Archive for Life is like that

The Hound of Himesh Reshammiya

I have been observing my life for the past couple of weeks. After all, I am Ph.D scholar, and thats what I am supposed to do, observe and analyze. And since I do not have anything substantial to analyze, as my professor has been taking it easy on me for a couple of weeks, I thought its time that I start analyzing my life. Within a short time of introspection, I was convinced that something was wrong. I have been hardly using my camera. I almost forgot the fact that I had a blog. My life seems to be losing its vigor and color. If I was a Madagascar Penguin, I would have shouted “Kowalski, analysis!”. But alas! I am no penguin and so I will have to analyze this without Kowalski and his abacus.

What followed was a detailed logging of how I spent my entire day. After weeks of observation, I realized that my batteries are low right from the time I wake up. And though I don’t have Lymphosarcoma or leukemia, I live my life as if I am trapped in a tragic “Rajesh Khanna” movie. This is not good. I am too young and much too unimportant to be in this state. I need to find a cure.

And sure enough, a cure I did find. It was to fire my room-mate. You see, my unassuming room-mate is very found of plagiarized bollywood music and he like to play it real loud. So instead of giving me a cup of hot tea in the morning, he greets me with a full blast of his 5.1 surround sound. As a result, I find myself surrounded in all 5 directions (I have not figured out the .1 part yet) by a monstrous voice that goes “TADAPPU………. TADAPPUUUU….. TADAPPU HO TUM !!!!!!” which is followed by a long howl that resembles a dog in deep pain, which by some strange co-incidence, reminds of the time when I crashed my bike into a stray dog crossing the street. My room-mate tells me with deep conviction that the voice does not belong to any tortured animal, but to a human being called Himesh Reshammiya. For all you know, maybe this Himesh guy ran into a dog during his recording session.

Failing to reach an agreement on Himesh running into dogs when I am sleeping, my room-mate decided to shift rooms. Himesh does not trouble me anymore. I am a happy man. Life is back in full color. I sleep peacefully at nights and I wake up to sound of  students arguing on whose turn is it to buy soap and toothpaste. Life is back to normal. I even remembered my login to my blog.

I hope things stay this way.

P.S:  If you want to know what I had been going through, try imagining this  in 5.1 surround!!!


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Back Again…. With a new look!

I am back again with a new look. WordPress likes to call it Journalist. I will keep try it for a few days. I am thinking of swtiching over to a darker background so that the photos show up good here.

During the long gap between that last post and this one, a lot of stuff happened.  I travelled all the way to Delhi with my camera gear and came back without taking a single picture. Note to self: Never ever take your entire gear when the college is booking the tickets for you.Then there was the annual Amrita Entrance Examinations that we all look forward to. This time my posting was in Patna, Bihar. Never in the entire span of my pathetic years in college mess have I felt such great love to our own sambar and thairu saadam. Everything that we ate in Patna was either too expensive or covered with black salt. After 2 days, I was surviving on bread and mineral water. Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight and different people had different versions to it. The Chairman of Admissions thought that I was model example of how to manage food expenses while travelling and proceeded to slash the Dearness Allowance for everybody by 10%. My collegue Saravanan, whose only aims in life are to have a flat stomach, an incessant supply of protein powder and a hotline to all unmarried girls in Tamil Nadu (and maybe bordering areas of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh) firmly believed that I was dieting to get married. My PhD guide was thinking on the lines of cancelling my medical leave and vacations. As for me, I was just too happy to get back to the regular canteen diet of the so called sambar and mushy thairu saadam.

And then something wonderful happened in the month of April. The Holy Mother came to our house and blessed us with Her divine presence. Our family spent one hour with Her, where The Mother discussed everything from my grandmother’s health to my research plans.  It is always thrilling to watch a great master at work. Mother had come after giving darshan in Thrissur for a straight 15 hours, but there was no tiredness about Her. Amma says her battery is always connected to the mains.

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Mr Tyagi, Indian Forests, and the prize

And so the grand photography competition has come to an end. A big hall was filled with over 200 entries, various pictures of flora and fauna inside the Ettimadai campus. I blew around 2k and submitted a total 26 prints.

But what I remember most during that night, was this exciting and passionate talk by Mr. Tyagi, the forest conservation officer. In a lecture that lasted two hours, he gave us a clear impression that the forests in India are under major threats from many sources, and the government is not doing much. He told us how Project Tiger is a big joke with the actual figures falling well short of the projected figures. He told us how the central government gives priority to Atomic Energy Commision over Forest Conservation. He told us how big corporates set up their companies right in the middle of the elephant path and then declare that elephants are a nuisance.

I was so fired up after the talk that I went over to Mr Tyagi and said “Sir, I want to volunteer”
“Volunteer ? Volunteer for what?” He asked me.
“Sir, I want to volunteer for taking census of tigers” I blurted out.
It so happened that my brave and unselfish proposal was announced exactly when the Dean of Engineering was thanking Mr Tyagi for his visit. Now you should understand that my rude interruption was not on purpose. For over 2 hours, I was sitting inside a crowded room listening to a man who was repeatedly shouting “Nobody is doing anything !!!”. As a responsible citizen, I wanted to do something.
“Who are you and what are you doing here.” the Dean asked.
“Sir, I am Shivapratap. I handle 2 courses in CEN”
“So you want to count tigers, huh?” interjected Mr.Tyagi
“Yes sir. I would love to do that”
“You must understand that we don’t have hotels in the jungle. You will not even have a road.”
“Thats not a problem sir. You just tell me where to go.”
“Chances are that you may not come back alive” said Mr. Tyagi looking very grave.
“In that case,” the Dean pondered, “you better arrange for substitution for your classes before you leave.”
To those of you who are not teachers, I have to tell you, it is much harder to arrange for substitution than count tigers. And so there ends my effort to contribute to Indian Forest Conservation. Well, counting a few tigers is not conservation after all.

For the competition, they gave me a consolation prize. And I tell you, I was not consoled. They blamed my photos telling that they were not sharp. I blamed the studio telling they used bad quality paper. But I got special mention from the jury members. I also got the most number of audience votes for the best photograph.

Consolation Prize Photograph

Special Jury Mention in Non Competition Section
Peace, Love, Grace, Truth, Beauty....... Fly !

Audience Favorite

Okay, I admit that I am looking for cheap publicity here, but since nobody reads this, I guess I am excused.

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White Dove Remix (Feat. Grey Dove)

So we have a new network administrator. One BOFH kind. And the first thing that he did was change all the networks to class B (I wonder why) and block Gmail, and chat programs.

So we installed a back up system based on older technologies.

Modern Communication Engineering

Grey dove
Fly with the wind
Take my chat under your wings
For the world to know
That GTalk will not die
Where the proxies cry

<Message START>
Na na
Na na na na
Na na na na na na na na
Na na
Na na na na
Na na na na na

SEND: Disconnect packet: Invalid packet header.

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Life is …

I was walking towards my lab when I saw pilgrimhawk howering around in Lab 2. Its been quite some time since I talked to him. There was this long pongal vacation, and when everybody chose to go home, I reluctantly stayed back. I never wanted to stay back. I wanted to go some place. Some place far, but near enough so that I can come back on time to prepare for my classes. But that did not happen. Sometimes I can’t decide if I am lazy or just too tired.

I walk into the lab and he greets me with his friendly wave calling out “Shivankuttiyeeee….” Now here is a man who has been bitten time and again by the travel bug and the shutter bug. So I wondered aloud as to what he might have been doing during the Pongal break. He tells me he spent a quiet time with his family.
“And what about you Shiv.” I did not have much of a great time in college and thats exactly what I told him. “Sometimes, I think I need a break.”
“So, who is stopping you from taking a break” he asks me.
“I was planning to go to Pollachi and shoot some wildlife.”
“Did not do it this time. Thats ok. Maybe I will go there during the next holiday break.”
He looks at me without saying anything. Uncomfortable silence.
I quickly add “I am sure planning to go next time, even if nobody comes with me.” Some how I feel this is a better response.
In a sudden pensive mood, he tells me “You know Shiv, a friend of mine always used to tell me that life for most of us is a postponement!”

It did not hit me then, but after I walked out of the lab, that final sentence hit me like a brick wall. Sometimes certain simple words can become a powerful mantra. Sometimes certain simple words become meditation. Sometimes certain simple words reveal so much it forces to look at your life from a different perspective.

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Doodle Doodle

Its been three days now, or maybe a week. I dont’t really know, but Floyd has been asking me these same questions again and again.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Three days before the college opens I have shift the entire programming course from Java to C.

Cold comfort for change?

And guess what, I get a message thats supposed to come around two hours later.

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

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This time that year

City of joy. A lovable professor and an amazing collegue. Few very generous and hospitable students. Artists, poets, open air theater. Mishtir ke dokans (sweet shops). Puris and alu. Scrambled eggs. Breakfast of bread toast with butter. The holy ashram of Sri Ramakrishna. 15 minutes with Ma Sharada. A moment of silence with River Hooghly. A very old school. Sweets for lunch. That walk along Howrah bridge. Alipur zoo. More sweets. Victoria Memorial. Madusoodan Manch. Dinner with the Professor and his students. A box of sweets for home.
And…. a poem in gratitude…

Sweet Kolkata fills my soul
Fans my flame, my heart burns like coal
I have to write, I have to write
Without pausing for respite

Of bustling roads, rickshaws and trams
Sweetly puntuated with “mishtir ke dokans”
I have to write, I have to write
Without pausing for respite

Of her many sons, the British Raj feared
Countless stories Hooghly gently whispers
I have to write, I have to wite
Without pausing for respite

Of the city that inspired Tagore’s art
Ma Kali dancing in Paramahansa’s heart
I have to write, I have to write
Without pausing for respite

I have to write, I have to write
Without pausing for respite
Of a city of many wonderful things
For you, Kolkata, I spill my ink

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