Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chronicles of the past decade...

With the first decade of the millenium coming to a close, I guess I should make my own list just like all the magazines seem to love to. Here's a list of the top ten things I learnt or discovered in the last ten years:

1. The birds and the bees. Need I say more? This is the single biggest reason for India's huge population.
2. The fact that I can speak freely to girls whom I don't know, or any girl for that matter, without stammereing or simply passing out in front of them. This was a great boost to my self-esteem. Having studied in a boys' school, my contact with the fairer sex was minimal before joining college.
3. Computer Engineers are not the only people in the world who have a bright future. If anything, most of them don't do anything significant at all. When I was in Class 6 or so, everyone wanted to be a Computer Engineer, left, right and centre. Thankfully, I came to my senses well in time. (My friends in CSE, don't take it otherwise. I have nothing against CSE as such, just that I am not suited for it.)
4. Something which is disconcerting when you are using a western style latrine - 'It is not possible to shit without pissing too.' (True for most healthy males. Too shy to get the female version on the issue.)
5. All Rajasthanis are not Marwaris, something I had a misconception about in primary school. On a related issue, my friends in college will do well to realize that not everyone who lives in Bengal is a Bengali. Avi a.k.a. 'Bangali' will vouch for it.
6. There are people in this world who have never eaten and probably never will eat chicken. They have missed out on one of the most wonderful joys life on Earth has to offer.
7. I can write decently, although this blog isn't a very good representation of the fact.
8. Skill and abilities won't get you anywhere if you can't think straight and work towards success. Learnt it the hard way.
9. Friends are the most valuable asset anyone can have. At the same time, you need to learn to say "no" sometimes.
10. The fact that the easiest part of life is the one that I have just lived. The actual challenges lie ahead.



Early in this millenium was when I had just entered my teenage, which is considered the time when you learn the most about the nuances of lifes and is generally the age when you tend to get into the most amount of trouble, some childish, others foolish. These days will never come back but the memories will remain forever. As we step into the new decade, there are some things I look forward to: 

1. As Murgi pointed out very correctly, this is the decade which could see me find love and perhaps get married too. You never know, stranger things have happened in the past.
2. I would also like to think that in a couple of years, I shall be earning my livelihood too and basically taking control of my life. That would be interesting.
3. I hope to travel to new locations and view various cultures first hand. However, I am positive about returning to India no matter what.
4. I shall need to be a lot more expressive and show more emotions. Otherwise people will continue perceiving me as someone who doesn't care for them or about anything. This is going to be a major challenge.
5. A major aim is to learn how to cook especially how to cook chicken.

So as the clock ticks over to about 11:30 p.m. (there is still half an hour to go before 2010 starts), I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a fun-filled decade ahead. 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Main pyar mein pagal ho gaya hun!

Main pyar mein pagal ho gaya hun!
Maine faltu mein MD join kar liya.
Mujhe MD nahi join karna chahiye tha.
Main pata nahi kya kya likhte rehta hun,
Yeh log mujhe paise bhi nahi dete hain.


This is what I had apparently spoken in my sleep yesterday, when Hims had come to my room in the night. The fact that I do not remember a word of the above does not convince anybody that I did not say it. Now, assuming I did utter these words, let’s analyze what would have made me say it.

First of all, I do not think that the first line has anything to do with the other four lines; though I have been told that they were continuous. The last four lines have probably stemmed out of the fact that I have been doing a lot of writing (letters etc.) recently for an on-going campaign. (Mailer Daemon a.k.a. MD, by the way, is the in-campus students’ newspaper and I am proud to be part of it.) I seriously don’t know where the money part came from.

Moving on to the more interesting first line of the monologue, there are several hypotheses being proposed. Here is a small selection.

1. I am actually madly in love!
With whom? My friends obviously think this is actually the case. Can someone be so special that I speak such things in my sleep? I doubt it.

2. I was having a really romantic dream.
This is the more plausible explanation for whatever I apparently said. I was the protagonist of the story and I was madly in love with this imaginary girl.

3. I am very frustrated at not having a girlfriend and have become mad.
This calls for an appointment with the psychiatrist who now sits in the Health Centre on Thursdays. Anyway, blabbering anything in my sleep is reason enough for a visit. These lines only make it more necessary.

4. There is some link between the first line and the rest of it. I have no idea how people came to that conclusion. But, there was a fair amount of debate why these two contrasting things were said together. I think I finally convinced them that it was a mere co-incidence and that the two things are light years apart and have no relation whatsoever.


What disturbs me is the fact that if this continues then there shall be no aspect of my life that shall be hidden from people. I, on the other hand, would like to keep my secrets as secrets in the future. It is always nice to have some secrets. It makes you enigmatic.

P.S. If anyone has any other hypothesis to explain this event, I urge him/her to comment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Tea Conundrum

I have never had tea in my life (or for that matter, coffee too). In the last few weeks, I have had two experiences when things could have become embarrassing. On Friendship Day, nine of my friends tried to force me to have a sip of Espresso. I did not relent. On another occasion, when six of us had visited an alumnus, he offered us tea. I forced DD to have my cup.

How much is this fact going to cost me in the future? Taking into account the dearth of any kind of romantic relationship in my life, my parents are sure to ask me to go and “see a girl” at some point in the future. What am I supposed to answer to my future mother-in-law when she offers me tea? “Nahi, dhanyawaad. Main Chai nahi peeta. Doodh chalega!” How silly would that sound? She’ll never agree to let her daughter marry me.

I haven’t really understood why I don’t drink tea or coffee. The most plausible reason I can think of is that I must have burnt my fingers touching a hot kettle of tea when I was a kid. Genetically speaking, I should have bucket-fulls of tea everyday because that is what my mother has. On the contrary, I have never had a sip and I intend to keep it that way for a while.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gori Teri Aankhein Kahen

Thanks to Saffrondude, I have been tagged. So here goes...

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Put your iTunes/Ipod/Music Player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG TITLE DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy answering these questions as well as the person who tagged you.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Dil Chahta Hai

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Silent Night

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Bhool Bhoolaiya

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Braveheart-Theme

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Tujh mein Rab Dikhta Hai

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Aaja Mahi Ve

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Irresistible
(They do??? Given that Article 377 of the Indian constitution has been amended, I am in trouble.)
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Sajna Aa bhi Jaa
(Boy, this is getting serious)

WHAT IS 2+2?
Fashion ka Jalwa

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
To Moon and Back
(Yeah, he definitely has alienesque characteristics)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Kehna hi kya
(Absolutely true.)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
But it rained
(Aur sab bheeg gaya)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Wishing Well
(Yeah, that's my life's ambition all right.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Maaeri
(No way.)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Like Toy Soldiers

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Barbie Girl
(What's this doing in my playlist???)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
We are going to Ibiza.
(Ibiza=Heaven you see)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Shape of my Heart
(Hmmm...)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
It must have been love
(Couldn't agree more)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Dhadak Dhadak

WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Where's the Party Tonight?
(I am invited to a party but I don't know where it is?)


HOW WILL YOU DIE?
Zara Nazar Utha ke Dekho
(Your eyes emit laser beams?)

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
You Know my Name
(lmao... this is funny...)

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Points of Authority

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Nayan Tarse
(Appropriate... my laptop can read my mind ... :D)

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Careless Whisper
(Is that a NO?)

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Ek ho gaye hum aur tum
(The answer to previous question is now definitely NO.)

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Fanaa
(Hi Fanaa. I'm waiting for you.)

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
Call of the Tribes
(Yeah definitely, they needed to be more groovy.)

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Crazy Frog
(Yeah! It's making me insane.)

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Gori Teri Aankhein Kahen

P.S. This was hilarious. If you are reading this you are tagged and must try it out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Rocking Year

The past year has been one of the most eventful ones for me personally. I had expected 3rd year of college to be a rigorous battle against time and to be frank it has been far from so. The year was ‘especially special’ because this has been the year in which I have travelled farther and wider than I had ever before. Here is a small list of events which were close to my heart (not necessarily in any particular order.)

Tata Jagriti Yatra (Dec 24 - Jan 11)
This was probably the most amazing thing that has happened to me till date. An 18-day journey on a train with 300 odd strangers from around the country who are now friends or at the very least acquaintances. The journey took me to parts of the country which I had never been to and which perhaps I would never have, had it not been for the ‘yatra’.

As the organizers had informed us beforehand, this wasn’t a joyride and in fact I probably learned more in this trip than I had in my previous two years in college albeit in an entirely different field. The journey was inspirational and I certainly hope that the spirit of the ‘yatra’ which is still alive in me remains so for the rest of my life.


The biggest change to come out of the yatra for me is that I have started looking at my career and life as a whole beyond the realms of the technical education which ISMU provides. There’s a whole wide world out there full of opportunities and although I may end up taking up a job which 5 ‘fruitful’ years at ISMU will hopefully give me, I won’t shy away from challenges and interesting opportunities which life shall present before me.

Besides all the gyan on entrepreneurship (both financial and social), I must say I had a lot of fun and some of the places we went to were really exotic. Add to this the fact that all of this was sponsored. Can you beat that? Last but not least a big THANK YOU to Su for having told me about the ‘Jagriti Yatra’ in the first place.

Trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling (Nov 25 – Dec 2)




Having written a post on this already, I shall not elaborate much on this except that this is one trip I am going to remember for the rest of my life.




Matters of the Heart
2008 was the year I fell in love for the first time. Okay, it didn’t work out and I had to force myself to fall out of love! But as they say, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”

Lots of new friends
I have made a lot of new friends this year. Till the beginning of this year, I knew these people only by name or their faces and in some cases (like TJY), not even that. Now, we are the best of friends and hope to remain so for a long time. I have started socializing more, something my mother was really concerned about that I am a sort of an “unsocial creature”, who did not like to mingle with people.

Add to this the fact that I have done pretty decently in my academics and everything seems really rosy, doesn’t it? So, as another year of college is about to begin in a few weeks, I wish that it is as eventful and fruitful as this one.

P.S. Shit!!! I am in fourth year. I don’t feel like one. Always thought of them as really mature and full of experience and advice. I don’t feel any of those things.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First two weeks at Bangalore

The first five days at Bangalore, where I have come for my training, have been to put it mildly, “interesting”. Not to mention, the journey till here was also an experience on its own. I had taken a train till Hyderabad before boarding another for Bangalore. The first half was a standard train journey for me. Set up a nest on the upper birth and stay there for the entire journey coming down only when nature called . I even had my food at the top. The first part of this ride was harrowingly uncomfortable because of the heat.
Now, there was a 10-hour gap between the two trains and among the multitude of options I had of places to visit and people to meet in Hyderabad, I chose to spend the time in Secunderabad station itself. Bad decision! To start off, I kept all my luggage (except my laptop) in the cloak room there. I was lucky as apparently five minutes later it was filled to the brim and they did not accept any more luggage. After this, I had decided to hav some food and had a Onion Uttapam. Next on the list was the need to take a bath. They had dormitories for Rs.50 upstairs but they were all filled and anything else was too expensive for my liking. So, I was left with no choice but to use the bathrooms at the station. The problem was i had a laptop with me and nowhere to keep it at. This was when I did one of the boldest things anyone with a laptop would do. I kept it at the table of the guy who was taking the money for using the bathroom and went in to have a bath. Call me a carefree person or what. Thankfully, when Ireturned the bag and the laptop was still there and I was no longer sticky with sweat. The next 5 hours were full of boredome. I got so bored that I endeed up opening my laptop and watched 3 episodes of the “Big Bang Theory”, just another audacious little thing to do in a fairly crowded station. Finally, the time came for me to board my train, which was a relief. Reached Bangalore safe and sound.
Alwar's dad , who is working here, had very kindly agreed to let me stay with him till I found a PG for myself. The challenge was finding his home which apparently was in some obscure location in Bangalore.. I scouted around for a bus at the 'Majestic' bus-stop and finally got one whose conductor said that the bus indeed went to “Whitefield” (where I had to go). Here I must mention something about the buses of Bangalore. The air-conditioned 'Vajra' buses are a class apart and better than any I had ever seen anywhere in India. However, the other ones are pretty awesome too and are pretty regular. The conductors have a unique whistle to signal to the drivers when to stop and start the bus. This means if you can’t whistle with your lips then you can’t become a Bangalore bus conductor. Anyway, getting back to the point, I was asked to debus at Sathya Sai Hospital which I had told the conductor as the landmark for my destination. Ironically, this was not the hospital I was looking for and was much much larger than the Sathya Sai General Hospital which I had to go to. Reaching there took me another 45 minutes and two bus rides.
Having freshened up, I then took a bus to National Aerospace Labs (NAL) for some paperwork I had to complete. Man, this place is a fortress. No mobiles allowed inside, security checks everywhere. You would imagine there is some national treasure or some ground-breaking technology being developed somewhere here. All formalities done, I went to the security office for having my ID card issued. I was most impressed by this procedure. I was asked to sit at a chair and was told to smile. I did not know why but I smiled anyway. There was a flash somewhere and 10 seconds later emerged a yellow coloured piece of paper not larger than a visiting card. It had my photo on it, my name, my college’s name, the division I was assigned to and the date till which it was valid. It was my ID card here. If only all government institutions worked with this efficiency, we would save millions in money and time.
It took me all of four days to find a suitable PG accomodation and in the process I used to walk as much as 8-9 kilometres a day. One particular day, I simply went through the roof (or if i may say, through the wall) with my walking. I walked more than 15 kilometres at one go, at least i assume i must have walked that much given that I walked for over 2 hours. Finally, I bid Alwar’s dad goodbye. I must have caused him some amount of inconvenience and for that I am really thankful to him for bearing with me for 5 whole days and taking care of me during that period. The last weekend was spent lying around getting accustomed to the surroundings. Hims dropped in on Sunday before he moved to a senior’s home during his stay here. We ran into a senior from college who had graduated a year ago at a mall and hence were assured of a free dinner. SJ too came over on Monday. We will be room-mates for the rest of our stay here.
Since then I have sort of fallen into a schedule. Leave for NAL at around 9, do whatever work I can do over there, return at 5 or maybe later. I hope working life would be more interesting than this. I’ll be free for the weekend which starts in a few hours. Plans to visit a few seniors and Nilu is also coming. There is also this conference lined up at NAL, which I might attend, but in all probability leisure will gain precedence over work.

P.S. I have really loved the bit of Bangalore that I have seen. Really well-organized, awesome weather, great transport system, lots of malls and lots of pretty girls. If I am given a choice as to where I want to be three years from now, Bangalore would be somewhere near the top of that list.


P.P.S. I have drafted a plan of all foreseeable expenses during my stay here. I have also allotted a certain amount for unforeseen expenditures such as splurging on enjoyable activities. Hope what I have allotted suffices.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Opening up my Inbox


Over the past few years, the use of SMS has become really useful in informing people about things in a clear and subtle way. However, my cell phone has been flooded with SMSs which have no relevant information in them but rather convey what the sender is feeling or at best contains a joke. Surprisingly, it is the same people who keep sending me these messages. What is even more disturbing is the fact that I actually end up keeping these messages in my inbox while deleting the once with any semblance of information in them. So let’s see what people have had to say since the beginning of this year. A chosen few from my inbox ... (What I thought about them are within brackets)

From S1’s mobile

·         The hardest part of missing friends isn’t their absence but it’s when you think of all the good times you’ve shared and ask yourself, “Will those moments ever happen again?”

Sent: Jan 7, 2009 19:29.
(Awww... Cho Chweet! Well, obvious;y those moments will never happen again.)

·         What is education?
It is an organized system through which we waste half our life learning how to waste the rest of our life.

Sent: Jan 8,2009 19:40.
(Very True. But you sent it to the wrong person. I can’t do anything about it.)

·         Dua hai meri:
Jo mujhe bhool jaye, Uska mobile tut jaye, charger jal jaye, SIM lock ho jaye, SMS fail ho jaye aur uska Local call par bhi Roaming lag jaye.
Sent: Jan 11, 2009 16:29.
(How considerate!)

·         Imagine world without girls: Galiyan Sunsan, College Viran, Duniya pareshan, Tanha Insaan, Na Jaanu Na Jaan, Har taraf bas Karan Johar aur Jai Hanuman.
Sent: Jan 14, 2009 15:08.

·         Being a good person is like being a goal keeper. No matter how many goals you save, it is the ones that you missed that people will remember. That’s the truth of life.
Sent: Jan 17, 2009 22:22.
(WOW! Now this guy has turned philosopher. All that we needed.)

·         Two lovers planned to commit SUICIDE. Boy jumps first. Girl closes her eyes and returns back saying ‘Love is Blind.’ Boy in air opens his parachute and says, ‘Love never Dies.’
Sent: Apr 5, 2009 19:39.
(Smooth, very smooth.)

·         After 12th, in CET only one question was asked:
Fill in the blanks- If a girl faints, we must first touch her PU_S_.
Those who wrote PULSE got Medical, all others Engineering
Sent: Apr 7, 2009 12:30.
(If only JEE was like that...)

·         Teacher to Johnny: If there were 5 birds on a fence and you shot one, how many are left?
Johnny: None, as others will fly away.
Teacher: The answer is 4, but I like the way you think.
Johnny: I have a question ma’am. If 3 women were eating ice cream, 1 licking, 1 biting and 1 sucking, which is married?
Teacher (sweating and nervous): The one sucking the ice cream.
Johnny: No, you are wrong. The one with the wedding ring. But I like the way you think, ma’am.
Sent: Apr 13, 2009 18:49.
(Ha ha ha ha ha)

 

What S2 has to say

·         Silence doesn’t mean I’m gone. Quiet doesn’t mean I’m dead. Being with others doesn’t mean I forgot you. Deep in my heart, anywhere, anytime, you are always Remembered and Cared.
Sent: Feb 3, 2009 14:36.
(Really? Is that what you do all day?
 And if you are reading this, don’t get me wrong, but you send this to someone you love or have a serious crush on, not friends.)

·         Sometimes in life we run so fast, we don’t notice anyone running with us. We notice them only we fall and they stop and come to pick us up. They are called friends.
Sent: Mar 23, 2009 22:10.
(Why are we running??? What does the winner get?)

·         Ek din zindagi aise mukaam pe pahunch jayegi, dosti toh sirf yaadon mein reh jaayegi, har cup coffee yaad doston ki dilayegi, aur haste haste phir aankhein nam ho jayegi. Office ke chamber mein classroom nazar aayegi, par chahne pe bhi proxy nahi lag payegi. Paisa to bahut hoga, magar unhe lutane ki wajah hi kho jayegi. Jee lo khulke is pal ko mere dost kyunki zindagi in palo ko phir se nahi dohrayegi!
Sent: Mar 30, 2009 23:56.
(Sob! Almost made me cry. Sniff! Sob!)

·         It starts with a ‘hi’, changes to ‘wassup?’, grows to ‘oye batana’, tends to ‘pagal apna dimaag mat chala, jaisa main kahoon waisa kar’ and never ends... thats friendship.
Sent: Apr 26, 2009 02:07.

(Nice)

 

Thoughts of S3

·         Friendship is not how you forget, but how you forgive; not how you listen but how you understand; not what you see but how you feel; not how you let go but how you hold on.
Sent: Feb 6, 2009 01:41.
(Lecture on friendship at 2 a.m. when I might add, I’m sleeping. Thank you!)

·         The one who holds your hand every time you need support is surely a good friend But a best friend is one who holds your hand more tightly when you say “Leave me alone.”
Sent: Mar 26, 2009 01:01.
(Interesting thought. But wouldn’t you call it intruding into your private life? Oh btw, does this mean we are best friends?)

·         People meet by coincidence, they spend sweet time together, then God separates them, not to end the story but to see how much they remember each other.
Sent: Apr 19, 2009 01:22.
(Awww. Senti at 1:30 a.m. And so cruel of ‘God’. Its pitiful.)

·         A lot of ants were roaming around my phone. I was wondering how come. Then I suddenly realised that my phone contains contact of a very sweet person and it’s you.
Sent: Apr 23, 2009 01:46.
(Wait! What was that? Is she hitting on me? [Pondered for a while]... Naa... its only “S3” ... besides when you hit on a boy, you definitely don’t call him ‘sweet’)

·         It’s difficult to wait for someone, it’s difficult to forget someone but the most difficult thing is to decide whether to wait or forget someone.
Sent: Apr 27, 2009 23:17.
(I am confused. What is she thinking? Why do you want to forget people? And more importantly, people are not buses that you wait for them. Also, the same thoughts as previous SMS did cross my mind.)

 

S4’s stock

·         There are only 5 things we need in life: Good friends, Good job, Good food, Good sleep and Good _uck. Both the things you are thinking about are right. J
Sent: Feb 5, 2009 16:46.
(Hee hee hee! Awesome! Worth a Gtalk status message)

·         One fine day, all of us will get busy with our lives, long working hours, No discussions about GFs, BFs... Won’t have time for ourselves... On such a day you’ll look outside the window and see all the good old memories flash by you and you’ll get a smile with tears in your eyes and you’ll get back to work, wishing you could go back!!! Hello to one such special person who helped create such unforgettable memories.
Sent: Apr 26, 2009 22:27.
(Why does everyone want to make me cry???)


S5 speaks

·         Listen and Silent are two words with the same letters and are very important for friendship because only a friend can listen to you when you are silent.
Sent: Mar 8, 2009 04:40.
(I can hear you loud and clear. Now you try to decipher my silence. I am screaming: “Woman, it’s 4 a.m.!”)

·         Well-wishers are like walls of home. Sometimes they hold you. Sometimes you lean on them. And sometimes it’s just enough to know that they are around.
Sent: Apr 26, 2009 22:16.
(Wish me well)

·         Life sometimes becomes so selfish that it wants everything. But while trying for everything, we miss something that is worth everything.
Sent: May 8, 2009 10:51.



PS This list does not include the annoying SMSs my service provider keeps sending me every few hours.

PPS A few days ago I got this amazing SMS which goes like this -

“Kabhi yeh mat socho ki tumhare girlfriend (or in the case of girls ‘boyfriend) ne tumhein kitna romantic SMS bheja hai. Hamesha yeh socho ki use kisne bheja hoga.”

Bet I’ve got all you lovers thinking, haven’t I?

PPPS If you are wondering whether I get SMSs from only 5 sources, well no. There are quite a few other random individual senders, but the number of SMSs they send are few and far in between to make a list.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Getting your Hands Dirty

Politics in the eyes of the average Indian youth is a dirty term. Today, it has almost become synonymous with corruption. The consensus among the youth today is ‘All politicians are corrupt’ (and in some cases immoral criminals.) While this is not entirely true, none of our leaders are people who evoke respect. Wait! Did I just use the word ‘leaders’?

This is what we are lacking most in our democracy- leaders, who can be followed, who can be emulated and who have a vision for the nation. A population of over 600 million under the age of 25 and no leaders to guide us.

The General Elections or more precisely ‘The Great Indian Political Drama’ is just around the corner. How can we contribute towards it? The obvious answer is to make it a point to go out and VOTE. This is not a right, it’s a duty. If you do not vote, you hardly have any right to question or criticize the government. Moreover, it is perhaps more important to vote the right people to power. For long, people of our country have voted for parties. This must change. We must vote for the most able candidates to represent us, irrespective of which party they belong to. A leader dedicated to the welfare of the people of his constituency will work well regardless of the party he is affiliated to. On the other hand, an incapable politician can bring about no progress even if he belongs to the most powerful party.

On a different note, in subsequent years, what we need most is greater participation of the youth in the running of the country. Thousands of bright, young people graduate from the premier institutes of the nation. How many of them play an active role in running the country? The fact is nobody wants to get their hands “dirty”. Take the case of the hundreds of MBA graduates from the elite IIMs. Some of the best minds in the country, no doubt, and yet they are employed to ‘sell shampoo sachets’.

It is time we, the youth of the nation, take up the baton for running the country. The so-called “stalwarts” of Indian politics have done their job and need a rest. It is up to us to bring about change, to iron out the flaws and take India to the heights it deserves. It is time we ‘be the change we want to see’.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A few of Life’s Lessons Learnt

The last week or so has taught me a few things. Hopefully, I shall not forget them later on. In addition, I have also learnt a few things about me, which I need to rectify or work upon.

  •  Do not have expectations from anybody. The more you expect from somebody, the more you are likely to be disappointed. This includes whoever you call your best friends. Perhaps the only people whom you can expect things from are your parents, offsprings and spouse/lover.
  • Money is important in life, even if it isn’t everything. While it’s true that money isn’t everything, lack of it will bring unnecessary worries. Taking debts is not desirable. You sort of become obliged to the other person. That’s a bad situation to be in.
  • Be more caring of people around you (especially when they are in trouble or are sick). If you care for someone, you need to show it. Outward show of concern is important even if you are not going to be of any particular help to the other person. Go meet them and say words of sympathy. Otherwise, they will think you do not care about them. 
  •            Stop being jealous of every Tom, Dick and Harry.  What someone else has done or achieved is his/her accomplishment. Congratulate them and move on. Don’t brood over “Why didn’t I do it?”; “Why is life so unfair?”; “Is he/she really better than me?”

        Instead, concentrate on what you can do, what you can achieve and what you are good at.

  •         Communicate what you feel. If you have something on your mind, speak it out. You cannot expect the other person to understand you by just looking at your face. If you can’t say it, just stop thinking about it; it is just a waste of time. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

21 and Single

“Why are you so restless these days?” asked a friend recently. How can you be calm and composed when there are a few shitty metal bands performing in front of you? (It was our college fest.) Anyway, the reason why this comment was made was because I was loitering around in the ground aimlessly, and might I add, alone.

To be honest, I had not realized it till I was told about it. And then I read somewhere how pitiful it was to be “21 and single”. It was then that I realised the cause of my restlessness, at least I think it was the reason. There were some couples around on the given day and there was no dearth of PDA (Public Display of Affection). I have nothing against PDA personally but it sort of drives home the fact that you are ‘you know what’ when it is done right on your face.

What is it actually like to be “21 and single”? Let’s analyze.

Pros

•The same friend mentioned above had earlier said, “It’s cool to be single. Then, you can roam about with anyone you want without any eyebrows being raised.”
•You are a free bird. Do what you want as there are neither restrictions nor bodyguards (usually for girls).
•You can flirt with anyone you want.
•There's no such thing as an argument. After all you need someone to argue with.
•You can freely expand your social circle.
•You save tons of money which you would have spent on stuff like gifts(flowers, jewellery and the like), dinners etc.

Cons

•When you see other couples getting all mushy, you go “Why? Why? Why can’t I get hold of that love potion they show in cartoons?”
•When you happen to meet some beautiful person who happens to not be available, you're faced with morally repugnant possibilities and are in a state of confusion.
•It gets kind of lonely at times. But then, don’t forget you are in a crowd.
•You have to hunt for dates for parties and special occasions.
•You wonder why no one gives you any gifts. “I want a teddy bear.”
•You tend to lose self-confidence. You end up thinking you are useless, boring and millions of other negative things.
•When the teacher teaches about 'Single Couple' mechanism in Seismology, you go like, “What the f**k is that supposed to mean?


And finally, it is that classic joke to console yourself.

Pessimist: Teen saal college ke baad maine ek bhi ladki nahi patayi.

Optimist: Teen saal college ke baad mujhe ek bhi ladki nahi pata payi. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friends... who? where? when?

It’s exam time again, so as has been my habit I have come up with another useless, thoughtless post.

Are friends really what we think friends are? With the possible exception of a parent-offspring relationship, isn’t it always the case in any relationship when we ask (usually subconsciously), “What’s in it for me?” If we analyze carefully, our closest friends are generally those with whom we have some business (not necessarily monetary) and from whom we can gain something. While I was scathingly sceptical when DD said this a couple of weeks ago, I am beginning to see his point. His opinion was, “You call a person your friend when you have some purpose or business with him/her. There are no friends, just collaborators.” I do not at all agree with what he said but the question still arose in my mind, “How many of all those whom I consider as friends are actually going to stand by me when the need comes? What purpose am I serving them? Only time will tell.” Meanwhile, I shall remain the same, dumb, unexploitative person.

In a way, friendship is a crude form of a savings account. You help out a person so that one day he/she would also help you out when you need it. In fact, in most cases, he/she is obliged to do so unless it is one of those sly foxes who forget you once the job is done.

It is not like it is a bad thing. To have some amount of selfishness, is in my opinion, not wrong at all. When opportunity comes knocking, there are no friends or foes, just competitors. So think about it. Are you a friend or a collaborator?

I would like to end with the thought that the term ‘true friend’ is misplaced. What is a true friend supposed to mean? All those qualities which we expect from a ‘true friend’ should be there in a friend itself, otherwise he/she is not a friend at all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A fiery V-Day

I spent Valentine’s Day 2009 in the most unique fashion – roaming about coal fields in the Jharia area. We saw coal burning by itself beneath the ground. What a waste of resources. ‘Burning desires of love’ is how a friend described it. The place is high on the list of places where I would never take a girl out for a date, other notable locations on the list being a five-star restaurant (unless she is paying), a lion’s den, and Jupiter. Seriously, the sight was straight out of one of those sci-fi Hollywood movies where the characters land on a deserted alien planet or one of those which show what the Earth would look like after doom’s day.

Smoke was billowing out of the cracks in the ground as if the Earth was having a humongous cigar. And they talk about reducing greenhouse gases. Hell would not look much different. There were abandoned homes all around, what with all the pollution and walls collapsing because of subsidence and mine fires, the place was absolutely inhabitable.

After our return, it took me about an hour to get all the coal dust off me. Had a three hour nap after that, my first during the day in several years. This is one Valentine’s Day I shall remember for a long time. At least I had a hands-on experience of how bad the situation in the mines in Jharia really is. Otherwise, I would have just lazed around in my room wondering why my love life is blank while everyone else is all mushy-mushy today. It’s a ploy to make all single people feel like jerks. What is someone who does not have a Valentine supposed to do? I have a feeling all the protests against V-day has some of its roots in this fact. After all, why would someone protest if he had someone by his/her side who really loved him/her? Think about it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dastaan-e-Gangtok

First of all, I must apologize for the huge delay, because the trip in question happened way back in the end of November. However, due to foreseen avoidable circumstances, this blog has been dormant for a while. But as they say: “Better late than never”. So here goes.

A few minor details before we get down to the actual trip.

Q. Where did we go?  
A. Sikkim, Darjeeling.

Q. When?
A. Nov 26 – Dec 02, 2008 A.D.

Q. How many people went?  
A. TEN.

Q. Who went?
A. 10 sample pieces from ISM University. 5 were females and 5 were males. 

The Cast
Starring: Everyone below 
(As Saffrondude mentioned in one of his blogs, I do not know whether it is ethical to mention anyone’s names without asking them, so I don’t)

DD aka ‘the cowboy’ [aka=also known as]
Su & Su
What's in a name? 
Wiz
Alwin
Ritz
A Nishachar Prani (NP)
Swat Cat (SC). 
Yours truly, Sid.

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STOP RIGHT THERE! I know what you are thinking. 5 boys, 5 girls... hmmm... daal mein kuch kala hai!

So, let’s break it up here before you start imagining things, though I must admit some fools had actually paired us all up, but that does not count, does it? I shall repeat the same clich├ęd phrase: “We are friends only.”

Anyway, getting back to the actual trip, we left Dhanbad on the evening of November 26 for Burdwan from where we had a connecting train to New Jalpaiguri. Now, one of the benefits of travelling with girls is that you never have to worry about food, like in this case they had brought some parathas and stuff from their hostel. How considerate. We had about two hours to spend at Burdwan so some of us went to Big Bazaar and bought a smiley ball. 

In the train, We made sure that people near us also stayed awake while we played cards and had impromptu photo sessions in crazy poses. 


From NJP, we took an SUV for Gangtok after about an hour of negotiations over the prices. This journey was full of people throwing up at every turn and jerk. Only half the contingent was unaffected by it. Anyway, four hours later we were in Gangtok occupying four hotel rooms in what I must mention was an excellent hotel at a reasonable price. Special thanks from all of us to Zico for booking it for us.  


(Photos may be viewed here)

Daily Dossier 
(Disclaimer: You may skip this section, if you are not interested in the intricate details of our trip)

Day 1 basically passed by in settling down and exploring the areas around our hotel. M.G. Marg was all we could visit. Nice clean, wide roads with souvenir shops all around. We took a shortcut to M.G. Marg, which was about 2 km long and had an average upward inclination of about 45 degrees. 
Su spent the evening arranging for passes for all of us to Nathula through his contacts in the army.

Day 2
Places Visited: Nathula (Altitude:14200 feet), Baba Mandir(Altitude:13000 feet), Tsomgo/Tchangu lake. 

How often do you get the chance to visit the Indo-Chinese border and shake hands with a real life Chinese soldier (who, I thought looked really sly). Well, that's what we did when we visited Nathula, with the Indian Army's checkpost not too far off. We also had the privilege of meeting a few of our brave jawans protecting our borders. We even had snacks and some coffee at the place at Cafe 14000, bought some souvenirs and received a certificate of our visit to that height. It is going to take up a position of eminence in my CV ;). There was however not too much of snow up there. Blame it on global warming or perhaps we were about two weeks early. This was of course part of the famed 'Silk Route'. Nathula now serves as a passage to cross-border trade between the two countries. So, this is where all the cheap Chinese items come through. The road to Nathula was in a terrible condition. On the other side of the border, however, the road was awesome even comparable to some of our best highways- an indication that we just don't spend enough on infrastructure. 

While descending, we were stuck in a traffic jam (imagine that 14000 feet up). Cars had simply ceased to move. So, we came out of our vehicle and had a photo shoot with a beautiful backdrop. A descent of 1000 feet and we reached Baba Mandir, dedicated to a soldier who had drowned and then apparently reappeared in front of some of the soldiers of his regiment. Cafe 13000, situated here, made a lot of profit on this day because ten spendthrift people visited them.

Our next stop was Tchangu lake, where we did nothing more than dip our fingers in the freezing water. DD bought a cowboy hat from a nearby market. We could not go anywhere else as it gets really foggy in the evenings in the hills.

After dinner, we had a minor skirmish over where we would be going in the next two days after NP had sprained her ankle. Wiz was really interested in going to the monastries and learning about the village life of the local people after he had a chat with the bartender at the restaurant. SC hated Gangtok for no apparent reason, others were giving their own preferences while I recorded the entire 'fight'. There was this place called Yumthang where no one really wanted to go but there seemed to be no other place to visit. Darjeeling was discussed and then cancelled because of the Gorkhaland issue. Finally, a consensus was reached that we would travel in and around Gangtok the next day and decide on the future later. Talk about an unplanned trip!

Day 3
Places Visited: Jhakri Falls, Lingdum Monastery, Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok Mandir.

Jhakri Falls was, in my view, the place we enjoyed ourselves the most during the entire trip. The usual photo sessions notwithstanding, we had a lot of fun near the waterfall (the water was really cold, mind you). We also had a go with the traditional attire of the region, those funny Pseudo-chinese suits looking good on some of us while the rest looked like jokers. Next, we visited Lingdum monastery, a very peaceful place with really friendly llamas. We got a nice insight into the lives of these devout followers of Buddha. What's more, I got to use their bathrooms, which were remarkably similar to the ones at our hostels. Tashi View Point had a beautiful view of Kanchenjunga and other peaks nearby.

We returned to Gangtok by sunset and spent the evening at M.G.Marg. And then out of the blue came the proposal from the girls that lets go to a disc.

Questions which cropped in my mind the moment I heard this: WHY? Did Gangtok even have a discotheque? Do these people want to get drunk? Is it safe here?

After quite some amount of deliberation, it was decided that we would actually go but no one would drink. We managed to book two cars to wait for us for our return to the hotel. I could tell that none of us were sure whether we were doing the right thing but went ahead anyway. We went inside unsure what to expect here and found a really really tiny dance floor and the air was suffocatingly smoky. Nevertheless, the girls wanted to dance so we joined them more as pseudo bouncers than anything else. There were also complementary drinks and we went for juices and cold drinks. However, DD passed a glass of whiskey to NP who almost drank it up.


The curious incident of the white t-shirt

While all this was happening, a person wearing a white shirt asked Alwin, who incidentally was also wearing white, to join him. Alwin politely declined the offer but the other guy continued to pursue, disappointment ripe in his face at being refused. That was when another guy, incidentally in white too, came to Alwin's rescue. As it turned out, white indicated that you are gay and are looking for a partner, which explained the poor fellow's repeated insisence on a "date". The second guy in white was a "hero" for Alwin, whom he'll probably be indebted to for the rest of his life. ;)

I had thought that this would be the day I would remember as the day I had bath in the girls' bathroom, but after what happened in the disc, it is the day on which Alwin had a tryst with homosexuality.

Day 4

The morning was spent deciding on and convincing Wiz that we are going to Darjeeling, and we finally actually bid adieu to Gangtok and set off for Darjeeling. On our way, we had decided to go rafting, which was an awesome adventure. Although the rapids weren't really very dangerous, they did get our adrenaline running. The water splashing in your face, wetting your clothes, the sudden dives of the raft, the entire 8 km downstream ride made it one of the most memorable times. The joy was slightly marred when Alwin and Wiz jumped in to the water with the two cameras we had. 

Once out of the water we were all freezing and couldn't wait to get to Darjeeling but there was a shocker in store for us. Our SUV had broken down and would go no further. The driver was ready to return only Rs. 500, while the driver of the only other empty vehicle, a jeep, we had managed to find in that area demanded Rs.900. There was a huge row in the middle of nowhere and only when it started getting dark were we forced to submit. The jeep ride to Darjeeling was torcherous and everyone except me and DD had fallen asleep out of tiredness. 

At Darjeeling, we found that everything had already closed down because of the curfew-like situation there. We needed to find a bakery because the next day was Swat Cat's birthday and we were lucky to actually find one about to pull the shutters down. After this, we found a hotel and immediately settled down for the night.
  
Day 5

We woke up at 4 o' clock (not kidding at all) and set off for Tiger Hill. The sight of the sun's orange rays reflecting from Kanchenjunga was out of this world. We celebrated Swat's birthday here to the astonishment of some tourists with all the cake smearing on her face. Some firangees took our photos as well. And Su dropped his cell phone in a dirty drain. 
In Darjeeling we also visited Batasia Loop, Rock Garden, a tea garden and a monastery. 

This was the last day of our trip and we had to catch a train from NJP in the evening which meant our stay at Darjeeling was really short. Once on the train, we were told that the train had changed its route from that very day and would not be going to Burdwan at all. How can a train change its route??? Why did they issue us tickets to Burdwan then? Anyway, circumstances forced us to reach Kolkata and that meant all ten of us went to my home, had baths etc. before catching a train back to Dhanbad. In between, we had lunch at Pizza Hut where Swat gave her birthday treat. 

I guess I have over-wriiten a bit...

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Let me now delve into few of the interesting aspects of our trip, which had more to do with our madness than the places we visited.

 The Songs
Now, in between all these wonderful places that we visited, I also came to learn the hard way, the awesome memory girls have because of the sheer number of songs they know. The attack (if I may call it so) was relentless with one song starting before the previous one ends. There was no escaping it as these sessions happened in the car. I did not even know there existed so many songs and the ones that I did know a little bit about, the lyrics were beyond me. Man, they knew millions of songs entirely by heart. The Nishachar Prani mentioned earlier really came into her own in the evenings while she slept through most of our travels during the day, only waking up when we reached some destination. Wiz slept through most of these sessions while DD bore it bravely. Alwin was even more clueless than me (if that is possible), mainly because he is ashamed of speaking in Hindi. The male Su used to join in once in a while. After the first couple of days, I had the realisation that 'If you can't beat them, join them.' And I too started humming with the tunes, not entirely sure what the next word in the song really is.  

 The Photo Sessions
Our trip was also remarkable because we went around clicking anywhere and everywhere and unlike previous holidays that I have been to, this had more people than sceneries. At the end of it, I believe we had more than 1300 photos, well short of our planned mark of 2000 because of the rafting mishap. An interesting point to note here is that people enjoyed making horns behind each other's heads with their fingers. I am assuming here that they do not know the significance of the horns. So lets get enlightened. For starters, it has nothing to do with the devil. In fact, whenever we make the sign of horns behind a boy's head, we are unwittingly referring to their virility. This is why Vikings wore horned helmets and if I may add, it is also the source of the word 'horny' used so often today. I am not sure what it means when the same is done behind a girl though, which happened on many occassions too.

(N.B. The source of this fact is unreliable, but is true to the best of my knowledge.)

 G.S.T.= Time decided + 30 minutes (at least)
We boys also had first hand experience with what I now call the Girls' Standard Time. I, for one, had never been privy to this concept, but now I know what to expect and I arrange my daily schedules accordingly whenever there is something in which the fairer sex is involved. (For those rare females who are punctual, I salute you and request you to not take this to your heart.)

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THANK YOU
This truly was one of the most memorable trips that I have ever been on and its memories will be cherished forever.  I was initially unsure whether I would be compatible with the girls who went along because it one thing to know each other well, quite another to spend a week together. But, in hindsight, their presence made it all the more lively and enjoyable. Without them I don't think we would have gone to the disc nor ventured out for rafting.  A big THANK YOU to all the nine friends, who made it so remarkable that even three months down the line I keep going through all the photos of the trip every few days.  

(Photos may be viewed here)