Supposedly, according to newspapers, I've turned overnight into a mascot for hot steamy dosas, gooey chutneys and probably mundu-barechested-bald-headed-heavy-poonal-wearing middle aged sambhar-burping vegetarian men too. But justice must be done, and truth they say, rears its head sooner or later. Hence, I begin.

Our TRUE story begins not-very-long-long ago, not-very-far-far away, in this sleepy town called Trivandrum, home to an Engineering College (well, lots of them, to be precise) and also to a very screwed up species of homo sapiens named Reporters.

A warm afternoon, sometime like a week or so before the exams I think.. This guy, lets call him A, working for a (lead) newspaper, calls up. He's working on some column where he, among other equally boring things, describes places where college students hang out, and have food. Fair enough.

The bloke wanted to ask me a couple of questions on where we usually chose to satisfy our growling tummies. The first thing he asks is,
"How is your canteen.. Does it have good stuff?"

Now, no person who has done his graduation in a college in tvm will ever think of his canteen with anything except disgust. I kept a straight face (he couldn't see it over the phone but anyway..) and told him,
"Well, a lot of ppl do eat at our canteen, but frankly, the food there is boring. So most of us, when we dont bring lunch, choose to eat elsewhere."

A: "so what other places do u frequent?"

Me: "Well there's this Punjabi dhaba near college, or better, one at Overbridge, called Ramji, where both school buddies and college buddies frequently go. It's really good. Other than that, you have the usual hangout places - CCD, Ambrosia, etc. The usual food they have there is eaten there"

A: "Sri, you're a vegetarian?"

Me: "Yeah, why?"

A: "You eat these dosas and stuff dont u? At these roadside eateries.. thattukadas..."

Me: "Um well lots of ppl do eat there, that's why they're so popular in tvm arent they?"

A: "Alright Sree, give me names and numbers of a few of your friends too (non vegetarian folks I mean).. I'll talk to them, thanks"

I did the needful.
All was peace and quiet. Till a twisted, andwicked piece appeared in the paper. So now, to the world:

1. I seem to adore dosas from roadside eateries and speak orgasmically of dipping them in steamy smokey chutneys.
2. I seem to have (committed the terrible mistake of having) called my canteen food tasty.
3. Horror of horrors, I seem to like SOUTH Indian food at the DHABA.
4. While my friends talked about better (albeit with fantastical names.. yeah he made a lot of that up too) food at seemingly better locations, I have turned out to be the complete jerk who has tasted nothing beyond the roadside eatery and have no idea what a dhaba is anyway.

Well, we did have a good laugh over it. Hilarious, but still, what the fuck, Express?!

So that's what a vegetarian is supposed to do eh Mr A? Alright, next time someone asks me, I'm a fuckin cannibal.

PS: For those who didnt understand what the heck all this is about, kindly ignore and wait till the next blog post. It will be more coherent, I assure you.


Figment: A crossing in the rain

Misty rainy afternoon. The noise around me slowly ceases, and ends in a low thud, followed by a hiss. The train stops. I get down on the opposite end, and two tracks stretch out on the side, deserted. Piercing rubies adorn the signal posts as far as the eye can see, except for one shining, pleasing emerald on the opposite end of the line.

And then the rumbling becomes more apparent. The thunder grows louder, and finally two screaming green WDG3As show up hauling a tanker rake, smoking for all their worth, in the cold. Smell of petroleum fills the air, and the clickety clacks with occasional strange clanging noises and thuds rebuke the silence. I stand right next to the gentleman who hauled us up till here, as he waits, occasionally hissing and idling up to keep himself warm. I cast it a look now and then, like a rider gives his steed.

The passing train rumbles away, and all that is left are the receding sharp clicks in the track, the engines beating far away.. and the world returns to the sound of the incessant drizzle, silently piercing the low, grey wisps of diesel smoke.

Drawing in the cold air, I'm tempted to have a smoke again, and I remind myself that this is precisely the reason I never allowed myself a first puff. The signal has turned to a sober amber and the loco sounds its wet horn. I haul myself back in and get some coffee. Blowing on my hands to keep dry, I resume my stand at the door while the train picks up pace and the din resumes. Green out the windows, out the door.. all around, and hopefully, shining ahead for the rest of the miles too.

This post marks the beginning of a new set of stuff called "Figments" on the blawg. Random, hot outta the mind pieces. Unedited, for most parts. Figments of imagination, figments of ahem.. poetry, scraps from some really engaging texting session, so on, if you get the drift, and so forth.



Perspective - What engineering and a lot of curiosity can teach you.

(Dedicated to the ultra strong coffee that just made my morning today. You'd better have one too, in case this gets too much on your nerves and you end up like this.)

I'm gonna take the example of the modern day machine - the aircraft. A teeny weeny bit of its HUGE system. A tiny bit of the whole stuff that happens during operation, the take-off. Even more particularly, one operation - the engines pushing you forward. I might not be exactly technically correct to every detail, I wish I was, but I'm kinda not far off. Now you've fastened your seatbelt after repeated requests from the pretty hostess, looked around and are tapping your fingers. The plane has taxied away from the base and is RIGHT NOW, about to take off.

The pilot up front, after receiving clearance, enables the necessary switches, checks that the gauges and instruments are all right, and in one fluid move, moves the thick lever (that sits between the pilot and the co-pilot) forward.


Now. Moving the big bad lever forward. The lever is connected via a cable to a sensor system. The sensor is simply a device that 'reads' how much the lever has moved forward and in turn, sends an electrical signal to another system. (Warning: For the uninitiated, this is gonna be like Inception, only with a lot more levels)

Zoom in on the electrical signal. It is just a potential difference (in layman's words, Voltage) that exists between the wire and parts that are not connected to it.

The cable goes through a lot of other systems (filters, digital signal processors, etc which one needn't bother about), and reaches the main control computer. The computer, in turn is made up of a couple of hundreds of integrated circuits (ICs), connected together via metallic wiring etched onto a circuit board or as normal cables. Our voltage signal that set off from the sensor attached to the Big bad lever, has reached one of these ICs in the tiniest fraction of a second.

Zoom in to one of the ICs. The signal is processed and the computer now knows the pilot has engaged the lever. Now, during the time the IC was made, it has been taught to do its job, by programming a lot of code into it. This code now resides INSIDE the IC and is continuously running, monitoring any incoming signals and doing what must be done. Zoom in, fellas.

The code that we talked about, was written in some programming language, compiled and finally 'burnt' onto the IC in a way the machine can understand. Zooming in again, you see a tiny slab of Silicon on which a lot of etching, metallisation and doping is carried out. Now, on this slab are billions of transistors, which are the building blocks of an electronic circuit. To give you an indication of size, each transistor is around a few nanometres (that's one 100,000,000th of a metre) across. Zoom in. These transistors store a tiny bit of charge in a part of their body called the 'floating gate'. Depending on whether this charge exists or not, each transistor is considered to be on or off, and thus, (lo and behold) comes the 1 and 0 that we know in binary. No it's not over yet.

When the program was written, by a geek sitting miles away in some airconditioned office, he did it in something like C. The thing got translated from all those "int main(void)" stuff to hexadecimal code that looks like rows of rows of something like like 0xABCD12340. And THIS code is stored as BINARY, as those little ones and zeroes indicated by the thousands of electrons that store the charge in each transistor.

(Remember, it is just a few hundreds of microseconds since the pilot moved the Big bad lever high up in the cockpit..)


Inside each transistor are thousands of electrons, flowing across 'junctions' that came into being when they were being 'fabricated'. (The beauty of the whole thing is, all this is exactly under our control). Now, once the signal had reached one of our computer's ICs, a part of the signal goes through these transistors, and automatically, a particular piece of the IC, which handles what must be done when the lever is being engaged, gets activated. This is how the code works, deep inside.

Plane --> Pilot --> Lever --> Sensor --> cables --> Computer --> IC --> flip flops --> Transistors --> gate-charge --> electrons.

Zoom out (whew).

A couple of hundreds of transistors actually form the inside of a few dozen flip flops, which are set to perform what the computer wants to do. The flip flops have been triggered, and they generate a control signal that (zoom out) goes out of the IC we talked about, through a lot of cables, onto the actuator system.

The actuator system has a lot of electrical power circuits connected to the engine to control its firing. The signals that reach the actuator undergo a similar electron-driven transistor-poking, and a few microseconds later, a power signal hits the engine control unit. The engine control unit now assumes power, and begins conducting its own show... Zoom out to watch!

The drama begins. The compressor sucks in air, as millions of air-molecules from outside. The fuel is drawn from the pipes, and the valves are instructed to open, admitting a spray of fuel into the jet turbine engine. Simultaneously, the control unit has initiated (think electron-transistor-powerAmplification again) the sparking system in the same engine to fire. The spark happens. A chemical reaction between the hydrocarbon in the fuel and the air, molecule-by-molecule, happens.. and the highly charged aviation fuel ignites, sending a mass of hot gases out through the engines back.

Zoom right out. Out and out, to the first layer.

*static* "You have control."

ONE SECOND or so after the lever has been moved forward, the pilot smiles smugly hearing the whirr of the engine slowly building up, gaining amplitude, to what is pretty loud inside and definitely a deafeningly friggin LOUD roar outside. Every fraction of a second is being monitored and controlled by the onboard computer, and the maze of wires, cables and copper strips are kept ever busy by the (deafening?) sea of electrons that are sent from one place to another, in some way, completely under human control.

The engines build on power and a few seconds later, the aircraft is pushed forward by one giant invisible hand of hot gases, rapidly building speed till the tyres lift off the ground and the big bird is airborne.

All this in a few seconds of your life.

So the next time my dad gets started onto me about "looking at life in the proper perspective", I'm gonna get him to read this post.



It's a vacationed-off weekday and I sit in my usual place, opposite the beacon of irradiance that happens to be my ancient CRT monitor (kept around working for sightseeing purposes), in my ever usual posture (read, knees drawn and one foot crossed over to the adjacent table and stroking the UPS subconsciously). Ahem. The room's abuzz with mosquitoes feeding off God Knows What appetisers during daylight hours, to return in full force and smother me with extremely passionate and buccal kisses. The haze of vibhuti surrounding me as a result of today's Avani Avittom rituals isnt helping either. Apparently they've woken up to the fact that the 'bhuti is only skin-deep.

Long years ago, my readers, existed the original form of the meek insect which we now call kosu, bloodsucker, mosquito, kothu (not to be suffixed with paratha), etc. Incidentally, the first one, the Tamil word, despite sounding the most affectionate, is also part of one of the greatest inventions by mankind (more on that later). The earliest record of existence of the creature is recorded by our good old friend right here. The Latin-speaking blokes called it the culicidae, which is derived from a corrupted version of the Tamil "Kulikkaadae!", a sarcastic warning "Dont bathe!", hinting at the fate of the person at the mercy these creatures had he followed what was said. The name mosquito also is said to have sprung from the Chinese Mu Chi Tao - equivalent to saying Musky Toe. The Chinese had, long before the creature even came into existence, prepared recipes such as "fried Mu-Chi-Tao leg" or "Wingy side-up", thus leading to the latter word.

A very very (*prepares to run*) corrupted origin of the word can be traced back to Mallus living in Hindi speaking North India long back (Yes, we were all over the earth right from the age of the dinosaurs). Legend has it that malaria was on the rise in those days, and poor, impoverished people looking for ways to kill themselves found a fascination to die by the bite of this buzzing winged menace. The desperate (mostly driven to mental retardation) ones used to open up sewer slabs et al, looking to get bitten by the kosu, muttering "Mauth Kitto?" to themselves. Mauth (hindi) - death. Kitto (malayalam) - would I get? Ah now you see it. It's construed. I'd warned you in advance, so dont whine.

Enough of history. Now that it has been bitingly proved without doubt that this eternal pestilence is better off having been wiped off the earth, mankind looked for ways and means to send this thing for a tea-party with its maker. And the efforts started quite early, I assure thee. Homo habilis, that stooped miserable ape-man had gotten quite pissed at receiving pricks of an apparently invisible (they didnt have rear view mirrors then) pest. The poor forefather having barely mustered up courage to start a vocabulary, could only growl "Go.. Shoo!". (There. Now you know where Tamil picked up that word from). And it was in a flash that he invented fire, to keep this things out of the way. (The fire proved handy in that he could also light the stick of tobacco he kept in his mouth for peter-purposes).

Fast forward. By the time Homo Sapiens evolved out the assembly line, we possessed juice in the lemon to know that "Use the force" actually made sense. Hence, swatting. Medieval England saw the rise of a different form of weaponry against the raptors. Inspired by fighting lance-men on horses, the Good Knight mat was born. The theory was simple. You hung the mat out to dry at night and the next morning it would have gone. Given the rate of theft those days nobody complained. Then the golden age of physics, and mathematics and geometry. The cheap, retail version - The Martein coil. Inspired by Einstein and Rammstein (Feuer Frei, remember?), and marketed in Elizabethean Walmart stores, this symbol of conservation of angular momentum became the Vishnu Chakra for the gnats for a horrifying(for them) period of time.
Fortunately for the mosquitoes, Darwin had said they'd still keep evolving.

And finally we're blessed with the epitome of good (Chinese) technology - The kosubat. The beaming, arcing kilovolt of goodness. The weapon of godawesomely swift and satisfying justice. They say, In the wielder of the Kosubat, we trust. And so we do. What better way to arrange the divine tea-party (spoken of earlier) than to apply a blessed kilovolt pulse between the limbs and wings of the bug? No blood, no gore, no need to say "Gaaaddammit!" and walk to wash off the blotch of blood off your leg. And sparks. Which means fun. Whee.

There's also an open source version project to develop an OS for the kosubat, for all you linux geeks out there. Try telneting from the kosubat terminal :D Awesomeness.

Have been truly sleeping. Shoots a glance to the KB charging in the wall socket. Looks at watch. Smug grin. Narrows eyes. Kosus, tonight, we dine in HELL!!!


The goody woodpecker - a shenoy

James had just stepped out into the big bad world. His lean, sinewy arms at his hips, he stood at the door of his small house. Life, just a week back, had been so different. He was the typical indifferent son of a hard-working father. His father Chellappan passed away three days back, set finally at peace from a life-long chase by tuberculosis. And hence the family business of cutting wood now rested upon his shoulders, heavy and bearing, like the long teak trees Chellappan used to set to work upon in his heydays.

James surveyed his father's shed. There was the powerful torch which the saaypu had presented him when he did a handsome job of bringing a jackfruit tree to its knees in the summer seven years back. The photo of The Lord and the lamp flickering reverently beneath. Sundry little tools - jacks, saws, wedges. And in a corner, resting upon a formidable-looking block of teakwood, was the axe. Like the Gandiva to Arjuna, or the sword of Hattori Hanz┼Ź. It was beauty in sheer functionality.

However, James did not really like the tree-felling business his father had carried on with pride. He'd had a tough time distinguishing between 'wood' and 'would' in primary school anyway and it had plagued him till the time he'd dropped out in fifth standard. He still did not know, but by now he did not give a damn.

Trees were meant to be. They'd been there for ages, and he hated the thought of having to wreck them to their roots. The smell of sap as he introduced the axe to the wood stung his nose. Then there was that mournful creak and the huge saddening thud, signalling the be-all and the end-all of the tree. This was definitely not his cup of tea. He was a man of nature. There's this feeling that overcomes a man who stands at the summit of some hillock nestled in the bosom of the Western ghats, when the monsoon wind strikes his chest and the drizzle caresses his face, and all that lies ahead to sight is a vast expanse of greenery.

The axe. Today was the fourth day he set out with it, to chisel out his livelihood. The sun had barely risen. Approaching the shed gingerly, he paused at the door. The growing repulsion to what his father had been doing all these years kept rising within him.

He'd had two passions in his life so far. One, and the latest, was the girl he'd seen two days ago. Like a forest fairy. Fair, tall, and pretty. He'd enquired about her discreetly to his mother, and had come to know that she lived half a mile away. Ria. Her name was Ria Kishan. What a strange surname. But it mattered to him not. It could've been Kishan or Shanky or Krishnan for all he knew. His manly heart was filled with a passion for the woman, filled like the first time one truly falls in love. Yesterday he'd seen her face in the tree he was cutting down. It was too late, though, to stop. The damage had already been done and the wood lay at his feet. He was too scared to do it again today.

The other thing close to his heart was too general to be described in words. A passion. A passion for knowing things, and how things were the way they were. It wasn't science. All he knew of science was the stuff he'd been dictated in his late school days. He used to walk with two older boys to the small school four miles away. They spoke things he'd never heard about. Of how water is actually two gases. Of how you could make fire that did not hurt you. And there was this talk about a strange constipated guy they called Noottun. Noottun apparently wrote about his loss of motion and became famous all over the world. He still remembered the things they said he'd written. Three things, was it not? First about something being stuck the way they always were, until you pushed it out or pulled it in. The second thing was about the force you needed for motion. And something similar for the third. He'd forgotten. Try as he might, he couldn't recall it.

Not that it mattered anyway.

He eyed the axe. And there she was, her face clearly seen in the shining metal that clasped the wooden handle. He made up his mind. The sight of the axe and what it could do filled him with disgust. He closed the door of the shed and began walking. Out into the woods. He didn't know where his legs took him. He walked on like a man possessed, strong legs steadily hammering away the distance.

And there she was. Standing by the well, with the steel bucket by her waist. Her hair danced in the wind, and her anklets made the best music he'd ever heard in nature. She turned back and looked at him. He stood dazed, entirely enraptured by the sight of her. She kept looking. He felt weak at the knees. There must've been something, something in the way he looked, or the way he stood.. his pose, that must've caught her fancy. He stood totally transfixed by her gaze.. And then it rang true. Noottun was right!! The forgotten line rose in his mind..

For a very axe-shun, there's a knee-quell and a pose-hit Ria Kishan.


Note: For those who are in the dark about what a Shenoy is: They're named after their master - Narendra Shenoy. To understand the Shenoy, you've gotta read the entire story, then go through the last line carefully. Read it aloud, in fact. Fast, if needed. I'd suggest going through 'groaners' like this and this one wiki entry.



The second word which brings joy, peace and a feeling of universal brotherhood into the untainted minds of Mallu-folk. (The first word's alcohol, but that's not the subject matter here).
Ah, nothing indeed, compares the ethereal feeling of putting ones hand and face to the sky, relishing the first drops of rain amidst that o-so-sweet smell of heavenly precipitation upon warm topsoil.. No, this is not one of those made-hopelessly-romantic (in an effort to please the old hags correcting it) English board-exam essays. This aint SPAARTAAAAA either (just saying). This is, a bored-out analysis into the effects the famous kerala monsoon produces upon the normal headbanging, slightly geek, unkempt and unshaven, jack-of-all, jobless college student-ish types.

1. Mind: The master of the body is uplifted. Every sonofamother feels warm and brotherly. Spirited, the word. Spirited, even if you haven't touched spirits in your life. The monsoon unites the industrious village-folk (<--oxymoron alert), the simply-go-about-life townsfolk, and the cursing city-folk into one beaming sea of humanity, raining goodwill and kindness in general. Picture this:

Scene 1: Busy city street. Sun shining with all its might, mercury on the bad side of 35. Two well dressed gentlemen walking, frowning at nobody in particular, happen to bump into each other quite by accident, and let's say, drop a bag or two.
"Engottu nokki pokuvaada my#$*&^!! Maanathu nokkiyaanoda nadakkane, P*&^#$(*&#$. Road entha, ninte achante vakayaa?"
[Now where the hell are u looking, you [expletive]?!! Walkin looking at the sky are we [expl]. Does this road belong to your dad or wat.] And then the passers by gather, pick up sides and a nice brawl starts shaping up.

Scene 2: Busy city street. Dark clouds threatening to open up above. Quite a strong wind blowing about. Temperature not straying above 27. Two well dressed gentlemen walking, happen to bump into each other quite by accident, and let's say, drop a bag or two.

"Aiyyo sorry.. Njaan eduthu tharaam. Entoru kaatta ithu! Oru nalla mazhakkolu thanney! Sir vegam veeti pokkolu!"
[Oops, sorry.. I'll pick it up for you. What a wind, I say! lovely atmosphere for rain... You'd better get home soon, sir!"]

Business cards exchanged, informal invitation to come for daughter's cousin's wedding. And all is well with the world.

2. Music: Quite obviously, if you're sitting at home and looking at them raindrops outta the window, your mind must've started craving for those mushy, soft romantic stuff. Metalheads, don't get alarmed! No, DONT pick up that bass guitar from the rack either. It's natural. It's like.. hormones. So unless you are driving a fire-truck without a windshield at ripping speeds, and all that heavy rain amidst the thunderstorm is battering your face and anterior, do not as much as look at metal. In moments like this, all one needs to do is, relax, sit back and listen to the mush wafting forth from the music player. It does sound lovely. The heart flutters, the mind aches. Aches for --> point no. 3

3. The girl: If you've read point 2 and happen to be one of those rather lucky types who have a girl, you would have definitely called her. Again, it's natural. Since these types won't be around for the next hour or so (owing to a lot of eda, chakkare trans-ceiving across phones), lets talk about the so called less fortunate of the lot. Oh well we'd primarily be craving for those picturesque moments when - the camera shows a drop of water bouncing across a fresh green leaf, then slowly zooms out, to two folks holding hands by the window and looking at infinity, while oh so lovely music plays in the background. Yessir, you know how it feels!
At this point what one would be doing is, start texting friends. And then the girls start going bolder, peppering msgs with enough double ententre and ample amounts of :P or ;).. An evening to laugh about :D Oh well what the hell.

4. Food, and drinks: As everyone agrees, the best time to sit and have a swig or two is during a minute drizzle, or post shower, in the garden. Talk about general state of affairs, blogs, tweetups, buddy's affairs, oh anything under the.. er.. clouds. Even tea tastes splendid, while on a Sunday afternoon (afternoon as in when it looks as dark as 6pm), one takes some toast and tea, out to the perch, and engages in a light reading of the Sunday Mag.

5. Sleep. Oodles of it. Sleep like a baby, without worries. Sleep like you can really hear the rain battering the concrete roof and creating a tantarataanum on the asbestos sheets yonder. Wake up, ponder, and go back to sleep again. Leave the window open, please :) Don't study. You can't.

Rain, is good for you.

The weathermen have just engaged in another of their atrocious prophecies, and the moment they proclaimed "Monsoon sets foot in Kerala", the rain we'd been having for the past week vanished and it's sunny as a clean shaven cheek now.

So, dear Met-department, please, Shut the fuck up.



Some people have been created as solid logic machines. They don't seem to understand the fact that some things can exist without a reason. Atleast without an obvious one.
One of those days, when one feels totally frustrated with the world and life in general, it's not uncommon for anyone to look in the direction of the heavens and plead "WHY, God?? WHY?!".
And then, it's not like there comes this shrill noise (of a mic test) from above, followed by a deep voice, "Ahem.. well my child, it's like in this particular differential equation that happened to ruling your day on the fourth of November 2010, there was this inherent flaw in the precision of one of the constants, this loophole having been exploited by the probability of your screwing up your day, unfortunately, I may add, contributed to the whole thing, resulting in this particular distasteful blemish on the happiness of ur life". Nopes, that never happens.

Yet, somehow, life goes on..

It's in my college that I met most of the specimens of this type. The one which left me particularly shaken was this incident involving a smiley badge. One of my buddies had got hold of this badge with the most innocent-looking, cutest smiley you'd ever have seen. Anyone who glanced at that face was sure to have a most affable smile on his face the next moment.. such was the power of smiley-man :) One fine morning I decided I'd sport it on my chest and make the world seem a better place for the day. And so it was (with the same smug attitude which Calvin carries about him while wearing his rocket-ship underpants) that I walked into my class. Mixed responses. A couple of people see it and smile and ask where I got it from.. All well and good. Then come these other people..
"Aaha.. enthaada ithu?" [Ah what's this da?]
"Smiley aliya" [Duh.. Smiley, man!]
"Enthinaada ithu ittondirikunne?" [Why're u wearing this, da?]
"Uh... chumma" [Uh.. just like that]
"Chummayo? Alla, ithinte upayogam entha?" [Oh? But I mean, what's the use of it?]

I really ran out of words at this point. I quickly blurted out the first thing that came up in my mind: "Ah.. ath actually Vaastu Shastra-ile powerful sambhavamaade.. Oru rekshayilllatha paripaadiya" [Well, it's this powerful thingy mentioned in Vaastu Shaastra. It's really awesome]
He was like.. "Gee..", and said no more :) Yaay!

Suffice it to say I get consulted for Vaastu tips these days. And given my latest flair for 'thallu' [gas-adikkufying] in exam papers quite successfully, I've managed to dole out random tips pretty well. (Offering Vaastu tips to girls is a really adventurous opportunity, for I've managed to persuade many into thinking even dressing is an integral part of Vaastu.. ah u see the point)

Speaking of girls, there was this time I bunked some class in the peak of summer because the classroom was nothing short of a goddamn furnace, and went straight to the Department's computer facility, to cool off in its air-con interiors. Unfortunately, the internet connection was on its knees and crawling that day, so determined not to make myself any more nostalgic (being reminded of dial-up days), I headed off to the library. I was sort of interested in this subject called control systems of late (it being a really multi-discipline subject, and my being on a high off train/aircraft videos recently), so I take this nice-looking book from the shelf and take a seat, hogging the fastest and airiest fan-space.

All of a sudden this nerd girl walks in and does a :-O expression (or better, the zoozoo style shocked-WTF expression). My words of gentle enquiry as to her well-being fell on deaf words as the scared-out-of-her-skin lady could only utter one sentence: "God.. Did they change the syllabus??"

Apparently, I was reading up on a subject which was part of the syllabus one or two semesters ahead, and I had not taken the proper precautions to put up disclaimers like "DONT PANIC" by the side of the desk. I managed to shrug off, saying "Naah I was just going thru it for fun.. y'know, just like that :)". With a final look that spoke volumes about her lingering doubts, she went about her business. I felt as if I'd said the "Naah just for fun.. y'know, just like that :)" line while holding someone at gunpoint and the person was asking me what the gun was for :|

School was exactly the opposite. We had a bunch of maniacs doing stuff totally crazy and WTF'd, and nobody gave a shit about anything. If someone liked something, they joined in, and nobody was hurt. And everything went as merry as kids going round the mulberry bush.

Just two days ago I had one of those lovely experiences falling just in line with the theme of what I'd been talkin of till now. I was at my mother's native place (Coimbatore) and it was a cool Sunday morning. I was woken up by the regular 6am-9am load shedding and was looking around. My cousin sis was still fast asleep beside me and the kiddy cousins hadnt stirred yet. Feeling bored I nudged the former awake and we had a cuppa tea. The tea having gone inside, we thought we'd go for a morning ride. So her old battered Scooty was prodded to life and off we went. It was randomness all through. We took a couple of turns here and there, and ended up on the highway, buzzing along at a comfortable fifty an hour, wind in our face and the sun rising in the distance. What made it even more perfect was when I asked "Hey enga poroam?" [hey where we goin?] she laughed and said, "Haha thereela" [I dont know!] It couldnt have been more kickass :)

At some point we turned back and followed the road we came by.. It was at this juncture that she remembered that there was this level crossing somewhere nearby and we thought we'd check it out. A few miles down there was this small road leading left, and we took it and came upon the aforementioned place. It was the now-closed (for gauge conversion) metre-gauge line from Coimbatore to Pollachi. Single line, surrounded by open scrubland, grass and weeds on all sides. We went past it and suddenly sis has an idea. She stopped the scooty and says, "Hey come on!".
And then we held hands and walked along the rails. Just like that.

It couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun was rising behind our backs, and the birds were chirping for all their worth. The cold morning breeze was still about and there was not a soul in sight. And here we were, just like kids, holding hands and walking on the rails. Occasionally stumbling, falling, tugging on each other to regain balance. We talked and laughed a lot. I felt a sense of joy I'd never felt for a long time.. It was back to being a kid. From a big, mature nineteen to a carefree six or seven year old..

And what made the whole thing even more beautiful was the pure serendipity. It was, indeed, 'just like that!'We walked a few hundred metres down the track and turned back; got back home just in time for breakfast.

"There you are! Where the heck had both of you gone?" chimed our moms together. "Ahh ma.. we were at a secret place :)" said sis.
The kids in us were still about :)

Image copyright: http://www.flickriver.com/places/U6hNy5iYA5nczaxm5g/


Om Wittala Wit-tala Pun-duranga!

And so it happened one lazy Saturday afternoon (Haha die, you grammar freaks who threated folks starting sentences with 'and'.. Here I am, starting a whole goddamn blog-post with a lowly conjunction!) that @Schreiwarduhnn came up with this idea of twitter-shenoys (Update: He's posted his collection here)
Shenoys, for the uninitiated, are named after the delightful creations of (you guessed it), Shenoy, and are very similar to the so called Feghoots. A long cooked up story, ending in a rather 'groaner' pun at some popular saying or phrase. As with twitter invading the world, the 140 character version took wings too. Here are a few your humble blog-owner's old lemon churned out, for your rreading pleashurre saar:

Meet Sasi.. He is a head-load worker in a specific section of a huge spice farm. He loves his job though.. Calls it labour of clove.

The lady was so distraught she ran all the way to the mine, and went inside it to meet her husband, to weep in his arms. Unfortunately, he gave her the coal shoulder.

That girl's already been proposed to by four guys. She's four-bidden fruit.

Mama kangaroo was really upset at little joey spending his whole time snuggling up against her instead of climbing out and growing up.. "He's such a pouch potato!", she exclaimed.

Apple initially christened their music player 'Pod'.. but seeing it was so sexy and steal-worthy, they were asked to keep an i on it :)

Atlas meets another Atlas: "Why, its a small world!"

When you create a document in MS-Word solely using the speech recognition tool: Word of mouth.

The HOD, quite unexpectedly, admired the mass bunk: It was a class act, he said.

How do old men who're hard of hearing convey that to u? "Go on, talk.. I'm all years!"

"As much as I love sodomy", one gay said to another, "I really wish you'd keep your mouth shut during the act.. I dont like people talking behind my back".

Mallu friend was puzzled over how to address his new pet.. Finally after much thought he says, "Well I suppose I'll call it 'eday'" :P

The witty king often used to send the royal cobbler into a tizzy, saying, "I shall be giving you the boot this afternoon"

In the olden days, rather than locomotives, deer (and similar antelopes) used to pull small trains. So much that at the far ends of platforms in railway stations, there used to be a board saying: "The buck stops here".

The bullet pierced through the darkness, and got him right in his manhood. Yelling in pain, he screamed, "You bastards!!! That was a fuckin shot in the DORK!!"

The circuit assembler guy was insanely angry the whole afternoon. It was, after hours and hours of searching for a missing IC that he discovered, he had the chip on his shoulder.

The rapist was busy teaching the apprentice 'the old in-and-out'.. Summing it up nicely, he said, "As you sew, so shall you rape".

The accountant was caught sleeping with her co-worker.. The boss (her husband) barges in, sees that and shouts, "TALLY HO!!!"

The sleepy office is about to shut shop for the day.. It's 'leave and let leave' time.

I fuckin HATE that boy at the flour-mill like anything.. One of these days I'll give him an axe to grind!

Overheard at a level crossing: "This freight train seems so damn long.." "But it'll pass by soon.. All goods things must come to an end!"


Le first Shenoy!

Note: For those who are in the dark about what a Shenoy is, I'd suggest going through 'groaners' like this and this one wiki entry.

It was the time of the intra college fest again. For those who were accustomed to ripping the competition competing with people from other colleges, this was a gratifying experience. Of showing Who was The Boss. Or who ran the things around here.
As usual, the dudes from Mechanical Engg were off at their proud best, shouting slogans and flinging engine parts about; the electronics people were sick of being called the nerds of college and were protesting by amputating poor Field Effect Transistors; and the compsci people were too busy trying to get Windows to shut down for them to make it to the events in time. The Civilians were being civil enough and the electrical people were too shocked to respond. And the chicks at Archi were as hot as ever :P

The big events started and as the tension built up, the talk about who, from which branch, would walk away with the grand prize, also known as LeGrand Prize (after the sponsors). For the dude/dudette who scored the maximum, all the events included. All eyes were on two people - A girl from Compsci and dude from Mech. The eyes who were not looking were on the Mech Man(MM), because he happened to be the son of a well known Professor. The Compsci chick(CC), on the other hand, was very popular in quite a few circles too.

The whole thing was not without any loopholes. Any time MM got the pointers to slide in his favour, the gang supporting CC cried foul. When the latter won something big, the MM-supporter guys panicked and shouted about; and had it not been for the reassuring chime of the next event coming up, it would've ended up in a fight. And it almost did once, but that's another story.

Tom and Mot were two friends who were exactly like what their names suggested: Quite the opposite of each other. As was the case here, Tom supported MM and Mot was for CC. But they hit it off quite well, and never hit anybody else.

At the present time, they were discussing the points for and against both of them winning, and the discussion had all the symptoms of turning into a pointless philosophical one. Tom had started off remarking, if not anything else, CC's hairdo was an instant turn-off and Mot had retorted (prefixing the age old "You male chauvinistic pig!") saying something it was nothing but bad wind that messed it up; following which Tom had bitten back a rather ill-humoured comment on CC's posterior. He also had nothing to say against accusations of bias when it came to the son of a Professor.

And hence time flew (aided by the bad wind, asserted Mot) and it was time for the winner of LeGrand prize to be announced. The cheering team for Mech and the ones for Compsci had finally arrived in a huge gang, as it was sure that the grand prize of the LeGrand switchboard belonged to either MM or CC. The chief guest got to the stage and spoke a few words as befitting a gentleman like himself and the time. The world waited with bated breath as he announced: "And LeGrand prizzze... goesss to... Mech Mannnn!!!!"

A roar erupting from the cheering Mech dudes drowned out our poor CC-supporting Mot's cries of dismay. The Compsci people were on the brink of tears. However, one line of age old truth from Tom made them see it in the proper light:
"Cheer up, people", he said. "It was bound to happen. Mech hai while the son shines".


Of labs and labradors

Keeping in line with the latest ruling of the ASSociation of Hopelessly Obdurate Lab-Engaging Staff (ASSHOLES), students who have been condemned given the golden opportunity to experiment, innovate and serve humanity in a noble manner by copying readings from seniors' records designing, experimenting with and trying out various circuits in the electronics labs, will have to observe the following rules.

0. The lab record is the single most important thing in your possession. You are required to eat, sleep, play, take a shit, etc with it in your hand all the time. Anatomical difficulties like requiring two hands for certain jobs will have to be made up for by tactics like holding the book in between your teeth (Also see #4)

1. You shall not enter the lab without carrying your rough and fair lab records, held vertically in front of your chest perpendicular to the ground, in such a manner that it is visible to the main lab staff from a minimum distance of one and a half kilometres under normal-to-cloudy lighting conditions.

2. Your sessionals for the lab subject will be awarded strictly in accordance with various factors, including your performance in the lab, your attire, the state of health you turn up in everyday, the number of times you swear (and the number of times it's actually heard), grooming: for boys - the amount of stubble on your face, for girls - (consult staff advisor for details), the deodorant you wear, etc. All this will be STRICTLY calculated to a razor sharp precision of seventeen decimal places, applying the HDE whenever and wherever necessary. The final results shall be obtained after thorough calculation on the PARAM PADMA. Decisions made will be final and binding.

3. Speaking of binding, your rough and fair records are to be bound, tied and gagged with multiple layers of brown paper, and suitably insulated to withstand temperatures ranging from -187 to +242 degC and voltages of the order of 61 milliVolt. Bullet proofing is optional, though recommended.

4. A slight chink, crack or tear in the afore-mentioned insulation will be taken as a serious case of contempt-of-the-'cord and the violator shall be Record-martialled in full view of the ladies hostel (in case of male violators) or the mens' hostel (in case of female violators). Also, the insulation shall be restored within a period of twenty four hours from the time of

5. For those of your smart-alecks out there, the name rough record is a misnomer. All diagrams drawn in it have to be painstakingly sketched after atleast two rough drawings at home, spending a minimum of two and a half hours per square inch of drawing.

6. Following entry into the lab and preceding any experiment, the rough record will have to be submitted for crucifixion scrutiny, during which all blatant errors and mistakes (like non-uniformly dark lines, accidental eraser marks, slightly slanted lines, slightly non-neat handwriting) will be yelled at in the world's most irritating voice gently pointed out, following which it will have to be re-done in five minutes. Pleas which include words like "WTF" or "Herculean" will be instantly dismissed. The word "please" is banned.

7. The fair record will have to be immaculately maintained. It will have to be stored in a strongbox, shielded in ESD bags and kept out of reach of children and rodents. The handwriting of the person will be electronically scanned once, following which the same style will have to be maintained throughout his life and well into his afterlife, if any. The record shall be watered twice a day and exposed to sunlight of intensity 5.6 candela thrice a week.

8. Using mobile phones in the lab is blasphemy. Violators will be dealt with as in Section 42(Y) of the Code of Conduct in Labs and Other Subterranean Crevices, 1993.

9. No one shall do anything except what is required to be done in the syllabus DURING lab hours. During non lab hours, the lab shall be closed. However, the permission of the HOD and the staff advisor will have to be sought in writing, before making that extremely annoying discovery stated in the previous sentence.

10. You are nothing, you mortal earthling. You have been extremely lucky that your name happened to feature in the Entrance Exam result and it is pure chance that you got admission to this universally revered institution.

Update: Hmmm it's not this bad, actually :P



I was born unilingual. After a year or so of staring at whoever came up to me and uttered 'tcktck' or 'Heyo there chweeeeet baby wassup?' it seems the revelation about every Indian's freedom of speech finally stuck the li'l ol lemon, and thus spake the baby:

Sadly, my folks werent that savvy enough (it was in the days of Windows 3.1) to understand that i'd said, with a large effort, that I'd BE RIGHT BACK.

By the time I'd got to LKG the vocabulary had greatly increased and I was capable of a few coherent sentences in Tamil. And no, the puns hadn't gotten in yet.
Once in playschool, I immediately was aware of the fact that none of the kids, save one or two, actually knew to speak!! LOL and I was pretty proud of being to only one who could speak the language, until life, as they say, introduced a bat to my face, and (recovering) I realised it was another species which spoke Malayalam. #Awesomeness
So in the fourth year of life I was Tamil-ready and Malayalam-ready (Vista-ready came much later but by then I knew much better. And Eveready is a battery, dumbass).

Somewhere around this time we were also taught a string of nonsensical sounds and letters going somewhat like this: "Yaay bee, see, di. Eee effigy! eh chai jaykay LMNO Pee...", looping from that last word LMNOPee again and ending in a solemn "Ex-wife Zed", followed by a moment of introspective silence. Had I been older, I'd have called it a total WTF silence, as in WTF are we learning? (Sadly that was outta question since WTF was part of the syllabus and thus not part of everyday language yet).

Fast forward to class three. We get introduced to this strange language called Hindi. What looked like lines and (familiar to us southies) squiggles all seemingly suspended from one omnipotent line drawn atop every word. I gave the language a one in ten chance of surviving for a year, what with all that need for support, and hence never took it seriously. As it turned out, I got a one in ten for my tests. It had to recur a couple of times through the year, and then the Konkan skybus project came up. By then I thought stuff hanging from lines had to be taken seriously, and therefore the beloved national language had to stay :D (Further reading: Civil engineering. Building-structures or whatever keeps proving that point too, in a less patriotic way)

By tenth, Rashtrabhasha had gone (being reduced to an elective) but the Mathrubasha stayed, along with that yaabee see di thingy we now knew to be the grand old beloved-of-Shakespeare, lover-of-Milton, taught-by-a-funny-guy English. 'Mathrubasha' was supposed to mean the language of mom in malayalam, but in tamil 'mathrai' meant a tablet, so I swallowed all its phrases and idioms like pill, and regurgitated them colourfully on the board exam paper, for a mindblowing 88 percent :D #EPICawesomeness

Finally, to college. Quad-lingual, da! Whatay awesomeness allede? English is here, Tamil lesa appidi local groups-la irugudhu, ha Malayalam illathe pinne? Aur kuch hindi bhi yaar. Albeit a very mix-n-match form of the four:

1. Retardedspeak: This is the name I give my struggling (and usually vain) attempts to butt into a Hindi conversation and do the 'while in Rome..' act. Usually results in me getting LMAO'd out or ends up being totally kickass (my getting my posterior kicked). For example:
Hindi dude 1: Abey yaar vo staffie hai na? Chootiya saala vo mere ko blah blah blah.. Aur kayi kaam hai assignment, record..
HIndi dude 2: Mere ko bhi yaar..
Me: Eh.. ahem.. Mujhe karne do. (trying to say, 'I have two jobs to get done')

*two HDs falling on the ground and laughing their goddamn asses off while I scoot before I start laughing. Someone says, "Sambhavame you gay, you gay" (due copyright to kevin for that one) :P

2. Manglish: Spoken rather offhanded.ly, careless.ly and a bit.ly consciously. As in "WTF man!!! Aarengilum aa my*inittu onnu pottikku. Chumma avidirunnu aalkare desp aakkuva. Sonofabitch." Includes novel words like thallu, kallippness, despoy, verumm. (meanings will take a new post in itself)

3. Tamanglish: Evolved because my Tamil is corrupted with Malayalam and I have to make conscious efforts to prevent sentences like "Ente akkaavinte vittile kadhavine ongi chathi", if I try to speak Tamil. And Malayalam is corrupted with English.
Usually involves liberal use of words like Macha, aliya, monay (and other family-relation-speak), plus long stretched exclamations like Daaaai and Dooood dudedudedude. (As in "Dududude.. check out the chick at 9 o'clock!)

4. Broad-house: Unlike what it sounds, this is a style dedicated to two people: My buddy Brajesh and PG Wodehouse. (Before you start makin up jokes on the first part of the former's name, I'd like to say that half his class and probably the whole of the ladies hostel calls him that, so you're late). Also, this language exists only in txt and is not spoken (for obvious reasons). Sometimes consists of archaic swears or ones like 'u dilapidated dick' or 'u drunken gravedigger'. Its familar, one sentence consists of fifty six words or more, packed into comprehension with the help of commas and semicolons, or even the occasional colon; including maximum use of words and phrases like blighter, old-lemon, wassup old bird, etc: the prime significance being, over txt msgs this sounds chuckle-inducing, but over speech nobody attempts this until he or she ('she' being a rarity) is drunk and completely plastered.

Self explanatory.

5. Panjaara-speak: (As the name suggests, its a sweet one) Used usually when talking to nice girls. More than usual use of 'da' (the male to female 'da'), sweetie, nice, yuppie, hehe, etc. Its rarely used in my case, but I know people who can use it very very efficiently :P People who blast their way down the humble 2000 free msgs balance in a single week :P

6.English: Spoken rarely.
7. Malayalam: Spoken rarely.
8. Tamil: Naah
9. HIndi: Dont even think!

Appo sheri, njan publish-atte, kai valigithu.. Adios and shukriya buddies :)


Glimpses of the city

I've been very busy doing precisely nothing these days. And when that itch to update the blog grows into a nasty guilt (similar to the one you experience when you suddenly realise you havent fed the dog for a week) you have all sorts of nasty guilty dreams of the God of the Internet condemning you to dial-up speeds for a month, or worse still, sending his thunderbolt outta heaven and frying your modem.


Salvation comes in various forms, sang they. So I rummaged (what's left of) my memory and tried to recollect all what had happened in the last few weeks. What follows is a vague and totally pointless narration of the 'stuff I've been upto' for the past (calculate) days.

First and foremost was this much revered, overhyped and sexily named programme held at college called CETEX. (The nickname 'sexily named' is a misnomer. It sounded to me like a mixture of a co-operative textile and a poorly named contraceptive). No offences anyone. We lurve CET :D Yeah we love Mohanlal and Mammooty too. (Dear whoever-it-may-be I beg your pardon because I named these two in the same sentence and some aliyan says, by the rules of either's welfare association it's supposed to be a punishable crime). Yup, CETEX was a boon to us poor slogging assholes condemned to the yoke of Kerala University Syllabus. It was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, cos it gave us, apart from other benefits, the possibility to enjoy five days of doing-precisely-nothing vacation at home :) It also offered (on the proverbial other pan of the balance) the opportunity to make something in the way of a product for the tech exhibition.

I preferred the latter, for a change, because all these strikes we'd been having had put us on an OD of the former. And so it was decided. I'd heard of this awesome thing called the Arduino and was determined to do something with that.. And as luck would have it, Gautam bought a lappie :) Man oh man oh man we took one look at the device, and we threw our thoughts to the Kaamadhenu which was the college Wifi, all ready to be milked. And that's how all those "Muhahahaha!" "God bless internet radio" and "Die firewall, die" tweets turned up in various twitter accounts :)
Righto, cutting stuff short, we got our heads and hands together to create this nameless thing which we later named, in the most boringest stiff-upper-lip-way possible, a "360 degree dynamic display". The thingy was essentially (oh goddammit here I go again) a row of five unnassuming LEDs, which, when made to rotate on a fan, blink in a specific sequence such as to display any word we program it to. Oh, and the reason behind the whole 'seeing words' phenomenon is the old trick again - Persistence of vision.

So we made it and were pretty proud of having got a real experience of having done it (plus all the supplementary experiences like soldering-iron-burns, breaking legs of microcontroller ICs, displaced sleep cycles and a whole lot of swear words tailor-made to be hurled at electronic items). By the end of the week I knew my way around Thakarapparambu blindfolded, and most of the chaayakkada owners around there knew us by name :P

Finally once the exhibition began, EVERYONE was interested in the college.. people from God knows where turned up, (chicks included :P) to the very same place we'd been calling a shithole, the_grind and other assorted names. Finally it ended in a pile of exhausted guys, aching legs and sore throats.
Boy and the next day was 'regular class'. We swore under our hushed breaths and cracked voices, and then my classmate and I hatched up this nifty trick; and turned up to college in the most disheveled way possible, hair all untidy and falling over eyes, dirty denim and long saggy tees. As if in appreciation/disgust we got the day off right after the first two lab hours :D
We got a special jury mention for what we did(the display I mean), and it was a tad too literally meant. Our names were 'mentioned' during the prize distribution ceremony. Classic :P

On a different note, I've become more and more addicted to twitter nowadays. There was this #kickass night once. It began thus: Shuffle was on, and my music player was belting out one good one after the other. Finally, it played a paandi dappankoothu bit: Puli Urumuthu from 'ilayathalapathi' super duper trooper red pink shining 'thalaivaaa' staaar Vijai's 'Vettaikkaran'. One listen and I went all nostalgic to the days Guru and I used to get high off pandi dappankoothu, featuring the awesomest instrument of its kind, the Urumi. The ultra awesome classique growling moaning sound produced by this 'drum' is what infuses the ultimate high in the whole drumming ecstasy induced by tapping out these beats on anything sonorous, like school benches, waste bins, geometry boxes and stuff. And so it began. Tweets @tuxerman:

- #nowplaying Verum Dappankoothu!! Addi Monay adi!! LOL!!
- Thalley I'm on a fuckin high off dappankoothu!!! Adi machi adddi!! Podu!!! Bring in the urumi :P
- The urumi should be incorporate in the standard drum kit :P Preferably with a foot pedal! #kickass #dappankoothu
- Shit I'm laughing hysterically!! This is definitely a #dappankoothu high! Time to stop the music! Illengil ippo aattam thudangum!
- LOL! #kickass #nowplaying transition today. Nightwish in the morning, Sajda in the evening, Rahman, then Neelambari, finally #dappankoothu!
- Absolutely!! RT @vanwinkle: wat do u get wen u cross black metal n dappankuthu??laid to rest by lamb of god!! #nowplaying
- More #awesomeness #kickass stuff: Listening to #dappankoothu kidichu paambaayi royally plastered :P paandi lungi, burmuda-jetty :D
- LOL #nowplaying Cheena Taana from Vasool Raja MBBS.. tana toin toin toin toinnggg!! LMAO!! #dappankoothu
- Whaaataay way to bring in the weekend mwaaney! #kickass
- Paattu kettu paambayi! LOL!! God bless #dappankoothu God bless @twitter God bless music :P Adi mwanay good night tweeps!! Whew!

So that made up my twitter timeline at around midnight last Friday. School friends and awesome college buddies piped in and everyone's timeline was a mess of #dappankoothu and for a while, life seemed all crazy and fun, just like the old days :)

Mosquitoes. Bloody bloodsucking bastards. Ah I do so miss the good old bat which dispensed these infernal parasites off on a shocked death. LOL that was funny :D

Weather in trivandrum is fucking oppressive. Sweat and heat everywhere. Amazon rainforest, zaire, Spa, come to mind.

Note: This post is titled glimpses of the city on purpose. It means nothing, but that is precisely why it's there. Please bear with the goddamn thing.

LOL now that this post is up on the mainpage, the goddamn college firewall's gonna blog my blog with the reasons "P0rnography(African), P0rnography(Dutch), Goddammit-just-a-bad-site", etc listed in red. Poor automated piece of code.

Haha I'm going mad. Someday all this will make sense. Bye for now.

Update: Shit I hate this post.
And for the people to whom a lot of words would sound Greek and Latin, please note that they are probably not Greek and Latin(owing to my not knowing these revered languages) but zimbly Malayalam and Tamil.. Ah the pleasure of being multilingual :)