7.31.2009

Theyppu!

Word definition: Theyppu (variations: theppu, thyeppu etc). Abstract noun, meaning the general but strong and definite inclination of things (or life in general) to screw themselves/itself up so as to cause maximum inconvenience and irritation to the person concerned (aka we).

Today dawned as just another day.. bright sunshine in the morning was a bit unusual given the chilly monsoon morning atmosphere. I woke up earlier thn usual, at six, and switched on the torrent downloads. After a long time downstairs I checked the computer only to be told that it had been doing precisely nothing for one hour, wasting free internet time, as the torrent signalled an error and was stuck. Thyeppu number one: Led Zeppelin download torrent stuck at precisely 50%, with not a single file fully downloaded. I cursed the computer and shut the damn thing down and got ready for college.
As I was getting out, I happened to notice that the charge in my phone was in depleting mode. Well my phone has this behaviour by which charge just drops as fast as possible once the battery level gets below the maximum number of bars in the level indicator. So this meant I would have to get back home as soon as possible, regular time, after college or else I would be stuck somewhere in the city/college with a dead communication device. Great.
The bus timings being rescheduled to being 10mins early meant absolute mayhem in the mental timetable I had carefully fabricated over one year of getting ready for college in the morning. Hence I arrived at the same old Vazhappally bus stop (rather, shed) a good fifteen minutes early (God knows how or why on earth).. After some moments of pretending to be busy on the phone I gave it up and resigned to just picking up random conversations with buddies at the stop. The sun had decided to give us a surprise. Give ME a surprise, more like. I was wearing this dark shirt with a round necked tee inside just because I expected the day to be cold and rainy.. well hence the sun was shining with all its might and by the time the bus made its appearance I had perspired off litres of water and got a good tan too :P

The devices lab in the first three hours was the only brighter part of the day.. we breezed through two experiments - a differentiator/Low-pass filter and the famed(in our circles) RC-coupled amp :) No batch in the history of our class had got the latter so far in their first try for some godforsaken reason and thus every experiment hence was succeeded by the RC-coupled amp ritual. My group was doing the ritual for the 238th time and today something happened. No, dont ask me what. It involves a deep understanding of the intricacies of the Chaos theory and various higher levels of philosophical-domain Fourier transformation on functions mapping the general theyppu behaviour of resistors, capacitors and the like. Anyway the result was that the damn thing worked this time (again, dont ask me why this time or how - we had been connecting it EXACTLY the same way every session) and left three boys and a girl feeling high :P

Post lunch were all (by now) boring hours. I was feeling sleepy and if our electrical madam hadnt called my name to answer a question I would have dropped my head on my book for sure. I vaguely remember her asking me the answer to some equivalent reactance of something something of a something in a transformer problem we were supposed to be solving. "Ma'am.. I still haven’t started doing it", I said, as matter-of-fact as possible, and sat down and attempted to fight off sleep. It was hopeless.. I longed for just six feet of space to lie and drift to slumberland. The last hour was, contrary to our belief hope, not free :(

Four o'clock. Finally. Was a boring day. I got my stuff and cheered up thought of a good sleep back home in bed. Theyppu again! Just for the fun of it, I offered to shout out my classmate's number during the attendance ritual. In my very alert state of mind, despite him telling me that his number was 45, I called out a proxy for 44. Only after he called out his 45 with a bewildered look did I realise the goof-up. I turned back to see the 44-girl with a 'WTF!" expression on her face. Now this was the ultimate in utter-nonsense-theyppu!

Time for the bus to leave... when another of our guys caught up with me and said I had to stay back for some ISTE work.. By this time I had given up my desire to get a good sleep anytime today and stayed back till five. That meant I had to catch a city bus back home. After having a bland sharjah at the bakery nearby I started the wait for the bus. The first bus showed ITS theyppu by just not stopping. I almost expected the driver to look back and smile a mocking grin but he didn’t :-| The next bus was packed with humanity and it stopped. No seats. Still blazing hot evening. Tee shirt inside. Library books and record to add to weight of bag. And I knew I'd kept my mp3 player at home. Theyppu!

So I stood with the bag all the way through two traffic jams, for a 45 minute journey and got a seat for the last five minutes. It was as if life was never missing out an opportunity to make fun of myself or itself ( I don't know!). Walking from East fort to back home I get a call from home informing me that my sister had gone for a carnatic concert from her music class at such and such a place and that I needed to stay there for her programme and accompany her back home. By this time I had lost all hopes of ever sleeping for many days or even weeks and I sighed and resigned to my fate. I arrived at the place to see my sis sitting with several other kids, patting 'thaalam's to what some singer was singing onstage. She signalled as if to say hers was yet to take place and that it would be later. I got myself a chair far back and started the wait. Ragam Hamsanaadam... rather fine song. Then came some weird ragam, which sounded like the typical 'made-for-complexity-alone-and-not-for-any-mood-or-emotion' kind of a song, so I just went out of the hall and walked along the road, which was the one overlooking the Padmanabha swamy temple pond. I got myself something to eat and drink, for I was famished, and it was then that I came into the same situation as hari chettan did in his blog post.
Nature's call. And there are no public toilets here. I slunk along dark corners of roads in search for darker ones to attend to the call, but had no luck. Finally I had to pee near a transformer while praying against any stray current in the premises :P Getting back, it was some other recital and there was no sign of the lady winding up. I sat nevertheless under a working fan and sent a good load of mosquitoes to meet their maker. I was increasingly getting impatient and tried various means of passing the time(It was still some boring song, not the sounds-good ones) - couting the number of heads I could see or the number of times the guy next to me said 'wah!' or 'besh!'.. My phone had now almost died (the battery, remember?), so I couldnt switch it on and that form of entertainment was out of reach :( I was getting real pissed off with my sis. Finally at 8.30 pm (after two hours of being in that place) she came up and told me that we could leave.

At first I didnt believe her.. I told her it wasnt proper to leave just like that without participating in her programme and singing what she was supposed to. And that was when the last and ultimate theyppu struck. Ladies and gentlemen, yes, after all the theypps of the day, this one 'was the unkindest cut of them all'..
She said, "Hey mine got over long back.. even before you came! I was just sitting and watching the rest"

I just ran out of swear words.

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PS: So it was true: I never slept yesterday :(
PPS: One more theyppu. Getting back home I found I had my mp3 player in my bag!
PPPS: I'm getting delirious. I havent even read thru this post once fully before posting.. so ignore any errors.. It's now Friday and I need to hit the sack!! NOW!

7.08.2009

Morning raga vs. the unsolicited songworm

Monsoon is the best time to be in Kerala. The weather outside right now is just splendid, with a cold breeze continuously yet unobtrusively keeping one fresh. Some soothing song from the temple nearby sails down in the wind.. at times rising in volume and other times falling.. the horn of the Malabar exp or the occasional night freighter.. Soft music is most beautiful when heard from afar, carried by the breeze. Metal, on the other hand is the most orgasmic when heard in a live concert.

My mind's always in a song.. it's been so for so many years that I dont know when it started. I wake up in the morning to some nice tune, (but not always though.. many a times has 'dappankoothu' frolicked in the morning), shower humming something to myself. Tap my feet in some rhythm or the other when I walk barefoot. Heavy metal runs in my veins when traveling in the college bus.. All this is interspersed only by minutes of speech or much relished moments of silence.

It's only a matter of time before technology is misused, as those idiotic oldies (who love criticising the internet, mobile phones etc) say. Somehow, God seems to have issued a royal decree ordering loudspeakers of highest decibel levels to be installed in the nearby streets whenever there's a festival at the temple.

God: ..and get the makes by Bose. Ye'know, those tiny unassuming ones which make a LOT of noise.. I LOVE them!
%$%!@#: Yes your omnipotence.. but those are real costl-
God: Do not interrupt me, thou mortal earthling. Thou shalt be playing all these songs *takes out a list of the latest, and time honoured favourites of the festival audio managers* This one in the morning.. then this in the afternoon.. NO SHUFFLE, mind you. I want this in the exact order and crossfaded. Get me?
%$%!@#: Yes your majestic Godliness.
God: Righto, run along and do what I told you.
*ching* (disappears)

%$%!@#: (to manager) Well we can't afford Bose.. We'll get a couple of 'duplis' from Thakarapparambu.. and dunk the rest of the finance heheheh
manager: njeheheheh hm.. okay.

Two days later, a petti-auto arrives and depostits loud-speaker dabbas every fifty metres, and special amp-cum-reinforcement-speakers at every junction surrounding the temple. The volume knob on the amplifier is disfunctional (nevertheless at highest volume setting) and the party is on!! And what a song selection this time... Usually the songs are bearable, but for the last one week (precisely the inspiration for this post), they are goddamn driving me mad! I can only arrive at the perfectly logical conclusion that the eject of the CD player they're using has stopped working and thus the one CD they have is stuck inside for eternity, for our sons and grandsons and greatgrandsons to hear and go mad. The guy behind the controls just comes and turns it on, and switches between live and CD at times. That's pretty much the arsehole's job. He's probably deaf, or with as much sense of music as a tapeworm. The same songs keep repeating in the same order every day, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again... :(

Seems 'Alaipaayuthe' has turned into the national anthem. I hear it everyday in the morning and at night, and every goddamn sonofamother wants to sing it in a carnatic recital and every damn daughter wants to dance to it. I've developed a clenching-fist reflex to that song now. Maybe my brain imagines myself strangling someone. And if somebody is listening, CARNATIC MUSIC SOUNDS REAL HORRIBLE FROM A GODDAMN LOUDSPEAKER BOX, EVEN FOR A MINUTE. Carnatic music is meant to be enjoyed live, not blared over some black box. Ditto for Hindustani. There's this real pleasure in hearing the sympathetic strings of a sarod or sitar twang richly in resonance with the strings plucked by the player..

Then there are the repetitive devotional songs. They're basically the product of a jobless tramp turned composer who suddenly divined on a tune for two lines of a song and met up with a devotional-song writer, and the two went out to a kallushaap to discuss plans to make quick money. The question of 'what abt the music for the remaining lines' changed into 'why any music for the remaining lines' by some spark in the godforsaken brain of the 'composer'.. and the influence of the spirit acted as a catalyst for the spiritual :P Result: One tune, three songs in praise of three Gods. Three hours of pure spirituality for the masses.
God knows how people tolerate the same tune going on and on and on with just changes in lyrics, for one whole hour. Height of retardation. And the lyrics ha.. Some of them are threats to the tourism industry. Straight from what clothes to pack, what bus/train is the best suited for the journey, to where the temple is, the history behind it, and what people do there.. all in a question-answer form of a child asking her dad. (Rumours of multiple-answer type QA albums about to be released soon are about)

The torture continues.. I restrain my urge to blow those boxes up... and I don't step out of my room nowadays. My headphones are my best friend. And sometimes Megadeth sounds infinitely better than spirituality.