Friday, April 29, 2005

And the Booker's prize goes to..

It’s been 4 years, since I started my engineering which means in a few days, I will be able to call myself an engineer (Sigh!).Not that it means much, but then most things don't anyway. The engineering degree is structured in such a way, that it consists of 3 months of undisturbed slumber, followed by a month of hectic exams. So, basically productive activity would all start in that one month. And, the first step of productivity is in procuring the books.

How you procure your books, says a lot about the type of engineer you will finally become. Buying all the books brand new,now is an expensive affair, besides most people have no need for the books after the exams (Most people have no need for the books during the exams as well ,but lets not get into that) . So, the brainwave some intellects came up with, is something known as a “Book Bank”.


Harappa and Mohenjadaro


The “Book Bank” located somewhere in the crevices of saidapet, has to be seen to be believed. It would make the harappa and mohenjadaro caves look modern. Ancient, actually Pre Ancient South Indian Architecture, with an open courtyard in the first floor. At any time in the evening you would find atleast 100 kids hanging with their books from every roof, most of them studying in the moonlight.

The Book bank rents out books and takes them back, which basically underlies that even they believe that books are only meant to clear examinations. On the “Book Collection” Sunday, Hoards of people seem to land up, from all corners making it like a family outing ,fully equipped with tiffin carriers and the works, I really shudder to think what will happen on the “Money Refund day” coming up...My humble advice don’t come within 5 kms of saidapet on June 12th.

Moore Market

For the industrious Conman, the best option would obviously be “The Moore Market”. Nope, no connection with Demi Moore(Damn!)Situated, next to the Central station , It is chennai’s largest second hand book store (might be Asia’s). The vendors inside, are all apparently long lost cousins of the inspiring Salesman Ramlal. You enter, and you are surrounded by atleast 10 hagglers from different shops, After which it is quite simple

1. Choose a vendor.

2. Make sure, you don’t infuriate the other vendors by doing so.

3. Haggle, Haggle , Haggle

4. Make sure your undies don’t get flicked in the bargain

5. Run for the hills!

So Now, you have figured out how you are going to get your books, The next step is in deciding which books you are planning to buy. Here again, the options are endless.


The
Anna University magnanimously, gives you a set of text books and reference books which you are apparently supposed to study from. So everyone optimistically buys the prescribed text books, then feeling happy about themselves forget that they have to open them.

Now the books you choose to study from, is basically based upon the amount of time you have left for the examination.

1-Month to go

Text Book

These Books can be doubled up as body building weights in most cases, So finally that is what they end up doing.

1-Week to go

Next option, Nathuram’s gay cousins A.Godse and S.Godse not forgetting their estranged bother Mr.Bakshi. They are the founders of the World Mensa society, and have atleast 1400 books in different subjects to their credit. Last I heard, the medical society has approached them to write a book on gynecology. As usual, it shouldn’t take more than 3 days to complete.

2- Days to go

Now we enter, the distressed phase, where we realize that the Godse brothers are taking us for a ride, besides they killed our beloved “bapu”. So,We move onto what I’d like to call “My Savior” Charulatha Publications. Affectionately called “Charu”.

Features:

  • 1/5 the size of the regular book
  • Feather weight
  • As many pages as the morning newspaper
  • Anything complicated has been omitted (Its not in the syllabus obviously)

Needless, to say this is my favourite book, and I really wish all of us can invite the editors of “Charu” to our graduation party.

1- Day to go

Now we enter, “No Hope” phase. “No Fear, Made easy is here”.

Now Made easy is advertised as the text book made easy, But on closer examination it is more like “Charu, Made easy”

Features:

  • Weightless
  • As many pages as the Young World
  • Random batches of 20 pages at every interval regularly discarded ( You must use your choice in the examinations pa!)
  • Complicated things ( Sorry Pa! We also did’nt understand)

15- Mins to go

Last option, when you have recovered from amnesia and suddenly realized you have only 15 mins left for the exam, “The Syllabus”.

Syllabus basically tells you, What you should have been studying in the last one month, which is more or less enough to write about 30 pages in your paper, and is definitely the most optimal solution as nothing can be out of syllabus in this case.

Let’s now move on to some our eclectic authors of the last 4 years, who have now gone to become house hold names

Singaravelu – Ramanujam’s nephew, and the author of every Maths book in this city from L.K.G to Maths for the mentally challenged.

Balagurusamy – The self proclaimed thalaivar of C++. It really doesn’t count for Too much cause one look at his face on the cover, and you really don’t feel like studying anymore.

Much, like the saying In the long run, We are all dead, here as well In the long run, none of this really matters”, Cause our papers are corrected by Frodo and his freckled friends. They use something known as SCM or (“Scratching Correction Methodology” )Tamil version (“Sori Correction methodology”), which in simple terms is scratch with one hand, correct with the other. The marks you get are inversely proportional to the amount they scratch. So, it does make sense to attach a small tube of “Itch guard” along with your answer sheet. No fear, If you didn’t do it the first time, do it when you send your paper for Revaluation.

Revaluation in most institutes means, revaluing someone’s paper.
But here it takes on a simpler meaning


Revaluation – We will try our best to make you pass


Now that the analysis is over, only one trivial task remains, which is to study for the exam…. Damn that reminds me, Its day after tomorrow.



Monday, April 18, 2005

Mobile Musings

"From time immemorial, Man has always found an urge to communicate. From using body parts and perverse gestures he moved on to using more industrious forms of communication like smoke signals and the kabutar ".

The emphasis obviously, on getting the message across in the shortest possible time. He put in a hard days work , entertained his wife (sometimes wives)and was at the end of the day judged on the basis of his intelligence, character and the place he held in society.

How the tables have turned!!!

Smitha : Hey, I went for this really cool party on the weekend

Silksmitha : Yeah. How was it

Smitha: I met this really cool guy, ya!

Silksmitha : Ya!What cell does he have ?

There we have it, A cell phone

"The ultimate status symbol of the younger generation"

And If you have a Reliance phone, May the Lord have mercy on you.

As I had the pleasure of finding out once, at one of those clich├ęd beach house do’s…

For probably the one and only time, in my hallowed existence I had the pleasure of dancing with a beautiful young lady…The conversation that followed

Pretty lady: Hey Sudhir ! What’s your cell number

Shocked Sudhir : What? ( Wondering , If Christmas had set in early)

Pretty lady : Yeah tell me..what is it..98 ?

Still recovering Sudhir : No actually Its 044..I have a Reliance

Pitiful lady : Oh! (proceedes to next drone)

Next Drone : Ha! U have a Reliance huh! Your best chance of getting lucky is with Sehwag’s mom dude

A few days later, going through the whole incident in my mind..I envisioned a Padymsee like Slogan for GSM phones.

“GSM: YOU WONT GET LAID WITH ANYTHING ELSE”


What is it with women and their repulsion for Reliance phones. I wondered.


What is it with Women and Cell phones in general? Why are they so fixated about them anyway? I was wondering if you guys have noticed, 50% of conversations between women, and most times even men these days are about their damn cell phones.


You hear words like 7700, 6583, P650, P800 being thrown around with gay abandon.


Are the people of our time, really interested in the technology and functioning of cell phones, or are they just trying to sound cool?

This conversation, I had with a girl in my class helped me make up my mind.

Phonofile : You know, I cant imagine a World without cell phones today.

Humble me : Yeah. Why do u say that.

Phonofile : No man, I really believe in that. (Quite emphatically) Cell Phones have become a necessity ! ( Removes her phone)

Observant me: Does your phone have Blue tooth? ( Trying to sound intelligent!)

Phonofile : No , It doesn’t have any games.

I made up my mind.


Another thing, I have noticed is that, People are increasingly judged on the basis of their cell phone.


Reliance – Doodh wala

BSNL – Retard

Pre Paid – Cheap Ass

Post Paid – Cool dude

And so on...


A time may soon come where the Matrimonial section might soon look like this

“A Tall Fair Handsome Tamil Brahmin Iyer boy seeks the alliance of a Tall Fair & Lovely Tamil Brahmin iyer girl. No Dowry,Only Deposit

Attributes

  • Well mannered , Fair boy
  • Software Professional in Silicon valley, earning in $$


Special Attribute

  • Nokia 7700

Requirements

  • Girl should be adept at making Sambhar, Rasam, Mulgapudi
  • Girl should be able to sms at the same speed, as the items she makes above"

Cell phones have become a very important part of our lives agreed, But I think the fact I am trying to argue with is here that 5 years back most of us didn’t have them anyway, Besides, I am sure most of you know people who don’t have one and get by just fine.

Can we really judge a person by what cell phone he carries?. I know people who change their cell phone, as often as I break my spectacles (very often) and people who actually pay premiums to get the latest cell phone before everyone else does.

Does it all really make sense ? I really thought a cell phone was something you used primarily for conversing (Unless you work for the paparazzi) and maybe messaging if and only if a landline was'nt around you.

I can hear people saying…Dude What about GPRS and a Camera man.

If you are really that much of an internet freak, and want it to accompany you around the world, then buy a Laptop man, What internet can you browse in the 2 by 2 inch screen of your phone anyway??

With the cameras, The resolution in most cell phones is appalling compared to the actual digital camera, and primarily a camera is meant to shoot truly memorable moments for which you would carry your regular camera with you anyway.Alright, there might be a few notable exceptions.. The DPS Video for instance, but last I heard the girl has been exiled to Canada and the most of the girls have learnt from her mistake, or so I've heard.

But What the hell!! The full form of CDMA is still going to be an astonishingly cool thing to remember, people are still going to invest half their first salaries into a new cell phone , leaving me to ponder what I am really trying to achieve by writing this piece of dribble..For one thing, It will make me a feel a lot better cause my phone looks a lot like this.
Click to enlarge

Monday, April 04, 2005

On the Turning Away

Continued...

“Terrified, stupefied, petrified, fortified, mortified (ala John Nash) would probably best describe the way I felt as returned home. My dad taking a peculiar pity, on me revived me with a shot of Scotch adding reasuuringly that this was the one time , if ever, I deserved that liberty. Even my friends later in the evening were perplexed as to why I surprisingly seemed very distant and cut off that night. On reflection, I thought that even though the interview was probably the most mentally challenging 45 minutes I had ever spent in my short life, it actually went pretty well. Vanessa, who also happened to be a witness during my interview seconded this and added that I was the the only person upon whom the stresser bestowed the "Its been a pleasure dialogue"

I had my doubts.The next day, still recovering from the events of the previous day, I recounted my experience with an experienced victim of such interviews. He told me that apparently , I made a mistake by declining the “Biscuit bandits”. Apparently their game plan is that, As soon as you take a bite of the biscuit, they will attack you with a question to see whether you first finish the biscuit, or answer with the biscuit still in your mouth . In hindsight, I probably then made the right decision . Considering my previous track record with such affairs , not to mention my eagerness to get the interview moving then,let’s just say the chances of half of Columbia and Korea suddenly being surged upon by “Good day” particles from my jaw were in my estimate “disturbingly high”.

I also couldn’t help but ponder that taking into account that they were aimlessly frolicking for a good half hour after the previous victim had left, they just might have actually made me wait on purpose. How pathetic ! With these, and similar heavy thoughts on my mind, I had a disturbed night’s sleep knowing fully well that the next day would be the day when, I would know my fate.

The following night, the phone rang.”Hello, this is Yousuf...Regional President (for the 5th time) It was 10:30 in the night, hardly an auspicious time for a conversation of this nature So, I thought it was one of my friends taking my micky. He had just about finished his now infamous introduction and carried on. .” I am sorry to inform you, that our H.R Firm cannot service your application”.
I was a little startled. More so, by the trivial manner in which he replied then anything else Yes, Can you give me a reason for this decision", I mustered. He thought for a bit and replied , “Well , we don’t look at the normal criterion a normal Indian H.R Firm looks for (fair enough), Besides we thought you were Over confident (hmm) , not to mention impatient .( Please Note : 90 Min Wait) We also thought you were overtly selective about your countries ( OK, I was’nt too inclined on going to Aceh, or East Timor) . And then, after a brief interlude

The clincher

If there is one reason to single out, It would probably be cause you have a technical background but , you are more inclined towards a Management job role”.

Hang on a minute, I thought. Where have I heard that one before!!

I put the phone down, with his words still ringing in my head reflecting how every minute detail in this interview was ingeniously artfully plotted, with utmost foresight and Ambani like deceit.

This was probably the only company in the world which made you apply, made you masquerade around them for a month to acquire an interview, made you subject to intense mental torture and then made you give them a reason as to why they should'nt employ you.


I was that unfortunate person . A battered beleaguered soul, and I really felt like an unfortunate victim of a hitchcock plot. With a prayer on my lips, It was now time to go to sleep. I closed my eyes, slowly drifting into an indefinite slumber. A song played out in the background, I finally knew what it actually meant. It was my only solace .


comfnumb

There is no pain, you are receding.

A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.

You are only coming through in waves.

Now I got that feeling once again.

I can’t explain, you would not understand.

This is not how I am.

I have become comfortably numb








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Comfortably numb



Over the next few paragraphs, I endeavour to take you through one of the most mortifying experiences in my life , which should give you guys insurmountable pleasure. So sit back, grab yourself a drink cause I have a feeling you are going to relish this.

It was Friday the 12th of March, and I was awoken from my evening snooze, by the unmistakable hoarse voice of Vanessa (Actual name, quite unpronounceable), my placement advisor . Amongst her many attributes is her ability , to change her cell number every week (Hey! I’m on hutch now) not counting the number of times she loses her phone itself. This when combined with her promptness in returning calls (not less than a month) all adding up to make her about as approachable as the Queen. Coming to the organization, whose identity I can’t disclose for obvious reasons, I want you to imagine a respectable Multi national type of organization offering jobs in different countries all over the world, with a wide diversity of job roles . They also are one of the few organizations which offer offer cross over jobs ..as in (Tech to Mgmt).

Any way, she obviously decided that one day’s notice was more than enough for me, and I was told that my interview was the next day at 5 O’clock at Anna Nagar, a good 45 minutes from my house. The D-Day came (Surprisgly soon) and an exhausting auto journey, an altercation with my brother and a bewildering location hunt later, I made it to the interview site quite surprisingly on time.

The office building seemed quite impressive, and when I was directed to the top floor, I thought I could expect a comfortable corporate style Air-conditioned office. To put it mildly, I thought wrong! The interview, was being conducted on the terrace (which must be a first) and I was introduced to a man named Yousuf (name changed on request), A humble self effacing chap who very modestly voluntarily told me that he was the president of the organization and soothingly added that my interview might be delayed. The interview was going on inside, the panel apparently consisted of 6 people from 6 different countries (Korea, India, Bolivia, Columbia, Hong Kong, Lithuania) apparently chaired by an experienced recruiter re known for his STRESS interviews. I was motioned to wait outside, in the terrace I might add, in the sweltering Chennai Heat!!


An hour or so of melting in the terrace later, I decided to take a look into the interview room, to figure out what exactly the situation was. The previous interview was over, And the panelists were now blissfully sipping coffee and evidently pleasuring themselves.

By now, to quote Navjoth Singh siddhu ,” I had lost my marbles”.

“The ides of March, had truly set in.”

So, I gestured to Yousuf , that it was getting late besides, I was also losing weight standing outside. Some time later, He came out giving an explanation as to how this particular organization, had a history of respecting people’s time and that this wasn’t an organization that just got you a job abroad.

I didn’t quite understand, that last sentence of his, I’m sure you don’t as well. But anyway, I wasn’t given a chance to find out what this organization actually did, as I was summoned inside.


INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRES

To describe the setting, the room was quite a small one and inside bunched in like a pack of sardines was an eclectic group of 6, all seemingly piling onto one another. I got the subtle feeling that they had a certain anticipatory grin about them, like when a pack of vultures identify a fresh dead carcass..

The man, in the centre (Indian) introduced himself, which led to 5 more introductions , not to mention my hand feeling a little sore. “BUD DYA JIKE DU HAV SHOM BISHKEY”, the Korean had decided to announce himself. Unfortunately, he had to do so several times more, until finally the Indian took over and explained that he was asking me, if I wanted to have any biscuits. Not to far away, from me, A plate of neglected impoverished “Good Day” biscuits were shoved, crumbling that too with one biscuit seemingly half moth eaten. Much to the disapproval of the Korean, I resisted the temptation. “DJU PLEISH JAV SHOME BISHKEYYY, KOPIII”. Ok, the Korean wasn’t giving up easy, and soon enough half of Eastern Europe had also joined in. I was now getting increasingly reminded of the band of “BISCUIT BANDITS” which I had heard were still at large. This was followed by the sudden development, of the Columbian now becoming very very insistent that I take a bite.

Needless to say, My suspicons as regards to the contents of those biscuits had now reached its peak.

Anyway, the columbian finally gave up , and the Indian moved on with the general arbitrary questions, but soon enough he started living up to his “stressing” reputation with the inscrutable expressions of the Korean backing him up.

A snippet of the conversation:

Interviewer: Do you listen to other people’s advice?

Me: Yes. I am a good listener

Interviewer: So, you can’t think on your own

Conversely

Interviewer: Do you listen to other people’s advice?

Me: No, I trust my own judgment on most things.

Interviewer: Oh! You’re conceited. You don’t value other people’s opinions.


Yes, this was GANG RAPE !! at it’s profound best and it became quite evident to me , that this was a NO WIN situation...

Half an hour through the interview, realization finally dawned upon the Eastern European’s that the cold war had ended 20 years ago, and they decided to albeit regrettably open their mouths. On discerning, I had little intention of coming to within 1000 km of any of their resident countries, they quickly thankfully, reverted back to their “Cold War” status.



It was then, the opportunity of the Columbian, to make the presence of “whatever he was on” felt. He started off, and given his accent and appearance it seemed like he was a “Narco guerilla”, giving me an update of the variety of the stock he was peddling. He went on in great detail, for quite a while until the self appointed translator(Indian) finally discerned that I understood very little of what he was saying.

The Korean, then returned with “ Ip thersih wan reasone, why u dounat tink u will clear dish interview. Wat ish it? “ (If there is one reason, why you don’t think you will clear this interview. What is it?). By then, my Kinglish had improved and I replied that (Pay attention) “It would probably be because, I had a technical background, but was more inclined towards a Management job role”, which actually was quite a corny answer cause, I knew very well that this organization gave out Management oriented job roles to technical people as well. The Korean was'nt done with his sushi , and this was followed by “Cayn dyu Pleaze give ME faive weakneshhes” . He wanted to hear 5 of my WEAKNESSES? I also observed, that almost in perfect unison, All 6 of them removed a note pad to take my weaknesses down.


I was now scanning the room, for all its possible exits. After 45 minutes, the Indian announced that the ordeal was finally over; and also noted that the interview was a pleasure. As I made a dash for the door, I did manage to catch a certain smug satisfied expression on the vulture’s faces.
They had just induldged in a 7 course offering.

I lost way back home…twice! And my mind, seemed peculiarly resistant to response. Everything was a blur... I now knew what Ben stiller felt like in most of his movies. But, even he would have found it difficult to foresee, what was to ensue in the next couple of days.


To be continued….




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