I’ve often noticed that I don’t remember common everyday things. And I simply don’t try to… Google’s there no? If anything, I’m rather proud of it…. mark of genius, my sister says…. I choose to ignore the sarcasm and accept the text.
Like this morning I was talking about my project, and I forgot the word ‘bioinformatics’, (which I just needed to use fleetingly in conversation) and instead blabbed on about protein sequences, using suffix trees, predicting gene expression, hidden Markov models, and what not.
Once in the past, I’d forgotten Colin Firth’s name, and had to Wiki for it.
I once had to hear this: “You’re probably the only girl in the world who can’t recognize Tom Cruise in a fraction of a second, and mistake him for George Harrison”.
I’d once heard a godawesome World AIDS Day song. And when I was describing it to my friend, he asked me for the artiste – I promptly blabbed on about Heaven, Hell, Angels, Satan, Judgement Day….. the artiste? Peter Gabriel.
I forgot the name of a B-school in the US once…. and instead started muttering cornflakes… chocos…
It has often happened that on bus routes, when the conductor reaches me, I give him the exact change needed to get to Jayadeva from Banashankari, and still say “Ahhh………”. Some folks used to this say “Olle channagide… daily adhey routealli bartira, tirga marth hodri”.
I was discussing Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel, and I said Pandu was mapped to … er…. what’s the guy’s name…. the Azad Hind Radio guy….. his wife is Emily Schenkel… his daughter’s 63 years old now…. she’s a professor of Economics… her name’s Anita Pfaff-Bose…. Oh, yeah! Bose! Truly the forgotten hero, nein?
A similar one was “Heck… what’s that Black female’s name… Mark Twain got folks to sponsor her education… “. I was talking of Helen Keller [Black here referred to the Amitabh-Rani starrer].
A lot of my arguments go like “Tell you what…. read <link>/<book>/<article in the newspaper xyz dated dd/mm/yy>. Rebut those arguments if you want… and then we’ll continue this discussion”.
For some idiotic reason I constantly mix up Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz… dont ask me why, I myself don’t quite know.
Just ten minutes back, I was talking to my uncle about engineering colleges in Bangalore. The “Bull Temple Road” college got a lot of praise from me.
Couple of days back, I was irritating Tuna for the correct term for a bootlicker. It struck me just as I was writing this, that the term is Sycophant. There was a time when I forgot the term called “irony”, and sadly, no one around me could understand what I was looking for.
My sister’s reading this over my shoulder, and in her usual way, fires a sharp question: What’s your name? As if on cue, I go like “uh……”.
And… I guess I need to post a disclaimer: Every single incident described here is darned true, no exaggerations whatsoever.
… that I came up with this.
Someone: I got blasted because 90% of my report was from Wikipedia.
Me: Tchah….. why didn’t you just say you wrote the Wiki article?
Or maybe it’s just cryptomnesia.
Yes, Yes, that is right. Your eyes are not deceiving you.
Canines have indeed been thrown out of my hostel block.
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.
More than two years after this, and a month after this. A culmination of all the complaining we ever did, all the struggles we underwent to make this happen. Swa, awesomest Girl Rep. You make things happen.
And GB juniors, if any, who might be reading this, do not fritter away this hard-won canine-free environment… keep the gates closed, and if you see any four-legged being, however cute, DO NOT FEED IT. COMPLAIN, INSTEAD.
Whoa, I guess that gives me the distinction of being the one and only dogbite victim of GB. Guess there were none before, and hopefully, there will be none after.
PS: Nothing to do with the rest of the post, but yesterday was when I heard second-hand of one of the most entertaining, most WTF-inducing context to the usage of the phrase “Let’s Just Be Friends”. The incongruity of it all has me laughing still. Oh, and there was another a month or so back, but that wasn’t half as entertaining as memorable.
PPS: This post isn’t really a ‘post’…. the latest one is this one, on Engineers, Engineering and the like. Go ahead skip to it.
Guess I need to really get a life. Most – and here, I mean most – of the people I know happen to be engineers. Yeah, I mean the BE/B.Tech sort.
I know very few folks doing commerce and related courses. A couple of them doing pure sciences. And very, very few in Arts. And just, just ONE person pursuing fine arts. And anyway, these aren’t people I interact with on a daily basis – just old friends who I get together with once in a blue moon in the name of a reunion.
Around where I live – no, not my hostel, which is obviously full of engineering students – surrounded by software folks, and those who aren’t SEs are mechies. At home… my parents aren’t engineering graduates, but thanks to their jobs, most of their friends turn out to be engineers. Or at worst, architects.
The obvious fallout of all this is that my interaction with non-engineers is minimal. It reflects in conversation – we can convince you Halloween and Christmas are the same ‘coz oct31=dec25. We understand the universe and God in terms of operating systems. When someone switched from deathVocals to demureVoice, we said we were ‘amazed by the context-switch time’. The level of discomfort on a sleeper bus to Bangalore has to do with the passenger’s inertia. We try to analyze the ‘railway ticket booking and allotment algorithm’ while waiting in queues. And queues are where we crib about people not optimizing using queuing theory. It is not uncommon to hear of Rayleigh scattering being spoken of in context of us enjoying the sunset on the beach. And we are also the sort who commit very less to memory, for everything is available on the Net – it is commonplace to have a conversation like “Bridget Jones… what’s that guy’s name….” *wiki for ‘Bridget Jones film’* aha! Colin Firth… ” – so much that our idea of the ultimate terrorist attack would be to bomb the Google servers.
It’s reflected even on my blogroll – Of around 40 links, I have one economist pair, one espionage agent (but then, he established NTFO…) , one radio jockey (who I guess graduated in commerce), a whole bunch of linguists. – they teach computational linguistics, so guess they can come under ‘engineer’? – , one doc, and one lawyer…. and everyone else is an engineer.
When I first started blogging, I’d written a post mentioning an umbrella and its octagonal shape. The first feedback on that came from Karthik who analyzed why octagon is the most optimal shape for an umbrella. And on his and other IITian blogs, I’ve come across gems like “May the m.dv/dt be with you”, and “On this day of Nov 18, may you be curiosity personified” and kill the CAT. Urban legend goes that an unsuspecting non-engineer once asked an IITM student how to get to Marina from the campus, and was told to catch m buses first to reach <arbit destination in Chennai I can’t recollect> and then n buses from there to reach Santhome – and this hapless non-engineer patiently waited for a bus of the m-series to turn up.
Getting to the point, I find that most of my favorite blogs and op-eds are written by engineers. No, these aren’t just techie blogs about Data Mining, Information Retrieval or the latest advances in Toxicology or Pharmacology, but also about current affairs, religion, movies, food and humour.
I’m not saying engineers make the best writers – there are people like Chetan Bhagat and Sidin Vadukut – or even that non-engineers do – there are bloggers like Silverine and Rashmi Bansal, too. I’m not even saying the best bloggers are engineers – our very own Monkey Man is a notable exception.
Just that when I like a piece of writing, the probability that it was written by an engineer is very high. And vice versa, too.
I wonder why…. It could possibly be because:
- The number of engineers who have blogs are indiscriminately high compared to other professions. So by sheer numbers, engineers win. This might be because
- Engineers use computers and the Net more consistently and regularly than others, and so tend to have more Net-related hobbies
- Engineers are more jobless and blog more often.
- Others have other outlets of expressing themselves – more notably the electronic and print media, where being rational is a cardinal sin.
- I’m a frogInAWell; been with engineers and only engineers for too long, and hence appreciate only this way of thinking
- Engineers write well, reason well, organize their arguments well, and are more logical and convincing when compared to other professionals which could be because of
- Engineering education
- People who are good at stuff like this to start with all go into engineering
I used to be all for Mr. Shashi Tharoor a couple of years back. Not anymore.. I find his generalizations too broad and the foundations for his premises extremely faulty, apart from finding his conclusions and line of reasoning too prejudiced towards being politically correct – but then, he’s a BA in History.
Reading Arundati Roy – I don’t think she gained anything from her stint at the School of Planning and Architecture, other than a husband – gave me an insight into what I essentially find wrong with non-engineers and their writing – passion, command over language, verbosity and rhetoric is no substitute for substance, and any engineer can spot bilge when (s)he sees it, having put enough in answer papers and presentations. And the two engineering exceptions I mentioned before – they survive because of the inability of the rest to tell the difference between bilge and real hi-fi writing, and they know it
The USP of engineers is that apart from being very diverse, we can have a perspective on engineering issues as well as other issues, whereas others can’t quite, with the possible exception of economists (freakonomists?). And that’s what irks the rest.
Other professionals, like doctors and economists have always had a say in issues like development. As for other folks like historians and littérateurs, you folks can almost never prevent your own prejudices from seeping into your work and making a dog’s breakfast of it (and whattodo, your job is but like that) – but the world doesn’t quite realize that. And you journalists, the breed I used to want to belong to once upon a time, I’ve lost all respect for you lot in the past few years, and also in the past couple of weeks when I’ve seen press coverage of my college’s techfest become an op-ed with snatches of random informal conversation thrown in for good measure – Mr. Reporter, you never did get the whole spirit of Engineer, or engineers, did you?
For too long, engineers have been branded socially inept, verbally and grammatically challenged, ignorant of art, dispassionate, unfeeling and a host of other things that have made sure our point of view isn’t taken seriously. Hopefully, that’s undergoing change, aided by Blogosphere.
And also examples like Sujatha, Dr. Abdul Kalam, culfests of the IITs and NITs, Brian May, Jorge Cham, Randall Munroe, Nagesh Kukunoor, Rajeev Srinivasan, Shankar Mahadevan, Anil Kumble….. and maybe the engineers on my blogroll.
PS: For Spunky Monkey and those who read his blog – This is not a counter-post to his rant on medicine where he abuses engineers, and it’s not a continuation of my passionate comment on that post. Just something I’d been meaning to write since a long while.
PPS: Nothing to do with the post or why I wrote it, but there are some times in life when Ella Fitzgerald seems to have envisaged all that you’ll ever feel and wrote songs for the whole gamut of emotions you go through. This is one of those. And no, Lady Ella was not an engineer… she was a highschool dropout. But then, she was born and raised in a pragmatic, sensible, open-minded world, not one like ours where our thinking is defined and limited by the media, textbooks, and other symbols of modern mass-communication.
Day 1 of Inci started off quite nicely with India Quiz. This guy and this guy had put together a nice set of questions for the prelims. “Good questions”, I complimented Vishwas, to which he replied “Wait till you listen to the answers”. The answers ranged from Antaragni and Raghu Dixit to Idli to Mohammed Haneef to IIT Roorkee…. and finally in our final year in our final Inci, Swati, Tuna and I made it to the finals. It was an enlightening one, where we got to know that Deepa Mehta’s Water is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, and that Rajaji wrote Maithreem Bhajatha. Those apart, it was pretty slick, especially the connects, and we had a great time though we didn’t win.
Inauguration was replete with the Best of Bharat Darshan (Bharat Darshan is a programme NITK holds every Republic Day to showcase our cultural diversity) setting the stage on fire, and the UV dance. As it happens every year, us FinalYear girls were all looking our best in sarees and the evening extended into a long photo session And…. Crossfade – the DJing contest, didn’t quite go down well with me; I’d been roaming around for too long and was way too tired. Early night for us.
Day 2 was the big day. The KK Concert. Or, in keeping with my dislike for redundancy, The KKoncert. I took one look at the Lone Wolf question paper, and gave up. Watched JAM prelims. Pretty entertaining, after some experienced folks started jamming. Nice work by the JAMmasters. Tried my hand at it, got extremely lucky, but guess I need more practice.Concert that evening. I reached late… colossal mistake I made there. The front rows were too crowded. Squeezed in next to Prat and Prag somehow.A really really sad opening act, so sad that it was pretty tragic to watch people groove to those songs. I don’t remember what they were called, but they seemed to be the sorts who perform at weddings of tasteless people. The singers were sad imitations of Kannada playback singers who think they can sing anything and everything well. And one of them was this fat bald man in a black – no other word for it – costume, and sunglasses – no, I guess he’d call them cooling glasses. The look seemed to be inspired by Mr. Wallace in Pulp Fiction. It was hell the way he sang, and you’d think he too, like Mr. Wallace had sold his soul to the devil and the deal had gone horribly wrong.
As if that was not enough, they had a bunch of dancers who looked like some out-of-work extras from the Kannada film industry. These dancers had a name, to boot – The Skyrockers.Oh, and our Dean took stage, gave us respite from the singers-and-dancers-from-hell, with his Sapnon Ki Rani.
The hell-rockers had sufficiently irritated me that I took a break and decided I’d come back only for KK. Colossal Mistake #2. When I came back, I found that my place was taken, and there was hardly any place for my feet, even. The only reason I didn’t fall down was because of the crowd around me – felt like ants in hibernation. Thankfully it wasn’t a very sweaty night. There was hardly any place to swing your head in tune to the music, or dance around like we’re prone to do, simply because there was no elbow room, and all you could do was stay still.
And in my case, take pictures and videos. I really wanted to shoot KK up close. I was rewarded amply, I guess, for all that I had to endure.Guess everything happened such that I would appreciate KK a lot.
And I guess we all did.What energy he possesses! What talent! There’s nothing else that can transfix a crowd of close to two thousand (unsure of the stats… correct me if need be) to stand around grooving to a short, stocky, not-so-young man with a face and build so common you wouldn’t notice him if you saw him on the street, who was dressed in jing-jang Tshirt and jeans.
It is in the concert I felt the difference between an artiste/singer and a performer. And why some people are more successful than the others. Why KK is such a successful singer – his dedication, his effort, his talent, all shine through. His crowd chemistry is amazing. He knows what we want, and gives it to us. And with such a passion and love of performing. He seems to be enjoying himself at his concert so much that it’s infectious.And what a voice! It is just like the guy-next-door, at the same time, so mature, so full of feeling, so straight-from-the-heart. For once, the voice at the concert sounded like the audio file of very, very high quality. The voice makes you appreciate the song. The voice doesn’t overshadow the song. It blends in so well with the rest of the song that you feel no one else and nothing else could have made the rendition better; it is the best you can get. Unlike singers like Shankar Mahadevan whose voice and personality is heard, and feels like “Shankar Mahadevan is singing some song”, not “The song is so lovely”.
You could simply close your eyes, not watch the energetic singer prance around the stage and enthuse you with his spirit, and still manage to enjoy the concert. Tadap Tadap was so full of feeling, and tugs at the heartstrings much, much more effectively than the one we hear on the HDDCS soundtrack. So was Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana.
Nostalgia and romance never had it so good, as they did with Pal, Yaaron Dosti, and Tu Aashiqui Hai. His high-energy tracks like Aapki Dua, [which, by the way, is my favorite KK song], and Uyirin Uyire had us up on our feet. He talked about his college days and sang Summer of ’69. He wound up with It’s the Time to Disco and Koi Kahe.
I would have loved to see Banda Yeh Bindaas performed… but then, two of my alltime favorites – Aapki Dua and It’s the Time to Disco had been sung… so I’m not complaining.
We came back wishing it had gone on for much longer, but hell, we were so tired after it all, wonder where KK gets his energy from, and if he had gone on for any longer, would he have had any energy left for it, or come to think of it, would we have!
I got a few videos, of Pal, Aapki Dua, Disco, Koi Kahe. I can’t upload it onto Youtube thanks to Ironport from Cisco. It’s on the LAN, though. Here are a few pics:
Day 3 started off with Centerstage, the dramatics contest. There was a really nice play from RVCE [I think], and the next one was NITK’s comedy. Great effort by everyone, and the result was pretty good, as we all saw. Nice mix of elements from various movies and series like Blackadder and personalities like Johnny English, Woody Allen, Bob the Butler…
Watched a bit of the Debate finals… dunno why, I’ve begun to feel most people are incapable of analyzing issues properly, and I’ve come to feel debate, while being an art by itself, is insufficient as a method of analyzing an issue in depth. Then there was Mock Press, with personalities like Britney, R2D2, Mojo Jojo and Johnny Bravo. The participants, as far as I watched, weren’t entertaining enough. There was a completely local Britney, who was introducing herself with a Wiki article-style explanation, and talked so sadly that Maloo exclaimed, “She’s Britney-amma!”. And heck, Tuna, Pubali, we should have worked on the Cartoons Club idea… people can’t do a Mojo Jojo accent, nor can they talk of anything apart from World Domination as far as Mojo Jojo is concerned.
Crossie was quite simple, but my teammate and I still managed to screw it up bigtime, thanks to our being so out of form. Our low mood was alleviated by news of Swati getting an admit from Columbia (Congrats again, girl )
We watched Gili Gili Magic by Shankar and troupe. Tejasvi aka Shankar Jr. really rocks – I used to catch his show on Doordarshan – and is so fit and goodlooking and youthful that you won’t believe he’s thirty. One thing I noticed about the troupe – they like to keep things within the family. I guess that is quite essential in a competitive profession like Magic. As for how competitive it can get, watch The Prestige.
Then was Pulse, the semi-pro Nite, along with a performance by Bhoomi. Heck, we need more girls attending this event. There was this band from Chennai with a leadsinger who looked like he couldn’t say boo to a goose, and who’d worn a checked formal shirt. Laughs from audience. Then he says “Check!” in a deathlike voice, and makes a face and bares his teeth in a manner reminiscent of Dr. Hannibal Lecter …. audience bows. Next, he switches to demure voice that says “More guitars on the monitor please”. “Whoa! Look at that context-switch time!” I say.
And then there was Slain from Bangalore with a drummer who’s studying in -wait for it- class 9.
I missed Sixth Element as I had to pass on my keys to someone, and came back for Washed Clothes from Chennai. Really awesome female lead singer. They got a lot of rave reviews and oohs and aahs.
Then Bhoomi. They didn’t play as popular covers as Galeej Gurus did last year; they played a lot of originals. Here’s a pic:
Really thin crowd. Which was, in a way, good. Some really passionate headbanging was seen. The first pic here is on request from Logik. Not for the faint of heart.
I got back with a pain in the neck….. but heck, I guess this might possibly be the last time I get to be in the front row of a metal concert. Possibly even the last time I’m in the front row of any concert… it normally is sheer hell for girls. And many thanks to all you great guys – Logik, P, Arun, Maiya, Pondi, Varun…. I had one great evening.
Last day of Inci – 08…. passed off without incident. Except when Swati, Sudarshna and I were coming back from the digital photography workshop (for dummies, to be frank), and when we entered the Girls’ Block, suddenly, an egret (Not too sure… just take a look at the pics and tell me what it is) flew in and landed in front of us. We all had our cameras on us, and immediately started snapping away. We were apprehensive about how the bird would take it, when another one landed really close to us! They posed, looked at the camera, and didn’t seem to mind us one bit! They snapped up insects in their long yellow beaks, they pecked away at the dry grass, they didn’t even mind when we got really close – I didn’t even need to zoom in. How often does it happen, when you have a full sun, a camera, two birds who don’t mind being photographed?
And these pics had certain far-reaching consequences characteristic of me, but completely unexpected… never mind, anyway.
I thought I’d have an early night and ditch the fashion show, but as it happened, I went out for a lassi and thanks to P, ended up with breakfast at Thadambail – according to Logik, this is the biggest darned crowd Thadambail has ever seen – every Thomas, Richard and Harold seemed to be there that morning.
All in all, my last Inci was a lot of fun. It wasn’t the best Inci I’ve had, but it’s certainly the most memorable, thanks to so many never-before and so many never-after experiences. After Engi, I began getting into the Senti mode, but now it hits me even harder, and there are only 45 more days of college left. I now know which of my friends matters most to me, I now know what my limits of tolerance are. I appreciate the best in my pals even more now, and I accept their worst without question, as they do to me.
Like one of my friends said, it’s time to optimize. And plan. And make a list of last _____ ____s. Like “Last arbit pic of main building”. “Last Some-Like-It-Hot”. “Last ……….”
My eyes are misting over………