Thursday, August 13, 2009

Déjà vu

This could be a case of déjà vu for Pune. As swine flu cases are rising day by day in the city, the state government has enforced provisions of a 112-year-old law that came into force because of an epidemic during the British Raj. It was the year 1896 when bubonic plague had struck Pune. It was the worst period the city had ever experienced in its history. About 300 to 400 people used to die at a time and it was difficult task to cremate all the bodies. The act empowered the government to take any decision to control the epidemic. Powers included taking possession of suspected patient, controlling places of crowd and examining any individual or any place without permission from a legal authority. The appointed officers took advantage of the situation and used to humiliate, torture and beat people, including women, which led to unrest amongst the junta. That time Chafekar brothers came forward as saviours which lead to the assasination of Gen Rand and helped in bringing the situation under control.

This time its little bit different. We would not need any Chafekars to kill any Rand. Under the act, the officials can forcibly take suspect swine flu patients for screening — but it does not apply in the real context because anxious people themselves go to hospitals without doctors’ references. Just a sneeze and there is a sure visit to Naidu hospital (the only hospital where Swine flu is being treated).

It all started with the arrival of an exchange student from Chicago. Abhinav Vidyalay english medium school was the first school to report swine flu patients. Daily the positive cases were increasing rapidly with growing panic in Punekars, esp children.
There were two groups of people in Pune. One who felt there was nothing to get afraid as it is just another type of influenza and the other group was taking all sorts of precautions to prevent the spread. The former group came up with statictics like, the mortality rate is just 0.01%, and making people remember the outbreaks of more dreaded diseases like SARS and Chikungunya. But they failed to understand that the infective period of H1N1 is from a day before you can see the symptoms to 4 days after, with symptoms just same as normal flu and hence deceptive. At early stage it is curable by Tamiflu, a drug which has to be taken only when tested positive. If someone takes it as a preventive measure, then the virus can develop resistance to the drug increasing the chances of getting infected.

The nightmare worsened after the first death. The two prevaling groups started merging into the latter. Panic increased. One more hospital, Sasoon, was granted permission to check patients for the flu. More and more people started queueing up at these hospitals and the authorities started facing crunch of the medium in which swab was to be preserved. Although these two hospitals were not adequatly equipped the govennment was resistant in allowing private hospitals to do the testing. And without any permission private hospitals would never take a risk of dignosing any patient, esp after the first death.

The death toll is rising. Today the count is above 10, with age groups ranging from 9 months to 65 yrs. It is forecast that the virus would prevail for atleast a year after which it would make a sesonal appearance. Now a couple of private hospitals have been granted permission. There are preventive measures excersised by the citizens. Some of the household measures include- chewing 1 clove a day, inhaling clove oil camphor fumes, eating raw garlic, onion, ginger, drinking hot milk with 2 gms of turmeric, eating lots of vit C fruits and washing your hands thouroughly for atleast twents times in a day (as this virus remains active for 8 hrs and could be residing on hard surfaces like tables, door knobs newspapers etc).

Malls and roads are deserted. One can clearly see the difference ib the crowd on one of the busiest roads in Pune. There are hardly any people seen outside. and whoever is seen is seen with a mask on. N95 masks esp prepared for swine flu protection is not available in Pune. People are buying normal surgical masks for 10 bucks which were normally sold for a ruppee. Children are not permitted to go out to play. Schools are shut down for a week. Janmashtami celebrations in the city have been unanimously cancelled and people are taking care to avoid crowds.

As on one side we are gearing up for our beloved Ganeshotsav festival, with scluptures and decorations going in full swing, on the other hand people are apprehensive about carrying out this festival on public scale, just hoping that Vighnaharta will come our rescue.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Ride to Remember!

Last weekend dad brought home, for a test drive, the world's cheapest car, The TATA Nano. Though its named Nano, the 623cc, MPFI, 4 geared car with a 2 cylinder engine on a single balancer shaft (for the first time in car history) can very easily accommodate five people. It is peoples car, perfect to drive in crowded cities like Mumbai, Pune, and can easily attain a speed of 100. It is an example of cost effectiveness and one really feels amused when he sees the places where the cost is reduced. After seeing it we realise we have so many unnecessary things plugged into our car just to make it look royal. For a couple of days, this engineering marvel was at my doorstep, I and can literally feel that our "market value" was increased. :D
It was Saturday morning and we decided to take a ride to my granny's place. As I unlocked the door, a couple of children came running and started looking at the car, as if they are seeing some UFO in the society. Uncle Uncle it is the same car that was shown on the TV the other day na.. they asked my dad! Wow!.. its soo small n cute.. their facial expressions could easily reflect their thoughts about the car, and the desire to take a ride in it. After observing the car inside out they suddenly remembered their unfinished cricket match and left.

Nano chalavtana yenari maja kahi veglich! (there is a diff joy in driving Nano!). Chalavna he kriyapad ithe hatyaar chalavna kinva chalval chalavna ashya arthana vaparlay.(idea given by manjo) This was the day, when I actually wanted to stop at the signals. Nano cha mukhya upayog vahan mhanun n karta, vahatya rastyat madhyabhagi kondala karun, pradarshanat thevleli vastu asa kela! With each and every guy on the road looking at us (actually at the car), I felt that our bhaav in the city has suddenly increased. People in front of us were turning their heads back and staring, and people behind us wanted to overtake. That day I actually let people complete their desire of overtaking! :). I heard a wife sitting behind her husband on a Pulsar saying with a largest ever smile I have ever seen.. "Aiiyaa.. kittti goad!!..Aho apan gheu na Nano." (So cute.. we will also take it!). Teens had similar expression.. "Abbey.. Nano dekh saale.. sexy hai!" and the girls who were clinging to their boyfriends on bikes, after seeing us, made them reduce their speeds from 100 to 10 Km/hr and sat in a posture that was comfortable to look at the small car. Children were literally peeping out even from cars like Scoda and Benz to have a look at this piece.

Driving slowly, we reached my granny's place. Now it was pensioners time to have a look. People over sixties gathered around bombarding questions at us.. "Kay ho.. on-road performance kasa ahe?" (what is the on-road performance like), "Kay 1 lakhat milte ki vadhliye kimmat, amche kinai, bara ka.. chiranjeev mhanatayt ghyavi mhanun!!" (Is the price still 1L, my son is planning to book one). Tackling all the questions we finally went home and had dinner with my grandparents.

The next day we went on a ride to Girivan. Its a place in mountains, nearby Pune, where we have a plot. The surrounding area is developed by a private company and made it a tourist attraction. We had some work at our plot and after finishing it we went on a mountain hike. As it was Sunday, there were lot of people. We parked the vehicle and got mixed with the junta. Without they knowing we were behind them, I heard a group of people chatting.. "ara Nyano ali bagh dongarat... chayla Ratan Tata cha kooni bhau banda distoy aalela!!! Chadli ki r pan choti gaadi!! (in a rural accent.. 'see Nano is in mountains.. I think some Ratan's Tatas relative has come'). I couldn't control my laughter and started laughing. They soon realised that it was our car and we had heard whatever they were speaking... and went in other direction. (I shouldn't have done that.. but it was so involuntary!)

Well after these two days, when I think of them, I feel that its a real marvel that the Tatas have given to India. I feel proud that we have got such great visionaries, and it does motivate me. Something regarded as impossible 10 yrs before, is seen on roads today. It was just like a very beautiful college gal walking down the streets and the pedestrian teens commenting on her!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Water Crisis..

Place: Pune, Maharashtra

Day: 25th May - The monsoon is predicted to arrive on 6th June - Pune weather report
5th June - Monsoon hit Western coast, might delay its appearance in Pune
10th June - Monsoon may be delayed by a couple of weeks, rains expected on 25th June

Today: 12th July.... No rains in Pune!!!! Sharad Pawar declared draught situation in the city.

This year two world records might have been created... 1) Draught condition in Pune after around 51 years and 2) Maximum number of times weather forecasting went wrong!!

Its raining heavily everywhere around Pune, but not in the city. Today's condition is very bad. There are two dams which are primarily used for supplying water to the city. One has existing water storage amount of 5% and other 0%. Zero percent!!!! That's something I never thought can happen in Pune. Every year, in a news paper called Sakal, I see a picture of a farmer sitting on his arid, cracked land looking at the sky (I think, they copy past the same picture every monsoon!!), but this year I saw a happy farmer, and worried Puneites queueing up for water tankers. Accha hua.. hum apne aap ko bahut khush naseeb samazte the... ab bhugto saalo!!

The corporation stopped water for hours, people had to fill tanks and keep water ready for morning programs! I remembered my second sem in BITS where we had a similar water crisis... par us waqt authorities ko gaaliya to de sakte the.. ab kya karen!! Today we have to find our way out. My mom, being the secretary of the society, made a schedule of how to save and use water that was stored in the tank effectively. She was very involved with all this situation, and I said.. humne 6 mahine aisi situation me nikale.. tum log to 2 din me hi frustrate ho rahe ho!!.. She called me to accept this challenge of managing this crisis... obb..I backed off!!! :D (pata tha mom kitna kaam kar rahi thi.. its really laudable!) As I am going abroad now, I am learning to cook... Lekin ab 1 hafte ke liye chutti... coz if I start cooking, I will use all the stored water in one shot... and that will not be acceptable to anyone! :D (one benefit of water crisis)

Something more was there to worsen the situation...Borewells were drying up (8 wells in our society are completely dry!). Ye kam nahi tha ki.... MNS attacked the water tankers (obb for no reason) and the tankerwallahs called for an indefinite strike... LOL!! ab woh bhi paani band!! After many many phone calls, and meeting with nagarsevaks n all, finally the strike was called off.. but now knowing the situation the tankerwallas demanded Rs 3000, Rs 4000 for one tanker (which is generally for Rs 200). We had to pay!! :(

Now the situation is better. Its still not raining that heavily, but yes, the rains have appeared in the city. Corporation has resumed the water supply every alternate day and tanker wallas have also come down to 800-1000 Rs. ....... n I have started cooking!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Though its said that the "church is still there.." the life has to go on.... There has to be some day when we have to take a step ahead. For me it was this friday.. my graduation day. Four years before I embarked on the engineering voyage and within no time I made it as a successful (??!!) Mechanical engineer. The years passed like minutes and there it came.. the Friday.. where I bid adios to my undergrad engineering and took a small step ahead. Today when I sit and close my eyes I feel there has to be something dedicated to all my PS mates at Merc, for all the fun that we had, for all the 'phattas' and 'pulling of each others legs' we did and for all the emotional sentiments we exchanged... This is it.. cheers guys!!

It all started from my birthday. It was the very first time when we all went out together.. and since then some sort of wierd and unusual things have occured. Latchumi turned nonvegetarian on my birthday treat. We had heard that she was famous for her monologue "I will kill you" when someone would really really irritate her.. Last sem I guess it was for Sankalp after three months... Suyash (which was later famous as the BAD BOY) made her to say it within seven days!!! :D. and then it repeated nearly everyday :)

Next was Chaitanya.. with his Titanic story. On his birthday he narrated the whole story of how he proposed his girlfriend..rather how SHE proposed HIM over a titanic movie! It was so unique and unusual that he filed its copyright. We were listning to his story outside foodcourt where Alekh got a grasp of my cell phone and called a girl from my list which he declared as my girlfriend!.. LOL!!.. Latchumi coined a name for me based on her (not to me disclosed here!!! :D) and the very next day it was printed on my nameplate, written on white boards and told to all of my mentors.

First couple of months was the time fo MS/PhD admits. I remember Suyash comming and telling... "Abbey UIUC aa gaya!!". We congratulated him.. then he went to his place.. refreshed his inbox.. again came back.. "Abbey Wisconsin aa gaya!!... Wow.. 2 admits in one shot.. The next day he got Purdue.. and we had treat slots getting booked for weekends. Poor Mayank, who had applied for MBA, used to google "MDI Final 2009" atleast twice a mintute for all the five months. Finally in the month of may he got an admit from MDI. \m/

Our day used to start over a coffee at 10 in the morning. Next we used to meet at 12 noon for lunch. Then after eating handful of sauf.. which according to Latchi we (boys) shouldn't because of some reasons :D :D, we used to go for a walk. First month we used to get out from the service entarance, but it seems that management came to know about this and they stopped us from using that way. Now we had to 'sign-out' and then go. It used to be "a walk to remember" where generally only Latchumi and Vaishnavi were heavily teased by me Mayank, Suyash, Vivek and Chaitanya (Sorry di, for all that :) ). Hmm.. some of Latchi's secrets were leaked when Vivek read all her cell messages..and told everything to us.. without she even knowing it!! (ye padhne ke baad vivek ka kya hoga!) A walk till the church and back was really some of the great times which we spent together. Our days were full with lots of weirdo incidances. Once over an afternoon coffee Suyash told the story of how he conveniently fooled one of his friends by telling him that Vivek is filing a patent. Now Vivek, as we know him for last four years, filing a patent was a BIG thing. We pity that poor fellow who still belives that it was the truth :D :D... Hey but guys.. hold on.. It can be... Vivek is really on his way to file one.

We got together so well that we felt these six months as a split second. With all the outings, treats, chatting, coffee discussions and debates, which would end in the famous "Mein nahi manta" dialogue (iske age bhala kaun kya kahega!!!) from the one who has exhausted with all his points, the time went very fast. And then it came.. the last friday. We decided to gather at Mayank's place for a night out. We played cards, DumbC, watched T20 and chatted for a long time. We had planned for a ceremony, which BITS never does.. Our convocation. and hence had bought some caps. We drew a Benz logo on it and everyone signed every other cap. Then at the stroke of midnight, when all world goes to sleep, we all went on the roof (lekin ladkion ki wajah se beer ya champagne kuch bhi nahi laya tha!), toasted for our successful graduation and threw our caps in air. It was the moment when I felt that I have achieved something in life. This was the time when I realised that now I am a degree holder, a responsible person.. this life has some market value. This was the time when I felt ki ab spoon-feeding bas.. ab tum is kaliyug me akele phek diye gaye ho..and you have to find your lamp, you have to sketch your path and you have to make your decisions.

Ab DCH to banta tha.. and then at the day break.. it was the time to part. Me and mayank were leaving on the same day and Suyash on the very next. All started to leave Mayank's place by 5:30. Suyash by mistake left his file upstairs.. As someone went to collect it, he unconsciously said.. "Abbe kal diyo!!!".. but soon realised.. there was no "Kal" now. It was the time when we all really felt that its over.. we have to move on. The best part of it was that everyone had achieved what they desired... be it the admits in top schools for higher studies or jobs in various prestigious companies like Mercedes, WelsFargo or Shell. Everyone was happy, contended and ready to take the next step in life.

These past 6 months were some of the most AWESOME times that I have spent with my friends. Today for some of us, its really difficult to accept the fact that we will be going in different directions, there would be no more pulling of legs, no more "mein nahi manta" debates, no more "kya baat kar raha hai.. saale" monologues, no more "yay am back" messages and no more discussions for deciding who is the one.. Oops or Chandru !! :). But as I said.. the life goes on. Though we might not meet again (till Latchumi's marriage... apne dad ko jaldi bata de yaar!! ), still via net, gtalk we would definately remain in touch. For all my friends... ye zindagi bhale tumko kahi par bhi le jaye.. phod dena!!.. all the best and scale new heights!!!

(Dasvidaniyan is a russian word meaning.. Good bye and See you soon :) )

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Night Trek and Cave Exploration @ Antargange

A fortnight from now our PS is going to end. Our enjoyment observed no bounds. Along with trips to places like Hogenakkal and Mysore we were used to movies, parties, treats and get-togethers atleast once every week where veg people turned nonveg (courtesy to our great connosouir of food-- Mayank) and people like me experienced the taste of sea monsters like octopus, squids and crabs for the first time in life.

This weekend we wanted to do something different, unusual, something adventurous. And it was me who proposed an idea of a night trek and cave exploration to Antargange. Adventures started from the planning stage only. First it was a big NO (as most of them hadn't experienced it before), but the enthu of gals and my description of a night trek made the guys to reconsider their opinion. Suyash called six of his friends and Latchumi called 4 of hers.. and now we had a big group of 15 people with two big disjoint sets where most of them din't know people from the other set. Me Kvk and Mayank were the common people, from which Kvk happened to "conveniently" slip and hurt his leg..saale ne lite le liya, leaving two of us. After a verry
loong discussion of whether we should actually go or not, some had a lot of enthu as 'now' it was a prestige issue for them (they had told their friends) :) ..we finally decided to go for it. Booking a cab had also adventures involved in it.. which are to be censored due to personal requests by some :). Finally we settled on booking an 18 seater van. We hired a guide named Raghu from the Bangalore Mountaineering Club and embarked our journey at 10 pm.

Everyone got acquainted with each other, thanks to DumbC. We realised that it was an awesome group with varied characteristics, all just getting mixed up with each other so easily. DJ suggested Tejaswini's dialogues to be broadcasted on All India Radio for public entertainment. (Now you would get a hang of the characters in our group). We reached the base camp at around 11:30 where we had a formal intro with each other and with Raghu. We climbed stairs till we reached a Mandir, where there is a source of pure water, whose origin is still unknown, thats why the place is named Antargange (unknown source of water)

We started the trek. Aman, as usual, was the most adventurous guy in the group, and urged people to switch off their torches. Moon was not seen and I scared off Vaishnavi saying that it was 'amavas ki raat!!'. She din't realise that there are these things called clouds that can hide the moon. But no worries.. Suyash was their to help her at every step ;) (i don kno who will help ME after Vaishnavi reads this!!). Despite of Mayank's cursing ("Bhad me jao salo, muze vapis sahi salamat jaana hai, mai torch laga raha hu!!) we succeeded in keeping most of the torches off and slowly everyone got acquainted to the natural light. There were millions of stars above
where Mayank kept on searchin Orion, which I think is the only constellation he knows :). After a trail in woods for an hour we reached the top, where we saw Hyder Ali's dargah.

The adventure was yet to begin. Now we had these two verry huge, collosal rocks in front of us. The road was blocked. We thought we lost the way, untill when Raghu made us realise that we were at the mouth of nature made caves at Anterganga..n this was the only way in. We stared at each other.. Impossible, we just can't go through this. The was a 20cm gap between those two rocks from which we had to squeeze in sideways. Raghu took the lead and he was followed by each of us, one by one, slowly. Fortunately, no other creature like lizard, cockroach or snake came in between.. warna to maza aa jata.. hilne ki bhi jagah nahi thi!!.

It was just the starting. We went deeper and deeper, into the crevices. One by one we were sliding, crawling and squeezing through. N this was not once or twice, but at nearly at all the places we had to adopt the same strategy. Raghu was guiding each of us, telling us where to keep our feet, how to grip the rock firmly and pass through the openin
g. While I was being hit by people (ye koi time hai saale.. chup kar!!) as I was singing.. "right leg aage aage, left leg peeche peeche' from Rab ne.. There were instances where we had to take hold of a hanging root of a creeper and cross a rock. We usually passed our bags first and then tried to pass ourselves. We then waited in the place created by rocks, for other to come, and if the place was exposed to sky, Mayank looked for his Orion. 

It was 3:45 am. We finally came out of the caves. We all sat on the top of a big rock. Break time, all were hungry. We prepared a special recipie of Alu Bhujiya sandwitch which was a big hit. Played some songs on the cell phone, relaxed for sometime with Mayank still searching for his Orion. We started again at 4:30. Ladkion ki awaje ayi.. "fir se wahi rasta nahi hai na!!!!! :D.. Jayashree seemed to be just exhausted, but regained her enthu with the philosophical but energetic words from Shantanu.:) Only I experienced this as others were busy jumping from one rock to other, to skip a deep, dangerous ravine in between. Without the Rock Climber Raghu, the trek was just impossible.

The sky was beginning to light up. We left the caves and started descending the mountain. This was simple. At the break of dawn, we reached our base camp, the Mandir. I was the first one to
reach followed by Arpit and Shantanu. Hang on, it was still not complete. We were relaxing on the stairs for the others to come. But before that we were attacked by "the others".. Monkeys!!!.. Stealthily they approached us from all the sides and from the trees. For me this was the most scary moment in the whole trek. Meri to phat gayi thi. One of them, a big one, was just behind Arpit's bag. Before they actually took away our bags and scratched our faces, we had to
make a move. We stood up and just started running.... After this "Majja Run \m /" when we realised that none of them were follow ing us, we searched a place to sit, and waited for people to come. Everyone arrived withing few minutes.. we had a group snap and started our journey home!! This is the best trek I have ever experienced!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guns n Roses..

"In this post.. the whole applying process for graduate studies in US is compared to a warlike situation where getting shot by someone signifies a reject and getting a rose from a beautiful lady means an admit..(time frame doesn't matter). I have quoted my experience, what I felt and observed about the whole after-appin period.. This post might be more appreciated by ppl who have experienced the appin process, n more by bitsian mechites.. "

Past few months were like a battlefield, with students from EEE EnI Mech  n CHEM were on the field surrounded by the soldiers from different universities. We had our turn, and now exhausted with all the ammunition were busy in dodging the back firing from the opponents. 

It was a total chaotic situation. We could see the gun shot coming but can't really judge for whom it was meant for. Before we identified and lamented on the loss of one, we received a news of another and another n it went on... There were some instances when suddenly an apsara came and gave a rose to a student. That night generally passed in revelry, and if that apsara was an high ranked apsar
a.. then that student would generally leave the battlefield with good memories of apping!!

This continued, and till feb end all the EEE EnI guys were either dead or satisfied with one or more apsaras. Some lucky ppl also got additional cash with roses (funding).. a way to lure them to accept the proposal.  I had got one rose from Clemson, but I was still on the field. Majority of Mech ppl were still waiting for their apsaras to come. It was really frustrating for us that we waiting n waiting n waiting.. n all other guys had already finalized the university they desired to go to.  

We started hearing in the month of March. All gun shots :(.. Irrespective of the rank of the university.. if the student is from Mech... he was fired. We were all very scared. Words like.."yaar kya hoga!, Mech walon ki to lagi padi hai bey!!... etc etc could be heard everywhere. I could see a Skirmisher coming towards me. I recognised it was from MIT. It came and wounded me on my legs... But I had expected that, as I knew I was not adequately equipped to defend myself to MIT, still had taken a chance. My legs were hurt, but I had the instinct to
 fight more. But then, it followed by my worst nightmare, I had never imagined this to be happening.. A cavalry archer from Stan came and fired a straight Head Shot.. I was dejected, thought everything is over, we have lost the battle.. 

Soon I realised that Stan had shown no mercy on any Bitsian Mechite, rejecting all the ppl irrespective of their Cg, Projects, internships and publications. This massacre continued with we getting mauled by the battalions from UTA, Ohio State, UIUC and even Purdue. But then after this vendetta, we saw some apsaras at the horizon. Hurray!! we shouted.. "Mech walon ke admits ane lage". 

Soon an apsara came near with loads of cash with her. She came and proposed not one, but three Mechites.. Vinay, Rahul and Daniel. Yes, she was from Minnesota and these three of my friends readily accepted her with her cash. Then it was Vikram's turn. He was proposed by  apsaras from Arizona and NCSU. Wow.. now that was an happy dilemma, whether to go to technically advanced NCSU or to the "land of apsaras"--Arizona!! Pagal hai ye banda.. saale ne Arizona ko reject maara!!

I was still wondering about my fate when I saw one from Purdue coming towards me. But she was accompanied by her bodyguard. I was confused, what does that mean?? The guard approached me and said, she likes you, but the king (graduate officer) has told that he would agree only if someone from his kingdom (Purdue) would recommend my name to him.(I was on waiting list!!) Now this was tough, muze aur ek fight marni padne wali thi. But I liked her, and I accepted the challenge (started mailing the profs@purdue) Meri khyati itni fial chuki thi ki muze kafi saare replies aa gaye and I could see Purdue doors opening for me.

But soon I realised, there was more for me. My dream gal was still not seen anywhere. The battlefield was nearly empty now and I could clearly see a Ford racing towards me.(Yes, Ford on a battlefield.. see how advanced they were!!). It came straight from Detroit, the Auto hub of this world. The nitro-boosters were switched off, it gradually decelerated and came to halt just few yards in front of me, after a breath taking drift. The doors slid up. Someone got down. The atmosphere was dusty and I could only figure out that it was a female figure. I was relieved. Not a gun shot again. She came closer and offered me a rose. I was overjoyed, I couldn't really express what that meant to me. It was a dream come true. Now I was not eager to hear from UTA, GATECH etc. I readily accepted the offer and left the field with her, straight to University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. 

([1] ye chitra daniel ke blog se churaya gaya hai!!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Nature Trail...

The mini traveler was parked at Domlur stand with me and Mayank waiting for others to arrive. They were happily having coffee at Shiv Sagar when our call made them realize that we were getting late. It was 6:30 in the morning, and Bitsians @ Merc had planned a trip to Hogenakkal Falls. Within 5 min, Alekh made an appearance from the backside of the traveler. A dog also followed him :). We reached a consensus of picking up ‘the others’ at Shivsagar rather than waiting at Domlur. Within no time we reached the hotel, and there they were- Vivek, Chaitanya, Latchumi and Vaishnavi, eagerly waiting for us to come. The next halt was at Oasis Mall where Suyash, Gursheen and Aman joined us making the Team BITS complete—embarking our journey to Hoganakkal with full enthusiasm.

Hoganakkal, located in Tamilnadu 180 Km from Bangalore, is a serene place with Cauveri finding its way from within the gorges and canyons. Being in TamilNadu, the gals were in full enthu and were constantly reminding us of that ‘Arch’ which marked the end of Karnataka and beginning of ‘Their Territory’. The van stopped at the border to pay the inter-state tax and the gals stepped out with a feeling—“A small step by man, one giant leap by mankind”. We all followed—this was our first step on TN soil.

The travel agency had coated a tax of 1500. We soon realized that the tax was 1000 and hence called the driver’s boss….
AmanHello, bhaiiya.. aapne 1500 bola tha, yahan to tax 1000 hai. Hum 1000 de rahe hai
Aap aisa nahi kar sakte, aapne pahile hi bola tha jitna coat kiya hai utna thik hai
Arre lekin kal hi hamare dost jaa ke aye, unhone 1000 diye.. aap 1500 kaise maang sakte ho??
BossAap “North wale” hamesha aise hi karte ho.. hume bhi business karna hai.. (LOL)
AmanBhad me jao.. tax 1000 hai, hum 1500 nahi bharenge...... n he hung the call.

We paid Rs 1000 and the traveler’s ignition key was turned. The route to Hogenakkal Falls is scenic, with lush mulberry fields and giant terracotta guardian deities, as you approach it, the roar of the Cauvery and the abundance of vegetation in the area is sure to catch your attention. Along with this non-stop DumbC going on with ‘not so dumb’ ppl and Suyash’s periodical ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ made the four hour journey very pleasant and enjoyable. After paying couple of more toll taxes (ye tamil log bahut kamate hai) we reached our destination- Hoganakkal.

The main attraction were the Coracles- the bowl shaped boats which took people on a ride in the Cauvery. We had to bargain a lot for the boat ride, with people who din’t understand any Hindi, and here the gals played a very important role of interpreting… we now realized that we had entered “Their Teritory”. The deal was not bad with us getting into two Coracles, 5 ppl in each, paying them 230 per person for the whole day.

The Coracle took us from one rock to other, the boatman steering it so skillfully that we all enjoyed the water showers coming down from the rocks. Me and Gursheen, the only two people having cameras were in different boats, my boat being ahead of them. The result—Under a shower, they took our pics, but on their turn—we said “Bhad me jao :D :D” Soon this mechanical topper (Gursheen) seemed to have realized it and he stopped clicking out photos. Thus we had to snap some of theirs until he resumed. :)

After some time of sailing we sighted an island. The island was surrounded with mountains. We decided to have lunch in the mountain canopies and climbed to reach a suitable place where we would get shade. We realized that we had left Latchumi, Aman and Suyash behind and asked Vivek to look for there whereabouts. Vivek ek tapu pe jaa ke khada hua—n he located them—playing in water. Restless Vivek kept on shouting “Abe aa bhi jao.. ” but it was of no use. :( They took their time but finally arrived in the thick shade which Mayank and Chaitanya had explored—ideal place to have lunch. But in no time we realized that we had forgotten half of our lunch and plates in the boat.. and our ‘jungle lunch’ plan remained a dream. Instead we had a trail in the forest and then returned back to the boat.

The Coracle steered its way through the river and took us to a beautiful waterfall where all of we enjoyed playing in water. Vivek enjoyed the LIVE sight of Mayank’s specs getting carried away by the turbulent streamlines.

Exhausted after playing in water, we started our return journey. We got seated in our van. Half of them fell asleep within seconds. Mayank’s light background singing and Suyash’s periodical (now toned down) ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ made the return journey also pleasant.

P.S. Some Interesting Post-hang-overs of the trip:
Mayank: Lost in No Man’s Land till he wore his extra pair of specs.
Vivek: Got up at 5 and came to office by 6:30 am …. (Uske alava wo code kisiko run karna nahi ata.. isliye ana pada :) )
Suyash: Dashed upon a tree while walking to office.. (Who paani me thoda uncomfortable ho jaata hu!!!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Its a WonderFool Day!!

Very few people know the story behind this internationally recognized beautifool day- the only day when dolts are given respect by continously reminding them how big fools they are...
Thought of sharing this story with you....

It all started in 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (new year's week) to January 1.

Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled "fools" by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties (like PJ tried today!! ) and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool's Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.

If you think I am faking... press F13 to see the real story...

Hehe.. Wish u all a happy fool's day!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Guys vs Gais..

The other day I was walking to merc.. (I have to.. coz daily my land lady gives me parathas with amul butter as and I observed something which is generally seen on the Indian roads but seldom given a thought...

A farmer (a normal farmer.. not the farmer who is a celebrity :) ) was walking on the road with his cattle following him. There were 4 'gies' and a bull.. along with many 'guys' travelling in their Santros,Citys and Camrys.. which really made the road busy. I had to steer my way out through these guys and gais.. Btw in India, a cow is called a Gai while in the western world a Guy is kind of a 'dood' fella!!

Well coming to the point.. I saw that these Gais switched their lane, and started walking in the middle of the road, without changing their speed.. and to my surprise, the Guys, with full respect, were patiently waiting behind them..without even blowing a horn. They waited till there was sufficient place to drive their vehicle through and then without disturbing/ intimidating the poor cattle.. steered their way out. This is a routine, and neither the guys nor the gais are irritated. It is a kind of bonding that nature has created..

Before I finished thinking as how healthy this adhesive interaction is.. a thought of a cohesive interaction popped up in my mind.. The situation of 'me' being in place of the Gais.. Honk! Honk!! **** Honk!!!..*****.. Dhadam!!!! n I would have opened my eyes in Appolo hospital.. I think we are really insulting a Gai by calling it a Cow.. meaning to terrorise.. which actually should be used for a Guy!

I started thinking why these Gais get such a reverence.. Quietly driving behind a walking Gai during morning peak hours would require so much patience.. and if Guys can show that much patience, what happens to it if some other Guy, or Cyclewala comes in between?? Why do we hear certain special 'words of respect' exchanged in between them!!

Ok Guys.. start thinking.. I can initiate the process by givin one reason.. According to Hindu mythology.."There are 14 Crore Gods in a Gai's stomach" ....... :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Into the professional world..

7th Jan we stepped into ' the dark world with a bright lamp of mechanical engineering' (courtesy Srinu :) ). I am currently doing my PS2 (Industrial training) at Mercedes Benz Bangalore.. the same city in which currently load-shedding is excercised every eve.. hence a bright lamp is necessary!!

Esp after PS1, where I hardly knew anything 'mechanical', there had to be a lil bit apprehension in my mind on the very first day in merc. But work culture here, and my 'gained :)' mechanical knowledge in the junior year made me comfortable in no time. What took a lot of time is getting used to calling my mentor by his first name. In this world, its an 'insult' if you call them sir.. I liked it. It naturally reduces a formal distance, which, othewise would have been there in a teacher and a student. Unlike PS1, you are treated as employees..and suggestions and improvements suggested by you are welcomed.. which I like to give ;). Deadlines, weekly tracking meeting, biweekly reports, fortnightly departmental talks on latest research, periodical presentations, monthly bday celebrations, departmental outings (longing for this one ) and chatting on gtalk,which you are not supposed to do :).. is what makes a proffesional world different from college.

Well, two months after, I think I am enjoying this atmosphere. And with my PS mates (bitsians @ Merc), the day is totally rocking. Mercidents.. I mean 'incidents @ merc' deserves a saperate blog, which has already been created. Daily we have 'working breaks' in between our cafeteria 'discussions'.... where Literally ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN OVER A COFFEE!!!