Monthly Archives: November 2007

A Stranger in Manipal- Part I

Final semester at NITK calls for an inevitable paradigm shift in the life of the hostel inmates. Suddenly one is expected to understand and realize the true importance of not doing anything worthwhile for months together and still feel happy and satisfied about it. As a corollary, it is also expected of the students to make complete use of all the facilities that are so easily accessible to them in the hostel. This includes buying a quarter of cheap Old Monk rum for a mere 35 bucks from Garuda Bar along with the cheap Baba Cola which further costs 4 bucks for 300 ml and then getting high-at least 4-5 times a week. One is also expected to drag one’s lazy ass outside the campus to explore greener pastures.

And that was exactly what I did on Saturday. After 3 1/2 years of getting stuck in my hostel room, I finally made up my mind to explore the earth that existed to the north of my college at Surathkal. All the 3 1/2 years, I had been frequently subjected to highly regarded parables about the treasure cove that existed about 60 km north in a place called Manipal. There was a general notion that all that was of high value there was largely due to the unequal and unfair distribution of the same. So off I went, finally,with my friend, seeking greener pastures.

I was to be greeted there by one more of my friends who stays in the very place itself. So after the ball breaking bus journey, I finally arrived at Manipal. And by the time, I stepped foot on the ground there, I knew that I would not be disappointed. Now before I venture into describing the exact nature of the highly valued assets of the place, let me just tell you in brief about my situation.

Now you see, my college is widely known for its academics and relevant stuff. Exactly-relevant stuff. The only thing that you can possibly improve on is on those very lines. But if you come to my college with an expectation of meeting and befriending people of the XX chromosome type- you have come to the wrong place pal. NITK Surathkal is the perfect illustration for the saying (or fact): “`Beauty and Brains never go hand in hand.” That was how we guys used to explain the phenomenon of the lack of ‘chics’ in my college. But soon we realized that the girls in my college had neither the brains nor the beauty. And I have been stuck in this college for over 3 1/2 years. So I guess you have now gathered my situation as a whole. And it is seeking greener pastures in this regard that I took my trip to Manipal.

And in my next post, you will find in detail, my tryst with the treasure cove and the subsequent realization that I was indeed a stranger in a strange land.

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About Photo Sharing Sites and other rantings…

I have been spending the entire day trying out various photo sharing websites like Flickr, Photobucket, Photoworks and Picasa. All of them claim to offer a lot of features and space to upload your photos. But it is only today, after a long study into them that I realized that each had some or the other flaw.

Take Flickr for example: I had been using Flickr to upload my photos. Though I had not been really uploading a hell lot, there were quite a few photos in my account and I had grouped them into two sets or albums. Now today I upload some 20 more photos and then I create one more set. So far so good. Then I upload some more and try to create one more separate set and guess what? I cant! Thats right! I am not allowed to create more than 3 sets of photos in Flickr! Then how the hell am I supposed to organize my photos? And to be able to create more sets, I am supposed to pay them $25 a year! Balls to you people!

If the reason why this is done is to make people realize the extra features that is available to them on payment, then it is one of the lamest features to be restricted. It is just that- the lamest thing possible! Now all my photos are just haphazardly stored in the Flickr account. Visit it here .

So I was recommended the likes of Picasa. Now here is the thing. I usually have a lot of photos to upload at a time. But Picasa allows me to upload only 3 at a time from the website. I can upload very very easily using the Picasa program but again, very very conveniently my esteemed college has set up a proxy setting which has to be entered into every program that requires net connection and unfortunately the Picasa program has no such feature. So to hell with Picasa as well.

Then I opened Photobucket. There I found things pretty convenient until I tried to use their bulk uploader. It needed some java shit that just refused to install on my comp. But atleast you can upload some 20 photos at a time. So I stuck to it. And then I see that it has some very unconvincing display features. Flickr has(had) good and really appealing display features. So when a stranger visits your photo account, they wont get bored to death. But I wouldnt be surprised if a visitor to my photobucket account makes an honest effort to forget my very existence. But I have to say that they have a very interesting feature of tagging parts of the photo. So you can name your friends in the photo and when the mouse pointer hovers around his/her face, the name is displayed. That was cool!

But in the end, I have to say that it was a really frustrating experience today.

Presently I am sticking on to Photobucket. Here is my account.

Either way, I was quite surprised how much my traffic has increased ever since I wrote the previous post blaspheming someone I know quite well. Keep it up guys!!! There is more coming!

And apart from all the ranting, I would like to bring your esteemed attention to the very fact as to why I have suddenly become very enthusiastic about sharing photos. Well thing is that 2 days ago, I finally did what I hadnt done in the 3 1/2 years. I travelled north from my college towards Manipal seeking greener pastures. And boy was I in for a treat!

So you will find a post about my trip to Manipal and the subsequent realization that I was a stranger in a strange land. That is most likely to be my next post…

So till then, keep reading and thank you for all the traffic!

About Time…

There are some lines that you don’t cross. There are some issues you don’t neglect. And there are some people you should not forget. And yeah, whomever I am referring to will know what I am talking about.

You have caused me so much anger, grief and disappointment over the last couple of years but I always believed you would learn better. You have no courtesy or respect for anything that I do-always taking it for granted that no matter what, I will continue to call. Well too bad now you are wrong.

The worst thing that has ever happened to me in the past two years has been your improvisations. Man! Nobody can beat you at that. How you manipulate things to your advantage and still manage to look like the right person still remains a mystery to me and I am happy to be ignorant.

Simply put, you are the most shameless person I have ever come across in my life. 

And conveniently for me, Maynard Keenan has already penned  down exactly what I have to say to you. I was supposed to have told you this long back but my post got screwed. But not this time. Its about time I tell you exactly what I feel….

Passive


“Dead as dead can be,” my doctor tells me
But I just can’t believe him, never the optimistic one
I’m sure of your ability to become my perfect enemy
Wake up and face me, don’t play dead cause maybe
Someday I will walk away and say, “You disappoint me,”
Maybe you’re better off this way

Leaning over you here, cold and catatonic
I catch a brief reflection of what you could and might have been
It’s your right and your ability
To become…my perfect enemy…

Wake up and face me, don’t play dead cause maybe
Someday I’ll walk away and say, “You disappoint me,”
Maybe you’re better off this way

Wake up and face me, don’t play dead cause maybe
Someday I’ll walk away and say, “You fucking disappoint me!”
Maybe you’re better off this way

Go ahead and play dead
I know that you can hear this
Go ahead and play dead
Why can’t you turn and face me?
Why can’t you turn and face me?
Why can’t you turn and face me?
Why can’t you turn and face me?
You fucking disappoint me!

I have never really disparaged anybody or vented my anger on someone to this extent in my blog. And I am sort of surprised myself. But no regrets. I had to do this. It was about time. So if anyone apart from the one mentioned feels bad, my sincere apologies to you.

The Past, Present and Future of my Mobile Phone

It is really surprising how much things change over a period of years. How many things come and go and how many stay. Considering the 31/2 years that have elapsed between my admission to NITK and now, I have to say I have seen a lot more than what I expected to see. And I am happy about it. But right now I am not going to rant about how things could have been better etc etc. What I am going to tell you about is one accessory of mine that has remained faithful to me all these years and has also been the reason why I have felt more dead than alive. I am talking about my mobile phone.

Ever since my mom realized, in a matter of 10 days, that she could not possibly remain sane without checking on me whether I have had my breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner on a daily basis, I have been the proud owner of a mobile phone. And that has been the only thing that kept me in my senses during the first 2 years. Talking for hours together was nothing new to me, considering the fact that I was very familiar with 2 hours+ long conversations on a daily basis. My landline bill was coming about Rs. 5000 for every month. And trust me when I say that it is not a small amount.

The calls that contributed the most to the bill were my very long conversations with X, my occasional long conversations with Y and regular 1 hour long chats with a buddy of mine. Now when I say long, I mean really long. In fact, my longest conversation has been with X and lasted for a stunning 6 1/2 hours! It started at 10 in the morning and went on till 4:30 in the evening-no kidding!!My second longest conversation has also been with X and that lasted for about 5 hours! And this was in the night-from about 11 in the night to 4 in the morning! And likewise, I have had long conversations with quite a few people.

So you see, when I say long, I mean really really long.

And this being the case, the trend was abruptly disrupted as none of my friends had a mobile phone and calling landlines from my mobile was getting increasingly uneconomical. So there was this stage in the beginning when I became very desperate to talk. And then, as if in response, everybody seemed to be getting mobile phones. So in the first and second years, I was talking for hours together to X, Y and Z. So much so, my monthly mobile phone bill crossed the 1000 mark on quite a few occasions! At times, I used to wonder how I could have possibly remained in my senses if it wasn’t for my mobile phone. Those were the good times…

But like I said in the beginning, some things stay and some don’t. So as time passed on and I entered my 3rd year, a lot of things had changed. I was not talking to Z anymore. I realized that X would never give a call back. And that I would get to talk to Y everytime I went home. So it will suffice to say that I began to under-utilize my mobile phone. I hardly made any calls. I hardly got any calls. I even gave up on carrying it around. There was simply no point in doing so. Thus began the decadence of my relationship with my mobile. And those were the times that I felt I was just existing or equivalently-dead.

Things only got worse. My monthly bill was around the 500 mark in the initial stages of my 3rd year. But it slowly and steadily declined and now it is somewhere near the 300 mark-which according to my Plan, means that I am wasting half the money! Not that it is difficult to change my plan, it is just that I am still hopeful that my relationship with my mobile phone will improve (Note that I didn’t say that I was hopeful of getting more calls).

And as it stands now, I am hardly giving it any thought. I am past that stage when I use to look into my mobile phone and pray that it would ring. Once I had even gone to the extent of wishing that some dude would call for a wrong number! But like I said, I am past that stage. I realized that there are many more things that I would rather worry about than wondering as to who will call who wont.

On retrospection, I would just like to remind myself of all the good times that I had with my mobile phone and just hope that those times come again.

Oh ok…its actually Diwali!

It is a great irony. For the past few months, I have been witnessing a lot fireworks to celebrate a myriad of events. So much so, that if someone is bursting crackers, I go and enquire as to what is the occasion. And then today, something was not right throughout the day. People were bursting crackers all through the day. The only thought that came to my head was that all these people must have been celebrating India’s victory over Pakistan in the first one day cricket match(now don’t mistake me…I no longer watch cricket).

And so I hardly gave any more thought as to what other reasons the junta might have to burst crackers. Then I received a SMS saying:

HAPPY DIWALI…

Then I am like …Oh F***!

Its actually Diwali! The reason these people are making so much noise with the crackers is because today is actually Diwali and this is when you are supposed to burst crackers! And what did I do? I  got drunk the night before! Damn the irony man!

Either way, dont expect me to burst crackers! My days of cracker bursting got over long back! I have had my share of scaring people, bursting crackers in toilets, hand held “atomic” bombs, black eyes, burst tumblers etc. And poor things, those dogs had to go through a week of nightmare! They still do.

So I never bothered to burst any crackers. But there is something about the night being lit up by fire that makes me smile. So when I was returning to my hostel at 9:30 in the night, I was pleasantly surprised to see a big bunch of hostelers bursting crackers with ear-splitting sounds. The drama also included a tacit competition amongst the cracker bursting crowd regarding who is the most daring of them all. So the consequences involved letting off rockets from the hands, taking a chain cracker and allowing it to burst, while all the time that dude was waving it like it was some sort of a flag waving on a  victory march. It also included lighting up the cracker and “daringly” throw it at a group of people standing close by! But whatever potentially dangerous things were being performed there, I guess the only relevant thing is that all of them were having fun-including me.

So in the end, as I took a small walk around all the hostels, I saw that each hostel was lit up with a myriad of crackers and the sports complex, I learnt, was filled with (get a load of this!) GIRLS bursting crackers! And not just lighting the cracker and running away to safety! I mean they were performing the same antics that I happened to witness in front of my hostel! Now that is what I call as out of place!

And as I saw all these, I was just happy that the whole country is not filled with people like me who do not give  a damn about bursting crackers! The most illuminated festival in the whole world definitely needs to be carried on forever. And good to know that there are still people who find peace in the ear splitting noise. It is because of them that the festive mood is still existent. Not because of me!

What do you ask ME for?

I am not complaining or defending myself against any accusation or wrong doing. I am simply trying to figure out what people would ask me about? Something that they would want to learn. And something that I am known for. Sample this:

You ask Donald Trump how to make money.

You ask Arsene Wenger how to play beautiful football.

You ask George Jung how to sell Cocaine.

You ask Frank Lucas how to sell Heroin.

You ask Vijay Mallya how to sell alcohol.

You ask Quentin Tarantino how to make a cult movie.

You ask Maynard Keenan how to make the best music to listen to when you are stoned.

You ask Hitler how to start a World War.

You ask  the French how to mess things up.

So amidst all this and more, I was just wondering….

What do you ask ME for?

Hmmmm…. come to think of it, I may have the answer in a few weeks or months time.  And to be frank, with my end semester exams a day away, I am not really serious about the whole thing at all. I am not really concerned or worried as to how I do in the exam. I already sort of know my  position in my class and there is nothing that I can do to bring about a dramatic change. So I am just sitting back and relaxing now.

Watched “Sideways” an hour back.  Very very relevant movie to me. Some of the things that were portrayed in one of the characters was reminiscent of what I was, and maybe still,  going through in my life.

“You are too young for your age!” This is what my friend told me last week. Somehow it made a lot of sense to me. Maybe I need to do something to grow up and get that extra responsibility coming my way. Sitting in front of my computer in my hostel for most of the day, having no class to attend, watching the hostel dogs hump each other to death are not exactly the most efficient way to gain responsibility.

So I am doing something else. And maybe, just maybe, after a few months, you can ask me how to do that thing that I am doing…….