A hot summer evening in Chennai. Well, hot would be an understatement. As far as weather goes, it’s hot, hotter, Chennai. As I ordered a cup corn and turned around aimlessly looking for a place to rest my hindquarters, I ran into a friend and a friend of my friend, casually lolling around the corner. After exchanging polite pleasantries, I was invited to a brief session of what would under extraneous circumstances qualify as ‘small-talk’.

‘Do you know he’s been here in IIT for 9 years now?. Isn’t that amazing!’

The sudden jolt of surrealism washed over me. I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, that’s by far–hands down–the most amazing thing I’ve done in my life’. I wondered whether it was his nigga way of saying, ‘Bitch, you be crazy’. Or have I suddenly become part of some campus tour program. ‘And in this cage, you’ll find the village idiot who thinks staying in campus for exorbitantly long durations is an idea worth considering. Don’t worry. He doesn’t bite.’

I looked calmly at the countenance of my soon-to-be-acquaintance. What’s the saying? If life gives you lemons, you ask for a refund. ‘Yeah, it’ll be 9 years this summer.’

‘So you were in the same hostel all these years?’

‘No. I was in Ganga for five and Pampa for the remainder.’

The FomF who was lackadaisically sniffing around for signs of estrogen suddenly turned to me and said: ‘That sounds like a demotion, if you ask me’.

‘Yeah. I wanted the change in hostels to reflect the changing circumstances of my life in IIT.’ They laughed. I laughed. Right now would be a case in point.

‘So you must have seen lots of change happening in insti.’

I think I sort of understand why the old kind feel the need to describe all their experiences to the young kinds. The grandpa in me finally has an audience. And they’re asking for it. ‘Yeah. Each hostel used to have it’s own mess hall where seniors and juniors used to dine together. There was no Himalaya you see, and no option to change the caterers. So when Himalaya was opened, it was all the rage. You could finally choose your own poison.’

I then started wondering why that whole tidbit was about food. But then I didn’t. I am a foodie. If there’s one thing you can hate about this place, it is the lack of good food. I mean, in every other Indian metro, I’ve found those small joints where you’d get nice food at a cheap rate. Not in Chennai. It’s either your wallet or your stomach. One of them definitely has to give.

My friend–who by this time might seem like an imaginary entity to you–interrupted. ‘But I always see you eating outside. You never do go to Himalaya, do you?’

‘My man. Himalaya to me now is like a place of worship. I hardly enter that place.’ I thought that was a smart reply. I mentally patted myself on the back. Well done.

‘Oh come on. You didn’t have to bring that stuff into this.’

‘Bring what stuff? Even in a temple, you really don’t enter the srikovil do you? You admire the beauty of the place, worship its magnificence and move on.’

I think they’ve had enough of me by then. We said our goodbyes. Finally the round of 21 questions was over and I could proceed chewing the cud of corn.

And you ask why I am not the élan vital of parties. Happy hunting!


Best new thing in the world today : Alarm clocks

Ever thought that getting up in the morning was the most difficult thing you had to do? There might be ways to make larks out of you owls yet. How you might ask. Well how indeed

1.) MIT developed an alarm clock that jumps off the table, runs and hides from the user when you hit the snooze button. So you have to get up the next time it rings. And it hides in a different location each time.
2.) A dumbell alarm clock which requires you to lift it up and do 30 reps to turn it off. So the fitness freaks get their work-out done and you are up and ready for work bright and early.

And the killer
3.) An alarm clock that donates money to a political cause you hate every time you hit the snooze button. If that thought doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.

The best new thing in the world today and yes go get some sleep 🙂

Random thoughts

The German word for disappointment is “Enttäuschung which when literally translated means disillusionment/disenchantment. That really makes you think. You need to be under some kind of an illusion – a false sense that everything will turn out as you had expected, or people will understand you and act as you want them to – so as to feel a sense of disappointment.  When you are disappointed, you rid yourself of that illusion. Germans sure know what they are talking about.

Speaking of disappointment, I see some people use “anyways”. I don’t know why. It is an adverb and adverbs are never plural. And “anyway” and “any way” mean two different things. It is just like “you’re” and “your”. I was telling my friend the other day that the printer can’t print red because it can only print primary colours. And he was puzzled. Isn’t red a primary colour? No, that’s for light where the principle of addition applies (RGB). For paints, the primary colours are cyan, yellow, and magenta (ok and black). Did you notice that I slipped in an Oxford comma (Harvard comma if you’re an American) in the previous sentence? Is that necessary? I don’t know but it looks weird to me now. Weird would be a weird word for Germans with their “Wien und der Wein”. Coming to think of it it is weird in English too as it boldly neglects the “i before e, except after c” rule .

So where was I? Paints and dyes work on the principle of subtraction (CMYK system), I said. He thought that you’d get white when you mix red, green and blue paints. Or maybe (or maybe “may be”? Nah, I may be stretching it there.) he didn’t think  and just wanted to say something which I  feel is even worse. Anyway, what’s the term again, ah “Enttäuschung”.

I’m going home today, only to come back in a few days for the coveted degree. Getting into IIT is a pain they say. But getting out, oh boy, is in a different league of difficulty. And I need to get out so that I can get back in to do a PhD. AIl that wasted effort. But there is hope. I’ll have the 14-idly-ghee-sambar at Saravana Bhavan for dinner (at the railway station). Yeah the dish is called just that and no a zoologist didn’t come up with it (if you get the reference). Home sweet home.