Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pursuing Dreams: Jerry Seinfeld on Show Business

A young, rising stand-up comic, Orny Adams(A), talks to Jerry Seinfeld(S) about a career in show business:

A: I see all of my friends, they’re making a lot of money, making a lot of money on Wall Street.
S: What?
A: I just see that my friends are moving up? And I’m worried that…
S: They’re moving up?
A: They’re moving up.
S: Are you out of your mind?
A: No, I’m am not out of my mind. I just uh..
S: This has nothing to do with your friends.
A: I’ve upset you. I’ve upset you.
S: No, No, this is a special thing. This has nothing to do with making it.
A: Did you ever stop to compare you life, OK I’m 29 my friends are all married, they’re all having kids, they all have houses.
S: Yechh!
A: They have some sense of normality about them.
S: Yechh!
A: What do you tell you parents. You know, how do you deal with that.
S: What do you tell your parents?
A: Yes, your parents.
S: I have to tell you a story.

Glenn Miller’s orchestra, they were doing a gig somewhere and they can’t land where they were supposed to land because it was snowing, so they have to land in this field and walk to the gig. And they are dressed, and have to carry their instruments. So they are walking to where they are supposed to perform and its wet and slushy, and in the distance they see this little house, and there are lights on and there’s smoke coming out of the chimney. So they walk up an look in the window and they see this family: a guy and his wife, she’s beautiful, and two kids and they are all sitting around this table. They’re smiling and laughing and eating. There’s a fire in the fireplace. These guys are standing outside in their suits and they’re wet and they’re shivering. They’re holding their instruments. They’re watching this incredible Normal Rockwell scene.

And one guy turns to the other and goes, "How do people live like that?"

That’s what it’s about.

Love of the craft!

The band much rather struggle doing what they love the most, than be "comfortable" in a place they hate.

Chasing your dreams, or letting your dreams chase you?

That's what it's about!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday for the rest of us

Get your aluminium poles out and air your grievances...

Happy Festivus!

It's also one of the few festivals that gets displayed on the steps of Capitol in the US, along with Christmas and Hanukkah:

For those wanting to observe traditional rituals, there's also a handy how-to guide!


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Great Dream: An Inexistential Quest

The Huffington Post is my favourite news website, essentially a news aggregating blog. Though it can often be Americentric, well, so is today's world, though the American exceptionalism is gradually giving way to cater to a more global audience. Its contributors include politicians, celebrities, academics and policy experts such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Larry David, John Kerry and Bill Maher to name a few. Just 5 years old, HuffPost has already won a number of webbies, has a huge community (over 1 million comments/month) and is notable for being completely free of cost.

Last week, surfing its Comedy section, I came across the following interview:

It's Conan O'Brien interviewing Arianna Huffington, discussing a wide array of topics, including divorced people stripping, handling 3-blackberries at once, and why HuffPost doesn't charge its readers (to which she famously replied, "People don't like paying for news and opinion...unless it's financial stuff or very, very weird porn."). But it was really the first minute and a half that caught my attention.

Born and brought up in Greece (as visible in her thick accent), Arianna has seen everything there is to see in American politics, and is a prominent voice in policy, environmentalist and liberal circles. As the founder of HuffPost, which has been recognised to be amongst the most prominent vehicles on the Internet by the likes of TIME, she is widely considered one of the world's most powerful and influential women.

When the host of "Conan" discussed her amazing success story: running a large arm of the American media, and being the voice of an animated bear (named Arianna, Tim the bear's wife on The Cleveland Show), she mentions that she got what she always dreamt of as a child. Being the voice of a cartoon bear on a hit American TV show, and a successful blogger.

In other words, she aspired to non-existent things.

And isn't that remarkable. As Conan continued, isn't that what everyone coming to America dreams of.. Aspire to something that doesn't exist, yet!

We've all come across these facts and prophecies somewhere.. so many professions of the early 20th century don't even exist anymore, replaced by those of today, that will cease to exist within another decade... the top 10 jobs in 2015 don't even exist in 2010.. new industries, new opportunities, will keep taking birth, and we'll have to prepare ourselves to face them, and when they aren't even there...

While there are many versions of the great dream out there, the American, the Indian, the IITian, and so on, I think this really clinches the one truly great aspiration for me.

A great dream: the non-existent.

Just like jeggings in 2008.


Update: AOL has now acquired The Huffington Post for US$315 million, making Arianna Huffington president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include The Huffington Post and existing AOL properties such as Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch Media, and StyleList.

Friday, December 10, 2010

That kiss

That kiss, that kiss
That childlike kiss

That peck on the cheek
That nibble on the ear
And the one when your fingers
ran through my hair

That naughty nose bite
followed by an Eskimo
a kunik, a warm rub
like surrounded by a Kimono

That time when I sulked
and you just nuzzled
and nuzzled
and nuzzled...

That kiss I managed to steal
of which you too were fond
That kiss which said hello
and that kiss which went beyond...

That Spiderman kiss
from behind the chair
That kiss that told me
I'm here!

That kiss which said who the hell cares
The one when your lips tasted of tears

Sometimes to tease,
sometimes, appease

That kiss, that kiss

That kiss
I miss


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

...and neither was the milkshake...

All through the evening, you were as calm and composed as ever, something I remember mimicking. I must have tried too hard, and more than once during the short stroll from Dolcezza, our host for the peanut-butter-ice-cream fest (and thank you for that!), to the Healy Gates, did you look at me and immediately turn your face away. It now amazes me how you restrained yourself and kept continuing casual conversation before finally breaking into a huge laugh at the Darnall Hall pillars. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed initially, and wondered what the situation called for me to do. I was hoping you'd guide me through, but you just kept laughing.

"Oh Shrey!", and you ruffled my hair. Phew! You saw my face and ruffled my hair a bit more. Did I just blush?

- "It's a pity that the only week you're here is when our Hall's famed Café is closed."

- "Now isn't that what every hall here says?"

- "Say what you will mister, but there are many who cross the bridge just for a sip of old Darny's."

"Someday!" I said to myself. That, of course, never happened, and it was less than a year afterwards when you had that little setback when the place closed down. A few years later, a fancy 'Epicurean' restaurant with a valet service would come up, and people would move on. Most.

- "Now here's a campus map, and *this* is where you need to go. I'll see you the day after; Sleep tight soldier!"

Brief half-hug.

- "..."

- "?"

- "Thank you!"

- "hmm... I'd rather not ask what for. Accepted. Thank you too!"
  "There! Now we're done for a lifetime. No more thanking, ever."

Smile! Goodbye...

I knew I had a sleepless night to look forward to, as did you I suppose. As did you know, I mean. Every small soundbite, every little detail, every little strand of red hair that fell over your eye... every bit recounted, recapped.

As dawn broke, I realised my folly (not that I had had a choice to make), and hoped to get through the registration in time. Being pretty much the first person to register, I had a key to my new room in minutes. Now it was just a leisurely wait for the others. And wondering when we'd be meeting next.

Our Honduran friend was the first of the three to arrive, and like all good international roommates, our first hour went appreciating each others' passports, visas, and memorising the choicest of expressions for proposing love and damnation in each others' tongues. And the unlikely coincidence that the two of us shared our birthday, only that:

- "Dude! It says 1989! You're like... FIFTEEN!"
- "Yup! Exactly three years after you came in. I mean out."
- "Holy Fucking Hay-soos!!! FIFTEEN!?!"

Oh damn it! I didn't even know your birthday! I didn't even know your age! I couldn't even guess!!

I usually made sure it crept in during my first conversations with people, but that conversation already had way too many firsts for me. How easy life would become after social networking would arrive. As for now, I'll just ensure I slip-it-in the next time...

Next to arrive was the tall, lanky fellow from the States, and for once in life (as of then), I was not the quietest one in the group. Not much later, we discovered we had a Biblical scholar amongst us, and half an hour of an intense conversation later, I knew we had many a memorable conversations to go.

Finally, he arrived. I was in the loo. All I heard were murmurs, followed by "FIFTEEN!?!"


Friday, December 03, 2010

Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer...

Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the signed photograph, the scorched furniture---must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.

 — Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)

Never been truer.

For me. For friends. For some special ones. For acquaintances. For some around me. For so many people. And for, and due to, things too many to count. Large, and small.

Things. Can change. In a day.


Friday, November 26, 2010

The double-double that wasn't

    "Well, they aren't the most useful creatures around."
That surprised me. I wouldn't say shocked, especially given the nature of our preceding conversations, but I was expecting (hoping) you'd be in agreement with me on that one.
    - "Define useful."
    - "They don't really do much. Lay around, eat, sleep. Cute, yeah! But useful?"
    - "As opposed to dogs who'll fetch twigs, bark noisily, lick and feed on a steady diet of turds."
    - "You mean cats don't slobber?"
    - "They do, but are courteous enough to spread it discretely all over themselves, where it vanishes, except for adding that subtle gloss..."
    - "Look at you go there again! I meant useful work. Dogs guard, sniff bombs, lead the blind, retrieve, and where I came from..."
    - "You mean come from!"
Cutting you off without losing a moment, it was around a quarter of a second before I noticed your right eyebrow rise up, and the tiniest fold develop above your other eyelid. It was within the next second by four that I realised what that meant, and wiped that smug wise ass smile off me in a hurry.
    - "Oh! Sorry! You meant.." Difficult following up such an action packed semi-second.
    - "Yes keener boy, where I came from; I am not a natural. Forgot that already, eh?"
Sorry! No more Grammar Nazism.
    - "So, where I came from, dogs hauled around luggage, you know, supplies, postal bags and all."
    - "hmm... Extrapolating the route your train of thought is chugging along, the next station has to be you telling me why one should be a cow-person."
    - "I just meant dogs are more active, mankind's best friend, if you will..."
    - "'Mankind's'. You sound like a perfect left winger, and yet you..."
    - "Hey! Hey! It's called libertarian!"
    - "Ok.. I mean when I think of dogs, what comes to mind is an emotionally insecure person with a need for constant, interminable, unremitting, unconditional affection; not exactly the most Li-ber-tay-rian type around.. hard to imagine someone like that rolling a joint, really..."
Oops! Had I said too much? You just had your eyebrows raised, and the most perfect poker face I had seen on you. Double oops! I just saw you see me seeing you intently; too late for a poker face now!
    - "Go on..."
    - "Uh! Yeah.. So, cats don't make good slaves, don't wag their tails, and don't slobber you with affection. And the closest they come to sports is when someone makes racquet strings out of one. They're just so placid. Self-contained. They do what they want. Don't listen to you. Moody. Expect you to cater to them. Persuasive, but with dignity. Walk away if you still don't give in. Wish to be alone when you feel like playing with them. Drive you nuts. And yet, they make us fawn over them..."
This time, I turn my gaze from the moon towards you, casually. Yes, just revving in the collect-your-thoughts pause. Not watching you. And... there you go. Saw me see you. Again. Why do I even try?
    - "You think I'd make a good cat?"
    - "I think you would. Not a great cat though, but still, a very good cat."
    - "hmm... You're not doing too bad yourself!"
Huge smile. Won't hide it.
    - "It's almost time; They won't let us back in after another hour. What do you propose?"
    - "A coffee would do well."
    - "So it is then, two double doubles!"
    - "!?!"
    - "Oh! No double doubles here, my bad! hmm... I know just the place. Let's get something that gies well with the java... why're you looking at me like that?"
I was expecting you to follow up with something of an if-you-know-what-I-mean... perhaps a double double wasn't what I supposed it was. Best not to ask you now. Mental note: urban dictionary, first thing when I get back. Minutes later,
    - "So what do you call yours? Figaro, Tom, Pixie..."
    - "I don't have a cat, if that's what you meant."
    - "You don't?"
    - "My folks uprooted a touch-me-not plant I had been tending to since years, you know, the one that folds in when you touch it. Supposed to be inauspicious. Wouldn't count on them getting a cat. But there are several in the neighbourhood whom I spend time around."
You squealed with joy as your eyes stopped somewhere on the menu. But I had noticed the dimples getting deeper as we had stepped in, the smile leaking away even before you picked up the catalogue, and the impatient delay trying to stop the flood gates from gushing out before you read the name in your mind. You knew what we were having all along, but the experience just seemed incomplete without this "à la carte" ritual.
    - "They seem a bit selfish though. After a few weeks, you'd think they love you. And then they'll go away. Won't recognise you if they saw you."
    - "I think it's usually us who go away. They're not heartless. They probably just move on. They must be great actors. Punishing us with their indifference. And yet also, redeeming us, of our guilt, by appearing heartless."
Wow! It WAS good, the best ice-cream, ever. You agree, but still seem to lament the double double from the corner of your eye. Someday!
    - "They don't carry luggage though."
    - "Nope. Just baggage."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Stuff-I-Like: #4 That Cheesy Feeling

For connoisseurs, it isn't really that difficult. I know a few who could accurately plot how salty, smooth, pungent, tangy, sharp, piquant, milky, dry, mild, ripe or wheyed a lump of Camembert feels in the month of August, depending on its ageing.

However, trying to describe the taste of cheese to someone who hasn't tried it at all is like describing the difference between dark cyan and teal to someone who's been blind all their life. Far more difficult than describing a cat's eyes or coffee's fragrance. Cheese orgasm, on the other hand, has seen the most choicest of metaphors and similes seeking affiliation. A few come to mind as I go back a couple of days in time, Diwali eve, the last time we (me + the usual suspects) took a dip into this pond of cheese-bursty-white-sauced-penne-like-pasta-tubes... (Gomito, to be specific: it's like penne with an elbow)
Wipe the drool off your keyboard already...
A cheese explosion in the mouth, a burst of taste, a sudden hot lava-like spread embracing the tongue, a warm fountain filling the corners, a bedsheet of flavour, a river of sinful ecstasy forming deltas of deliciousness, an éclairs of cheesy delight, melting glaciers of awesomeness... And before the moans and groans could cease, lo and behold! Lasagne Varuno was there! (Or was that Varuno alla Tuscany?)

Making a ceremonial offering to Aristaeus, the Greek God of cheese (true that!), shortly before eyeing it and saying, "Oh Fuck it! Let's dive!"
Layer upon layer, baked spaghetti with the delicious combination of tomatoes mixed with the yeasty goodness of soft bread perfectly seasoned with softened onions with just the right amount of grated cheese, all mixed perfectly together with hot, cheesy cheese topped with a garnishing of coriander... And all finished before you could say Dhaniya! And again the Cheese bursts... The explosiveness of the dish could easily put Guy Fawkes to shame on his own night (Remember, remember, the fifth of November?).

Besides the man of the hour, Varun "Mr.Cheesus Christ" Singh (my companion from DADT) himself, joining in were Aamod "Call-me-Mod" Shanker, Aditya "Awwn..." Sriram, Satyabrata "aka-Bunty" Mohanty, Naveen K. Sharma (Best roomy ever :P), Praveen K. Sharma (Bhaiya!), Aditi "Arre!" Gupta, Divya "What-can-be-said!" Tak, and Palkush "Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar" RaiChawla (Mera!), all those who made the evening so very special, and without whose presence, well, frankly, I could've have had some more!

What followed is best left for diaries and journals, accounts to be read at farewells, wedding receptions and eulogies in years to come.

Title Credits, Photo Courtesy and Culinary Orgasm Credits: Varun Singh (Top Chef, IIT Kharagpur)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Anwar Khan played host, to a host
of Kgpians,
who cherished his inedibles,
and christened his place
after the hole
in his nose.

Most time now spent, instead
at an eatery with an exotic, accented name,
though lacking that acute subtleness –
Café Coffee Day!
Identical to the ones in Connaught Place
and Whitefield and Richmond Road.
Well, at least similar to them.

And just peek out of the Coffee House
there you have it:
"Heritage AC Restaurant"
stands majestically
as Veggies glares from a distance.

Yes, we have an AC Restaurant now,
trying its best to make us forget
the backwater town embracing it;
though to be fair,
they do serve 'Motor Paneer.'

Deepak Da's taken it to the streets;
JCB Canteen has ceased to be,
as have 3 am meals.
No more paranthas with cheese flowing,
no more cheese curry to match.

And it’s all so alien now
at these places not seen before,
for I see faces new,
faces, not seen before,
or again!
And just too many of 'em.

The utter loneliness
in this swarming mess
makes me sick in my stomach at times.
Now don't get me wrong there;
I love a coffee had in solitude,
just that I prefer being alone
only with familiar people around.

Hundreds and hundreds of freshmen
over a thousand in all
and sophomores and juniors
crawl the halls of residence,
the messes, the wings,
faces unseen, unknown
except a few perhaps:
the quizzers, the math olympians,...
the mental-masturbators basically.

Only a few recognizable clans remain:
batchmates - seniors, super-seniors, some beyond...
who now talk in tongues bizarre,
saying TIME took away most of theirs,
and speak of "apping" and GRE.
(and those speak in REALLY creepy tongues)

And of CATs and Barks (or was it Barc's)
and CFAs and MBAs
and PPTs and T&Ps
and PPOs and P&Gs
and Schlums and Siemens
(Spellings double checked)
and so on and so forth…

So most meals now had
are by myself
most interactions online
most chats, on IMs.

Except the train journeys,
the 2.2 run-ins,
other such inavoidables.
Social media, bringing the far nearer
taking the near, much farther...
Oh! Don’t get me started on that one!

So, as I sip my beverage,
not at Anwar Khan's shack,
or Cheddi's as they call it,
but at the aforementioned CCD,
amidst the aforementioned crowd,

and think of times well spent
over leaky cheese paranthas
at a place which did not know
of coffee bars with accents in their names;
I can't help but ask,
even though graduation is far,
and another semester is in sight:

Is it just me,
or has Farewell,
already arrived?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Awesome! Like a 100 Billion Hot Dogs!

awesome /ˈɔsəm/ –adjective
  1. Causing awe or terror; inspiring wonder or excitement.
  2. showing or characterized by awe.
Modern usage of awesome
Awesome is all about inspiring awe, described as an emotion similar to wonder but less joyous, and more fearful or respectful. It's something of a combination of surprise and fear.

/ɔ/ noun, verb
  1. an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of god; in awe of great political figures.
  2.  power to inspire fear or reverence.
  3.  fear or dread.
    –verb (used with object)
  4. to inspire with awe.
  5. to influence or restrain by awe.

So, the breaking of huge waves on a rocky shore, a dinosaur skeleton, the thundering roar of a massive waterfall, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Grand Canyon and the vastness of open space in the cosmos are awesome.

Awesome is not how you describe EVERYTHING (along with 'Omygod' and 'Shit'). Awesome is not the new 'cool'. And contrary to popular belief, Barney Stinson is not, I repeat, not awesome.

Bonus: Eddie Izzard

Let's leave the Dog's Bollocks discussion for some other day. But isn't he awesome?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aana Meri Jaan Sunday-ke-Sunday...

Came across this gem of a song sometime ago, and was surprised to find it on youtube. A very famous number from the film Shehnai (Not there on Wikipedia) released in 1947,the lyrics are by director P L Santoshi himself.

While it's adaptation by the National Egg Coordination Committee (India) is pretty well known, do go through the original:

Singers : C Ramchandra, Meena Kapoor and Shamshad Begum
Song : Aana Meri Jaan Meri Jaan Sunday Ke Sunday
Lyricist : P L Santoshi
Actors : V H Desai, Indumati, Kishore Kumar
Music Directors : C Ramchandra


Aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday

Meri jaan meri jaaa
sunday ke sunday
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday

I love you
bhaag yahaan se tu
o ya ya I love you
bhaag yahaan se tu

Tujhe paris dikhaaun
tujhe london ghumaaun
tujhe brandy pilaaun
whisky pilaaun
aur khilaaun khilaaun

murgi ke murgi ke
ande ande
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday

main dharam karam ki naari
tu neech videshi abhichaari
main dharam karam ki naari
tu neech videshi abhichaari

maama hain ganga pujaari
maama hain ganga pujaari
baba kaashi ke kaashi ke
pande pande
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday

aao haathon mein haath le
walk karen hum
aao sweet sweet aapas mein
talk kare hum
arre hat..

saiyaan mera pahalwaal hai
maare dand hazaar
haan haan maare dand hazaar
saiyaan mera pahalwaal hai
maare dand hazaar
haan haan maare dand hazaar

bhaag jaayega bedum bandar
dega jo lalkaar
bhaag jaayega bedum bandar
dega jo lalkaar

maare gin gin ke
gin gin ke dande dande
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday

o my saab come come come
tum romeo juliet hum
o my saab come come come
tum romeo juliet hum

o dear come here dont fear
tatada papapa
ye gaaon ki native ladki hai
ye dil ki beating kya jaane
ye chasing hunting kya jaane
ye love ki meeting kya jaane
right righ right allright

aao dear hum chalen there
aao dear hum chalen there
gaade muhabbat ke
muhabbat ke jhande jhande
aana meri jaan meri jaan
sunday ke sunday


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That's right, the Points are just like...

I've seen season after season of the old TV show 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', basically an improv show with lots of audience participation. The host Drew Carey gives out points to the performers, although the points are arbitrarily given and don't actually count, which he stresses by comparing them with something that does not matter.
The show typically starts with him saying "Welcome to 'Whose Line is it Anyway?', the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter. That's right, the points are just like...:
...the talent portion of a beauty contest. Who cares?"
...a surveillance camera at the 99 cent store."
...a suggestion box at the Tianmen Square."
...condom to a trekkie!"
...friday afternoon at work." from an online university."
...plot in Mission Impossible 2; they don't mean a thing!"
...that 20 dollar bill that Tiger Woods finds in his jacket."
...90% of your mail."
... vows at a celebrity wedding."


Monday, September 27, 2010

Earth appoints Contact for Aliens !?!

Heard of Mazlan Binthi Othman? A Malaysian astrophysicist and Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. (Yes, there is one.)

But the best is yet to come. If aliens ever do land on Earth, make no mistake, and step aside to let this 58-year old Malaysian greet them. Mazlan Othman has been tasked with coordinating humanity's response to an extraterrestrial visit, if ever required.

Apparently, with the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting around other stars, the detection of alien life is becoming more and more likely.

"The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day human kind will received signals from extraterrestrials.", said the soon-to-be appointed Space Ambassador for Earth. And don't worry, she's perfect for the job, armed with a Ph.D in Physics and an expertise in "Space Law" (Laws governing human activities in outer space: e.g. ownership of land on other planets or moons etc.).

Am I the only one who finds this weird?

Anyhow, at least now you know where to point your finger at when faced with a "Take me to your leader."

Sources: Telegraph UK, Mazlan Othman on Wikipedia, UNOOSA

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stuff-I-Like: #3 Cats

How can you not like cats? Indeed, any resistance is futile in the face of a little fluffy creature that roll up on your knees and purrs from joy. Cats are loving, playful and charming companions.
But its about more than being cute. They are sophisticated, sleek, attractive, graceful... no wonder the Egyptians were floored!

They are independent, keep themselves clean, and won't tolerate being put on a leash. Cats exude an air of superiority that makes those who share their lives with them feel privileged.They have a mind of their own that you want to respect rather than to subdue.

If you like cats and have one near you, you'd love to spend time watching it, as they live in their own world that is closely bound up with ours, but doesn't go round our world. You can feel a unique sense of unanimity and trust which it suggests by rubbing its head against your leg.

The air of mystery about them, the way they walk, silently but not slowly, their agile bodies that will climb anywhere, go through anything, and whatever happens, will always land on their feet. Quiet as they usually are, a meow is the most calm animal sound known to mankind, next only to the purr. Ah, the purr... Nothing could be more relaxing to me than the gentle rumbling of a contented kitty.

And indeed, many cats manage to reach places the most ambitious of men can't dream of ;)

You can be a cat's owner but not its master.

Fun fact: The weirdest cat on record was a female called Mincho who went up a tree in Argentina and didn't come down again until she died six years later. While treed, she managed to have three litters with equally ambitious dads.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's what YOU said!

6 months after the Gymkhana Elections, nostalgia drove me to once again go through the stuff I had written back then. However, the comments (some 50 odd ones), actually made a more interesting read.... Here are some of my favourite ones:

Shirish Subramanian said...
Nivesh Pandey is probably not your average run-of-the-mill Core Team Guy.... Look at the larger picture, not what a Bihari / Mallu friend is telling you to do.... Nivesh for VP... A better Insti!!

Abhishek Kumar said...
Lets hope Shrey that you approve my comment if you have the guts... ...I hope Ankit gets the support he needs.

bibhash jha said...

XYZ said...
A very diplomatic trick.. played well Shrey.... It feels like you are playing dirty here. For a friend. right? [Editorial note: What!?! o_0]

divya bohra said...
Very sad to read your opinion about the exciting new scene in KGP. I am not very sure how much a part have you ever been in anything dedicated to the service of your hall but... i am sure you are a fan. ... Its funny but the racist in you is a fierce one.[Kuchh bhi!?!] As a suggestion, or rather a request, please try to make your own opinions and views removing some of that cynicism... You can joke around about as many people as you want but believe me at the end of it, if it really mattered all that much, a lot of people who inspire me and you alike today would have given up on themselves before we even knew of their existence.

Sumeet said... [:D]
@Divya: I'm just bored,and since yours is the last post on this blog, ill rather enjoy tearing it apart...

I am not very sure how much a part have you ever been in anything dedicated to the service of your hall but... i am sure you are a fan. 
Naa he isnt. But the fact that you give a damn as to who rules Bihar doesnt mean that you dont have a right to opine.

Your views seem highly influenced, and facts, twisted.
Its funny how people just give random opinions without justifying them. For example, you've got to say why someone is highly influenced and which of the facts that he has mentioned are twisted. Substantiate. Enunciate. Damn, Im good at this

Its funny but the racist in you is a fierce one.
Dude, Shrey, if you call Laloo Yadav a mockery of Indian politics, you're being racist. Keep that in mind the next time you write a blog.

As a suggestion, or rather a request, please try to make your own opinions and views removing some of that cynicism...
Yeah, right, you remove cynicism and bias from a political blog and what's left ? I think thats the way a blog's defined in my dictionary: I get to be as cynical as you have been in posting this comment (and i admire that) and get away with it..

You can joke around about as many people as you want but believe me... a lot of people who inspire me and you alike today would have given up on themselves before we even knew of their existence.
Seriously what part of the VP SOP did you find inspirational. You should read the "chicken soup series". Thats inspirational.

Mandar said...
well as a close friend i would say: bravo shrey, true democracy is when you have the freedom to take a shot at someone, the right to express unpopular opinions, and at several times, "anti-feel-good" sentiments, the replies to your blog made an interesting reading... so they say your influenced, SO WHAT?? We all are, i mean if u werent, you would be a vegetable, and you obviously have the guts to put up all the comments, i mean some of the comments are taking a bigger pot-shot at you, than at any of the candidates!!... ...So keep blogging

Abhishek Kumar said...
Why did the Guts came only after much of the voting was already over ? Everyone is entitled to an opinion... But I wish you had not done the negative publicity...
@Sumeet......So considerate of you to tear down a comment just for fun, just because you were getting bored. But it would have been nice if you would have taken care to read all the earlier comments...

Shrey said...
@Abhishek Kumar first get your facts right, then you can distort them as much as you want. Even if you're a fifth year student and all that yada yada...

Sumeet said...
@Abhishek Kumar alias Kakori alias Random fifth year who needs a break in life after 5 horrid years in some dark, dingy corner of one of our hallowed halls of residence:

Dude, you're not fighting apartheid here that if Nelson Mandela doesnt get elected, some black kid doesn't get to eat... Didnt 5 years here teach you how to "Peace maar" and "Load na le". Damn it, i thought all 5th years were hyper-cool people, basking in the glory of booze and "G" and "sutta", oblivious to the fact that life goes on around them.

All I'm asking you is simply, "Why so serious"?

You can go through these and some other such gems at

The best, of course, was to be seen on Facebook:

19 March at 13:42
XYZ:  Shrey U r playing a very dirty game. Very unexpected from sumone who is supposedly the official blogger of KGP [Some new Gymkhana Post?]... Ankit Singh came off as a better candidate undoubtedly, even without his underdog status. And even you can see that. Stop using his sufferings to your pact's advantage.

19 March at 15:35
Neelakash Das ‎@XYZ..If you have read the article carefully, no one's name is being singled out. It is up to you to decipher.FB is an open forum to discuss and share one's opinions. I don't see any game being played here. Plus I really doubt the validity of your statement as the person in question came off as a better candidate...

19 March at 15:41
Sailesh Krishnan Narayanadas ‎@ XYZ.....his blog....his fb profile.!!!! ....he has the right to his opinions......he has the right to think one candidate is better than the other!!!![although he has not associated any of his points with anyone by name[and the [un]official blogger of kgp tag doesnt take any of those away from him!!!

19 March at 17:36
Shrey Goyal ‎@Everyone. My Pact's advantage? His sufferings? For a friend? I have favoured no single candidate in particular, my ballot remains secret. And just because I have a blog and do not create Haiti-Earthquake-Relief-Fund style video montages for votes doesn't mean I don't get my say. I did not write the article for Scholars' Avenue or Alankaar. It's a personal blog...

19 March at 18:43
Manan Shah hoo haa fb polltu!! :O
...BTW I agree this should be treated as a personal blog and to get involved in hall polltu is not something I expect from Shrey.

19 March at 19:55
Rishabh Poddar You are such a troublemaker, Shrey. It's hilarious!

19 March at 20:04
XYZ i meant "unofficial". Chal tu agar naive act karega toh peace maar I cant talk about it any further. But yeah ask people how they liked your little e-campaigning. Not the people who are forced to support you.[Pardon?] And as far as "your" personal opinions go, well you have every right to express them and everyone has every right to judge you based on the way you do it. Its just that having known you its surprising to see this blog from you

19 March at 22:15
Shrey Goyal ‎@XYZ
Ahem! My "campaign"? Whom did I campaign for?Its just that having known you having known me, its surprising to see you surprised see this blog from me.

29 March at 04:16
Ankit Singh Dude please know the ground... you will really feel bad abt yourself.

29 March at 04:16
Shrey Goyal ...somehow every reader of this article ends up telling me I should be feeling bad about myself...

29 March at 04:35
Ankit Singh Ur blog is not an international Forum.

29 March at 04:36
Shrey Goyal You want East Europeans to comment on Kgp's TSG elections?

While you're on facebook, do take out a minute to click on the 'Follow' button here.

Also, I'd ask you not to refrain from commenting here as well... :D


Friday, August 20, 2010

Philosophy: The Two Matches

One day there was a traveller in the woods in California, in the dry season, when the Trades were blowing strong. He had ridden a long way, and he was tired and hungry, and dismounted from his horse to smoke a pipe. But when he felt in his pocket he found but two matches. He struck the first, and it would not light.

‘Here is a pretty state of things!’ said the traveller. ‘Dying for a smoke; only one match left; and that certain to miss fire! Was there ever a creature so unfortunate? And yet,’ thought the traveller, ‘suppose I light this match, and smoke my pipe, and shake out the dottle here in the grass – the grass might catch on fire, for it is dry like tinder; and while I snatch out the flames in front, they might evade and run behind me, and seize upon yon bush of poison oak; before I could reach it, that would have blazed up; over the bush I see a pine tree hung with moss; that too would fly in fire upon the instant to its topmost bough; and the flame of that long torch – how would the trade wind take and brandish that through the inflammable forest! I hear this dell roar in a moment with the joint voice of wind and fire, I see myself gallop for my soul, and the flying conflagration chase and outflank me through the hills; I see this pleasant forest burn for days, and the cattle roasted, and the springs dried up, and the farmer ruined, and his children cast upon the world. What a world hangs upon this moment!’

With that he struck the match, and it missed fire.

‘Thank God!’ said the traveller, and put his pipe in his pocket.

– Robert Louis Stevenson, “Fables,” Longman’s Magazine, August 1895

Thanks to Greg Ross for allowing me to reproduce the post Philosophy, from Futility Closet - An idler's miscellany, of compendious amusements: anecdotes, epigrams, illusions and wonders; puzzles, prodigies, sublimities and horrors.


Friday, August 06, 2010

We're here!

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

The present moves from the past to the future, like a tiny spotlight, inching its way along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything behind the spotlight is in darkness, the darkness of the dead past. Everything ahead of the spotlight is in the darkness of the unknown future. The odds of your century being the one in the spotlight are the same as the odds that a penny, tossed down at random, will land on a particular ant crawling somewhere along the road from New York to San Francisco. In other words, it is overwhelmingly probable that you are dead.

In spite of these odds, you will notice that you are, as a matter of fact, alive. People whom the spotlight has already passed over, and people whom the spotlight has not reached, are in no position to read a book.

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?

Excerpt from


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stuff-I-Like: #2 Walking

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.
--Raymond Inmon
Walking is good for solving problems - it's like the feet are little psychiatrists.
--Terri Guillemets

I think I've always liked walking, and my interest in this activity has grown rapidly since I took it up nearly two decades ago. On the contrary, the rest of mankind, after 1.5 million years of rambling along, has very recently (since just a millennium or two) nearly given up strolling on horses, bullock carts, cycles, cars, trains and aeroplanes. But then, striding along is more than just a form of biped locomotion or an exercise (that is, if you count reduction of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, depression, obesity, high BP and LDL (bad) cholestrol; and increase in life expectancy, bone health, and HDL (good) cholesterol; as health benefits, minus any chances of pulling a muscle or spraining your back).

There are the environmental, economic and social concerns of course, with "walkability" now considered a significant parameter to measure liveability in urban design. More the footsteps, lesser the carbon footprint - building sustainable cities IS a walk in the park!

But walking is about more than these mundane considerations. Just peep into the details of evolutionary and philosophical progression of man, and we see that gait has been vital to our cerebral growth, with millennia of human development firmly based upon this connection in walking and thinking. Just imagine, a street in Greece, and an old, grey, wise-looking, bare-footed man in his sixties striding along with a young man in mature manhood, handsome, well-shod and dressed with gold, discussing ethics, politics, morality and other ideas. The logical flow of thought smoothly permeates into words with each step, and the plinth of western philosophy is laid on the walks of Athens.

The elder one is Plato, walking with his favorite disciple Aristotle, who created the Peripatetic school of philosophy modeled on the walks he took with his students in the natural environs of his academy. Plato himself considered his learning a product of his walks with Socrates.

Closer home, we see hiking as the mainstay of spiritual enlightenment, with devotees from all walks of life trekking along pilgrimages to meet their favourite imaginary friends. Mahatma Gandhi really walked the talk on civil disobedience, bringing about a socio-political revolution rambling his way to Dandi.

Be it a balader sur les Champs-Élysées, a stroll around downtown Toronto, or even circumambulations of our humble "2.2" at the institute, one just needs to recall a few steps to rush in a flood of memories of times well spent. Oh, and how many of you noticed the banner on this blog?

Keep Walking!


A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
--Paul Dudley White

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vision India 2020: Take with you, the boldness...

While every book is prone to being judged by its cover, Sramana Mitra's Vision India 2020 is not your average "India Shining" coffee table read. Neither does it make empty assertions of "India Rising" with false reassurances of global supremacy. It is, in fact, exactly what it claims to be: a Vision, backed with intricate research, deep insights and realizable roadmaps, all set in an imagined, yet realistic future.

I have earlier posted a series of articles covering the keynote lecture at E-Summit 09, IIT Kharagpur by Sramana Mitra and Dominique Trempont.

A celebrated Silicon Valley strategy consultant, entrepreneur and business author, Sramana has not only penned down a complete view of the future that every Indian dreams of but cannot fully comprehend, she also bears a torch illustrating the very real paths of getting there. And when I say complete, I mean complete.

The book provides insights to 45 unique business opportunities in India. Every thinkable and unthinkable sector, field, service or product has been covered, each presenting a case for a scalable and realizable entrepreneurial endeavor, while simultaneously releasing immense untapped economic value for the nation. From shopping to shipping, engineering to equity, horticulture to furniture, candles to carbon, convergence chips to gourmet cheese, rural development to real estate development, Water Desalination to Water Diplomacy, Solar Energy to Software, Schools for slums to rural cinemas, films to pharmaceuticals... the offerings are overwhelming, but presented in a very organised fashion, so as not to confuse the reader. Significance is given to essentials such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and rural development, with multiple ideas discussed, mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, thus aiming universal access. The theme of doing well by doing good, and the idea of doing business at the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid, is touched upon at many points.

The forty five complete case studies are not just about innovative ideas, but about how the innovation can be brought to the market. Insights to crack seemingly 'done' industries as well as exploring uncharted waters have been provided, and even VC-unfriendly sectors such as education have been tackled. Every narrative has been written in a post-facto fashion, analyzing the success story of the discussed model from a future perspective. Sramana's expertise on entrepreneurial planning and strategy is clearly visible in the extremely detailed models, unraveled with not only economic but social, environmental and diplomatic factors in mind as well, while keeping pace with the timeline and the corresponding changing scenarios. Financial engineering has been incorporated wherever needed. At some points the book does take a very Utopian turn, neglecting many bureaucratic and political hurdles. However, while described as a work of business fiction, many of the futuristic models and idea bombs are discussed as scaled, extrapolated and rectified versions of already conceived success stories. Vision India 2020 remains an immaculately written exciting and inspiring read.

For budding entrepreneurs, a reading of the book should be an engaging and inspirational journey, starting off with Sramana's own saga about chasing her dreams, instructing the reader to "take with you, the boldness, as you read..." It also serves as a reminder of the responsibility that every entrepreneur must embrace, of generating a social impact on the community, nation and world. While the book shall gain interest amongst policymakers and investors, it's message is central to the youth of India - "Close your eyes, exist in this future - be each entrepreneur."

And how far is that future?

Ten years, at most.

Vision India 2020 by Sramana Mitra is available from in paperback and Kindle, from Flipkart in India, and from in all e-book formats.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

To the Class of 2010

Congratulations, graduates!

Feels odd writing this post. Messages to graduating seniors are often written by leaders in industry and academia, citing the challenges that the new generation faces, and adding that yours may be greater than previously, but they are challenges that ambitious and savvy young leaders will find ways to overcome. And asking you to consider what you learned in the classroom not as a foundation, but rather as a launch pad... you know the yada yada...

I'll just put in my two cents, as a junior who has lived the past few years in your awe. The world is a very different place from when you entered four or five years ago. Looking at the last three of those years, which would have been an otherwise extremely difficult journey for us, I can now see how smoothly we transitioned, all because you carried us that way. When I see where we have reached, from schoolboys stammering out messy 'intro's, to orators giving, well, not-so-messy intros, I see the change you've brought upon entire generations. From fear, of going to Cheddi's in first year, and of those wringing voices in the senior hall corridors the next, to an incomparable sense of respect, for someone though merely a year or two old, but a friend, mentor and guide.

When we look at you, we see that we have a long way to go, big shoes to fill. Be it securing the dream jobs in the corporate and technology world, hallowed offer letters from the topmost Universities in Technology, Science, Management and Law, germinating innovative entrepreneurial ventures... you've got it all.

And when I think of it, what is an IIT education all about anyway? It's about IITians. It's about you. About 600 exceptional boys (and a few girls)on a campus, which, in the case of Kharagpur, is far enough from civilisation to have had very interesting effects on your coming of age. A few drop out, a few didn't live to see this day, and their memories remain etched in our hearts. I suppose you became tougher, more mature, more knowing, and more aware of your dark sides, as are we, in the process of becoming. You have lived and eaten together, and shared your joys and heartbreaks and good times and bad times, in competition and camaraderie.

To quote further from Senior Indian Journalist (former managing editor of Outlook) and IIT Kharagpur Alumnus Sandipan Deb's own memoirs:

When we graduated, we went out into the world with a rare confidence and strong tribal loyalties. The confidence eroded a bit over the years, and we learnt some humility when we discovered non-IITians as smart as we were, and also people who could outwit us because they were intelligent in a different way-in a sly political way-an acumen we had not developed in our isolated environment which, above all, inculcated a sense of fairness and a respect for ability. We came to terms with a world that compared poorly with our beloved campus, and some of us even went ahead and conquered it. Others didn't do well, but knew that the ties between them and the masters-of-the-universe classmates would never change.

They were ties born of the pride of being an IITian.
That pride would never diminish.
It never can.

To end, I would remind you that Chhedi's, Asim's, Aunties, Bhaat, Bhajan (!), Bongs, Cali, Candi, Carlos, Despo, Diro, DOSA, Footer, Funda, GC, DC, PremB, GolB, GolC, GPL, Gults, Gymkhana, Tempo, Illu, Intro, Matka, Matki, Rassa, Rassi, Menty, OP, Schols Ave, Stud, Tinku, Juice, God, Maggu, Makhau, Arbit, Huha, Halu, Frusst, Load, Peace, 2.2... are just some of the things you'll miss.

And if it ain't obvious by now, you'll be missed...


Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Rohit's Memory...

On 22nd March 2009, we lost one of us. Not to a terrorist activity, not to an accident. To negligence. In part, our own.

Rohit Kumar, an Undergraduate Student of the Department of Electrical Engineering, would've been in his fourth year of study now. His death due to medical negligence by B.C. Roy "Hospital", the civic IIT-run hospital responsible for providing healthcare facilities to IIT-Kharagpur campus residents (which includes students, faculty members, staff and other employees), lead to protests by the student community within IIT-Kgp. The administration's ignorance towards the issue lead to further unrest, and the following outrage ultimately forced them to address and acknowledge the issue. The students demanded the resignation of the Director, the Dean of Student Affairs and the Chairman of B.C.Roy Technology Hospital, and some of the changes demanded were initiated subsequently.

Let us show to the world that Rohit Kumar shall not be forgotten. You are requested to be there at the Institute Main Building GoleC on 22nd March 2010 at 7 PM, and light a candle in Rohit's memory, which still remains embedded in our hearts. Please spread the word.

May his soul rest in peace...


Friday, March 19, 2010

Gymkhana Elections: Of White Knights, Dark Horses, and the occasional Court Fool

Hmm... Never thought I'll be writing this post...

Anyway, so they're here, the Technology Students' Gymkhana Elections for 2010/11. And can it get any more interesting than this time...

For the highest student post, the Vice-President, we have not just two, as has conventionally been the case, but three candidates this time around. And we have not just one, but TWO of them from outside Kshitij (Our Techno-Management fest) and SpringFest (our Cult Fest) organising teams. If it wasn't enough, there are two of them from the same hall of residence as well. And one of them (obviously) isn't supported by his hall, his former colleagues or anyone who has worked with him. And neither does he have any credentials, or any track record that does not make me not vote for him. But there are people who support him as well... and so much that they'd go any lengths for that.

It's been some hours now since the Soapbox was conducted for the said post. There were the usuals, and the unusuals. Candidates who had actual real responses to the questions asked, plans and proposals to execute, experience to actually execute them (given the opportunity), and then there were those who had great one-liners. Well, not great, per-se, but the crowd loved 'em. And that's all that it takes, right?

Just everyone loves an underdog... who "fought it alone", "stood against the tide"... strangely, one of the comments in his support says, he who "refused proper orientation and guidance." Well, why did he?

I don't really care for the Gymkhana, or those who run it, but they are, no doubt, representatives of the Student Community at IIT-Kgp. I've had the opportunity to know quite a few of them, and they have usually left me in awe. There are those that made lasting changes while they were there, added tremendous value, and continue doing so in the outside world. All of us here who witnessed the events following Rohit's death last year would understand the significance of an able representative of the students, a true leader. And now, when one of my batchmates get their turn to be in the cohort... hmm...

But what really got me to writing this entry, was the way the campaigns are going this year. The candidate in question is attracting a lot of attention, and has endless debates spun around him, none of which is unusual. But what IS unusual, is that some videos containing some of his footage from a cultural event at IIT-Kgp, has actually been censored from the institute LAN.

Yes, BANNED FROM DC++. The same LAN which has never banned anything even with extremely creative permutations and combinations of Men, Women, Animals, Plants, Machines... in it, banned any user sharing some footage of stage performance by this candidate. It's been hours, but even his SOP videos have not been uploaded yet. And as I write this, MainChat has been disabled on DC++, where his candidature was apparently being discussed.

hmm... Well, ban this, will ya?

And I don't get the whole underdog thing. There are many underdogs, who, if they were contesting, would've made great candidates. But is just being an underdog enough? Is that all. While the whole situation is very Obama-esque on the surface, he is what he is independent of his minority status.

Everyone wants change. And we've had quite a lot of it. Not only on the VP nominations side, but the Juniors as well. Saw the G.Sec.(Technology) candidates, and the one who seemed like perhaps the most eligible to hold the post, who actually has plans, those that haven't been handed out to him, and the will to actually put them through, is a resident of a majority PostGraduate Hall. I would really like Tarun Rathi from HJB Hall to win, and if he isn't devoured by the prevailing hall politics, that'll be the change I'd want from this year. But when I say he is a deserving candidate, it's because of his abilities and potential, and not because of his being an underdog.

I'd want a VP who has the necessary "funda" to work with the institute. To get his way with the administration. Who knows how the gymkhana functions. Who knows what the students need, and how to get it. Who is an able representative of us to the administration, and sometimes to outsiders too. To be such a one requires more than just "tempo". More than simply being self-obsessed. A hunger for change, not power. Someone who can improve our conditions, and not just his Curriculum Vitae. What is more striking, is that the majority of the student population has no idea what the post of a VP entails; the amount of power it has in pushing for changes that can benefit the student population.

Think about it. Whom do you want heading your Placement Committee?

Do you also say "Yes, We Can"? Of course we can, but should we?

Perhaps you really liked watching Gunda, it was funny, different, and really entertained you for once. Would you give it an Oscar? Or even want to watch it again, over and over, for a year...

Last of all, don't forget to vote. The candidates for the post of VP are:
Nivesh Pandey, Celestine Joseph and Ankit Singh, in the order as mentioned in the post title.

A good video by IIT-K on the occasion:


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Stuff-I-Like: #1 Coffee

Coffee, unlike life itself, should be taken very seriously. A good cup of coffee is like sex, magic and love. It’s a feeling one can’t really define.

In my opinion, the only reason coffee hasn't seen as widespread regulation or taboo as alcohol or tobacco is because caffeine is far more addictive and loved than nicotine/ alcohol. I love coffee, but would defer from making this a forum for discussing its positive/ negative health effects. Because, frankly now, which true coffee lover really gives a damn! I am an insomniac all by myself anyway; I don't NEED caffeine for that. And drinking coffee because it reduces the risk of colon cancer, is like getting down to it solely to boost immunity.

What person of substance wouldn't love Coffee... the smell, the taste, the look, and also, the culture - the cafe culture. The filter coffee, the latte, the au lait, the Irish brew, the one from the anals of South-East Asia (no spelling mistakes there), the frappe, the liqueur, the frappuccino... and above all muggle brews, the BLACK ! Oh how I missed it, my only regret of living in this backwater town full of chaiwallahs, who not only kill the taste of coffee, but follow it up dark alleys, beat it up and rifle through its pockets (Thankfully, we have a Cafe Coffee Day outlet now, which works OK to my needs). So many would just call it a beverage, putting in obscene quantities of milk and sugar to take away the "bitterness". But then there are those who believe it should be respected and revered for its own sake...

Everybody should believe in something. I believe I'll have another coffee.


Thursday, January 07, 2010


Once again, it's the 7th of January, and besides the 21st death anniversary of Emperor Hirohito of Japan and another Eastern Orthodox Christmas... some friends and family are also celebrating the fact that I was born, celebrating for the 21st time (22nd if you count the time I was actually born). All this while I pace alone at the midnight hour on the 2.2 kilometre long circular stretch around the campus, very creatively named "the 2.2".

So basically, I'm congratulated for not dying for another 12 months ... But then, I guess there may be more to it.

As a child, one sees elders running around fulfilling elderly social obligations, acting all mature and responsible, and then there is all the excitement about it. I'll be 18 someday, and then 20, and then 21, and suddenly I'll stop eating chocolates, and realise that I've matured. As if a moment will come and go, and I'll stop (or rather start) talking funny, and start about career and meaning of life stuff, and worrying about my Provident Fund, and that'll be it. Now that I'm 21, I know that's not true. Just because other 21 year olds have started pretending to be mature, for they're expected to be, doesn't mean I have to. There, I said it. Not only do I have Peter Pan's syndrome, I'm actually proud of it. And like last time, I must ask you to bear with me, it's my Birthday!

And frankly, I have always talked funny stuff. Meaning of life. The Universe. Indian Mentality. Politics. The I-am-God attitude (of the IITian who simultaneously has the I've-got-no-balls-on-me mentality). Education System. Ever since I can remember. So what does this 21st Birthday bring to me.

It gives me harder questions to answer, decisions to make. It gives me a chance to observe how much I've changed, how much the way I look at things has changed, and another opportunity for "stock-taking" of my life (Just an extension of the New Year's dawn, in my case). To acknowledge that I only have so many days on this earth. To see how much more can I enjoy the passage of time, how much can I be closer to the state of ultimate Peace...

A Birthday is one day of the year one gets to themselves. To really enjoy all that's going on around oneself, and to ignore some of it too. For everyone they know to deceive them and to make them feel like the most special person in the world. For them to celebrate, sleep in, take the day off of class or work, watch movies, party, do something... anything but ignore it. Come on, it's just one day, one whole day that belongs to the person, and they only get one per year. And today, is mine.

So - quoting Clint Eastwood (as Harry Callahan) from Sudden Impact - Go ahead, make my day!

And a bit of maturity at the end of it all, with my experiences in the past year summed up beautifully, by the great philosopher Jagger, in one song:


Sunday, January 03, 2010


Hello there...

As Wolfram|Alpha tells me, it's been 5 months and 14 days since my last entry, just managing to keep my resolve of keeping consecutive entries less than 6 months apart from each other. I'd say it's the 11th month syndrome; the first major gap (6 months) in my personal Diary occurred around 11 months after I began with it, similar to what happened here.

I suppose Barger's "Inverse Law of Usenet Bandwidth" holds to some extent: "The more interesting your life becomes, the less you post... and vice versa". The past 6 months, coinciding with my academic semester at the Institute, have been, undoubtedly, the busiest and most significant six months of my life, till date (on an absolute scale of course). This only means that my next six may perhaps be even more momentous, but that doesn't give me any reason to be a lazy hog when it comes to blogging - the "vice-versa" of the law need not hold. I shall hopefully be spending a few entries after my next one discussing events left behind, and completing my drafted blog entries.

I have a lot to do, to restart the engines around here. Dysfunctional apps and outdated add-ons need to be weeded out, blogger's new features to be added, the blogroll has to be updated... It surprises me that I still have over 3/4ths of my earlier subscribers left, and that I have been receiving a steady stream of comments on my older entries. Hopefully the rest of my twenty-ten entries shall give you more Food for Thought than this one... but then, something's better than nothing.

And before I forget, thanks to Jenelia Watson for providing me with my new banner. You can check out her other designs from "Designs by..." in the right column.