Little sleep. Tiring day. Hour-long ride home.
So the moment I got into the volvo that’d take me home, I went to the first available seat and proceeded to grab some shut-eye. I pride myself on sharing one trait with Masai warriors. Sadly, it’s not their height. It’s their ability to sleep and wake at will. Okay, make that half a trait… I can go to sleep at will.
Soon, two girls sat opposite me, and a man in the seat next to mine. I barely registered their presence as they kept talking. The conductor came around after quite a while, when I was just about awake thanks to the incessant conversation that I think was about their siblings’ weddings or something.
“Where to?”, the conductor asked. “Udupi Garden”*, said the two girls. “Udupi”, said the man.
“And you?”, he asked me, while one girl made an effort to nudge me awake.
With great effort, I turned around and said “KREC Guest House”**.
*Name of stop in BTM Layout, Bangalore, on the ring road.
**Name of stop closest to Girls Block at NITK
(When there can be B-Schools, why not T-Schools? There’s more of a demand for them in India anyway. And it sounds way cooler than ‘Engineering College’. My lame attempt at introducing a new word into everyone’s vocabulary. Like bitchcakes.)
There’s this urban legend about Lewis Carroll. Apparently once the Queen liked Alice in Wonderland so much that she asked for a copy of his next book. Carroll duly obliged, sending her a copy of his loyally inscribed An Elementary Treatise on Determinants.
But then that’s urban legend.
Now for some cold, hard fact.
First floor of NITK Library. Most books in order, a few thrown about here and there and stuffed into the wrong locations. A man hard at work putting books back in their correct place.
Category 500 in the Dewey Decimal System. Books on Mathematics. A bunch on Number Theory. Then some on Linear Algebra. Quite a lot, actually, on Linear Algebra. You sift through the books looking for one particular author.
Then a volume slimmer than those around it catches your eye. It looks very unlike the others. You look at the author’s name and wonder what that book is doing in Category 500. Then you look at the title and understand.
Author: Arundhati Roy. The book: The Algebra of Infinite Justice.
(Now, If you are religious or are a great fan of Bombay’s famed Mahalakshmi temple, I dont mean to offend you… Just laugh. If you don’t find it too cliched already for your taste, that is. )
Friend: Kya yaar, I wanted to go to the wall at the back. You know, if you wish for something and press a coin against it and it sticks, the wish will come true. Sadly, that area is closed.
Me: May be God shrugged and said, ” Recession. Too many asking for favours. Its affected me too, you know?”
This is not an isolated incident I’m blogging about, but a whole series of them.
Has it ever happened to you that you are talking about someone, and that very same someone happens to be eavesdropping on your conversation? Embarrassing for all concerned Even if all you’re doing is paying a compliment.
Two particular incidents come to mind. One happened a few hours back, and I shall not go into details.
But the other….. wellllll… I’m just hoping people have all forgotten I exist. It happened a long time ago, anyway.
So there was this piece of gossip floating around the hostel about a certain inmate, let’s call her X. The gossip was regarding a certain saree pin of hers, let’s call it Y.
We were in the room of a certain batchmate, let’s call her Z. There was me, let’s call me I, then J, K, and L.And M too, who roomed in the same room.
Now K, L and M had some fancy-schmancy Engineering Drawing to do. They had the top view, front view and side view of a certain image, and couldn’t agree on its isometric projection (or whatever the right term is…. remember this was AGES ago).
And then I walks in, along with J, and I and J began to bore Z, and disturb K, L and M. I, J and Z began to try helping K, L and M with their homework and as most joint-study sessions are wont to do, it morphed into a chitchat session.
One of the group made a passing reference to X and Y. Another member was hearing this news for the first time, and wanted to know more about the Y in question. Words weren’t sufficing to explain this rather elaborate bit of news, so K hit upon a brilliant idea.
She drew top view, front view and side view of Y. On the homework paper. And for once, all six of us agreed about the isometric projection.
As we were just expressing our feelings about the Y in question, in giggly, loud voices, through the unlatched door comes who else but X!
Now Dr. Devi Shetty would have been a very welcome person there, considering the trauma our poor coronary arteries were undergoing at this shock. But, nope, it was X, and X alone. K left the topview-frontview-sideview paper in I’s hand and ran for her life citing she needed a drink of water from the cooler, though she had been clutching a bottle full of cold water till then The rest of us had X to face.
“What are you folks upto?”, X asked. “Nothing, it’s mega-boring… nothing to do, we were just wasting time… you on the other hand have been slogging your head off, haven’t you?”, one of us said, in a desperate stab at normal conversation.
“You slogger, what’s that in your hand?”, X reached for the sheet in I’s hand, left by the quick K. “I… I… ” was all that I could muster. And then brainwave. “It’s not mine, it’s Ls and M’s homework. See? Topviewfrontviewsideview”. And as if on cue, L mercifully retrieved the sheet from I’s hand, before X could mentally form the isometric view.
After a few more Gestapo-like enquiries about our previous topics of conversation and the subject of our giggles a few minutes back, the four of us (L and M having gone deep into their homework) got back to discussing how awesome that new movie’s songs were, and that George Clooney looked really amazing for his age, and we listened in rapt silence to X talking about unsavoury elements spreading stories about Y, while L and M pretended to not hear and concentrated on their homework.
Whats your pun style?
Do you pun for the heck of it? Or are you a situational punner?
Do you pun just to introduce some humor in a conversation? Or do you pun unknowingly during conversations?
When you pun, how do you deliver your line? Does it rest heavily on the the meaning relevant to the conversation? Or does it tip it merciless on to the other meaning?
Does delivery at all matter or affect the pun, its comic effect, or acerbic sarcasm or whatever reason you punned?
Can you at all take a pun out of the situational relevance? How effective are stand-alone puns?
I’d like to know.
Gawd! this sounds terribly like a facebook quiz!
Guess, I need to introduce a ‘none of these’ option!
My political leanings are well known; I’ve all but yelled it from the rooftops.
And for those of you who were concerned about my state after this…er… shock, I’m fine even expected such an outcome, though not like this.
So, anyway, the following bits are to justify the title. I wanted to actually make it ‘Say it’s not true’, after the Queen+Paul Rodgers song for World AIDS Day, but then this Advani phrase suits it better.
My first concern has been about this evil of reservations. And that there is an order of priority according to religion, to claim the country’s resources. If all goes well in the next three months, and for six-seven years following that, I’ll be free of all this nonsense. But what about the rest of the country? The heart bleeds.
The next thing has been about the blatant selling of our national interest. The N-Deal for one. It should have been renegotiated.
The most important thing however is the security issue. I’ve come close to getting blown to bits, but thankfully escaped.. once was at Forum Mall, another was at Army School. Both places they detonated bombs. And then there was the frenzied set of phonecalls to relatives in Mumbai and those in Delhi. I can (thankfully) only imagine the levels of anguish folks who’ve lost loved ones in terror attacks go through. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. I can’t bear to watch millions of innocent lives being compromised for cheap motives like staying in power.
And then there’s the issue of Assam and the North-East. The place is overrun by illegal immigrants, a potential security threat. And everyone concerned as of now, apart from the BJP and maybe the AGP chooses to look the other way, or even encourage it for electoral gains. Separatist movements are on full swing, violence is a daily occurrence. No one else seems to have reached out to these separatist groups, tried to begin a peace process. And integrate the North-East with the rest of the country. That is one region which shares more border with other countries than with our own. And China is encroaching on the borders, and Manmohan doesn’t seem to be having sleepless nights about that.
Freedom of worship is yet another thing. Proselytization has reached new heights, and is slated to continue. A minister of state calls our gods names and no one says a thing? And he doesn’t bother to apologize?Symbols of our faith are encroached upon, and no one seems to turn a hair. The levels of polarization society is seeing now has had no precedent.
I don’t care if the people in power are young or old. I don’t give a damn if they are rich or poor either. They can be illiterate for all I care. All I ask for is some amount of patriotism. Of what use is competence when you don’t look at the country and your countrymen with love and a feeling of belonging? I find that sorely lacking in the UPA and the Left, who put party and self interests above national interest. And who don’t seem to take pride in being Indian. They have the ‘We are a third-world country’ mentality instead of a ‘We can/need to be a first-world country’.
So for five years, I’ve been hoping for a change in governments, cringed at all the injustice meted out by the establishment, and have seen an increasing number of people turn anti-UPA. But, well, I guess my sample space was localized… as is seen in the near-sweep of BJP in Karnataka, and the whole of Bangalore Urban. I was surprised Sangliana and Jaffer Sharif got beaten. And that Ananth Kumar was trailing for quite a while.
They say it’s good the Left is out… but now there’s nothing to stop Manmohan bending backwards to US demands, and considering it’s Obama, he’s surely going to demand his protectionist pound of flesh. And have his own solutions for the Kashmir problem.
On a more positive note, now the Congress can’t hide behind the excuse of the Left preventing development from taking place. It’s also good to see a non-fractured mandate, though one hopes it isn’t Amar Singh the Congress allies with. And now that their position is secure, hope they concentrate more on development than on nurturing votebanks.
On a lighter note, searches for ra_hul_ga_n_dh_i_s_girl_fr_iend are up again. Not scheduled to go down anytime soon, I guess. Folks say they are looking for the image of the future bahu of the nation, and by extension, the future kingmaker of the nation.
And for so long, the BJP’s slogan has been “Advani For PM”. Now that they have to sit in the opposition, it’s going to be “Advani Against PM”.
PS: On a personal note, I didn’t stick around watching the counting unfold (I can’t watch India lose a cricket match, d’you think I can bear to watch it lose its pride, wealth, and everything else?) and so I actually managed to get stuff done. Not everything went my way, but my laptop mysteriously came back to life this afternoon… (it had died a week or so back) hurray!
A: Monty Python’s Argument Clinic Sketch isn’t really that funny.
B: ‘Course it is!
A: No, it isn’t.
B: Sure it is!
Has this been done before? I know Not The Nine O’Clock News has done as a tribute to this. It’s called Not The Parrot Sketch, and I can’t seem to find the YouTube video now. Will link it up once I do.
Google.com. Wikipedia. MentalFloss.com.
LinkedIn. Orkut. Facebook. Twitter. Blogger. WordPress.
Sometimes I know too much for my own good.
Curiosity kills the cat. A little learning is a dangerous thing.
I never learn.
So this blog officially turns four today, the 10th of May. This post is written to commemorate that. And reflect.
At this particular moment, my mind is a mire of chaotic thoughts all of which are competing to be penned first… I’ll start at the beginning.
Firstly, I’m rather surprised I’ve managed to sustain this blog this long. I don’t have a track record for sticking to what I start. But thinking again, probably it’s not all that surprising.
For starters, to stick to something, you need to be able to see rewards or potential rewards from the activity. And you also need continuous feedback on your performance. Blogging here is plentiful in both.
Feedback… we got a great amount of that in our first year of blogging. Not all of it was favorable, but it was fun. Atleast someone was reading us. The momentum sustained through the following year, and a sort of community of regulars began to build here. Over the course of time, some quit blogging, some quit reading us, some quit knowing us, new folks came in, we made new friends, old friends discovered this place… somehow, continuous feedback keeps coming in. The knowledge that someone is out there reading, that someone subscribes to us keeps us coming back and posting here. It doesn’t feel like a holler into the darkness.
And there’s other sorts of feedback too… blog stats. We notice uptick of hits for certain search terms and are amazed people google for images of cats scratching or coucals and end up here to look at my sad bits of photography, or folks wondering if India is a sec_u_lar coun_try and ending up on my description of an incident that took place in school almost seven years ago. And a good amount of folks end up here googling for our Alma Mater! That along with Search Engine Optimization drives us to tag our posts appropriately, to attract the sort of audience we want… I don’t know how successful we are there.
Looking at the post about Ra_hul_ga_n_d_hi’s g_irl_fi_end, I don’ t think we are very successful on that front. We get atleast 20 hits for that post from search engines alone everyday. Those stats overshadow my other posts… I’m wondering in what way this is going to affect things.
Occasionally, I curse the fact that family members, friends and whoever else who knows me personally knows of this space and checks it… due to which I can’t write bright bitchy posts on how irritating a particular person was or why I’m feeling down at a point in time… and thus I write rather obscure posts just to vent my frustrations… after a couple of months, even I can’t make out what such a post was all about!
No, I don’t mean I’m irritated with the whole deal… not when I bask in the adulation of a ‘nice post!’ or ‘hilarious!’ comment. The medium is such and I’m aware of it. But the fact that I choose to vent the frusts here too along with a dozen other more personal spaces, says how much this place means to me. It’s somewhere where I’m a slightly exaggerated me, where I play to (some of) my strengths and pretend the rest don’t matter. It’s one of those incredibly few places where I call the shots and can say ‘Respect Mah Authoritah’. It’s somewhere where I can write long drawn out descriptions of a rather boring day and in the same breath nonchalantly put in what I think is a major achievement. And on an especially bad day, I can even say “Screw you all, I don’t need you. I have my blog”.
Bleg: Some people tell me I’m a rather different person online than offline… is this true?
The rewards have been many. They might not be as attractive as a job at Live Labs, but do manage to keep me in the zone… the same sort of zone that keeps gamers addicted to gaming.
I write better now. I subconsciously maintain correct punctuation and spelling to some extent. My grammar is a lot better. My choice of words has improved.
And I’m a lot more logical. My arguments are better structured… atleast better than when I started off. I react less negatively to negative feedback. I don’t anymore give a WTH reaction when I’m corrected with condescension. I’ve learned to separate the style from the substance… to some extent atleast. Atleast to the extent I can say Shashi Tharoor and Arundathi Roy talk crap.
I also review movies and music better now. I know now what people like to read, what’ll provoke a flamewar, what’ll go unnoticed.
I react better in writing, I find. I sure hope I’m someday able to optimize that good enough for realtime reactions.
I’ve also read a lot of blogs, some good, most bad. I thank god I don’t get mindless adulation like folks like Silverine and Sidin on every post I write… And for that I have you to thank, dear readers and commenters, for setting the tone of the discussion here.
And… this blog is a sort of an online personality for me, better than Facebook or Orkut. I’m glad this is not an anonymous sort of an effort despite my paranoia about this. It conveys better information about what my interests are than any other slice of me. It’s also a good conversation starter.
This year is not without its highlights… First, we got DesiPunditted. Then Bejoy Nambiar, the winner of Gateway on Sony Pix, which I’d mentioned, mailed me saying “Glad you wrote about me” or equivalent… for a while after that, I toyed with the idea of getting a speaking part in a Hollywood movie. A while later, Ann Anra, the child star of Avvai Shanmughi who went on to become Miss Chennai, left a comment. A month or so back, I discovered on this blog that one of the folks who comment on this space was someone I’d been acquainted with seven years back.
Apart from all that, it’s the people I’ve come across through my blog which I’m most glad for. Friends I got to know better and who got to know me better, folks who know me but who I don’t know and who inform me of their existence one fine day to my face, folks I’d've never met otherwise… friends of friends, folks who live ten minutes from where I live, folks who frequent the temple I frequent, folks I don’t know about but who tell my friends they know me through my blog, folks from a past life I regained touch with, folks I hold in awe of some sort or the other, folks who validate my beliefs, folks who expose me to a totally different train of thought…
It’s the readers who decide the tone of the discussion that goes on here, and I’ve rather enjoyed the discussions that crop up, be it about books or movies or something I thought was funny… I’m glad to come in contact with a dozen different sorts of views, a good many links relevant in some way or the other to something I wrote, and bouquets and brickbats and ayes and nays.
And every year I write the HappyBirthdayBlog post, I customarily go into a link frenzy, mentioning all those folks here who had added their two paise on this page in the past year, with links to their blogs, so here goes:
- Logik who shares my Internet addiction-of-sorts and whose set of interests has a considerable overlap with mine, and who’s a goldmine of links to webapps and quirky news, and who gives good movie, music and other recos.
- SG aka Bond… ex-neighbor to me and ex-classmate to Tuna, and says things with that characteristic nonchalance of hers, like only a wingmate can.
- Ego, fellow Rightwinger, with more clarity and passion than I can aspire for.
- TheG who’s all but quit blogging and commenting here, but who gives me rather honest feedback when he does, off this page.
- Swati, who I wish would blog
- Harish, BJPFan like me and Advani impersonator, unlike me.
- Arjun, fellow AamirHater and fakeNewsWriter.
- Shreevatsa, who has a relevant link, apart from something to say, for everything I write.
- Karthik, who leaves a lot of slice-of-life comments.
- KarthikRam from Down Under who begins quite a few debates here.
- TheMonk with the very interesting contrarian tone.
- Nitin who LetsUsKnow. Used to.
- Vishwas, who occasionally takes time off from his rather long list of activities to drop an insightful comment here.
- Vada, who Penns and hence hasn’t penned (or punned) anything in ages.
- Dushy who seems to have been rather busy over the past year.
It’s been a great four years, but what’s next?
For one thing, we aren’t NITKians anymore. But we’ll still continue to care about NITK and all that that happens there. Sure, we won’t be bothered too much about who is doing what or who else, but we’ll check every college ranking that ever gets published and proudly circle NITK’s name in it. We’ll publicize NITKSIP, sing paeans about the IT department attracting employees of Adobe and suchlike yada, we’ll attend alumni meets. We’ll dash into the campus every single time we’re in the area and take photographs just like it was just one of the days between August 2004 and April 2008. We’ll follow Inci and Engi like we have a personal stake in it, and I’ll fervently pray that the folks who set Virtual Bounty know search engine usage better than I did. I’ll continue to end any “My college is bestest” argument with “Par hamaare paas private beach hai”. I’ll always have higher expectations than usual in the fields of humour, ability to survive in harsh conditions, and cool geekiness from anyone who claims to be from NITK… Nowhere else are students so resilient to bad food and bad living conditions, that they top it all off with a good dose of bad jokes and show you a few jingchak tricks with a computer while at it.
NITK Numbskulls isn’t named so because we were a part of NITK, it is because NITK was and is and will continue to be a part of us.
And I don’t think I’m stopping updating this page anytime soon. That’s not because of an altruistic need to inform and entertain others… if you gained anything from this page, it’s merely incidental. This blog has a more selfish motive for its existence. It’s been an integral part of this journey of self-discovery which is still underway. It preserves an image of who I was at different points in my life, it helps me collect my thoughts, analyze them… and keep me sane and knowing who I am despite the chaos in my mind.
Here’s a prayer to Goddess Saraswati who has graced me enough that I could see this day, and quite a few other important days in the past year for which I will be eternally grateful. May we see more such days in the coming years.
This is more of a bleg post than a rant post.
Okay, just WHAT has happened to Woody’s?
My delight knew no bounds many years ago when Woody’s opened a new branch in Jayanagar 9th Block. A rather closeby alternative for good food, at non-astronomical prices.
It was where we’d go for breakfast when we had guests over, and where we’d go for dinner after a late-night movie. It was THE place for birthdays, and treating friends.
It was also the place for bumping into old friends.
It was most importantly the place where I went right after losing my mobile while coming back from CAT ’07 (No, I didn’t write it, a friend of mine was and she was staying over at my place), and was clueless about what to do next, and was thankful as hell I bumped into my uncle who, like most adults, knew what exactly to do next.
Few visits home that stretched longer than a couple of days were complete without dinner at Woody’s.
Their large expansive structure, with emphasis on cleanliness, and giving you a feeling of being looked after, was a delight after spending weeks at a cramped hostel where you had to queue up for everything from a bath to a meal to getting a form to paying your fees.
Their Chinese wasn’t great, but their SouthIndian, and even their naans and rotis were brilliant.Oh, and what divine starters there were!
And ah, their basundi brooked no comparison to anything except maybe the nectar of the Gods.
Surprisingly, I didn’t give this place much of a thought over the past year, though I’ve been living at home. Maybe because I’ve been living at home and don’t care about eating out.
Changes happened. The place got/is getting renovated. Due to which the structure has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self.
No issues, we thought and went there one evening. And as is usual, asked for the basundi. Nope, we don’t have any sweets this evening, the waiter said. Shock and disbelief. Then we were told it was due to staff shorage.The waiter even agreed with us that the standard has come down, and we all shook our heads together.
Go to the Woody’s on Commercial Street, he suggested. It’s awesome there.
I forgot about that bit of advice. Random shopping spree at Comm Street this evening, which was supposed to end, like other shopping sprees, with pizza. But then, coming across Woody’s brought back that waiter’s advice, and in we went.
I won’t go into details, but I think it’ll suffice to say the food seemed to have been prepared by a new bride. And while I tried to confirm this point with the waiter there, he only grinned and with an apologetic smile said “If the cook is paid, excellent meals are made”, or something to that effect. The headwaiter got an earful too, and he suggested I complain to the manager. Almost like he wanted me to. I did, and it felt like I was talking to a sphinx.
So what the hell IS going on in this place? Recession? Someone do let me know… I really want to know how quality could do such a backflip in such a short time.