Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The White Goliath

Why do you stand out from the rest
like you are something different
your silly urge to be antithetic
Why do you grow in strength every day
while your black cousins abate
Why do you snap at the slightest jhatka
and rise like a phoenix overnight

I push you left, right, front and back
and still you want to disobey the order
The servile blacks stand in place
bend when I ask them to
suck in that oil when offered
And you ! You wave to the world ; unruffled
People! Look at me!

I always preach against pretension
but you push me to the limits
Some like you; your charm; your natural maturity
I can't take it anymore
Someday I will
I really will
You can't breach my regime
and get away with it

All it'll take is a drop from the black sea
a handful of water
Soon you all will be the same
Eqaulity 7-2521
Because in this world
no hair should be different from the rest

Monday, March 28, 2005


In the capacious auditorium aptly named V3 (we three - the professor, students and the spirit of knowledge) assemble thrice a week for classes of 'Marketing Management'. It stinks up the whole atmosphere - I mean the spirit of knowledge. I like the AC, the lighting, the seats where the prof. gets to stare at your knees. I meet a varied collection of students- some batchmates, some juniors and majority being unfamiliar intelligentsia.

It isn't a small group we are dealing with here. A massive assemblage of 150 odd brains, each confident about his skills as a manager, as a think tank, as an out-of the-box guy. Our gurus on 'The Apprentice' provide us the perfect catchline of teamwork and leadership :

"You gotta step up to the plate"....what plate ?

Each session gets a bountiful dosage of marketing strategies. As much as I would like to concur with the red-shirt pimply guy who challenges the strategies of Asian Paints and Bajaj, the grandiosities involved in those hours of discussion overwhelms me. With a 24-hour-operating, supposedly rational brain on the top floor, I tend to question or rather trash what the other guy thinks. Usually these enthusiasts occupy the lower halves of the auditorium. When the prof. quotes a joke (word for word) from the bible (Kotler) smiles exactly for 1.5 seconds , I look up and join their fake laughter. I love interactive classes.

Our academic curriculum for the course of 'Marketing Management' also includes a term paper - on creating a product for the students of IIT Kharagpur and generating a marketing campaigning for it. At around 7pm today, I sat diligently, fingers spread wide on the keyboard, brain open, windows open, nose blocked. I thought I'd be the early bird/worm and do a good job with the term paper...hmm...what do we need ? WHAT do we need ? what do WE need ? what do we NEED ? I have no bloody idea. Any marketing guru willing to do the job for me ?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

First Blog ---> Blog Style

3 things I wouldn't want to be asked (in no order of priority) :

a. Cricket Scores.
b. Training details, unless you are really interested.
c. Proxy.

5 immediate problems in my life :

a. Dhobi steadily losing my clothes.
b. Too much time spent at Harry's.
c. Girl-time has turned prosaic.
d. Apprentice thinks viewers are morons; making upcoming shows more predictable than ever before.
e. My blog and 'sense of humour' are under attack.

4 things I love about life right now :

a. Weather, at times.
b. Hall Days.
c. Mathematics.
d. Haircut.

1 Thing(s) I'd like to learn RIGHT NOW (Trinity style - The Matrix) :

a. Urban Design - Landscaping -- those type of things/ and those things/ etc.

Favourite music groups right now :

Led Zeppelin
Black Eyed Peas

2 things that scare me right now :

a. Abysmal amount of India-China statistics
b. That my fan might stop working again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

S.N. Hall Day

On this historic day (Sunday, March 13th 2005), a slice of the KGP boys dared to attend the SN Hall Day...

Some dressed up, some claimed they didn't.

It is a sin to be unaccompanied in a Hall Day. Some took refuge with their wingies, some with their dept. mates. Only the cocksure or the blessed (with a female) walked in undaunted.

Whats the deal with F, G, Q, W...20 years of ABCD, and now you except us to put up with this ?

You are in...

You walk past the wings, peek in avoiding attention and barge into the rooms that interest you. Girl is dressed up for the day - Saree, Kurta, psychedelic kurta or tops in vivid shapes and sizes. Beds are all cushiony, walls decorated. It is a different world. It is Venus.

After a while, Girl, who just offered you Kurkure for the 5th time, shows this white blank sheet - koraa kaagaz. She says, "Please write something", which actually translates in your head into 'Give me an utmost creative gist of yourself, me, us, my room and life with a punch of humour.'
The boys/men splutter and choke inside like a fish about to be sushi-fied. The thought that any good or bad shit would invariably be documented and displayed to the rest of the hall is just poetic. Only a few pass the test successfully (don't think too much about this, it isn't you).

The safest one-liners are given below. Follow it for a safe 7.5 C.G in SN :

1) 'I don't know what to write' - A succinct comment with a dash of honesty. If veracity is your strongest virtue, make sure you pen it down in THE GIRL's room. It is also an all-time favourite for women that have little to do/offer in your life.

2) 'Keep Smiling (symbol) (symbol) ' - See, you can't beat this. It displays optimism, a genuine fake interest in the subject's happiness. The smileys will divert attention from your 'creative' line. If a red sketch pen is available - Go for it.

3)'What a Clean Room !!' - Very innovative. Girl would have heard it every year, over the past n years. But your keen observation power will definitely be acknowledged.

4)'Sometimes in life, I think and realize that you have been so sweet that I can't help but...blah blah' - Stretch your line so much, that all Girl is left with is a vague feeling of elation.

When boys meet boys, there are plenty of topics to string all the friend circles of the room-guy : Women, Cricket, AOE, dc++ (ah..geeks). Even if that doesn't help, the Maa-Behan abuses should get you into the groove. It doesn't matter if you don't know the other guys. You all do the same stuff in your room anyway. You bicker,laugh, bitch and move on...

But when in a girl's room, it is of utmost importance who else is present. Let us take 3 hypothetical cases :

1) You are a dept guy. A quick peek and you meekly/confidently step in. After the niceties, you place your butt on the table edge, the shoe heel friction barely holding your weight. The room is infested with her community (bong, uddu, mallu..). You jest about the Prof or Lab-Report ...Girl smiles and comments...about something...in an alien language..to THEM...stupid, stupid. You retreat into a shell, enjoy the kurkure. Wrong time, wrong place.

2) Room 2. You are event-buddy (song,dance,drama). Girl is busy with ...others. You have always enjoyed max time with her. Today, you are robbed of attention by the red-shirt guy. You eye your kurta with a frown. You either swallow all this, or quietly walk out.

3) Room 3. Right hand is chip-chip with previous room's rasgulla syrup. You are suddenly greeted at the doorstep by Girl. You artfully rub the fingers against each other, till the chip-chip-feeling and fine-black-thread-like-particles cease to exist. Girl is your best-friend from school. Fascinated by the teddy bears and candlelighting, your mind grows blank. You stare at the Hrithik posters, while new guests pour in - Time's up baby...

All the embarrassment or discomfort would be tripled if you have/might have/had feelings for the girl. This caveat is a few days late, so I hope things went fine for you.

If you are one of those who enjoyed the Hall Day, I am glad...spread the word.
If you are one of those ego-bruised morons, god help you (I am sure Girl had tons of things to do and hence you didn't get your 2 minutes of attention. Live with it)
If you are one of those who refused to attend it...smart boy...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Fan Club

I look up at the ceiling, and I see three clear stripes of dirt, pointing in divergent directions. The room is exceptionally quiet. The diligent hard disk seems to be making a terrible amount of noise. A small drop of sweat trickles down the oily side of my face, while other beads are ready to emerge. I sigh, and look up again. The three stripes haven't moved. Damn, the world seems so static. Could things get any worse ?

I just realized something. We take the fan for granted (what do you know ! tis the silliest human greviance ever). Look at the poor chap, all grimy and oily. You wash your face at least twice a day (i hope), don't you ? Why can't it get the same treatment ? In the middle ages, there were slaves who were specifically employed to clean those blades. The black slaves would run their fingers on the surface and create beautiful patterns. These one of the first and possibly the last "fan-arts". It is an english word which was delibrately converted to latin as 'faaeen aart' and converted back to english again. This is how the word we know as 'fine-arts' emerged.

I look up to the fan for inspiration again. I see nothing. Yes, as an architect I see 3 spaces emerging from a single enclosed space. The dirt particles inside create tension amongnst themselves (as if the tensions in the world weren't enough already). The black stucco over the blades contrasts with the...As I was saying, as a humanitarian (and if I may introduce the new term - fanitarian), I can't believe people don't relate to this subservient machine that has served us all these years.

As I think real hard, I am able to string together all those moments when the fan gave up on me (The human angle : We all aspire to acquire what we don't have, and fail to appreciate the things we do have - health, family, CD drive, friends). These fan-less moments were usually bundled with a power failure. As a proud Indian, I am sure each one of you has an interesting story to tell. As I think harder, I am able to classify numerous power-less days (or generate differences between them), and conjure this small list :
TENGA - Now thats a funny name ! This is a small cantt area way up in Arunachal Pradesh. This was the class 4th to 6th period. My bully, my mentor, my friend were the same person. The power supply was usually off for almost half the day (the sensible half). In case the power went off without notice, I would happily go out and play a game of stappu with my sister's pals or cricket (in that order of choice).
MHOW - Bang in the middle of Madhya Pradesh, and away from the centre, Mhow is a quiet little town that is a dream posting for Officers as well as their kids. Power cuts here had a twist. We were quite often left with a wimpy voltage that would give a gloomy yellow incandescence. The fans scuffled, and we could do nothing in this electrical coma - the worst fan tale of the four.
NOIDA- All I remember are noisy generators and lots of smoke. The neighbours were unfamiliar civilians and their kids equally strange. Class 10-11th academics gave me additional reasons to sit by myself and either read or gaze at the fan. Soon we ceded and bought a UPS. After that, I have had no power struggles at home.
KHARAGPUR- Abusing the opposite hostel block was the in-thing in first year. Nowadays, we all walk out of our rooms in a trance, like our lifeline has been severed, and wait for salvation. I enjoy the blackout, make life interesting by spotting people by their silhouettes and pursue meaningless discussions.

Is comfort (or discomfort) the only good that fans offered us ? No sir. Let me count a few more. Fans gave us bad advertisments; with false enthusiasm for a simple purchase, couples unexpectedly excited about turning off fans, crowds screaming PSPO, euphoric Dada ji's eduacting their grandchildren under the fans. Fans have also changed the way Kareena Kapoor and sixteen other actors appear on camera (I don't need to explain this, do I ?) - the hair blow, the pallu blow, the rippling shirts and so on.

There are many types of fans - two blade, three blade, four blade, zero blade. While the latter one was speedy and noiseless, it didn't quite take off as a product. The manufacturers chose the number 3 as their standard design feature because TWO is too less and FOUR is too much. This reminds of another architectural concept. You see...
Ah yes, music ! That should divert my mind from this fascinating topic - "arre ruk jaa...Arre tham jaa". Now this is a fine irony. The fan always seemed to create a disturbance. And now that it hangs around idly and I can hear my songs without any hindrance, I'd rather have that noise than this Indian Ocean thing.

Wow ! The fan breaks down for a day, and I get new perspectives of life (The human angle : It is the little incidents of life that change the way you are). Like that day I saw this cow and a dog...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Guitar Blues

previous blog - week 3

Day 1 was consummate - Uncle was friendly. Aunty smiled. Tea was seconded by namkeen. Boy looked cute.
Day 2 was annoying - Aunty meant business. She influenced song selection. She served tea tardily.
Day 3 was terrible - Aunty was a royal pain in the ass. Aunty was a royal pain in the ass.

And now you can imagine what Day 4 was.
See, money was never an issue for me - sorry, incorrect usage. Money has never been an issue for me. Apart from a month long stint at an architectural firm, I have never actually been PAID for anything. It took a lot of effort to bargain for this job sans embarrasment. It took a lot of tenacity to endure Aunty's Antics - "beta haan. wo fast bajao."..."Arre, aapne Shivam ko kuch sikhaaya hi nahi"..."Shivam beta, paani pee lo".

Day 4

Time was around 7:10pm. I had already spent one and a half hours at the Gupta Household. Aunty was at my left side, grinning with pride (Did she not notice me looking at the watch ?). Shivam beta sat in front of me - performing a fragmented Dil Chahta Hai. He was possibly preparing it for the next Aunty get-together, where Sharma Aunty (standard envious-cum-enviable neighbour caricature) would get to see him perform this spectacle.

Earlier in this class, Aunty ji had specifically picked out bits of the song, and smirked everytime - "Beta, ye to aapne sikhaaya hi nahi". I tried explaining the trilogy of chords, lead and bass and what exactly I had in mind. Aunty understood nothing of whatever I said. Shivam of course nodded and agreed with whoever he thought was echoing his opinion. So much for guru-loyalty. I complied and added bits and pieces of the song to the tabs.
Finally, Shivam ended his recital. I squeezed out every drop of bashfulness and said, "Aunty,,,ahem..my money ?". Aunty moved her royal butt and smiled at me. And then began Haggling part 2.

Haggling Part 2

"Mrs.Gupta, aap to bahut zyaada de rahe ho. i think X should be enough. 2X to tuition waale bhi nahi lete." - Sharma Aunty

Sharma Aunty had screwed up Gupta Aunty's perception so badly that she backed out of our previous deal- "Beta, we had aggreed upon Rs 2X. But everyone was saying that it is too much. So I think you should come twice a week, as we talked last time. But we'll pay you the same money."
I was appalled. All the 15 hindi gaalis I perfected in Kharagpur ran over and over again in my brain. I smiled and politely rejected the whole idea. They possibly thought that examples of their paisa vasool values and policies would probably inspire me.

Paisa Vasool Examples

Apparently, they had tried out a few JEE tutors (all students of iit). The ones that impressed them were those who stayed for 2-3 hours (while they were being paid for an hour). Some obnoxious girl actually had the nerve to leave after an hour. How rude ! Her services were terminated quickly.
"Beta aise guitar-witaar jaise classes mein time kuch nahi hota. Aapko to 3-4 ghante baithna chahiye."
I was appalled. All the 15 hindi gaalis I perfected in Kharagpur ran over and over again in my brain. I smiled and politely rejected the whole idea. Then Uncle entered.
"Beta, aap ke kaam karo. Ab se 1 ghanta nahi, poore 2 ghante baitho". Aah..The beautiful art of guitaring reduced to a 2 hour detention period. A lot of things concurrently bruised me at that moment - the fact that they had no respect whatsoever for music ; that the 2 hours mattered to them more than what their son learnt; that they thought they knew my job better than I did.

I swallowed all the shit. It was payment day. i collected the money, wished everyone goodnight and walked out. I wish I could have had fun doing this. I wish Aunty wouldn't be so mean. I wish I had the courage to tell Aunty to...