Monday, October 26, 2009


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.