Saturday, December 16, 2006



Ever since I was declared socially unfit by my family in the year 2001 AD I have lived with the fact that I can never be one of those suave, smooth talking characters Shahrukh Khan normally plays on screen. Along with that came the realization that the chances of impressing village belles with my boyish charm or city girls with my retro/metro sexual demeanor were highly improbable. Diffidence and coyness have perpetually plagued me like two huge plaguing things. Needless to say I am yet to have a girlfriend though there have been times when I came close to having one. At least I would like to believe I was close to having one. Before I go any further let me state that the following chronicle of events is dedicated to all those friends of mine whose social awkwardness especially in front of the opposite sex have come to characterize the average IITian. My message for them: Fear not for you are not alone!

Much has written about the skewed sex-ratio in our institute. Various remedial measures have been suggested. Some are revolutionary, some pure drivel. A few over enthusiastic individuals have even gone as far as to suggest an unofficial “quota” ala the IIMs1. Obviously all these things won’t help. Girls have always found the JEE a needless waste of time and have found better avenues to channel their energies. Watching John Abraham movies or deciding which contestant to vote for in those grotesque reality shows are a few examples where they would rather invest their time. So any hopes of improving the ratio ought to be laid to rest.

The ratio undoubtedly has had a terrible effect on the societal skills of the average IITian. Little or no interaction between the sexes has lead to an amazing level of desperation and despondency among the students. Let me give you some examples of a few pick-up lines used by people to disastrous effects. Our man is at Spencer’s. He sees a hot girl and approaches her. The following conversation ensues.

Our Man: Hi.

Hot Girl: Hi.

Our Man: Can I have your phone-number? (readers keep in mind that this is the first meeting)

Hot Girl: Why? ( we must agree that this was a highly justified question)

Our Man: Ah well…Hmmmmm…. ( thinks hard for a great one-liner, fails, and duly returns to his Gumbal)

Well not all of us suffer from these sudden bouts of tonguetied-ness ( if there is such a word.) One of my friends happened to be completely misinformed about the residential origins of his object of interest. What followed was another memorable conversation.

Misinformed Friend: Hi

Object of Interest: Hi

Misinformed Friend: Are you from Bhagalpur?

Object of Interest: No. ( our friend finds himself in a difficult position, but notice how he bounces back from the brink)

Misinformed Friend who now knows he is misinformed: oh! Well…..but I am from Bhagalpur. Pleased to meet you. ( and departs while leaving the girl dumbfounded)

My personal experiences in this regard have been interesting to say the least. The recent one happened right after Lit-Soc dramatics. After all the plays were over, a few members of our dramatics team and me were making chit-chat outside the CLT. For some bizarre reason I happened to be explaining them the finer points of the Intellectual Properties Rights Policy of General Electric. Along came to join the group another member of our team along with his Swiss girlfriend. Now most of you will agree that being seen in the company of female exchange students have always been listed very high in the “51 Things I want to be seen doing in IIT2. The elated looks on my compatriots’ faces was proof enough of the restrained sense of jubilation they were currently going through. Now the topic of conversation has always been regarded as the fundamental moot point on which depends how long you would enjoy such exalted company. Everything’s fine if you have the right topic, say the experts. What the experts never explained in detail is how to know choose that elusive topic. Anyway, I decided to take the initiative and begin the conversation. A loud voice spoke to me in my mind, “Keep talking about IPR. That ought to impress her.” A smaller voice shot back,” Are you insane! Keep your mouth shut!”

I made the fatal mistake of listening to the louder voice and began “As I was saying, the Intellectual Property Rights division in GE ensures……..” No sooner where these words out, the pleasant countenance on the Swiss Miss’s face transformed in to a grimace. Realizing that the evening can be better spent she politely excused herself from the now thoroughly engrossing discourse on IPR by me. This was followed by an uncomfortable silence. I of course had apprehended by then from the looks on my friends’ faces that something was wrong. It didn’t take long for their restrained jubilation to transform into unrestrained fury. The next fifteen minutes were spent by me exploring the MSB at a very fast pace trying to save my bones at the same time. Moral of the story:

1. Don’t discuss anything remotely related to Intellectual Property Rights while in company of Swiss girls.

2. And always listen to the small voice!

A good vocabulary always helps. So please pick your copy of Barron’s and get going. To prove my point I do have yet another example. This happened during Saarang. A certain acquaintance mine asked a girl out for dinner. Now he knew her barely for a day3.So pat came the reply “You just met me and you have the audacity to ask me out!” Now this guy was known for his witty repartees and we all were expecting a sweep-her-of-her-feet reply. But that was not to be. He apologized and came back! As expected we confronted him angrily and asked him why he let us down in such a miserable fashion. To that he replied, “Hey, what does audacity mean?”

All these anecdotes might give the impression that most of our brethren are social disasters. But there have been instances when spunk has prevailed. It was the last day of Shaastra. I was conducting this terribly tiring lab visit for around 6 batches with fifteen people each. One of these batches had this breathtaking beauty who had come all the way from Shimla. The loveliness had such a captivating power (Do I sound like Keats here?) that all the voices in the head screamed. “Get her name! Get her name!” Now I am not the ‘going and getting the name’ type. Or else I wouldn’t be writing this article. So I couldn’t achieve much beyond gaping like an ape. The visit was almost over and she was about to leave when it struck me like a brick. A plan so simple yet so shrewd that you could put a beard to it and call it Shylock. I boldly went up to her and asked, “Excuse me, could you please give me five minutes and fill this feedback form for me”. Never in history had that piece of paper with those terribly boring questions been better used. Now this wasn’t the standard QMS form we are talking about but a highly inquisitive one we had specially got printed just for our event. In a few minutes I knew everything about her except her father’s salary and occupation. Name, number, email-id, address, everything.

Well, we can’t expect feedback forms to solve all our problems in life. But the point I am trying to make but have failed miserably to do so till now is that it’s not about getting phone numbers or going on dates. We need to understand that learning to handle a person of the opposite sex without appearing to be a sex maniac or a wooden toy is as important as any other aspect of campus life. I yearn for the day when my female friends (Ya, I actually have a few) stop remarking nonchalantly how desperate most IITians are and how they send endless requests for companionship in social networking forums. I yearn for the day when my friends will stop interpreting harmless ‘Hi’s from any girl as a proposition. And finally I yearn for the day when “Fraanship & Loveship” requests will stop emanating from the Orkut accounts of fellow IITians.

I make a plea. This plea is not for the people who date Stella Maris girls in the weekend or receive Friendship Day greetings from MCC girls. My plea is directed towards those innumerable faceless IITians who day after day send those hideous and revolting messages from their rooms to unsuspecting girls like the one below.

I am a smart guy studying IIT. I can solve fast differential equations. I won the inter-hostel contraception contest. My favourite book is Dan Brown(!). Will you be my friend? I promise to be a good friend and keep all your secrets(!!!)4

No civilized society can tolerate this for long. So please STOP! And if you can’t at least replace the first I with N!

1. Ya. Its true. Contrary to what Sharavites might have you beilieve.

2. A treatise often referred to in some parts of the institute.

3. Not an uncommon occurrence during Saarang.

4. Profile Source:

Saturday, August 19, 2006


You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Your EQ is 147

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!

51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.

71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.

91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.

111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.

131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.

150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

You Have Your Sarcastic Moments

While you're not sarcastic at all times, you definitely have a cynical edge.

In your opinion, not all people are annoying. Some are dead!

And although you do have your genuine moments, you can't help getting your zingers in.

Some people might be a little hurt by your sarcasm, but it's more likely they think you're hilarious.

You Are An INTP

The Thinker

You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.

Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.

Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.

A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.

You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...

But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.

You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.

You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

Monday, July 24, 2006


One of my friends forwarded me this messages just days after the carnage in Mumbai.

I found it mighty interesting. It is reproduced here below.

Dear Terrorist,

Even if you are not reading this we don't care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but every time you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewhere, not here.

We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengali’s. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt.
employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this. On the last few occasions when you struck (including the 7 deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring 500+ in 1993), we went to work next day in full strength. This time we cleared everything within a few hours and were back to normal - the vendors placing their next order, businessmen finalizing the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. (Yes the same train you targeted)

Fathom this: Within 3 hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospitals, where most of the injured were admitted. By 12 midnight, the hospital had to issue a notification that blood banks were full and they didn't require any more blood. The next day, attendance at schools and office was close to 100%, trains & buses were packed to the brim, and the crowds were back.
The city has simply dusted itself off and moved one - perhaps with greater vigor.

We are Mumbaikers and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers. The spirit of Mumbai is very strong and can not be harmed.

Please forward this to others. U never know, by chance it may come to hands of a terrorist in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq and he can then read this message which is specially meant for him!!!

With Love,
from the people of Mumbai (Bombay)

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I now announce before the world, that India has developed the most exceptional counter terrorism weapon ever devised in human history. It’s called….the SPIRIT!!! In development in the clandestine labs hidden in the labyrinthine Mumbai suburbs for the last thirteen years, SPIRIT 6.0 was finally unveiled in the wake of the 7/11 attacks. The scientists of the elite SIRDO (Social Indifference Research and Development Organization) proudly declared a completely successful launch. There were the usual initial glitches when the people were helping the wounded and asking uncomfortable questions regarding public safety (imagine the gall!!!). But soon things were back to ordinary and when the city returned to normalcy in a few hours, the operation was declared an unqualified success. Before going any further let’s delve into the history behind the making of the SPIRIT. It all began in the year 1993 when Dawood Ibrahim showed his displeasure about the way a few Mumbai buildings are designed by well…… blowing them up. Unfortunately his henchmen made a mess of the timer thing (the old AM\PM muddle) and around three hundred people had to pay the price. The whole incident was immediately declared a “terrorist attack”. Poor Dawood! You just can’t express your opinion in Mumbai anymore, can you! The Indian government promised to deal with the menace with a “firm” hand. A hand which proved so firm over the times that it’s been rendered immovable hence not achieving anything substantial. But wait. Before jumping the gun and blaming the government of inaction read this. In the days that followed the supreme decision making body on the nation’s security C-CIP (Cabinet Committee on Insecurity and Procrastination) debated vociferously and sometimes violently (ask jaipal reddy if you don’t believe me) on what course to take. Finally they decided upon to a plan the result of which we have today SPIRIT 6.0.

The elder statesmen of the country came to the conclusion that to blunt these terrorists, the only way was to toughen the MORALE of the people. And toughen it so much that the severest of attacks would trouble the general populace as much as a fly in the proverbial ointment. The aim was to make the public completely apathetic and unmoved to the threats the country might be facing. Internal or external. And have they succeeded!!

After losing two hundred of its people Mumbai resumes work the next day as if absolutely nothing has happened. And here’s the best part. The sensex actually rises a hundred points!!! Oh! But a few more blasts and I can break even on those blasted HMT stocks I bought last month. Compare the situation with 9/11 (yup these militants have a thing for 11) the NASDAQ remained closed for almost 4 days if I remember correctly and when it did reopen the points took a huge plunge before you could say “Ketan Parikh”.

Shame! The patriots scream. How dare you compare those jaundiced New Yorkers to our sanguine Mumbaikers! Some nerve!! Mumbai is a great city. The financial capital of India! The Sydney of the north. The Shanghai of the west. But as things are turning out, I feel it will soon be Kabul of the south or Baghdad of the east. My not so sincere apologies to all of them.

SPIRIT 6.0 wasn’t achieved overnight. It required a lot of revisions, upgrading, amendments and subtle adjustments. The aftermath of 1993 saw the launch of SPIRIT 1.0. Gradually as more attacks took place the next versions were released. The effects were for all to see. The public stopped asking questions regarding their own security. No queries were made regarding the perpetrators of past strikes. Blasts and shootouts became as common in the Indian bazaars as vegetables and adulterated kerosene. A few of us had the temerity to ask, “What’s the government doing about all this?” Stoically the government replies, “We cannot allow this to happen” with a few usual phrases like “no stone will be left unturned” thrown in for good measure. In the meantime they pledge that nothing will affect the “Peace Process” for that would mean playing into the hands of the terrorists.

Peace Process”. How long will this carrot be dangled before us? Where’s the f@$%ing peace!! Here you have a country waging a proxy war against us for the last twenty five years and we are still trying to talk peace. This peace will leave our country in pieces one day. And that day we will have finally played into their hands. Frankly speaking, I feel something is terribly wrong with us and our country. We have lost our voice. We don’t know how to fight back anymore. The anger pent up within is affecting both the society and us personally at various levels. The frustration is let out during those all too frequent riots. And we end up hurting ourselves more.

Wait a minute!!!

What’s all this voicing of self-angst and resentment doing here??

We are here to praise the government’s “efforts”. Not to censure them!! Its time for unity.

Lets not “play into the hands of the enemy” by raising prickly topics. That wouldn’t be a clever thing to do. And of course, one never knows when his blog gets banned because the Department of Tele (mis)communications (the new vanguard of internal security) feels it is speaking too much of the truth. Oops!

So let’s sing paeans of the astonishing SPIRIT shown by our Mumbaikers. Let’s congratulate them that they could nonchalantly resume their work the following day as if nothing had happened. Lets forget how none of them asked, or ranted on the streets so often as they normally do about other trivial issues (some statue fiasco), about why the life of an Indian is so cheap? Why an 18 year old will have to stay crippled for the rest of his life just because he was on the wrong train? Why we lose our people again and again and yet we are unable to hit back? We have all forgotten how to ask “why?” But then do we need the answers in the first place? After all we do have the SPIRIT. We will surely tide over this too as we have done over the past occasions. Are we to behave like those timid Israelis who bomb countries (they do things in style don’t they?) just because a couple of their soldiers been kidnapped? Or like those paranoid Americans who spies on anybody and everybody and detains people like we collect stamps. No. we are not like them.

But then maybe an Israeli or an American life is worth more than that of an Indian. We Indians might pooh-pooh the American style of confronting their problems but it is true that after 9\11 there hasn’t been a single strike on American soil. Osama might rant and rail from his caves but he too knows that he will need one hell of a plan to repeat a 9/11.

Comparing Hezbollah and the LET (Lashkar-E-Toyabba) is like comparing Tendulkar to Lee-Huan (You might not have heard of him. He is China’s top batsman.) Yet we have never managed so much as to even throw a stone at any LET camps. But of course, lest I forget, we have a “Peace Process” to take care of. What credibility would our great nation have if it tried to defend itself by hitting extremist camps in POK? We could then risk losing the tag of “a responsible nuclear nation who shows restraint amid extreme provocation”. Name me one country which could claim to hold such an esteemed position on the world stage.

Let’s not be too one-sided in the matter. Of course the government has a very effective and time-tested way to handle all such matters when the security of the realm is at stake.

It’s called the MACFOO (Make A Complete Fool Of Ourselves) Strategic Plan. It has a rigid framework working within the following guidelines.

1. C-CIP meets to “review” the situation (read having snacks and tea while watching the latest updates on the event on TV) hence by delaying where immediate action is called for. Ex: Hijacked plane in Amritsar fiasco.

2. All and sundry condemn the attack in the strongest terms. (A routine procedure. The number of deaths determines how strong the condemnation is. This scale of condemnation will remain a mystery forever.)

3. The “Foreign” hand. This is proclaimed on national TV before any form of investigation is launched. Actually there is always a scramble among cabinet ministers regarding who gets to say it first. Once an over-excited minister declared it even before the strike took place! Ok just kidding.

4. “Hundreds” rounded up. How? Why? What happens to them later? Did it help? We never get these answers.

5. A week later a few arrests are made! The concerned men’s faces are covered as they are brought to court. Why? Do they have a reputation to take care of? Why do they cover the faces!!! Well maybe they are some not that good looking to be caught on camera.

6. A couple of years later all are freed due to “lack of evidence”. Ex: The Red Fort case.

A follow up question regarding this. Sir, did u look for the evidence in the first place?

7. Of course I missed out on the mandatory encounter when one of the guys was caught “trying to escape” and hence gunned down. Come on people, you have overplayed this “trying to escape” routine. Think some new ones. “He was eating too many parathas” could be a good reason for a change.

8. Back to square one. Wait for the next set of blasts. Repeat the whole routine. And of course launch the next version of…..SPIRIT.

Insider sources reveal that Strategic Plan MACFOO was the brain child of an enterprising minister who somehow was extremely impressed by the FOR-NEXT routine in the C language. (Non computer geeks try not to make much sense of that. I have to cater to the wishes of my readers u see. Namely me.)

In the case of extraordinary situations like the parliament attack (now that’s one plan which I wish had been successful) the administration moves a few army battalions from a few places and puts them elsewhere. This Age Of Empire style tactics is employed in the fervent hope that the public will think something is being done. And it does too. So you see, the government does something after all. A few critics still remain. They still doubt the great mandarins in the north and south blocks. They ask,

Wait a minute.

Hasn’t this been our policy for at least the last fifteen years now?

Surely not!

Come on, we have the third largest army.

The fourth largest air force.

The fifth largest navy.

Oh yes, we happen to be a nuclear power too with an estimated 200 nuclear warheads ready to deploy at a moments notice.

Not to mention an imaginatively named intelligence agency which is considered one of the most secretive in the world.

And yet….. We can’t defend our people!!

Come on you morons!!! Haven’t you guessed why we have such impressive armed forces and weaponry? Really your IQ seems to be in the single digits. The reason is to give Doordarshan that one day in the year when it can boast of the highest TRP ratings. Yes folks. All that defense expenditure is just to have a great parade on 26th January. The whole world’s watching you know. And of course it’s a great source of employment among other minor reasons.

So that’s it people. Yet again we proved how great a nation we are. Perhaps the only one who defends its citizens with a metaphysical shield called the …. SPIRIT. If this doesn’t get us a permanent seat in the Security Council nothing will. Kofi Annan please take note.

PS: I have a little query for my dear government. A couple of days following 7/11 I took the local train in Chennai (just for kicks) to see what steps the police have taken in wake of the recent catastrophe. In Guindy R.S there was just one constable who was drinking tea in one corner reading a paper whose headlines screamed, “Nation on High Alert”. The situation begged the question. Which nation did you mean exactly? Or maybe the militants don’t know there’s a metro called Chennai. Maybe soon they will. Maybe soon you will too.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


here's something i came across about the queen of hills on the net.

Only in Darjeeling...
...people sit in the dense fog and watch an entire
soccer match, without knowing what the hell is going
on in the field

Only in darjeeling...
...people go to buy laangshyaa and end up watching
carrom for hours

Only in Darjeeling... you walk through the town once, and meet the same
people ten times

Only in Darjeeling.... doodhwalas sell milk with less fat than skim

Only in Darjeeling.... the unemployed dress up better than the

Only in Darjeeling...
....the best dishes on the menu in any restaurant are
thukpa and momo

Only in Darjeeling.... you find distance in Kilometres and places in
Miles....Chha mile, Dus mile, Baarah mile, Biis mile

Only in Darjeeling...
...can you jump off a train...take a leak.. and catch
the train again...

Only in Darjeeling...
..the prettiest girl always eloped with a driver

Only in Darjeeling...
Boys carry two different love letters in their back
pockets. Nepali and English written

Only in Darjeeling …
Mann mann mai love mann mann mai break

Only in Darjeeling …
a train gets caught in a traffic jam

Only in Darjeeling... you go to sleep with a bottle of hot water for
warmth in winter....and wake up in the morning and
”daant moluus" with the same water.

Only in Darjeeling...
.....people eat iskus ko munta and jara everyday and not get fed up.

Only in Darjeeling...
.....people go to watch the same movie as many as 15 times.

Only in Darjeeling...
....people will spend all day leaning against the paan dokan, chew pan and
exchange humjayga jokes.

Only in Darjeeling...
....jobless playboys manage to keep 3 girlfriends at the same time.

Only in darjeeling...
...people can sit around the "angaiti" the whole night.

Only in Darjeeling...
.... every teenaged student is attending either the Government College or
North Point.

Only in Darjeeling...
.....can a jeep carry twenty passengers.

only in Darjeeling...
... you can take your date for ek rupee ko aloo bhooja wit tittiri ko jhool at bhola...and make her squeal with delight

only in Darjeeling
...a bawoon and a lama sit together at dara
...and pray for the same god

only in Darjeeling hashel hushel
u will find muslims, nepalis, tibetans, biharis
....beating the same drums

only in Darjeeling
......Singamari taxis carry 8 passengers..4 in the front and four at the back
...driver being the 9th gets to drive on half seat....

Monday, April 03, 2006


u turn or dead end?

"Karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana, Ma karmaphalaheturbhurmate sangostva karmani"

lets play ball.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Australia 434-4 (50) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
A Gilchrist c Hall b Telemachus 55 44 9 0 125.00
S Katich c Telemachus b Ntini 79 90 9 1 87.78
*R Ponting c Dippenaar b Telemachus 164 105 13 9 156.19
M Hussey c Ntini b Hall 81 51 9 3 158.82
A Symonds not out 27 13 3 1 207.69
B Lee not out 9 7 0 0 128.57
D Martyn

M Clarke

N Bracken

S Clark

M Lewis

B Hogg(SS)

Extras: 19 ( b:0 lb:4 nb:10 w:5)
Total: 434-4 (50) | Curr. RR: 8.68

FOW: A Gilchrist (97-1, 15.2), S Katich (216-2, 30.3), M Hussey (374-3, 46.1), *R Ponting (407-4, 47.4)

South Africa 438-9 (49.5) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
*G Smith c Hussey b Clarke 90 55 13 2 163.64
B Dippenaar b Bracken 1 7 0 0 14.29
H Gibbs c Lee b Symonds 175 111 21 7 157.66
A Villiers c Clarke b Bracken 14 20 1 0 70.00
J Kallis c and b Symonds 20 21 1 0 95.24
M Boucher not out 50 43 4 0 116.28
J Kemp c Martyn b Bracken 13 17 0 0 76.47
J Wath c Ponting b Bracken 35 18 1 3 194.44
R Telemachus c Hussey b Bracken 12 6 2 0 200.00
A Hall c Clarke b Lee 7 4 1 0 175.00
M Ntini not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
J Peterson(SS)

Extras: 20 ( b:4 lb:8 nb:4 w:4)
Total: 438-9 (49.5) | Curr. RR: 8.79

FOW: B Dippenaar (3-1, 1.2), *G Smith (190-2, 22.1), A Villiers (284-3, 30.5), H Gibbs (299-4, 31.5), J Kallis (327-5, 37.4), J Kemp (355-6, 42.1), J Wath (399-7, 46.3), R Telemachus (423-8, 48.2), A Hall (433-9, 49.3)



Saturday, February 25, 2006


It was not a stormy day though it ought to have been. A day with the usual Chennai sun blazing away to glory. Nothing in the air suggested anything untoward. Incidentally it also happened to be Valentine’s Day. Also the first day of our quiz 1. For the fourth semester. The exam for that day was of phase transformation

I always looked forward to my first exam for phase transformation. The reason for this strange yearning lay in the fact that it was going to be my first open book exam. Those people not accustomed to this paradoxical concept, it is an exam in which you are allowed to bring your notes to. Funny, but something we all dream of. The night before the exam I had a terrific time going to every room and mentioning cheekily what a pity it was that they had to work so hard for the next day’s exam. While all I had to do was go through the pages once and ensure I wake up in time.

Well, that little detail about getting up on time did me in. Over confidence led to utter disregard for a certain crucial element- setting the alarm. Under usual circumstances, I have strategically placed alarms in three vantage points in my room. These points were decided on by me after some complex geometrical calculations, for I needed them to be at the farthest positions from where I sleep. Topping the three mechanical alarms, I also repose faith in human alarms. Namely, my wonderful neighbors who happen to believe that getting up early in the morning is a good thing to do. But my pertinent taunting the previous night as mentioned above resulted in them “accidentally” forget that I too needed to be awakened. So much for the human alarms then.

So, in view of this catastrophic failure of my convoluted wake-up buzzer system, it was not surprising that on waking up I was slightly ruffled. The time which my watch dial showed suggested that unless I had been bitten by a radio-active spider or had kryptonite shoved down my throat while I slept the chances of me making to the exam-hall in time was close to naught. Nevertheless, I pulled off an astonishing performance and found myself in the hall only seven minutes late and totally out of breath. I had missed the initial instructions but considered that after all there was nothing more to know about.

I sat on the first row with none of my batch mates in the near vicinity.

Of course, in all this rush, I had not forgotten the all too precious notes. With a song on my lips and mirth in my heart I took up the question paper and glanced through it. Just as I anticipated, it was a piece of cake, rather a slice of pizza as the Italians would put it. Three direct theory-based questions preceded by a long numerical which was the only thing which required me to work the grey cells. The concept based questions required direct lifting of material from the notes. So I wondered the need for having an open book exam. It seemed a futile exercise. It was more like, in terms of Microsoft word a test of one’s copy and pasting skills. On the other hand I told myself not be concerned about such mundane stuff ad rather concentrate on replicating things properly. So I laid out my notes and got down to business. Time flew and before I could realize I had only five minutes and the whole numerical remained to be completed. I had taken so much care to write the rest that my time management suffered significantly. I managed a shoddy solution and submitted the paper. Incidentally, we were also supposed to attach the question paper with it. Something which had escaped my mind altogether. Thankfully, I become conscious of it immediately and asked for my sheets back. Prof Haridoss handed them back and I attached the question paper. On resubmitting began the legendary conversation which will haunt me for a long long time.

He asked,” Have you attached the formulae sheet?”

I replied with a frown,” Which formulae sheet?”

“The one you had with you. The one in which you wrote all the formulas for the exam.”

“I didn’t have one. All the things I required were in my notes”.

“Notes! You mean you had your notes with you? Why?”

“Why? What why? It was an open book exam! That’s why!”

“Open book exam! Who told you that? I had specifically told in class that only formulas were to be brought and then the sheet attached to the answer paper.”

“What! You mean….. You mean…..I mean…..mean…well…..oh god!”

I was speechless. I was without speech.

“Yes, you are right. It was NOT an open book exam. I think someone needs to do some explaining here.”

“Well, basically sir, what I thought was………….”

What happened next is yet another long story. Surprised, stunned, dazed, upset, traumatized, appalled are some adjectives which can barely describe my state then. Prof Haridoss was as shaken as I was. He never knew that ignorance and stupidity could reach such depths. Just imagine. Those 50 minutes in the hall, I happily sat with my notes strewn over the desk copiously noting down the smallest detail and no one even noticed. And not for a second did I comprehend that something was horribly wrong. Whenever, I think about it I can’t help but laugh….To salvage some lost position I did ask him not to mark me for all the theory questions in spite of all this being unintentional.

Nonetheless, from now on I deserve some respect. For I am Sayan. Lord of the Idiots.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thank you Jhantu, for everything.


It was in Gapa’s room that I had first met Jhantu. Chanani the previous night had told me of these seniors who were absolutely amazing in Dumb-Charades. He said that I had to see them play to believe it. So next day in the evening we tagged along to Gapa, our lit-sec’s room. It was full of fourth years. Gapa, Bhave, Bacchi, Banner, Tg with Jhantu sitting in the corner. After the preliminary introductions by me, they got down to business. For the next half an hour I saw one of the finest Dumb-C performances ever. Jhantu was the main actor while all the rest guessed. He performed with a raw intensity which we notice in professional sportsmen. I was really impressed. For the next one week, Chanani, Nai and I underwent a grueling practice schedule. Under Jhantu of course. He taught us all the nuances and we lapped every bit of it. He chided us for any mistake committed and smiled when we cracked tough ones. From then on, I always considered him a friend rather than a senior.

Jhantu was the de-facto lit-sec of Mandak. I doubt whether anyone in the years to come can ever match his passion and dedication. When he came to know that I wasn’t partnering with a certain guy in quizzes because of personal differences, he scolded me telling that petty quarrels shouldn’t affect important matters. His fundaes sessions will always be legendary. Invariably all his sentences began with “Basically…….” Treasure Hunt, Fete, Choreo Night. These were the times when Jhantu was at his best. His disappointed face when none would turn up for those late-night planning sessions, would be so compelling that we freshies scampered all round the hostel pulling people out of their beds.

He was a talented guy. No doubt. Acting was his forte. His mind-blowing renditions in elocution and mono acting are still etched clear on my mind. Organizational skill was something I have learnt from him. Whatever people may believe about Mandak being litsoc fanatics, it always needed people like Jhantu to get things done in a proper and neat manner. His way of requesting was such that people seldom could refuse him anything. Winning the treasure hunt was one of the highpoints of freshie year. I will never forget the military precision manner in which the entire game plan was thought of and executed. Needless to say Jhantu had a huge contribution in this regard.

His sense of humor was marvelous. I would like to write of one such incident in particular. The mono acting prelims was in progress and Jhantu was performing a piece. It was about a boy who was asking whether god would fulfill his wishes. He said,

“God, will u answer my prayers? Will you? O.k. lets see. I have a request. Do you see that girl sitting at the back? In the pink dress. Second last row. Fourth from the right.”

(the whole auditorium turns back and stares at the girl who was beginning to feel very self-conscious now). Jhantu continues,

“god, can you make that girl kiss me? Can you?”

A deathly silence prevailed for a moment before every one present burst out into uncontrollable peals of laughter. The girl went deep pink in embarrassment. Jhantu had just presented the show of the year. Another episode occurred when the ragging session was in progress. One of my wing mates 4kg was warned that about a hairy giant of a senior in the first floor who incidentally also happened to be gay. With this cheeky lie, he was told that this senior (Jhantu) wanted to meet him. So very apprehensive of what was about to happen to him, 4kg went to room no 207. Jhantu opened it asked him to come in and sit down on the floor. After that he is supposed to have pulled off some stunning act. He put off the lights and took his shirt off and asked 4kg to sit with him on his bed. His mannerisms and speech was so well presented that 4kg got totally petrified with fear and burst out crying. Only then did Jhantu put on the lights consoled him and convinced him that it was all in good humor.

Always ready to lend a hand, Jhantu was perhaps after Loki, the senior to whom I most close. I had spent numerous hours in his room on his computer surfing the net, checking mails. He had this collection of old Hindi flicks. I recollect watching “Ek Ruka Hua Faisla” while he happily slept oblivious to the fact that he had an exam the next day and had a very meager knowledge about what it was. An avid foodie like me, he gave me full details of eating-joints worth checking out in Chennai. He loved chatting and chatted long hours on various topics. Always smiling, he would never forget to wave whenever we met in the corridors or outside the hostel. He always asked me about how I was doing academically and when I habitually replied on how I was not doing so well, he replied with a mischievous wink. I recall how once we came across him in the Dhaba. He cribbed about how lazy he was and warned us that academics was very important. These statements were of course followed by his customary smile and wink.

After passing out he went to Mumbai. One day we came across online and he asked how life was treating us? As expected he was unhappy about Mandak’s litsoc status and cautioned me to do better or else….. That day he also gave a long sermon on how I should be more optimistic about things and prepare for the future. He was happy with his job but complained about the long commuting hours. Then last month, one week before Saarang, as I was returning from class, I met him. He had got this French beard and was as imposing as ever. He promised to come and meet us that night. I had forgotten all about it by evening and was taken by surprise when he turned up at twelve. Inspite of the busy schedule, he had kept his promise to meet his junior. He chatted for around thirty minutes when he again cribbed about his torturous local train routine. I jokingly asked him not to be so miserly and get a car. He then left saying that he had a flight to catch early next morning.

Yesterday, on 21st February 2006, at 9 pm Akshay Barman alias Jhantu fell from a local train in Mumbai. He suffered from serious head injuries and passed away that night itself. His parents had expired while his stay in IIT. He had no siblings.

He is survived by no one. Wrong. He is survived by a legion of his friends, well-wishers and people who he had affected in some way or the other. Jhantu, we love you. We respect you. We will always miss you. Forgetting people like you is a difficult task indeed.I had but known you for just one year. What about the people who grew up with you, who spent the most crucial years of their lives in your company? God has been more cruel to them than he has been to you. For they will have to live with this fact forever that you are no longer there

But this is all so sudden that I am yet to actually believe that I am writing this. A small voice urges me to click on the messenger icon and see if you are online or not. Just like that you have gone from our lives. You have left me wishing a lot of things.

I wish I had known you for more time..

I wish I had spent a few more time in your room, chatting.

I wish there were many more litsoc events for you to guide me in.

I wish we had sung a few more songs on Holi.

I wish we could have spoken for some more time last month.

I wish…….

It was an honor knowing you.

Thank you Jhantu, for everything.

Sunday, February 05, 2006




Today will be remembered for a long time. For the first time in my life I had a three way conference on my cell phone. That too with my old school buddies.

Three guys. One in Delhi. One in Chennai. And the third in Calcutta. We spoke for 80 minutes at a stretch. It was like vacation time. The only thing missing were the innumerable plates of steaming momos which normally accompany our annual get together. We discussed everything. Academics, future career plans, existent/non-existent love lives, old teachers, Hollywood, Bollywood, cricket, pros and cons of the three respective metros, food, mobile service, weather, alcohol, metro rail, cars. As usual we indulged in the all too familiar leg pulling with dear Lucian bearing the brunt of the attack, which of course is a forgone conclusion in any matter he takes part in.

I was speaking to Ravi after a long time and as expected he has not changed a bit. Going steady with a girl for some time, he was his usual affable self. Just for the records it was he who sponsored this cross country communication extravaganza. I did not ask him how he intended to pay for all this for going by his reputation as the biggest duper of mobile phone agencies in history, he surely must have had a cunning plan somewhere. Lucian was his usual self and thankfully not drunk. He couldn’t help making his trademark silly statements which have got him into those frequent embarrassing situations, which have always been our source of primary entertainment.

I for my part kept up my reputation of being Lucian’s tormentor-in-chief. I had to confide in Ravi about my failed attempts at the obvious. He was naturally very supportive. We updated each other on what’s going on in our respective lives, along with catching up on the lives of common friends.

Such conversations really bring in a breath of fresh air into the otherwise hectic schedule we go through. For a few moments time comes to a standstill and we are transported back to those enchanting schooldays where we all used to sit and discuss these very topics. Around five years have passed but our views, thoughts and mannerisms have remained the same. Hopefully, it will stay so. Amen.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006




How would one describe his memoirs? An anthology of certain events. Or something more. What about the trials and tribulations one goes through daily? Should they be written about? Talked about? Discussed on a public platform? I need not worry about the public part. Though technically the blog is open for all to see, till last count only about two to three people actually invest time browsing through it.

I have always considered baring ones heart out to someone else is a silly thing to do. One always ends up making a fool of oneself. Emotional restraint manages to keep people guessing. And hence avoids exploitation to a certain extent. My mom once exclaimed exasperatedly that she had never seen such an emotionless fellow as me. I took it as a compliment. But I realized that perhaps occasionally it would be a good idea to jot down those thought processes for future reference. I have noticed they generally entertain you at a later point of time. And hopefully it might prevent me from making the same mistakes. (Fat chance of that happening.)

So the next thing is to decide what to write and what not to. I will surely not want to know how my classes went and what I had for dinner. Or perhaps I would. Well, the point is that it’s not fair to classify something as boring and something as interesting. It all depends on how one views a thing. It’s all about presentation. A façade. A show. An extravaganza. If one can pull it off properly. So here goes. From now on I intend to be a little more forthcoming with my articles. My antics and instincts always ensure there is enough material about which I can go on spinning yarns about in this blog. Too many things seem to be happening to me all the time. So as Pota might have said, “it has become very necessary to document my youth.”


Here's something i came across while on one of my frequent aimless excursions in the cyberworld.
Salutations to the unknown composer. Hopefully i will manage to convince the hostel office to have this as our anthem for the new Giga-Mess.

I had my first real six rupees,
Stole it from my father's pants.
Went to a Madrasi hotel,
To eat the sambhar of 69.
Me and some kadke dost,
Had it all and we caught bukhaar,
Jimy puked, Joey got ulcers,
and Bagga ne maari dakar.

Oh when I went back there now,
the food was as stale as ever,
and though it was 1999,
Still the sambhar was being served over there,

That was the worst food of my life.

(So true. sigh!)