Friday, November 21, 2008

The test

Flustered, irate, confused.
Love it isn't, too obtuse.
Heartstopping? Not.
More of an excuse..
Confounded, I stand
Try and seek you in stars
Then turn back
To desolate, ignored yards.

Winding roads before me
Too big a quest.
Praying as I walk
I will not
Should not
Pass this test..

Monday, August 18, 2008


They are everywhere. They roam in light as majestically they strut around after dusk, ears on constant alert, sly eyes gauging profit 365/24 and hands..those hands seasoned with a raven’s clasp, prepared to snatch, to rob! Nay, I speak not of professional muggers or miscellaneous con-men but of those silent assassins, those amateur plunderers in sheep’s guise.

Yeah. So. I was on one of those blah-you-men-I-date-myself frenzies and chose to treat self at a popular fast food joint in the city. A slight drizzle through clear Saint Gobains and Bryan Adams tuned to perfection only placed life at perfect peace with the world, perturbed not even by pesky little siblings (twins, by the looks of it) engaged in belligerent tugging of a toy the joint gives away with certain edibles.

My burger and fries were soon gone, like most other good things in life that quietly make their way out of the cat flap when you’re out buying cat food and..never mind. So yeah..I’d eaten all of the burger and fries when mine eyes noticed another joint in the vicinity that sold great donuts, which when clubbed with the choco shake I clasped could conclude lunch on a very merry note. Off I skipped towards the donut store, choco shake in one hand, baggage in the other...when I was *gasps* ROBBED!

Pesky kid from the set of two described earlier sat at the entrance of the joint, looking all gloomy. The XX chromosome that governs most of mine thought, word and action quickly (and involuntarily) triggered its maternity gene, which happens to bear the trait of being nice to biotic offsprings. Gave the little creature a /*warm*/ smile and said, “Grab the toy next time, OK?”.
Species showed no visible reaction.

“Where is the other individual of your kind? And the biotic system governed by XX chromosome that parents you?”

“He spilled ketchup on his shirt. She’s getting him cleaned.”

The creature’s eyes slowly moved and fixed on the beverage in my hand. They brightened, almost as instantaneously as my reflexes triggered to grip the container firmer.

“Can I have that?”

“ lunch..”

“Its chocolate no?”

“Yeah well..”

I didn’t affirm the request, OK? I didn’t!
Off the choco shake went zooming towards the restrooms, to cause more stain (pain?) or to be gloated on, I know not..

*angst* Why me?
Again, why me? */angst*

You might want to take a note or two off this narration though, specially the implication of not displaying in public edibles crucial for existence and a mental note to not resort to unsolicited conversation with pestilential human offsprings.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Tangled Waves

Finally, frustration levels have reached high enough to blog again. Without citing an excuse for temporary absence from this vent-bin, I choose to start off with the root of frustration - A 10 station FM tuner I painstakingly constructed is in coma, as is the family radio and a similar functioning unit on my cellular device. They were poisoned with sub-standard FM waves.

The advent of FM radio in India, particularly in erstwhile Bangalore was to bring back the charm of 70's and 80's radio - serve humanity with knowledge and quality entertainment, mainly good music. For a while, it did look promising to sapien species from both Vividh Bharati and Playstation eras until extortionate cloning of radio stations took charge (what competition at that!), initiating a large percentage of junta to divert their finance, attention as well as gifting trend towards a new investment - the humble mp3 player. This gizmo was such a hit that even radio set and cellular phone manufacturers included its modular version in their merchandise, fearing its possible dominance would otherwise make their products obsolete. I do not complain.

A few days ago though, out of sheer joblessness, I decided to re-examine the previously defined detritus cruising the city over FM waves and risked turning on the radio. However, just when I thought the world was forever rid of Dard-e-disco and miscellaneous Himesh Reshammiya chants, a simple channel surf revealed thus:

...Zara zara hold me hold me hold me, zara zara..

...Haaaaaaaai, neev kelta idira Radio XYZ. Sakkat hot maga! (Ah, wishful thinking.. :D)

...Oh vary happy in mai haart dil dance maare..

..the relief stop for banking and investments. Call..

...Whitu whitu whitu whitu..whitu Rajnikanthu neenu.. (Blatant racism! Ennada rascal! :X)

...Idu Bengaloorina hottest radio station.. (by far the most popular claim, placed by a minimum of 3 stations at once)

...and eef you want that goody bag, message meeee. The highest number aaf 'messager' wins! (God save the queen)

How did music on Radio dearest perish? And those fluent, charming RJs who once made radio great human company..did they give up jockeying to turn motivational speakers for the Royally Challenged? More importantly, what happened to the purpose of allotting a plethora of stations - VARIETY!? A chorus of 'Chaliya Chaliya' on alternate stations 4 times an hour surely demands a better definition of the aforementioned purpose. If anything is certain, it is the fact that the spirit of radio has drifted away to grace a funeral.

Not that all is lost, for inches of the sail are still visible. There seem to have emerged innovations which are quite endearing, albeit only a few such. The breakfast show on Radio City, a hilarious feature called Ghanta Singh that plays randomly on Radio One, nearly everything on Indigo, and the Western Music Hour on good old Akashvani seem lifting. But that alone won't do, will it? We want 'Radio' back!

Post abandoning the attempt to re-examine FM waves, I choose to get busy with a C programming manual, only to hear a station feebly calling out a last resort, 'Kolle nannanne' (Kill me, girl).

Second door to your left. Be my guest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Festive spirit

And how charming it is to get hit with a fish (in public!) amidst water-colour balloons, bhang, gulal et al! To obtain the needful, execute the following conversation with an arbit, multi-coloured eediyet (nothing racist, nay) around the premises of a certain college in Bangalore notorious for its 'extravagant' Holi celebrations. Telepathy, please.

Him: Tomato?

You: Scoot in the other direction, snot rag.

Him: Egg?

You: Scoot in the other direction, snot rag.
Him: Vokay then, happy Holi!

You: Spank you very much. Shame to you.

And then..



The side of mine shoulder still smelleth rotten. *sniff*
Mine tresses still drip purple. *grrr*
And the coward attacked me from behind before 'scooting' away quite literally, dodging a second look.

But this will not go unsettled, will it, Dowdy? The street will be stalked till thou art paid back in kind. Vengeance is sweet.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Viva woes

There is a lot we do not understand. Most of what we do not understand at one point of time gets clear at some other point of time but there still would remain sediments of disbelief or vague hints of the past lack of understanding post the (un)specified time of understanding. If you were wondering whether I started busying myself with Ludlum's philosophy, you probably have never stepped into an engine-erring workshop lab.

For newbies: Workshop (06WSL18) is a compulsory subject in the first year of any engineering course in Karnataka (and in IITs too, I think) with the exception of a certain autonomous college in Bangalore. The syllabus includes designing fitting models which extract physical labour in alarming quantities and welding models which demand a fumbling freshie risk his looks. The warsht that could happen was probably this particular subject carrying 75 marks for the semester exams which includes a 10 mark viva voce (rapid fire question-answer session with the examiner). Why workshop was made compulsory for all branches despite it having least application in our chosen career stream has bounced over every taker's head from time immemorial.

Circa 2008, January the 18th. We yawn our way to the college workshop at 8:15 am in half tucked hideous khaki uniforms and leather shoes, carrying a 4 Rupee hacksaw blade which serves the purpose of cutting steel (yes, solid steel!). The instructor stands smirking like he has been nominated the next Ivan the horrible (or is it Hagar the terrible?) with the sneaky HOD and the wispy Vice Principal (VP) whom I last remember seeing on the first day of college. After a cordial welcome of instruction shouting, we are made to take down the model supposed to be made - a quadrant of a circle which fits neatly into its hollow counterpart, both made from two steel pieces, for 30 marks; a welding joint for 10 marks and viva for 10 marks, all to be added to our internal assessment marks to total it to 75.

VP adds as an afterthought, 'Time limit ees 2 avars, that is exactly 120 minutes.'

Hue and cry greets this announcement.

Assuming his words could make things better, he states with a grin, 'See 2 avars more than yenaf if you have a good breakfast and come. You will get full 120 minutes for your work and nobody can take these 120 minutes from you'. His version of a certain 'Sattar Minute' speech that made waves last year.

Thus, we get to work; marking, punching, cutting (the thin blade wobbling dangerously, extracting a work of 317.55 joule/second from yours truly), filing and then welding. I choose to do away with the details because after all the effort, it looked like my strategy paid off and I got soopar looking models. ;) Just when I thought those marks were in the bag, I hear Hagar call, ' Roll numbar threeeeee. Viva'. I walk nervously to the external examiner, a man in mid-thirties in a crisp white shirt and sit down when asked.

Ex: Hmm. So roll number three. So what is your name?

Isn't that on the register next to the roll number, you near-sighted warp?

Me: Akshatha, Sir.

Ex: Hmm. So which branch?

Me: Electronics.

Ex: Hmm. Aap kidhar se aaya hai?

Was prepared for this, considering five out of three people take me for a Northie. Took a second to debate between continued amusement in inducing more broken Hindi or get down to business and finish early for my regular dose of caffeine in the canteen.

Me: From Bangalore sir.
Ex: Oh. Originally from where?

Me: Coastal Karnataka

Ex: Ees eet? So Akshatha, can you introduce yourself?

Me: Here's an alternative: Why don't you just scroll above and apply simple summation of finite series?
I am Akshatha, branch electronics, from Bangalore.

Ex: Goooood. So, can you identify this device? (points to a lethal looking tonged instrument)

Me: Loading..27%..89%. Image of Dad using it to unseal a cough syrup bottle.
Cutting plyers, sir.

Ex: *grins* Six yellowish white teeth on each jaw visible.
See ma, in engineering level, we expect certain amount of technicality from you. Of course, you are right but even a 3rd standard child can tell me that no?

Me: Sir, it is a snipe. Used in sheet metal work. It has two movable jaws attached to the handle and the jaws are shaped for pinpoint precision cutting. Usually made of hardened steel, grade 4. Specification given by size of jaws in mm. No operator skill is required. Even a third standard child can handle it. (Without pause. Mujhse panga lega?)

Ex: *looks impressed* Good good. But I just asked you name no?

Me: Grrr.

Ex: So, can you identify and yexplain about this device? (points to a divider from a school kid's geometry set)

Me: What technicality do you expect from this, human? Sir, that is a screw-turn marker. Precision measuring instrument which can be used to measure distance between two separated planes, draw parallel lines or locate the center of a circle. It is made of mild steel, has sharp edges and movable legs. Specified by maximum separation measurable in mm.

Ex: Full Hajara Choudhary manual tip of your tongue aa? *laughs* See ma, in engineering level, simplification is the key. Why so much technicality for such a simple device? It is a simple divider which children yooze.

Me: Fuming. Yes sir. But you said yexplain so.. (yes, with the sarcasm and my best smile)

Ex: Vokay vokay. *looks at VP* This is the interest we expect in the subject, sir. So Akshata, what ees yoovar ambition?

Me: Law will sound out of track and might lead to more questions, making me late for coffee. Think..something big and complicated.
Research in satellite ranging and nano technology, sir.

Ex: Oho. What is that?

Me: Erm..adopting electronics for research in satellite ranging and nano technology. (source: Elementary Explanation Guide for External Examiners).

Ex: Ees eet? All the best. *takes register* Roll number three..three..three. *scribbles what looks like a nine* You may go.

Yay! Thanked him and fled. And it was only after I reached the canteen that I received this SMS forward:

'Trying to convince your examiner in viva is like fighting with a pig in mud. After a while, you realize that you are getting dirty and the pig is enjoying it'.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Bystander at the lychgate

And He made me a river, a tempest, a tide,
Coerced to run, night and day,
I lash'd at rock, flooded thicket,
Ached for sedation, yearn'd parole.

Bystander at the lychgate, I see you sob
Beloved departed, crypted, cremated.
I reach out to you, take my arm,
Alas but I only am a swift tide of water.

I bargain with Him, 'Let me stop
For a moment of solace, a word, a pat;
To comfort him with an 'all will be well',
And then I shall resume my vault to the sea'.

Yet He said, 'Slow down, not halt,
And haul his tear to the sea.
I steer fate; you run, he weeps
For you are a river, he a lover'.