Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Accidental Horcrux

In this picture,
There is Devang Bhandari without whose "Neeeil, jaldi bahar aa, bahut zor se potty aa rahi hai" my day could not begin and who once told the mess boy "Bhaiyya, mujhe soup thoda lukewarm chahiye"
There is Gautham Ashok who sleeps with the lights on so that he can swat mosquitoes late at night and complimented me by calling me a dog.
There is Prashant Kanaujia who's just a sexy boy and around whom I never dared leave my Facebook or mail logged in.

In this picture,
are also walls that we're paying to get re-painted, orange curtains, the iron and the Chamber of Dreams.

In this picture,
are the shadows of Chandani Karnik, Shikha Singh and dozens of our friends who helped make this place more of a home. And of course, the memories of several others who have as much right to call this a home as I do.

In this picture,
is the reminder of the two bathrooms but one geyser, the rush to make to make it to the morning lecture on time, the workstation, the balcony, the annoying drilling, the broken toilet seat, Gummadi, psycho watchmen, wi-fi woes and dinner choices.

In this picture,
there is laughter, sadness, nostalgia, excitement and above all, friendship.

In this picture,
is 204, SMP. Life, happiness, memories and my home for 3 years. 

My accidental horcrux

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dummy’s Guide to Cleeping

One of the least explored and most mysterious phenomena today is the legendary art of classroom sleeping. Its origins remain a mystery though it has evolved over the centuries into a much more precise art form. It is really surprising how the classroom instils a remarkable skill in people of being able to fall asleep in various positions at any time whatsoever, irrespective of what is going on around then. People sleep in the morning because it’s the morning and they sleep post-lunch because its well, post-lunch.

So far, detailed information on this subject has been very hard to come by for several reasons. For one, regular hardcore sleepers are very secretive and refuse to divulge any information and secondly, this study involves a lot of dangerous, unmentionable perils.
However, this document has been created by daring to go where a few have ventured before. Careful methodical observation of various classroom sleepers, interviews with a few masters of the ancient art, visits to some of the most dangerous places in the classroom, opinions of some of the best experts in the psycho-physio-somatic field and of course the customary joblessness have conspired to bring to you this basic handbook on the different styles of classroom sleeping which, by the way, the insiders prefer to call “Cleeping.”
The Fish Eyed Wonder : The most common mode of cleeping. Named after the fish who sleeps with its eyes open. And just like the fish there are sea-loads, or rather, lift loads of people whose eyes remain wide open in class. However, you can almost hear their mind snoring. It also happens to be one of the safest ways of cleeping, hard to detect and harder to pin down. The only give away is the drooling and the vacant expression on the subjects’ face.
My Desk, My Pillow : The humble college desk is recognized as an International Heritage Monument by the UN (ask Koshtub if you don’t believe me). Those bumpy, scratchy, squeaky,  often colourful surfaces are testimony to the literature of entire generations as it evolved. And in that mass of graffiti, notebook, pen, i-pod, cell phone and the occasional dried chewing gum, there sometimes lies a head. Almost a dead head. Its bearer fatigued by the exploits of the previous night or unable to bear the weight of the lecture, he does an action that is common across almost all college cultures around the globe. He crooks the elbow of one hand, places it on the desk and then crashes into it, head first. Pure somatic ecstasy.
The Guerrilla’s Choice :  This one is for the cautious sleeper. The crux lies in taking advantage of the size of the person sitting in front, and ducking behind him while you doze off. It is the most mathematical and calculative method of cleeping. You need to take into account several intricacies and estimations like movement of the cover, movement of the lecturer, angle of the lecturer’s vision etc. However, beware! Great plans have been foiled simply by last minute movements of any involved persons.
On the Forefront : General opinion has been that “front benchers” never sleep. But that is usually because  General opinion is fast asleep on the occasions when the front begins to shut its eyes. Or maybe its because the front is too far away from where most people sit, so it is hard for them to see whats going on. But the point is this, front benchers do sleep. Oh yes they do. And it is a sight worth beholding when it happens. You can almost see the struggle taking place as the weary Front Bencher puts up a valiant fight against that ‘old sinking feeling’. The drooping of the eye lids, the slouching of the shoulders and the sudden jerks till sleep, that evil temptress takes over completely.  It remains, till date, the most heroic form of cleeping. Not the least because it happens right beneath some noses which have been rumoured to breathe fire.
Back to the Darkness : Back of the class . Full stop. Zzzzzz.....

(More stuff on the way)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Something to remember us by......

The first ever batch of the college is finally graduating! A happy occasion? Of course. But with that tinge of mixed feelings that marks every farewell worth that word. And as the next ones in line, we took on the responsibility of creating an yearbook for them. I wrote the content for the book : here it is. A light hearted take that celebrates life in college. I don't know if any senior will read this post, but if they do, this book was the least we could do for you guys! 

And when we return back to SIMC after this internship, I know nothing will have changed. But something will be different.
Whats the point of 501, without somebody to claim rightful ownership over it?
Maushi and her tapri are still going to be there. But will there be the arty chats to go with the hot chai?
The amphi will stand, as splendid as ever. Maybe the echoes of the Opening Act  and Jaamun ka Ped will still sound somewhere.
The traffic in Viman Nagar will increase, will the passionate cyclists?
In True Spirit is going to be there. Hope it has the same passion without “Odh ke Lal Chunariya”.
So here is a small promise.

The legacy will remain.

90 %
The Simple Joys of SIMC (UG)

A Attendance.  What gravity is to the Earth, attendance is to the college. The one force that binds everything together. The great equalizer. It’s very simple. You could be anybody but if you do not have that magical 75 against your name,  you can’t give the exams. But you need a 90 for an internship. But you are allowed 15 extracurricular attendance. But that can’t count for the classroom 75. It’s THAT simple! And thus, attendance is something that dangles over everybody’s heads like a sword.  And it is a joy watching people (most of whom left Maths behind for good) turn blue trying to add, subtract and multiply percentages just to disprove the latest updated attendance.

 :  Back Logs.  Are what you get if you fail in a specific module. Then you re-give it next time around. If you still don’t clear it, then you give it the time after that. Used to cause fear earlier. Are worn like ornaments towards the end. And the end of every exam worth its weight, wide eyed students  pour out declaring that they are getting one this time. For sure.  Actually, no one has quite understood the grading system, so no one can really tell.  And again, it is a delight watching Media Trainees grapple with things like percentages, percentiles, proportional grading & the academic co-ordinator to no avail.

 : Comp Lab. There is nothing that could attract a bunch of students like free internet and the computer lab is no exception. It is the place where you get Google and therefore the place where assignments were started, finished, printed and immediately submitted (0.75 seconds before the deadline ). Post 5.30pm even Facebook and Youtube join the party and no one in their right minds could do anything else if they happen to be present in the lab. Also a known discussion forum for all the latest happenings in college.

: Deadlines. The college swears by them. We try and stick by them.  Deadlines are also the most popular form of exercise, as people who you would never have thought capable run, climb, push, pull, fight and bargain just to put in the papers on time. If there was an award for the least amount of time taken to complete, mail, print, file and submit an assignment, we would be glittering with the riches by now.

: Elevator. Known in common terms as the ‘lift’. Generally used to transport people to upper levels in a multi-storied structures. Besides this, it is used for several other purposes in college like giving free massages, shock therapy and for teaching team work, negotiation, diplomacy, kickboxing and tolerance to the most disastrous sights, smells and sounds.

: Faasos. The unofficial ‘chilling-out’ zone. As the sun sets and the campus begins to empty, faasos and the footpath wake up  to life. The careless laughter of youth fills the (often smoky) air as people unwind and the troubles of the day are momentarily forgotten. And for those moments people actually talk their heart out (i.e. bitch).  

: Gossip. What do you get when you put together a huge number of just- gettin-outta-teenage-years media trainees within an area of a few kilometres around their campus? Gossip. Lots of it. Some of it totally hilarious, some of it extremely vicious. Link-ups, break-ups, patch-ups, scandals and controversies.... It’s all there.  However, being fair, gossip is an integral part of any and every college, in fact of every organisation. So there has never been any reason to be deeply affected by it.

 : Hostels. “There are two reasons because of which the lives of boys in college get ruined. One is MHADA hostel and the other is Sakore Nagar Hostel.”  - Ancient Proverb.             The North pole and South pole of the SIMC world, the girls’ hostels dictate how fast the winds will blow and how hot the currents will flow on campus. Which hostel / floor / room you stay in or owe allegiance to could determine anything ranging from where you sit in the class to where you have food in the mess. The latest news, gossip, rumours, politics, bitching, backstabbing and front stabbing are said to originate here in majority circumstances.  I sincerely hope that the person who called women the fairer sex does not visit these places though Machiavelli would definitely have picked up a trick or two.                                                                                                                                             
Oh, and there are unconfirmed reports about the existence of a boys hostel as well. But nobody really cares about that.

 : In True Spirit. Looking back, the title of the annual intra SIMC sports event is a tribute to our spirit of sarcasm. For 3 days, all three batches of the college compete in various sporting events. “Compete” being a euphemism. There is so much sledging and rivalry and drama that observers from other institutes suspect us of having Australian blood. Alliances are formed, anthems created and  battle lines are firmly drawn. And whatever can’t be finished on the field is always carried on to Facebook! Anyways, people suddenly wake up and realise that they used to play a sport. Vows are made to give up addictions during practice. Plans are made to create college teams for various sports. But then the spirit dies down and it’s back to life as usual!

 : Jugaad. There are some things which only hard work can buy. For everything else, there is jugaad.  Big jugaads, small jugaads, all kinds of jugaads. It’s like the one safety net in Pune. In case things don’t go your way, try some jugaad. Of course, it hardly ever succeeded. But then, we live on hope.

 : Kadki. For those who are unaware, “kadki” is the tapori word for an empty wallet, that phenomenon around which the whole economy of Viman Nagar revolves. It is only after coming  here that one realised the importance of the 1st of every month as our wallets felt like a parched traveller does after reaching a lake.

 : Laptops.  Everyone has one. And it is every individuals pride. The laptops are storehouses of all kinds of programs, softwares, media and devices. No code is too hard to crack, no password is too hard to track. The amount of data that is shared and passed around is jaw-dropping. People can be found in every place imaginable with their eyes glued onto the laptop screen. And increasingly, smart phones.

: Maadhyam. The name says it all. The college fest! In truth, it is impossible to cover it in a few words. Still, here is an attempt. Maadhyam has been a game changer for SIMC in many ways. For one, it has made us aware of our own potential. Secondly, it will always stand as a glowing example of what we can achieve if we work together. And most importantly, it is going to be that part of SIMC (UG)’s legacy that is going to be handed down from batch to batch, era to era for a long long time to come. And it shall be remembered that it all started with Thought Blot Shot.

: Night Outs. Don’t be ridiculous, you know what that means! Why would you want us to write it down? And the whole point is that most of the notable things that happen on night outs are unprintable. 

: Office. The SIMC (UG) office is a tribute to professionalism. An army of alert, proactive and sensitive admin staff serves the college around the clock. They are the ones who ensure that exams are conducted on time, timetables are executed smoothly, academic queries are rapidly addressed and the college functions efficiently.  And did we mention that the students are prone to sarcasm?

: Panchgani. One of the most memorable times in the life of any student at SIMC. Panchgani is home to Asia Plateau, the picturesque centre of the Modern Re-armament Army (MRA). It is here that the first year students go for their first ever college “study tour”. And it is here that we grow up. It is here that we realise that our batch is our family away from family and that college is a home away from home. But then we get back to Pune and return to our routine ways. And though we all love to pretend as if nothing changed, deep inside you know that you have seen a change. Just a tiny bit, but still a change. Oh, and if you don’t agree with this, then ask your inner voice.  J
QRT. The Quick Response Team of the Pune Police are the de-facto law enforcers of Viman Nagar. Everyone can identify those rickety jeeps that roar about all the time. They share a mutual love-hate relationship with the students. In any case, knowing the sub-inspectors and having their numbers is a status symbol of power here.

: Ragging. Somebody with a twisted sense of humour decided to call it Peer Interface. And had it done officially! Stories of memorable peer interfaces still float around. But they seemed to have done their job. No incidence of serious ragging has ever been reported and in fact, there exists a decent senior – junior rapport (as decent as it can possibly be).

: Screenings. The one module that really set us apart. Which other college shows so many movies? And that too as a part of the academic curriculum? And the selection is usually good. Of course, this module has given rise to the whole “Screening room culture”. Sitting in the dark air conditioned class, people sit on the floors, lie down, stretch out their legs and......... generally let go.

:  Theatre is one thing that interests most students in some form & capacity or the other. At one point, it looked like theatre was going to be THE big thing at SIMC. The theatre festival, Dionysia coupled with other occasions like Shamiana was a great stage and an even better launch pad. Talents were uncovered and several productions were staged of which, majority were good.

: Unity. According to Wikipedia, “Unity is defined as the state of being undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.” Huh? Wha-? How the hell did that get here???  Lol! However, know this. SIMC (UG) lives on in the hope that one day, don’t know how far into the future, but definitely one day, this word won’t appear as ridiculous in this list as it does today. With all seriousness,  we await that day.

: Viman Nagar, Pune. The address in the city. And once the city finds out that you are a student from Viman Nagar it stamps you as a rich, spoilt brat. If you don’t bargain hard with the auto-wallahs you will be stripped naked before you know it. The place itself is a non-descript place near Pune’s Lohegaon Airport, which has seen a spurt of development thanks to the IT and Education industry. Today it has its own Reliance fresh, Natural’s, Smokin’ Joes, several banks and even more eateries of various sizes, costs and cuisines. However, all the glitz in the world can never take away that feeling of a ghost town, of being an artificial substitute for home....

: Warning Letters. The college’s equivalent of football’s yellow card. Anyone who violated any of the clauses of the Aide-Memoire (the ad-hoc constitution of college) was awarded a warning letter. You got your third warning letter and you were out of college. As simple as that. However, you fear that most which happens the least. A few over-zealous moments led to warning letters being sprayed out like a geyser, which has kind of taken away the fear that they evoked and has given way to many colourful jokes about them. Suspension is fast replacing warning letters as the new form of expression.

: Yawn! Omg!! Heavy lecture....! Eye lids get heavy, the head starts drooping and the body starts sliding down the chair. In the morning cause it’s the, well morning and in the afternoons cause its post-lunch. It is never too early or never too late for a loud, obnoxious and extremely contagious YAWN!!!!!!!

: Zzzzzzzzz! And finally, like day follows night so does sleep follow the legendary yawns. College has instilled the remarkable skill in people of being able to fall asleep in various positions in any location at anytime whatsoever, irrespective of what is going on around. People sleep in the day and save the night for far more important things (like watching a movie or eating bhurji pav at the air port)

And sleep beings the topic to a very interesting point. Though we have spent lot of our conscious time here wishing we were back home; several times while sleeping at home now, a very weird thing happens. You get transported. Back to Pune, back to Viman Nagar, back to the world of SIMC. To the campus and the people. Those familiar sights and sounds. That laughter. Those ambitions. And how much ever you try to deny it, the truth remains. That for all its memories, pleasant and otherwise, this place will always remain special. Something you will always cherish.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One for Bhopu

Till a few days back, this was my DP on Facebook. A poster. Or, as I may call it now, an old poster.

Its been over a year since Dionysia happened now. But for me, it still remains special.
For one, it was the first time I had worked on something so big.
Moreover, it must have been one of my most creative periods at SIMC. Even this blog was started around that time.
Also, I got to meet and work with lots of brilliant people and made great friends.

Because long before things got so hyper, there was Dionysia.

Here is something I had written for the creatives at that time. I dont remeber what it was exactly. I think it was just a profile of the mascot.

Who : Bhopu

What : A funky creature who keeps having spontaneous outbursts. Has a loudspeaker (a bhopu) for a head. He is the one who stands up for what he knows is right. He is the one who believes in speaking up. Loud enough for everyone to hear. The one who asks all those uncomfortable questions. The one who demands the toughest of answers. The rebel with a vision. And maybe a solution.
Of course, he is the coolest of them all! \m/
 "Brand Ambassador of Dionysia 2010."

What about him : He is wanted. For having committed the grave crimes of : Speaking up! , Enlightening the masses, Spreading laughter, Thrilling the people; Holding them in absolute suspense; Emoting; and so on and so forth. He is wanted.
But not by the police or the CBI. By us. The society. By every element that shuns rationality. By everyone who underestimates the power of human emotions. By each one of those who are too scared to even listen to him. Maybe because they fear change or maybe they just lack the sense.

How to find him : Very simple. Look within yourself. Within your neighbour. Within each one of us. He is there. Lurking, prowling. Somewhere near your very soul. Waiting for the time when he can surface. Show himself. See and be seen. Hear, and be heard. Because he knows. That very soon there approaches a chance, a celebration dedicated solely to him which will dispense away all those who seek to hunt him down.

When : 2nd & 3rd April and a few other days before that.

Where : Symbiosis , Viman Nagar Campus.

Why should you care : “Yeh sawal tumhe humein nahin, apne aap se puchna chahiye.” In other words, you tell me! ;)

What happened actually is a different story altogether. Bhopu did turn up. And face an ambush he did. People dont like noise apparently. But for whatever time he was there, he did make us believe in that celebration of life called theatre.
And for that, we still remember him fondly.

Some of the others who spearheaded Dionysia were :
Naman Saraiya (it was his brainchild) :
Malvika Asher :

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Gratitude

(Flashback : 10 years ago.)

It’s the typical scene of a normal free afternoon. It could be the summer vacations or maybe just a lazy holiday.
I am back home at 1.00 pm after 3 intense hours of cricket in the morning. Linger around at the lunch table till grandmother chides me to finish lunch faster.
Afternoon restlessness begins to set in. Little sister is sleeping. I have been threatened against disrupting here baby sleep. Evening playtime is 5.30 pm. TV time is strictly 5 pm because that’s when Small Wonder is telecast (and there was nothing else worth watching on TV then). I have nothing else to do till then.
So I sit on the bed in my grandparents’ bedroom, next to the window by the peepul tree. Open a comic book.

And I am off.
To a land of mythology and fairy tales,

To the jungle where the  Shikari Shambhu rules supreme.
To the Kingdom of Raja Hoodja  to see if poor Tantri has had any luck.
A little bit of practical science with Uncle Anu,
And then a few simple laughs with good old Supandi.
And compare the cheekiness of Raghu and Anwar,
With the spunk of Kaalia the Crow and Kapish the monkey.

Framing my own “it happened to me” stories in my mind
And creating “Tinkle tells you why” questions.

I am atop Govardhan just before Krishna lifts it with his little finger,
Jumping towards Lanka as Ram rushes on to rescue his beloved Seeta.
Hurrying towards the battle field of Kurukshetra as the Pandavas face the Kauravas,
And shuddering with anticipation as the Sudarshan Chakra heads towards Shishupal.

I stand atop the proud forts of Sahyadris with Shivaji Maharaj,
And chuckle at the wit of Birbal.
I get electrified with the INA troops as Netaji addresses,
Cheer till I’m hoarse when Tilak speaks.
And gasp when the shy school boy grows up to become Chacha Nehru.

And today, 10 years later, I could have been the same young school boy as I pay my tribute to the man who made growing up in the 90s so much fun! And who made Indian culture and mythology cool, way before MTV or advertising happened.

In fond memory of Uncle Pai (17th September, 1929 – 24th February, 2011).

Creator of Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle Comics and one of the greatest storytellers of modern India.