my wallet. Yonder, a mini-cockroachish one is scrabbling up a wall in a desperate attempt to prove Newton wrong, watched interestedly by a dark brown spider.

There are so many more lifeforms... mosquitoes with weird stripes on their backs (anti-malarial tablets every week), brilliantly coloured birds, brightly hued butterflies, all manner and sorts of six-, eight-, twenty four- and one hundred-legged insects, a frog (that seemed even more surprised to find itself on my balcony than I was to find it there). Throw in the stray cats and dogs, with peacocks crying in the background, and the only things missing are a coupla big cats and a stall to collect entry fees.

All this is probably due to the heavy rains we had about two or three weeks back, which swamped large parts of the campus. Here's LKP before and after.

Anyways, I don't mind insects at all, they give me company during long nights spent cursing the chap who developed accounting standards. And when I'm not listening to arbit Tamil, Hindi, English and Telugu songs (in that order), their chirping and trilling and fluttering forms a very pleasant background score...

But my love for all insect forms nosedived last week because of a traumatic experience...

I gave my jeans, which were in desperate need of a good hard scrub, to the dhobi who serves my dorm. He usually does a reasonably decent job on my clothes, and I only thought twice before entrusting my beloved denims to his care.

"Kab milega?" I asked him, still clutching the jeans, unwilling to be parted from them.
"Sirf do din, saab," he said.
"Pukka milega saab."
"Theek hai, iska khayal rakhna...," I said, giving it a final farewell pat.

Somewhat buoyed by the thought that I would be jeansless for just two days, I returned to what turned out to be a rather productive session of Operations Management.

As expected, he brought back my clothes eight days later. I fell upon my jeans like a starving wolf of the steppes falling upon a plump villager who had been on a month-long holiday. A couple of loving caresses later, I placed it on my bed, ready to wear it to class the next morning...

My class starts at nine. I woke up at eight thirty cursing all and sundry, had a half-hearted bath, crammed my books into my bag, pulled on my jeans, locked my door and rushed off to the mess. Halfway there, however, I felt a strange sensation in my pants. A... scratchy sort of feeling. It made my skin crawl. What's worse, it literally felt like something was crawling on my skin! All thoughts of a refreshing and much-needed dosa abandoned, I rushed back to my dorm, barged into my room, slammed the door shut and ripped off my pants. (I wonder how many women are swooning as they read this...)

I adjusted my specs which had gone askew in all the excitement, and peered into my pants (a picture of this would make an awesome topic for an abstract GD!). And my breath caught in my throat as I beheld... ants! Not one, not ten, but a rough estimate indicated their population was somewhere in the region of 2.3 million (OK, give or take about 2.299 million...). It was an entire bloody colony there in my jeans. I had no doubt that the queen was churning out hordes of them even as I stared at the ant farm in mute shock.

Practical considerations saved the day. Fascinating as it was to contemplate spending four hours in class with ants in my pants, it was more fascinating to think of the ways in which my grades would suffer if I turned up late for class. I let out an expressive oath, grabbed a spare pant that had suffered use for the whole of the previous week and ran all the way to class...

As a result of this life-altering episode, I am firmly anti-ant at the moment, and until an ant saves my life or helps me pass an Economics paper or performs some such miracle, I am unlikely to feel any warmer towards the ant community at large.

Just a little something to end this post - if I had been bitten or harmed in any way by the ants, what medicine would I have taken? Antibiotics!

Friday, July 15, 2005

I'll keep this brief, I swear...

Yesterday, I saw no less than four people (unless my eyes deceived me, it was three guys and a girl) walking ahead of me. Not very unusual, you might say. No, it's not, I might reply. So what's the big deal, you might say. I'll tell you, will you let me finish, I might retort. Oh OK, go on, but make it quick, I've got to pee, you might plead. Right, I might say.

All four of them were wearing the kinda low slung jeans that seem to have become very popular among youngsters who have too much money to spend and too much body to show. I don't really grudge them wearing what they want, to each his own (It would have been far more impressive had I said that in Latin, but I don't know Latin, so please act impressed anyways. Thank you.) But what irked me was that for three of them, their underwear was showing.

The perverts among you who seem to frequent this site with alarming regularity and send me dirty messages are probably going, "Snigger snigger... u saw the girl's underwear..." Actually, I didn't. A clear and unobstructed view of her backside, fetching as it was, was not possible coz it was blocked by the bag she was carrying. One must take life as it comes.

Anyways, back to the undie-flashers. Come on guys, what the heck are you trying to prove anyways? That you wear underclothes?! What do u think I have in my pants? OK, that needs to be rephrased... what do you think I'm wearing below my waist? You don't have exclusive hold over the undie-market, the rest of us make reasonably regular use of our jocks too.

And presuming that the uppermost thought in your mind is not the erroneous assumption that others prefer walking around without their intimates, why on earth would you want to show yours? Does it make the region of your waist feel more airy? Do you believe it contributes in some way to the aesthetic beauty of the environment? Trust me, the sight of a polka dotted or pink striped or dirty yellow or boring white undie poking out of someone's jeans doesn't do much by way of pepping me up and making me feel good about life. It only makes me wonder what the hell the world is coming to and causes me to hammer out a blog post on it.

If you, dear reader, thought that was a pointless and uncalled-for rant, get some popcorn and settle back in your seats, coz here's more.

What's with all the swearing nowadays? Everywhere I go, I find unmentionable four-letter words being flung about with gay abandon. (I could make a joke about it also being flung about with straight abandon, but I don't know how many people would get it.) I'm no saint myself, I enjoy a good swear when I'm in a particularly lousy mood or I'm in the throes of deep tension and someone hides my spectacles so I go bumping around flailing my arms wildly and stubbing my toes and knocking things over and banging into doors and injuring people and... heck, I'm getting worked up... (deep breath).

I believe the occasional swear helps, especially when things aren't going well. A few choice, heartfelt curses can go a long way in letting out one's pent up emotions and cooling one down. Cursing also helps clear one's throat effectively so one can then proceed to loudly shift the blame for the cockup to someone else. But swearing practically all the time, for no reason whatsoever? I just don't get it.

Conversations just aren't like they used to be in the good old days... (For convenience, let's consider 'fish' to be a really bad word. If you think that's stupid, fish u.)

Then: Could you please pass me the butter.
Now: Where's the fishing butter? Oh, there it is. Who the fish put it there? Pass it here.

Then: Please do not give me bumps, they hurt. If you do not desist immediately, I shall be forced to take action against you.
Now: You bloody fishers! Just wait till you put me down, I fishing fish your happiness!

Then: (Laughing) That was rather humorous!
Now: Fish! That's fishin' hilarious, man!

Then: Why do you want to do that?!
Now: Are you fishin' crazy?! Why the fish do you want to do that?!

Then: Uh oh. I appear to have dropped my pen.
Now: Oh fish! I dropped the fishin' pen.

Then: I am not interested in dealing with you.
Now: Fish you.

Then: Please explain what is happening here...
Now: What the fish is going on here?

Then: Kindly remove yourself.
Now: Fish off!

Then: (Exasperated) I don't think I'll do this.
Now: Oh, fish it.

You catch my drift... I just don't see why inserting a swear word for every 2.5 non-swear words is essential for inter-human communication. I guess that's just the way the world is.

Have to catch up on a LOT of lost sleep, so gonna crash now... so long, and thanks for all the fish!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Week 2 - whoooosh!

Hell, the last week went by really fast... it flashed by in a flurry of group meetings and quizzes and assignments and unsolvable accounting problems.

I'm really beginning to love this place, the lifestyle here, the customs and the oddities and challenges. I feel I'm growing in many ways. Learning to fend for myself, having to decide my priorities, trying to stay afloat in a tidal wave of intense competition and mindblowing intelligence... Finding new depths to myself I didn't know existed, pushing myself beyond boundaries I had assumed could never be breached... I take up an assignment and think, "What the hell am I doing in this place? I can't do stuff like this!" and then, three hours later, "Whoa! Did I really do that myself? I rock!"

Of course, it helps that we have totally GODlevel professors, who confront us and challenge us and coax us and bully us into coming with up answers to our own questions, and throw up streams of thought and debate that we would otherwise never have considered. They aren't called teachers - they're 'instructors'. And we aren't students, we're 'participants' in the programme. All of which makes for a very unique and stimulating learning environment, worlds removed from the pedantic boredom and pointlessness of engineering. And classes can actually be a lot of fun, as this post of Oka's indicates...

The only major downside of life here is that one has to sacrifice sleep in the interests of passing the course. A very reasonable sacrifice to expect, of course. I slept a sum total of 8 hours over the nights of the 6th, 7th and 8th of this month. And didn't catch up on much in the weekend coz there's just so much happening on campus! Like last night's (this morning's!) dance party that I was at from 2 a.m. till 4 a.m... and the rain dance where we got totally drenched and threw ourselves about madly, glad to let loose all the pent up energy... and last weekends dorm party that lasted a whole five and a half hours, till 3:30 in the morning...

Such nights out are usually capped by a visit to Cafe TANSTAAFL (non-WIMWIans, guess the funda!) on the campus for a soothing cup of hot chai or a sandwich... nice food, but it totally pales in comparison to our mess.

Let me state this loud and clear - the mess here ROCKS. So much so that when we went out for dinner to a popular local restaurant, I found myself thinking, "So what? Our mess is just as good!" Here's a sample menu...

Menu for Sunday, July 10 2005

Rava Dosa with Sambar
Boiled eggs
Bread with Jam
Bread with butter

Giloda Masala
Mushroom Paneer Masala
Dal Masoor
Dudi Ka Raita
Onion rings
Aloo salad

High Tea:
Aloo vada

Cabbage Dry
Dum Aloo
Onion raita
Dal Arhar
Veg salad
Moong salad
Ice cream

We sometimes have awesome naans and baturas, apart from jalebis, gulab jamun and a host of other sweets... and we're allowed as many helpings as we want! My hopes of losing a little weight by the end of the term have been dashed by my tendency to hog on all this good food...

And one of the best things about the mess is the music. Beautiful music, lots of old Hindi songs, a very pleasant accompaniment to dinner. In fact, there's music everywhere, at the Cafe, in the admin office, even in the bank!

Music has actually become quite an important part of my life here. I finally got myself a pair of speakers a few days back (woohoo!) and my comp's been playing practically nonstop since. And nice, peaceful music, not the overdose of Bunty aur Babli (grrrr) that the other dorms seem to be pumping out all day long.

There's just so much happening, so much to keep track of. In times like this - running to submit an assignment, tearing your hair out over an Economics problem, cursing a balance sheet that doesn't tally, wondering why a company doesn't just sack all its employees instead of discussing HR issues with them, frustrated that your Excel Sheet cell keeps showing #!REF - small pleasures take on added beauty. Sharing a joke with a complete stranger, trading a smile with a cute girl, raiding a well-stocked pantry at one in the morning, putting up a Juice on DBabble in a friend's name, giving people bumps for arbit reasons, eating icecream at night all alone in the vast expanse of Louis Kahn Plaza...
It feels like a whole new life.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

"Muggo, facchon, Muggo!"

2105 hours, 21st June, 2005.

A tired and dishevelled group of about 10 young 20-somethings bursts into spontaneous applause and whoops of joy.

We were at IIMA, at last.

After a 34 hour journey that helped us bond far more than I expected (most of us had never met the others before) over tea and cards and anti-2-day-1-night-journey-remarks and a crick in the neck (thanks to watching The Passion of the Christ on the upper berth of a three-tier compartment!) we were in good old Ahemdabad. Then a bit of haggling with the taxiwallahs at the Ahmedabad station, and 15 minutes (and a anticlimactic and misleading Ahmeadabad Management Association) later, we were, to use a cliche, in the hallowed portals of IIMA.

At first glance (and the second and the third) the layout of this place is incredibly confusing. You can go around in circles, at three different levels of elevation and still not find your room. Of course, a ready frame of reference is the girls' dorms, which any self respecting guy on campus is expected to know. A little bit of this-way-no-i-think-it's-here-are-you-sure-#$%$#%-we're-lost later, I was settled in my room. By settled, I mean I found it and put down my bags. And ate and slept.

The next few days were a whirlwind of activity. Getting to know my dorm tucchas, who are really amazingly supportive guys - they actually take a lot of time out of their own busy schedules to help us deal with problems, teach us stuff we can't understand, and so on. Experiencing and participating in the awesome practice of tempo shouts. Attending loooong orientation sessions. Being coached on the finer details of campus life and how to deal with the fact that liqour is prohibited in Gujarat. Getting used to the fact that I have to call a 16ft x 9ft room home for two years. And learning to make 3 a.m. bedtimes and 5-hour nights a lifestyle choice rather than an unfortunate necessity.

OK, one thing at a time. I don't know if I've mentioned this earlier on this blog, but I'm a faccha. That's a combination of 'First year' and 'Bachcha' (kid, in Hindi). So its 'fuh' plus 'chcha'. NOT 'fuh' plus 'ka', as I initially read it to be. And my seniors are 'Two' plus 'Facchas', tucchas. My dorm (D6, which totally rocks!) has about 10 each of facchas and tucchas, and the kind of bond of friendship and mutual support that has built in just ten days is awesome. The dorm culture here (your primary loyalty on campus is usually to your dorm, then your section, then your girlfriend, then your institute) is very strong, since one's dorm is practically one's family for two whole years.

And one super manifestation of dorm grouping is a tempo shout. Technically, any group can tempo shout another, and one hardly needs an excuse to begin a shout, but it's most fun as a dorm. I can't tell you how it goes, coz that's an insti secret of sorts. There's a standard template, but the more creative the ones you can come up with, the better. And when 30 guys stand beneath your balcony and yell at the top of their lungs at 2 a.m., the experience is mindblowing. And, of course, if another dorm tempo shouts yours, the entire dorm rallies to outshout them. Some also scamper up to the terrace to throw bucketfuls of water (a practice called 'the dunk') on the intruders.

The campus has, of late, been echoing quite a lot with the other popular shout, that goes "Muggo, facchon, Muggo!", a little bit of friendly advice from the tucchas that it's high time you went to your room and mugged (read prepared for cases and problems - this ain't engineering!) for the next day's class while they leisurely sipped chai at the canteen and loudly discussed how light the workload is in the second year. And its not easy to be a nervous fuccha facing his first quiz in IIMA and have 200 tucchas yelling all over the campus... on the whole though, it's rather fun.

Lots more happening, of course, but I gotta go do some work or I'll have a baaad time in class tommorow.

Coming soon: Canteen quirks, plus Rain dance and party!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm baaaack!


I've just got myself a computer, and it feels soooo good after having to live without one for about 10 whole days.

Life here in Ahmedabad is very very very very hectic, so I can't stop to write much now (got a truckload of stuff to do for class tommorow). Will put up a post as soon as I can. Lots to say, lots of reflections, lots of stories to narrate, lots of wacky things happening here on campus.

Until then, ta!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Goodbye... for now.

I'm leaving my home of 8 years (Chennai, that is) and family of 21 years in 2 days. Less actually, 31 hours or so. I'm off to Ahmedabad on Monday...

The last week has been a whirlwind of activity. Visting relatives, last minute packing, wondering whether I should take a pillow along or buy one there, realising I wasn't using the most efficient way of ironing a shirt, buying stationary, listening to endless lectures on why I should eat properly (padikkyara payyon), trying to remain strighfaced when sermonized by well-meaning uncles on the evils of alcohol (too late!)...

And catching up on memories. I didn't realise, until a week ago, that clearing one's desk can be such an emotional experience. The cover of a failed album by a failed band I was part of 10 years ago, old birthday cards, notebooks with more doodles than useful content, arbit quiz papers, little chits that had been passed to me in class, a forgotten photo of an unforgettable girl... I lingered on every photograph, every scrap of paper, every memory, even as my mother kept pushing me to clear everything as soon as possible.

I also met some of my closer friends, and in each case managed to hold my tears back until I was alone and have a quiet little memories-regrets-loss-missing session in private.

And I bought a suit! I hate shopping in general, and even more so for clothes. But when I saw the suit and felt the material, I fell totally in love with it. Yours truly believes he looks rather natty in it.
This, of course, is relative, since the aforementioned yours truly (not to be confused with yours Schumacher or yours Hakkinen) is usually to be found in shorts or a rather disreputable pair of jeans that are crying (actually, not so much crying as slashing their wrists in agony) for a hard, good, long-overdue wash.
Anyways, it's a whole new life there and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm very excited, and am looking forward to recording all my inital impression on this blog for posterity. I don't think I'll have a computer for atleast 10 days after I get there, and when I'll get an internet connection is something I dare not think about now. The upshot of all this uncertainty is that I will not have any contact with this blog until say, the 5th of July. So, if you find this blog curiously static, don't think I've given up blogging or have gone into hibernation or have been run over or something of the sort. In the words of Governor Arnie, "I'll be back". (Sylvester Stallone later said, "I'll be Beethoven" but no one paid him any attention. (Pause for hysterical laughter and applause.))

For any first time visitors during my hiatus, here is quick intro to my blog and life to bring you up to speed (Please do click on the links or else...):

Q. Who is this AC guy anyways?
A. I'm a regular chap in almost aspects of life and existence except that I'm just a little nuts and am an Anna University engineering graduate. For further details, read each and every single entry in this blog... If you're female and would like me to read it out to you, call me.

Q. Why is he going to Ahmedabad?
A. The truth might be in the vaguely-described "out there", but the answer is here and here, in two parts!

Q. What does he look like?
A. Oh, normal. 10 digits, one nose, two eyes, all that. Plus a paunch! Batteries not included, some assembly required.

Q. Does he have a sex life?
A. A very good question. Here's the closest I've got to it. If you are female and would like to volunteer to educate me in this respect, call me.

Q. Does he have any special talents?
A. You bet! I'm a pro at a very special contact sport. If you are female and would like coaching, call me.

Q. Does he love nature?
A. Well... yes and no.

Q. Why is he even named AC? Is there an expansion, or is that a sad attempt at trying to convince the world he's cool?
A. Ah, why I am named what I am named makes for a very interesting story. I'm just too lazy to tell it to you, so you'll have to make do with this. And if you are female and do think I'm cool, call me.

Q. Why on earth is this blog named 'The Lord of the Things...'?
A. The answer to that is shrouded in the mists of history, leading all the way back to the 11th of November 2004 when this little baby was born... And the world was never the same again... this was the beginning.

Q. And last but not the least, is AC desperate for female companionship?
A. No, of course not! But if you are female and still think so, call me and I'll tell you why I'm not.

That should answer most queries. Have fun, and cya all in a while!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bombs away!

I am being persecuted. Attacked. Ambushed. Hounded. Stalked till my nerves are jangling like they've never jangled before. I walk/ride about in fear, trying to avoid open skies as I go about my daily life, a mere shadow of my former self.

My eyes are always open to any offensive. My ears are alert, listening, waiting for the telltale SPLAT as some incontinent bird lets loose. On me. Every time. It's inhuman, I tell you. Inhuman.

I have never been cruel to any species of bird in my life. OK, I've eaten chicken now and then, but that's hardly a reason to torment me in this manner. This relentless shadowing and frighteningly accurate aim... sometimes it makes me want to go. If you know what I mean.

"Hah, he's exaggerating", you say. "What crap!" you comment (quite appropriately). You dismiss my narrative with a careless "This one's for the birds!" Hear ye, dear reader, this be not crap. I speaketh the truth. As Yoda would testify, the truth I speak. History bears witness to the pitiful condition of my relations with the feathered folk.

Four times in the course of the last ten days. Twice on my shirt, once on my bike's headlight and once on the seat. Four in ten. Coincidence? I don't think so. The tally would have been five if I hadn't niftily swerved when I noticed a large yellow-green-white blob heading for me earlier this afternoon. It landed a relatively safe 6 centimeters away.

This has to be an anti-AC conspiracy by the birds. It isn't just the pigeons or crows, it's now all manner and sorts of birds. Some even appear to have called in distant relatives from foreign lands for the express purpose of decorating me or my vahana with their bodily wastes. And the odds are just too great for me to battle against. What chance does one pathetic human being have against a whole battalion of birds who scheme and plot against me. Maybe they even have a bird-Olympics, where one of the most prestigious events is the LALOAH, Land A Load On AC's Head.

I don't mind body art at all. In some cases I would donate rather liberally to foundations that aim to spread the culture of body arts to bring about world peace or the eradication of poverty or bringing a decent educational system (sans politics) to Tamil Nadu or other such causes that I know will not succeed in my lifetime. But I draw the line at the 'body' in the body art being my body. Oh, I know, if I let birds crap all over me and then stand in a glass box, I'd probably win the Turner Prize which, in my opinion, they award to the most insensible and downright crappy installation they find in the competition. But I'll turn down that honour, thank you very much.

I'd much prefer to remain clean and un-bird-crapped. I look just a little better without white-green-yellow blobs on my clothes or skin. I'm sure I smell a lot better without them too, though some might consider this point debatable.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Watch out...

The funniest letter my family has received in seven years. Found it when I was clearing my table, though I have no idea what it was doing there in the first place.

I live in T.Nagar, a locality of Chennai, India, that is a hotbed of politics and crime. And not just coz I live here.

Like all insecure apartment complex folk, we've hired a coupla watchmen from an agency. It never fails to amaze me that all watchmen I have come across are apparently on the wrong side of 60 and appear to suffer from creaky joints and amnesia. Fat lot of good they'd be if a burglar attacked the building. They're the kind who jump like jackrabbits even if the gate creaks. Is it jackrabbits I mean? Anyways, you could scare them shitless by creeping up behind them in broad daylight and whispering 'Boo!' in their hairy ears. You notice I haven't called them guards... Given the fact that they a) sit around all day watching the world go by, and b) would be useless in a real crisis, I think 'watch'men is far more appropriate. But maybe I'm being just a little too harsh. Our houses haven't been broken into yet, nor has anything been set on fire by outside agents. And only one guy has been kidnapped so far. (Not really... the police were called in but it was later discovered that he was lying somewhere drunk!) So maybe these watchmen are OK...

The following letter was sent to my mom (who's the Secretary of our Flat Owners Association) by the proprietor of the 'detective agency' that supplies the watchmen. (Note the impressive string of degrees after his name.) The entire family cracked up on reading this. The choice of words and the structure is priceless!

Check it out here. (Expand the image to regular size to read it.)

[Some details have been blacked out to prevent lawsuits/ embarassment/ withdrawal of service/ other undesirable occurences]


Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Was fiddling around online, jobless as ever, and decided I'd create a banner for my blog. A Google search and 5 minutes later...

A static one, for now. If I ever feel driven or enthu enough to do so, I'll make a nice moving one...

Whaddya think?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Un Gotha Neeb Nick!

Last week I finally achieved something I've been dreaming of doing since the day I turned two and a half years old. I finally watched a Hungarian movie. And not just one. Now that I was doing it, I decided to go the whole way and watched two of them!

A large percentage of my rapidly dwindling readership is probably squinting at the screen in almost comic bewilderment and perplexity. "A Hungarian movie?!" you ask. "Why on earth would you want to do that?" And I counter with a rather clever (if I do say so myself) "Why not?" thereby leaving you stumped and gasping for breath at the sheer wit and perspicacity of the thrust. Not unlike the proverbial fish out of water, although you are unlikely to die as a result of my stunning counter (which, at the moment this goes to press (or the blog equivalent), stands at 8031). If you are new to this blog and don't get it, just take a deep breath and go read a complex passage on Advaitha. Then come back to this and life will seem a lot simpler. I seem to be rambling, and can't seem to stop. It's like some weird crazy demonic dude has taken control of my mind and fingers and is leading them on a merry little dance along my keyboard. Unceasing and unrelenting, indestructible and indigestible. Dead but not yet. Undead, actually. Wow. Advaitha.

Back to the Hungarian movies. The South Indian Film Chamber is a body that screens a wide variety of movies on a regular basis in Chennai. For just 450 Indian Rupees a year, you get a pass to all their film fests and special premiere screenings in Chennai. Last week was a Hungarian Film Festival. Not being able to watch the widely acclaimed tragicomedy Dad Goes Nuts, Anjana and I decided we'd watch a couple of movies that were played the day after the widely acclaimed tragicomedy Dad Goes Nuts which we were unable to watch during the Hungarian Film Festival organized by The South Indian Film Chamber. Am I repeating myself repeating myself?

The first movie was a really old one, of somewhat poor print. It began rather suddenly and went along at a blazing (and rather ununderstandable) pace for the first forty-five minutes. And then, just as I was beginning to get the hang of it, it ended. The movie was all about a group of farmers who believe in Communism, and challenge their landlord and the local authorities. Several levels of officialdom come to reason with them or threaten them but all fail. Potential imprisonment, mutilation of their limbs and the burning of their harvest does not deter the farmers. One batch of officials is bribed, another seduced and a third simply killed. And, in between each of these, they break into song and dance, usually with their arms across each others shoulders. Other activities include a certain harvest ritual which requires three nubile young girls to be stripped to the waist, and later dunked in a tub. Good fun. Also, they keep saying something like "Un Gotha Neeb Nick!" which means "Rights to the people!" I must say the music was actually very nice, as was the traditional dance... The ending was very well done - lots of symbolism. In the last few minutes, there is a mass massacre, and the last surviving communist shoots the commanding officer with a gun with a red ribbon tied around it. Actually, a pretty nice movie. Will try to find out what it's called.

The second, titled 'Forbidden Relationship' is a far more recent movie. Also, it's in color. Also, it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the first one. It deals wth the incestuous relationship between a woman and her half brother. When she first makes loves to the guy (he's a total stranger to the village; she's known him for about half an hour), she doesn't have a clue who she is. But when she later realises they're related, her love only grows stronger. She's a widow and he's a divorcee (with a slightly shady past to boot), and they find great warmth and understanding in each other. And quite a bit of physical love. They defy social mores and the law to get married. When they have a child however, the courts deem it illegal because the child may be born deformed and they are sent to prison. Separate ones. A year later, they meet again and presto, the second kid's on it's way. Prison again. And back for the next kid. They try to run away from the village, but are forced to return... it's a rather slow movie, but moving in parts. (I mean emotionally moving. Don't give me some crap about it being a moving picture.) Apparently, the movie's based on a true story...

So that was that. Two Hungarian movies in the space of three hours. Kinda fun actually, and decent air conditioned theater. My online research (read Google) hasn't really helped me understand their customs (especially in the first movie), but maybe, just maybe, a native Hungarian stopping by this site will help me out. Believe it or not, this site has actually received eleven visits from Hungary in the last six months! (StatCounter rocks!)

Next dream, an African movie, preferably from East Africa...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

H and C

I'm in a kinda weird mood nowadays. Very unnaturally quiet and reflective, pondering deep ponderations and thinking philosophiocal thoughts... Here's something that really struck me hard today.

People pay thousands, perhaps millions of dollars, to find happiness and contentment. In designer heels and flashy cars. In sulphur springs and yoga. In monasteries and Baskin Robbins. And when they've got whatever it was was that they arrogantly and misguidedly threw their money at, they wonder if it was worth it, whether they really have attained happiness. Happiness is not always about material acquisitions or spiritual awakenings. Or even achievements - winning an award, clearing an exam. These are but fleeting, not rooted in true emotion but merely a means of loosening the knots of tension in our bodies and minds or reassuring oneself that one is still capable of something or the other.

Picture this.

I return home after a four day trip, at half past six in the morning. My brother is curled up on the bed, on his side, his face pressed against the pillow. He's had a haircut just the previous evening, which accentuates his cheeks and makes him look very cuddly-cute. I kiss him lightly on his forehead. He wakes up and stares at me while his vision focusses, then smiles sleepily. "Hi Anna," he murmurs, and pats the bed next to him. I lie down, and he kisses me, puts his arm across my chest and snuggles up to me. In another 30 seconds, he's fast asleep, making little baby noises.

Now that is the closest I've come to true happiness and contentment in a very very long time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

B.E. positive

My exams are over. My undergraduate courses are complete. If I pass these two papers I've written, I'll be Arvind Chandrasekhar, B.E. Four years, 60 courses and about 1110 bus journeys to get two letters after my name. Cool.

People tend to be very disparaging about an engineering education. "What's the big deal?" says a student of literature. "Herd mentality, I say. Herd mentality," proclaims a professor of commerce with a sorrowful shake of his head. "Far too many engineers. B.E. has no value at all!" puts forth a maami at a vegetable market.

Crap. An engineering education has given me far more than I ever expected. Read on. Please.

What has been the purpose of my college education, as charted out by good old Anna University? To make me a responsible citizen, an ethical human being and a qualified technical engineer who can contribute to the growth and development of my society and the human race at large. WRe nwlsmg;s shdslk hgn dslfg. I'm sorry, I couldn't see what I was typing through my tears of laughter. (I'm sure my co-Anna U mates will be rolling on the floor, clutching their sides and beating on the ground, laughing hysterically.)

OK, seriously, what have I learnt? Have the past four years been of any use? I say a clear, resounding (turn up your speaker volume), unambiguous, unmistakable, running-out-of-applicable-adjectives YES! I am now trained to pursue not just a career in a technical field, but any of the following...

1. Xerox operator
A wise Chinese philosopher once said, "To stroke an elephant's forehead, you must first stroke its trunk." His son later said, "My dad was right." That, however, is of no relevance here. A wise Japanese Xtreme skateboarding champion once said, "Watching is learning." Having closely watched more papers being photocopied than girls doing anything (hard to believe, but true!) over the last four years, I am a master of the xerox game. All I need is a machine and confusing Anna U textbook guidelines, and the money will pour in... Clever marketing (All paper types xeroxed! Give one paper, get two!) and pricing (28 paise per side. 25 if you bring your own paper.) will make me a millionaire. I hope to learn all these things at IIMA.

2. Professional athlete/biker
So I've watched the photocopying process. Why was I there in the first place, you ask? Well, taking a photocopy of portions you didn't know existed until the very last minute (read the day before the exam) is a well documented aspect of B.E. lore. Running, cycling, biking or driving in the sweltering heat or pouring rain, battling heavy winds and suicidal/homicidal auto drivers and pedestrians, on all types of roads (tarred roads, mud roads, no roads) has elevated my skill levels to that of a pro. Factor in running about for ODs and no-due certificates (Aside: What certificate would be issued by the Coca Cola company? No Dew!) and I'm Maurice Green and Haile Gebreselassie rolled in one.

3. Bus driver
Again, watching is learning. And what have I learnt? That the primary qualification to drive buses for an engineering college is that you have to be above 55, hard of hearing and must have a rich vocabulary of abusive words to hurl at errant students, bewildered pedestrians and the omnipresent auto drivers. Pension funds be damned, I'm gonna work in my old age. Vroom!

4. Secret agent
What's so secret about a secret agent? I can't tell you! (Bowing, drinking in the applause and reveling in the shower of roses) A large part of a secret agent's job (apart from blowing things up and bedding every alternate women he comes across) is to do things while ensuring that he's not being watched. Skulking around and all that. Shadowing, even. He/ she may also have to send coded messages back to base, investigate, eavesdrop, read private letters, and try to get as much info as possible from limited resources. B.E. to the rescue! Sneaking around the campus, hoping one won't be caught by a righteous and unbending prof. Charting plans to get out of class unnoticed. Sending Secret Messages and Stuff (SMS) in the middle of class. Passing chits. Using ones ocular skills to the utmost during 'test'ing times. And, of course, slyly pumping the lecturer for the test questions. Last heard, MI6 is recruiting people from my college.

5. Adventure sports dude
The experience gained out of repeatedly climbing long flights of stairs for the silliest of reasons is unbelievable. I still don't believe it. One can't find better hiking in the Himalayas. Also, trekking across the burning sands under an unforgiving sun to get to the bus stop is ideal training for anyone intending to embark on a trans-Saharan journey. For those who get their thrills from near-death experiences, try footboard travel on buses plying on National Highway 4. The wind in your hair, sand in your eyes, grit in your mouth and Yama tapping your shoulder... Your walk on the wild and adventurous side of life begins at an engineering college.

6. Negotiator
Squeezing just one mark more out of a sadistic examiner. Convincing the forbidding class counselor to grant one just another coupla days of OD. Trying to get out of having to pay a fine of a thousand bucks at the library. Inducing the office staff to get off their backsides and actually do some constructive work. Again, pumping lecturers for questions... all this makes one such an awesome negotiator and tactician, you'll have terrorists eating out of your hand.

7. Torture machine tester
Having sat through what seems like gazillions of classes over the course of the last four years, I can confidently say this - Nothing gets worse than it. Chinese torture? I laugh at it. Breaking my knuckles? Pooh! Tying me up and tickling me with a peacock feather? Huh, child's play to resist it... It's no laughing matter (unless one is laughing at Chinese torture) that I've survived so many hours of boring classes and sickening tests. An engineering education hardens you from within. Recent studies show that during the recent India-Pak matches, those running about on the streets pulling their hair out in large tufts and babbling wildly as a result of listening to Kris Srikkanth's Hindi (Kar lo duniya mutthi mein hai!) were almost exclusively non-engineers. The clever B.E. chaps, fortified by education, met the linguistic and aural abuse face-on, and did not succumb. A later report by a commission headed by a retired High Court judge claims this was because their advanced technical training helped them find and press the 'mute' button on the remote. More news on this is expected shortly.

Please don't mob me, presspersons. I have time for just one more question. Yes, you in the green bowtie and fluorescent pink pants.

Press chap: AC, what is the one thing you think you have learnt the most from the entire experience?

Well, the most important thing I have learnt in the last four years has to be the value and beauty of friendship. (Come on people, all together now... AWWWWW!). I've met some awesome people... sniff... Had some great times, super fun, lots of memories. Read this very nice piece by Vetri, my classmate.

I'm looking forward to the future... it looks bright coz the sun's behind me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I am a very angry guy right now. Very angry.

I was all set to leave for Ahmedabad on the morning of the 20th (I have to report there on the morning of the 23rd), and was two minutes away from booking my ticket, when a couple of elderly people pointed out that I hadn't checked the Panchangam to check if it was an auspicious day.

For the uninitiated, a Panchangam is a Hindu Vedic calender, a series of sheets of paper with dates, numbers and arbit arcane markings. It tells us which days are good, and which would get you killed or eaten by a croc or something. And it's all based on the stars and the alignment of miscellaneous celestial bodies. And this document says that the 20th of June is a bad day for travel. As is the 19th. And the first half of the 21st and the 22nd.

No offense, but b*lls! I refuse to accept that a bunch of stars guide my life and decide what I should do when. We are told to dream big, to make our own destinies and all that, yet we are shackled by having to bow before the diktats of a Vedic calender. I mean, come on!

I don't believe in astrology. I think it's all mumjo-jumbo, whatever MM Joshi may claim. I don't claim to be a maajor man of science or something, and am willing to give in to 'tradition' and 'custom' at times, but I do draw the line at stuff like this. I'm sure there are plenty of bad days in the year, yet we hardly find catastrophes occuring on a regular basis. It seems to me a singularly idiotic way of making travel plans.

I'm sure that atleast half the days I've gone to college, I've left home at a forbidden time like Yamagantam, yet nothing particularly bad has happened. My cousin was the only person in her class who took her exam hall ticket during Rahukalam, yet she topped her school with 95%! Given the way the bad times keep coming around so frequently and at different times each day, following a policy of checking for auspiciousness is bound to lead to a LOT of wasted time and seriously low productivity.

And another thing I find infuriating at times is the blind belief that some people place in these things. Ask them why they follow it, and all they'll say is that this is what their elders told them. Oh, please, why did you never think of questioning anything at all? (I've noticed this tendency most among those who were my age not in the rebellious 70s but in the not-so-rebellious-and-absurdly-acquiescent-40s, 50s and 60s.)

Free, getting too hot under the collar... just can't stand all this astrology crap.

Am very angry. Now I have to either travel by train on the 18th and end up there 3 days in advance, or take a flight that cost three and a half times as much. #$%@.

<-- update -->
After a bit of an argument with the family priest (in spite of the scandalized protests of the aforementioned elderly people), I got him to admit that the inauspicious times strike only in the last minute of the 20th, and it is therefore Vedically and celestially alright for me to travel on the 20th.

I still don't hold with astrology, though.
<-- end of update -->

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Can you stomach the news?

You've seen a very large number of policemen have it. 80% of the professors in my college do too. As do 3 out of every 10 kids in America, if statistics are to be believed. (That may not be easy, as reports suggest 48% of all statistics are crap.)

The guy who comes to collect our waste paper has one, as does the gangleader at the auto stand at the end of street. Atleast 3 of my close uncle-level relatives have it. A number of my friends do, and now I have one too.

Laies and gentlemen, I am now the not-so-proud owner of a paunch. OK, maybe owner's not the right term to use (how about possessor?), but you get the point. The bottom line (no jokes about the ass crack, please; this is a family blog) is that I have a paunch.

Sure, that's a huge advantage if you are aspiring to be a Tamil movie star. It obviates other requirements like a face that won't make babies cry and a basic ability to act. If you're tubby, chances are you'd almost definitely be cast in some movie with a heroine (or female hero, to be politically correct) who will rival you in terms of lard, and you'd get to be a part of weird dances in foreign locales or the lush hills of Ooty to songs that have no relation whatsoever to the movies they appear in. You might also get advertising offers that lean heroes who stammer, need no excuse to take off their shirts or have an extra thumb can only dream of. An example? Bye bye Bebendum, you'd be the new face of Michelin.

But the fundamental point I would like to ram home is that I do not want to be a Tamil movie star. I don't want a paunch. And I don't like the way it's kind of sprung up suddenly.

My paunch has developed like a bird's egg. [Feel free to scratch your head in perplexity. While you're doing that, I'll scratch my head coz it itches. Much relieved, I'll get back to the egg analogy.] Now, bird's eggs hatch after a long period of being warmed by the mother's bottom. But the exact moment when the shell will crack and the little birdie inside will peep out and cry 'Mama!' to the first thing it sees (hey, I get all my info from cartoons) is completely unpredictable. Like one's marks in an Anna University exam. You stay awake for 72 hours in the fervent hope that you will be able to experience the joy of watching a bird-birth... but there's no sign of the bird. Not even a beak. You decide it's not gonna happen anytime soon and settle down for some shuteye, when a crraaack signals the opening of the shell. You rush to the egg only to find that the bird is now frolicking on your table and that the kettle has upstaged you as the little winger's Mama. OK, I had a point to make there, somewhere...

Ah yes, the unwelcome guest appeared all of a sudden. Out of the mists, even. Totally unexpected. I mean, there I was, happily paunchless on the day of our college photo shoot (people grumble about posing in the sun and then go completely berserk in taking weird group shots - B Batch guys, CSE Girls, Infamous Rowdy Gang, CSE Girls with Nandan, All people whose names begin with H...) and posing in my favourite kurta (theme: ethnic. Lungis allowed). I peeked at a friend's digital camera to see how the shot had come out when, out of the blue (literally; it's a blue kurta), protruding insolently from my middle, was the @#$% paunch. I reeled, stunned. I knew I'd been putting on a little weight (OK, OK, not a little), but not to the extent where I'd grow a mini potbelly! Nobody else seemed to notice it, but I could notice nothing but it. In the camera's 2D screen, it stood out in 3D. Bold. Unafraid. Proud to have gone where no lipidinous mass had gone before.

I sucked in my breath, but that made my face go red and I really didn't want to appear in all the photos as though I'd just swallowed a college chappathi the wrong way. It was either the face or the tummy. I went in for a compromise. My tummy looks relatively OK (suck in just a bit and hunch forward so the kurta falls over and not around the stomach), while my face looks like I badly need to pee, but not so badly that I can't wait to finish the shot. Perfect.

This astonishing development (if your thinking of a PJ about the photos being developed, I must inform you they were all digital cameras) is a result of my enforced layoff from college since November 2004. I've only had to attend college two days a week since then, and that has seen my waistline and weight competing to see which can increase by the higher percentage (my weight is currently in the lead).

Drastic situations demand drastic action. I'm gonna go have a snack. Then I'll watch some TV, and then I'm gonna start a strict exercise regimen. I don't want to panic and stress my body too much so I'll go slow but steady. Look out for a fitter, stronger, faster, slimmer me in June 2007.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I look at James Bond's boss - Part 2

Why is this blogpost titled thus? What madness prompted it? And what does this have to do with 53 dead monkeys?

Why does Noot want to kill Pancho? Whose magic cloak was found at VT? And what does this have to do with the weird hieroglyphs on Sammy-Boy's coffin? Will Noot and Pedro live happily ever after? Or will evil Sven Korastapoupolous triumph?

To find out, read on...

But to understand what the hell is going on, read Part 1 of this post...

Flashback: 06 April, 2005.

The dark room is lit only by the glow of the computer monitor. A shadowy form is hunched in front of it, typing details into a form feverishly.

Please enter your Test Registration Number and Date of Birth

Test Registration No. : xxxxxxx
Date of Birth : Date Month Year

The words flash on the screen...

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Admission Status : Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGP 2005-2007 batch), IIMA

You have been selected for admission to PGP (2005-2007 batch), IIMA.

The shadowy form pushes back its chair, toppling it over, and breaks into a wierd and wild celebratory dance, vaguely reminiscent of the rain dance of the now extinct Lobofilipogolo tribe of the Saharan rainforest.

Flashforward: 08 April, 2005.

The screen flashes...

CAT 2004 result

You have been selected for admission to PGP (2005-2007 batch), IIMB.

The frenzied dance begins again...

YAHOOOOOOOO! I'm over the moon, like the cow in the poem. Though why on earth (semi-pun unintended) it jumped over the moon, I do not know. Or care, to be frank. Cows that are psychotic enough to jump over moons do not figure high on my list of priority things to be dealt with.

I'm just jumping and singing and dancing coz I've got into the institute I wanted to get into. All that's left is to decide where I'm going - A or B. Not an easy decision at all.

I want to thank each and every person who's made this possible. My parents for putting up with me and encouraging me to dream. Goach, Nandan, Kitty, Appi and everyone else in class at college who kept throwing good-natured insults at me when I was working out CAT exercises, spurring me on to work out even more. Everyone at the coaching class, who pushed me to prove myself and help me out with stuff I had problems with. Archana, Murr, Mul and others who helped me believe in myself and my capabilities. Sujatha, Aditya and the other CAT-takers who helped me benchmark my performance, taught me to work in a group, shared info with me (did you know that the IT (or is that ITES?) sector employs 1 million and contributes 4% to India's GDP?), and helped me aim higher... And basically everyone else who supported and encouraged me, and believed in me even when I did not.

And last but most definitely not the least, the awesome folks at PagalGuy, the bestest ever CAT resource.

Just to complete the Oscaresque thank you speech, I'd also like to thank the pet dog I never had, the pet puppies it never fathered/mothered, the pet cat it never fought with, and Kishore Kumar.

What have I learnt from the entire GD/PI process?
Feeling kinda lazy, don't feel like typing out everything. Here's some; if you want more gyaan, just mail me or leave a comment or something.
1. There are a lot of pretty women in Bangalore. And a large number of them are at IIMB.
2. The atmosphere when one is waiting to be called in for an interview is very conducive to coming up with PJs and lousy puns. Maybe the nervousness helps.
3. There are approximately 57 different ways to say 'I don't know,' ranging from the 'shit I'm nervous and I'm gonna pee in my pants oops there I go' kind of I don't know to the 'hah I'm super confident that I don't know and proud of it and I'm gonna show it' type.
4. Panelists love math and neural networks.
5. The IIMB campus ROCKS!
6. I sleep better on a berth in a moving train than I do in my own bed at home.
7. When wearing the same shirt for multiple interviews, it might be a good idea to wash it once in a while.
8. Ditto for socks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I look at James Bond's boss - Part 1

For those not tuned in to the weirdness that is me, the title of this post translates to 'I eye M', which is a very very tortuous way of saying 'IIM'.

The messages in my TagBoard got me thinking. I had written this post long ago (10 days, to be precise) but decided against putting it up coz I didn't see the point. But I shall now, just for the heck of it. Part 2 follows in a while.

NB: The following information may not really be of any use. For a proper, unbiased perspective on good GD/PI tactics, ask someone else. (That's about as legal as I can make my disclaimer).

Flashback: 02 April, 2005. Any time of the day. Say, 1400 hrs. Why, you ask? Well, why not?

I'm back from Bangalore, from the last of my interviews. 5-odd weeks of trying to convince guys who are usually old and sometimes humourless that I am not as much of an idiot or as incompetent as they insist on believing I am. Telling them time and again why management is really what I want to do, and that having me in their institute is a win-win situation for both. Selling my dreams and myself.

I don't really know if it'll work... anyways, the results will be out in a couple of weeks.

A lot of you have been asking me how the interviews have gone... so here goes... here's what I felt about them...

IIM Kozhikode
Super peaceful GD, only six of us! All about cricket and its relation to other sports, very very satisfying talk. On the interview panel was a very friendly mallu guy, with a very mallu moustache and a very mallu accent. The panelists were smiling and laughing throughout, though I still don't know whether they were laughing with me or at me...
Rating: 3.5/5

IIM Indore
Nice, peaceful GD. First case. Also first time I met Sujatha, Teerthankar Dubey (a nice IITM chap with 99.99 percentile), and a whole lot of other IITians at the GDs; we were fated to be thrown together at practically every other GD too... very serious panel, but I managed to crack all the Qs they threw at me... All networks Qs (IP, addressing, security, Email). This is the first time in my life I've managed to correctly answer five Computer Science questions in a row!
Rating: 3.5/5

IIM Ahmedabad
The biggie. Very jargon-heavy discussion. Supply chain, horizontal and vertical expansion, core competence, cross holdings, back-door entry... these and more such phrases were thrown about with gay abandon in a session where we ran out of ideas in about 10 minutes but we mercifully stopped before we made fools of ourselves by going round in circles. Cool panel, very easy to talk to, lots of laughter again. Came out feeling really good, but so did a thousand other candidates, so that isn't much to go by...
Rating: 4/5

IIM Calcutta
A warning was circulated among the gathered candidates not to champion capitalism to the comrades on the panel. No one knew where that came from, but there it was. Not that the chance for an intellectual discussion on capitalism arose. A rather boring GD topic, with the irrepresible Deepak Mahadevan in full flow and Teerthankar threatening to shut me up if I interrupted with the stock phrase 'If I may just complete my point...' Thankfully, just a 10 minute discussion.
A really really fun interview (no tech, yay!), where I had to convince the guy that quizzing rocks and that it makes sense to be a day scholar and not a hostelite in my college.

Panel: So, what kind of music is your favourite?
Me: Old Hindi music
Panel: What do you mean by old? For us, 1998 is old!
(Polite little heh-heh-hehs all around)

Oh, and they asked me to sing a song!
Rating: 4.5/5

IIM Lucknow
A disaster from the start. Two member panel, one super irritable guy (who didn't seem to like the way his life was going at all) and the other a chap who would definitely have nodded off had the other guy not been talking. Political GD, all about Kashmir. Easy to talk about but somewhat zzz.
Interview was one big gooey yucky bleah mess. All about economics, which I'm OK with. But all about economics statistics, which I am only half OK (i.e. O or K) with. At three different instances in the space of 8 minutes (which all clever CAT types will work out to be once every 2.67 minutes), the irritable dude (ID) said "You don't seem to know anything. I don't know what to ask you."

ID: You don't know what the percentage contribution of Manufacturing is to the GDP, you don't even know it's absolute rupee value. And you want to be a manager! (Derisive snort) You need to have this information to make a decision now.
Me: (puzzled) I realise that, Sir, and if I ever need to make a decision I'll ensure I have all the necessary information. But, in this case, what precisely is the decision we are talking about for which I need to have this information? (Or something like that)
ID: A decision of National Policy
Me: (WTF?!?!?!?!)

Rating: 1/5

IIM Bangalore
The other biggie. Another case... Loooong discussion - 20 minutes! Got jacked in the interview. One of the panelists was a Professor of Quantitative Methods (Math Dude MD), and he asked me one hell of a lot of questions on mathematics, none of which I had a clue about. The Other guy (OG) was rather quiet, except for the first 5 minutes. As soon as I walked in,

OG: You're a Computer Science student right?
Me: Yes, sir.
OG: OK, I'll ask you some questions.

And he proceeded to open up a notebook and read out multiple choice questions from it! It was all rather disappointing; I mean the fact that he did not know Computer Science himself (he read out a coupla questions/terms wrongly) and was purely checking whether my answer matched the tick in his book...
MD then took over and that's when things went downhill faster than a drunk Calvin riding an avalanche. Or whatever, I'm lousy at imagery.

MD: What do you know about conditional and unconditional optimisation?
Me: Huh?
MD: Optimisation.
Me: I'm sorry Sir, I've never come across it. We've never learnt optimisation.
MD: (Something about maxima and minima)
Me: (Nodding my head vigorously and excitedly to indicate that I had heard of these terms before and that they were not strangers to me. Not exactly bosom buddies, but not complete strangers either.)
MD: Now, optimisation (gobbledygook) two ways (more gobbledygook) maxima-minima and
Legrangian methods. Which is suitable for conditional and unconditional optimisation, and why?
Me: (Reeling) Ahem... (winning smile) I don't know.

And more and more math... Even now, I shudder as I think of it... And then Sujatha goes in and gets questions like, "What is the equation of a line?" !!! Grrr...
Rating: 2.5/5

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Dum dum diga diga
Mausam bheega bheega

The oppressively humid and sultry weather that Chennai has seen of late has been broken today by a few hours of good rain. Beautiful, wonderful rain.

I've just got back from a very peaceful and invigorating walk in the rain. I'm thoroughly drenched and thoroughly happy. I love rain. I share a very special relationship with it.

I have spent over 13 years of my life in Dubai. It's a mindblowingly awesome place, except for the fact that it rains only for a period of two months in a year, if at all. In addition, the rain is very ordered, soft and quiet, just like the traffic there. In fact, showers are mere sputterings of H2O from the clouds, and are barely worth being called rain. My first encounter with real rain came at the age of two when I visited Bombay (a notorious place for seasonal downpours). I was moved to tears. OK, to be frank, I was scared shitless. I had never known that rain could be so powerful, so angry, so evil (as it seemed to me at that age and size) and so LOUD. I burst out crying and ran to my mommy...

But over the years I've seen all types of rain, and have come to understand and appreciate its simple beauty. There's light, soft rain that caresses your skin. And the type of shower that feels like a million fairies planting soft kisses all over you. The 'shower' shower which is like, well, a shower in terms of force and droplet impact. Also the 'fat rain', as I call it, with big fat drops which is like a big fat auntyji planting a wet, sloppy kiss on your cheek. And the heavy types which pound into and onto you, similar to the manner in which my classmates attack me after a particularly unbearable pun. And, of course, the destructive and powerful big daddy type, which you can only stand aside and watch in sheer awe and curiously excited horror.

Rain always puts me in an exceedingly good mood. I tend to go about skipping and singing and dancing and generally losing all my inhibitions. There have been several ocassions when the old lady next door has given me a disapproving glance when I let out of whoop of joy on feeling the first few drops of rain...

Rain also puts me in an exceedingly romantic mood. But the dampener (pun intended!) is the fact that I generally don't have anyone to be romantic with... and no girl (next door or otherwise) gives me a glance (disapproving or otherwise) when I let out of whoop of joy on feeling the first few drops of rain...

It is undeniable that rain has been a very important part of my life. It forced me to stay indoors and study when I was younger. (I don't stay indoors now. Nor do I study, rain or otherwise) Monsoon duets exposed me to a whole new genre of love songs... and rain-drenched Hindi actresses sated my adolescent longings (Zeenat Aman in Satyam Sivam Sundaram : mmmm!). It's helped me make new friends (co-rain-lovers), and always cheers me up with either pass or compartment... er, without fail. It gives me a chance to curl up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie, and allows me to wash away my worries and grumpiness by going on long drives with the rain and wind in my face. It also eases the chronic water shortage that cripples the fine city of Chennai. (People say, "Save water; shower with your boy/girlfriend". For those without boy/girlfriends, I say, "Save water; don't bathe." You can save more than the mere two buckets you'd save with Surf. And don't worry, nobody will suspect a thing. I've managed a once-a-week-bath lifestyle for six years now.)

Rain also causes the city drains to clog up, leading to entire roads being submerged. It gives auto-drivers a ready excuse to hike fares 250%. Perhaps the most important effect is that a steady shower makes it damned difficult to get six copies of a 150 page project report printed and bound the day before the submission deadline. In the past, a downpour has resulted in my contracting leptospirosis. (If you would like the whole story - it's a long and entertaining one! - including graphic details of mid-thigh-high water levels and cockroaches climbing up my trouser leg, do leave a comment to that effect.) A sharp shower will result in stagnant pools that will breed mosquitoes which will keep me up until 3 a.m. killing them. And once the rain stops the general mugginess will be unbearable. Yup, rain can cause one hell of a lot of problems.

But, for now, as I see the tree branches bending gracefully under the force of the rain and take in the beautiful smell of fresh, wet earth, I can't help but praise Nature

Surat aapki subhan Allah, hai Allah,
Surat aapki subhan Allah.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Close encounter

Today I was propositioned to (grammar check). For the first time in my life.

It happened like this. I had been to Jay's place last evening to work on our project (about which the less said the better), since we had our review this morning. After having decided on whatever we had to decide on (yes, we're gonna get screwed), I left around 11:20 p.m. The night was beautiful. Sultry and humid, as always, but when one is riding one's bike at a reasonably high speed, the resulting wind blowing on one's face feels heavenly.

Anyways, there I was, bowling along as happily as one can bowl along when worried to death about having another three hours of work before hitting the sack. At a slummish area near my house, I had to stop to allow three cows, two dogs and what I think was a chicken (it was a little dark at that spot; it might have been a plastic bag and not a chicken) to cross the road. And that's when I noticed a woman standing at the side of the road.

I couldn't see much of her, except that she was wearing a sari. And then, before my disbelieving eyes, she shifted the pallu of her sari provocatively. When I was still semi-reeling from this, she said, "Yennenga, venuma?" (which translates roughly to "Yo dude, want some?"). I was kinda shocked, to tell the truth. Kinda stunned. I stared at her for a couple of seconds, and she said, "Yennenga, vareengala?" ("You coming?") She took one step towards me, and I accelerated the hell out of there (the road having been cleared of all lifeforms by then).

Even now, almost 24 hours after the incident, I don't know what to make of it...

Life has certainly been anything but boring, of late!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A blog is visited, a long book read,
And memories of lost days resurrected.

I must admit I have hardly visited this blog over the period of the last 20-odd days. Some bright readers (an oxymoron, perhaps, if you're reading my blog. One of my fav dialogues in the kickass Stallone movie Oscar is "You're both an ox and a moron!" That cracks me up every time... but I digress, as I am wont to do. That sounds kinda cool huh? 'Wont to do...' Anyways, I shall now plead guilty to double digression and get on with things...).

Some bright readers might point out that not all of the last 20 days have been odd in a numerical sense. A large percentage (roughly 50%) have been decidedly even. But since that little bit of mathematical trivia is of no particular interest to me, I shall just ignore those readers (no, please, don't leave yet!) and get on with things. Which, I notice, I've said for the second time. Such is life.

Well, I've been busy with one thing and other. Primarily just the one thing - IIM interviews and stuff - but a decent proportion of other things. And I have therefore not been able to reply to the comments that you, dear reader, have left at various posts. Or, if you haven't left one, you ought to have. So please do not shake your head as if to say, "Hah! This self-absorbed freak is not worthy of our time and comments if he does not deign to reply to them" and stop commenting. I really appreciate your feedback. And the fact that you increase my blog's hit count, so I can boast about it.


My more discerning readers (I'm using the word a lot, for some obscure reason...) would have instantly awakened to the fact that the title of the blog is in verse. And in case you're thinking of a sad joke like "AC's going from bad to verse!", I'd like to say "Hah! I beat you to it!".

The reason for the rhyme? I've just finished reading Vikram Seth's 'A Suitable Boy', a very very long novel. A birdie, unfortunately not a chick, tells me it's the longest Indian novel ever. I'm not surprised. It's huge, approximately 1480 pages. I've read his 'The Golden Gate' before this - that's a novel entirely in verse - and found it smashingly brilliant.

A Suitable Boy is not in verse, though. And it's actually quite beautiful on the whole, although it does drag at certain parts. Over the eight days that it took me to finish reading it, I was introduced to a host of characters (some eccentric, some pure evil, some a great deal of fun and some instantly lovable), a very interesting view of the Indian society in the 1950s (caste, religion and all), and Indian politics just a few years after Independence. This sprawling saga involves four families - the Mehras, the Kapoors, the Chatterjis and the Khans - and their domestic crises in the backdrop of the historical and social events of the era. It's like an old-fashioned soap opera, and typifies Indians pretty nicely... There is a sweeping grandeur to the book that one does not quite realise until one has finished the book, so skilfully have the different threads and subplots been dealt with.

In the book, there is a family called the Chatterjis, and all members of this slightly weird but very lovable clan have a predilection for verse. One of the daughters, Kakoli aka Kuku, breaks out into some very funny poetry throughout the book, and that's what led to the title rhyming.

I loved the book, and I suggest
You read it too; it's by far the best
Novel I've read in a very long while.
It'll make one laugh, cry, think, smile.

I can't rhyme for nuts - almond or cashew,
So I end this part of this blogpost at last... Whew!


Over the past month or three, slam books have made their appearance in class and are being passed around faster than leaked examination papers. A slam book, for those not in the know of things, is usually a normal notebook (though sometimes a preprinted one) in which people fill up their views on you, general musings to fill up the pages (if they don't know you well enough), their contact info and, in most cases, life with you. By you, I don't mean you (dear reader), obviously, but the person who owns the book. I realise I have a pretty irritating writing style, kinda twisted and convoluted and meandering... but I shove it in your face and proudly say - Hah! I don't really know what that is meant to convey, but I hope it conveys it all the same.

Back to slam books. I don't know what's so 'slam' about them, but I'll leave that discussion to another post or another life. (Note to self: try to make sense)

Anyways, the sight of all these slam books and people excitedly scribbling all over them brought back fond memories of my days at school. I dug up my slam books from the 10th and 12th standards and spent a beautiful couple of hours reliving some of the best years of my life. The warmth, love and innocent friendship and affection that leapt out of every entry in the books moved to tears. Really. Some, in particular, brought back nostalgia in full force, all guns blazing and all that.

Sample this - Who is going to lend me his shoulder for me to lean against and shed tears? Who is going to pat me on my back and say 'well done'? Who is going to wish me a Happy New Year in the middle of April?

The last bit is, of course, a reference to my infamous eccentricity and lunacy, which has grown luxuriantly in the fertile grounds of an Anna University education.

And this one - You are exasperating, irritating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating - and a shameless flirt to boot. But all the same, it's been exciting being with you. We've had a great deal of fun. I'm gonna miss you, man. (Sniff)

Long letters on life, girls, exams, music, drumming (read banging on the desk like a madman), girls, elections (to the post of School Pupil Leader in my school), burping (I used to do it just to annoy the girls), weight reduction, dumb charades, girls, balloons (I really don't know why), Tirupati, old crushes and new ones, mothers-in-law, quizzing, birdwatching... ah, those were the days...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Omanakutty Chaikadapatti

4 vegetable biryanis, 10 atta parathas (or parottas/barottas), 5 vegetable curries, 3 chicken curries, 1 egg curry, 4 dosas, 11 lime juices, 1 chickoo milk shake and something else I don't remember now. A complete dinner for ten people, a very very satisfying meal. And all for just Rs 234. That's Rs 23.40 per person. Bloody good value for money.

This post is the long overdue one on my recent adventures in God's Own Country. Kerala, not my room.

NIT (formerly REC) Calicut (now Kozhikode) conducted (that's still the same) their cultural extravaganza Ragam '05 about 10 days back. And our college, in a sudden fit of highly fishy generosity, decided to sponsor a team of participants. And particishirts. Oh whatever.

So there we were, ten of us off on a four day release from the humdrum existence we lead in (at home) and around (in college) Chennai. The group included Krishnamurti who, because he is a god-level guitarist, is nicknamed Ishwar. And don't you forget it. (Those who are not in on the politics and machinations of the group would not get it. Tough.)

Seven of the ten were musical chaps, representing us in, as would be obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than 11.3, the musical events. (By the way, I have noticed that I, in the course of typing this post, astonishingly frequently (and sometimes quite irritatingly) use nested commas (and brackets) to construct a sentence. Why, I wonder, why...)

Just for the record, I am as far from being musical as Lalu Prasad Yadav is from being the dean of Oxford University. The non-musical guys - Nandan, Mario and me - were basically entrusted with winning as much as possible of everything else. Which the other two did with great success, but all I have to show, personally, for four days there, is 200 bucks and a name tag that proudly proclaims that I was the team captain. Yahoo, bring out the champagne.

But what I cherish about the trip is not the event itself which fell just a little short of my expectations. It was the experience, the fun and the FOOD! The food consistently rocked throughout. If you're ever there, you must try the pineapple juice at the canteen - it's like an alien. Out of this world. OK, that was sad. But I was happy. There I was, stuffing myself with all this great food and having the college pay for it! The food was not only incredibly delicious, it was also dirt cheap. One could have a really really filling breakfast - multiple dishes - for just 10 bucks.

The canteen, where we were served by our good friend seguppu sattai (which translates to red shirt) - a warm and friendly chap from north-eastern India - is just one of the options available for a sublime culinary experience. The second place we tried was called Hotel Darbar. Nice place, very tasty food, and very cheap. But for some strange reason, the experience of finding a big black bug (which I suspect was of the genus Blattellidae) in my omelette turned me off. So don't go there.

The best place we found there for grub is popularly called Mamachans. OK, it's actually SomethingElse Canteen and Mamachan's Ice Creams, but everyone calls it Mamachans. It's a tiny restaurant hidden near the back of the campus. Quite easy to miss it, as we did at first. The first night we went there, they had a power cut. From afar, it looked like a haunted cottage, eerily (spell check, please) lit by candlelight. The sort of place hot young things in close-to-no clothes simply have to spend a night at in cheesy Hindi horror flicks. Anyways, when we finally found it, it was worth the short tramp. We attacked the poor chap (who was actually done for the night) and cleaned him out completely. From the baleful looks his dog kept giving us, I'm guessing we had the dog's dinner too. Super delicious food, super low pricing. The first paragraph of this helps illustrate my point.

There's more to our trip than just food. The roommate forced on us ("Can I schmock in the room?"), our conversations in Hindi (a sanskrit scholar among us ordered "ekaha plate-aha vadaha"!), butter naan vs butter chicken... but that's food again. The girls hitting on Mario, the indepth knowledge of all things carnal required for JAM, the #$%^@ daily quiz with no prize money, the late night music practice sessions, antakshari in the train, deciding how much we could flick from the college without appearing to be indecently greedy, the lush greenery, the friendly people and the repeated references to Omanakutty Chaikadapatti... so much to say, so little energy.

Gonna go watch Jurassic Park dubbed into Malayalam on Asianet. Ciao.