Random Facts

I was tagged by Bhaand to state 8 random fact about me. Here they are…

1) Before U2 was my fav band, it was bee gees. What many don’t know us that before that, it was Madonna 😛

2) I speak to my dad in Kannada, mom in Telegu (Kannada mixed) and bro in English

3) I call myself a coolgeek and believe thats there is such a thing

4) I think “surely you are joking Mr Feynman” is a very pretentious book. i hate it when junta rave about it.

5) Though i have a blog and am a status message freak, i am an awfully private person

6) I love showing finger to those excessive honk behind me when i drive and then look their reaction in the rear-view mirror

7) I am extremely possessive about my stuff.

8) I believe  that everyone is a pervert; just that some of us are well mannered.
I wish to tag … whoever wants to be tagged 🙂

Peg’s Law

* . Jokes(?) apart, it has been two years and surely I qualify to be called a veteran blogger. Coincidentally, it is my fiftieth post too. Do check out two of my favorite posts in last year (here and here). People loved this post as well.For a light post after a long time, I present some of the quotable quotes by me in the last year.

Quotable Quotes

(On being asked about certain position of responsibility in my hostel)
“I am in fourth year, I dont have to work”
(I wasn’t that lucky)

(No reference to context required)
“Even he gets chicks!”
(No comments)

(Chat transcript that repeated over 30 times in the 7th Semester)
Maro: Ascendas
Shankar: How can I say no to that?
Maro: Peace, leaving in 5 mins
(Ascendas is a food court that is open (used to) 24 hours…. my visit is usually between 1 am and 2 am)

(On being a Quality Management System Co-ordinator (QMS Coord) in Saarang without having to do any work)
“In 4th year, all I care is Grub (food) coupons and free entry into pro. shows (professional shows)”
(I was successful 🙂 )

(Near Monkey Falls…. looking at all dressed up women)
“What is it with Indian women, its like …. they are born with cloths”
(I know thats sexist and cruel, but one is surely gonna a laugh at it. I am not really that bad a person. trust me!)

“Three most wanted Ws – wine, weed and women….hmmm…. wine and weed can be brought with money. Women …… that too!”
(Really, it’s just a joke)

(On being asked to share food coupons I got from being a QMS Coord)
“I don’t want to part with my hard-earned money”
(Eventually, I had to 🙁 )

(on being ridiculed for celebrating blog birthday last year)
“Get lost!!! People do celebrate blog birthdays. ”
(I may have used more provocative phrase other than ‘get lost’)

It has been two years since I started the blog. It’s been great. Over the last year I have been less geekier then the year before, wasted a little less time, a bit more studious, a lot more serious owing to app, have had funnier status messages, blogged on both serious and fun issues and also, unfortunatly, chickless.

Past few months have been excellent. Been to Hampi, Goa, Coimbatore, Pondycherry and Delhi already. And I am looking forward eagerly to Tokyo in Mid-March. Hoping for a fun filled semester ahead. This blog will keep you informed.

In case you were still wondering, Peg’s Law is a mnemonic for the seven deadly sins.

I respect Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a person who has influenced many lives in a positive way. The status message did not intend to offend anyone and should be taken in jest. No offense meant.

Missed Flight, Delayed Flights and Air Deccan

I have written about things that are wrong with South India too (2 or 3 posts at that). Please do not treat this post as some kinda “North vs South” post. No offence meant.

At the end of last post, I wrote about on a week long travel for a programming contest in IIT Kanpur and Coimbatore. The programming contest went great; we came second (lost first place by three minutes). If the documents come through, my team will go to Tokyo for world finals of the same event in March. Wish us luck :). But the journey as worse as it could get. The journey was well planned to accommodate delays with our flights and trains. If anyone even hinted on what could happen with delayed trains and flights, i would have remarked, “surely, you are joking Mr. Murphy”

The journey to Kanpur and back well planned. Flight from Chennai to Delhi, Train from Delhi to Kanpur and retrace the same route back. Chennai to Delhi flight was delayed by twenty minutes. That did not effect me at all. The flight was suppose to reach Delhi at 6:45 PM and the train was at 11:50 PM. The flight was delayed nevertheless. Took a taxi to New Delhi railway station, hunted out a decent restraunt in about 40 mins, had my dinner and went back to the railway station. The train arrived on time. I was surprised about pre-recorded messages over the public announcement system in New Delhi railway station for delayed trains. Never heard such pre-recorded announcements in Bangalore or Chennai Railway Stations. I figured, if Laloo and Nitish Kumar keep adding train from Bihar /Jharkand to Delhi, this was bound to happen. Next day, when I woke up, I was told that the train is late by about 3 hrs to Kanpur. The contest was on following day, so no harm done here either. For the record, both the train and the flight were delayed.Return journey was eventful to say the least. The plan was simple, leave Kanpur by 9:15 pm train, reach Delhi at 4:10 am, catch the flight at 9:00 am and reach Chennai at about 11:30 am. I reached the Kanpur Station at about 9 pm. The board display the train delay by 30 minutes. After that, it become 1 hour, then 1 and a half hours and finally the train arrives at 11:30 PM because of engine failure at Laknow, it was running on Diesel Engine. It leaves Kanpur at 12:30 am. Owing to initial delays, it stops at every station to let the “on-time” trains pass by and the train is pushed back further on schedule. I wake up at 7 am and co-pasangers tell me that train wil reach Delhi only at 11:30. I grew increasingly frustrated as a train makes a stop for 1 hour to let seven Rajdhani express pass. Missing the flight was inevitable as the train is limping towards Delhi. Finally, it reaches Delhi at 12:30 PM.

I rush to Airport to find out that only the taxes in the flight ticket can be reimbursed. I made inquiries about cost to fly to Chennai. Thankfully, I had just about sufficient money to travel to Chennai. I find that Go Air has one ticket left but they do not accept Debit Cards. I rush to an ATM and by the time I get back, that ticket is taken. Yet again, I go back to ATM and withdraw some more to book flight for a little costlier Air Deccan. The flight was suppose to leave Delhi at 7:55 PM. Tired and frustrated, I wait all alone for about 4 hours in the Airport hoping nothing worse happens. But….. it does.

I wait for an Hour or more in the Lounge, waiting for Air Deccan to announce boarding. The flight is suppose to leave at 7:55 pm and at 7:50 they announce a delay of 30 mins. I wait for 10 mins more, and get on the bus. The bus goes to the Aircraft and they say that it is being cleaned, please get back. The bus comes back, I wait for 10 more minutes in the bus and then it goes to aircraft again. This time we (me and other passengers) board the air craft. Again, they announce the delay of 30 minutes to correct a technical snag. Fifteen minutes later, they annouce that they are going to abandon the aircraft. I don’t know, but I have never heard of air craft being abandoned and passengers asked to change airplanes. I mean, It’s not a bus. We get down, board the bus again and the driver leaves us at domestic arrival. Even before I could inquire about being dropped in domestic arrival, all the other passengers leave the bus. Having no clue, I follow them. The CISF refused the permission to go out of the same gate. Meanwhile, some other passenger start shouting at the helpless Air Deccan official without getting any work done. Left without any choice, we get out of airport and get back in through the departure gate. We were reissued boarding pass and went though security check again standing in the queue for over an hour. When the plane took off, it was 11:30 PM. It was suppose to reach Chennai at 10:30 PM. Despite asking for a complementary food after all this, the air-hostess refused. I reached Chennai at 2 am i guess, and I was in my hostel by 3 am.

I also happened to read the Air Deccan’s cost cutting techniques in one of their in-flight books. I find it “ok”, if they don’t serve food in a 3 hour flight, or rent their spaces in the cabin for ads. But, they also claim that they keep the planes flying as much as they can to avid the rent to paid to the Airport to keep the planes. This time the technical snag was found and air deccan is fairly new, three years. What about next time? Most of disasters that happen is due to poor maintanence of the Aircrafts. I would mind paying thousand bucks more if they can assure me that the plane will not crash. I am really apprehensive about flying in a low-cost airline again. Not matter what, Air-Deccan in particular is out of question. They claim 98% flight run on time. On time is delay of up to 2 hrs. The average flying time in India is 2 hrs. People take flight to save time. These low cost carriers simply do not serve the purpose. From what I hear, this is not an isolated incident. Air Deccan has had their expertise in annoying passengers since their inception. The funniest one being a Techie who received an sms saying he missed a flight even with a boarding pass in hand. Seriously, do not even consider flying Air Deccan when you plan a journey.

Some other experiences from the travel:

In the first flight from Chennai to Delhi, I happen to sit beside a Navy guy working in Car Nicobar islands. He kept a good company. Beside him was a woman in her 40s. She was sitting up-right though out the journey. The navy guy asked her to lean back when she talked about a accident she had some years ago because of which he can’t lean. If she does, she can suffer from a shooting pain in the back which last last upto a week. It was indeed a sad way to begin a journey. Then in the next train to Kanpur, I was with a family in which an elderly couple were talking about a case of cancer that one of their relatives in suffering from. Apparently, it was a cancer int he stoamch which had spread to the liver. The patient had under gone 12 operations and a chemotherapy. Though I did not speak to them, I did keep me depressed until i went to sleep.

In Kanpur, to go from railway station to IIT Kanpur, I boarded a bus. I paid 10 bucks for the ticket, and the conductors gives me a ticket for 1 buck. I asked him for a ten buck ticket. He claimed that what he gave was a ten buck ticket. I showed him “Ek Rupay” and “Re 1” written clearly there. He argued back saying that the minimum fare is 3 bucks, one rupee ticket got printed by mistake and it is worth ten bucks. I argued with him for nearly five minutes telling him that he was corrupt. He did not listen. I ended the argument saying him and i both know that he was cheating. Seriously, I have had such experience before in Bangalore but it been with 1 rupee tickets. It has never happened in Chennai. The conductors are too prompt. But here, I was cheated off 9 rupees. I may be generalizing here, but the fact that South India is more developed than the north doesn’t surprise me at all after this incident.

Coming back from IIT Kanpur to railway station, i hired an auto. Mid-way two policemen stepped in and got out when their destination had arrived with paying the driver. When I asked driver about it, he replied, “Kanpur hai, kya kare? (it’s kanpur, what can i do?)” I have never seen traffic cops or any other cop do this is Bangalore or in Chennai. India is lawless, but North India is way more lawless than South India.

Had been to Coimbatore (another venue) for for the same programming contest couple of days later. Then Hampi and Goa for the new years. After that to Coimbatore again for a trek. Saarang happened in my college for last 5 days. Will post pictures if possible. Till then, cya!

PS: Never travel Air Deccan

Taken for Granted

Earlier last month, there was a request made by freshies in my college about a mathematics test being postponed by a week so that it doesn’t fall right after the diwali hols. It was scheduled on Monday following the diwali weekend. Even before the request letter signed by freshies read the mathematics department, the authorities turned the request down (as far as I have been informed). In my opinion, the request was quite a legitimate one. After all, diwali is the most celebrated and biggest festival in the country. If students want to have a good time, I don’t understand their problem. I’m sure that no American or English Universities schedule their tests right after Christmas. The holiday season is what it is supposed to be – Holidays. What is annoying is the fact that it is the same authorities who complain about brain drain later at a different occasion. How the hell can’t such a simple request be fulfilled? If the “brain” is not even allowed to enjoy what rest of country takes for granted, you can’t blame them for trying to get out of this place.It is not an isolated incident that I am complaining about. We have had Industrial Design test to write on Gandhi Jayanthi. We have been forced to write Engineering Drawing Exams right after sweating it out on Fitting Workshop for four hours. There was one lab in which the in-charge wouldn’t let us switch on the fan or open the windows (it was close to 40oC) because it would affect our readings. None of us could see how though, it was a completely enclosed system.

There are always those Profs who demand respect rather than command it. Somehow the “Indian culture” put a teacher on a pedestal. From what elders have told me, “They ought to be respected, no questions asked.” Such a respect is not advised to any other profession. That leaves a little wonder why there isn’t any dignity of labour in our country. A ‘level’ of a cobbler, for instance, will remain low forever because no one ever asks anyone to respect them. But a teacher, oh no, they have to be respected. I may be grossly wrong here, but from what I see, over the ages Brahmins have been teachers and are always respected simply because they are teachers. After thousand of years, we cannot wonder how the whole social (caste) hierarchy came into existence. We are not taught to respect anyone on how well they do their job but on what they do, no matter how miserable they perform their job. Why isn’t it clear to some teachers that students are going to respect them provided they teach well, and not just because they are teachers?

Over my stay in school, every year I have seen some teachers who tried be “forgiving” to students on their birthdays. They tell them, “I am letting you go because it’s your birthday, otherwise ….” Come on! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the birthday is effectively ruined. Thankfully, I have never been at the receiving end of this, but some of my friends were. Let me not get started on beating (read physical torture) that some of the teachers in my school were “famous” for. Also, every one of us would have been victim of imposition sometime or the other during elementary schooling.

My friends have their exams in Bangalore starting the day after Christmas. Perhaps, the authorities find Christmas and New Year parties against Indian Culture. Whatever the reason, these people (like Mathematics dept.) have forfeited their right to talk against brain-drain as such people are driving cause for brain-drain to begin with.

And yes, before I forget, lemme tell you that Pizza and other delivery people cannot come into our campus. It is not that they cause nuisance in the campus, there are tones of other vehicles coming in and going out everyday but because it’s a residential zone. There is a gate through which the bikes don’t have go through the residential zone, and can reach all the hostels. But even that is a big deal for authorities here to allow them to come in. This issue, hopefully, will be resolved soon.

Please note that I am not saying many teacher, Profs and authorities are that way. In fact, I respect, in the true sense of the word, almost all teacher who have taught me, not out of compulsion but because they do a good job. There are those few who, unfortunately, make life difficult for us when all it takes is a little effort to make it simpler. And I don’t respect such people no matter what their profession is.

To end on a positive note, our Mathematics Prof had absolutely no problem in postponing the test for a week. All it took was an oral request. 🙂

this blog is dedicated to…

A couple of weeks back, one of my friends was cribbing how screwed up or worthless his life was. I told him that I have a song for him. Out of nowhere he comes up with, ‘is it a love song??????’ He reasoned that i had said, ‘i had a song for him’. Thing were settled after about 2 minutes. If you are curious, the song was ‘always look on the bright side of life’ by monty python. I would love to dedicate this song to him on MTV. (No offence to Channel [V] or anything, but mtv fits, ask sting and dire striats why.)

It’s so lame to just dedicate a song to sombody! You can simply dedicate anything to anybody, Industries to nation, roads to a person, songs to a string of people, the list is endless. I lived in a place called Kudremukh for the first sixteen years of my life. A person who designed the place must have been an absolute moron. There is a bus-stand right inbetween a school and the playgroung, there is sewage plant in fornt of a jain temple, practically no foot path, church, mosque and a temple are way on top of three different hill making in inaccesible, the administration building and the iron ore mines are on two opposite sides of the town etc etc.Way back in ’99, a dam (named ‘lakya’) was dedicated to the nation. Lavish party was organised for the iron and steel minister in this pretext. The irony is that, only slurry out of the mines are dumped into it. Come on, our nation deserves much more than that! Right now the industry in middle of a major issue of pollution and being located on a national park. It is in the verge of getting closed. I guess mother India did teach the mines a lesson.

Request shows on radio or tv for every one is like ‘been there, seen that’. The most painful part of the shows are with the dedications. They range from grand mothers to girl friends. It is hilarious when the RJ or VJ himself doesn’t know the song he is playing and people go about dedicating the songs. Even if it’s right with most of us, you can’t dedicate ‘everything about you’ to your mother, or even better… to your girlfriend. ( the song is actually ‘…i hate everything about you…’ by ugly kid joe). I love it when an RJ stops taking dedication and even then the guy on phone is persistent on dedications. I pity the guy, he is being denied what can be done without anybody’s consent and more importantly, for free.

From what I observe, dedications on a book are usually given to dead people and for a song, the limelight on a living person. To add a twist, some book are dedicated to just the memory of the dead guy, but not the guy himself. And for something as arbitrary as a dam, it is dedicated to something as arbitrary as a nation. For some reason dedication on a book is strictly restricted to author’s family while a song could go to the prime minister. For something as massive as oscars or the grammys dedication go only to the parents. It can easily be inherited back, you know. Fans do get their part sometimes. The exact share of dedication to the fans is always unknown.

Some do believe the dedications help you to tell a person that you care. Yes, things are so easy when someone else does them for you. Plus, dedications are easy way to get out a situation when you owe somebody something. All you lose is a phone call. Dedications do go to the special someone. That is the easiest way to get out of all your debts!

Alas, habits die hard, we will continue to be stupid. But thats what makes this world a livelier place to live in. By the way this blog is dedicated to all its readers and the dedicated bloggers.

We and our IPs

What occupies a small, but significant, part in an IIT-M ians life is making graffiti on the notices on the notice board. In an effort to be different, we call the notices IPs, standing for internal publicity. The fact remains that hardly anything we do deserves publicity, except acads of course.

IPs fall into a set of categories like lost, lost and/but found, literary or sports events, extramural lectures and misc. As I was saying, ‘lost’ IPs usually involves losing cell phones, wallets or cycles. I am sure you would agree here that these don’t deserve publicity. IPs of ‘Lost and found’ category are rarely seen, but come with strings attached: ‘Treat expected’ Yet again, does out greed need publicity? If anything quality needs publicity, it’s honesty. That’s exactly the reason why politicians, though shameless, are popular.

To be frank, the lit activities do set high standards here. Those standards are set by not more than ten individuals. Lit skills of an average IITMian don’t deserve publicity either. Next in the line are extramural lectures. Is it something that WE do? Obviously not.

Misc category is better not talked about. Those are something that an average IITMian maggu doesn’t care about. Before concluding this, I must tell you that a misc IP is not ignored when the reference to grade cards is seen. IPs from NSS are keenly read by all the freshers. An innocent outsider would definitely find that the social service minded people are just the freshers, who are sure to turn anti-social in following years.

Talking about graffiti, as a fresher, the unknown destroyer was elevated to the standards much higher than any writer known. Little did we know that it gets predictable after some time, annoying after some more, chocking after a little more and inexpressible as it stand now.

IPs that are stylish are the first targets of this destroyer. In an older blog, I had talked about how easy it is to find fault with others. This quality in all of us is easily reflected on our notice boards. Not coincidently, this is not a quality that requires special publicity. All that is done is rhyme what is written with certain anatomical parts which aren’t uttered by her majesty, the queen. I am not so sure about the king.

All said and done, it is these IPs which brings the whole student community together. This includes (the minority) hard workers too. The jobless ones are always united. That’s the first thing we read in the morning before reading newspapers and last thing we read before dinner. A new IP is like a boring magazine, but one that is eagerly looked forward to. The destroyers continue to prey, the others continue to crib. This crib of having to read the graffiti somehow goes under publicized, while this is the only thing that requires publicity.

Almost Famous

“…Then daddy came in to kiss his little man, with gin on his breath and the Bible in his hand, and he talked about honour and things I should know it really didn’t matter how far I go…”

A country music fan will immediately recognize this as a song from the great Don Williams. This is the thing about celebrities, them and their conversation with their elders or parents. My question is, has such a thing ever happened to you? Have your parents ever taken you out for a walk and given you the words of wisdom? All that I have seen is my teacher shouting at top of his voice asking us to be ‘ideal’ and we students seldom paying attention to it.

About 6 months back, I was watching an interview given by Richard Feynman after receiving his Nobel Prize for Physics. He happened to narrate a similar story in his childhood. He talked about advice given by his father when he was young and how practical his father was then. Yanni shared the same experience in his concert in India or China. “…The best things in life are inside each one of us…blah blah…” I am still wondering how much of these stories are actually true.

I have never had such a talk with my parents, nor have any of my friends. Perhaps that’s the reason why none of us are famous 😉 All of us are good at blaming others for our misfortunes (not fortunes) anyway. Trust me, the easiest thing on earth to do is find fault with others! “It’s all because of you man”.

“…I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be. So what do you do with good ole boys like me?…”

PS: The last lines are from the same song, ‘good ole boys like me’ , Don Williams.