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Archive for August, 2004

Quoting one of U2’s songs ( Phil Collins actually .. my bad :p ) … can’t help it …

Its just one of those days …

The past few days had been quite upside down … College going on as usual …

Had a test today … didn’t study much for it though … wrote lots of crap … ended up with a big smile on my face …

The sun’s finally out nowadays and I kinda miss the rains …

Got a couple of things to comment about …

The Olympics are almost over … and I must say, it was one of the most interesting ones to watch …

Other than the fact that the media hyped it up so much, I got to catch quite a bit of the action and it was a lot of fun …

Especially the silver at the rifle shooting event … :)

The Indian Hockey team, however, sucked big time …

I managed to catch almost all their games, and it was really sad …

Believe me, you can consider yourself lucky to have missed the games …

Except the one against South Africa, everything else sucked …

I mean, the quality expected at THAT level was not there …

According to me, except Dhanraj Pillai, Dilip Tirkey and Gagan Ajit Singh to some extent, the remaining people played school level hockey …

The two sardars in the team ( don’t know their names ) who I bet must have gotten in due that Gill, sucked big time …

Imagine not being able to trap the ball …

Thats like we playing basketball and not being able to catch the passes … Like playing cricket and fumbling big time everytime the ball came to you …

It was pathetic :(

None of the goals scored were due to any teamwork or individual brilliance … all were plain fluke …

Saw the women’s finals yesterday … Germany vs Netherlands … ( thats how I study for the test )

Apart from the fact that it was a women’s game and that they were all good to look at :p, the game was brilliant …

Hockey was never that fun to watch …

Their co-ordination was top notch … passes were near perfect, defence great and was generally a treat for the eyes …

Germany won an upset game … 2 – 1 … after having lost 4 – 1 to Netherlands just a few days ago …

It was not Netherlands’ day … they must have had ball posession for 75% of the game and must have had ten times the shots on goal that Germany had … but when its not your day, nothing goes …

However, it was good fun, and I can bet on it that either of the teams could have taken up the Indian Men’s team and thrashed them royally …

This is the sad state of sport in our country ( well, except cricket … but that too only a handful of nations play anyways )

The other new thing with me is … well … my mom bought me a bean bag :D

I have always wanted one … Though my dad ain’t to happy about it, I love it :)

Have kept it in front of the TV … and will watch all the movies sitting in the ultimate comfort …

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Spiderman 2

Finally got to catch Spidey 2 today …

Had been wanting to do so since the day it released … but was waiting for the ticket prices to drop at INOX … imagine paying 130 bucks even for the morning show …

Anyways, a month later, it did drop, and I did get to see the movie …

I had watched Spiderman 1 at home on a crappy VCD print … probably why I did not like the movie that much …

But I did like Spiderman over other superhero movies … batman is very dark and superman … well … just flies around …

What made Spiderman different for me from the other super heroes is his diffent style of transportation … his swinging abilities … look very cool and also the fact that Tobey Macguire fits the bill to play the teenage guy next door very well …

He has his own share of problems … like every one of us … and we can identify with him the best …

In both the movies, Aunt May and Uncle Ben were very sincere to their characters … and Kirsten Dunst, who plays MJ, atleast according to me was very mediocre …

This leaves us with Harry Osborne who was pretty good in the second movie atleast …

As compared to Seabiscuit, I found Tobey Macguire was very good in this movie and was more convincing … maybe for the fact that I could identify with his character initially in the movie, when his life is as bad as it can get …

The emotions … for being responsible for his uncle’s death were also very well portrayed …

The CG in the movie is one of the best that I have seen ever …

Dr. Octopus looked very believable and his arms are integrated quite seemlessly …

The action sequences are very intense … kept me on the edge of my seat …

Many of my friends found the movie slow … as compared to the first movie …

What they missed out, I feel, is the connection … the emotions being portrayed …

The movie definitely has a better story line and is more topsy turvy …

I found, the fact that Spiderman gets stripped off his mask … naked to the whole world … too brilliant … It added to the story and made you stick to your seat …

Hadn’t this been there, there wouldn’t have been much of a difference between the two movies …

Now, c’mon … all the other superheroes have their own secret identities … I found this particular part very smart …

This movie has its share of technical snags … which I would not like to enumerate in case you haven’t seen the movie yet … but the movie, as a whole, more than makes up for it …

The entire series, I feel has gone the LOTR way …

The fellowship was good … Two towers better and the Return of the King simply blew my mind …

One of the few movies which improve with time …

Spidey 2 has done it this time … Waiting to watch what Spidey 3 would have in store …

Until then, we have I, Robot, Village and Shrek 2 to go …

Go Spidey !

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Having been in a REAL college for more that two years now, I have had the opportunity of meeting many different kinds of people …

Now, people can be classified into different categories and varieties … but the ones whom I wish to dedicate this blog to, are a very different breed …

When I was in school, there were different kinds of kids there too …

But, I don’t ever remember coming across any back-stabbers … We had our share of snobbish scholars … but they would be, at most, rude, and ignore us lesser mortals … act generally selfish and not care a damn about anyone else … but I generally do not remember anyone back stabbing …

Enter college …

“Its a tough world man … dog eat dog and stuff … tremendous competition … and I for one, am not gonna be left behind”

This seems to be the general outlook of most people in this category …

Let me illustrate …

Our class is basically pretty diversified … We have lots of people in different smaller groups …

Till the second year, we were a terrific class … unity and stuff …

But this year, some old people dropped off and new people have come in …

It takes us great time and effort to plan a “Mass Bunk” which is also more respectably called as “A Common Off” …

This has not to be confused with the phenomenon in which a class does not show up for an entire week … or one day even …

These are all urban legends to us … myths even …

We are talking single, 60 minutes lectures here ….

We are really envious of the Mechanical people …

There, the class vacates itself, even before the guy who is announcing the mass bunk, gets to the phrase “Mass bu…

We on the other hand, have to beg, plead, reason, threaten and kidnap people to actually get people off the class …

The planning starts a whole good two lectures earlier …

Everyone leave the class too … along with this special group of people …

But five minutes into our successful bunk ( or so we think ) and these people return back … to the classroom …

These people are the same one’s who will be very paly with you on other occasions … teach you about the benefits of team work … they are the pinnacles of altruism … but five minutes into the mass bunk and they realise … that they haven’t polished enough apples yet … nor licked enough boots too … sycophants of the highest order !

As a result, the rest of the people who go late or don’t go at all, get brilliantly screwed …

Like this TCS ( Theory of Computer Science ) guy … don’t know his name yet … threw 43 students out of the class ( out of a total of 50 students ), the next day, after a failed attempt at mass bunk in which 7 students attended the lecture …

I think it must be a terrific feeling …

Must feel like “Hey ! I am in control … I can make you people beg and cry and plead with me … and then in the end, I’ll get you screwed anyways … “

It’s like, when at 7:50 in the morning, I stop at a red signal, when the whole world is zipping by, impervious to the traffic lights…

Then, they see this guy waiting at the signal … like a fool … and, then they feel that something is wrong … they wait too …

The most satisfying thing is to get the PMT or any bus for that matter to stop … because you are blocking its path and the poor guy behind the wheel can’t do a thing … :)

Must definitely feel something like that …

So, as of the latest discussions, we have all decided to put this “Mass Bunking” thing on hold … till we find better torture techniques … or we get rid of these people whos’ only aim in life seems to be “sucking up to the teachers”

As Max Payne had once said “Backstabbing Ba****** !”

God save the day !

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It was almost ten years ago … I was in the fourth grade when I got picked for our school basketball team … not so much for my skill as for the extra half foot that I was taller by, compared to other people my age …

I didn’t do much … As I got an early start, I found myself in a team of sixth graders … guys two years senior to me …

I could hardly catch the ball … leave alone pass or even make an attempt to score …

My job was basically to last out the first quarter, and get fouled out by the third quarter, so that a better guy got to play an extra quarter …

I know … the rules were stupid then, and all the teams did it …

However, we won that tournament … the first ever I played in…

I did my part, getting fouled out throughout the tournament and helping our cause :)

I distinctively remember that night … it was a night game … about 9’ish … floodlights … a big crowd … our seniors cheering for us … the adrenaline pumping … the cold sweat breaking down, and the high tension atmosphere …

Our team captain fell in the fourth quarter … very badly too … he was bleeding all over … but he continued …

That was all what was needed – to boost our morale sky high, and get the adrenaline going again …

When the final whistle blew … we had won … The match had been pretty close … how a finals game should be, and that made us happier …

I even remember crying after the match … Half the reason, I think, was us winning, and the other half was, I think, due to my inability to get fouled out that game ;) …

No matter how hard I tried, the referee looked the other way … I was on 4 fouls when the final whistle blew …

From the next year onwards, I found myself in a more stable position in the team … with the “Kamikaze” tag being finally removed …

Since then, I stuck on … and our team ( no brag intended ) was one of the best in Pune …

We won every single Zilla Parishad ( equivalent to University tournaments in colleges ) tournaments we played in and got to represent Pune everytime …

It is amazing how being in a team, playing basketball … so dramatically … changed my life around …

I was this quiet … really introvert kinda guy before this happened to me …

I haven’t changed drastically, but have done quite a bit …

We played … the same team throughout … 5 years of our school lives and 2 of our junior college days … behind the Gulati Hall … every lunch break and every PT period …

Another match which comes to mind and makes it really nostalgic was one final, played on a cloudy, gloomy Sunday morning on our own courts …

The match started late and in a light drizzle …

All the catholic guys had come to school to attend some Sunday mass … they waited on the courts … past their mass time … rooting for us …

Even our principal was there …

We started miserably …

We were fourteen points down by half time …

Our principal left …

But the guys stayed back …

After half time, we shot the first basket …

That was all that was needed …

Everybody was possessed … it was entirely a different team …

Everybody outside the courts was shouting … I couldn’t hear my own thinking …

On the sidelines, I could see my coach jumping ( literally ) up and down …

The final whistle blew …

We had won by seven points …

We had not let them score even once in the entire second half …

We hugged … everyone in sight …

No one cared how sweaty the other guy was …

We were drenched … partly due to the rain, and partly from our own sweat …

We were stinking … tired … broken … and dirty … and that was the best I had ever felt in my life …

Days went by … we kept winning …

School was over … then the junior college … We are all in different colleges now …

But we have stuck as a team …

We don’t play so many matches nowadays … nor do we practice so often …

But we do meet every once in a while … to play … behind that Gulati Hall … where we have played all our lives … and you know what ?

Its the best feeling … ever … the joy of belonging …

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College woes ..

I have been living in Pune all my life …

They call it the Oxford of the East … With more than 40 Engineering colleges in Pune and neighbouring areas, hundreds of schools, many Arts, Science, Commerce, Management colleges, I am not surprised …

In fact Pune can boast about having all the colleges that Oxford could ever have …

But what Pune ( and India in general ) lose out in quality, they make up in quantity …

Also read somewhere that India produces more number of movies than any other country ( including the US of A ) … Quality anyone ?

As I can speak for the course that I am pursuing, I can comment on the general situation of the Engineering colleges here … Dismal at best …

Barring a few … numbers which can be counted on your fingers … none have the facilities and infrastructure to speak of as such … my college included … which I will get to a little later …

Colleges here, now that the government has removed the leash, have turned into money making monsters … no surprise there …

The colleges which are considered to be better than the others, have hiked their fees to unprecedented proportions … something that a common man will think twice before getting into …

Merit is out of the window … if you have the money, then we have the degree …

Almost anything that pays goes …

Our batch was lucky enough to be the last batch to get into colleges when the Government was in control of the admissions and fee structure …

Getting back to my college ( this is the fun part ) …

Beggars cannot be choosers … and I was happy to get into this college ( at first anyways ) because of the terrific proximity to my place …

While my other friends were calculating time to reach college in hours, I would proudly boast that on a good day … with the traffic signals off, I could make it in 7 minutes :)

The other good thing about this college of mine is the timings … 8 to 3 flat …

That leaves us plenty of time to go home, hog and get a good hour’s siesta.

But thats where all good things in life end …

I hate to be a whiner … but then there is no other alternative … DTE … are you reading this ?

Lets start at the place most important to all the Engineering Colleges …

When I first saw our new computer lab after our new building came up ( we have switched 3 buildings in 2 years already ! ), I was very impressed …

We have about 50 – 60 computers … which run on the Pentium III series of processors …

Now this is all useless if your computers are plagued by worms and virii which thrash the hard disk and it takes almost eons to really get anything done …

Then unlike the other ( better ) colleges, we do not have a Centralised login system … mainly because only 16 computers are connected per network and these are further not connected …

This means lugging a very dubious floppy diskette around … everytime transferring files when we move comps …

Another social activity that we indulge in the college is fighthing over the printer …

Now, our college advocates the use of only dotmatrix printers … Inkjet and lasers are a strict no no …

The printer to student ratio is about 15:1 ( per class ) and the assignment submission to day ratio is 1:1

Add to this the factor that print outs can be taken only during the second half hour break which is common to all the four branches …

This hikes the printer to student ratio to 60:1 … which ultimately further adds to my new study on how chaos helps us students to be better, stronger and more able individuals …

Then add to this – half the comps having defunct floppy drives ( half of these just eat up your floppies ) … the networks being down 90% of the time and this makes you not want to enter our computer lab.

“Ma’am … why can’t be take printouts in the 10 o’ clock break also ?”

“How do you expect us to eat in the Comp Lab then ?”

The other brilliant feature of our college is our library …

It opens up at 8:20 … closes at 2:40 … does not issue books after 2:00 and is closed most of the times during the breaks … beacuse you guessed it right … our staff ALSO eats during the break.

This has resulted in a very unusual phenomenon of the students bunking … and then instead of going out or home or a movie … end up in the library !

On the extra curricular front, zero takes on a whole new meaning …

For playing sports ( I play basketball ), you pay for your petrol to go to remote places to play tournaments, pay for eating there from your own pocket … and to top it all up, get marked absent in the roster …

If you are wondering this is bad enough, imagine out miseries when the teacher asks us to submit assignments the other day irrespective of which part of Timbuktoo we have just returned from …

And when I last heard, other colleges pay their players 30 bucks per match …

We do get colours from the college, but have to get it made from one shop only becuase the self elected sports incharge of our college gets a cut from that shop keeper … no matter if the material used is so shitty that the colors come off before the half time …

The principal naturally is blissfully unaware …

Its okay … we say … atleast something’s better than nothing …

I’d write more … but have written a lot already …

Hey … can I get thrown out for all this ?

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Every once in two weeks, I make a trip … not so much out of choice, as out of compulsion … to the local flour mill.

In the beginning, we had our own mini flour mill at home … and all was good.

Then, my mother realised, which was inevitable anyways, that the small mill took ages to churn out even 250 grams of flour, distributed the flour evenly across the entire kitchen, put more out than in … and basically wasn’t worth the time and effort to grind the 5 kgs of wheat every two weeks …

Then came the packaged flour bags … and all was good.

Later, the paranoia – the wheat was old, and flour stale which was packed in the bags, set in … soon the rotis were not soft enough … and the parathas weren’t tasty enough …

So … we ( my mom ) switched back to the tried and tested method of :

a:> Procure the required quantity of wheat from the local grocer

b:> Clean it

c:> Send the kid in the house ( the one who doesn’t have any work anyways ) to get the wheat ground …

Earlier, it was a pain in the ___ to have to lug the five kg drum ?? onto my Kinetic ( sunny sometime ago ) … drive a kilometer … wait for an hour and then drive back …

But then, we got lucky …

This flour guy opened a mill just 20 seconds away from our place …

That guy turned out to be a nice fellow …

Generally, I do not really start talking to new people … but this fellow started …

Soon, we would chat about various things everytime I waited for my turn …

Now, I trust this fellow completely … leaving and returning back to collect the flour later …

I even get higher priority in a queue …

I do realise, that this is a thankless job …

Sitting in the flour covered environment the entire day, doing the same monotonous work day in and day out … getting raked over the coals every time you delay someone …

A thank you goes a long way …

Another group of people that I really am grateful to are the ones where in I pay my electricity bill … Now this might sound really dopey … but its true …

This place is about 3 kms from my place … a collecting agency hired by the MSEB …

What is remarkable and admirable about them ( father and son ) is that they are open from 8 to 8 ( sometimes later than that, because I remember paying forgotten bills as late as 9 pm) … even on Sundays and holidays …

On many occasions, they have filled in the details behind the cheque without grumbling … always courteous …

They make, an otherwise, drab MSEB … full of babudom, look better … and make life so much easier for us …

Lastly, I would mention our postman …

A jolly fellow … has been with us as long as I can remember …

What strikes me about this fellow is the dedication and zest with which he does his job …

Be it raining or sunny, he’s always there to drop in the mail …

Many a times, when we aren’t at home and the mail is registered, he has pedalled on his cycle an additional 2 kms to drop it in my mom’s clinic …

So many times, he has brought in the same mail day after day when we are on vacation … when he could have dropped a note asking us to pick it up from the are post office …

I am really grateful to this guy :)

Hats of to all these people … my unsung heroes …

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Hmm …

There was no rain today for most part of the day … Finally got to see a glimpse of the sun …

Its funny … ironic even, how my life revolves around the weather these days …

Anyway, so there was no rain right …

So, we finally got to see dry roads for a change … and I got to gauge the depths of the potholes which I have been going through, the last few days …

To get home from college, we have to cross this bridge – the “Bund Garden Bridge”

Anyways, actually there are 2 bridges … one is newer than the other …

The other one ( older one ) is used while coming home back from college. This bridge is about 105 – 110 years old … I know this for a fact, because sometime ago, the blueprints of the bridge were handed back to the Indian Government by the British Council … as the bridge was guaranteed to last for 100 years …

Anyways, due to the recent torrid rains, the bridge has gotten more screwed than it previously was, now with craters the size of the moons’. Also, with years of patching up, the thickness of the road must be atleast 6 times the original planned thickness … resulting in larger craters …

This one crater, the one which I had the priveledge of visiting the other day is large … large enough to sink the titanic in … And when it rains, you cant gauge the depth due to the water …

Experience has taught me now, to go dead slow over that patch … but I have seen many people almost end their lives out there …

And what is more sickening is the apathy by which the government officials treat these issues …

I mean how many people need to die out there before some action is taken ??

The other day, read in the newspapers that this guy lost his life when he hit a speedbreaker which was 3 times higher than the specified height …

Only then did the municipal corporation people go and level that thing …

This is the sad state of affairs here :*(

And, I have seen it … hitting a ditch … even a small one ( esp water logged ) at 40 km/hr … you have more chances of seeing the Almighthy … than when you would skid off a wet road …

In India, the bureaucracy is so bad, that it can take you weeks … if not months to get even simple jobs done …

Our college is the perfect example …

It took them 3 weeks to issue a simple letter which said that I was a student of their ( damned ) institute !!!

May God save the day !

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