America, Civil Engineering, Engineer, NITK, Serious Writing

The Stereotypical Dream

So I am having a good time here in Iowa. No no. It does not mean that I am having a good time BECAUSE I am in Iowa. I am just having a good time thats all. Actually, come to think of it, Iowa isn’t a bad place after all. There are many awesome places to see and things to do around it. Just nothing IN it. But I digress.

So I have a job here. And I have a car. And I have a new awesome camera. The immediate and implied consequences of those three facts are what I have been making the best use of. And as a result, I find that I am actually quite happy with my life now. Not needing to worry about money, having the means to travel around, meeting new people and spending good time with them, exploring a new hobby- everything seems to fall perfectly into place right now. And this got me thinking in a different direction altogether.

The good and happy position I find myself in right now is obviously not just restricted to me. Most of my friends with whom I did my undergrad are all similarly well settled in some job somewhere and are having an equally good time, if not better. Which made me ask the question:

What is it about my friends and I that has made it possible for us to be in this position in our lives?

Most of us are bright and smart. And where we are now must be partly attributed to that. Sure, we did make the cut in a few examinations or get admissions to some good foreign universities. But these are not really the sole factors which helped us to get where we are now. What I am trying to get my head around is the very system that facilitates this process.

The one common fact that I observe is the most obvious one. All of us started off in Engineering courses. After we finished our Bachelors in Engineering, we either eventually landed up in some management institute of repute or in some good university for Masters (in India or abroad). Subsequent to that, we found jobs and now we find ourselves in a good position. (Else, continue for a PhD if that is what is your calling.)

The thing that strikes me the most in that process is its ease and convenience. It is almost like there is a perfect flow chart laid out in front of those who study Engineering in India. Follow that flow chart where the primary variables are your effort, intelligence, desire and interest, and you are very likely to come out of the process successful. (Successful may mean more money to you. To your parents, it may mean that it is now easier to find you a suitable bride. If you are a Gult, it means your ‘value’ increases. The last two are for men, obviously. But I digress.)

My point is that in India, as long as you are not dumb, you have a good level of interest and are ready to put in the required effort, you are very likely to get to the position I am talking about  – if you are an Engineering student. I am saying that being an engineering student facilitates and/or expedites our journey through the above process. That there are extra advantages to studying Engineering that will help one come out to be financially successful. And I am also saying that not many other disciplines can claim the same.

Maybe it is because of a lack of people I know who have taken up other disciplines that I am unable to arrive at a different conclusion. But simply put, it is a whole lot more difficult for people in disciplines other than engineering to be financially successful to the same degree as their engineering counterparts.

And I do not say that with pride or happiness.

For I myself was a victim of getting brain washed into joining Engineering when my heart lay in pure science. That I eventually found a topic which got me interested and excited equally is what I consider extremely fortunate. But for those who chose to pursue their true interests (when it wasn’t engineering that is), I find it extremely disappointing that they have to tread a much harder AND longer path to be financially successful to the same degree as their engineering counterparts.

At this point, let me make it clear that I am not going to discuss about ‘true satisfaction’ in ‘doing what you really like’ and where your ‘heart lies’ etc. True, people choosing to pursue their interests in different disciplines will probably be more happy studying it. But here, I am only comparing  tangible parameters, and specifically financial success. ‘True satisfaction’ and such are subjective ideas and they warrant a different treatment.

People from other disciplines have to study longer, work longer and make decisions filled with a lot more uncertainty before they reach the same level of financial stability and success as we engineering folks do. (And by that time they are likely to be married so it will not count anyway!) I personally find this very discouraging and destructive.

In a society where we require specialists in all fields, this kind of a glaring contrast in the different options available for students to choose their area of specialization is definitely counter-productive. But fact still remains that engineering is indeed the easiest way to get to where you want to go. And though most of the other disciplines do offer ways to get there, you have to almost always tread a harder, longer and more uncertain path.

Make no mistake. I am by no means trying to suggest that Engineering is THE SHIT and that everyone needs to take up Engineering to be successful financially (as if thats not already happening). In fact, I secretly pray everyday (I don’t know to whom though) that people (mainly parents) come to their senses and encourage young students to study their discipline of interest. But the wide gap that presents itself saying Engineering-is-the-easier-way-than-what-you-want-to-study does not help matters. Of course, the way to narrow the gap is not to make the engineering path less easy or convenient, but to make the paths of all other disciplines free of hurdles and unnecessary social stigma.

Which eventually brings me to the title of this post. The Stereotypical Dream. It is a dream every guy has and cannot really deny. Financial freedom and being in a place where there are a lot of things to do and places to see. It is also a dream that every parent has of their children too. And engineering seems to be the only quick, easy and assured way to realize it. Sad but true.

PS: This post is not my attempt at a  “In your face Manu Joseph” response. Yes. I read that article and found it amusing to say the least. It is not even worth linking to.

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Alcohol, America, Arbit, Blacksburg, My sense of Humour, NITK, Nonsense, The things that happen only to ME..., Virginia Tech, WTF?

Updates

Warning: Long, Self Indulgent post ahead.

I am trying to remember how it is to write a blog post. Looks like I am already doing it now. So lets get down to the part where I actually make the effort to write something more readable than these lame introductory lines.

The idea of  this post was me to write something about a lot of things that have been happening around me and TO me since the last time I wrote about a lot of things that happened around me and TO me. Oh and that by the way, was way back in July last year when I decided to shift continents to do my Masters. And I believe the idea was to write a post before I completed my Masters and shifted continents once more to go back where I came from. So here I am, fulfilling my own expectations, way ahead of time!

1. Just to clear things up before I say anything, I am still in Blacksburg, Virginia-also known as “middle of nowhere” or “place where there is nothing to do”- with the only claim to fame of this place being that it is where Virginia Tech is located. Perhaps, at this point, if you are still not able to make the connection (i.e if your IQ<75 or if you are Timmy), I am doing my Masters at VTech (Go Hokies! I guess…). While my last post about my stay here would have indicated that there could not have been anything better I could have chosen, I have also come to realize that where it really matters, I have nothing to show. In every other aspect, I could not have asked for anything more. Having said that, I have also come to realize that things have their own way of setting themselves right and so am ready to play out the remainder of my stay here.

2. Now looking at the brighter side of things, lets just start off by saying that I was able to experience one of my to do things, somewhere pretty much on top of my bucket list. And I am talking about ME WATCHING METALLICA LIVE! All those times I listened to them back in India and felt so damn helpless that I could never get to see them live, I guess this is definitely one of those dream come true things. October 17th at  John Paul Jones (not the Led Zep dude) Arena Charlottesville is where I saw Metallica play Sad but True, Fuel, One, Master of Puppets, Creeping death and a lot more. So next time somebody talks about how they wish to see Metallica Live, I can show them this video and tell them  I was there when Metallica made their trademark entrance with Ecstasy of Gold (Remember Ennio Morricone and Good, Bad and Ugly?)

I WAS FUCKIN’ THERE when Metallica played FADE TO BLACK!

And I was there when they played Enter Sandman

And I was friggin’ there when Metallica played ONE.

I can go on and on posting videos of every single song that I saw Metallica perform live. But I guess you get the point. But I still remember that time when they were playing Nothing Else Matters and I began to think of all those times when I was fantasizing what I would do if I saw Metallica perform Nothing Else Matters live. I had thought I would sing along, probably play an air guitar. But in the end, all I could do was just sit back and just LIVE a lifetime through that song! Those 2 hours made the rest of my bovine existence get some meaning.

3. Sticking with concerts, I saw Eric Clapton & Roger Daltrey live last month at Raleigh, NC. Raleigh, NC, also being the same place where North Carolina State University is located where one of my fellow Alcoholics (and a stand in 🙂 for Team Rectilinear Redemption ) from NITK is doing his Masters along with a Mal who is still trying to learn the Mal language. Or to put it in simpler words, I met up with Masai and Hiran, who were staying along with Sounder. I met them after almost 2 years and needless to say, alcohol consumption was pretty much high on the agenda. (Come to think of it, that was the only thing on the agenda) Meeting them after that long and seeing that they have hardly changed was perhaps what made the whole experience even better. Masai, for one, still continued to be the opportunistic, manipulative, cogent speaking guy that he has always been. Hiran, on the other hand, still reveled in the wholesome process of Masai-belting. Sounder poor guy had a bout of sore throat, thus rendering his voice non existent. Getting drunk with an alcohol buddy and belting him just for who he is after almost 2 years is I have to say, quite priceless stuff. But perhaps, one thing I will take away from the trip is when we went to an Irish bar where Masai and I ordered Guinness beer to the waitress who asked “Is that all?” and to which Masai coolly and purposefully replied, “Thats all. Thank You SWEETIE!” Good Ole Masai! Hope he stays this way for the rest of his life! Either way, this was way better than that time when he was drunk and said “I wanna h**p the whores” at 2 AM in a temple on top of a mountain!” Here is a pic of me, Masai and Hiran at that very Irish bar.

Hiran, Me and Masai- after almost 2 years.

And as far as the concert itself is concerned, it was quite an eventful affair. This included missing out on more than one exit on the way to the arena (thanks to an awesome GPS), consequently getting stuck in traffic for more than 2 hours while I was setting new records for holding some salty stuff in my bladder for an extended period of time. This eventually made my friend and I miss out on a few Roger Daltrey songs but we were both in time for Baba O’ Reily though!

But of course, the reason I went there was to see Eric Clapton set his guitar on fire and to hear him sign Layla. Which he did of course, along with a host of other songs. But I really got my money’s worth ten times over when he sang OLD LOVE- that one song which I used to listen to day in and day out in my hostel. With an extended lead and mesmerizing vocals, I really could not have asked for anything better. That sweet sound of the Fender was a treat in itself. This is by far the best Old Love version I have ever heard. Here is the video-not that great quality but you can still hear the song clearly.

I have to admit. His vocals, even at this age, are as good and mesmerizing as ever. Just listening to him sing Wonderful Tonight is a treat in itself.

He played the acoustic version of Layla in which he distinctly messed up the lead once. But I was really looking forward to him playing Badge from his Cream days. That song has a killer bassline but then Clapton made it more riff oriented-which sounded good anyway.

Again, one of those few nights that make the rest of your life feel meaningful.

4. Still sticking to concerts, I have to say fortune seems to be favoring me a lot of late, especially with the convenience at which things seem to be happening. I got to see Prasanna Live. Right here at VTech, free of cost and at about 10 feet distance. Whats more? I got to meet him backstage after the concert! Amazing chap. Extremely humble and nice. Got to learn that I would be missing out on Victor Wooten’s workshop back in Bangalore. Damn! But either way, amazing experience for more than one reason I would later learn.

And just so I complete my concert experiences here, I will be going to see Porcupine Tree Live this month end.

5. My Trip to Florida: West Palm Beach, Florida. 5 days of unlimited fun including unlimited alcohol, and unlimited inspiration. Meeting all my idols, going for a swim in the Atlantic ocean under inebriated conditions at 12 AM, enjoying the 40 deg C increase in weather, generally getting drunk, awesome 12 hour road trips and trying out some awesome exotic food- all in one place and in a span of 5 days is I have to say pretty damn awesome.

6. My experiences with Snow: Here is how I reacted to Blacksburg being covered with snow:

Day it snowed: This is friggin awesome! Mindblowing stuff this snow is! I LOVE SNOW!

1 Day after snow: Yeah! There is snow everywhere!

2 Days after snow:  Hey look! There is still snow everywhere.

3 Days after snow: Oh it is still covered in snow.

4 Days after snow: No bus service on weekend. Stuck at home. Damn this snow!

5 Days after snow: Weekend plans messed up. WTF is this snow doing here?

6 Days after snow: Total disaster. Cant walk out of the house without 5 layers of clothing and shoes.

7 Days after snow: My Facebook status: “In the next few days, if anyone spots a snowman who is significantly deformed, beaten up, or simply violated, then you know where all I have been.” and “RIght now I am so damn pissed at the snow that is going to ruin my weekend plans, that I think I will build a huge snow man and molest it every single day for the entire next week. And you can be sure there will not be any protection in sight!”

And then snow was the reason why I ended up  having a nice time one Sunday, which, I would realize later, meant a lot more.

7. My Awesome Culinary Exploits: It took me all of one week in America to realize that I DO NOT like American food. Apart from the mandatory presence of beef and other meat in practically every dish, I still do not prefer bland, mix-a-lot-of-stuff-together-and-you-have-a-meal type of food. (I liked the Cookies and the Pumpkin Pie though 🙂 ) And I am sick of having to eat the same Veggie Patty sandwich at Subway.  As a direct consequence of this, my culinary skills have gone from edible to tastes-like-something to tastes good to simply-mind-blowing! Most of the stuff are South Indian dishes including Masala Dosa, Onion Uthappam, Gojju Avalakki, Nucchinunde, Coconut Burfi a.k.a Kobri Mithai, etc. All this has made my parents and well wishers warn me that this might work against me as my eventual would be wife would make me do all the cooking thus ‘escaping her duties!’ You can find most of the awesome stuff that I have prepared here.

8. The last 7 days have perhaps been the most eventful days I have had in a long long time. They were painful, stressful, filled with helplessness, frustration and at the same time also blissful, memorable, filled with clear skies, pancakes and one nice meteor. It is almost like I have been living life for the past 7 days filled with extremities at both ends. Technically I guess this would perfectly qualify for a week wherein MY LIFE WAS AVERAGE! But when in reality, it was anything but average. In more than one way, I will look back to this week and say “Those 7 days were when I learnt that I have the capacity to reason my way through the tough times and the memorable times.”

In regard to this, I guess it will be relevant now to tell Kitta : “I am no longer able to continue on our rounds of Mathematical Induction every birthday. My ‘n’ stops at 24. I am sure you know what I mean. Keep the comments discreet though!”

So there you have it! My past 6 months in less than 2000 words and a few videos. Now I have to go do something more worthwhile such as publicizing this post in all social media circles.

Arbit, My sense of Humour, NITK, Nonsense, Satire

Voodoo Child (Slight Distort)- Reproduced from the NINENDRIX Blog

This post is reproduced as it is from one of the now redundant  blogs and it is somewhat going to remind certain people from NITK about something that happened during HOLI. Those concerned need not oppose the publishing of this post here as it is already in public domain. And BTW, the author of this awesome post is the great SHIVERBAY (and it should be noted that he is NOT the subject of the song). So here goes:

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) lyrics
Well, I wake up drenched in a fountain
I was high on bhaang and pee in my pants.
Well, I wake up drenched in a fountain
High on bhaang and pee in my pants.
Well, I look at all these yellow puddles drenching the bed
Might even make my face turn red
‘Cause I’m a little high
Lord knows I’m a little high.

I didn’t mean to release on his sweet bed
I’ll give it right back to him one of these days.
I said, I didn’t mean to release on his sweet bed
I’ll give it right back to him one of these days.

And if I don’t meet you no more in this bhang fest
Then I’ll, I’ll meet you in the next one
And don’t be late, don’t be late
‘Cause I’m a little high
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child

-SK

That, my friends, is by far the best piece of distortion I have come across.

Alcohol, Arbit, Bangalore, Civil Engineering, My sense of Humour, NITK, Nonsense, Serious Writing, The things that happen only to ME..., Wonderla

Updating my Existence

It has been a very eventful few weeks I have to say. Maybe not so much on my blog as off it. And now I am finally all settled and ready to venture into some unknown territory (read continent). So in order not to disappoint my (continuously and inevitably) diminishing reader count, I have embarked upon this new post just to shed some light on all the various exciting stuff (and I am not talking about Michael Jackson) that I might at some point of time use as an excuse for my diminishing posting frequency. So in no particular order, here goes:

  1. After months together of internal and external debate and tearing myself apart and some subsequent coin tossing, I finally decided to shift continents-from Europe to North America. More specifically, from Imperial College London to Virginia Tech. There were a lot of pros and cons for each of them. VT was simply better in all aspects including finance, research exposure etc. But Imperial College had Stamford Bridge next door! (God Damn it!) But then, after talking for hours over the phone with Royan, who repeatedly drilled into me (and I have to say, in a biased manner) that USA is a better place etc etc, and then with some first hand info from a VT student, I finally made the call and I am now fully happy that I made the right one. But I guess, in the end, it all really boiled down to Royan’s tireless efforts to make me apply to VT in the first place. And for that (and of course the alcohol inspiration), I think he has more than made up for all the stabs in the hostel! 😉
  2. Of course, the decision making was only the beginning of what was to be an extra-ordinarily painful ordeal of applying for a bank loan and getting all the visa documents readied. And after months together of effort, I finally got my visa a few days back and now I know for sure where I am going. And a word of suggestion about bank loans-and this stems solely from my own experience: I strongly recommend CANARA BANK for all your education loans. I have been extremely impressed by the speed and manner in which all my formalities were handled and am also indebted to all the people involved who made it possible for me to get my Loan approved before my Visa interview.
  3. Also worth mentioning, just a few weeks back, I almost got rammed into from behind by a speeding Indica late in the night. All thanks to a speed breaker built at a particularly inappropriate zone (and the subsequent marking of that zone as “dangerous”), I could have as well not lived to write this. Watching an Indica do a complete 180 topple some 3 feet behind you when you are in a lame 2 wheeler is not exactly exciting. More so when you realize that the driver did what he did just to avoid ramming into me! But miraculously, the driver escaped without as much as a scratch! And I ‘escaped’ from the accident scene soon after- for reasons Logik didn’t bother to reveal as well. Oh and BTW, it took me some 5 days to get out of my house with the same lame  wheeler again.
  4. And so having found insane amounts of time at my disposal in recent months (apart from the harrowing visa process), I hit upon this idea of doing something more constructive and substantial. I realized that I could not really get into any job as such. So I turned my attention to my writing. Having been really impressed and inspired by some of the books and blogs that I have been reading lately, I started a new blog dedicated solely to the adventures and escapades of certain characters that I developed. The blog is here. It mainly consists (or will consist) of a series of short stories about the life of a 22 year old guy who finds himself in the middle of a lot of unusual situations. The stories are almost completely original, with only a very few instances based upon something that I have seen or experienced. Realizing the inevitability of basing a character on oneself, I have made a conscious effort not to base the main character Samir on myself. I have started this new blog with quite a bit of seriousness and hope to atleast write one post every week from now on. As of now, I have only written one post and it is about Samir losing his virginity. I wish I could say this one was based on my own experiences, but alas no. So please do follow the blog (you will find the link at the adjacent column always) and I hope to keep my end of the deal of updating it regularly as well.
  5. In celebration of my Visa arrival, there was a sizeable party at my house with an even more sizeable presence of alcohol. So much so, I still have leftovers. The party may be remembered for such things like me preparing the World’s worst cocktail (and my subsequent failure at that) consisting of Shark Tooth Vodka, Grappo Fizz, Godrej Xs KIWI juice, Coke and some Blue Riband Gin as well. Also of note, is how my cousin will always forever rue that night to be the one time his younger sister beat him to a certain feat, a fact that will hitherto remain secret from their mother.
  6. After what seemed like a virtual impossibility, I finally went to Wonderla with a couple of friends, one of whom is better known here in this blog for her involvement in a certain handbag hunting expedition. The trip, though initially threatening to make me feel worse, eventually exceeded my expectations and has definitely become something that I will remember for a long time.
  7. I am presently in the midst of a shopping and meeting people spree, largely due to the 17 days that I have left in this country. I will maybe have a  few more drinking sessions before I leave and am presently in the process of learning the nuances of cooking at home. Any of you people ready to play guinea pig please feel free to drop by.

So there it is. Some of the things that define ‘exciting’ for me. I will be leaving to Virginia on August 2 with a Junior of mine from college and hope to be able to blog after going there as well. But till then, I hope to write as much as possible. In fact, I hope to write at least one post a day till I leave. Ok…Now I know what you are thinking and I fully agree- HOPE IS A GOOD THING….

Arbit, My sense of Humour, NITK, Nonsense, The things that happen only to ME...

The DOLEY Chronicles

Ok. This was inevitable. I just had to do it. This post is dedicated to one of the strangest and most weird character I have ever come across in my life. All fellow NITKians know him and would have surely interacted with him at some point of time or another. I am of course talking about the one and only Rajmohan Doley. I am writing this post without the slightest idea of the state (or absence) of his existence. But nevertheless, his was such a character that it warranted a post exclusively to delve into the depths of it.

I don’t exactly recollect when I saw him first in the hostel. Of what I do recollect, the first impression I got after seeing him was that he was well built and possessed a unique walking style.  And after you had heard him speak for like 10 seconds, you are likely to convince yourself that Timmy has a higher IQ. Throughout the 4 years, I think it would be safe to assume that he was the guy who spent the highest time in the library, but to hardly any effect! He was living in the same floor as I was and quickly became famous as the guy from Arunachal Pradesh (I think) who believed continuous exercising was the only way to improve his body (including the part in his brain). Now when I say exercising, I just don’t mean the gym going types. I am talking about a total exercise and body building freak here. One of my first encounters with this guy took place in the 1st year during the exams.

Without having the slightest idea what was in store for me, I coolly barged into my friend’s room with the sole intention to check on his (lack of) progress in his preparation. But the sight that met me when I opened his door and entered his room was not something I had even imagined possible. Because what I saw, was Doley in the room wearing only his trademark extra-short bermuda (which was so short, I suspect it also served as his underwear), oiling himself over his entire body (think ENTIRE) and then bending over to face the small mirror on the table and watching himself as he flexed his muscles in a true body building fashion. But what scared me more was when he turned to see me and said “Hi Akshay!” in his characteristic deep and piercing accent! And ten seconds later, I was back in my room trying to convince myself that nothing else had happened! Now, looking back, I really pity my friend who was in that room with Doley, trying to study with this dude oiling himself all over his body!

Since then, everytime I happened to pass within 50 feet of him, I was victimized by means of him greeting me “Hi Akshay!” in that same deep and piercing accent filled with god-knows-what intention. Soon that “Hi Akshay!” apparently was not enough for him and so everytime he saw me, he would begin to sing that horrible Akshay Kumar song ” Mein hoon seedhi saadhi Akshay Akshay!” and that got me so f***in scared at times because of the way he sang it! It was as if he was trying to communicate something to me!! And then in the second year, just when I hoped that he would end up in a different hostel, I got to know that he would be instead rooming 2 rooms to the left of mine! And thus it was in the second year, that I had some of the most harrowing experiences that I shall describe here.

Anybody who stayed in the Left wing of 3rd Hostel Block during the 2005-2006 year will definitely recollect the sudden onslaught of Murder songs blaring 24/7 from Room No. 17 and which also had this glaringly low audio quality! It just kept f***in playing on and on and just refused to stop! And none of us were sane enough to actually go and confront the guy playing those songs simply because the guy was Doley. And then my roommate gathered his guts and lack of sense to go and talk to Doley to either stop playing that f***ed up Murder songs, or to atleast reduce the volume. Well, the only thing that my room mate got for visiting his room was a big lecture on why music is good for human health and some other irrelevant gibberish! But he gathered one useful piece of information that explained the pronounced low audio quality of those murder songs. Apparently, he saw the actual “instrument” that was used to play those songs. Here is how he explained it to me:

” Do you know these 5.1 speakers- those which have 5 speakers and 1 woofer? Well, Doley has a 1.0!!!!”

WTF???

I did later confirm it when I just had a peep into his room and saw the single cassette player with just the small in built speaker blaring “Bheege hont tere….”

There was also another dimension to his unique character and that was his blatant (lack of ) hygiene. He continued to wear those same underwear-cum-shorts for all his activities (again, think ALL). Many of the days, there was no water in the bathrooms or toilets apart from the emergency tap (better known as Magic Tap). The usual practice was to get the maximum amount of water in your bucket, go to the toilet, finish your daily chores and get out. And one day again, completely oblivious to what I would be witnessing, I went to the bathrooms, standing in front of the mirror lined up above the long sink and began to brush. There was no water so I had filled my bucket with water enough for my brushing from the magic tap. And then as I was brushing, Doley pops up with his “Hi Akshay!”. I just smile weakly and continue brushing. He is still wearing the same stuff and only that. He takes his mug and fills water with it and goes to the toilet and locks the door. I try not to think of the size of the mug and continued brushing. Some time later, Doley emerges from the toilet and goes straight to the magic tap with his now empty mug and fills it and then goes back!!!!!!! WTF??????WTF????? I got so freaked out that I just ran!

And to now realize that some 40 0f us including me shared the bathrooms with him gets me the shivers!

But the most harrowing experience was yet to come. And if you were in NITK and I knew you well, I would have probably told you about it! But let me recollect it here for the benefit of the less fortunate.

I was sleeping when the power went off. I woke up out of instinct and checked the time on my mobile. It was around 4 in the morning. I looked around and it was pitch dark. Nothing, absolutely nothing was visible. I just lay on my bed, awake thinking of nothing in particular when suddenly the door of the room slams open and a voice reminiscent of a Tantrik, boldly starts chanting “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA! OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!!”

WTF??? I mean seriously WTF???!!!???

I was startled with the complete suddenness of the whole thing! I could faintly see a figure moving around in the room and THAT got me freaked out! I began to get all weird thoughts of whatever was happening then. Was it actually a Tantrik? Or was it some stranger who had lost his mind? I had no f***in clue what the f*** was happening! “Who is it?” I shouted. And then the familiar  voice of Doley responded,”Oh this is not Room 17?? Which room is this?” I told him which room it was and then he said,”Oh sorry sorry ok…” and then started making some noise which I supposed was some kind of expression of humor but which sounded more like some freaky warning signal! And as soon as he left, I just ran and bolted the damn door! I couldnt sleep after that and stayed awake in the dark. And after that, there was not a single day that I slept with my door unlocked!!

I am telling you that incident got me real freaked out for the rest of the second year! I soon developed some kind of phobia towards him that just refused to go away. He shifted to a different hostel block for the 3rd and Final Years and I hardly had an encounter that lasted longer than a “Hi Akshay!” and I was happy about it. But everytime I saw him, I really tried my best to avoid him and go somewhere else if I could.

I really have no idea where he is now or if he is still there! I am pretty much sure he still exists somewhere and that if, god forbid, I am to meet him ever again in my life, I am sure I will still be greeted with another piercing and deep “Hi Akshay!”

Alcohol, Arbit, NITK, The things that happen only to ME...

My Last 24 Hours @ NITK

This post is exactly 1 year late but I guess I deliberately waited for this day (or maybe I was just plain lazy).  Here I will be recollecting whatever I can of the last 24 hours of my life in NITK before I left it for good.  I left NITK on a bus at 9:30PM on April 24th 2008. And so my recollection starts at around 9:30PM on 23 April 2008.Aft

After the last Cricket match (titled the Aneesh Ghoshta and Sadanand Memorial Cricket Match) in the evening and subsequent bathing and dining, me, Sadanand, Logik, Hiran and Suhas decide to have one last TEA at the Nestle Maggi Center which was such an integral part in our first year. After ending up spending 100 bucks for “TEA” with some unexpected company, Hiran hit upon the idea of revisiting all the rooms that we stayed in the previous years. And so we began our “trip down memory lane” from 2nd Block where we first roomed (Room No. 16) to 3rd Block for my 2nd Year (Room No.19) and then to 4th Block for my 3rd Year (Room No.3). We all tried to recollect each and every one of our neighbours in the entire wing and it was also heartening to see my old room(19) still proudly displaying all my writings on the door and wardrobe. It was really a trip down memory lane.

I was done with drinking alcohol the previous night (for a full detailed description, see Post BTech High Series) and was just downloading from DC++ when Gayru and Choukkar turned up out of nowhere-with a bottle of Old Monk Rum in their hands. And so while we chatted for some time, they forced me to gulp down some of the Old Monk rum saying that THIS was the last night that I would be staying and so I had to do it. I did gulp down a bit. I remember playing “Another Harry’s Bar” by Jethro Tull while they were there and appreciating the relevance of its lyrics. Soon after they left, I realized that I couldn’t really waste my last night at NITK by sleeping.

And so I stayed awake the entire night-downloading stuff from DC++ and writing it on my DVDs. I ended up with about 60 DVDs of stuff by the time I was done. Bo and Bloodshot were the main sources of the downloads-both of them having been awake till late in the morning. And at around 5 in the morning, Vig, P and me went to Thadambail to have the early morning hot buns for the last time. It was as blissfully tasty as ever and I also learnt how Riise had scored an own goal in the dying seconds of the Chelsea-Liverpool Semi FInal FIrst leg of the UEFA Champions League that had got over a few hours back. We parted ways at around 6 and I left my computer for the final downloading session and went to sleep.

Got up at around 8 and began packing immediately. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the fact that my computer-one of the biggest aspects of the 4 years- met a rather unceremonious end when I had to shut it down when the power went off. Too bad..coz I had planned on a final playlist that I would be playing before I would pack it. Well, that was not to be. But what was sure was most of my day being spent in packing and sending it through the courier. By late afternoon, I was more or less done with the packing and thought of meeting all the profs once before I left. But unfortunately none were to be found. But I did meet someone special on my way back to the hostel after just missing out on saying Goodbye to Gokul.

I did meet some interesting people for the last time. The 1st and 2nd Block cleaner-the guy who goes by the name of Darwin- was the recipient of a cool 50 bucks from my side for having been of immense help many a time during all the 4 years. I wanted to meet the mess workers of Mysore Mess 1 and say goodbye to them, but unfortunately I was really running short of time. So much so, I refused an invitation to accompany Sad and Hiran to the beach. Went around hunting for people to sign the yearbook but was disappointed by learning that many of my classmates had already left.  So I came back to my room and wound up my packing.

Then I just sat there in my room, taking a long last look at my room. There wasnt much to really look at. But it was still everything that I had. I put on my shoes and tossed my backpack around. Kept all my bags outside slowly and took the lock in my hands. Went out of the room and stood facing it. Hesitated for a moment and then I just shut the door and locked it for the last time. And that was it- Room 11, 8th Block, NITK. I went down the corridor and took one last look back and then went on to Pai’s room where I stayed for some more time. Pai offered me a ride to Reddy’s where my bus would come. But I declined it for I didn’t want to miss the last campus walk. Royan accompanied me to the bus stop where a sizeable crowd had already gathered to say goodbye. I for one, went around saying bye to people and enquiring what they were planning to do next. Then finally as my bus came, I realized that practically everyone I would have wanted to see then were around me. Royan, Shodi, P, Pai were all there. Sad and Hiran finally did turn up after their long visit to the beach.Even Logik turned up just before the bus left. I never could really part with Royan-what with me owing him so much for introducing me to alcohol- and so just told him that we dont part and that we would meet again. (I still haven’t met him after that). And so as I waited in the bus for it to leave, I began to think if I was going to actually get so sentimental that I would begin to cry. It didn’t take me long to answer that question. As the bus started and sped past the college campus, I just simply broke down. And the only thing I could think of was to open my bag and wear my NITK ring……

PS: I am writing this post sitting in the same hostel that I spent my final year in. Had come to meet all my teachers and having acheived that, spent my time well here with some alcohol and quite a bit of stuff as well. All thanks to my juniors who were still in the hostel when everyone else had vacated for the holidays.

Alcohol, Arbit, Civil Engineering, My sense of Humour, NITK, Old Monk Rum, The things that happen only to ME...

Chronicles of an NITK Convocation

This post is very easily over 2 months late in appearing, but nevertheless I was finally able to finish and post it.

It was simply put, the 3 best days I have had in a long long time. Exceeding all my expectations and fantasies, I returned from my convo with a big smile on my face. Here I recollect all my memories from those 3 days.

After much delay and speculation, my convo date was finally fixed on Jan 31 2009. The day I was supposed to be bestowed upon with a Bachelor of Technology degree for my 4 years of improvised laziness and unproductivity. But my plans  included a lot more than just that. Considering the fact that I had been practically sober for over 5 months, my priorities took shape around appropriate issues. I also had a list of things to do in college which I held close to me during my stay there. So, in decreasing order of priority and importance, here is the list of what all I intended to accomplish:

  1. Get drunk.
  2. Get drunk and then get sloshed.
  3. Go for a midnight inebriated walk around the campus.
  4. Then get drunk again.
  5. Meet all my teachers.
  6. Eat the early morning hot Buns at Thadambail.
  7. Meet all other relevant people.
  8. Eat at 3rd Block Night Canteen.
  9. Visit the beach and eat the egg omlette at the nearby shack.
  10. Download as much as possible from DC++.
  11. And not to forget, I was also supposed to collect my degree!

So with these objectives in mind, I set out to my college in a train accompanied by dozens of fellow to-be-graduates. After getting duly blasted by the TC for being over zealous in disturbing co-passengers who were not to-be-graduates, I went to sleep. At around 9:30 AM, I found Sadanand and myself camping in the same junior’s room and I couldn’t help being reminded that we were room mates once again. The junior looked exactly like how anyone would look half an hour prior to committing suicide. But then, that aside, there were a lot of changes worth noticing in and around the campus. The Highway was in impeccable condition, the new hostel blocks were towering at 7 storeys and a few new buildings were already up and running. But alas! One thing had apparently remained the same, as if in defiance to all the changes happening around-there was still no god damn water in the hostel blocks!

And so, at around 11, I finally met my classmates and went to speak to my teachers. It felt really nice to go back to where it all began for me. Met both my Geotech teachers because of whom I have whatever identity I got right now and informed them of my first admit. Needless to say, they were pretty happy as well. Had lunch at the newly opened “Suraj International” thinking there would be alcohol as well, but alas, they didn’t serve drinks. And soon after, I found myself in Mangalore watching Luck By Chance at Bharath Mall and I have to say, the movie was good.  But the best part of the day was yet to come.

Tul was conducting a quiz (unfortunately under sober conditions) and though I didn’t take part in it, it was anyway an informal affair with a lot of nice questions. Practically the entire quizzing gang had turned up for the quiz and stuck together to get drunk at the one and only Garuda Bar as well. Choukkar, the alcoholic had apparently been sloshed the entire day but didn’t mind  remaining that way for much longer. And as far as I was concerned, I was getting drunk with fellow alcoholics after more than 7 months-and thats all I cared about. And I was duly joined by my room mate alcoholic Sadanand who had, in the meantime, gone to Mangalore on a mission of utmost importance and almost succeeded completely! In spite of his failure, he had still gone one up on my To-do list! And so as he joined the drinking party already drunk,  it became very evident that he was enjoying it! And to add to the shady atmosphere, some old melodious Kannada songs started blaring in the Bar speakers and sounded real awesome! After most of the gang had left, we decided to call it quits at around 12:30 in the night with Gayru who had come all the way from IIM Kolkata and it was nice catching up and belting our very own Karadi. Finally, we ended up in one of our Junior-Harish’s-room nice and high, with plans of watching a movie. Those plans drastically changed 2 minutes into the movie when Sadanand just crashed and went off to sleep. So soon, even I left to my camping room- the dude with the suicide on his face-and went off to sleep.

I woke up early next day, slightly disoriented, wondering for a few seconds where I was and what had happened the previous night. Then when it all came back to me, I got ready and realized I had to get myself registered for the convo. So I went with Sadanand and got registered at the SJA and also convinced him to have the famed Idly-Vada-Sambar breakfast with me at our very own Mysore Mess-I. He was of the opinion that the mess worker would chase us once he found out that we were not students anymore. But nothing like that happened.  A new mess worker gave us the eye but let us eat all the idlis we wanted. And they were still awesome! Free Breakfast!

And as for the convocation itself, all of us were present at the SJA half an hour before time and that was sufficient time to catch up with all of the 18 classmates who had turned up. A dress code of white formal shirts with ties and black trousers and black shoes was flouted by many including me. In due time, the entire senate entered the auditorium to an entrancing music. All the members of the senate were clothed in a strange attire fitting their designations and the whole thing looked more like we were getting inducted into some major cult rather than getting our degrees! And so after all the formalities got underway, the speeches started. And after the speeches ended, the degree giving began. First to all the MTechs and MCAs and then to the BTechs. My parents had come and were watching from the first floor. And I have to say this: The moment I collected my degree which made me a Graduate of Civil Engineering from NITK Surathkal, I felt absolved of all my guilt and regret of not having made it into an IIT and was more than just happy to have spent 4 of my most memorable years here in NITK.

By the time I went back to my room, it was 530 in the evening and Sadanand left to Mangalore with a more noble objective. And I found myself in the company of Logik, Con and a certain female entity who had suddenly lost significant weight-headed for the beach. On the way, I was able to tick off one more on my To-Do list when I ate the Egg Omlette at the Egg Shack near the Lighthouse. Then, after some confusion, I found myself on the beach, sitting on the rocks, talking and catching up on old times for a very long time. It was almost 9 in the night when we decided to go back to the campus. Somehow, I wish I could have stayed there on those rocks feeling the breeze and hearing the waves splash, for a much longer time.

On my way back, I met my HoD and he was really happy to see me. Having been extremely co-operative and helpful during my course, I was really happy to see him as well. After a brief chat with him, I parked myself in front of my Dept for some more chatting session. Shortly, my junior and drink buddy for the night,Harish,  turned up from Mangalore and we both went to do what we were meant to do-get totally drunk. Adrian joined us for our drinking session, as promised. I opened my Black Dog Scotch which I had been saving for over 6 months just for this moment and raised a toast to my Convo. Half an hour later, the bottle is empty and so I open the Tetrapack of DSP that I had bought in the last week of my stay in the hostel. I had saved this too for this date. And after that also got over, Adrian hit upon this very useful idea and next thing I know, I have about 180ml of William Grant’s exquisite Scotch with me in my bottle. With that, we escape out of the hostel and all the way to my Dept, where we camp to finish the extra quarter Scotch. Time passes by and none of us 3 are in touch with it. After the Scotch gets over, I pay my tribute to my Dept by leaving behind all traces of alcohol consumption at the steps leading in front of the Dept Building. All 3 of us, totally drunk by now, head to SAC and talk more nonsense. Logik joined us shortly thereafter. After some more idle chat, I call up Royan (the main reason I am an alcoholic) and talk to him for about half an hour during which time he tells me something he did that suddenly spiked my respect for him. (Hail Royan! Thou art in a diferent continent and at a different level altogether! I Bow to thee!!) And soon after, my conversation with Royan ended, largely due to the zero balance that Adrian’s phone began to claim. However, the night was still young, and I was still pretty high. Harish had crashed on the stage where some Shamiana had been put up. I fulfilled another of my long standing goals by performing “Aqualung” in SAC to a non-Zero crowd with my air guitar! I then joined Adrian in singing “Turn the Page” to the same crowd.

Me and Adrian : ” …Smoke the day’s last cigarette..remembering what she said…what she said”

Adrian (immediately): Here I am!! On the road again!!

Me: Hey wait man! I need to play the lead still! (I walk into the front and play the lead!)

After the song is over and I have played the outro as well, Adrian finds Harish sleeping on the stage and upsets the support used to tie the Shamiana in place and lo and behold! This dude, suddenly springs to life and jumps out of the stage in a flash expecting the entire thing to come down on him-which incidentally didn’t happen. Nevertheless, we found ourselves at 3rd Block Night Canteen treated as the last customers for the night and I end up having some Vada Pav.Now i wish I had also had the Lassi.

I dont recollect what time it was exactly, but it was pretty late in the night-almost early morning. We head to the rooms to get some cash to eat the early morning hot buns at Thadambail and when I went back to the room, I was in for a treat! Though not officially on my To-Do list for the convo, it was always there at the back of my mind. And to do the stuff in that state of mind, at that time with fellow like-minded people (some of whom had passed out during their marathon 6 hour long session) and with copious amounts of Mint flavored Hukka, it was a lot more than I could ask for! All thanks to the DASA guys, my Convo experience was complete and perfect!

I was then officially and properly stoned and went in that state to Thadambail to have the hot buns. Every piece of the Bun-Sambhar combo was like an experience of  a sudden spike in the bliss factor. And with my senses in an extra alert state, I savored each and every moment of it! By the time I came back, daylight was just cracking open in the sky. I bid good night(morning) to fellow drunkards and went to sleep. Now THAT is what I would call A LONG AND MEMORABLE NIGHT!

Having checked off practically everything on my TO-Do list for the convo by then,  I realized I was relatively free when I woke up and so spent the rest of the day in peace. Just went to Mangalore for a short trip to meet a friend and that apart, I spent most of my time in the room filling up my newly bought hard disk with everything I could possibly lay my hands on in DC++. In the end, I found I could only fill around 160GB and not more, largely due to a blatant lack of time.

I finally pack and leave at around 6 and meet some juniors on the way. Although I would have wished to have spent more time with one of them, I still had a smile on my face when I finally boarded the bus and headed to the railway station.

And so there was my NITK Convocation. Couldn’t have been any better or perfect for me. Will remain as one of the most memorable times I have had in a long time!