The Clerk

He is sitting in his cube. His eyes are half on his PC glossing through the document open and half checking out the pretty girl in the next cube. A lowly clerk in his division, and one of the lowest in the food-chain, very few people even knew his name. He hated his job which was to proof read first drafts.

“What horrible grammar! Why don’t these people first attend a basic course in English before doing all this heavy duty stuff. Will make my job much easier.”

“Hey you! We don’t pay you to ogle at girls! Get back to your work.”

He quickly proof-read the document and forwarded it to his manager and went on to the next one. He thought about how he couldn’t care less if the distance between two legs of a transistor was in the picometer range, or if a circuit less than a pinhead’s size could arbitrate between a thousand antennae. Cutting edge technology they say. Breakthrough inventions they say. Never before seen they say. Boring he says.

His manager came up to him suddenly.

“You, there is a crackpot downstairs claiming some major breakthrough and wanting to see me. I don’t have time for this nonsense. You can go and pretend to be me. Throw some polysyllabic words around and see if he gets scared. Get rid of him somehow.”

He reaches the lobby. A well-dressed gentleman is sitting composedly on a settee. He is surprised therefore when the security guard took him up to him and told him that the gentleman is the one who insisted on seeing him.

“How can I help you sir?”

“Thank you sir for meeting me. Can we go somewhere private and talk. It is not safe if we are overheard.”

“Of course Mr …”

“Smith, John Smith. You might have realised that it is actually a pseudonym. I can’t compromise myself or the organisation I am representing.”

Though not particularly bothered about any organisation, he did not say anything to dampen Smith’s enthusiasm.

“Of course, we can go outside, there is a cafe nearby where we can have a private chat.”

They proceed to a rather shady looking cafe adjacent to the office they had just exited. Finding a quiet seat in the corner, they begin their discussion.

“So Mr. Smith, why this top-secret meeting and what is this invention you want to talk to me about?”

“Two words – time travel.”

“Time travel eh? Seen a lot of that. As far as I know, no one has managed a practical solution to traveling through subatomic ether first. Send your plans to my secretary and he will verify your claims. Then we can talk.”

“With all due respect, it is way above your pay grade and way above your education level.”

“Oh so you know a lot about me eh?”

“I know for a fact that you are just a clerk impersonating your manager but you are exactly the person we wanted to see. Details of this meeting won’t go any further because let us face it, no one would believe a no mark like you. We have means of knowing your whereabouts too just in case you aren’t clear about your predicament yet.”

“But why me?”

“Oh for that you need to know what happened. Here we go, in simple terms, we discovered that whenever we do any form of time travel, we go to a parallel universe. We made several such trips. The trips were quite enlightening; in one journey we found that though the era was same, they are not as technologically advanced as us and are still struggling with concepts that children in our universe learn in kindergarten itself. Just as an experiment, we then did something that will change their universe forever. We will be observing their progress every once in a while using an anchor we created with which we can go directly to that universe rather than random ones.”

“What did you do?”

“We told your good self from that universe, something that will change the course of their history.”

A morbid curiosity grips him and he asks, “What did I learn in that universe?”

“Let me put it to you this way, Mr Einstein, in that universe, patent clerks from Switzerland are sure to be looked on with respect.”

Inspired by http://xkcd.com/1067/

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Hunger

I am hungry. The lack of football is starving me. For a passionate fan of club football, off-season might be the most torturous period there can be, with the international breaks providing stiff competition. No blogs to read, no players to swoon over, no players to shout at *cough* Downing *cough* and no more late-night matches and subsequent drowsiness all through next day. Sitting on the edge of the seat and praying that all our players make it through the break without injuries is no fun.

Granted it was not total lack of football. There were the Euros, making it much better than last year’s off-season, but somehow I did not enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to have done. Ze Germans, of whom I have been a fan since that 2006 opening goal by Lahm, were not as exciting as the last World Cup. In 2010, ze Germans were a fast counter-attacking team and tore many teams to shreds as England and Argentina will testify. Ozil and Muller with all there umlauts were so much fun to watch and the speed at which they converted defence to attack was breathtaking. This time though, their movement was more languid, more focus was on possession than before and except for the second half against Greece, never left second gear. Still it was a surprise when they went out to unfancied Italy pouring water on the German-Spain final that many football fans were hoping for.  Spain seemingly as disappointed at not getting Germany as everyone else, then brutalised Italy in the final.

After a long long trophy-less stretch, Spain have won their second consecutive Euro Cup and made history by winning three consecutive tournaments. Vicente Del Bosque, the Droopyesque coach of the team became the only manager in the history of football to have won all three major tournaments, the Champions League, the World Cup and the Euro Cup. The talent for Spain, with brilliant players like Javi Martinez, Mata, Muniain, Llorente and many others still waiting on the wings is absolutely worth salivating over. Only Germany have comparable wealth in hand, but in spite of reaching the late stages of many tournaments they have choked. With experience in the squad that might improve though. Spain are now the champions at all levels and unless something drastic happens, it is highly probable that they will rule over football for the near-foreseeable future.

All that I am still not a big fan of Spain. The purists might enjoy the controlled build-up starting from the goalkeeper, the endless inter-passing, the waiting for the gaps to occur and the sudden rapier-like thrust at the most opportune moment, nowadays referred to by the fashionable name of tiki-taka, but I find no sight more enjoyable than the sudden turn-over of possession in our own half, the excellent controlled long ball to the striker or winger who is waiting as an outlet, the streaking into the opposition’s half at a manic speed and before the other team is aware GOAALL! An audacious chip from the half line and it is even better. The new manager of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers is a fan of tiki-taka and I might well have to bring myself around to enjoy the poor man’s tiki-taka that Liverpool will dish out. Hopefully we will get into the Champions League next season.

It is not all silence at the club level though. Only one activity seems to be going on but its roar is deafening. Yes, I am talking about the transfer window. The transfer window on the continent opened on July 1st and all sorts of crazy rumours have started flying around. Players getting linked to every other club, agents sniffing around for their 15%, players not signing contract extensions, Arsenal fans committing mass suicide (the last two are said to be linked) and in short total bedlam reigns over Twitter. Whenever a new player is linked, within moments a video detailing all his goals, tricks and celebrations appears on the interweb. A video welcoming him to the club also appears. The player at that time is sugar, spice and everything nice (Yes, I used to watch Powerpuff Girls, sue me). Then suddenly a tweet appears rubbishing that link and linking him somewhere else and the player suddenly turns into a person not fit to tie the laces, let alone wear the precious shirt. Rinse, lather and repeat. Bat-shit crazy, this transfer season.

Thankfully, the actual season is not as far away as it seems. What with preseason and Europa League qualifiers (Europe!), the footie starts very soon. Another season of hope (“this is our year!”) is nigh.

Bus Karo

Bus rides can be broadly classified into two types: long and short (genius no?). The short ones I love and the long ones I try to avoid like the plague. The short bus rides are for example from the bus stop opposite your house to the grocer two blocks down, or even to the Big Bazaar across town. I like sitting peacefully observing my co-passengeresses, gazing out of the window or reading a book. I also like running after crowded buses, trying to get a foothold on the foot-board and hanging out of the bus in quintessentially Indian fashion.

These short bus rides are of course not everyone’s cup of tea. Hanging on for dear life all the while inhaling the “fragrance” of the salt of the earth and if god forbid it rained, the socks of the earth can sometimes cause even the hardest person to feel the strain. Arguing with the conductor for the change and the driver because he doesn’t stop at your stop as well as alternatively apologising and antagonising your co-passengers for stepping on their foot is one of the traits of a bus ride in Hindustan post Jesus H. Christ. Nonetheless, I enjoy every bit of it.

The bus rides I try to avoid are the long distance ones, the ones across states, countries or continents. A suitable example will be the one that take you from one city full of people sporting backpacks, ID cards and earphones to one in the Naalikerathinte Naadu where you have a house like a Narayanakkilikoodu. Or maybe from one place in the latter to another, sufficiently far apart that the language of one is incomprehensible in the other (that is much closer than you might imagine).

Even the sight of the big bulky bus bounding down the road fills me with trepidation. I remember the countless babies crying their tiny hearts out (at extremely loud volume nonetheless) and the buckets of vomit the trajectories of which miss my face by whiskers. Thank god that I don’t have whiskers! I shed a silent tear thinking about the thousands of beautiful girls that sit in the seat just in front of me while the seats adjacent to me are occupied by people who are carrying enough luggage to last them a lifetime or the inquisitive people who appear to be unable to take their next breath until they know everything about me. I shudder remembering the overturned buses and smashed junks that litter either side of the highway that connects my usual destinations. Cutting the description short, I quake like a jelly and my timbers start shivering.

You would be excused if you conclude that with this great phobia of long distance journeys, I do most of my travelling via train. If you belong to the ilk which believes in planning and foresight, the aforementioned conclusion is almost foregone. There my dear reader, your ignorance of the creature called Damu shines through. Damu, rather I, has(/have respectively) never thought ahead of the day’s breakfast compared to some people who have even thought of the breakfast of the kid they will have in some 10 years. If somebody graded my planning on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being the planning of the grasshopper for winter and 10 being the planning of Rohilettan, I will get somewhere in the region of -10.

I eagerly wait for the day when IRCTC reduces its reservation period from 4 months to 1 day. 4 months! I laugh in their faceless faces at their gross presumption. 4 months! Ha ha. 4 days and you are talking business. 1 and you have got yourself a deal. Till that day, I swallow my fear, harden my nerves and take that shaky step on to the footboard of the Rajahamsa, that humble steed that carries my noble self everywhere.

‘Til Later

Biryani

No, this post is not about biryani – one of the most overrated dishes in my opinion. I find the various spices and all in it disgusting and only eat it if I am left with no other option. In my living memory (I wonder if there is something called dead memory), I have only liked biryani twice. But if I remember right, both times I was starving. Even when I think of biting the clove or cinnamon or cardomom, I gag. Yuck! But then, I am a vegetarian and what the hell do I know.

I am sure at least a few of my Malayalee readers would have seen the movie called One Man Show. And by now, I am sure you must have realised where I am leading to. For the others, no worry, all in good time. The movie has a mad character played by Salim Kumar. In it, he is interned in a lunatic asylum and wreaks havoc with his antics. In one of the best scenes of the movie, he creates a massive charge of his fellow lunatics. When dragged aside and asked what they were doing, he gleefully informs that he told those idiots that free biryani is available near the front gates. Then he is asked why he is running after them and he replies that he is also running because, “engaanum biryani kittiyalo”, which translates to “what if biryani is actually available”.

This wishing for a non-existent or rather improbable biryani, the “what ifs” are a defining part of us. This optimism for the improbable is intrinsic in our psyche and varies only in how far one is optimistic. Even the worst pessimist is an optimist. This optimism is expertly utilised by most advertisements. What if I become fair, what if I lose weight, what if I gain height, what if I get hair back etc etc etc. The entire betting industry revolves around this optimism. Everyone knows that out of a million lottery ticket holders, only one is going to win the bumper prize, yet they imagine themselves to be that person. The higher the odds, the more one feels confident that this is the day. Maybe that is also why four or five lakh odd people write the JEE, the AIEEE or the myriad entrance examinations where the selection percentage is less than one. Hope springs eternal.

How was I reminded of that “class” dialogue? That brings us to point after a long ramble in the neighbourhood of everything but the point. You must have noticed the current prominence of something called Zurker, apparently the creation of the losers of Facebook (bullshit of course, the makers are totally different people). Zurker is a new social network that they claim will revolutionise the entire concept of social networking, the iPhone of social networks if you will. Welcome to the community owned network where every networker is an owner of the network. It is their advertisement strategy that is brilliant, and is the subject of this post.

They promise every networker to get a share of the network when someone he/she recommends join it. The company goes public when a million shares have been distributed. With the IPO of Facebook expected to be of the order of several dozen billions of dollars, even the most pessimistic person is hoping for a share value of a few thousand at least. People are thus optimistically spamming on Facebook (the irony), Twitter, Gmail, blogs and every other possible place they can.

The leprachaun gold at the end of the rainbow is enough for people to tote out essays on why it could not fail and is a guaranteed source of income. Just reach that magic number and enjoy the loot. What could possibly go wrong? You just have to ask Google+, Orkut, MySpace, Friendster and the multitudes of networks that have come and gone with the wind. But if this optimism is changed, I guess we won’t remain humans anymore.

The thrill of the improbable, almost impossible, happening is something which lends magic to our lives, gives us something to look forward to. The underdogs pipping the favourites, the favourites pipping the underdogs expected to pip the favourites and so on. There are a gazillion million possible eventualities and life will be far the worse if robbed of the hope for the one single version that suits us. Life is beautiful as the most hoariest of cliches go.

In related news, you can join Zurker by clicking on this beautiful link. Of course I don’t want to be the one left without the metaphorical biryani though the literal one can go and stuff itself. Or do we stuff ourselves with biryani? God knows.

‘Til Later

PS: This post is an elaborate hoax to make you click that last link and add to my referral count.

PPS: I know that you know but just hoping 😉

PPPS: And that is 50 posts! Took a long time. Whatever!

A Train of Thought

Last Sunday, I saw the Malayalam movie 22 Female, Kottayam. It is about a nurse who is abused by people whom she considered close to her and how she wreaks revenge. Nothing groundbreaking, almost the illegitimate offspring twice removed of Ek Hasina Thi and Kill Bill (and for once acknowledged by the makers). It was though quite a different movie from the dominant fare in Malayalam, no over-aged fat hero trying to carouse with a million girls less than a third his age nor a superhero who defies all laws of physics while bashing up the baddies while mouthing punch dialogues at the same time. I liked the movie, though I can’t say I enjoyed it because that would make me a rather sick person.

But this blog is not a critical review of the movie. Rather this is a about a train of thought that was triggered while watching the aforementioned movie. I can’t actually say triggered because I have thought about it earlier too but only now am I actually putting it into words. It is about a factor that influences how we appreciate, enjoy or empathise with the characters, let it be a movie or a book.

It is a three letter word that starts with S and ends with X. Not in that way you pervert, though that might play a significant part too. I meant sex as the gender. I have felt that the gender of the character plays a very significant part. Big deal you might say, and I agree, nothing that others haven’t thought of. But I thought a long time about this, and so reader, I have to bore you too.

As a person who likes reading, I tried translating it to books that I have read. Then I remembered about Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a book that I have thoroughly enjoyed and a book that I will recommend to everyone. I enjoyed it much more than A Thousand Splendid Suns, by the same author. But while discussing about it with an aunt, she told me that she felt ATTS was much better. The reason we felt totally opposite, I surmise was because she associated more with the female protagonist rather than the male protagonist of KR. Both undergo repeated misfortunes in their lives. Comparing the two is difficult and I guess is left to the reader. This I think led to the contrasting views about the books that my aunt and I had about the same books.

Going one step forward, I think I will associate more with a male doctor protagonist than a female engineer protagonist inspite of being (almost) an engineer myself. It might well be the most important trait of the protagonist which decides how I associate with the character. Putting it in a nutshell, the targeted audience matters a lot for me while appreciating a creation, let it be a movie or a book. Sidney Sheldon with his female protagonist and Harold Robbins with his male protagonists targeted different audience. Stephanie Meyer targets an altogether different audience which can’t be easily characterised, though giggly, pink and immature are the words that immediately spring to the mind. Without deprecating books with targeted audience, I have felt that a book is truly great when any Tom, Dick or Harry and Eena, Meena or Deeka are able to equally enjoy it.

Reading through my prolonged discourse on people of literary merit far that I can’t even dream of reaching, the thoughtful and eloquent reader might have been wondering how the !@#! is this related to the movie I mentioned. Spoiler Alert, if you want to watch the movie, don’t read on. The female lead as I mentioned is repeatedly abused and finally cheated by a guy whom she loves. As revenge and to prevent him from further abusing anyone, she castrates him.

Ouch! Inspite of everything that happened earlier, and knowing that the suffering villain was a total douchebag and a vile person too, I could not help feeling sympathy towards him. I felt queasy even as I thought about what happened to him. I guess the feminine half of the audience felt the same when the heroine was abused. The director targets both audience here knowing that both will be equally affected and this is what I think makes the movie really good.

The movie-going public has started demanding different films than the usual. Many big budget movies with the usual plot sunk without a trace. What with movie rights and all, a movie doesn’t fail totally but still it vanishes from the screen which can be said to be a failure. This demand might also attribute to the meteoric rise of a certain person without no shame whatsoever who does everything in his movies, including directing, writing the story, penning the lyrics, playing the hero and dancing with the 7 or 8 heroines, all equally poorly. I have felt the said person to be an affront to our collective sensibilities, but some people like him, so there you are.

In some of these offbeat offsprings of the intercourse between the demanding public and new directors, societal issues are being addressed in a more straightforward manner than the allegorical or metaphorical portrayals earlier, swearwords are coming in (which is a big step indeed) and ‘variety’ plots (lifted from elsewhere of course) are being used. Whether all these are forward or backward steps is something that is difficult to say at the moment. History after all moves forward*.

But sometimes I hark back to the good old days when I could enter a theater blankly, laugh a lot, enjoy the songs, ogle at the heroine and come back without anything on my mind, let alone such gruesome images. Movies are no longer an escape to another world, but becoming a window to the rather sick world that we live in.

‘Til Later

*A quote by Nassim Nicholas Taleb of Black Swan fame

Guess Who Is Back?

Well, that break proved to be unusually refreshing. I am back from that self-imposed exile where you would have found me more difficult to find on the social network than water on moon. This exile was triggered by what many may think to be one of the silliest reasons possible, a game. But when that game turns out to be football, undoubtedly the most popular game on the planet, then it might not be too silly.

To cut a long story short, when my favourite football team, the one to whom I have sworn my allegiance, the one whose fortunes decide my mood of the day and the one who is yet to attend the class Goal Scoring 101 began playing even more horrendously than usual and started going from one nadir to the next, I decided to take a break from everything and come back refreshed. This entailed skipping twitter, where I almost exclusively follow people related to football, all the million blogs which were mirroring my despair, FIFA where I used to play the actual match again and also Facebook just for kicks. And then I realised, I had nothing else to do online.

I curbed my usual habit of opening a hundred tabs and roving from one tab to another, everything related to football. Sometimes out of sheer force of habit, I would open a few of football related sites, but then remembering, I would close my eyes and quickly close the tab, punch myself in the face, dip my hands in boiling oil and walk on fire, or mostly only the first. I went on a pilgrimage, meditated on the futility of it all and understood some fundamental truths about life. That the pilgrimage was part of a trip to Delhi and was not a conscious choice but rather a choice of the parents is another matter altogether.

3 weeks of that self-imposed exile and I found out that I had more time than I even knew. The serendipitous benefit of the exile was my reading. Books, which I used to leave for the rainy day, the offseason when there was no football, the time when I was free from doing my million other responsibilities were quickly finished. I am glad to say I read many fine books. I also discovered the rather humbling fact that if I read a book a day, I would not finish even the classics in my lifetime. I am now exploring authors who are talked about with reverence, the people who shaped the literature of their times, the literary giants on whose shoulders stood many a Chetan Bhagat and achieved bestsellerdom. Though even these giants might have been the Chetan Bhagats of their times, upcoming novices mentioned sometimes as an afterthought.

I broke my exile today on learning that Liverpool (the team that I follow that is) won a match. Was I relieved on coming back into the folds of “society”. Not too much. It is still bickering, sharing weird photos to get “likes”, refreshing a page to see if the like count increased, trying to be witty or pondering on the perils of playing a deep-lying playmaker. I discovered that the exile was not so much of a trouble, rather I enjoyed immensely the time I had. Maybe I am just an ordinary anti-social being, a sociopath if you will. The anti-library (a library containing the unread books) is more than 99.999% full.

Of course, the football bug, once caught is not easily cured, and once my team goes back to its winning ways (if there ever was one), I am sure I will get hooked on again and cry and delight with my fellow fans. But this promise I solemnly make, that unnecessary worry I will not take. After all it is only a game.

The Midnight Flight

The light above the front-door started flickering and then went off without a fuss.

“Not again! Why does this happen every time I am in a hurry?” cursed Hari. He tried opening the door with the key and ran through the entire bunch before finding the fitting one.

“Unbelievable, if I had started at the other end, it would still have been the last key.”

It was pitch dark inside and so he began searching the pockets of his jacket for a torch he was sure that he had. He promptly found a screwdriver, three screws, a chewing gum and even the key to his previous car but not the candle. Shaking his fist at the spectre of Murphy gloating malevolently over him, he resigned himself to his fate and began using his mobile to navigate around the house.

“Let there be light”, he muttered sardonically while switching on the mobile light. He peeked a glance at his watch. He was quite behind schedule. He had a midnight flight out of the country to catch and the car was coming in less than fifteen minutes. In that time he had to pack everything as well as clean up. Remembering the spate of robberies in that neighbourhood he made a mental note to not leave anything valuable behind.

He went into the bedroom and started checking the various almirahs and drawers to see if he had missed anything. She had told him to clean up the place before he left. He hated the cleaning but knew that she will give him trouble if he did not follow what she said. He shuddered slightly remembering the last time such a thing had happened. He felt a faint tingle remembering the lashings that he received.

“Women! No point arguing with them. As somebody wise told, a man has got to do what a woman has told him to do. Or was that something different? Who cares.”

While cleaning up, his mind started wandering and he began thinking about his job. Years of experience had lent a mechanical bent to it. Truth be told, he was quite fed up with his work and wanted to start afresh somewhere. He had almost quit several times but financial difficulties as well as the fact that he was not much good at anything else always brought him back.

“Beggars can’t be choosers and at least I am better off than some of my ex-colleagues”, he consoled himself. Finishing everything, he took a quick glance to ensure that everything was fine and walked out.

“Shit, I forgot to call her. She will be livid. And where is that bloody car? It was supposed to be here five minutes back.”

The car came almost at that moment and identifying himself, he got into it. And the car drove off. He took out his phone and dialled her number.

“Ma’am, I have done everything you told me. I am going to the airport and will be out of the loop for some time while I enjoy that well-earned holiday.” His tone belied how intimidated he was by his boss.

He threw his phone out and taking off the mask and gloves which were stifling him, he began enjoying the wind blowing in through the open windows of his getaway car.

What do I say?

A pen in my hand,

I stare at the book,

The pages blank yet,

No ink marring its beauty,

The pristine plainness,

The white stillness,

Happy it should be.

But a trace of sadness I sense,

As it speaks out,

Asking me,

Begging me,

And imploring me,

A story,

A few lines,

A few odd words,

At least a dozen characters,

Anything to cure its dullness,

The cheerless colourlessness,

The sad loneliness,

But I bow my head,

And murmur my meek apology,

For impotent it is,

The pen in my hand,

As I stare at the book,

Its pages blank yet.

Parody of a Rhyme

The clocks strike thirteen on a fairly cool night,

I try fall asleep while still bathed with light,

Mad you call me and mad I may be,

But I find the glow comforting, it lends my mind free,

It wanders, remembers when sleep came too soon,

When I felt quite light, and over the moon,

I laughed a laugh that was cheery and bright,

And slept a sound sleep with nary a fright,

But now heavy with worry and stricken with gloom,

The darkness reminds me of impending doom,

Wherever I turn, my mind always found,

The memory, nay feel of that haunting sound,

Quite close to my head or maybe afar,

My ears tried to close but they couldn’t bar,

The hum, the horn, the maddening din,

A symphonic eulogy to all their dear kin,

They who died a death cruelly at my irreverent hands,

On my many long journeys, over varying lands,

Many a battle we must have fought,

Victories, pyrrhic, with much blood ’twere bought,

With a sting here and there, they have robbed me my health,

My nemeses, my scourge and my torment till death,

My plague and my curse and my innate foes,

Those pesky fliers, the mosquitoes.

 

Danke poetmaster and my Shifu Varma for going through my effort, and correcting where he saw fit. I have accepted a few of his suggestions and discarded a few.

The Last Hurrah?

According to Wikipedia, I was a graduand till a few days back. Who are they to judge, you might ask. The fact that you ask that question implies that you have been living in a hole for the last few years. Welcome back Rip Van Winkle, we now have colour televisions and internet. Wikipedia is the new bible. Where was I? Ah, graduand. An eminently Commonwealth word, it refers to a student who has “completed” his graduation but has not yet graduated with a formal ceremony. And the university solved that problem with a convocation (or convo as we cool people call it) ceremony on the 20th of January.

With most of our class being in Bangalore itself, there were many of us in the train that took us to the alma mater. A fun journey as all train journeys are, we reached the ‘city’ of Kozhikode on the morning of the convo. Some noobs had turned up the previous day itself as the official website had told us to be present there for some rehearsal and registration. But our mole in the college had told us that it was all bullshit, so we sauntered in on the relevant day only.

The necessary registration and collection of gowns/robes was done. The dress had a caution deposit of Rs 1500/-(one thousand five hundred only). Shocking. It is not as if we are silly immature people who can’t be trusted to tie our own shoelaces. Oh wait, we are. Then we proceeded to our… oops erstwhile (*sniff**sniff*) hostels to dump the bag. Some people had to carry out their daily routines while the rest of us less disciplined folks waited for them. Then we were all ready for breakfast.

But waiting for one of our flock stuck in Bombay resulted in our delay in going to that hallowed thattukada, our haunt for three years, the place which fed us and kept us out of shape during our college days, that abode of the master of tea-making Vasuettan and the excellent Chechi. Words fail most of us while waxing lyrical about the food there. Some people have stopped drinking tea anywhere else after tasting a sip from Chechi’s, fearing losing that divine taste from the tongue. The person with the best vocabulary of “nice words” in our group slung poetical rhyming swear words at the delayer for delaying us and we ran there fearing that all was lost.

Our fears were almost realised and we had to make do with the second best options available but the divine tea was there to compensate. Feeling very sated and at peace with the world, all at the cost of 20 rupees, smiling benignly at all and sundry, we then proceeded to meet the favourite teacher(s). A lot of fun was had at the expense of some people who give lifts to girls on bikes as well as some people who go to gym when some people are rumoured to come to Bangalore. But alas I can reveal no names.

The convo was scheduled to begin at 3:30 in the afternoon(duh!) and after quick showers and a lot of time deducing how to wear the robes, we went to the Audi. There we learned that the robes have been wrongly worn and after long duels and almost endless namecalling, we finally decided to wear it just as it is. And then I entered the audi.

And then I entered my mistake. The chief guest coming from Saddi Dilli had his flight delayed as a result of the awesome fogs due to the awesome climate in awesome Delhi and it was no fault of the Delhi which is the awesomest place that I know of. But I digress. The nub of the matter is that he was late and some of us were left stuck in the hall with no entertainment other than sitting and twiddling my thumbs while watching grass grow and paint dry. You might wonder why I did not take my awesome iPod but then you were not aware of the stupid rule that no cameras and stuff were aloud. Then you will argue that the 0.3 megapixel camera in the iPod does not qualify as a camera and then I will grab your throat for blaspheming about an iDevice for I am an Apple fanboy. But again I digress.

The ceremony finally began two hours late with loud trumpets and the academic procession entered the halls with great fanfare. The next thing I remember was people going on the stage to collect their certificates. The speeches were said to be excruciatingly boring and infinitely long. My name was finally called and I went on stage all humble and bowing and promptly lost my hat. But being the resourceful person that I am, I converted that mishap into a curtsey and got my photo snapped without further problems. The degree told me that I got through with a First Class with Distinction, talk about awesomeness, which gathering from the expressions on people’s face when I tell them my marks, I would hardly have considered possible let alone probable.

The fact that we were stuck in the hall for around 5 hours left us ravenously hungry and the juniors were blessed from the bottom of our hearts when they provided us refreshments. Then I ran around making hasty farewells and searching for the friend who had promised a ride home (his not mine). The aforementioned friend having been found out, gathered Yours Truly and the one who got mocked for the bike incident and took us to his home. And the convo trip that most of us had been waiting for ended.

A huge thank you for all the friends and teachers who enabled me to stumble through four years of college with a degree in hand to show for it. And I am now a graduate, fellow homo sapiens. A graduate from a not too shabby university in India. Bring on the world now. I will shove that degree in their face. Or burn it along with the rest of the stuff when the world ends in 2012. Whatever…

‘Til Later