To all those 'modernisation' fans out there...

Here is my reply to all those who feel that diesel locos pollute too much and that electric locomotives are the future...in India.



From (1) and (2), we can infer...

HA!!!!!!! Diesel RULZ!!!


So you wanna go camping?

Recently a friend asked me whether I liked to camp in our school. By the way, our school is very awesome place. It has places suited for everything, from studies to camping. The latter was a very green, quiet place ideal for a night out. I pondered on what might be the next best thing. And within no time, I came up with the answer.

WARNING: Ok, maybe I'm mad...
TIP: I'm a railnut.

If you still didnt get it, the following paragraphs of this post are for railfans, who, eventhough having travelled in trains more than a thousand times, still jump at the sight and sound of a locomotive... if you are not one, head out and read something else.

The answer was... near a ghat-section railway line! What other place than that to have all the fun of nature's omnipresence, watch trains, AND (considering the fact that MOST beautiful ghat sections are not electrified in India) have the adrenaline rush on hearing a screaming WDM2 chug and crash through the forests everyday! Think of the photography opportunities on a little-to-medium traffic line on a a scenic forest route like the one below (shot by my friend who is also a railnut like me) I like it so much that it's my current desktop wallpaper.

A pic comes here usually, but now i dunno what happened
For your info, this place is Walayar on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

Imagine the quiet solitude of the forest line...all of a sudden a distant chug reverberates through the forest, the rails start whining...The sound grows louder...Crashing through the vegetation, showing off its magnificient face, thunders a twin WDM2 set, hauling the afternoon freight... it passes by, restoring the forest to its silence, (I quote Ruskin Bond) 'leaving only a plume of smoke to drift lazily over the tall sheesham trees'.

Being one with nature and the smokin' steel monsters...both equally entertaining.

To have a nice ending, here are two photos I took off a train on the ghat section between Quilon and Sengottai... Hope you like them.

PS: if you like these pics, visit my railway gallery here


Blog - gag

It's been quite some time since I'd posted something on this site o'mine. The reason? The idiotic cyber-squad of the Govt. Of India. Recently, following the Mumbai 'blasts which shook the world' [resonance ;) ], it suddenly occurred some dude in the department that they had been causing great inconveniences for a while on only normal spheres of life of the people, and had ignored the technological side completely. The guy finds that he cannot sleep due to this realisation and spends the night tossing, turning and racking his brain on what to disturb in the IT field...and out of the blue, it dawns... BLOGS!

The next day, he walks straight to the cyber-squad and braces them of the situation - terrorists using BLOGS(!) to communicate within themselves...The cyber squad, having been almost reduced to the conditon of swatting files on the computers in the office, playing minesweeper (with cheats), and counting the number of pipes in the 3D pipes screensaver of their computers due to no work, jump at the opportunity of making their presence felt in the nation. In no time, all internet serrvice providers are ordered to shut down 'two blogs'(thats the number which they told the reporters) which they believed were terrorists' hog. The ISPs, unfortunately, dont have the facility to block just a few subdomains of 'blogspot.com' and inform the govt. of the same. The concerned guys in the govt, lazy semi-literate idiots, give order to bloack all subdomains of blogspot.com; and due to that, millions of bloggers across India found themselves staring at an "Unable to display page" error one fine morning.

As for me, I had just twiddled around with the template of this blog, (and had succeeded in removing the 'I power Blogger' logo in the sidebar:) ) a day ago, so I thought this might have been due to a forced restriction against removing that icon from the template. So I had to delete the template, and pick a new one, goto all the trouble of changing the looks, the links, adding special stuff...

Still out of luck... I got the same error message. And the very next day, I happen to see the news item "Bloggers furious over Govt's 'gag' on blogs". I heaved a sigh of relef...and here I am now.

The WDM2 has started smokin' again! Outta the way, everyone!!!


Splitting heads and tunnel vision

My human-body system began to work weirdly today.

In the evening, that is. At about four-thirty, I started to perceive a strange flickering
towards the right corner of my right eye. This gradually grew and finally I ended up being
unable to see properly what I was focussing on. For the biology blokes, here's a more vivid description: I felt as though there was a blind spot on top of my usual yellow spot in the eye.

The feeling was frightening: I couldnt read anything from a slight distance, couldnt recognise faces of people from far, and, worse still, I saw everything I looked at - only
half clear. Seriously... I panicked. I washed my eyes a couple of times. Slowly it began to
clear out. By the time I heaved a sigh of relief, my eyes did the reverse of what they did - I began to experience a sort of 'tunnel vision'. I could only see things if I looked at them alone... I mean, focus solely on them. All other things you see through the corner of the eyes were very blurred, almost invisible. I SWEAR I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP. THIS REALLY

After a long time, that cleared. Nothing to worry (but considering the fact that the power
of the glasses I wear is -6.5, it means much...)

Quite. But the worst was yet to come... after a few minutes, I experienced THE MOST INFERNAL
HEADACHE ever! My God, it was literally splitting my head from ear to ear. I lay back in the seat of my bus (I was on my way home) groaning with pain. I felt like something was digging into both the sides of my head with a spoon, sloowwwwwwwwly... Dunno why, but I almost let out tears (ALMOST, okay?).
Hours late, the blasted pain ceased as suddenly as it had come. I swear this was the most painful bus-ride I had ever taken since I was born. My head could rather have blown to pieces than undergo such an eruptive headache.

Since then (that was three hours ago), I'm watching my system cautiously. I'm sitting on top of a dormant volcano...or rather, I'm the volcano.

So there. You've wasted your precious time reading this crap.

The thin, black thingy on your table is... A TRAITOR!!!

Of all things on earth, the wicked floppy is the most frustrating and evil thing ever. Apart from being traditionally black, there is that evil grin on its face which, at first glance, tells you that this object is not decent. A bad day with a floppy wont get worse. They have a ritual of perpetual treason against their owner, or someone who depends on them.

Mankind, since the time of invention of computers, has been at war with floppies... trying their best to appease them, so that they remain faithful all their life. You have to treat a floppy with very great respect and not abuse it any manner(atleast in front of it), otherwise, man! you're in for some hardcore data loss! First it was the huge 5.25 inch demons, and now it has shrunk to the size of a 3.5 inch devil. But their consistent betrayal has never wavered.

Take this common situation... you have to carry a very important document (in the good old .doc format) to your workplace and you put the tiny file in one of those floppies sitting on your desk. Everything goes okay, and you even do a double check on your computer. The floppy remains VERY VERY honest, noiseless.. As soon as you pop the dismal demon into the workplace computer, the cunning piece of plastic begins its dirty work. It starts resisting motion inside the dive, so that you hear 'chik''chik' noises coming outta your drive. Somehow, you manage to keep the computer steady and make your way to the A: drive. The beginsd the great wait... the whole process of reading takes about 15 mins. Then comes up the heart stopping error message: "General Failure reading drive". Your first reaction would be "Hey, who's that General Failure and why is he reading MY drive?"

You're jolted back to your senses and suddenly you realize what a dirty underhand double-crosser thing a floppy disk is........

I've been waiting for that moment. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and gals, lets prepare to mass-boycott the traitor floppy disk - and replace them with honest, faithful, straightforward storage media (the USB flash drive, for instance)... Let evil be wiped out from the entire face of the technological world... and floppies be burnt, buried in an unmarked grave and be trodden over by elephants.



The curse of the present society

A small house situated in the far end of a torturously narrow lane... hundreds of pairs of shoes and socks-one in one direction and its mate in another... Stagnant air... Hundreds of voices chattering at various pitches... A hand scribbling at the whiteboard...

An urban tuition home.

Half the room is filled with girls and half with boys. Both specimens cruelly separated from each other by feet of distance... Both sections are talking to themselves alone and totally ignoring the other, save occasional glances at the other side. familiar scene, huh? Typical of Indian separatist attitude.

Ok, let me drive in the point more clearly by means of an example: Last year was the peak of the hunting-for-girlfriends mood in our batch. Suddenly, everyone who seemed to go to tuitions, especially popular ones and where members of the fairer sex had also joined, looked like they had got a girlfriend. Some of us - the 'unprevileged' people turned green eyed...guys here were talking posessively of such a lot of girls, and how that one was 'his' and how the other was originally that guy's but now the other guy's. One fine occasion, we had the oppportunity to ask one of our 'previleged' about his newfound 'girlfriend'. The idiot seemed to know nothing much about her. Eventually we asked him what he talked to her if he didnt know anything much about her. His answer dashed all our opinions about those stupids...HE HADN'T EVEN TALKED TO HER YET!!!

Such is the pitiable state of human-to-human interaction in this cursed society...

In a land where, I have observed, some schools have SEPARATE ENTRANCES for each gender.(I dunno what they do about the herma's; maybe they take the most obvious characteristic into consideration, or maybe they let him/her enter by a random gate every day, I'm not sure). Worse is the case in boys-only or girls-only schools... Heck, if you dont have both sexes in a school, chances are that the people you churn out of it will make a fool out of themselves in the society. Here's a typical example: One of my close friends and I were asked to collect something from other school students. This guy was nervous (yeah!) to talk to a student from a girls-only school (our is a boys-only school) and spent an hour preparing what to ask her(the student). Finally the guy backs out...

...dont have the mood to complete... will complete this later...

Through the landscape... far into the horizon

The shutterbug and the travel-bug bite me every school-vacation. A desire to take a break from the same old boring life, internet, computers, school, studies... let go of connectivity and lose myself down some plains of agricultural India, enjoying the rocking pace of a metre-gauge train... cool breeze hitting me in my face. Around me, in the green plains, humanity wakes up and goes about like clockwork... to the same fields, to do the same work, at the same hours...

A desire to go about different places, meet different people... all that I often dream about during the boring hours of a lunch break in my school in urban Trivandrum...

I'm sitting in the doorway of a quaint metre gauge train somewhere in South India... Pulling outside the crowded station, the loco notches up and the aroma of diesel smoke hits me in my face. Lush green paddy fields appear alongside the track; sugarcane fields, coconut trees... and a quaint semaphore signal giving 'clear' to the long brown, green-headed snake cruising through the chill, windy landscape... Faint silhouettes of hills appear in the front. The sun rises up, crimson-orange-red to greet the morning. Little children playing in the streams that quench the thirst of the green, waving fields - food to the teeming millions... The melodious twin tones of the Golden Rocker up front playing symphony with the purring powerpack, the clikkety-clack of the wheels rising above the harsh whisle of the breeze in my ears. Slow moving trees far away, smoke rising up from some village far out on the horizon... Some song of a long-forgotten band in my ears... I dream of rain...I dream of gardens in the desert sand...Fields of gold... No tunnels, no stations crowded with humanity, no stench of sweat, no cigarette smoke... Just going on and on into the pleasant morning, onto the bright afternoon... no hurry, no tension, no worries, no homework... Utopia... Small haystacks, cattle, little boys and girls waving at the passing train...with innocent hearts...On to the unchanging countryside, untouched by modernisation... quaint bridges over still waters...

Into the horizon...coasting into the evening, watching the sun set into the hills yonder.... my feet warm, face cool, mind calm, and heart full...


Horlicks Fest, my foot!

Parental Adivsory: Accidental (though not unintentional) Explicit Content
Its Saturday... my most loved day of the week... At about nine in the morning, I'm rudely pushed into a claustrophibia-inducing place teeming with humanity. Apart from the big crowd of hulking guys, there are also gals, so I think, 'What a nice place to socialize!'. But there is no time for such stuff - I'm in the midst (and so are the poor guys and gals around me) of the world's most ILL ORGANISED, LOW-BUDGET, FOUTH RATE event...

...The HORLICKS Fest(ugh!)...

The bloomin' event took place in Tagore theatre, Trivandrum (where Tagore comes into the picture, I dunno; anyway, he's squirming in his grave now). They started off with a vain display of their blasted drink - 'Horlicks' [the die-hard malayalees pronounce it as 'whore-licks'] and how it made kids Taller, Stronger and Sharper and stuff likethat. Then the real thing started.Started... in a way. The host was one egg in a suit who was, I bet, paid to praise Horlicks(henceforth referred to as H - what a name!) The *#@%&*% called us kids and made us repeat their slogan like monkeys. None of school guys did - there's our dignity. Anyway we got to see pretty soon how urgently they needed money and how it made them do such a miserable task.

By the way, I swore that I would write something about our group song (or rather, the lack of it). Our school principal, some weeks ago, suddenly came to the conclusion that the 11th and the 12th stds were not to be allowed to moon classes in the name of practice for the H fest. So he issued a decree stating the same, and the group song, which the 11th and the 12th were assigned to sing, was handed over to the 10th. The tenth, the lazy pile of cheesy baboon arses! They played the fool all the while, and sudddenly of Friday evening, while going home late from school, one of those stupid rascals remembers that they've got to do the grp.song. The mull over it for sometime, and forget it entirely.Finally, it's up to the 12th and the 11th. Well, whadda we do? We spent one hour arguing over what song to sing. and we chose after a long time - Boulevard of broken dreams by Green Day (we had just 2 more hrs to go) Then half an hour is wasted for deciding what instruments we'll take onto the stage, and seeing that we have none right then (thanks to the 10th) we go and beg from our chums in other schools. They, with all generosity, place them at our feet... and we start practising... I decide not to play the keyboard, as the guitar (played by my friend 'Riddle') is more than enough. All through this we are standing in the hot sun, singing for all we're worth, with Riddle in the corner, leaning on a wall, yours truly on his left, Riddle's girlfriend 'Jay' from St. Thomas school(those guys gave us the instruments) on his right, and all the other group members surrounding us. We go on singing for some time, Riddle furiously plucking chords with a coin, but then suddenly the third string of his guitar(it's his for the time-being) goes twang and nearly puts his eye out. I rush off to find our friends from St. Thomas. They are nowhere to be seen. So I tell the gist of the whole matter to Jay(who seems to be the only person there), who laughs but manages to find one of her schoolmates who give us the SECOND string of an ELECTRIC guitar...cool, huh? So the odds: No song, no instruments, half an hour to practise, third string broken, second string of an electric guitar given, coin instead of a plectrum, Riddle's right arm (having been butted into by another classmate's shoulder) in a bandage... etc. Well, we sang, and the guitar was hardly heard onstage, thanks to some mothafuckr fiddling with the accoustics, and I still have doubts whether the judges understood our song. Anyway, we lost. ...Sht...

Then came the most frustrating thing... We, having participated in the group music, could not write the quiz prelims, which took place simultaneously (sIMULTANEOUSLY!-think of the genius who arranged this). Howver there was a repeat quiz for people like us, and by the time we got there, a one-eyebrowed buffalo in a suit grunted to us that it was all filled up. We tried to push, but in vain. My quiz partner, being the kinda decent-profile people, just muttered angrily, while people nearby got really angry and there was quite an amount of Language being heard ;) Anyway, I cursed the one-eyebrowed fkr and all his associates and wished that they spend the rest of their lives in hell, roasted like ants over a slow fire. And here's something for you to laugh - the original quiz prelims AND the one I was talking about had EXACTLY THE SAME QUESTIONS. So any dud could ask his chum the questions and write this thing. MEanwhile, all of us homo-sapiens were thirslty, and all those vile-mounds-of-petrified-llama-crap's had with them was their very own health drink -Horlicks. Drinking that while you are thirsty is like commiting suicide. Horlicks, my foot! Tacky container of reeky drain clogs. Disgraceful box of contaminated bat guano. Bad breathed collection of embarrassing hippo vomit.....

I crawled into a stupid looking canopy, where I gathered that English essay was conducted. We played penfight with ourselves for sometime, then commented on how mean were they to leave the lights on at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and not switch the bloody fans on. Finally a guy came with some green papers and told us that we had 1 hr to write 'somthing fun' on Rights and responsibilities. All the while some idiot kept hailing us over the PA system, whose speakers were stuffed into every nook and corner of that dismal shelter. We wrote something... Finally we stuffed our papers up the guy's nose and exited.

By the time they had announced the results of the quiz, the event called 'Search' was already over, without anyone's knowledge. This time I got really furious... I just picked up my bag and walked out of that mouldy ol' coffin where some wormy idiot decided to host his Hfest. I hailed an auto, paid up 30 rupees to go to my home (I feel it was worth that money).
What with an idiotic stinkin' totaly disorganised function that had me wasting half of my precious Saturday...



Of critics and what they appreciate

The transition from studying harmless straightforward poems that accept any reasoning possible to highly simple poems which have heavy philosophical double entetre lurking in them has been really painful.

Just in case anyone doesnt make head or tail of this, I have with me an example-for-idiots:
Take the Wordsworth bloke and his daffodil-poem. Even a simple man can comprehend what he means to say - the guy was walking down something, and all of a sudden, he saw a cloud of daffodils. Quaint.

Now take the case of the plus-one/plus-two standard poems...actually poems arent branded just like that - either the poet was very close to someone in the Syllabus setting board, or someone in the latter was inspired by it (provided the inspiration was sufficient enough to make him conjure up a different meaning). All of these poems sound exceedingly simple at first glance, or sound highly uncomprehendable. Anyway, the study involves the most hated stage called 'Critical Appreciation' which relies on one's ability to see false things and hidden intentions through every word and line of the poem.

To demonstrate, take the simple rhyme: "Twinkle twinkle, little star"...let's go line-by-line:

Line 1: 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'
Appreciation: 1)Childhood tendency to repeat words, apparently inspired by parents' efforts to make children talk by repeating words like Mum, Dad, Come, etc.
2)Children's tendency to think of everything in terms of their own diminuitive size.

Line 2: 'How I wonder what you are'
Appreciation: 1) Steadiness: the child is not in a haste to make any decision regarding what exactly the star is.
2) Childhood innocence

Line 3: 'Up above the world so high'
Appreciation: 1) Ambition of others
2) Ability of judgement of one's true position of the world.
3) Humility

Line 4: 'Like a diamond in the sky'
Appreciation: 1)The intelligent child make similies and metaphors better than adults.
2)Childhood fantasy of imagining a simple star made of molecules of 2 simple proton & 2 electrons as a complex allotrope of Carbon-12.
3)Childhood inability - not being to think of anything beyond the blue sky.

Appreciation as a whole: The poet(ess) has vividly portrayed all the common characteristics of an innocent child, while rhyming the poem in a-a, b-b style. This is a masterpeice of an understanding of the young human mind.

The last word: What if a CHILD had written this thing?


Waat Eees this?

Waaat eees yuvar naym? Oh, you aaar veree Engleesh! Good, good!

It's the typical Kerala Manglish(my friends will be cursing me here for use of that cliche word, but its unavoidable).

A heterogenous mixture of Malayalam and whatever English one has learned-in-any-way-whatsoever, mixed according to the whims and fancies of the speaker, this language is fun to hear and imitate. Strictly, there are no rules. The speaker uses any opportunity provided (by vowel-sounds in English), to increase his intimacy with his mother tongue, Malayalam, by dubbing the original sounds with the typical, elongated Malayalam sounds.

Another batch of speakers (apart from moving English language to tears), directly transalate native Malayalam to English word-by-word on the fly. Examples are:

Mohan Kumar where is? (from: Mohan Kumar evide?)
Yellow line do not cross (from: Manja vara kadakkaruthu)
Road is very traffic (from: Road bayangara traffic aanu)
Once upon a time, once upon a time (instead of: One at a time, one at a time - but this is very rare.)

The list goes on... And if you understand them, you either know Malayalam, or you speak that kinda language.

C'mon its time to get back to the classic Trivandrum greeting - "Enthirede? Sokam thanne?"

PS: The above grapic is based on one from the newspaper The Hindu, whcih had an article about this topic, loooong back.

My quest for connectivity

This time of the month is a very heartening, in gact, happy time for me, and also for the many poor folks who have been forced into purchasing BSNl's Plan 250 Broadband connection.

Oh, right... let me go from top to bootom.

BSNL - India's 'No.1 Telecom Company' launched its broadband shemes a couple of years back. The entry level plan is:

You pay Rs.250 per month for a apeed of 256 kbps
You get '24 hrs' connectivity

Sounds good... but lets look deeper...

You pay Rs. 250 per month for a max of (256 divided by 8) KBps
You get 24 hrs connectivity, (which even any dial up thing gives), but that stops with connectivity alone. You can, transfer on a measly 400 MB per month. That comes close to only 14 MB a day. People who really know how much they actually browse a month will just throw back their heads and laugh. (To give u a rough estimate, moderate browsing for about 3 hours a day takes away 15-20 MB outta your total tranfer limit.

Just plain F***kers, arent they? To tell u the truth, I decided to try it out, and found my account over by the 15th of every month...And that brings us back to the intention behind my first sentence.

As for other plans, dont even look into them... Extravagant, that it. You pay 500 bucks a month, and they give you 1GB limit.Thats really extreme. If you just want to do shopping or go to church, you have the option of either buying a baby tricycle or going for a Porche/Mercedes Benz. Thats the gist of it. As for reverting back to your plain ol' dial up, just forget it... You VERY well know what it means.

The BSNl's stinginess/wickedness doesnt end just here. Before I go on, a small warning.

The following sentences can make the faint-of-heart people among you die of laughter. That is not to mean that sad people, undertakers, everything-is-a-stupid-joke-for-me kinda people are to read this... Do it at your own risk. Neither am I nor is blogger.com responsible for any consequences(read: stitch, stroke, death, fits, etc) resulting from unsolicited reading of the following textual content.

Yeah... the wickedness... I got myself a GPRS phone and good humouredly enquired about BSNL's little-known GPRS service. I had a shock - they offer 4MB of download PER MONTH! That's like (I'm going hysterical) 15 minutes of hmoderate-heavy browsing... AND, you gotta pay Rs.300 a month for those precious 15 minutes! %@&%%$#*%$&$#@@#&%^&^##&%^$^%$%$##

I didnt stop there. Airtel offered unlimited GPRS for just 400 per month. I thought I'd try it out. But oh, for malignant Fate! Suddenly the question - "Why the hell isnt anybody in Kerala(or anybody I know) using Airtel's cell phone connection atleast? I queried a few, and one of them even came to me with his old Airtel simcard to my house. The encounter ran something like this:

Him:So u wanna go for Airtel.
Me: Yeah.
Him:Ok, what place is this?
Me: Huh?
Him: What is the name of the place in which we are currently standing now?
(He sounds irritated, so I decide not to answer 'Earth')
Me: Sreevaraham (thats where I live)
Him: Chk this out...
(he open his old mobile, and switches it on, and it gives the desktop. He turns the screen toweards me)
Me: Oh shit!

It displayed (with its superior GPS capabilities), the name of the current place as a place 1 or 2 kms away from my place. And I, for god's sake, live right in the heart of the city!!!

I shouldnt end this posting without a good poke atr BSNL's rivals - Asianet Cable tv broadband. From the way their offers come, it seems they are in ACUTE shortage of money, and are willing to give you a computer (and their house, too, most probably in the coming years) if only you sign up for their broadband service. As for the speed - forget it - Its slower than good ol' dialup.

Thats it for now. And for your info, NEVER EVER take these techno stuff in India seriously... Unless you enjoy boring holes in your pocket. Deep holes.