Monday, February 28, 2005


To everyone good luck, and good luck to all
In the eleventh hour comes the time to fall
Today, march the citizens, of DPS F Block
So sharpen yer pencils, and pull up yer socks
For the months have passed, gone is the cold
An experience to leave us a hundred years old
For grown bitter we have, in the month gone by
And now some will rejoice, and some will cry
And the rare odd soul may give up and die
In the land of Board-or, where the shadows lie

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Thank You, dear Blog

I wanted to wait about writing about this, because of the whole uncertainity of it, and my dislike for the same. But a few days ago, the uncertainity (hopefully) cleared, and what I am talking about will become apparent very shortly.

Here's how it goes. About two and a half weeks back, I got mailed by the Editor of JAM Magazine, who also has a nice blog which you will see on the blogroll as Youth Curry, telling me she liked my Post on the Republic Day, and asked if I would like to write for JAM.
The above mentioned post, I assume she came across, as someone had liked it, and nominated it at one of the editions of the Bharateeya Blog Mela.
Of course, I replied in the affirmative, you know me, what won't I do to write for anyone/anything. The response was encouraging, I got asked to send a couple of things on a topic of my choice, straight off.
Unfortunately, I was busy with praccis and maths at the time, and didn't do it all that quickly.
I eventually sent off the material, as I wrote it, and more personalized versions of the same have been published on my blog.
To the point, My review of Q and A has been selected for publication, and a piece on the IGI, albiet very edit, is pending acceptance.
If you look at the Job section of my blog, you'll find it's filled.
I'm writing, ladies and gentlemen, and I'm going to get paid for it too. At least I hope so.
All further submissions have, unfortunately, been delayed by a wonderful thing called the AISSCE Class 12 Examinations, which have left me with nothing to write about, and little desire to be creative.
But all this will change.
Thank you, Blah, and thank you Ms. Rashmi Bansal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Terrible Choices

When you are at home for a prolonged period of time, such as I am right now, there are strange things you look foward to. One of these is the odd day when you don't have plans to step out of the house at all, no revision class, no trip to the local market, no nothing.
Okay, these days aren't all that rare, but one still enjoys them. You know why? Because you don't have to get all fancied up. Translation: I can spend the day in sweatpants and a t-shirt, and not put on underwear. Go commando, as the phrase goes.

Now, this is all very well, right upto the point that you are told towards the end of the day that you're in fact invited to go out for dinner. Now comes the terrible choice, for having to go to dinner means that you must a)Dress Up(Pants and a Shirt), and b)Get underwear on.
The condition b) must be satisfied, for as all people know, you can't leave the house without underwear, it's not a done thing. Don't ask me why it's not a done thing, but it's one of those restrictions engraved in most people's social make up. If I have met any of you socially, and you have actually not had underwear on, then I am much shocked and disgusted, and don't step near me again.

Oh, yeah, the point. I always lose track of that. One now has to make the terrible desicion of going out to a dinner to a nice place or not, for the former choice involves having to get underwear on, when you have had pretty much an understanding with yourself about how the day would be spent Spetsnaz.
Now there are all these issues, I'll have to expend fresh underwear for only two to three hours of the day, and then they won't be fresh no more, but won't exactly be unfresh. So the timit limit expansion for wearing them again is in a state of uncertainity, can I wear them for half a day more, or will they be fine for a whole new day of usage?
The last time I had to make this choice, I just chose to stay at home, and save myself the whole bother of thinking about it, but this time, I guess I gotta go...

The worst thing is nobody feels my pain, instead I'm given cruel and disdainful looks by certain female members of family.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Urinals have always been thought do be drab, dull boring things. Well, usually, they are. You go in, do yer stuff, get out, there's no major skill or design that could go into improving something as vastly simple as a men's urinal.
Ah, but you forget, we live in an age of wonder and liberazation, where ideas and technology rush at as faster than the eye can see.
So first came the fancy schmany ones with those infra-red sensor thingummies, the one's that would flush when you moved away from them. These were rare, and far between, and had the whole gimmick value.
But they didn't stop there. Now, public toilets have gone pay, in certain areas, like Khan Market. In the loo, you have loud old hindi music playing, which is kind of disconcerting.

But the king of all urinal distractions must go to the loo in The Marriot Hotel, which had the day's sports columns strategically placed at eye level above the urinal in the loo, so, for the half a minute you are taking a leak, you may be entertained by what Read Madrid did the past week, or the Indian Cricket Team's latest disaster.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Book Review: Q And A

By Vikas Swarup

Owing to the rigours of a board life, I took a week to finish this book, which in itself is a fallacy, as I finished the bulk of it over the last two days, or as the case may be, nights.
Now that I've dispensed with the pleasantries, to the review.

This is an exceptional read. It's, and I do not exxagerate, one of the finest debut novels I have ever read. It is the finest novel from an Indian Author I have ever read, because it doesn't pretend to be anything, it doesn't try to be poetic, or flowery, it doesn't stink of Arundhati Roy. Here's why.
A short background first. Q and A is the story of a life less ordinary, of an orphan named Ram Mohommad Thomas, and how he manages to win Rs. One Billion in a quiz show, by answering 12 questions. The book starts off with his arrest for winning, as a simple waiter living in Dharavi could not possibly have answered quiz questions without having cheated. The book relates his story in first person, and how he explains how he got lucky. The narrative takes us through his life, explaining just how he picked up the knowledge to answer those series of 12 questions.
Now, to the craft itself. The narrative is simple, first person, and very expressive. The story is a wonderful construction, a series of coincidences, of meetings and opportunities won and lost, with Villians, heroes, bad guys, good guys, dacoits, film stars, contract killers, and everything in the world in tow. I've heard the book has already sold movie rights, and I'm not suprised. It would make for an incredible watch. I can hear you saying Forrest Gump already, but this, I assure you, is a lot better. Forrest Gump carries with it an air of complete disbelief, which makes you smile all the way through, whereas Q and A carries with an eerie air of belief, of situations that we've seen or heard of, of a life some of us live, and some choose to ignore. Whereas a Forrest Gump lives through a picture perfect life, Ram Mohammed Thomas has seen joy, suffering, pain and loss. This gives it an Aura of realism, and keeps it from becoming Filmi.
The narrative is brilliantly constructed, and is storytelling at it's finest. Books these days, well, novels, have forgotten what they are supposed to be about, which is to tell a tale, spin a yarn. This book brings that lost art back, it has no moral, it has no fancy characters, with inner turmoil and angst, it's a potboiler of a story, plain and simple.
Now, to the ending. I wish I wrote it. I finished the book, and aside from an appreciative content smile on my face, only one thing came to mind, "Damn, I wish I wrote that". The ending has the kind of twist you expect at the end of a great story, and if I wasn't a writer myself, I couldn't have appreciated the thought and sentiment that goes into coming up with something like that.
What is it?
Read it and find out, you sorry lot. No spoilers on this blog.
Oh, I'll leave you with the last line though.
"Because luck comes from within."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

She tells me that people play games, and is know by half a dozen names
Whether Ingrid, Vrinda, Champa or Chameli
For today, All Hail the Lunar Lily


Very few times do I experience something that leaves me silent.
This is the only review that the film can be given, and is exactly what is deserves.
Oh, just one more thing.
Go watch it.

It's that time of the year again...

Here's a little something to get all of you in the mood

Oh, there was also Exun Farewell today, it was wonderful.
Damn these short, rushed posts.
But do check out the link, it's really worth the while.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Last Hurrah

Yesterday was the culmination of plans. Plans to break the shackles of monotony and boredom that had overtaken my life, plans to do four hours of integration in the morning, so I wouldn't have to feel guilty about breaking the shackles of monotony and boredom that had overtaken my life, and plans to go to Delhi College of Engineering for one last final quiz before I head off to college, where I probably won't ever get the chance again.

Where was I? Yes, the plans culminated, but not without their own individual disasters. A team, I was short off, so I gave the kid, Ishaan Chugh a ring, and he in his youthful exhuberance agreed, unlike the rest of the lot who said no. So, with a free car, desire to get out, and a quizzing partner, I set off to a faraway land, where few living in South Delhi will step foot: Rohini.
Now, North Delhi is a whole new world, from the south, or even East. It's large, first of all, really really large. There are vast amounts of space, great expanses of unused land, waiting to be built into megamalls(because that's what all the signs say). There is not a movie theatre in sight, a seeming abscence of a major market, and nobody in the whole place seems to know directions, either that or they just don't want to tell you. What these people do for fun, one wonders.
Anyhow, after searching through the vast cow eaten fields and long nalas of the north, we finally arrived at DCE, where negotiations started with the organiser, Kunal, over getting us a third team mate. These negotiations eventually failed, and we entered a three person quiz short one. Such is how it was meant to be.
The quiz started, punctually, only an hour and a half late, and one must congratulate them in this regard. Now, the quiz "Spectrum" itself was really nice. It is the only quiz I have ever been too that has combined spectator fun, showmanship and good questions. Normally the above two just simply don't go together. But the prelims started off with a cool fireworks display, as would the finals, and the final result. There was a laser light show running all the time, and there was constant music, which we forced them to shut off, because the showy nature was starting to interfere with ze thought process.
Anyhow, prelims get over. We do very well for ourselves, scoring 14 on a possible 23. We're confident we're through. So they announce the finalists. We're not one of them. We raise all hell with organisers, only to find out ....they've lost our SHEET!
Well, the matter eventually, and thankfully got resolved, and we got to go up on stage, edging out a fresh from UC Faculty of Law, Delhi Univ.
Joining us on stage were a fresh from winning University Challenge NSIT, a very stud St. Stephens outfit, a bunch of Budddha quizzers from beyond, DCE, and a North Campus South Campus superteam. The stage was set for a great showdown, especially after the QM kept reffering to us as "school ke bachche".
We started off a bit slowly, and quickly settled into third place. Midway through the quiz, on the back of a couple of great answers from Chugh, we worked our way up to joint first. Then, the subject round sealed it for us. We took F1, and between us answered nine of ten questions, and that was the final nail on the head.
Y'know what that means? We won! Us, along with a motley crew of ex-dipsite DCE chaps who were rooting for us were pleased as punch. We won, we beat the UC winners, we beat the Jhola waalas, we beat the home team, nyah nyah to em all.
Ah, now to the spoils of war. A crystal set(please don't ask me why), a few books, a CD with the soundtrack of Sapnay.
Oh, I forgot to mention. Rs 2500 as well.
So guess what? I'm going to be spending quite a bit once these boards are over.

You'd think I'd forget to mention it, wouldn't you? Well, I haven't.
Maria continues her unbroken winning streak, never has RKP even come second under her reign. Hail Maria.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Arabic Southpaws

I'm a southpaw, a lefty, and other such euphamisms for those naturally inclined towards the right side of the brain. Now, while life is more or less the same for us folk, it does pose a few problems, where handedness can be a disadvantage. For instance, when I was growing up, it was next to impossible to get musical instruments designed for the left hand, and even tougher to find a teacher willling to teach you the wrong way around.
One of the lesser, played down hassles of being a lefty is writing the roman anglo saxon, or even devnagiri script. You see, it's just not designed for lefty's, it's written from left to right, which is something which got me thinking.
See, there exists an entire script subset that writes from right to left. Aramic, Arabic, and Hebrew and their derivatives, which all must share a common background are all written the opposite way around. This lead me to think, why such a thing would have happened, and I also thought about what people would have been writing with in those days, rudimentary ink pens prone to much blottage.

Taking all these factors into account, I came up with a theory of language. Now, when someone is coming up with a script, or pretty much anything in human society, it's more or less an individual effort, or a maximum of two or three. The whole world did not get together to decide how to invent a lightbulb, Edison took care of that quite nicely. All original ideas basically come from a select number of people, and all advancements to those ideas are done by the masses.
Therefore, even the scripts we use to write with, and how we choose to write them would have devoloped from a few ancient smartareses, and not the medivial lexicological committee of the fifth Ataturk.
To simply for both myself, and dear readers, let us consider that two bright chaps, one we shall call Huhn, and the other Torr, living in two sepate localities realised that it would be a mighty bright idea to invent a way to save all the fascinating things that were being said all over the place. A couple of them might even have wanted to write magnificent histories of times immemorial, and we shall call these two the "Early Bloggers".
Now, here's the clincher, one was left handed, and the other right handed. The Lefty, lets say Huhn, picks up crude writing instrument, dips it in ink, and starts writing from the right side, so that his hand won't smudge the text he's already finished. After he's done, he shows everyone, "See! Arabic/Hebrew!", and everyone goes, damn, that's not a bad idea. So they all try to copy him, and most are right handed, and have a jolly stupid time doing so, because they keep smudging the text, and thus calligraphy was invented.
A similiar sort of story happened with Torr, who was clearly right handed, and started writing the other way around. Everyone again decided to follow in the way of this divine genius, and all was well. Thus my theory safely concludes that Arabic scholars were left handed, and Roman ones were right handed. That's just the way things go.
This is why I love the keyboard, it does away with the whole lefty righty problem of text, on the otherhand, my fountain pen thourorly messes everything I write up. Which is already messed up as it is, for to see what I am writing, I must hold my pen at an odd angle, starting somewhere at 180 degrees to the paper.
Take Da Vinci, for instance, and his "secret" mirror handwriting. Now, a man who had to write so much, and with them horrible blotty ink pens, would cleary want to write from right to left, him being left handed, and thus the only reason he wrote in mirror was for pure convinience sake, not to keep his ideas a mystery for the world at large.

In conclusion, as I have said before, thank god for the keyboard, and other detro-leavo neutral devices. Thank god for two shift keys, and thank god for a mouse that's not ergonomically designed not to fit into my left hand.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Arrival Lounge

Yesterday,and what extended into what is commonly known as today, I went to Indira Gandhi International's arrival lounge, for the umpteenth time in my life, to pick up my NRI Cousin returning from foren.

See, I visit the airport quite a lot. My father is a frequent business traveler, and of late, my Bua has become quite jet-bound too. Added to this is the fact that our house is the ubiquitous "family house", and thus still serves as a semi focal point for a now far and disbanded joint family, when it decides to return from the four corners of India and the globe. The arrival lounge, thus, is quite a familiar place for me, and I've seen in not change (because the IGI is a disastrously badly managed airport) for the past god knows how many years. The only change I saw this time was a new Cafe Coffee Day counter, which was actually seeing business, unlike all the other shoddy, terrible quality kiosks.

The Arrival Lounge has by necessity, had to provide many options for entertainment, as my father holds records for spending time in baggage check and customs, records which he consistently breaks every so often. Thus, I've usually had a lot of waiting around to do, and in the absence of any real entertainment, you have to make your own. So I stroll about the lounge, and watch things. Arrival lounges are strangely enough, remarkably interesting places for people with a keen eye for interest, and unless you're stuck in one place, you'll miss a lot.

The first thing that you can do, if you are male that is, is check out females. Airports are quite a high density zone for babes, both desi and vilayati. Somehow, though, I only ever see them for the first half hour of waiting, and then all I get is fat ones, but you can't have everything, can you. Now, this may sound like an incredibly perverse, "female objectifying" thing to do, and well, it is, but quite frankly, I don't give a stuff. It's fun entertainment for anyone with as many y chormosomes as me. Anyhow, at last visit, I was not disappointed, no not at all. Most noted was PYT attempting to explain to lost dad how to operate cellphone. Now, this is not to say age of dad has anything to do with him being lost, I would have been just as lost as the poor man, but a far more receptive student, I would say.

Anyhow, we move on. Next come the Tibetan Buddhists. Now, if you frequent the airport, you will see a remarkable amount of Tibetan Buddhists arriving from all over the world, pretty much all the time. They're even more jet set than Sardars, and that is saying a lot. They come in droves, traveling in groups of ten and over, and you always see them with their nice jolly smiles, and shaven heads.

Next, we move to the people you think you know, but can't say for sure, so you eye them every once in a while, till they think you're a little bit nuts. You of course, don't really know them, otherwise they themselves would have said hi, but such is the nature of things in arrival lounge dynamics.

Then, every so often, there are people you actually do know(Or pretend you know, at any rate) and run into in an Arrival Lounge, and this actually happened yesterday. You know the incredibly stupid way of starting conversations with someone you bump into at the movies "So what are you doing here?", well that was topped by conversation starter at arrival lounge.
Sample this. I run into, or rather 11thie-broad-who's-name-I-forgot-but-by-description-V-assures me-is-Anandita runs into me at the Airport.

11thie Broad: "Hi! So are you waiting for someone"
How is one supposed to respond to this? Sarcasm inevitably takes over.
Me: "No, I'm here for the enjoyable night time experience"
I then proceed on in my walk, expecting her to walk alongside, because well, I do expect these kind of things, when she come up with another gem.
11thie Broad: "Slow down, I can't keep up with you, my butt is hurting, man."

Yeah, that was about it for me. Conversation was just bound to go downhill from there.
But anyhow, it just objectifies the point of how Arrival Lounges are fun an interesting places, where one can in fact while away time while waiting for baggage to arrive. And if absolutely nothing else strikes your fancy, you can always watch the many happy reunions of families reunited with long gone relatives, or cute kids sitting on their luggage trolleys, or other wonderful sights and sounds of the Indira Gandhi International, possibly the only thing with her name that can bring joy to anyone.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Tears of Joy?

Have you ever laughed till tears came out? Till recently, I had not done so very often, but off late, even smaller level laughing has triggered it off. Two incidents make recall in my head today, which objectify this.
The first, I have already elaborated on, in a previous post, the incident of the tenthie who made his father his neighbour. When I told my parents the story on the dinner table, that got me to laugh to tears.
Short Diversion: I think one of the foundations of healthy families is dinner table conversation. There are a lot of people I know who simply will avoid sitting down on the dinner table at night, and let me tell you, they're all screwed up. So chuck the TV dinner, or the "Lets eat individually, and not together", because if you want a healthy family dynamic, you're simply going to have to eat together, and have a polite dinner time conversation as well.

The second time was a bit stranger, because it wasn't even one of those uproariously funny moments. I was watching the other day, one of my favourite movies, Finding Forrester, which for information, stars Sean Connery and and Rob Brown. It's about writing, which is something I really love, and thus the movie, which itself is good, pretty much hooks me.
Anyhow, it had reached the bit where the lead character, Rob Brown, is bajaoing the mean ol' proffesor, in a very non-obviously funny way, and I found it very amusing. I laughed again, and as I said, tears welled out.
Now, I always thought this was a very strange concept, tears while laughing, it seemed a bit off. Out of place, one would say. Tears are normally meant for sadder times, or when you get up in the morning(I have a lot of morning tears). But as with many things, my opinions are reforming themselves. Here's the way I now see it, tears are some sort of emotional trigger, and most of the time, we have terrible lives, where the majority of our stronger emotions are those of sadness, rather than joy. Hence, we cry. However, if you can have as powerful happy emotions as your sad ones, while laughing for instance, you will again be motivated to shed tears. How it works in general, I still know not. People react in different ways. When I'm angry, it can be spotted a mile away, as my ears go crimson red. But the tears thing seems to be a very common emotional trigger.
Here's the observable difference between happy tears and sad ones. When you cry at times of distress, one observes that you will also sniffle, and make other rude and disgusting noises, which prove to the world that being sad is just a simple waste of time. On the other hand, tears of happiness sort of come in a rush, and then dissapear just as fast, and the only noise you shall be observed to make is of course your laugh, which may or may not be a good thing.
I hope it is.

Next time I feel like writing, it might be about the judgement of beauty, which the abscence of anything material in life, abstract posts seem to take over.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Practi Kal

As the title suggests, I have my first (of two) board practical tomorrow, the subject being physics.
As the title doesn't suggest, I'm decently prepared, and have stopped worrying about the possible consequences, for in the words of another "These things are rigged".

Wonderful perspective it puts on life, doesn't it?

As the might suggest, I've been in a good mood. If I wanted to tell you why, I would have written about it already. But I haven't. So guess what?I'm not going to tell, nyah nyah.
Here's the thing with getting back in a good mood, it sets off a chain reaction. You work better when you're happy, and you start getting things done. When you get things done, this gets you into a better mood. The days pass nicer, and you've got a silly inexplicable smile on your face instead of Board Related Maudlinity(Even if it's not a word, I don't give a pair of dingo's kidneys). Contrary to a previous comment, I'm not in fact, in a Happy Happy Joy Joy mood, though not merely elated either. Searching far and beyond for an apt word to describe current emotion, one recalled the feelings of a matress named Zem (well, it would be hard for it not to be named Zem), who was quite Floopy. Thus, I globber on floopily, in this post.

Ah, here's everyone's favourite question these days: "What else?"
It has a terrible answer too. Nothing! It's the beggining of the month, and there's literally not much to do. I'll while away the next fifty days in seemingly large amounts of nothingness, till a whole lot of doing nothing is finally over.

Unfortunately, I have no fresh Sasta For the Day, but I'm sure that will make enough of you deleriously happy. Which you should be. Because it's a beautiful world, P.K Purvis.
Or whoever you are.