Friday, February 29, 2008

Had an affair once you know

(This again from my old blog. Happens to be my favourite piece among all those that I have written)

Ever since V-day, there has been much talk and speculation among my batchmates as to whether I have a girlfriend or not. So much so has been the debate, that I felt I should tell them all about an affair I once had (something for them to cheer about :D). And what better place to disclose the truth than this blog of mine... Well here goes...

Just a word of caution though - if you begin reading this post from the next line onwards, better read it till the end to avoid misunderstanding later :P. Whatever has been mentioned here is true to the best of my knowledge and belief :D

It was way back in my first year at IIT. Was a noob out here back then, confused (still am to some extent) and awestruck by this wonderful place. Never had the pleasure of having someone special in my life till then. It was sometime back then, on some cursed day that year, that I came to know of this wonderful creation of the Creator. The whole bunch of first yearites were praising her amazing looks and divine features. I must mention here that I wasn't the type of kid who cared about all this; but I thought 'What the heck! Let me check her out at least.... sure that won't hurt'. And that happened to be a huge mistake. I was spellbound by her beauty, her charm... Could never take my eyes off her. Spent many sleepless nights thinking about her, imagining what wonderful things we could do...

And so I took the chance. I approached her as a good seedha-saadha boy, and let out my feelings. Fortunately or unfortunately, she was amused and gave me the green signal. So foolish I was back then, that I was thrilled and glad to have this special someone in my life. We spent many wonderful days in each other's company. It was such a joy being with her; I gave up other good things in my life just to be with her always. We secretly used to meet at the Computer Center at IIT (CC as it was popularly known, still stands as a monument symbolising this love story I once had), sometimes late at night, on pretext of a C++ course project we had back then. (Left all the coding for the project to my groupmates, all for the rendezvous with my love). Even she didn't mind this and always would be there waiting for me. I now feel that I should have worked more on that project back then; at least would be somewhat conversant with C++ now if I had done that. But no use crying over spilt milk - I chose to be with her and that was it.

Our's wasn't a visit-smile-talk-leave relationship; was much more intimate than that. Everytime I entered her, I would find a whole new universe waiting for me inside her - to explore and appreciate. I was so blinded by her beauty that I never realised how she was using me to grow her network of acquaintances. When I was quite seriously involved in this relationship did I come to know of her other side. She was a hooker - trapping poor kids like me in her web of lust and using us all to get to know more people. The bitch was aware that we knew; but still continued with such activities. I was shattered - to see someone I so loved destroying so many lives. I immediately broke up with her, and warned all the others I knew about to do so too. But lo! many of them were so misled by her charming features - they never came out of it. Some poor souls I know still are involved with her, and are wasting their lives so.

So this was it - a failed relationship with a bitch who still hasn't improved. Now-a-days her activities have gathered much momentum, and I hear that many people are ever being attracted to her. Oh what a waste of life! would have been so good for me had she never entered my life at all... I have not lied a bit about the relation we once had. The truth is laid bare before you. You may choose to judge me on the basis of all this if you choose to; I can't stop you from doing that. But before I sign off, let me tell you her name; so that at least you may keep away from her. This bitch happens to be someone you all might know as


(This from my old blog)

What we have been told is a motivating gesture may be flak after all. A well put up disguise to mislead us poor souls into believing something unintuitive to be something implying a greater deeper meaning, that never seems to surface up and after trying a few times, you sort of accept the crowd's take on the issue. Here are some insights that may raise a few eyebrows:

1. Birds always prefer flying in a group. Its a fact that the draft of one bird's movement aids that of the other. But is that really so? To me, this is a perfect example of the fact that even in nature, teamwork leads to collective laziness.

2. Consistency is a virtue say wise men. Well, it only is so if you aren't a complete loser and to top it, amazingly consistent too.

3. We are always told to 'spread out our wings and dream of flying to reach greater heights'. True; coz if you try landing, that can only be in the real world.

4. Early bird gets the worm. Don't let the worms know about this.

5. We are told there always is room at the top. But it isn't a great feeling looking down from that lonely place. What's more fun is to look down upon others standing down here.

6. All know it takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. But no one tells you keeping that dumb look going needs nothing at all.

7. A small raindrop is instrumental in making up the ocean. But come floods and no drop wants to share the blame.

8. None of us is as dumb as all of us.

9. Every dark cloud has a silver lightning. Try to hunt that lightning and it strikes you dead.

10. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And it rocks as well too.

11. It hurts to admit your mistakes. When they are big, the pain usually is short lived.

12. We are told to try and try till we succeed. No one tells us that we should stop at a certain stage to avoid looking dumber.

13. Never interrupt someone working. It pays to stand away from a competitive jerk and his goals.

14. Team comes first. But there comes a stage where each member should make individual sacrifices.

15. We are told hardwork never killed anyone. Well, its just prolonging the inevitable.

16. If you feel you are lonely, then you are not alone. There are plenty of people just like you. But still, you are alone.

17. Hardwork pays in the future, laziness does in the present.

18. The road to perfection never ends. It's more like a death march.

Go ahead and share your views (only if they agree with mine that is).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Confusion galore

It's that time in my life when I reminisce about my life here at IIT, and keep boring my friends by always telling them how much I am going to miss them and this place. When each treat ends with me becoming senti and saying that no matter where I go or what I manage to achieve in life, now is the best time in my life ever. What's sad though, is that I feel I don't have many 'interesting' incidents and experiences to take away from here. Of course my life here has been quite interesting, but not the type with the apostrophes. However, there is one thing that not many know about.

It was the day I got my job here on campus - 3rd December. I had taken my friend out to PopTates for a Daaru treat (those were the days before I turned teetotaler). He insisted that I would be exhausted being interviewed the whole day, and we could perhaps do this some other time. However, I wanted him to be a part of my euphoria - a part of the day that I wished then would never end. And so we went to PopTates (after happy hours at my insistence, logic being that since I now have a job, I don't need to care about saving bucks on every damn thing - of course that phase is now behind me).

After a pitcher each and a couple of 60 ml pegs of rum and a tequilla shot (the customary signing off ritual), it was time for me to take a leak :) I claim(ed) I never (used to) get drunk, no matter how much I drink, but that day was another story. It is a wonder I even remember what I am about to tell you all here. The joy of getting my dream job and all the events that day had already lightened me up, and the alcohol only added to the ecstasy, leading me on to a state of pigheadedness hitherto unknown to me. Before telling you what happened next though, let me tell you what really bugs me about restrooms these days. I am really pissed off by the signs put up to indicate the restrooms. Not like the good old days when you had the old fashioned fool proof Gents and Ladies written outside (sometimes illuminated as well). Those guys should understand that when you are as drunk as I was, it becomes rather a tedious task on the part of our brains to make out the difference between the two drawings that we see on the doors these days. Why can't you have plain text signs indicating Gents and ladies as we earlier used to? Why all the fancy artforms? Anyway, coming back to my tale, I went into what I thought was the men's room.

Now that's odd, I thought. I do know that PopTates fancies itself in being an oddity, but this is insane - why do I see only stalls here? I wondered. Where are the urinals? This place almost looks like a girl's room! I was right about PopTates being the hangout zone for gays, I thought. Guys back at hostel need to see this; this just supports my theory. So I took out my cell (I was carrying a fancy one those placement days) and started clicking pics of what I felt was the funny loo. Then the door opened.

And in came this chick - wearing what I felt then and recall now as rags in different colours, with a whole lot of make up dumped on her face. The rags seemed to be the remnants of what would have once been a nice pair of a polo shirt and trousers, the kind I wear a lot. I was sure she wouldn't have come here with another guy, coz no guy in his right senses would want to be seen around with such a joker. She saw me with a cell in my hand taking pics and screamed. I wanted to go ahead and tell her, 'Hello behenji, even though I am sure you are gender confused, the men's room is not where you belong. Secondly, it is I who should be making a din out here seeing such a scary sight, and not you.' But before I could do that, she asked 'You loafer, you pervert - don't you feel ashamed sneaking into the girl's room this way? Security bulaaun kya? Get out!' The girl's room! I am indeed in the girl's room! So PopTates isn't gay; what's more, I have been caught inside a girl's room. And if that's not all, I have been seen taking pics with my cellphone here! (Why does it always have to be me?)

I had to think fast to save my butt here, and also to avoid embarrassment (Don't want such things to come up during my profile reading in our hostel valfi - IITianese for valedictory function). The thing I like about getting drunk is that my mind starts running faster and can come up with the most creative ideas that I cannot even imagine when I am sober. I figured out that this chick was pretty drunk and I could use this fact to my benefit. 'What do you mean get out, idiot? You enter the wrong restroom and then shout at me? The nerve of some people! Now get lost before I call in someone.' Perhaps she wasn't as drunk as I had imagined. She said, 'Wait I'll show you, you pervert,' and immediately started screaming out for help and called out loud for security. What the heck I thought; I don't want to be left behind and started screaming out equally loudly, all the while saying that there is a ghost in the loo.

After about a minute or so of screaming, a strong well built dude in an uniform labeled 'PopTates' turned up with a girl in a suit. They were shocked to see me with my cell phone and that ghost in rags in the same room. 'What is going on out here?' asked the suit. 'Well, you tell me what is going on,' said the ghost, 'What are such perverts allowed to do messing around out here? Is this what you call security?' Then she started screaming abuses, again that I cannot reproduce here, as I have now quit swearing as well :) The argument went on for a few minutes, with me and the dude also chipping in between often. Finally, the suit had enough of her, and said 'Madam I have to ask you to leave now.' 'Oh I should leave now should I? How much does this loafer pay you for all these perverted acts huh? You don't know who I am - I just have to make one phone call and this place will be closed down - shut. Do you get me? Leave my foot!' 'Okay that's it, Raghu please take this lady outside.' 'Don't you dare touch me! You are not allowed to touch me!' 'Oh the hell he is, Raghu baahar le jaao inko'.

After Raghu was done pulling that cartoon, who was not yet done bitching, outside the restroom, I turned to the suit and said, 'Thank you.' 'Please don't mention it sir, I am sorry for all the trouble you have had to face. It shall not be repeated I assure you. Have a good time.' As she was leaving, I asked 'Hey are you not going to do anything about the fact that I wrongly entered the girl's room? I am sorry I was too drunk to notice actually.' She laughed out loud, 'Oh no sir, this isn't the girl's room. What made you think that it was?' 'Well, I don't see the urinals here, so I sort of figured out that this should be it.' She again gave me a smile and said, 'Well, that's because it's under renovation; we had those removed last week and the new ones are not here yet! We have put up a notice outside apologizing for the inconvenience.' 'Oh I never noticed it!' 'Well, it happens. Sometimes our customers are too drunk to notice it. Good thing we use the symbols on the doors though. They never fail us! Imagine the confusion we would have if we stuck to the old Gents and Ladies signs!'


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

10:42 Churchgate Slow

This is one incident I remember from my good old Ruparel days (that is, my junior college days). I don't have many memories from that time - firstly because I wasted most of time in my JEE preparation, which I then considered more important than my social life, and secondly, because I hardly ever attended college, mainly due to the earlier reason. This incident that I am talking about was on one of those rare days when I broke both these rules.

10:42 Churchgate slow. The ever so faithful local that came directly to Borivli from Andheri, literally vacant (it reached Borivli skipping stops at Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad and Kandivli - hence the absence of the return journey travelers. Thing is, a fast train bound for Borivli from Churchgate doesn't halt at these stations. I always preferred taking this train whenever I chose to go to college. As I do now, I hated crowds then too. Nothing more disgusting than traveling in a crowded second class compartment during the early morning office hours I would say. I have always chosen to travel second class. College students do get discounts on first class season tickets for trains here in Mumbai, but I never chose that option. There is something about Mumbai's local trains - mainly the second class compartments, that makes them so very dear to me. The very essence of Mumbai's life can be seen in all its glory here. Nothing more satisfying than traveling during the early morning hours in a second class compartment (albeit not so crowded).

So as I was saying it was this one fateful day, that a slow train for Borivli was converted to the 10:42 Chuchgate slow. Which meant the train was full - packed to the last seat, with hardly any space within for a 'healthy' person like me to sneak into. Besides, skipping this train meant getting late for college - and when you turn up for classes just once a month or so, you don't want to be late. So I was sort of left with limited options. I barged in with the rest of the crowd.

As luck would have it, I got a place to stand exactly where a fan had died a recent death, and was yet to be repaired. Ah, what a perfect day I thought. Could it get any better? Just then a man, roughly in his late thirties, wearing a soiled smelling shirt stepped in and stood beside me. His unkempt hair was smeared with what smelled like kerosene, and due to the fan's death, this guy was standing sweating profusely beside me. Ah, it just got better!

Some 4 minutes after schedule, our train finally decided to proceed with its journey. The gentleman mentioned earlier was enjoying his train ride, happily humming some old hindi song tune and rocking gently with the train's motion, much to my chagrin. After some 3 stops or something it happened. I never saw him coming. Besides, I wasn't expecting him in such a crowded train. It wasn't even the first week of the month, nor the last. What on earth then is he doing here?

'Ticket please', he said, approaching me after checking the tickets of the other passengers. Thing is, I always kept my pass in my compass box, which I used to keep safely beside my water bottle in the innermost compartment of my backpack (Yes, those were the days when I was supercautious, much the opposite of what I am now after 4 years at IIT). Nothing more embarrassing than opening up one's backpack just for taking out a pass - could you look more stupid? Anyway, I had to, now that this ticket checker chap was standing nearby. So I went ahead with my routine - opened my bag, shifted my books, took out the calculator, opened the zip, took out the water bottle, and finally took out my pencil box. The TC was standing there, smirking at how stupid I was acting.

Until now, I was thinking my day couldn't have got any better. But now it just turned perfect. I took out my pass only to see that it had expired a week earlier! Aargh! At least I should've checked it even though I don't use it daily. Wow! A hell of a day, only to be made worse by shelling out a good 300 bucks in fine. I was thinking if there are any other worse ways to spend 300 bucks (btw, I just watched Jodha Akbar the other day in PVR cinemas, and now I am convinced that there is one way at least). How can I avoid this? What should i do?

'Oye baba, ticket please' groaned the TC. He was having a torrid time too in this crowd. Not to show that I was guilty, I confidently handed him my expired pass, even managed to pass him a polite, innocent smile. 'O mister, this pass has expired a week ago. Come on now, take out Rs. 300. You will have to pay the fine', he said and showed it to me. There was a commanding look in his eyes, and a strictness in his voice. Somewhere on his face though I spotted a smile, anticipating a quick 300 bucks. Ah the devil! Why should I pay 300 bucks when I travel only about 20 days or so to college each year, yet buy a second class quarterly pass thrice a year faithfully? I had to think fast.

There are times in life when things you learnt in your childhood strike you. Sometimes, you feel these are silly. But when you really need them, such things can be blessings in disguise. 'Ignorance is bliss' - somehow this thought came to my mind. Ah, an idea! How brilliant of me! I made a mental note to pat myself on my back as soon as I got down from this wretched train! For the time being, I have 300 bucks to save.

'Pardon me', I said, 'What do you mean 'expire'? This is ticket for train - not a medicine that will expire' I said, and all people around me burst out laughing, even that smelly dude who was standing beside me (lucky bastard got a seat somewhere along the journey!) The TC was not amused. He gave me a cold look and said, 'Okay smart guy. Enough of your jokes. Now pay the fine.' This drama went on for a few more minutes. Now I was getting well into the groove. I was arguing with the TC, showed him that the ticket was mine, showed him my name, the destination station name etc. (everything except the date) Then the TC showed me the date, and I tried my best at looking confused. I managed a frightened, innocent look, and quietly asked the TC, 'Now what should I do uncle? I didn't know it works like this.' I am not sure now, but I think I also managed to squeeze out a tear or two as well.

Now the TC looked confused. Perhaps my acting looked so genuine that he was convinced that I wasn't lying. He said that I'll have to buy another pass. Said it's called 'renewal' of the pass, and I should check the expiry date each time and make sure to buy a renewal when the date is nearing. I thanked him a lot, said I'll never repeat this mistake again. He smiled, then asked me - 'New to Mumbai?' Of course yes! I would be a fool to say no now. Guess what, I told him that ever since I've come here, I have not met as helpful a person as him - explaining everything about tickets to a poor village fellow like me. In the village in Bihar from where I come, people are not this helpful. 'But how did you realise I wasn't from Mumbai?' I asked him just for the sake of asking. 'Well, the way you hid your pass told me that', he said like a wise old chap. I wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not. But I was relieved that this stupid habit came to some use at least.

'Tickets please', and he was moving ahead. 'Uncle, what about the fine?' I asked again innocently. 'Never mind', he said, 'In Mumbai, we welcome Bihari baabus as guests - I cannot accept fines from our guest. Namashkar'.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Route number 524

Going home has become rare for me these days, now that I have finally convinced my parents that they should let me enjoy my last few months of IIT hostel life, and also that my being at home is not going to be so interesting once I come back in May, my job now being in Mumbai. As a consequence I was not surprised to learn today at the bus stop that the BEST route number 498 for Borivli, which used to be my favourite route (shortest and cheapest) has been discontinued for over a couple of months now. That meant that I had to wait for bus no. 524, which was something that I had always avoided (longest and most expensive).

Standing with me at this bus stop was this cute girl. I would say she would be about my age, give or take a few months. I have this strange habit where I always try guessing a girl's age whenever I spot one, and then try analysing what type she would be looking at her choice of footwear. Thing is, I have until now seen so many different types of such cases, that I am never bored of this routine of mine - there is always something new to be noticed. So anyway, coming back to this particular girl, I would say she was about my age, perhaps did some 3 year undergrad from somewhere, and is now happily settling into her first job. Her attractive black sandals and her smart dressing sense gave me the impression that she may be in the services sector - perhaps HR, or IT or consulting or something.

As is always the case, the bus that I wish to take never comes within the first 5 - 10 minutes of me reaching the bus stop. It seemed to me that this girl also shared a similar fate. Not one who wants to be caught staring, I was stealing little glances at her, trying to confirm my suspicions of her personality (it always is a good feeling to know that I can really analyse how other people think by inferring their personality from their social image). After about 2 minutes of waiting, she got a phone call. The ringtone was some familiar tune that I could not place, but the monophonic notes ensuing from her cellphone somehow shook my beliefs of her coming from a services background, as I have always felt people there should own some pretty good cellphones with some real smart ringtones (that being the reason why I have my eyes set upon the w960i that I'll buy as soon as I start my job, as I don't see my Nokia 2300 fitting into my consulting job profile). Anyway, I remember I saw a bright smile on her face when she checked her phone screen to see who was calling. Her first words 'Hi sweetie' told me that I better not listen to the rest of the conversation to avoid embarrassment for both of us, if she would notice me spying.

I think her call lasted a good part of 4 minutes or so. About 4 buses headed for Andheri station passed meanwhile, with no Borivli bound bus in sight. What started out as a happy call was not turning out to be so good with time passing by. I heard her shout a 'What' followed by an almost tearful 'How could you' and a question that started with a 'but', that was left unasked. I don't think she formally ended the call, as there was no goodbye said, nor any 'I don't want to hear from you ever again' either. Then she took out a neatly folded white handkerchief with some flowery pattern from her handbag (or purse or something that it was - I felt it was too big to be called a purse and too small to qualify for a handbag. But then I have seen many girls carrying those, so I guess it is pretty normal to own one) and silently wiped her eyes. That happy look that I had seen in them earlier was now lost somewhere.

I was almost tempted to approach her and ask if something was wrong and if I could be of any help. Or perhaps start a conversation by asking her if she needed some water, my faithful water bottle always being at my disposal. Or perhaps I could have said 'Not to pry, but are you okay? Do you want me to hail you an auto or something?' But I didn't. I always choose to stay away from girls - especially strangers. I saw her taking out a small little gift that was still unopened (I would never know if it was gifted to her or if she had bought it for someone). She gave it a long look and I had no idea what she would be thinking of then. Perhaps that gift meant a lot to her. Or perhaps it now bore no significance at all. She gave it one tearful kiss and then hurled it into the empty dustbin close by that until now seemed to serve no purpose at all. She then caught me looking at her. I tried giving her my best sympathetic look and was about to ask her 'Everything okay miss?' But then she smiled. It looked like a smile that says 'Yes don't worry. I am okay.' Then she called out to an auto, told him where she wanted to go, and got in. No goodbye. I wasn't expecting one either.

A minute later my 524 came by. I was lucky it wasn't crowded - it's a hell of an experience traveling standing in crowded buses on Bombay's unkempt roads; especially the highways. And when the conductor pulled on to the hanging cord twice and as I heard the familiar 'Ting ting' sound, I couldn't stop thinking what that gift now lying in the dustbin could contain.

Happy Valentine's day!

(I meant to write this post on that day itself, but I was quite busy doing other irrelevant and unimportant things, hence the delay).

Monday, February 4, 2008

Compelled to comment: 10 reasons why

Some reasons people give for explaining their urge to leave comments, even when not called for sometimes:

1. To show that you read such and such blog regularly.

2. So that the blogger would leave comments on your blog (and that you yourself value such comments highly).

3. To make a point to strike up a conversation with the blogger the next time you find him/her online.

4. To point out to the blogger that the post is incomplete and it is you who knows the missing parts.

5. To see if the blogger responds to comments or not.

6. You like logging in to, and commenting is thus only a natural consequence.

7. The blog is full of negative posts. The comments are means to introduce some positivism in there.

8. Those who comment on a particular blog like arguing a lot, and you don't want to be left behind.

9. (Similar to 8) Those who comment on a particular blog have something for the blogger, and you don't want to be left behind. :)

10. To show the blogger that you understand a seemingly complicated post.

If you choose to comment on this post, please number your comment accordingly. Have I missed out the reason why YOU leave comments here?

11. Because you know the blogger looks forward to reading comments since they assure him/her of regular or intermittent readership.

12. Because the blogger has not been recieving too many comments lately and reason #11 makes you pity her/him.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hong Kong musing

Hong Kong is known for its sea food. A vegetarian sure has a tough time out there.

You do get vegetarian food if you know where to search. But for a south Indian chap like me, it seems a bit incomplete. I once ordered Spicy mushroom and exotic vegetables in noodle soup. What I got was broth with noodles floating in it and a luxurious serving of steamed vegetables and sauteed mushrooms to go with it. I also got a rice bowl with this. Now I am used to drinking soup, munching veggies and having my rice with gravy. But I had never had all of these served together as a whole ever before! (It tasted good though mind you, I had my rice with lots of sauce).

The other time I ordered a veggie burger and was given a hamburger with lots of veggies stuffed between the buns. Then there was this occasion where I ordered a veggie pasta with fettuccine only to find it served with pork. Some of my friends couldn't quite comprehend what that piece of beef was doing messing around with their veggie sandwiches. Coming to the non vegetarian options, you get anything from squids to Ox's tongue to Shark's fin to other what nots!

Then there are the chopsticks - some people fail to understand that not all of us are experts at handling that simple-looking-yet-tough-to-handle tool. Plus the fact that almost no Chinese guy uses a fork while eating made it really tough for me, when I once had to draw a fork on paper to tell the waiter what I needed (I tried writing F-O-R-K first, but that was of no use at all). And there seems to be severe water shortage in the country, as I didn't find a single wash basin in all of the restaurants and canteens that I visited there, and very few water fountains in the eateries. Seems you have to strictly drink your soup while eating your food. No water allowed.

But one thing that struck me - a whole week spent there, yet I didn't see one fat Chinese guy! And all those I met (I met a lot of them folks in their homeland) looked much younger than they actually are! Turns out that most of their food is either boiled or steamed, and with very little to no saturated fats - as healthy as it can get! I respect their food now, although I was never quite able to come to terms with actually eating it - squids, ox tongue, Shark's fin for God's sake!

Hong Kong is known for its sea food. On most occasions though, I had to be content with a see food diet.