An Air of Niceness

I was wondering how niceness is so similar to air.

21% of the people are not nice.
Similarly, 21% of air is Oxygen, which is not very pleasant to breathe in it’s pure form.
78% of the people fake niceness.
78% of air is Nitrogen. Nitrous Oxide, which contains Nitrogen, makes you look like you are laughing, but you are not actually laughing.
0.3% of the people are real vermin trying to poison your mind.
Just like the 0.3% of Carbon Dioxide in air, which is actually poisonous if taken in high quantity.
The rest are the truly nice people.
Like the trace gases. They are not very easy to find.

We need all these kinds of people in the right proportion to survive.

C’est La Vie

I got a topic to blog about (Finally, after more than a month!)
And quite obviously, it is about another round of troubles. For some reason, I often find myself in trouble through the most bizarre ways.

It all started when I went to HDFC Bank to pay the fee for a US Visa Interview (VI). I filled up my name as it should have been (and I thought it was, until 5 seconds later!) in the passport. But the snake eyes of the clerk, who matched it with my passport, found out that I had written my name wrong. According to my passport, I had no Given Name. My entire name was my surname. So I was wrong about my name all along. He told me that if I don’t fill up my name as in passport, there will be a problem in my VI. It was all weird since I have once traveled to USA with this passport, and by giving my name as it should have been. Evidently enough, my B1 visa had my name correct. The Given Name field indeed was Deepak here. It was funny that nobody had noticed that till now. I failed to notice the discrepancy for a whole 9 years.
The clerk suggested that I write my name like in passport in all matters henceforth. I didn’t think so. I didn’t want strangers to call me Mr. Deepak Ranganathan, and my friends to call me “” (I don’t know how to pronounce a nullity of characters)

I told him I’m not paying the fee. He asked me the quintessential question of modern day bankers, “Why Sir?”

Like in
Telephone caller: Hello sir, we are offering an excellent personal loan for you.
Me: Not interested
Caller: Why Sir?

“I’d rather change my name in the passport before scheduling the VI”, I replied.

So I was here in Palakkad, for a vacation of 10 days, one of my mission objectives being the change I have to make in my passport. The lesser objective was to be a couch potato at home, which would have succeeded, if not for the constant power cuts which made sure that I moved around so that I didn’t sweat.

On Tuesday, I set off on my crusade to the passport office – a grueling journey of 3 hours in shaky buses with little padding on the seats and not enough room for your legs. It was close to 10am by the time I reached there. The queue was already a gargantuan slithering python. Slowly it moved until there were about 10 people ahead of me. It was 1pm. Closing time already. We pleaded and cried to the lady at the counter. It was just a matter of 12 more people. She was ruthless when she asked us to come back the next day. After having so many trysts with trouble, I should have seen this coming. I start to wonder if a little optimism is a dangerous thing. It seems like that to me. Murphy’s law is a fundamental principle around which the world revolves.

The next day, I caught the 5am bus, so that I will be in the forefront in the queue. Luckily enough, I was about 20th (!) in the queue at 8 am. The counter opened at 9am, I filed my application by about 10, and I was told I could collect my passport back at 3.30pm. I had to kill time till then. ( Wandering aimlessly in Malappuram was better than a bus journey to and fro) I had my breakfast, then went to an autowallah and asked him to take me to any cinema where a good movie was running. Unfortunately (again!), there was only one where a morning show was there. The movie was “Malabar Wedding”. I hadn’t even heard of it until then. As my luck would always have it, the movie was a bore, except for a few scenes which were humorous. There were like 10 people in the entire theater.

It was about 2pm now. I went back and waited in the passport office. By 4, I was back in the return bus. Later that day, I couldn’t sleep on my back, nor could I stand up. My buttocks hurt because of 12 hours of journey in the last two days. My feet hurt because of hours of standing in the queue. But, as a consolation, I got my passport corrected.

I’m not frustrated by the whole incident. I think I have found an equilibrium with the whole trouble-seeking phenomena. Nowadays, I just blog about the trouble I faced, with an air of a connoisseur carelessly using French terms to philosophize. Sigh! That’s life!

Delusions of grandeur

As kids, we used to imagine ourselves as some superhero and savior of the world. As we grow up, the situation doesn’t change much. The only difference would be that we dream of ourselves as someone who does something extraordinary, but still real, instead of flying or spinning webs or crawling through rooftops.

The following is a real-life incident which occurred to me recently. But it turned into a daydream midway through the incident. Curiously enough, I didn’t do it in reality; I just imagined doing that. Now, that was something which required some mulling over. This is no fiction.

Scene: National Games Village, Bangalore

I go to NGV for an hour of Badminton every weekend. That one evening was sunny and warm. I had just finished my game and was exiting the Builder’s club with AM. So were 4 other people who were playing in an adjacent court. Three guys and a girl. One of the guys was drinking water from a PET bottle as they were chatting. He finished the water, and he casually threw the bottle under a tree. I looked at the bottle for a few seconds, then noticed that he was busy talking to others.

A sudden rage started erupting in my mind. How could a person, who looked educated enough to me, be such an imbecile? The other part of me said… Curb your anger, but don’t leave this case as it is. Teach him a lesson. Teach him the right thing to do.

Deciding to teach that guy a lesson, I slowly went near the tree, took the bottle from the ground, and looked at the person who threw it. He had noticed me taking the bottle. He was looking at me, completely puzzled. His friends were alternately looking at him and me in disbelief, possibly because I didn’t even remotely look like a tramp. I just smirked at him and started walking.

“What are you doing?”, the guy apparently decided to go ahead and ask me the reason for my irrational behavior, as I strode past him.
“Putting this thing in its rightful place”, I said, pointing to a waste bin which was about 20 feet away.
The guy was blushing red by this time. He mustered whatever dignity was left in him and said, “Please. Let me do that. It was really stupid of me to litter, and I want to correct my error.”

I gave the bottle to him. His friends were nodding at me approvingly. I smiled vaguely.

“What are you staring at?”, asked AM.
I was still looking at the tree trunk. The bottle was still there. I turned around to see the guy still in conversation with his partner, the girl.
That was just a daydream. But I still had a chance to actualize it. Instead, I chose to wait for them to leave before picking up the bottle.
“We’ll just go for a walk before we return home”, said AM.
And as it happened, by the time we returned, the group of 4 had gone and a cleaner was already clearing the litter.

I went home and pondered over this for quite some time.
Many of us want to do something extraordinary for the society. To do that extraordinary thing, we need a lot of kindness and altruism, and from what I learned through the above incident, a hell lot of courage.
Now, many people are good and altruistic, but I think that they are not really courageous.

That singular act in my hallucination carried a very strong message. We can only stagnate the process of societal degradation, but never revert it, unless we spread awareness in others also. The hero in my dream (Ahem..that would be the “surreal me”) was courageous enough to insult a stranger, because he had done something which I thought was wrong.

But even stronger was the message that my realization carried. That we are all robots, but our subconscious mind is not. The real me didn’t do it. I just didn’t have the courage to do it to a stranger. I didn’t have the courage to stand out in the crowd; be an oddball.
We always want to be in the zone that we consider to be safe. It would have been a different ball game if someone asked me to do something which deviates from what I believe. Because the doer in that case would be me, and I would strongly resist.
But in this case, I was weighing the consequences of confronting a stranger for a matter that had no direct impact on me, with what I believed to be just. Of course, the first plate weighed more, because our society has degraded to such an insolent level of courtesy, which makes any mildly offensive gesture indistinguishable from disrespect.

There are a lot of do-gooders around. But an improvement in the society will be expedited if they teach others a lesson or two about their misdemeanors. But very few people dare to go that extra mile, because it is a murky forest full of hostile creatures out there. I realized that I’m definitely not among those courageous ones, although my daydream suggests that I want to be. But what good are thoughts or words, if they are not enforced by deeds?

Superlatives of 2007

I nicked this idea from one of the blogs that I read – Gypsy. But, what the hell…everyone can have their own list. I’m amazed why this didn’t become a tag though. So I’m gonna make this a tag. This, as the title says is a list of superlatives. You can add any list of superlatives of last year, but keep it to a maximum of 5 items per list. (For eg: Books I struggled to finish is my invention)

Top 5 moments of the year:

  1. I “apparently” hurt my right elbow while doing pull-ups and had to undergo a surgery, and the funniest part was that it was not for any injury.
  2. My hard disk crashed a week after Times of India wrote that whoever had 320 GB of hard disk space were terrorists, depriving me of a place in the coveted list.
  3. My cousin Kavita appearing out of thin air and getting in touch after about 10 years. I should thank Orkut for that.
  4. My car was hit by another car on the side, deforming the left rear door. This made me think that whoever buys new cars in Bangalore should be mentally tough enough to see their car turn into an ugly piece of metal. Ladies, sorry to say this. Guys, please keep some distance with vehicles driven by ladies. There may be some good drivers among the ladies, but the truth is that a majority of them don’t know what to do under stress while driving.
  5. Ahh..the marriage proposals…how can I forget that? It seems my relatives are more eager to see me caged than anybody else. Thank God that my parents are understanding. Let me count… I got 4 marriage proposals, all of which were rejected rather mercilessly even before the topic gathered heat.

Best 5 movies that I watched: (Released this year)

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (This might be highly biased)
  2. Ratatouille
  3. The Bourne Ultimatum (Except for the shaky camera at some places, which almost gave me a headache. The story was well paced and just good.)
  4. Die Hard 4.0 (A good action movie after “True Lies”)
  5. Chak De India (Need I say any more?)

Best 5 movies: (Released earlier and watched from home)

  1. The Departed (DiCaprio proved that he is not some chocolate boy who spits the farthest.)
  2. The Shawshank Redemption (Yeah.. I got around to watching it only last year)
  3. The Prestige (Another well-crafted movie from Christopher Nolan. Amazing performance from Christian Bale.)
  4. Rear Window (Hitchcock all the way! Believe it or not, all scenes except the climax were shot from a single room!)
  5. Sin City

There are more (Amelie, Run Lola Run, Das Boot, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) but the list says only 5 🙁

Worst 5 movies:

  1. Ghostrider (Why, oh, why did I watch a movie with Nicholas Cage in it? He just sucks. Period.)
  2. Wild Hogs (Comedy which made me sick.)
  3. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  4. Billa (But it was worth the money because of Nayantara *EVIL GRIN*)
  5. Om Shanti Om

Best 5 books:

  1. The picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
  3. The Argumentative Indian – Amartya Sen
  4. Three Men on the Bummel – Jerome K Jerome (Not quite as good as it’s prequel, but still utterly hilarious)
  5. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson (This is an amazing book. Became a big fan of Stephenson after reading this book)

5 books which I struggled to finish (Because I fell asleep before completing a page)

  1. Crisis – Robin Cook (I think this will be my first and last Robin Cook book. I don’t like his writing style)
  2. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier (A really sloth novel with too much detail about the surroundings than the characters.)
  3. Asterix and the Class Act (Class Act is not an Asterix story. It is rather a collection of Asterix short stories. This was not remotely as funny as the stories.)

I don’t think there are more 🙂

Top buys:

  1. My new T-shirt (okay I bought it this year, but I like to cheat) which reads:

    Alcohol and Calculus do not mix…Never drink and derive.

  2. The 160GB Seagate Barracuda hard disk which crashed.
  3. My personal web space.
  4. Rubik Cube from CMH Road while at the junction. Bought it for just 30 rupees (He started from 60 rupees and I started from 20 rupees. Quite a bargain, ain’t it?), but I am becoming increasingly addicted to it nowadays. My fastest time: 7 minutes 13 seconds. (Nowhere near Ajith‘s abilities, but I think it is good enough for an amateur with 1 month of Rubik Cube solving experience) Later, I went to Landmark in search of a better Rubik Cube, but I found the exact same make which was worth 90 rupees.

I now throw this tag open. I don’t like being partial. Anybody who likes can take it. Only condition is that you have to let me know by commenting here. :p

The Pensieve Redux

Lads and Lassies,
Presenting the new face of “The Pensieve”. A new face calls for a new name too. I call it “The Surreal Me”, because I think of myself as a unrealistic dreamer.
As they teach you in mathematics, i is not real. This holds true for the I that I am.

I have migrated to a personal domain, and was simply lying that my blog was dead. In some way, that was true also. “The Pensieve” is dead. And “The Surreal Me” has risen from its ashes. At least three people fell for it. Rinchen even went so far as to send me a Facebook message demanding an explanation. 😀
I started the buildup from the comments two posts ago ((My new year resolution was to celebrate April Fool Day 4 months earlier :P)). I must apologize to Ajith for having used him as a bait for this. Apparently, an offhand comment will not stop me from writing. (I say “apparently” because I myself am not sure. That conclusion is purely empirical.)

Anyway, I did give some clues:

  1. I said I may change my decision next year.
  2. I took the Blue Pill. Those who have watched “The Matrix” several times can say that by taking the blue pill, you remain in wonderland.

A few words about the transition. I have redirected my earlier blogspot address to here, so that won’t be a problem for the time being. The links won’t be broken. But I would appreciate if you can update your blogroll with the new address. The URL is http://blog.deepakiyer.com and the Name is The Surreal Me. You don’t have to worry about the feed. I still use the feedburner address for this. But it is better to cross-check. The feed address is http://feeds.feedburner.com/deepakiyer

Once again, thanks for being amazing readers. And please do comment on my future posts.
Finally, thanks to my good friend and classmate since 8th standard, KP, for suggesting the wacky punchline.

Good Bye

I thought about this very hard.
I think this is the right decision.

I have become increasing annoyed with this pile of bullshit which I make you read every fortnight. I cannot do it any more. I want this blog extinct, or at least dormant. Henceforth, I am not going to waste my time on this blog. It is a painful farewell to all my readers. Sorry guys! And thanks for being an awesome bunch of readers.

There are many things which prompted me to do this. First of all, I have better things to do now. Secondly, I think my writing quality has been deteriorating of late. Thirdly, I have what I’ll call a writer’s topic block. Whenever I think of writing, I can think of no other topic but some of my old memories or whatever bland things are going on in my life. It has become so monotonous even for me.

Maybe I will regret this and come back some day. But today I am feeling no regret on shelving my blog. What I will really miss will be you readers. But who knows what is in store for us? I may be back a year later for all that matter.

So this is it guys. No turning back from now.
I take the Blue Pill.
So long…Farewell…Auf Wiedersehen…Good Bye

A cat called Tinku

A hot summer day
I was 12 when I first met them. It was summer vacation. Palakkad was as hot as ever and I was cocooned inside my bedroom, reluctant to get out until the sun decided to hide in the west.
I had never flown a kite in my life. I hadn’t even seen one up close. Being the kid without much demands, I never asked my dad to buy or make one for me.

But this day was eventful so far. I had found a kite tangled in one of the coconut trees in our house. After a Herculean effort, I managed to remove the kite from the tree. It was badly torn. I started reverse engineering that to find out how a kite is made. And I started making one in my bedroom.

Visitors
I don’t remember what made me go out through the front door. Maybe I was contemplating where to go to buy the thread for the kite. When I came out, I heard a faint high pitched meow. I looked down to see two small kittens; the tiniest ones I had ever seen. One was white with patches of sandalwood color like that of Marie biscuit all over its body. The other one, the one which was meowing, was the color of an old tree trunk with patches of white all over. Her head was completely white. They were so cute and their meows were so innocent that I immediately rushed inside to tell my mom about the two visitors outside our house.

She raised her eyebrows, because she somehow used to sense when someone opens the outside gate, so much so that our calling bell was rusty due to the lack of use. She might have been wondering how they managed to get inside without opening the gate! Then I told her that the visitors were not human and introduced them to her. She asked me to come inside, took some milk from the fridge and some bread crumbs. She gave me a couple of used coconut shells to pour some milk and give it to the kittens. We loved watching them lapping the milk and eating the crumbs.

More visitors
The day went so fast with us watching them play and run around. (The kite was shoved away in a corner.) They were so cute. In the evening, we had some visitors. It was some old friend of mom’s, who now lived in Coonoor near Ooty. She had come with her daughter and her niece, who happened to be my mom’s student. I don’t remember their names because it’s been a long long time now. My mother and her friend went into the old-buddy-chitchat. I grabbed the opportunity to talk with the girls. After some time, I decided to introduce them to my two new friends. This was the moment when I named them. The girls asked me the names. I said, “I don’t know. I think I’ll name them….Tinku and Pinku”

Departure
Tragedy struck that very day to the twins. My mother was very apprehensive of letting an “animal” enter the house. So I, reluctantly, had to let them stay outside at night. The next day I woke up, my mom forbid me and my brother to go out. I asked why. She said that Pinku was dead. She was mauled to death by a tomcat in the night. It was too late before they could understand what the weird voices outside were and save her. Tinku managed to hide in a small hole, but Pinku was not that lucky. I was asleep, oblivious to all that happened outside. I didn’t see Pinku’s body, but the behavior of Tinku was really disturbing. She looked frightened, all her fur standing up, like our hair do when we have goose bumps. She was making sounds which were freaking me out. She had also arched her body weirdly like she had a hunch in the back. My mother was crestfallen because she thought she was in a way responsible for Pinku’s death. That single incident made Tinku closer to our family than we all had imagined.

Growing up

Tinku grew up as months went by. But she had a baby-face even when fully grown up. She was kept inside for a few days until she was big enough to manage herself. After that she was generally outside. But we always kept a window open for her to hop in and out whenever she wanted.

Like a typical cat, she once tried to steal something kept in the kitchen. My mom caught her red-handed and beat her with a stick. She seemed to understand, and she never stole from our house again. She also had brought a couple of dead birds and a large fish inside the house to eat in peace. We, being strict vegetarians for life, couldn’t tolerate this behavior. Mom beat Tinku each time and after three times, she never brought her food inside; she would always finish her quarry outside the house.

It was my mother who was more attached to her than anyone else, followed by me. When we would watch TV together in our couch, Tinku invariably used to jump and sit on my lap or by my side. There was one person she would stay away from, however. My brother liked to subject her to experimentation. For instance, he would throw her to a vertical tree trunk to check how she can clutch with her paws onto the trunk. And he would drop her from a good height to see if she lands on four feet.

Mom used to give nicknames for her like “Vadivaal” (Literally meaning Stick-Tail) because her tail was straight up when she was around my mom, “Chena” (Meaning Yam) because she used to look like one when she sat with her feet hidden under her body, her body color giving a distinct look of Yam.

She used to respond to several of our instructions, the funniest being when my mom calls her to catch a house lizard. She would come running if she is at earshot; she would jump and catch the lizard, then take it out and eat it.

As days went past, she gave birth to three cute kittens, which were named Kariman (Because of the fair amount of black on his body with white patches here and there), Paandan (This one was the negative print of Kariman – black patches on white body) and Puli (Because of the conspicuously cute streaks of tiger-like stripes)

Farewell
Months went by, maybe years. I don’t remember when she bid farewell to us forever. It was difficult for me to let go. She still remains in my memory, in a special place where my human friends have not been able to grab a seat. She was my first and last pet.

Right is back

I am partially back in action. A successful surgery at Hosmat and I am back in Palakkad now, to take rest. But being the internet buff that I am, I couldn’t ignore the call of my PC and the internet. So here I am, typing with one and a half hands, a quarter of a bone less and 13 stitches in my inner elbow.

I had quite some revelations about my conditions as well as about some of my friends through the course of this recent development. First of all, this was not a cyst and was some other “benign lesion”. It was nevertheless harmless, because, well, it was benign. The doctors just removed the head of my radius bone instead of grafting a bone from somewhere else. That spared me another cut in my body. Anyway, I had my surgery on Friday, hand was on cast for one day, I was discharged on Saturday evening and a couple of the nurses were pretty.

I was feeling a little underweight because of the piece of bone which was removed, but it was quickly compensated by the weight of the minuscule facial hair which sprang up in a matter of 3 days. After discharge, I came back to Palakkad, supposedly to take rest, but I’m taking everything but rest here. That includes taking pills, taking occasional punches from my brother for bullying him and taking food with my left hand. I have become adept at eating with left hand of late. Guess it is only a matter of time before I become ambidextrous.

I got bored easily, watching the idiot box, so I decided to clear my backlog with mails and Google Reader. But I was flabbergasted when I saw the number of unread posts in my Google Reader. It was a tad less than 100 in 5 days. Now I have to work hard to read all those. Plus I have a pending tag.

Another important thing that I found out was who really cared about me. I found out that some people who I thought were friends, were not my friends, after all. Honestly, all that would have taken to show some sign of concern, was a phone call. I’m not whining here. I’m just thankful that there was one good thing about my condition – I could separate the wheat from the chaff.

A series of unfortunate events

Thursday, 8th November – 0600 hrs
So I was taking a break from work for 11 days. Let’s just call it a vacation at my native. My agenda – Diwali on 8th, Kalpathi Ratholsavam over the next week, and a visit to Chelakkara, my mother’s native place, after about 10 years.

This has been my most expensive trip home so far. I had to take a flight to Coimbatore and my dad came about 50km to pick me up. The reason – No train or bus tickets were available as it was peak time. Forget peak time, you won’t get tickets to Kerala even on normal months. I remember seeing 93 seats available on the first day of booking (that is 60 days before the journey date), and it quickly went into wait list in 15 minutes. Traveling from Bangalore to Palakkad (or to any part of Kerala, for that matter) is a pain in the butts, mostly because you have to take a bus (because there are only a couple of direct trains) and your butts will indeed be painful by the time you reach home.

Deprived of all cheaper means of going home, I thought of taking my car. That would be a drive of 7 hours. But my mom thought that was a bad idea (Read: “Forget it! You are not taking your car alone for such a long distance.”) It almost seemed as if she sensed that I was in Diesel Mode of late. Diesel Mode is the term given by my friends to my random rushes of adrenalin wherein I drive my car like a race car driver when I find stretches of road where there is not much traffic and there is no risk of people crossing the road, for instance the Inner Ring Road or the Mysore Road. The name is derived from the role of Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. Anyway, my mom said “No car. Period.” So I took a flight, shelling out about 2000 bucks more than what I’d spend for a train ticket.

The flight duration was 1 hour. I was wondering why it took so long, given that it is not even one third the distance between Bangalore and Delhi. I made up a theory. Coimbatore was so close that the plane would have passed Coimbatore and gone further South by the time it gained altitude. So it had to turn around to land in Coimbatore.

Mathematically speaking,
Optimum Altitude/Rate of altitude gain of the plane < Distance to Coimbatore/2*Ground speed of plane

The flight was supposed to be uneventful, but as it would always be the case with me, it was eventful. The event was that I got two free sandwiches and a coffee from Kingfisher. The “unevent” was that I got those not in the flight, but in the airport, because the flight was delayed by 2 hours, owing to the shortsightedness of the Coimbatore lads. (They said the visibility was only 600 feet and they couldn’t see farther than that. This is called shortsightedness or myopia.)


Thursday, 8th November – 1100 hrs
The 45 minute journey from Coimbatore to Palakkad was uneventful, except for the event that I immediately sensed it when we crossed the state border to Kerala as it started getting bumpy due to potholes in the National Highway. Anyway, the journey was over in a jiffy. All I did was talk. I talked to my brother, talked to my dad. Funnily enough, they didn’t talk to me much. My brother said I didn’t give them a chance to talk. One of the few things that I remember my dad saying was, “Watch out… there’s the bull temple.” There was a Shiva temple with a huge bull statue by the Highway. And my dad and mom always made it a point to say “Watch out… there’s the bull temple,” as we used to pass by. You’d usually get bored having seen it so many times in life. But not my parents. My mom may even ask to turn back to have a look, if she misses it by any chance. (I don’t know whether this has happened any time.)


Thursday, 8th November – 1230 hrs
As I reached home, I had to add something else to my agenda. Designing the system that my brother was doing for his final year project. He didn’t know what the hell a design was. He would say he has done something and I just have to refine it, while in fact he would not have done anything. He would ask me about UML. Don’t ask me what UML is, because I honestly don’t know anything about it. When I tell this to my brother, he’d just ask me to tell him whatever I know. He sounds like a Project Manager at times. I get annoyed, but he gets a backing from mom, “Help him da. Who else does he have to turn to?”
“Oh right.. Engineering is a subject like the Hindi you teach. It is so simple that a Electronics Engineer can solve the doubts of a Computer Engineer.”
“I would help him if only I knew.”
“But I don’t know either”
My brother interrupts, “Look..you just have to draw a component diagram, explain each module and their interactions. I’ll take care of the rest.”
I ask, “What else is left for you to take care of? Correcting grammatical errors?”
My brother says, “No. MS Word will take care of that!”
I roll my eyes.So I was not spared this time either. My brother was bugging me when I wanted to rest in peace. Not inside a coffin, mind you.


Friday, 9th November – 1800 hrs
Diwali went on with some minor attractions like me showing off by lighting crackers in my bare hand and throwing them to burst them in the air. The next day I went to a concert in Kalpathi. I and my mom decided to walk the distance. By the time we reached Grandma’s house, I was really thirsty. No points for guessing the reason. I was talking all the way. You’ve heard “Walk the talk” but I apparently believed in “Talk the walk”. The concert was not very impressive, so we returned home soon.


Saturday, 10th November – 0900 hrs
The next day was a turning point in my vacation and in writing this post. I was not finished with half of my agenda. But as fate would have it, I’m forced to wind up this post midway. I don’t remember what went through my mind when I decided to take a couple of pull-ups in the bedroom loft. That I am not very heavily built, and can take only two pull-ups at most, is a fact which I forgot. (On second thought, this is what was going through my mind when I did that act which can be deemed extremely unnecessary and foolish.) I pulled myself up; when I reached the pinnacle, a piercing pain grew in my right elbow, and I immediately let go. I was literally slithering in the bed due to excruciating pain for the next 2 minutes. After the pain subsided, I noticed that it still was extremely painful whenever I twisted my arm. I was not able to eat with bare hands; I had difficulty in brushing my teeth. I was horrified. What happened to my right arm? I went to the hospital, and found out from the doctor that a cyst has developed in my elbow. It was probably there for some time, but the pain developed when the bone was exerted. I have to get it removed through surgery. I’ll get admitted soon. The doctor advised me not to type, but I wanted to publish this post, although it is incomplete. So I changed the title and am posting it now.I will update after my surgery. This is a very minor surgery, but please pray for me.

Homecoming

For records, this post is delayed by at least 20 days. Talk about being lazy!!! Sigh!

It is a magic held by any undergraduate college. When you visit your alma mater, you cannot but have that heightened feeling of nostalgia.

NITC

I went to the college where I learned so many lessons of life, the most important one being how to live. I passed out of college (luckily, never “passed out” in college) in 2004. That’s more than 3 years now, so there were only two people in the college who I knew personally (Or, better to say non-academically) – Dhanaraj, once my senior, now a faculty, and Paro, who’s a student there. Well. I met another guy I knew – Ravi. I was perplexed, because it was a canonical impossibility, but he clarified that he had a back paper in final year, and was still in campus because of that.

Oh…the back papers. I remember I had escaped narrowly in a couple of my courses – all those ones without any mathematical problems – Computer Organization and Architecture, Digital MOS etc.
So this was more like a professional visit, (I’ll disclose the reasons, if fate permits, at a later time) but I still couldn’t resist a stroll around the hostel area, and around the library, computer center and DB.

One thing I noticed was that NITC hadn’t changed as much as I thought. The impression I had in my mind, after the news given by some fellows, was exaggerated. It was a welcome sight. There were a couple of new disciplines, a few new buildings, a few modified ones, and everything else was more or less intact. As I strolled around, old events kept flashing in my mind. I’ll try to reproduce them here. It’ll at least make this post more readable. 🙂

As I entered, I saw the gates which were not there when I was in my final year. (I had seen the pictures from Ajith’s blog though) Inside, the Rajpath looked the same, except for the fact that it was well paved now.

The Rajpath with a new look

 The Rajpath…with a new look

It was a Sunday evening in August. We were returning to campus after a weekend visit to our respective homes. The pavements were so slippery with moss that people seldom walked on them. However, Antony was not among those faint at heart. I warned him, “Don’t walk on the pavement. You’ll slip”. He shoved off my warning with an air of nothing-can-happen-to-me. 5 seconds later, he fell on his ass.

Back in hostel, the others were narrating this incident to Dinesh, when he told, “He seems to have a black tongue. Two days back, the same thing happened to me, and 5 seconds before my fall, Deepak told me that I will slip.”

I got infuriated, “Come on, man. You fell because it was slippery, not because I said it was slippery. Grow up, man.”

I saw the new Central Computer Center building. Again, I had been misinformed that they had built it on the basketball court. I used to think what a pity it was, because the court was close to my heart (or something close to that) as I used to play basketball (or something close to that) every day (or something close to everyday). But whoever said that, was wrong. The basketball court was in tact. However, to my alarm, I saw buildings coming up in the football ground. Where will they have the Monsoon cup from now?

Football Ground

Where is the Triangular Notice Board?

FBG…Triangular Notice Board….gone…all gone

As I went through the Main Building, I was in for another shock. The Triangular Notice Board was gone! It was where we all used to vent out our feelings.

Monsoon Cup 2003.
Badshaz (Used to call ourselves “Bad”shaz, for an air of superiority) were the reigning kings. Just on the eve of the kickoff, we stuck one poster on the triangular notice board.

First year – Semifinalists
Second year – Runners up
Third year – Winners
Fourth year – We need competition!

February 15th 2001
The day after Valentine’s day.
A poster read:

Henceforth, we will mourn every February 15th as the Broken Hearts’ Day. This day will be dedicated to all those hapless souls who no girl cares about.

I went to the department, met a few professors and then, Dhanaraj. We had a lengthy chat, which was mostly enlightening for me. I learnt that Papachan and Mamachan were still open. It was another wrong tidings given by someone that Papachan and Mamachan were closed because of bad business as all the back gates from college were sealed now. Also, someone had told me that the Kattangal economy had crashed due to the sealing of the gates near the D Hostel, which meant that guys had to go all the way to the front entrance and come back to go to Kattangal. But living up to the true NITC spirit, they are still taking the pains to go that extra mile. That means that there are as many motorcycles now as there were bicycles at my time and as many cars now as there were motorcycles at my time.

As usual, we had bunked our 9 am class and sitting in Mamachan having breakfast. We were having a heated argument. (For those who don’t know, Papachan, Mamachan and Chechi were the local hotels)
KK: Papachan is the best. The food is so delicious.
Me: Chechi is better than that. The food is incomparably good.
KK: But Chechi is not clean. Nobody can beat Papachan at that.
Me: Papachan will take a lifetime to bring you food after you order. You’ll die of hunger by the time he brings food.
KK: Grrr..
Me: Double Grrr…

Ragam 2000
Mock Press competition was under way. The guy was enacting Jackie Chan.
Guy from audience: What is your purpose of visit?
Jackie Chan: To visit Papa-chan and Mama-chan.
(Although, I felt that this question was a pre-planned one, the answer still was amusing.)

I went running after my purpose of visit, which took almost till lunch time.
Had lunch from canteen, since I didn’t feel like walking to Papachan, with my heavy laptop.
After my lunch, I decided to take a stroll. The first place that came to my mind was D Hostel – The lair of the famed D-Tops, and of course the Wallstreetguys (Contrary to popular belief, the name has nothing to do with Wallstreet, nor is it related in any way to economics!)
The hostels were changed, but D Hostel was in tact, although it had lost it’s trademark dark-red colored walls. I sat below the mango tree outside for quite some time, relishing my moments there. I went in to visit my room. It was locked.
Outside, the 4’s Arena ground was still there, with all the nets and all. 4’s Arena was a kind of mini-soccer, played with 4 on each side, and slightly modified rules.

4’s Arena Final
Fierce match. Rain-soaked. (And I think it was floodlit) I was watching that from behind a goal post. That was my first mistake. I forced myself to the forefront of hundreds of viewers. That was my second mistake. I was directly in line of Sameer’s shot. That was my third and final mistake.
Since this was a small field, it was more like Table Tennis; you needed to have a good reflex. Sameer mishit his shot. The ball was above the bar by a good 1 foot and it was coming straight at me. I was not fast enough. The ball hit directly in my abdomen. I had this burning sensation in my stomach for the next 3 hours. My T-shirt carried a patch of hexagons and pentagons for the rest of its life.

I then went to MC, which brought out another nostalgic feeling of ordering Bread Pakoda and Tea at midnight. Now that I check my camera, I realise that I actually forgot to snap the MC. How could I do that?Anyway, I returned, tried to finish my business, but couldn’t, so I went back to city, came back the next day and finished my business. By evening, I was back in Palakkad, mission accomplished, and with a truckload of renewed memories.