Monday, October 24, 2005


The news that Mumbai was flooded during last monsoon was just another news to me. I was not at all affected by the calamity and thot abt it as something that happened in a distant land. Almost the same thing happened when I heard abt the Tsunami incident sometime back. Even though I was sorry about the people who got affected, cant really say that I was damn shocked or my life changed because of the news. Again something happening to remote places... remote people.

But day before yesterday, for the first time, I saw and understood what flooding was all about. The area where I stay, HSR Layout happens to be one of the places affected by the heavy rains that ‘rocked’ southern Bangalore. Some of the major water bodies around Silk Board area, Begur lake and Madiwala lake overflowed and water was left free to gush through the residents layouts stringing around outer ring road and Hosur road. I was as usual busy with my weekend activity, ie snoring away to glory, when my roomie woke me up at around 10 in the morning when he returned from his temple visit. The previous night had some heavy rains, and when he left for the temple, everything was normal. When he returned, there was water all around the place. All the roads were under water. Water had not risen to heights more than say half a feet, but it was rising steadily. I stepped out to have a look at the slowly increasing water levels at the cross road leading to our place.

Now, what really shocks me in hindsight is the fact that I was not at all shocked by the entire incident. Is it because my room is on the first floor and there is no realistic chance of water reaching up to that level? Is it because there isn’t too much valuable stuff for me to rescue except for my bike, even in the worst case? Is it because I have become too numb to react to stuff like this? I don’t know.... For me, the sight of water level rising in the road leading to my place, and seeing water slowly entering our car park area, didn’t ring any alarm bells, didn’t cause any panic. It was business as usual for me...

We did a quick strategic planning session and decided to shift base to Indira Nagar where our friends were getting ready for a game of cricket. Changed to our cricketing gear and off we went in my roomies’ jeep. There was a water cover for all the roads until we left HSR area. We had some cricket and spent time until evening at another friends’ place. After supper, we went back to our flooded shelter only to realize that the water level had risen far higher in all the adjacent areas for us to cross. Vehicle was diverted to our friends place without even caring to put an effort to go on foot and check our rented shelter.

Now I am a bit confused. Have my surroundings become completely dispensable for me? I don’t think I am attached to anything around me. I don’t care a damn abt the rented house I stay. I don’t care a damn abt the office where I work from. As long as my left jean pocket has my mobile and my right jean pocket has my credit cards, I am happy and content.

Is everything all right with me??

I had plans to upload some pics that I took on my mob-cam before leaving my flooded house. Dont have the mem-card-reader with me now. May be I will do it later.

Here are the images....

A view from my balcony. No, I was not promised the lake view when I booked the house. Our life boat.

One of the roads to my house. Fit for a speed boat now :_( Hovercraft?

An ill fated school. What you see is the first floor.
An ATM in the middle of sea?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

CET: Dhwani 2002

My last post was about me getting ‘appreciated’ on stage. This one is about a role reversal. It was during our final year Dhwani, ie Dhwani 2002. Dhwani is the annual All India Cultural Festival organized by CET with student participation from all over the country. Don’t think its my claim... ;_) Thats what the students union claims. Since funds allocated by college authorities are limited, marketing committee of organizers goes to each and every shop and organization of Trivandrum for sponsorship and fund raising. When the organizing committee members approach shop owners, their promises are sky high... “Sir, all India festival sir... you know, 5 colleges from Jammu & Kashmir have already registered. 3 from Ladakh have asked for the information brochure. Sure to have at-least 10000 students viewing your advertising banner just 2000 Indian dollars sir”. One matrimonial agency agreed to sponsor a major chunk of the expenses if we managed to give them 500 matrimonial resumes of nubile engineer nymphets. That was when the engineering creativity was let loose and all of us were religiously filling printed resume forms with details of imaginary girls.
Mother’s Name:Shyaamala

How many students and colleges actually turn up for the fest is left to your imagination. I still remember the 2-member squad from some Andhra college being received with great zeal and abundant hospitality, as it added one more precious ‘state’ to the participating list. Unfortunately, the duo was from opposite sexes and they happened to be soul mates. They were more interested in having a trip and some nice time together at their college’s expense (?), away from the spying eyes of their kith and kin, than the actual All India Cultural Festival itself. More often than not, the organizing committee had to pull both of them out of the acacia forests when it was time for registration or events.

Since none of us MIyers was connected with any of the organizing committees, all of us were always present among the audience. Even the laziest of the lot Thally and Thoma turned up regularly, as it was our final year at college. Since it was a festival hosted by our college, we could not participate in any of the events. (as if all of us would have participated had it been the other way ;_D). So there we were, amongst the crowd, planning for the next mischief. Somebody announced from the stage that there would be a prize for the best cheering squad. As soon as he stopped, we started, “Bolo...booloo.. CET key..JAIIII”... It got decent response, as there were many other CETians around us with nothing else to do. And the crowd had started moving. The organizers realized this would be one-sided... Thus came the next announcement. “No prize for the host college”. As soon as he finished with that announcement, we MIyers started “Bolo...booolooooo.... IIT Kharag-poooooooooor keeeey......” Man! it was just awesome... the response we got for that was too good... So, that became our pseudonym. All of us started cheering for IIT Kharagpoooor...

Then we went on doing the stuff we always like doing... Since none of us was going on stage, we started commenting, howling, hooting and doing all sorts of weird stuff you can think of doing, sitting in the audience. May be the curses of somebody on stage that day had its impact during my comsci night skit :_(. There was some sort of a Mr and Miss Dhwani competition and a panel of judges interviewed each contestant on stage. Each contestant had multiple rounds of questions. Before the contestant could come-up with his/her answer, we were there, shouting out the funniest answers that crossed our mind. The only recognition we thrived for was approving giggles from the girls’ groups, and we got that in plenty. In fact, for better audibility, our junior Civil girls’ gang even relocated to our vicinity. For us, it was a sweeter reward than a state award, as Civil is usually the most colorful batch of the college, closely followed by Electircals. Except for one from REC Calicut, all the male contestants were good for nothing. They were making fools of themselves on stage. There were questions like “What turns you on?”. An idiot answered ‘a switch’. I do not know what he meant by that. A poor girl answered “Chocolates and friends”. The judges and the audience had a real kill “So the sight of a chocolate bar turns you on!!! is it more with friends or less with friends???”

A classmate of us was suddenly missing from our gang. Somebody spotted him some three or four rows away, chatting away to glory with a junior girl. He had drifted away from us to have a nice time with the girl. We started shouting at him from our place asking him to come back... Each of us had his/her own contribution. “Da, please come back, Sheela, Rani, Uma and all are waiting for you here...” “Is this the same girl who hit you with her sandal yesterday?” “Dad and brothers of Leena are looking for you to thrash you...” and other such stuff... Our friend got damn irritated, but he decided he would not fall prey to such cheap tricks... He decided to continue chatting with the girl. One of us approached the song dedication counter and dedicated a dummy message and song for him.... Dedication was something like, “To so-and-so... Chettaa, yesterday you forgot your watch and chain at my place, yours, Karyavattam Kochammini” (To the uninitiated, usually proses of each area append name of the place to their-own name for publicity sake. Here Karyavattam is an area very close to where our college is situated) And there was a matching song to go with that :_D. Our hero came back to our gang with folded hands and a covered head. :_)

While on dedications, we used to have other funny dedications also. We used to collect money from all the gals present (when it comes to spending money for any common cause, its the girls who act as world banks), and dedicate stuff like “Next song is dedicated to Path Finder, for its successful journey.” The fight between our final year representative (Y. Rep) and our union general secretary (G.Sec) was famous. G.Sec had a crush on one of the Civil girls of our batch. She was famous for her feminist ideas and altercations with the G.Sec. Lets call her Miss. G for the time being. For each and every college function, our Y. Rep used to approach the dedication counter somehow and give a dedication which goes like “The very first dedication goes from our G. Sec to Miss. G. Message is ‘you are my everything’. Song is ‘Why did you fall in love...’” This used to be a regular event and we used to laugh our butts off seeing that desperate look on our G.Sec’s face. The sight of our Y. Rep running for his dear life with the G. Sec and Miss. G chasing him closely was so common those days.

During fashion shows and choreo-videos, I was always present next to the stage, with my camera, to get some close-up snaps... Some of my friends tried to spread a rumor that I was trying to ogle at the girls from point blank range, and that the camera was just pretence. Nevertheless, the public out-rightly rejected that too, like many other baseless allegations against me :_). Anyways I have some pics for proof. Hope you will discount the fact that some of the pics are a bit hazy.... You know, when u follow fast moving steps, sometimes the clarity of your photo gets affected. ;_D

Sunday, October 09, 2005

CET: Poovambazham!!!

I can go on and on about my CET (mis)adventures. Throughout my college days, I used to consider myself an all-in-all in the dramas and skits department. (You will understand why the time span is restricted to the college days, once you are through with this post). Bole tho, like our mega serial all-in-all Madhu Mohan. “Story, Script, Directorion and Main Actor – me myself and I” kind of stuff... I gained confidence and learned many tuff lessons from our highly successful skit “Enkilum ente Lakshman-aa!!!” at Lovely (my entrance training institute at Pala). In CET, at the end of each academic year we used to have a department celebration called Computer Night, which used to be a get-together of all the comp-sci dept students. It also doubled up as a farewell party for the senior most batch. During our third year comp-sci night, we performed a skit “www.Panchaali”, which was well received by the audience. So my confidence levels had skyrocketed. Finally, for my passing out year, I was breaking my head over getting some fresh idea. Then my Bethany (prestigious Trivandrum hostel which had the privilege of accommodating us) friends came up with this idea - “Lets re-do the skit that was successfully screened for Bethania (well known hostel day celebration of Bethany, world famous all over Trivandrum).”

As usual, it was one of those stupid stories involving some police officers, a thief, a dead woman and some idiotic investigation involving a lot of double meaning dialogues and soft vulgarity. A batch of comedians from Bethany had performed it well for Bethania and they got enuf accolades from the MTT (nearby Ladies’ hostel, which was the primary motivating factor for all the action during Betahnia) crowd. So we were sufficiently inspired and decided to take that up as one of the items. We, the Bethany Engineers being hyperactive, were not ready to stop with just that. That was our trump card, but we had two other skits as well. The only thing I can say now is, both were equally or more advanced in vulgarity. USP of the second skit was the costume of a woman film star. We planned to make Sow wear a bra and place 2 big rubber balls in strategic locations, and top it with a short white T-Shirt with BASKETBALLS written across the chest. It was only due to the strength of our stars that we managed to escape beatings when we went shopping for the bra. Imagine two guys rushing into a shop, heading straight to a saleswoman and one of them telling her “Chechy, we need a bra, for his size” pointing the other.

Anyways, we did all the preparations. We worked a lot on our main item. Countless rehearsals at Bethany Audi. I was acting as a Police SI. Sow was the constable and KK the thief. The story line was something like me prompting KK to narrate an imaginative rape attempt on the murdered woman and stuff like that. We were pretty confident as we had already seen the skit doing well. And the plus-two kids of the hostel who had seen our rehearsal were all laughing away to glory. All of us were confident about our own acting skills as that was what enabled us to survive in our hostel and college.

Finally, the D-Day arrived. The program order was announced. Our police skit was the second or third item. Our turn came. We did all the usual post drama announcements... ”Bethany Kalakshethra proudly presents... our 132nd drama, ‘Poovambazham’ (yes, that was the goddamn name given to that skit). We are doing this on our 34th stage. For bookings, contact... etc etc...” I was the one doing the announcement from back-stage in that typical high pitch dramatic tone. The curtain was mercilessly raised before I could complete my announcement. Sow the constable was all alone on the stage in the very first scene. He was waiting with muttered curses for the SI (me) to turn up... The next thing I remember is dropping the mike and running to the stage grabbing an over-coat, which I was supposed to wear. I entered the stage trying to zip my coat. That goddamn zipper was stuck and I was pacing from one end of the stage to the other struggling to zip up my coat. I think somehow the audience understood what was going on and the cheering (read howling) started. It never stopped after that. It was being modulated depending upon our dialogues. In fact we got some appreciation for some of our stunts, but the howling was present as a background music throughout.

Actors came and went but the shouts never stopped. Sow, KK and I had to suffer it all as we three where always on the stage. At one point, it grew so loud that our voices were drowned in the mess. Then I approached the mike and made an announcement. “We are overwhelmed with your enthusiasm and encouragement. As a token of respect, we are giving you a chance to express ur feelings for the next 5 minutes. We will resume once you are done.” I think it was the first time in the history of drama that a drama was muted/paused on stage to accept crowd’s ‘acknowledgment’. All of us ‘actors’ waited on the stage itself while the crowd was howling away to glory. Just imagine students of an entire department, shouting and howling at full throat, including girls :_(, in front of all the professors and even the HOD. It almost went on for 5 mins... At last, KK grabbed the mike and made a second announcement. “No matter how long u continue this, or how loud you get, we will leave the stage ONLY when we are through”. The cacophony subsided all of a sudden; I believe the crowd appreciated our spontaneity ;_). We restarted our gimmick. We couldn’t keep the crowd silent for long... it was a repeat performance. Finally, we managed to somehow finish it off and escape successfully (safely) from the stage. Even though I could act smart on the stage, I was so embarrassed and I persuaded Bethany guys to cancel out the remaining 2 skits... I don’t think I will ever forget that onstage experience ever.

As an icing on the cake, got this rocket of a comment too.... In next day’s class, Divya ma’am was trying to be gentle when she offered this as a form of consolation “The crowd was overreacting...” I tried to make the best out of the situation “Yes ma’am.... in fact, some people who had personal grudge on us were trying to settle scores with us... that was what happened”. She gave me a pathetic look and asked, “So you guys genuinely thot it to be a good one or what?” Then as they say, my (fainted) body was ferried on the shoulders of four of my friends to the nearest medical center.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mutual funds for a dummy

I think my friend was right when he called me a fool... in fact he called me a damn fool. He was giving me a lecture on the need for investing my hard-earned money.

He patiently went on explaining all the possible options. Stocks, Mutual Funds, Pension Plans, Insurance Policies...

Pension and Insurance stuff were discarded out right as even he admitted my argument that an investment for say 20 years is something not worth trying at all. He wrote on a scratch pad the amount I will have to pay per year, the quarter term and mid term returns and the final amount that I would get. For our sample 1 lakh rupee invested, we got a profit of around 1.5 times that, but for a period of 20 years. Since my facial expressions suggested that I was not too interested in earning a profit of say 10000 Rs per year, that too after taking all the pain of finding the money to do all this investment stuff.

Then he went straight to Mutual Funds. He asked me if I knew what Mutual Funds were.... Cant really blame him. After seeing my reactions to the pension plans, he should have started asking whether I was familiar with a concept called ‘banking’ where I can put my money for safekeeping. He went on explaining all the advantages. He went from site to site. Terms like risk, dividend, profit, shares etc floated in the air.

At last he started doing the computation. “Ok...Suppose you invest 10000 or say 5000 per month...wait wait.. tell me how much you save every month..”

I said “like... saving means... at the end of the month, my account balance comes to around 1000 Rs. :_)

“Whaaaaat” was his reaction.

After a slight pause “Do you send money home?”


“Do you invest anywhere else?”


“Then what do you do???”

“I mean... I... like... party on weekends....trips... buy some cloths.... food....dunno how... at the end of the month, it comes to that magical figure of 999”

He took 3 minutes before he offered this “You are gone man, you are completely gone”. Then he continued, “Ok. So lets say you save 1000 Rs per month.”

I interrupted “Wait..wait... its not 1000 Rs every month. Its like rotational. Next month, this 1000 gets used up and a 1000 from next month gets saved”

He didn’t respond for the next 2 minutes. Then came this arrow.

“How many affairs do you have?”

“None sir... you know... a steady relationship is a pain in the unmentionable parts. So... nice to have more girl friends and no affairs at all”

“You... you are really mad... you are foolish. I know you have opted for a lesser paying company because you thought it would catapult you into I don’t-know-what. And you are telling me that you don’t have a steady girl friend. You don’t do any investing. All you have is Rs 1000 at the end of every month. You are a fool. A damn fool”

“Thank you sir :_D