Oct 6, 2013

Back in Time

So today I found out about this blog - called sister14 (http://sister14.wordpress.com/) by who else other than the 2002 Kara batch. (Sister14,  if you have Americanized or Anglicized since leaving IIT, means behenchod. Now don't ask me to spell its meaning as well).  You know, those guys 3 years our senior. The batch of Abba, Khanna, Mehla, Suttu, Guru among others. The batch that we used to look up to when we had just landed in Karakoram all those years ago. A batch which had carried the legendary Kara tradition of making the most fabulous skits ever. And a batch that was good in everything they did, or so it seemed to us going back to all those years. Sports and Cultural Activities - check. The batch which had their names printed on sweatshirts to let the bonds last for eternity. I am not really sure how many of those sweatshirts survive - for our own batch followed them suit, and had our own 2001 class of Karakoram sweatshirts and I am not really sure how many of our batchmates still have those sweatshirts. I for one have kept mine but am unable to wear it any more, with various spatial changes occurring in both the sweatshirt and me to sustain our union.

But this is not a story about their batch or their blog. The short story being that the blog didn't sustain itself beyond 8 posts, and could only last for an entire month. This is a story about our batch and this blog. We had a longer journey, we lasted 2 and a half months, and 11 posts, but then it all came tumbling down. We had started off with this by Atish, in the Why This post - the first on this blog "To try and chronicle small incidents from the 4 or 5 years that we spent together, probably the best years of our lives. Stories that we are unlikely to find anywhere else again. To relive moments like Moshu's course registrations sessions or Pappu's antics or anything for that matter that involves IIT. Stories from the cricket field or the music room. Stories of the nightouts at the Labs of VI th Block and those at Nescafe. I am sure all of us have many such ones to tell. Ten years down the line, this should make for a very interesting and rewarding read. So let the posts flow."

Its been almost six years of the ten years later - and we do not have enough stories. And stories are a wonderful thing - they can take you back in time, and they can help you bring back a long lost memory stored in some part of your brain, swallowed up by the stock prices, financial ratios, software codes, or management jargons which take away most of your time. Hence, here is a call for more stories, because sometimes, when everything is going wrong, you just need to go back in time. Back in time to a  wonderful place called IIT and our own little home in it called Karakoram. Back in time to when everything was simple, and the greatest issues in life were to select which songs to play for the Western Night, or decide the teams for Squash. 

Back in time to a place where even a D made you happy, terribly happy. And where you could spend (waste??) all night long discussing girls and politics and AOE at Nescafe, and not feel guilty about it. Back in time where you could hate people just for being from a different hostel, and where you were patriotic enough to shout "Kara ka enthu high hai" in a top voice at all Seminar Hall Events. Back in time where - unlike today - everyday was not mundane, and each day had something or the other happening. 

To put it shortly, this blog needs to be the place for stories that go back in time to when life was simple. 

May 20, 2007

Pehli Nite Out

Second year. The night before the Computer Architecture final project demo. Suhas's room in the NC wing.

Bansal, Suhas and I finally decide to make a last ditch effort to pass the course. With scores like 1.5, 2.5 out of 20 (or was it 40!) in the minors and no hope of any redemption in the majors, was it a case of too little too late? Naah ! 'Nite out maarte hain yaar... ho jaega'

None of us had any clue of what was to be done. The best shot that we had was to somehow convince our prof that we had at least tried and then hope for his benevolence. Circumstances had forced the three of us to enter into this alliance. Actually, only individuals or groups of two were allowed. But we realised that friendship is worth more than grades (even passing a course) and since for some reason we three were the only people left without partners, we decided 'Saath jienge, saath marenge'

We just did whatever we felt would make the prof feel that we had made a sincere effort. Completion was beyond our abilities so was never our agenda. We decided to slog out the entire night and come up with something presentable. Suhas and Bansal did most of the coding stuff (did I even need to tell you guys that!) and I concentrated on making some flowcharts (handmade), coming up with explanations for our super shady efforts and the trio factor and generally giving random fundes at times. I actually dont remember that night very vividly except for the fact that all of us knew that we had a non zero probability of flunking the course and that was quite a scary thought at that point of time. So we just did whatever our intelligence and instinct would dictate to us without taking into consideration its relevance. By the early hours of morning we had come up with something to show the prof. Some code, some algorithms, a flowchart and lots and lots of practice at pleading our case.

I finally dozed off at quarter to seven and slept for half an hour or so. But technically since the night was over, so it was officially my first night out. The other two didnt even sleep for a minute.

Intel Lab. The three of us are called by the prof. We take our positions in front of him, 
strategically placing Suhas closest to him.

"Why are you a group of three?"

"mmm.....sir....actually sir... we couldnt find partners... mmm... and since it would have been too difficult for an individual to do it (too difficult..... hah what a lie.. we would even have tried in that case!)... so . sir we decided to form a group of three...please sir...."
(what an excuse!!)

"But I have never seen any one of you ever in the class. No wonder you dont have a clue about the project..."

"Sir... sorry sir... please sir......sir but we have tried our best sir... please..."

"Ok show me what you have done"

We show him our stuff all along mumbling some rubbish and thinking.. "what the fuck .. this guy knows we havent done a thing.. its all shit that we are showing him.. then why is he still playing the game.. why doesnt he just pass us yaar ....he knows we know and we know he knows..."

"I cant understand one thing. One project, three guys. So which one of you did the work and who are the two who just sat back...and enjoyed.."

<ALERT... here comes the answer
"Sir he thought of the algo, and then I did the coding and then he ran the tests and debugged the code"

The prof was almost in splits. He knew it all. I think even he was enjoying the farce. Anyway, that was the end of our demo.

We passed the course

Apr 10, 2007

A Musical Journey

Music has always been a central part of my life, so this article is going to about that. Before coming to IIT my knowledge of contemporary English songs was limited to some pop artists and a couple of boy bands whom I occasionally saw on Channel V and MTV. My parents had a good cassette tape collection of old school soft rock & roll which they had got from a colleague and I can't remember how many times I have listened to those songs. My knowledge of modern rock was pathetic ... led zeppelin to me was a very weird name since zeppelin certainly wasn't made of lead. My initiation into the world of modern rock began with Venky's Metallica noise pollution as I used to call his initial attempts at playing Metallica songs on his tape recorder / guitar (we are still in the pre LAN era now ... LAN happened in the second year). But as all of you know, those songs grow on you and even if you don't like them initially, you will eventually.

My musical journey began with my wing in first year, D-short which was home to people who did hear "English" music and helped me get initiated. Thanks to Zubin I got to hear the albums Bryan Adams -18 till I die and On a day like today. For all practical purposes I also owned his Metallica - Black Album since it never left my room. Pushan contributed Micheal learns to rock and the main-Walkman. Balaji pitched in Pearl Jam - Ten, and Metallica - Load. Venky apart from the many live performances was responsible for Metallica - Reload and Garage Inc. Suhas provided the backup-Walkman in case Pushan wanted to use his own and he also provided the rechargeable batteries.

This account of music would not be complete if I didn't mention about the many night outs spent on hostel event practices. First year was pretty crazy in that respect, just he sheer number of event taking place and the amount of practice that we all put it was arguably more than the amount of time I spent on academics. Those were fun times ... me, dipu, suhas, venky, pushkar, deba and others marooing a frustu fight over songs till early morning. Deba used to make us have 5-6 back to back practices ... it was gruelling. Some 4th year guy would see us practicing and take pity on us and buy paranthas from AIIMS for our midnight snack. The sad thing was that in spite of putting in so much hard work, we didn't win a single major event in our first year. Sometimes other hostels used to put up performances which were better than ours but I always felt that we atleast deserved 2nd or 3rd in many of those events ... but we never won any events, something that I still can't understand why. On the day of the last music event under Deba's rep-ship Deba was extremely frustrated for not having won after giving the best fucking performances of our lives. He gave the music team such a huge treat in KL that I didn't have much of an appetite for about 2 days after that. I can never forget how happy we were ... we were happier than the team which actually won and people who saw us in KL on that day thought that we had gone crazy. Maybe we had, but what do you expect from people who had just given the best musical performance of their lives ?!

Just like ragging brought all of the first year guys closer to one another, I believe that the failures in the music events brought all of us closer. When we practiced we knew that we were not doing it for winning, we were doing it because it was fun and because we enjoyed each others company. And that made all the difference. It made it worth to bust your balls in practice and yet not winning anything, 'coz as far as we were concerned we had already got what we could have gotten from the journey ... the view along the way.

The event which did get results for Kara for a long time though was the MM (Music Manoranjan) which was jointly organized by the Music Club and The Dance and Dramatics Club. Anybody who has ever been a part of the music team for an MM knows that it pure hell. You have no freaking control of the music since it is completely decided by people who write the scripts. Songs change within seconds and each one is in a different major/minor scale. This is because the people who sing aren't experts and have only a limited range and usually can't sing the song's original scale. Something similar also applies to instrumentalists, since they are usually comfortable only playing certain scales or key combinations. All these things meant that the instrumentalists (read guitarist and synth player) had to constantly keep changing the pitch/instrument settings every song and it all got very very confusing. Also since there were soooooooo many clips/sounds effects to prepare (typically about 30) the music team had to start early since the acting guys wanted real music when they practiced. But in spite of all this MM was one of the most fun events that I participated in IIT. Although sometimes bad luck would follow us there as well when some hostel would put in way too much pondy which would piss off the profs and they would scrap the whole event. Typical knee jerk prof. reaction.

I have been fortunate enough to see many of my friends transform from raw beginners to seasoned musicians. Atish became a singer, guitarist, tabla player, drummer and also played a bit of synth ... I have no idea how you did it dude! Suhas's "Every rose has its thorn" is nothing short of a legend now, but you have to hear it at 2am when Suhas is fully awake and you are very drowsy. Venky's performances in the final year were simply outstanding! Even Balaji had started making some headway with his guitar. My musical experience in the hostel was consummated on my final day at the hostel before I left for Madurai. It all started with us deciding to use a cheap headphone mic and record what we sing. We listened to it after a try and were amazed at the sound quality. Everyone felt incredibly stupid for not having thought of this earlier, but now we all had only one day (more precisely night) to record our songs. Time was precious and we were running out of it very very fast. We set about to record all the songs that we had performed together and which we actually remembered! We ended up recording many solo performances and some group performances with lots of cheering by junta from the wing and others. But the one for which we actually had to re-practice was a song that we had played in the second year , "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. We didn't give your best performance that night but we recorded it and even now when I listen to it, I am transported back to that aakhri niteout. All the songs can be found here.

If there is one night that I really want to go back to in my iit days ... it has got to be that one.

Apr 3, 2007

The mean machine!!!

"What,shez single"??I remarked with such enthusiasm as if all the single women I had met in my life had fallen for me, alwayz.I presume I dont have to state the obvious."Yaar but shez good looking",replied Vanti.Oops!!! so herein lies the problem but the cheetah I have been, I was ready to take another risk or if I may put it in harsh real words,surety of hearing a NO.
My life incidents have been hilarious and funny to the extent of not being true as my friends alwayz believed.So I thought I shud come up with some dedications as remembrandts to some of those incidents during my college days.And also to make some(or shud I say most) of my L(read loser) frenz feel better that they havent faced such treacherous conditions.This post is dedicated to sleek sexy mean machine!!!
Well the above mentioned conversation dates back to 2003 winters.Only after many assurances to my sweet friend Vanti that I am a strong guy(read Loser) and a 'NO' wudnt b as disappointing as she thought, she agreed to introduce me to her single friend.I was just recovering from a break up guess thats why Vanti was a lil concerned about me.Jeez I have mentioned single so many times tho' then I knew it wud have no iota of impact on her decision.
The D day came and I got a call to reach Nescafe in 15 mins.I have never been in time for anything due to my late visit to .....(just before leaving, as u all know).So 15 mins was just not possible.Vanti knew of my ways and threatened to leave if I dint hurry up.I wore some 5-6 layers to cover up my frail strcture and to get the 'Macho' look as the lady I had heard liked big bods.The talk of our group those days was a Bajaj Caliber which my friend Shreyas had got from his bro and evrybdy wanted to have a ride.But only once.Find out why.
I borrowed his bike but damn it dint start.So I had to drag it for some 10 m and tried hard again.Jesus blessed me this time and I was riding the mean machine,all excited to meet her.Well what happened at the rendezvous is not at all important for this post.She asked me to drop her back home as my friend Vanti was leaving for some place else.Gawdd I was already blushing.Wow it wud be gr8 if any of my L friend sees me driving her back so there wud be enough stories about me.And this is exactly why I said 'my life's funny incidents'.The mean machine just dint start.I tried and tried and tried.Both,Vanti and her friend, of them laughed and walked their way back to home.
And so did I.The only difference being that I had a mean machine for company which I had to drag all the way back to the hostel.That was the last I heard from her(pun intended).

Mar 28, 2007

So it Begins

I had never lived outside my home for too long. Till about class 12th the maximum I had stayed out of home at night was 12.30 on a Janmashtami as we had put a Jhanki and went to donate the proceeds to near by Mandir. I was alien to having a gang per say, very homely if you want.

I came to the hostel knowing nothing about whats in store. My father got me a room and a room mate, who turned out to be the highest ranker of our hostel batch :P. my wing had 12 people from entirely different back grounds and regions of the country. Everyone had something different to tell, well almost everyone. Getting to know each other was fun apart from being imperative to save our asses from getting kicked. Although that plan quite literally went to waste, but more on that maybe on some other post. I have always been a little slow at developing relationships and was taking my time here too. The first person I got to know was Tarun Pangti (read: no comments). But slowly I got to know others as well.

One evening when we were back from classes we got our first taste of the years to come. Power cut # 1. We didn’t know what to do, we started roaming around in the wings, could barely see each others faces in the fading sunlight. In the wing next to ours there were a few though who probably knew what could be done. Venky’s room was surrounded by around 15 people at the least, with Venky sitting in a chair with his guitar in his hands. I hadn’t heard too many English songs then, but these guys had. But they started with one of the most famous songs of those times – summer of 69. I didn’t know the lyrics so I used to wait till the famous lines were being sung. That’s exactly when it struck me that I am in for some really great time; it was the beginning of a lifetime.

Mar 20, 2007

Papa ki pari hun main ...

Atish and Laddu are the two people who have been my neighbours for most of time in the hostel. We came together in the first year itself, when all three of us were cooped up in that hell-hole, also known as ND. That parched piece of land where there was no water, only a hot Delhi sun beating upon the roof, making it impossible to sleep soundly even at night. It was a time when the net era had not yet dawned upon the campus, so cassette tapes reigned supreme for entertainment.

My roomie had beaten up emergency light cum fan, which also had a time-pass radio, with a fata hua speaker. Whenever that thing was switched on, it was pure torture. Lacking any kind of musical talent (unlike Atish) or cassette player (unlike Laddu), yours truly made do with whatever numbers were belted out from Laddu's old faithful, which I believe was with him in boarding school too. Raaz and Filhaal, alongwith a bit of Rehna hai Tere Dil Mein were L's favourite songs and were played again and again and again. Since L's room was right in front of mine, I bore the brunt of the music (which was any day much better than my roomie's radio!). After being conditioned for a few months by this music, I pretty much knew all the lyrics by heart by the end of the first year!

In second were all separated, with L being in one corner and me in the other. However, Atish's room was close by and with his new PC (which is still giving faithful service) a new source of music was opened. This was the time when the LAN in the hostel had started to make its presence felt and the PC opened doors to many new activities ;). So for most of the second year, I made do with the radio of my roomie :(.

In the third year, the three of us were reunited in D Parallel. Our rooms were in a row, Me, L and Atish in that order. The title of the post comes from a song that the L used to start up at some unearthly hour of the morning and face abuse left right and center. The Venkie and the Guptaji and the Maddu were also in this wing. If I remember correctly, Atish had bought a guitar in this sem and there was a lot of jamming in the wing. A particularly memorable incident was when a sleepy Chu came lurching into the wing, his beauty sleep broken by Venky's Metallica, flipping off all the switches in the wing!

In the fourth year I had the misfortune of getting a room wedged-in on all sides by people with very different music tastes. To my left was Venky, who would start playing at 3am, when I was just getting read to sleep. To my right was Talli, who would, with the aid of Babu, put on all kinds weird songs. In front were Das and Dhall, who would put their playlists on loop, lock the door and go away. L was usually busy on duty, so there was not much music from him ;).

In the final year, only two musicians were left - Atish and Suhas. Both spent a lot of time singing with their guitars and given the fact that they were pretty good at it, it was quite a treat.

Now only one musician is gracing me with his presence and he is still going strong!

Mar 18, 2007

My Nescafe mate, and my roommate

(Attention: For members of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, definitely don't read Act II. It contains scenes of violence. For general junta, read on. For sadistic junta, read onner. For fans of Joey from friends, read onnest.)

Epilogue: This post is about two guys I knew in IIT Delhi, one with whom were spent the most carefree years of my life, whiling away time in Nescafe at 4 in the night, and the other with whom I shared a room in my job year, in GK-1. Two different persons, who had much in common. The former was from a village in Rajasthan, while the latter from Haryana. Both managed to keep all of us in toes laughing with their gags, most of which were intentional, and plain stupid. But the most amazing thing is, that they managed to repeat these acts of stupidity through their four years in IITD and beyond. The resemblance between them was uncanny, and many a lesser mortal have got confused between the two. For want of better names, lets call them Ravinder and Pradeep respectively. But in spite of it all, there is a big difference between the two: Pradeep has an affinity for chappals, which he gets pretty often, all over his body, while Ravinder is generally likable, and apart from his antics, very intelligent. Pradeep is, according to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, universally tied with a certain Mohit (a post dedicated to him will be out soon) as the most beaten up forms of life, dead or living, ever. But more of it later. For right now, the batsman coming into bat is Ravinder. (I was enamored by Ireland and Bangladesh wins yesterday).

Scene Setting: Ravinder is standing with a bunch of friends outside the coffee shop. Far away walks Amreen Sodhi, a junior in IITD and a decent friend, wearing salwar kameez.
Ravinder(looking at Amreen): Woh dekho, that girl looks a lot like Amreen.
Everyone starts laughing.
Ravinder( a bit nonplussed): Look carefully. If she was wearing jeans, like Amreen normally does, she would look a lot like Amreen.
The laughs increase in intensity.
Ravinder (out of his wits): Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she does not look like Amreen.

Scene Setting: Ravinder is returning back from Nescafe with all of us, at around five in the morning. We are talking about Laloo Prasad Yadav, his eleven children, and Rabri Devi. Someone mentions Sadhu Yadav.
Someone2: Who is Sadhu Yadav?
Someone3: Sadhu Yadav Laloo ka Saala hai. (Sadhu Yadav is Laloo's brother-in-law).
Ravinder: wah wah wah wah. What a name. Laloo Kasala. Wah wah. It is such a great name. (And he goes into a giggle loop. We still havent figured out why!)

ACT I SCENE III (Censored: Adults and Boys only).
Scene Setting: Ravinder comes back from the institute to the hostel.
Ravinder: I was walking on the road outside the bank when I saw this girl whose zip was open.
Someone: What did you do?
Ravinder: Nothing, actually! But I remembered how people open and close their fist to signal "lights on during the daytime" to motorists and I now think I should have done that. It would have let her know that her zip was open!!

Scene Setting: Ravinder is trying on the helmet. He picks up the helmet and puts it on with the front face backwards. So, obviously all he can see is total blackness.
Ravinder: How do people drive with this thing on? I cant see a thing. #$%@%$@

Scene Setting: Outside Nescafe.
Someone: See. she is the girl I have a crush on.
Ravinder: No this is not the girl you have a crush on. That (pointing in the other direction) is the girl you have a crush on.
Someone: No, that is the girl I have a crush on. I have shown her so many times, can't you still recognize?
Ravinder: How can I recognize them? ALL GIRLS LOOK THE SAME IN JEANS.

And there are so many more. But now, lets take a break and look at the other protagonist of the story, Pradeep.

Scene Setting: Inside a train in Itarsi platform. The carriage saw a sudden influx of eunuchs in the bogey, which was all booked by students of the Electrical Engineering Department. An eunuch came into the compartment, and said "Paise nikaal jaldee be, nahin to kholke dikhaoon kyaa? (Take out the money, or do you want me to show you whats inside?) and she(he??) threatened to pull out whatever she(he??) was wearing. Which actually scared the blues out of one of the inmates, and gave the tenner to help her(him??) on the way. Everyone was happy with the escape, except for Pradeep.
Pradeep : Why did you have to give it the tenner so soon? I wanted to see what was inside. And out came our chappals, and Pradeep became the victim once again.
Later another eunuch passed by.
Pradeep: She was smart, by the way. And out came our chappals, again.
Later on, in IITD, when quizzed about why he had said it,
Pradeep : You know there was the dialogue in Chameli, (a Bollywood movie which had released around the same time), Koi kaisa bhee ho, bas pyaar honaa chahiye. (However the other person is, all that matters is that you love). And out came....

Scene Setting: Cricket match outside Karakoram hostel. The ball comes near the fielder Pradeep, who makes no effort to stop it, but lets it go, and the ball goes past the boundary. All fielders ask, why?
Pradeep: I thought the ball will stop itself, and then I will go and get it. Even the batting side players joined the fielders in taking out their chappals on this one.

Someone was teaching Pradeep how to ride a bike. A red light approached, and he told our hero to wait for the red light to turn green. Someone was on the pillion seat.
Suddenly we see our hero starting the bike and going through, while the light ahead of us is still red. Someone asks him to stop, and what did he think he was doing?
Pradeep: See, that (Pointing to the green light on the perpendicular road) light has turned green!!! So we can move.
And when we heard it, we all took out..

There are so many more, but I am tired of writing, and I hope you get the picture.

It was an awesome time, and it felt good being there.

Thanks guys.