Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time for a reunion

Last 3 days were very enjoyable. We had a small reunion at the college with some of the wingmates that passed out from the campus last year. So as expected, there were long gossip sessions, parties, phatta, movies and more gossip sessions. There is no better way of passing away time than sitting with the best of your friends, talking non sense most of the times, making fun of some of them and getting laughed at some other times.

On saturday, after reading the rave reviews that 3 Idiots got, we went to see it. Some of the people around me had called it a must watch. So away we went. The first half of the movie was truly awesome. We saw how replacing 'chamatkar' with 'balatkar' and 'dhan' with 'stan' can invoke huge laughters from the crowd. But the second half got too melodramatic, something very distinctive of the bollywood movies. But in all, it remains a good movie. In fact, its one of the better ones that came this year. The movie intended to give many messages but I took these 2. First, I should have given a better try to my engineering studies. Second, one should go to Laddakh during one's life time. Its monastries and landscape are just wondrous.

After 3 days of fun, we are back to the earlier boring routing. The semster would start fom Dec 31. Till then I plan to waste all the time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First trip to Varanasi

So finally I got to see the city that I have been longing to see since a long time - Varanasi. But I had never thought that the city would actually be my home for coming 1-2 years. My family shifted there 2 weeks back and it was my first trip to home since then. After having visited the place, I have mixed feelings.

Varanasi is like a very big village. The roads are broken and narrow. Even the main roads are in a similar condition. Then there are all these small side alleys branching out from each road. And if you enter them, you would find that they keep on stretching to reveal countless homes, both big and small, and shops. At times, they narrow down and at other times they widen up. Because of the roads, the city just looks too conjusted. In fact more conjusted than Agra or Meerut or even Kanpur.

But this discomfort eases out once you visit all the temples and ghats on Ganga. We first visited the Kaal Bhairav temple and then went to see the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple. Kashi Vishwanath is secured like a fortress not just because of its importance but also because of the fact that it is bordered by a mosque on one side. While walking through the alleys,you could see the tomb of the mosque standing tall against the temple. There were around 3 security checks at different places following which we reached the main temple. After all this, I was expecting some grand statues or big shivlings only to find a small shivling, sorrounded by garlands and drowned in water and milk. That 1 minute darshan just didn't invoke any relegious sentiments. You stand in a queue, touch the stone, take the prasad and then go out of the temple. That is it. I have always wondered how blindly we put our trust in an object as inanimate as a stone. Is this the way to connect to the god ? To me, it sometimes looks like an easy escape route to convince yourself that you are still devoted to the almighty.

After that, we went to the dasaswamedh ghat, passing through a narrow intricate networks of cobbled streets lined on both sides by shops. Every evening at 6:30, Ganga Aarti takes place at the ghat. And this is something that you would not want to miss. We hired a boat, and witnessed the whole aarti from the river. Five preists with big diyas, hundreds of people sitting on the stairs behind them with temples and halogen lights and other edifices forming the background, and many other people sitting on other boats making the forground is a spectacle in itself. The yellow colour of lights and fire in the dark black night is mesmerizing. I regret not taking my camera there. But I would certainly go there again the next time with a camera.

We took a small boat ride along the ghats. From the distance we could see the Manikarnika ghat. This is the place where the cremation takes place all day long. And even through the night. In fact, it is the only place where cremation takes place at night. From the distance, we could see 4 funeral pyers burning at the same time. The bodies once burnt are then drowned in the Ganga.

The next day, we went to see some more temples. And on the last day, we went to Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. Its around 8-10 kms from Varanasi and takes around half hour to reach there. We saw the place where Buddha gave the sermon. In that place stands a stupa - Dhamekh Stupa. On one side of it are the remains of the ancient monastries. This is where an Ashoka Pillar is present. On the other side is the main Buddhist temple. And on another side is a Jain temple of Shreyansnath, one of the Jain tirthankars. Varanasi is a holy city not just for Hindus and Buddhists but also for Jains. Four of the tirthankars were born in and around Varanasi.

But the main attraction of Sarnath for me was the Archaeological Museum. This is where you could find the Lion Capital, the national emblem of our country. You can also see other artifacts, some as old as 3rd century B.C.

The city of Varanasi might not be a good one to live in(I do realize that it is actually too early to make some comments) but it really desrves at least 1 visit. There are enough places in the city to consume at least 3 days. I would really suggest everyone to go there once. See the temples, boat in Ganga, relish the sunrise and savour the chills of the sunset.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Employed

Past 15 days were relentless and hectic. With all the preparations and apprehensions for the placements, it was really very tiring. But finally, I am employed. Its such a great relief to be able to again sleep late in the morning, to be able to again spend time gossiping, to be able to again go all the way to the hall 8 canteen for the dinners and to be able to give time to blog.

I would be joining ZS Associate. Its an American consultancy firm which focuses on sales and marketing and has a very big clientele in the biotech and pharmaceutical sector. The operations in India though are at a nascent stage. And with that, it is almost an end of my association with Computer Science. Almost because I still have a thesis to defend.

I am happy that I would not end up in a cubicle writing codes. But some part of me still feels that after having spent last 4-5 years of life in this field, I should have given a try to the core. Atleast once. In fact, to start with, I prepared only for the core companies. I had ZS in my mind but never thought that I would actually end up working for it. Since it was open to all the departments and all the programs, the chances looked sleek to me. But surprisingly and happily, I cleared the test, GD and three rounds of interviews with ease. And once I was done, I knew that I had a realistic chance of getting selected.

Placement time is a crazy time. People sometimes end up in companies where they didn't want to go. And in this regards, I consider myself lucky. The job is good, salary is good and the experience would come very handy if I ever apply for the MBA in the future.

I would be joining in Gurgaon at the end of coming June. After the results were announced, we had an informal meeting with the company officials and we were told to complete all our coursework on time. So that means that I would really have to gear up my thesis work next semester. I still haven't started doing anything right now. Right now, I am taking a break. I am sleeping, watching movies and desperately looking for some good books to read. It would take me at least 2-3 days more to again get going.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The brain drain


While surfing on net today, I came across this link here. And then I went through the profile of all the people mentioned in that list. Most of them had their beginnings in India but then went to the US for a career and then there was no coming back. There are many in that list who are from the IITs. These are the people who have earned all the fame and glory in this world. But I would like to know how has their success contributed to the success of the country which gave them this chance. And I am not being sarcastic here. I indeed want to know that is there any positive side to this brain drain. If any body has an answer to it, please write a comment. I would really be very grateful.

There is a friend of mine who says that it was for good that these people went there. If they would have remained in India, they wouldn't have achieved anything significant. They argue that they are contributing more to the development this way. But I seriously refuse to believe it. US is what it is today because of the efforts put in by the people there some 200-300 years back. It took it all these years to achieve the position it enjoys in the world today. But what have people in India done. Rather than emulating that model, we very comfortably make use of the infrastructure US extends to all the bright people for its development. We never tried to develop those kind of facilites here. And then we complaint about not having any facilities here and then more people went there. There is no end to this cycle unless we ourselves put an effort to it.

Few years back, another friend of mine told me that he considers himself a world citizen. He told me that development of science should not be withhold by these man made boundries. What a great way to clear your consceince. I would like to ask everyone who believes the same that who is actually paying for the subsidy which enables all of us to afford this level of education. And why not spend all this money on rather developing infrastructure for primary education for others which would have greater impact on the lives of more people. May be the rest of the world can then come and subside your education.

All this things are coming in my mind as I am approaching placements. I fear that I would also end up with same kind of life. Working in the Indian office of some MNC, making decisions on how to maintain the margins in the credit card business of North America. And then after some years, I would rather go for an MBA from an elite B-School and end up as an investment banker, being content with all the bucks I would be earning.

I sometimes regret wasting all the time that I wasted in the past 4 years. Now time has pushed me into mediocrity. I still yearn to do someting good, something significant. I long to make a difference. And I would rather want to do it now than to think about all these things 30 years later and thinking about what a waste has my life been. Its just that I don't see a path which leads me to my destination. And even if I see any, I think I am not strong enough. Not right now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Value of 50 rupees

A picture is worth thousand words. And when you extend this, a movie clip is 1000x(frames per second in the clip)x(total length of clip in seconds) words :P

So see this video clip here because it says what I want to say much more beautifully.

Today in the afternoon, the sweeper of my hostel wing came to my room. He said something in a low voice which I could not hear. When I asked him again, he repeated. He said he wanted Rs. 50 and said that he would return it by 12th. And all the while, he was too unsure and diffident. He works here and I know that this guy is a simple man. So, I did give him the money.

And then I thought about what is the value of 50 rupees for me. It is what I spend on my single visit to the canteen when I don't want to eat in the hostel mess. Just to think of it, this small an amount for me could be so much consequential in some other person's life is a bit discomforting. I wondered what important need could he have had for which he had to borrow the money and which could be fulfilled in 50 rupees. But then I didn't think too much into it for things which we take for granted may mean a world to some other person.

To tell you all the truth, when I gave him the money, I felt that I didn't want it back. I am no philanthropist and he might not be that needy but still I had  this feeling. I have bargained with a riksha wallah or a sabji wallah for 5-10 rupees. But I just didn't want a person to be occupied with this thing in his mind that he has to return back 50 rupees to someone. I don't know whether some other person can relate to this feeling but this is what I felt.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A legacy named Indira


"She was a great patriot and a flawed democrat".

"Her story is a story of a woman pushed into the public eye by men, corrupted by power and assasinated by those she should have trusted best". (Sunday Times)

She is revered and despised in equal measures. She is the most recognized Indian in the world after Gandhi himself. Her leadership in the 1971 war was iconic. At the same time, she has been touted as the most controversial Prime Minister of all time. The emergency that she imposed is seen as the biggest spot on the Indian democracy.

So who is she for the generation which knows her only by the archives of the newspapers, books and some documentaries ?

While growing up as child, I had an image of a woman who was hungry for power, who toyed with democracy at her will. An image of someone totally averse to criticism. And it was because my grandfather was jailed during emergency for shouting anti-government slogans and the whole story looked so virtuous and glorious to me.

As I grew up, I came accross new information and facts. The more I get to know about her, the more I was intrigued. Her metamorphosis from a shy young woman to a stolid, imposing and fearsome ruler is spectacular. It was by a sudden chance that she became the Prime Minister and from there on started a dramatic journey of highs and lows.

I respect her for the vision that she uphold for India. She abolished the titles of Maharajas, nationalized the banks and other corporations. Her efforts saw India becoming a nuclear power. She was not averse to taking to any means to further the interests of India inside the coutry as well as else where.

But I am a critic of her pursuit to obtain absolute powers. Her brand of politics was quite opposite to that of her father. She is the one responsible for the dynastic nature of the Indian politics, for the interference of legislature with the judiaciary and bureaucracy. She was the one who led Khalistan grew to increase her control in Punjab and it was this very factor that caused her demise.

And for all these reasons, good or bad, she remanins a legacy to everyone in this country. A legacy named Indira.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rangoli

This is the Rangoli that we (Alok, Amit, me and Jiten) made for this year's competition. The theme given to us was : "Whether religion leads to superstitions" .



There is this illiterate man in a rural area who is worshipping a milestone considering it a Shivling. For him, it is a way to show his devotion to the almighty. For an onlooker, the very idea of person worshipping as inanimate an object like a stone (that too a milestone) is nothing more than a superstition.

This was the second year that we were making a Rangoli and the idea of actually participating in an event rather than just being a spectator was so satisfying.

And this is the Rangoli that we made last year. The theme then was "Fight till the last breath".



In this rangoli, there is this man in a sea holding the sail of his boat with his hand after the rope breaks down. It is very windy and the waves are wild and high but he is desperate to fight till the last breath.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kavi Sammelan and Creative writing competition

Today was the second day of Antaragni. I had a nice time today. In the afternoon, I participated in a creative writing competition with my friend AC. And then in the evening, I went to Kavi Sammelan with my friends. Kavi Sammelan as always was amazing. This year there was much greater variety in the event. Besides the regular Hasya Ras poets, we had a 'Shrangar Ras' poet and a 'Vir Ras' poet. Lots of laughter and lots of clapping and lots of 'Wah Wah'. Every one should go and watch a Kavi Sammelan at least once. None of the laughter shows can provide you the atmosphere which is created there. You even laugh at the jokes which are common.

Creative writing event was one of the best of its kind that I have seen. There were 5 questions. One was to write a meaningful and coherent paragraph in which the first word of each new sentence has 1 letter, second has 2, third has 3 and so on. Then there was the usual question of writing a story given first few line. Both these questions were attempted by AC. Then there was a question about writing a short poem with 17 syllables. In Japan, these kind of poems are called 'Haiku'. This was attempted by me and AC together. But owing to our incapbility to identify number of syllables in a word (sometimes, I can), I doubt what we have written.

Then there were 2 questions that I attempted. The first one was writing the dialogues of a comic strip. And second one was writing a limerick. Limerick is a 5 line long poem with a rhyming scheme of 'AABBA'. And while writing it we had to use word 'bow' with as different meanings are possible. The limerick that I wrote was this.

Bow to the bow that caressed the string.
Thoughts of joy the masters bring.
An arrow left the bow and struck the hearts.
As groom in the bow-tie departs.
But the maestro continues to sing.

This was all I could conjure up. The meanings of the 'bow' that I have used here are:
1. Bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head.
2. A slightly curved piece of resilient wood with taut horsehair strands which is used in playing certain stringed instruments.
3. A weapon for shooting arrows.
4. A knot with two loops and loose ends.

At the end it was really fun participating in the event. Those were 2 hours well spent. I am looking forward for the Nukkad, Rangoli, India Inspired (a panel discussion) and the professional night. I would write about these events in days to come.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Antaragni '09

Today was the inaugral day of our much awaited cultural festival, Antaragni. Everyone in the campus waits for it the year long. It is that time of the year when we get to see (for most of us, its just seeing) some good girls in the campus. The otherwise dark and silent SAC is all decorated and abuzzed with all different activities. One could see students all around the campus. The best thing that I like about these 4 days is the uninhibited atmosphere. There are all those dramatic teams practicing after having found a place for themselves. Then there are all those dance groups and instrumentalists. Then there are those fashion schools which book the first place of concrete they see for their rehearsals. There is so much energy around that its hard to contain oneself within the confinements of the hostel.

The only attraction today was the opening night. It was a night devoted to the fusion music. There was this band called Advaita which is from Delhi. I liked their initial compositions which were instrumentals but got bored with their vocals. More over I was more than eager for the next performance which was of Sitar Funk. It is one of the country's best fusion band lead by Niladri Kumar. And boy, they rocked big time. It was superb. Awesome. I did head banging to a Sitar composition which may look strange to you. But watch Niladri's video on You Tube and you would understand everything. The music was really electrifying with all the drums and tabla and the jugal bandis.

Antaragni is looking good this time. I am missing some of my wingmates. Not many of those left in the wing are much interested in the festival. Arunangshu and I have registered for some English Literary events. I hope that they are able to fill in the void that I am feeling this time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A gift to my sister

There is something about festivals that just don't let me study. This diwali, I had to resist myself from going home because I have some really important things to study but even one day before it, I don't feel like studying. I have entered the festive mode so no studies for me for 2 days. Though I would still keep trying to get myself to study but seeing my past record, I won't bet on myself.

Today, I purchased a birthday gift for my little sister (she is just 2 years younger than me but I still like using this adjective). I bought her 'The God of Small Things'. Its a gem of a book. Superb, marvellous, fascinating. A must read. I hope to induce a reading habit in her. I know that she would read it. Its a birthday gift. She adores her gifts. I think she has kept all her gifts and cards which were ever given to her by anyone, till date. I like this thing about girls. They value things. And more importantly, they are so perspicuous and forthright to express that they value things that you present that you feel good to have given them the present. On the contrary, boys don't express themselves so freely and clearly. They withhold their emotions. Sometimes.

I have couriered the gift to her along with a card today so it would reach her by the day before her birthday. One more thing that makes this gift a bit special is that its the first gift I have bought her with my salary. All these years I had promised to flood her with gifts once I start earning. And now I am happy to have fulfilled it. Its nothing lavish this time as I am still to take a job. But it is good for a beginning. Fifth year rocks. M Tech. stipend rocks :).

Tommorrow is Diwali. On this eve, I wish you all a happy and a prosperous year. I wish you all, A HAPPY DIWALI.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel to Obama

What work has Barack Obama done in 8 months of his presidency for which Mother Teresa took 30 years and which Gandhi could not finish in his lifetime ? I guess he has not attacked another country in these 8 months. He has also delivered a speech addressing Muslim nations in Cairo, probably a first for any US president and has shown 'intentions' of building cordial relations with them. He has taken a start in developing peaceful relations with Iran. He has also decided to close down the ill famed prison at Guantanamo Bay though the inmates would not be freed and the cases, some of which are highly dubitable, would continue.

On their website the committee has said that "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future." There are some initiatives that he might have taken and for other few he might have shown intentions. But till now, nothing concrete has been delivered.

The committe has also said that "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." To me, it looks that he has been honoured just for doing the right thing. Things which his predecessors failed to do. As the head of the most powerful nation of the world, he is expected to behave in the most responsible manner. Just because US under George Bush had destroyed 2 coutries doesn't mean that Obama should be applauded for not destroying another.

In any case, it is too early to honour him. Prizes like these are not meant to be bestowed just for showing the intentions. There are so many things which are yet to be done. He can probably start by giving a new headway to the Kyoto Protocol which has reached an impasse because of US' disinclination to ratify it. He can also start working up with the blue print for withdrawal of the US army from Iraq and Afghanistan though it does look highly improbably to me given the huge amount of oil reserves in Iraq and the strategic leverage that is offered by Afghanistan. In fact, it should be noted that the size of the troops in Afghanistan has increased after Obama has ascended the presidency.

Another aspect of the whole processes that this decision has exposed is the bias of the committee towards the developed nations. Though the committe has always denied this allegation (understandably). There have been several instances in the past when the prize was not awarded to a particular scientist but to others whose work have been related to his research. One name that instantly comes in my mind is that of Satyendra Nath Bose, the Indian physicist who along with Einstein gave the theory of Bose-Einstein condensate. It should also be noted that more than one Nobel prize has been given for the work related to Bose's work, the latest being 2001 Nobel Physics prize for advancng the Bose-Einstein condensate theory (quoting wikipedia here). This time also, the name of Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean prime minister was in circulation for the peace prize for fighiting the tyranny of Robert Mugabe but it instead went to Obama.

 What is more unfortunate is the fact that no other award of such repute has been established by any other institution or country and hence Nobel prize remains the only possible benchmark and a platform for achieving recognition. Even in India, we have Padme Shri, Padma Bhushan etc, but they have been distributed like freebies in the past. I would like to see greater prudence from the Indian government in distributing these awards so that they gain some significance (the way it has been done with Bharat Ratna and Gandhi Peace Prize). I don't know whether there are awards for rewarding the contribution to the science. But if there is not, then there should be one whose reputation is uncontestable.

I can also see one bright side to this. Obama would now, probably, have to live up to the expectations that have been thrusted on him after this award. I wonder if the same strategy could work on Osama as well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mumbai vs Bombay

Its back again. This time, people have objection about again calling Mumbai as Bombay in the movie 'Wake Up Sid'. The people whom I am referring to is not just any general group because I don't see what problem a slum dweller of Dharavi could have in it. He probably would not be seeing the movie in the first place. The 'people' here are those people whose bread and butter depends upon calling Mumbai , Mumbai.

Aakhir Mumbai ko Mumbai nahi bolega to aur kya bolega. (Pardon me, just remembered a scene from Kaminey).

I am sometimes taken aback by the frivolity of the issues which are raised in this country. Are we really short of issues that now we have to take up as trifle a case as this ? Would calling the city Mumbai change anything? Would it ensure proper housing for half the population which is presently living in the slums ? Or would it prevent streets from flooding next time it rains there ?

Isn't it sufficient enough to officially change the name of the city ? Shouldn't people be free in calling the city by what ever name they wish to call ?

From what I see, its nothing more than a quibble to divert our attentions from the more pressing issues. After all, its much more simple to tackle things like this. All they got to do is ransack a theatre or two, block some roads, hinder the routine working. The producer would come forward apologising and these people come out as a hero for having preserved the identity of their community. The identity which was put forward by these very people. Its a gimmick which is played by these people time and again so that people of their community start to identify themselves with them.

Its alarming to see how easily these people can hold the whole city at ransom. It is a dangerous tendency and in the future the government should step in to curb it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I turned 22

This 2nd October, I turned 22. I don't know why, but to me, 22 looks like an age where I am supposed to be more mature and resposible. And I really don't know why I feel this. I never felt anything like it when I was coming out of my teens. Even till 21, it was fine. I mean 21 looks like an age when one could still be juvenile. When one could be a 'kid' and be carefree. But things just change with 22. Frankly speaking, I still don't feel like I am 22. Practically speaking, such kind of transition can't be expected in a day but still I think that I am burdening myself with some expectations.

Well actually I have all these time limits in my mind. They are deadline (looking for a better word here) kind of things. So 22 -23 is an age by which I should have obtained a stable job. 26-27 is an age by which I should have decided what I actually want to do in my life and so on. So having reached one deadline, I am a bit jittery.

I celebrated this birthday at my home after god-knows-how-many years. Our classes were off this week for the mid semester recess so I decided to go home, though only for 3 days. And it was just another typical birthday. The phone calls started coming in at 12. Actually they started coming before 12. There is this friend of mine who is always kind of first in wishing on birthdays. So he would call 2-3 minutes before its 12. So when ever you call a common friend on a birthday you would never be the first one. And I do think that its unfair :P .

So I got calls from all my cousins, relatives and friends. Though some of them gave a late call or forgot to call as I don't put my birth date on social networking sites. I really think that only those who cared to remember should give a call, though I do understand that it might sometimes be too much to expect out of a person and so I'm totally fine if someone forgets to wishes. But I really don't like thanking everyone who has wished me out of formality. I like personalized messages. Anything more than 'Happy Birthday' is a personalized message for me.

And after having spent 3 wonderful days at home, I am back again at the campus. The thesis and the placements have got me a bit worried these days. And I do hope that 22 brings me good luck and good fortune. I hope that this becomes an year which I would remember. Always.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A lost connection

There is a veil between it and me. In fact I think that its a hard sheath. I feel as if I have lost a connection with it. I tried probing it but it remained elusive. I asked it what it wants but it didn't answer. I kept on doing things senselessly. It remained a muted spectator. I damaged myself. It didn't stop. I got driven by my desires. It didn't forbid me. I got selfish. It didn't criticize me. I got complacent. It din't prod me. I put matter over mind but it didn't retaliate. And now, I don't think I know it any more. But it knows me. It sees me. It just prefers not to talk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Started a new blog

I took Saucy's suggestion and have started a new blog. It has a restricted access and hence no one will be able to read it. I might invite some friends later but as of now, I have no such plans. I have named it 'My Diary'. Its because I actually want this blog to be my diary and also because I didn't have any other name at that time in my mind. I am really very unimaginative. Especially when it comes to naming things.

Coming to the blog, the very fact that no one else could read what I write just encourages me to write down everything that I had wanted to write. Sometimes I need to write to be able to think. Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It sometimes also helps me develop a perspective. Hence, the fact that I would write down nearly everything could prabably help me. At least that is what I think.

By the way, I spent my complete day watching the India, Sri Lanka match. It really was a wastage of time. But I am happy that it wasn't a complete waste. India won and that is actually a great consolation.

I have also registered for CAT. But I really haven't prepared anything till now for the exam. So I am not too hopeful. But in any case, I do intend to study before writing the exam. I really hate when I don't score well. Even when I haven't studied.

From tomorrow onwards, I'll start preparing for it. I have decided to give at least one exam, available on Career Launcher's website, daily. And I'll also study the associated chapters from the CL's study material. I don't know at this point of time whether I actually want to do an MBA or not. But nonetheless, I'll prepare for it. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 11, 2009

These things I'll Never Say

After Beatles and The Nightwatchman, its the Avril time now. I am having her songs played all day on my music player. And of all the songs "These things I'll never say" remains my favourite. I find this song very jubilant and cheerful. You can find an acoustic version on YouTube.

Its so true, isn't it. And here I am not just talking about not being able to say what you feel to someone you like. Even in general, there are many things that we want to say. But we can't. We don't. And may be we shouldn't. Not always.

This thinking of mine is an evidence of our mentality in general. Our here refers to we people who share the same cultural background. It is almost considered a virtue if we keep things to our self, if we avoid confrontations. The situation is so much different in the West (here my observation is restricted to US culture). I see this in the English TV serials. And I also felt it when I was in NY last year. People there just speak up whatever is there in their mind. And other people don't mind it. At least not for too long. But we do. I do and I did and its because we are not used to such blatant expressions of our thoughts.

I am not making any comparisons as to what is good or what is bad. Sometimes its important to keep things to our self lest it causes some irreparable damages. And some other times, its important to speak up your mind. Otherwise these things start to eat you from inside.

We do have our outlets to vent out our latent exasperations from time to time. Sometimes we talk about them, sometimes we write about them. I would like to write about many such things. But then there are many things that I wouldn't share with everyone. And thus there remains many things that I'll never say, to anyone.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A beggar free Delhi

The world is not a right place to live in for those who don't have money. For long, its laws have been dictated by those who have money, by those who have power. Whether its a country, or a corporation or just a man, if you have power, you can make the world work on your terms. You can make your own laws. You can give your own judgements.

In the wake of the commonwealth games, it has been decided to make Delhi beggar free. Apparently, these beggars are a nuisance for the city. They don't give the right picture of the capital of this great nation. Hence, to make things right, they would be removed from the city. An adult caught begging would be sent to a jail. The children would be sent to juvenile homes. Consideration would however be shown to those who are caught for the first time for begging.

The people from the lowest economic strata and those who don't have any economy have always been dispensable. Most of these people are the migrants from the rural areas who are forced to come to the cities because of the fewer opportunities for earnings back home. This situation has aroused because of the continuous neglect of these rural areas by one government after the other. The major chunk of our resources are poured into the cities. And hence it is but natural for people to migrate there.

But the government has shown the intent that they are not keen on entertaining these people if they can't find themselves a source of living. It would have really called for some mammoth efforts to eradicate poverty from the city. Hence the government took a shortcut. They have instead start eradicating the poor.

It just leaves me wondering at the selfishness and hypocrisy of the affluent class. We want a clean city, a green city, a beggar less city for ourselves. We want the cheap labours at our home and industries. But we don't want the slums where they live. Its as if the mere reason for the existence of the poor in this country is to subsidize the life of the rich. We don't want their problems. We only want their services.

I just wish that the government reconsiders its decision. I agree that it is important to portray a nice picture of our country to the rest of the world. But do we want it at the expense of life of 1 lakh people. Think.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Being a teaching assistant

Things have changed so much in the fifth year. Today is the last day of the first mid semester exams. We just have 1 course to do (besides thesis) in this semester. And that also has just 1 mid sem exam which is scheduled in mid September. So there were no exams for me this time. And hence there is no post mid sem fun. But this doesn't imply that I was left free this time. Since, I am a teaching assistant of a course, I'd to do invigilation during the exam. And I also had to check the exam copies of the students.

It was a nice experience to be on the other side of the examination process for a change. But when you have to check 170 odd copies, then it becomes a pain. The question which I had to check involved writing a pseudo code for an algorithm and doing its complexity analysis. So I'd to read the pseudo codes. And the more incorrect the solution is, more difficult it becomes to check. Because then you have to make sure that there is no way this solution could actually work. And you also have to point out why the solution is not working. And you also have to go through the complexity analysis of a faulty code. Now I know why teachers like good students. Its because their papers are easiest to check.

But its a good learning experience to check copies. You start realizing what kind of answers should be provided. You realize what should be written and how should it be written. I was also reminising while checking the papers. I think that I might have given some real tough time to my examiners.

To anyone reading this post, there is a request that please be considerate to your examiners. Improve your writing, write clearly leaving spaces and if you don't know the answer atleast don't write things which are given in the question. It does more harm than good. Believe me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rules of attraction

You may say that love is the domain of the heart and not the brain. But then you would just be saying it. Finally its the human brain that comes into action. And it acts in myseterious ways. Getting attracted to a person is something which I believe is outside our control. And the reasons for the attraction still remain unknown to me. Sometimes, its the beauty. Sometimes, its the brain. Sometimes, its the face. Sometimes, its the voice. Sometimes, its the presence. Sometimes, its the absence.

And some other times, its unknown. You know you like someone but you don't know why. And after a while that someone becomes indispensable. That someone becomes your habit. You don't realize it when that person is around. But you feel the void when they are not. The time stops and so does the brain. And you are stick with that same feeling until you see that person again.

If only there exist any rules of attraction. Because then we would have also had rules for repulsion. And then we would have not been at the mercy of our heart or rather our brain. Follow the rules and you are out of the whole thing. But as it turns out, attraction knows no rules. It happens and you know it only after you have been inflicted by it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another train journey

Who is afraid to get dirty ?
The one who is clean.

I happened to witness an incident in the train on my recent trip to Udaipur. There were 3 other passengers in our compartment, an old husband wife couple and a sister of the husband. The husband (a man in 70s) had booked the ticket for the journey. But while booking the ticket, he wrote the age of his sister as 35 whereas actually she was in her late 40s. The ticket checker came and surprisingly enough he noticed that. He asked that family to pay the price of the ticket as well penalty because they have violated the rules and were guilty of transfer of tickets. The family rightfully (this is my personal stand) refused to do so as the same person was travelling on whose name the ticket has been booked.

But the family did this the wrong way. They claimed that the women was actually 35. The ticket collecter asked them to give this statement in written. But to this, they refused. From here on things turn nasty and as happens, the others in the train (including me) were involved in the brawl. I got involved because I thought it was unjust and that the family should not have been penalized for an innocent mistake of an old man. It is India after all. Given the size of the families that we used to have in the past, its not uncommon for a man to forget the age of his younger sister.

But the ticket checker didn't think of it that way. To him it was a case of transfer of ticket (they call it ToT). He called some other TC and RPF constable on the train. And that enraged me further. Had it been some other bold and shrewd person, he would have given the necessary detail in writing. Had it been some hot shot, had it been someone powerful, the TC would not have got into the trouble of doing all this. But unfortunately it was an old couple who was afraid of the legal proceedings.

And this happens in this country all the time. Its as if the laws are not meant for the mighty and powerful. They are meant for those whom they can intimidate. They are not meant for a large enterprise which has defaulted on its loan. Rather they are meant for that farmer who couldn't repay his. They are not meant for the big shops that encroach the roads. Rather they are made for those small road side hawkers.

Conformity to the law is no more a virtue of an honest citizen. It is the rather the weakness of those who are not 'brave' enough to flout it. On one hand we have people indicted for severe crimes out in open. And on the other we have several innocents behind the bar. Weakness is the only crime. And the strength is the only religion.

But fortunately things turned out well eventually after few level headed people got involved. It was later pointed out to me by some other passenger who was a frequent traveller of that train on that route that the TC was a dead honest person and a martinet. But I still feel that he should have used his discretion rather than going by the rules. After all that is the difference between a a man and a machine.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back to Campus


(Yamuna during sunsent)

Does it happen with me or with everyone else that the thing for which you are excited and are so eagerly looking forward to always get spoilt. The more excited you get, bigger gets the spoiler. This has happened to me so many times that I now force myself not to get excited. But in the process, I think about it so much that excitement though not apparently visible boils inside me all the while.

This time I was so much excited to see Sangam. I wanted to see the confluence of Ganga and Yamnua which merge together to form Triveni. But alas, there was no Ganga. I know it sounds incredulous but its true. The flow of Ganga has been stopped by some dam upstream. So there was just Yamuna. All those people downstream who believe that they are actually taking a dip in Ganga are getting cheated. Its just Yamuna there. Ganga has been stopped. You could see its river bed at Sangam.

But nevertheless, Allahabad visit was great. Nothing can substitute Ganga. But Yamuna with its green water makes up for the deficit. The rivers always beckon me. Its so soothing to see that great a mass flowing in unison. But at the same time it is also intimidating for its flow can uproot you.

The flow of the Yamuna is gentle in the great plains. So you cant hear the water flowing as you would upstream. I would have loved to hear that sound. I could imagine myself lying beside a river on a moonless night with nothing but that sound as my companion for the night. I have infact breiefly but closely realized this imagination. It was during our visit to Sikkim. It was night time and river Teesta was flowing at some distance from our accomodation and I was standing there by the wall facing Teesta, unable to see it but still feeling the presence of its water through the sound. I led her water enchant me. It was just so comforting and so magical.

Besides Yamuna and Sangam, we went to see Swaraj Bhawan and Anand Bhawan, the home to Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. They are now museums with many pics of the Nehru family, depicting their jouney during the coarse of their struggle for Independence. There was one pic of Mahatma Gandhi with other Congress men in which he was wearing a suit and was so unlike the stereotypical Gandhi we have in our minds that it was really difficult to recognize him. Believe me, if you are given a photo of him which is not in his loin cloth, then you will not be able to recognize him.

In all Allahabad visit provided me the change that I had been seeking since a long time. So after 2 days at Allahabad and 4 days at home, I am back to the campus for the new semester. We also have first yearites in our hall this time. So I'm looking forward for some 'informal interaction' with them in the coming days.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Off to Allahabad

Finally I am getting out of Kanpur for a week. I am going to Allahabad tomorrow with a friend. The train leaves at around 6 in the morning. That means we will have to get ready by 5. And that can happen only if we don't sleep tonight.

I had wanted to go to Allahabad and Varanasi since quite a long time. I want to see Ganga there. Not because of some religious beliefs but because there is something about her that mesmerizes me. Ganga and Ganga ghats. I have seen them at Haridwar, Rishikesh and Kanpur. And all the experiences were different.

At Haridwar, the ghats are always flooded with the people. We went there on the occasion of Buddha Poornima. So the numbers were much greater and so was the impact. It really is a spectacle to see people in that great number. You can just stand there doing nothing but just watching the people. Some are there for the last rites and some are there to celebrate the birth- the first mundan. Some are tourists like me who are attracted as much by the river and the temple as by the people.

There is an evening aarti everyday at Har Ki Pauri. You can see fire against the backdrop of water. Its just splendid. The mornings are no less eventful. I took a dip in the Ganga in the morning. Even on that hot summer day, the water was cold and in the end, I would say that it was a courageous act :P .


Ghats at Rishikesh are much more peaceful. Here the backdrop is different. It now has mountains and tall trees. And then there are these narrows streets with sidelanes originating unexpectedly. The atmosphere there just forces you to leave everything and go for a backpacking.

In Kanpur, there is a Ganga ghat at Bithoor. Unlike Haridwar and Rishikesh, it is not abuzzed with people. The flow of the river is quite gentle.(The pic below is of Bithoor ghat)


But the view of Ganga is still incomplete for me until I can see her at Sangam and at Varanasi. Along with Haridwar, Sangam is the most pious pilgrimage for the Hindus. My friend says that one should make a point to see it during a Kumbh mela. At that time, Allahabad becomes the most populous city of the world.(Below is a pic of Sangam that I found on Flickr)


Below is a picture of the Varanasi ghat taken on a morning. I found it on Flickr. This single pic has left me craving to go to Varanasi. I don't think that I would be able to go to Varanasi this time but I do know that I will go there some time or the other.

Its 4 in the morning, so I should start my packing now. I will write again with the details of my Allahabad visit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shifted to new hall of residence

This 'Hall of residence' term very much belongs to IITK. Our hostels are called by this name. The reason for this naming was told to us 4 years back during our orientation. I don't remember it clearly but the underlying reason was that it gives to its residents, a sense of belonging. Though I am sure that any hosteller would have as much attachment to his hostel as we have. But I really like the intentions. It sounds better. It feels better. Hall of residence.

So today we shifted from hall 1 to hall 9 and the whole day was consumed in this activity. Right from packing all the stuffs to transferring it to hall 9 in a cycle rikshaw to arranging things again in a new place. This hall is quite far from the academic area. A cycle has become a necessity now.

I used to own a cycle. It was 7-8 years old. I purchased it in class 8th or 9th and brought it with me when I came here. But my first hall (hall 2) and then hall 1 were so close to the academic area that I never felt the necessity of using it. And when I shifted to hall 1, I didn't even bring it with me. I abandoned it just like that.

I still remember the excitement with which I bought it. I had cycled from the shop to my home in the afternoon. It was 7-8 km. But my association with it ended just because I didn't care to bring it over a distance of 200m. Quite ironic. Actually even now I didn't go to see it. I think that by now it must have been confiscated and auctioned.

I really liked hall 1, the oldest hostel of IITK. It is about 45-50 years old. It is the residence of the 4th yearites. It is dreaded by the 1st yearites but revered by the rest. I still remember the initial days when our seniors used to threat us to take us to hall 1. At that time, it looked to us like a great bastion resided by the all mighty 4th yearites and from which escape was next to impossible.

There was so much of glory attached to it. All those years we caved to go to hall 1. We had to wait for 3 long years. But the wait was worth it. Probably that is what makes it Hall 1.
The dual degree program really sucks. I had liked to graduate from the hall 1 itself. Its nice to retire in your highs.

But hall 9 isn't that bad. Its quite new so there are not many trees around, something of which we are very used to. But all the grass makes up for it to some extent. And since it is a bit far from the main area, its quite airy. The sky also looks much clear.

It would take me some time to get adjusted in this new place. I don't like changes. At least not initially. But then I get used to them. And then I start liking them and then I don't want some other changes and the cycle goes on. This time I just hope that this change brings me some good luck and good sense. I need both of them desperately.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Test Cricket is Beautiful


Test crckiet is having a good run these days. Earlier, it was Sri Lanka and Pakistan and now it is Australia and England in Ashes. The last 2 tests were an absolute pleasure for any cricket fan. Though I have not been able to watch any games but I am following them very closely. Its really so nice to see some test cricket. After IPL and T20 world cup, cricket was looking boring. T20 is mostly about mind less hard hitting. It is just good in small doses because after some times, all the matches looks more or less same.


But it just took a week of great test cricket to bring back the lost excitement. Test cricket is just so beautiful and elegant. Those jam packed slip cordons for the fast bowlers with edges coming there every now and then, all those close fielders for the spinners eagerly waiting for an inside edge, the straight drives against fast bowlers and square cut against spinners are just a treat. And when its Ashes, its really an icing on the cake. All these years with the exception of 2005 Ashes series, Australia has mostly dominated the matches. But it is still so delightful to watch the matches. I especially love the way English men watch their cricket. Coming early in the morning with an umbrell, beer and a newspaper and having a nap sometimes in between. The first match though ended with a thrilling finish was mostly one sided. I hope that the coming matches are bit more close.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Confused, puzzled, undecided !!

Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator.

This statement comes from one of the greatest self - acclaimed procrastinator and that is me. After having wasted nearly whole of the summer semester, I have started feeling guilty now. It feels as if I am cheating myself. I had planned many things for these summers but I just kept on delaying things. I could not find any motivation to do anything and that is because I just don't know what I'd like to do in the future.

The luckiest person on the earth is that who knows what he wants to do and also gets to do it.

Life was pretty straight forward till class 12th. I knew what I had to do. I had set an aim for myself. But right now, everything seems hazy and unclear. Earlier, there was a desperation. A desperation to clear JEE. But after having cleared it, I have become complacent. In fact many IITians do. You start to think that your future is secured only to discover later that it was just a start of the journey.

I really miss the desperation. Desperation just energises you. There is nothing to lose. You give your heart and soul to your work. I seriously want to be restored to that class 12th phase. But unfortunately, like computers, we don't have any resotre points in life.

Do what you like and like what you do.

This really is the mantra for achieving success in the life and I am really glad that I have realized that. Earlier, phrases like 'job satisfaction' used to look so pompous. But off late, I have really realized its importance. After having spent last four years studying (or rather not studying) computer science, I know I will not be happy doing something which I can't even tolerate for a semester. Or so I think I can't tolerate. But in any case, I need to figure out something immediately and for that it is important to explore the options.

The question that I had kept on deferring since the last four years now lingers in front of my face and the answer needs to be found.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A cloudy night


Against the backdrop of the moon, a clouded sky looks so much more animated than a clear sky. Clear sky insinuates the stillness. It hides the cosmic chaos and transpires tranquility to the onlookers. It makes you realize its vastness.

The stars look so close but are yet so distant. It must be really lonely up there. No one is in the vicinity. No one is in the reach. There is a separation of a light year from the nearest kin. There is a restlessness there. With each passing moment, the entropy increases. The star is doomed to fuse into its core, eventually bringing its own demise.

But all that we see is a gleam. We rejoice while it burns. The twinkle hides its sorrows. The air screens the heat. And the distance prevents the realization.

The clouds on the other hand are gregarious. They love their lot. The sky is their playground. They chase each other. They embrace each other. They disperse and then assemble. They take shapes and create designs. The moon is their pal and the wind is their guide.

The clouds fill the sky with their colours. They are white and violet and black. And when they cover the moon, you can see some yellow too.

The clouds seem to contain the sky. The make the space look finite. And they look so delicate. If only you could reach them, you could crumble them.

But they are not delicate. They are mighty. They could hide those giant stars and the moon. But the creator was prudent in not vesting them with the supreme power. Else they would have been been too proud. They would have lost their cheerfulness.

The almighty let the wind control the clouds. But he also let the earth control the wind and the stars control the earth. This way he induced symbiosis into the whole structure. He was able to preclude tyranny. One could thrive only with the mutual cooperation. He inscribed this message in all his creation. If only we could read them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's up ?

Have you ever had a phone conversation (or rather a face to face conversation) with a guy who goes blank after some time and leaves you wondering whether the phone has got disconnected and am I talking to myself ? Well, I am that guy. Not always. But sometimes, I really find myself at loss of words. Its not a ploy to make the other person leave the phone by boring him to death. Its because sometimes I can't find anything to speak and all that is left is 'Whats up ?' and 'Aur batao..'. These words are a great tool to shift the task of carrying the conversation on the shoulders of the other person. Its quite a spectacle when you find the other person just like you. Under such a situation, I feel obliged or compelled to say something, to break that silence. But again, all that I could mostly conjure is 'Whats up' . Long stays at the hostels can really do this damage to your social skills. Proper civilized conversations are a rarity these days. You can discuss, you can debate, you can gossip but you can't converse. Plus, the hostel life could sometimes be so monotonic that you don't have anything to talk about.

I really admire girls in this regard. They surely can talk. And all those who I know can definitely talk at length. They make you realize how happening their life is. There are so many things going on with them each and every day. But then, if you really think, most of the things they talk about are day to day stuffs. Things that are happening everywhere with everyone including me. Its just that they are good enough to involve them in the conversations. I on the contrary can't do that. But I would like to be able to do that. Its just that right things don't pop up in my mind at the right time.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rakhi Ka Swayamwar

All this buzz about Rakhi ka Swayamwar finally compelled me to see this one of its kind show. To describe it, there are 2 words - Nautanki unleashed. You know everyone is faking it, the anchor, the contestants and Rakhi Sawant of course. And at times, the show with its background score, contestant's idiotism and desperation and insincere sincerity could be really hilarious. Though I don't think that this comic element was anytime intended. I think that for contestants, its just a plaform for achieving the instant fame. I don't think that anyone of them including Rakhi Sawant is interested in marriage. Its just the glitz and glamour that they are after. The news says that the show is enjoying quite high TRP. In that case, I do think that we can expect a second season.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And finally it rained..

For a change, it was not a hot wave of wind that woke me up in the morning. It was a cool moist breeze. And few minutes later, it was raining. The much needed respite finally came. For the past few days, this was the main topic of conversation, whether in mess or with friends. There were heavy drops for few minutes and then there was a light drizzle. But it was sufficient enough to bring down the temperature. For most part of the day afterwards, it was cloudy and humid and I was feeling more comfortable outdoors than indoors.

Rest of the day was same. Though in the afternoon, I was a bit worried that all this period in idleness could destroy the remaining grey cells of my brain. So I started solving some puzzles from techinterview for the placements. And it really felt nice to exercise the mind after that long time. I have always felt that the reason I loved preparing for JEE was that it was challenging and one really had to strain his mind to reach at the solutions. All those questions of mechanics, probability, integrals were like puzzles. There was no one principle to solve all the questions. One really had to work out. And this is one thing that I hate about IIT education. Many a times, you don't even have to understand things to reach at the solution. You have a formula and you even have a calculator. And sometimes, you can't even find relation in theory and practice. I really feel that in the past 4 years, my mind has rusted.

It seems that team India is back to its old ways. The eight wicket defeat was really embarrasing. Though it could have been worst had Dhoni and RP not forged that ninth wicket partnership. Except for Dinesh Karthik, all other top order batsmen fell playing some loose shots. Jadeja again never looked good enough for the highest level. Though I still think that it would be too early to make any judgments and that he should be given few more chances. But the best part of the Indian innings was the way Dhoni batted. He was not looking fit for a T20 match, but in the ODI, his style of batting is really looking handy. It was really nice to see mails from his supporters on Cricinfo.

And after a brief haitus due to 'A passage to India', I have again started reading. This time, I am reading 'Lucky Jim'. The novel is pretty light and comic and is also listed in the Time magazine's list of 100 best novels from 1923-2005('A passage to India' was listed too but I really found that book quite boring). I am hoping to finish it in the next few days.

Thats it for today. Bye.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The girl on the station -- A short story

A sudden rumbling sound woke him up. He raised himself to look outside the window. The train was now passing over the bridge. The river underneath was shallow and calm. He could see some washer men at the distance engaged in their daily chores. There were also some children playing, busy in their own world. The sound changed, the speed of the train increased. It was the morning time and there was a cool gentle breeze flowing outside. He found himself shivering. There was an urge to close the window but he didn't. He enjoyed the feeling of wind brushing against his face. His eyes were misty, his hair were flowing.

It was around 7 in the morning. He sat up. His station was about to come. He was finally going back to his home. It had been 4 months since he last went back. The semester turned out to be pretty hectic. He was totally consumed in the projects and assignments. No more mess food now, he thought. Suddenly he remembered about the last night. He remembered the waiting room, he remembered himself glancing here and there, he remembered her. She was sitting right in front of him, at the other side of the waiting room, resting against the wall, book in her hands, backpack against her legs, her hair unkempt, half asleep and half awake. At first he found her shabby. But there was something about her that captivated his attention. He looked at her again. No, she wasn't shabby. She was just laid back, casual, carefree, unaware of the happenings of the world. She had found a nice comfortable place in that chair.

The voice of the vendor disturbed his chain of thoughts. The vendor was selling the sandwiches. He thought against eating them. How was the pantry ? How was the cleanliness ? How was the cooking material? He hadn't even brushed his teeth. But he was too hungry to give any consideration to his thoughts. And more than that, he trusted his Indian stomach. It had digested many indigestibles in the past and it could surely digest these petty sandwiches. He ate the sandwiches and felt pretty contented. He felt at ease and next he found himself thinking about the happenings of the last night.

He was reading some classic written during the British Raj in India. He didn't like the book that much. But he had already finished half of it. So he was in a dilemma as to whether strain himself reading the other half or let the time that he had spent reading this half go into a drain. He had a lot of time to spare before the train would arrive and he had nothing to do. It was then that he spotted her. And after some time he was staring at her. When you keep looking at something, your perceptions just change from time to time. She had turned from shabby to laid-back to pretty. He was trying to figure out what she liked about her. And the next when he saw her, she was awake. He was engaged in his thoughts and he had not noticed that. She gave him a strange look and in the haste, he just gazed in the book. Had she seen him staring at her ? Or was that the look she gave to every stranger ? How she could have seen him ? But girls know you are staring at them before you know that they know. They really have this sixth sense or something.

The train had halted on a station. It was the station just before his station. He would probably reach his station in next 5-10 mins. It was not a regular stoppage. The train would have stopped for a crossing. How he hated these crossings. He always felt that the train in which he was travelling is made to stop. What would it take the government to build double tracks through out. If that could be done, then no train would ever get late. People would stop calling IST as Indian Station Time. And one would not have to wait in those crowded waiting rooms. But those waiting rooms can become an interesting place sometimes. Atleast on the last night, he didn't complain of those waiting rooms.

He looked above at the fan. He looked at the entrance. He looked at the bunch of kids playing around. And every time he did so, he tried to catch a glimpse of her. He didn't want to look straight at her again. He didn't want that glance again. But he could not resist. She was now combing her hair. Was she getting ready to move ? His train was also about to come. Could she be going in the same train ? Wouldn't it be great if that could happen ? And then she again looked back at him. But this time, his eyes didn't waver. He looked back at her straight into her eyes. He again got a look. And he liked it this time. It was a gentler look. Apparently she had not taken any offence this time. And then she looked away. Did she smile ? He thought she smiled and then he smiled at that prospect. He again started reading the book. But he didn't remember what he had last read. He turned some pages back. He then looked ahead and found her leaving the waiting room. He decided to follow her but he had his backpack all opened up. He tied it up quickly and got out. He looked here and there but couldn't find her. Announcement of his train was made. He decided to go to the designated platform.

The train arrived. And suddenly the platform was crowded. There were people hurtling towards the general coach. There were these porters looking out for some potential customers. There were these vendors selling their items, shouting in their highest pitch. There were people who were struggling to find their right coach, inquiring the people sitting on the window. There are never any signs distinguishing one sleeper coach from other. And then there were people coming in and out of the train. The concentration of the people was more on the doors of the coaches. People could really do with a little more patience. All of them wanted to be the first one to enter as if otherwise they would lose their seat. He waited for a while and just when he was about to enter he thought that he saw her. He looked sideways and there she was. But there was this overwhelming screaming at the back that he had no other option but to move on.

The passing train stirred him up. There was this sudden gush of air hitting him on his face. He could see the windows and the doors. He envied the people sitting inside the other train. After few minutes his train started to move. He started putting all his belongings in his bag. He wished that he could see her again. The rush at the end didn't allow him that last look. He wished to see her one last time so that he could preserve her image in his mind. So that he could narrate her to his friends. So that he could savour those moments as and when he like. The train slowed down as his station came. He stepped down and started to move towards the gate of the station. The train had already started to move. He stopped for a while to look back. But then he realized that he didn't want that last look. He preferred the haze, for sometimes the reality is not as beautiful as one has anticipated. He was contented with his image of that shabby girl. And so, he moved on.

Casualty of T20

After a fortnight(well not even a fortnight), Indian cricket team is back in the business in the West Indies for the 4 ODIs. First of all, whats the sense of having 4 ODIs. You should either have 3 matches or 5 matches so that the series is decided under all circumstances. But I guess 3 is too less and 5 is too much. Thats why the boards have settled for 4 matches. Or it could be that the rhetoric of everybody is a winner is catching up. I once read a nice quote about it. It said that whoever said that statement must have been a loser. Well enough of crap now. I am digressing from the topic.

So here I am in my room following the match on Cricinfo. Live matches on the TV is a luxury that we can't avail in the hostels. Its been quite a long time since we had an ODI. Firstly, there was the IPL and then the T20 world cup. And now, I really can't feel the passion with which I used to follow the ODIs earlier. You look at the scoreboard and see 80 runs in 16 odd overs. It looks so slow. 50 overs have suddenly started to seem as too many. And devoting 7 hours for a single game seems like a waste. It is too early to say but it appears to me that ODI would eventually lose to T20. The calculated and patient 50 over game is really not a match to the fast, roller coster ride of a T20 game. ODIs can become one sided. In T20, you only need one good over to turn the game in your favour. The games are very often quite close. The margin of victory is 15-20 runs.

Test cricket, however, I feel would remain unaffected by this. Test cricket has its different niche. It has its own fans and followers. It was always a different type of cricket, one where the premium was always on skill and stamina. As said by many, it would always remain one the greatest spectacles of sport. Althought, the growing number of T20 matches have definitely reduced the frequency of Test mataches played every year. But neverthless, it has maintained its charm. And as for the ODIs, only the time could tell now where does it future lies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An excursion to facebook

Last night I spent around 2 hours on the facebook. Its really the thing these days. Orkut has become passe. Everyone is now coming to facebook. Earlier surge in the traffic to facebook was because it was more secure. On orkut, you could just see all the details and photographs of all the people. And by people, I really mean girls. It used to be our wing's recreational activities during the exams. A bunch of us, visiting albums and rating girls(I am over those days now). There were many communities devoted specifically for this task. But then, orkut implemented all those privacy restrictions and the visitors have been declining ever since. Many of them have switched over to facebook. I am not sure whether they realize that orkut is more safer than facebook these days. There are many bugs in facebook and some of its applications can infect your computer.

Just coming back to last night's excusion to facebook. I really don't like facebook that much. With all those upadates and games, its so much cluttered up. Then there are those weird requests. There is a request to gift some flowers, there is some person who is giving me his mafia loots and there is a person who wants me to be a PETA fan. And to top it, there are these weird applications. 'Which friends character are you ?'. 'When would you die?'. 'What kind of lover are you?'. 'What would be the first letter of your lover's name?'. 'How will you meet your lover?'. 'When would you meet your lover ?'. 'When was you lover born?'. Just so much of rubbish to deal with. And its really surprising to see the number of people that take these kind of quizzes. It seems as if the whole world is running here and there in search of their true love. I am sure even they realize that its not how they would find it. Some people do it for fun. Some others do it out of curiosity. However vague or absurd the results may be, atleast there are some results. Then there are some wise people, enlightning others with their wise one liners. There are some others who provide us with their daily details.

And then there are some addicts who give their hourly detail. You know what is their favourite colour, who is there favourite actor or actress, how much mark did they score in their exams, where did they go last evening. They are living their second life there. I really admire these social networking sites. Afterall it has reduced my telephone bills, it has put me into contacts with those long lost friends whom otherwise I would have never met. Then there are communities that you can use to build some connections. And most impotantly, it gives you a space to express yourself. But I just don't like spilling each and every detail about your life. And I definitely don't like all these requests. Thats why I like orkut. You login, check your scraps, message someone if you have to, wish someone on his birthday and log out. Plain and simple. Thats how I like it.

More weather updates from Kanpur

Weather wise the situation didn't improve today. The afternoons are infernal. I had to go out today at 3 in the afternoon for some friend's work. And it was hot as hell. However, there were some trees along the way. So most of the time I was walking under their shade and then running when directly under the sun. Trees really are important. We had been studying this since eternity. I remember writing few essays during the school time about it. But we do tend to forget it every now and then. But today I got the reminder. I remember my childhood days. We used to go to our native place(Kuchaman city, Rajasthan) during the summer breaks. We have a huge neem tree at the backside of our house. Its even taller than our two story house. In the afternoons and in fact for most part of the day, there used to be no electricity. So we just used to sit under its shade. After coming into the college, I don't go there often now. Last time I went there 2 years back. But I still remember that tree clearly. We used to sleep on the roof at night. At the night time also it used to make us aware of its presence. If there was a breeze, then you could hear its leaves rustling. And if there was no breeze, we used to just lay there, battling with the mosquitoes, cursing the tree, wondering why it isn't blowing. The evening was humid today. So even a bath today didn't provide any relief. Its a very dangerous combo. Heat and humidity. I didn't even like the touch of my own body. I just sat there, ensuring that no part of my body touch other. I think that if it remains this much humid for a day or two, then we can expect some rain. For the time being, just praying to the rain gods.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summers

Its just getting hotter and hotter in Kanpur. The afternoons are really getting unbearable. You feel hot with clothes. You feel hot without clothes. And with so much of hot air that it circulates, sometimes I feel like switching the fan. But there is this trade off between hot circulating air and sweaty body. So I let the hot air win. And as soon as you get outside the room you can just feel hot air gushing. All I feel like is drinking water and bathing. By the way, I have starting bathing 2-3 time a day daily. Courtesy, these summers.

We have a centrally cooled library, but I really don't like going there. First of all, you have to go there in that hot afternoon. Then you cant listen to music there which is kind of frustrating for me. Then you have to sit on a chair all the time. You just cant lie down there, something which I do every half an hour. And then there is that coming-out-of-library phase. The temperature difference feels so glaring that you start wondering why you went inside at the first place.

Its getting difficult to sleep for long duration at a time. Even the bed feels hot most of the time. Many a times, I just wake up due to sweat. I cant even sleep late in the morning nowadays. And I just cant sleep earlier at night. So you can see the problem there. Although this time, we are at least living on the ground floor. In our second year, we had to spend the whole summers on that top floor. And that was really dreadful. Although, there were many of my wing mates with me at that time. So it just used to be fun. This is something that I am missing this time round.

I am really looking forward to monsoon. I just love monsoons. The smell of the earth before the rain falling, all the guys coming outside their rooms to enjoy that shower, the light drizzle that you can feel on your face when you are under a shade, the raindrops hitting you like pebbles when you are under the sky. At home there used to be added attraction of Pakoda-Chatni. India really is an incredible place. We have food for every occasion. The only part which I hate about the monsoons though is the roads oozing out the heat after the shower. But that is really no big thing. I am just eager to get myself drenched in the rain. India also needs this monsoon real badly. Else we will see some serious crisis in this crisis-ridden land.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pakistan wins T20 world cup :(

This is just miserable. I was not that upset when India got out from the world cup. They deserved it. But I am really upset now after Pakistan has won. It was the last team after Australia that I would have liked to see winning the world cup. But again, I think they deserved it. This win by Pakistan, to me, looks so much like the Indian win last time. Both the teams were underdogs. Both the teams had players who were capable of giving good individual performance. And both the teams played together as a team to win the cup.

Pakistan played well and performed when it really mattered. It was a surprising come back after their defeat at the hands of the English side. To start with, they were a rusty side and the press conference after their first game really confirms my assertion. I am sure that even Younis Khan would not have believed in his chance at the beginning as was clear from his attitude in that conference. But the Pakistani players just gained their momentum from there on.

It was quite an easy journey for them to the semi finals as the only test team that they had defeated till then was New Zealand. And had they been defeated by South Africans, it would just have been a matter of luck favouring their way by giving them easy draws. But their win over Sri Lanka and South Africa, two of the best sides in the tournament really makes them a deserving winner. Boom Boom Afridi got his batting form at the right time. This guy always surprises me. After having started as a batsman, he moved on to become Pakistan's best bowler. His faster ones are really fast and he has quite many bowling variations in his armoury. Umar Gul was terrific to the extent that people doubted about the bowl being tempered after the reverse swing that he was obtaining. I don't know how much truth is there in it but regardless of it, his performance was fabulous.

Saqlain Mushtaq, it seems, had an everlasting impact on Pakistan. Many Pakistani spinners have tried to emulate him with Saeed Ajmal being the latest one in the list. He along with Amir and Razzaq really made Pakistani bowling line up formidable. For Razzaq, it was really a dream run. After having to forego his international career for a while due to his association with the ICl, it was really the kind of performance that he would have wanted. He has definitely consolidated his position in the Pakistani line up.

And this win also gives me a good opportunity to criticize the IPL once again. After having said by many that IPL will be a good practice ground for the Indian team, the tournament was finally won by a side that had no participation in it. Fitness of the player, it seems, can never ever replace anything in the game. I hope that before the next world cup, the Indian side has a good rest and all the players would play with 100% match fitness.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The perfect silence

When have you last experienced the perfect silence ?

In a temple ? No, there are always bells ringing and people chanting.

In a mediation room? No, there are always some people who are moving around out of restlessness.

In a class when the teacher demanded to maintain a pin drop silence ? No, we were always disobedient. The more we were told, the more we used to talk.

On a morning walk ? There are always birds singing and people jogging.

On your bed, waiting to get asleep ? No, there is always an insect that is chirping and then there is a fan whose voice is noticed only when you cant sleep in spite of your best efforts.

In a library where you are not supposed to talk ? No, people always do things that they are forbid to do.

While writing an exam? No, your mind is too chaotic to observe silence.

I experienced it last during a conversation. I know it sounds both ironical and absurd but that was really when I last experienced it. While conversing, when you just dont know what to talk about. I thought it was best to let silence fill the gap. There was no restlessness. It was smooth. I just sat looking towards the ground. Trying to look at infinity. Trying to appear thoughtful. I wanted something to happen, someone to disturb me. And at that time I didn't hear any sound of a fan. I just felt an obligation to say something. That was when I experienced that perfect silence.

Secularism and Casteism

I have been meaning to write this post since quite a long time. And by long time, I mean the time before the fateful general elections were held, time before we witness one of the most dominating majority in the Lok Sabha in the recent years. It was the time when all the parties and alliances were battling it out for each and every Lok Sabha seat. It was the time when the allegations and counter allegations were at their zenith. BJP accusing Congress of 5 years of weak and inefficient administration. And the Congress calling BJP a non secular party.

Secularism. Its the word that has dominated the Indian politics since the time Lal Krishna Advani decided to embark that Rath Yatra. The word which was echoed again and again when Babri Masjid was demolished and when communal riots broke out in Bombay. The word which has reverberated in the corridors of Indian politics since the country saw Godhra burning. All over the place, there were hues and cries to form a secular government at centre. Alliances were made and broken because some parties were more secular than other.

So what does secularism means ? Wikipedia says that secularism is the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs. I alternatively think that it means people should not be discriminated against or favoured on the basis of religion. All religions are equal. But in the recent years, a new variable has emerged which has made it necessary to revise this definition. And this variable is caste.

Caste is the new religion. And if not, it is definitely as important as religion the reason being it is the main divide among the people. You are no more a Hindu. You are now a Dalit or a Yadav or a Jat or a Gujjar or a Meena or a Patel or a Reddy or a Naidu. And it was really appalling to see how a politician like Mayawti can call herself secular or how a party like Congress can tag itself as a secular party after having divided the country through reservation. How is Congress more secular than BJP. Its not that I endorse Barbri Masjid demolition or the Gujrat riots. I mean that religion is no more the parameter for calling a party secular.

Casteism is the modern day equivalent of non secularism. It was the casteism which saw Gujjar taking on Meenas in Rajasthan. Names are no more the identities. Surnames are. You listen a surname and the first thing that comes into your mind is caste. Casteism was inherent to the Indian society for centuries. But it remained at a sub conscious level. But the political parties have brought it into our consciousness. Rulers of our country might not have realized the repercussions of playing that reservations card. But as a student I have realized it again and again. I realized it when I saw students taking on students on reservation. And I realize it every time when I hear the words "reserved category". Why are these people so adamant at diving us ? What is the cost that our country is paying for this imbecility ? What our country really needs is a government which is truly secular.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Team India Zindabaad !!

What has IPL given to the Indian cricket team ? It has given an injured Sehwag, players whose capabilities are blown out of proportions based on their performances against the minnows of domestic circuit and an over confident team. It was really pathetic to see team India playing. The performance was poor, miserable, wretched. I am falling short of adejectives here. After having defeated Bangladesh and Ireland in the first round of the world cup, India lost their real games. And rightly speaking, a team which could not achieve a target of 154 didn't really deserve to go to the semi final round. The team failed in every department. The Indian pacers never looked in a position to contain the oppositions' batsmen in any of the games. And the batsmen made heroes out of pacers like Stuart Broad and for that matter Pollard in game against West Indies. And their treatment to the short pictched deliveries was really shocking. However due credit should also be given to the English pacers for continuously bowling that short pitched length and coming up with good bouncers in nearly every over, something which their Indian counterparts failed to do. Except for Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan, the Indian batting line up looked rusted. Ravindra Jadeja was unable to accelerate the innings at a time when it was really needed. He was even unable to rotate the strike. And the pressure developed led to Gambhir giving away his wicket. I am sure that an 'elderly member' like Sachin would have done a much better job. All the pre tournament suppositions as to how the South African IPL experience would help the Indian players to get accustomed to the similar conditions in England just failed. Dhoni in particular didn't look like remotely like a batsman he used to be when he started his international career. It seems that too much of cricket really has done some harm to him. But as our dear Mahi says in that Aircel advertisement, its the time to move on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why we hate Australia ?

First of all this is not meant to be a hate speech as a reaction to the recent instances of attacks on the Indians in Australia. Although I do condemn what has happened there and think that people should now get out of their illusion of superiority. But this is not what I want to write about. I am here talking about the Australian cricket team. After their ouster from the T20 world cup, I was happy. I was ecstatic. After seeing the result, there was a punch in the air and some brief shouting. And I am sure that most of us were wanting it really badly.

So why do we hate this Australian cricket team ? Why do we want to see them getting defeated ? Why does that dismal and disarrayed face of Ponting gives you that immense satisfaction that all those who hate that team must have felt ? A reasonable argument is that it is because its a team that has won 3 World cups, has dominated test cricket like anything, has produced some of the most finest players in cricket and that they are the most potent challenge to India's rise to the top in the world cricket.

But is this the reason that we go till the extent of celebrating their failures ? I think that there is more to it than this. I think that this hatred is the accumulation of all those moments when we have seen them resorting to anything to win that one match, the moments when we have seen them disgracing some of the most graceful and elegant cricketers, their incapability to accept the their defeat to and to allow their opponents to savour their moments of glory. You see their arrogance. You see them sledging the players, you see them tussling with the umpires. I don't say that other teams don't resort to these things. They do but not as often and as regularly as Australians. And I also don't say that I don't like sledging. I like it for the fact that it has added the spice and that X-factor to that yesteryear's game of the gentlemen. But I don't like it when I see Andrew Symonds sledging young Manish Pandey in an IPL match or when I see Michael Slater sledging Dravid for asking for a re look at a catch where the ball did touch the ground. Its the moment like these that fills you with hatred against them. I don't hate their guts. I just hate their attitude. And now when they are out it really doesn't matter to me as to who wins the title. Although I would always vouch for the Indian side. So best of luck to the Indian side. And I do hope that we get to see some breath taking close games, something for which T20 is renowned.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dor

Exquisite. Thats what I would say if I have to give the review of Dor in 1 word. Simple, beautiful, elegant and moving. Its a movie which carries you along with it. When I see movie like this I really feel that there is so much potential in the Indian cinema which is yet to be realized. In the times when most of the movies present you with exotic foreign locations and story with which you just cant relate, here is a movie which takes you to the valleys of Himachal and the deserts of Rajasthan and has a story which is very much original and refresing and makes a great use of the Indian settings. The story is about two women Meera (Ayesha Takia) and Zeenat(Gul Panag) whose lives intersect because of an incident which makes it necessary for Zeenat to find Meera. And to top that only thing that Zeenat has to find the whereabouts of Meera is a photograph. But that is just the first half of the movie. The best part of the movie starts when Zeenat finds Meera. Thats where you see the contrast between a confident and unwavering Zeenat and a shy, suppressed and dogmatic Meera who by the action of the destiny is holding the dor controlling Zeenat's life. You see the predicaments of Zeenat. You see the fight that Zeenat and Meera are fighting with themselves. You see Zeenat helping Meera to come out of the cobweb created by Meera herself and her family. The interpersonal relationship between Meera and Zeenat has been depicted beautifully by Nagesh Kukunoor. Gul Panag and Ayesha Takia look stunningly beautiful in their simple looks and have played their characters superbly and Shreyas Talpade is really refreshing. Its a movie which was hailed as one of the best movies of 2006 and is surely a must watch.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Solitude is vicissitude

Finally, all of them left. I had wish that the moment could somehow be delayed. I just wanted the things to remain the way they are for as long as possible. It was really depressing to see off Kush and Shanu in the morning. I think today I get to know how Mummy feels every time I come back to hostel from home.

A void has come in the life. And this solitude is biting me. All I see while walking through the wing is closed rooms. I had thought that once all of them were gone, I'll start with my studies. But I really didn't feel like studying today. The wing doesn't look the same as earlier. I am missing those frequent knocks at the door, that evening phatta, those annoying gtalk buzzes, those PJs, that spending time in other's room. I am really missing my friends. I spent my noon reading the novel and playing scrabble with Saucy on facebook. In the evening five of us went for that evening stroll. And after that it was just me, Saucy and Vatshy at my room. I got the glimpse of what the life is going to be in the fifth year. I think it will take me a day or two to get accustomed to this new environment. Its really the time to move on.