Friday, July 27, 2007

An Everlasting Love Story....Brought to you by, Wills - Part II

The situation was spiraling out of control! I had to do something about it. That is when we had this Christmas friend thingy happening. The idea about which is that you draw lots and get a friend to whom you have to give a present. Also, the loser who gets your name has to give you a present! Ramba’s friend was one of my hostel mates (Jiju?). After much haggling and begging I finally got to be her Christmas friend.

My calculation was that the co-incidence factor of me getting her name-slip in a “free and fair” lot draw, would undoubtedly sit in good light with her. Women are such suckers for “signs” like these and after all, we Indians are so happily superstitious. I knew it in my heart, this was gonna work for sure!

Opportunity does not knock twice and I saw this as a God given chance to prove my undying love for Ramba. So we (notice the plural?) decided that I (notice the singular?) should use this opportunity not just to give a present, but also to propose to her. Lesson Learnt: It doesn’t matter who all decide, the doer is the loser!

I too felt much the same. I had to make use of whatever scant chances I had. To this date, I am not cent percent sure who gave me the actual idea on HOW to propose. Nikhil claims that it was his idea. Seeing how screwed up it was, I am pretty sure it is. His idea (my undoing) was to use a cigarette packet to propose to the her!!! Yeah, you read right, a cigarette packet! The plan was to take a “Wills” cigarette packet, highlight the part that says “made for each other” in red ink, put in some toffees inside and present it to her.

I still can’t believe that I fell for that one. I mean, how sick is it to propose to a girl (and that too an Indian, conservative girl) using a cigarette packet? I guess it was all those stressy engineering papers, that did this to me… confused me, they did! (See, even after 4 years, I am still talking like Yoda of star wars!). Anyways I was so star struck with the opportunity to propose that nothing else seemed to matter now. I felt that whichever way I did it, she would definitely say yes.

Finally D-Day arrived. The whole hostel rallied behind me (after all, who lets up on making somebody else a total ass!). They got me the cigarette packet, the toffees, somebody (I think bonnie) even wrote a card. The only job I had left was to go and give it to her. I had this bad feeling about the cigarette, right from the beginning. But, with such great support from my friends, I pushed aside all my misgivings and went straight…to slaughter!

It was after the second last hour, that the presents were to be distributed. I spent most of the day in the toilet. I was that scared. I mean, how would she take it? Will she say “yes”, “no” or “let me think”?? I was in total confusion. My earlier sense of confidence seemed to have evaporated away like morning dew under a hot sun. “Nervous wreck” best summed up my state of mind.

At last the hour of reckoning approached, did I hear the angel sounding the last trumpet or was it just my over active imagination? Shrugging it off, I walked up to her seat. But, as I walked, somehow out of nowhere, I seemed to get a lot of confidence. It was like, “Man what is the big deal? You can do it! Just keep your cool”. So, with a winning smile (a horrid blush according to bystanders) on my face I went up to her and said…

I: Hello Ramba!
Ramba: Hello Abraham! Oooo are you my Christmas friend! Cool, it is such a pleasant surprise!
I: Smiled (I mean, I still don’t know what to tell a female when she “ooo’s” at you).
Ramba: So, tell me, what have you got for me?
I (smiling shyly now): It is a rather novel gift. Hope you like it.
Ramba: Ofcourse, I will love anything you give me, I am sure!
I (Thinking): maaan, she’s gonna say yes! I am sure! The stars have shined upon me!
I: Well here it is, open up and see.

At that precise moment, the villain arrived on scene. Lesson Learnt: “anything that can go wrong will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law.

Villain: Hello Ramba, see what I bough for you…
Ramba: Are you too my Christmas friend?
I (What the f**** look on my face)
Villain: No, I am not, but I thought I will get you a gift anyways.
Ramba: oooo! So thoughtful of you! I am flattered (and me flattened!)
Villian: It is nothing, just nothing. It’s my pleasure.
I (Thinking): If it is nothing, then why did you bring it, pest!

She opened his gift first and guess what, it is the poster of her favorite cricket star.
Oooooo! She shrieked. So loud, that everyone in the class turned around to see the hoola boola! She ran around the class with that poster, doing a jig and dance with it. My present still lay unopened at her seat!

The professor walked in at that point and everyone went hush hush. I had to go back to my seat... white as a sheet! Nikhil was there to cheer me up, “Don’t worry machuu, once she opens her gift, she is all yours, believe me!” Poor me, I believed him. Lesson Learnt: Never believe Nikhil, especially on matters of love advice!

From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see her for the next one hour. But it wasn’t necessary. After about half an hour, I saw the guy sitting in front of me happily chewing something. “Where did you get this dude, you got one for me too?” I asked, “Sure, here’s one” he said and gave me one toffee… the same that I had given to Ramba! Lesson Learnt: What goes around comes around!

It was only after class that I could talk with her. Fortunately the villains were taking a break and I was able to walk with her alone. I thought I would walk her to her hostel, what she needed was a cool and calm mind. Then she would understand my love!

As we walked together, a big silence hung between us. But by the time I reached the steps of our fifth floor, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I was desperate to know. In the end I blurted out “Did you open my gift?”, “Yes” she hummed back. “Did you… did you…. did you see the part marked in red?” I asked. My heart was beating so hard that I was positively afraid I wouldn’t be able to hear what she said. After a long pause, I heard the acknowledgment to my q coming…. “Hmmm…” she replied and then she just stood there. No “yes”, No “no” and No “let me think”. Only a “Hmmm…”! Things didn’t look good!

I was one step below her, so I looked up into her eyes….. and there I saw.... pure heartless rejection!!!! But, what if I was mistaken??? So, I walked down one more step hoping that she would follow, but she did not. I walked down two and looked back again… she still did not follow. Lesson Learnt: Never propose while standing on a step! *

Well, so I walked down the rest and went back to my hostel and lived happily ever after!**

*They say failure is the stepping stone to success, well if you find the guy who said that, please do me a favor. Break his ruddy neck!!!
**Were you expecting, some Greek tragedy???

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Everlasting Love Story...Brought to you by, Wills - Part I

The internal exams had just got over. It was a small period of respite in my packed first year when one could loaf around without much guilt. As I wandered about, I saw Bonnie sitting in the spacious landing-cum-balcony of our 3 storey hostel, enjoying the cool night breeze. I went and sat near him enjoying the calm and serene surroundings.

In retrospect, all this romanticism in the air was what gave us the idea. “Man, don’t we need to do something in college other than just study study study?” I asked, “Yeah man!” he replied.

I: I had such high expectations when I joined college…. about bunking classes, chasing skirts, what not!
Bonnie: Yeah, me too man! Me too!
I: F***
Bonnie: F***
Us: F***
Bonnie: Let’s do something about this macha.
I: Yeah, lets!
Bonnie: Hmm… let me think.
He proceeded to think with that constipated expression on his face and I proceeded to stare listlessly into nowhere… Ideas were never my forte.

Bonnie(now with a bright smile): da! Let’s romance two chicks in our class. We will make it a one month effort. At the end of which, we either get screwed or we get “screwed”….he he he.

I will not go into the details of my screwed up romance life then [and now…:(], suffices to say that it was screwed! I am really not a ladies man. For the 0 number of proposals I had done till date, I had got 0 replies and 0 rejections. All in all, a very poor state of affairs prevailed.

I(The eternal pessimist in romance): Just tell me the name of two “chicks” in our class. In 2 months, I haven’t seen any!
Bonnie: True! But then beggars can’t be choosers, so let’s select the best two from the worst and start off anyways.
I(Resignedly): Ok.

After a thorough search of possible candidates, we finally decided that I will go after Ramba* and he would go after Menaka*. The plan of action was pretty normal, start chatting, start calling, start dating and then propose.

I hate following plans. So at the end of one month, I had about talked with the girl in question once or twice and given her an odd smile. On the other end, Bonnie was spending hours and hours each day with Menaka.

“Speed thrills, but kills” is one advice that Bonnie never followed. He is not dead yet, but his romance is. Instead of building up a rapport, doing some hand holding and eating some ice creams before proposing. He went ahead and proposed at the end of the stipulated month, with disastrous consequences….:) Till date, he has refused to divulge the details of what happened during the “proposal drama”.

On the other hand, my life is an open book (blog?) as far as my romances go. Not because I wanted it that way, but because my romance was never a one man effort. I had the active support of my entire hostel. In fact, I am now convinced that as far as Ramba is concerned, it was not only me but my entire hostel that did the romancing.

There was a free flow of advice on what I should and should not do right from the beginning. One good piece of advice was to write small chits and pass to her. This technique allowed me to break the ice. I gave her chits and she replied back with chits. Then one day she wrote down the words of a Hindi song in English for me. I didn’t really request it, but somehow she did that for me.

I was extremely thrilled at this phenomenal change from lowly chit to Hindi love song. The song went like this “chup gaya badli mein jake chand bein sharma gaya , apko dekha to phoolon ko pasina aa gaya.. are mahi… (read are abraham….. ooo)”. I don’t want to show you my Hindi score card, but believe me, it could stop a train in its track with all the red. I was utterly stupefied by the words, I did not understand anything. The time, I decided was ripe for some active bluffing. So I went up to her seat and thanked her (with tears in my eyes) of how beautiful the words were. About how honored I was to get such a personal present from her.

Then, before she could utter a single word and call my bluff. I ran back to hostel. I had to see Nishanth, pronto! He was born and brought up in Delhi and was a natural with Hindi. He painstakingly unraveled the beautiful meaning of each and every single word, for me. To tell that I was elated when I understood the meaning of her words would be a gross understatement. It may never win the best song award, but to me, at that moment, it was nothing short of an ode to love.

Maan! me the loser had done it! I read the song a hundred times and even tried to sing it out loud. I was thwarted at that attempt though... My hostel mates don’t appreciate “original” talent…:)

This was a very important milestone not only in the love story, but also in my life. So, it was no big surprise that when the guys asked for a treat, I was at my obliging best! I bought everyone a dozen laddoos in the hope of impending success. Lesson learnt: don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

Now the romance went into full swing, I started chatting her up and even became friends with her friends. Just to be in the “loop” you see. I felt that the stage had been set for me to become a total Casanova. The only problem was that there were some other aspiring Casanova’s already hanging about Ramba. Bloody gits!!!! But this did not deter me! She had the softest spot for me, I was sure of that.

That is when the next exam came along. Our free time was cut short dramatically. As is the wont of first year engineering students who think too much of their exams, everyone fell into “Nerd Mode”. Naturally, my romancing took a back seat and our time together dwindled to almost nothing.

Once the exam was finished however, I saw to my absolute horror, that the other guys in the race had over taken me by far in the “quest” for Ramba. They taught her subjects, gave her notes**, carried her bag to the station, bought her free lunches in the canteen and pampered her in other such imaginative (read sick) ways. Gone were the days of innocent monopoly, now, free trade knocked!

*Names changed...:)
**Bethelites reading this are requested to refrain from even imagining what would have happened if I lend her my notes…:D

Monday, July 23, 2007

War of the Nerds

Statutory warning: If you are not a game freak, then this post may not be too interesting.

I was walking up the stairs of the BJohns hostel, when I heard what sounded like a big fight going on inside. It sounded like Rameez and Zanub at each others throats! Deciding it best to intervene before those two knuckle heads came to blows, I rushed into their room. But when I reached there, I found them playing at their respective computers while abusing each other at the same time. Thank God for the virtual world, this was just another virtual battle going on, nothing serious.

But, their passion for the game got me hooked. It was Microsoft’s Age of Empires that these guys were playing. Their virtual armies were fighting each other, while in the real world Rameez and Zanub were right on the verge of exchanging some non-virtual blows. Rameez is a sore loser and Zanub is a natural at games. The combination as you can guess, was rather volatile.

Naturally Rameez lost the game. He got up fuming and desperate from his terminal, ready to choke anybody in the vicinity and that’s when I put up my neck for the slaughter. I asked, what sounded a very innocuous request at that time, “Da, Can you teach me to play this game?” To Rameez this was a sign from God Almighty! Here was a rookie, whom he could beat as many times as he pleased. “Ha! I will teach you alright, now come sit at the computer” he said and almost dragged me to the terminal.

I do not wish to write in any detail those painful first four or five matches I played with Rameez. He trounced me each time and gloated like he just won the Age of Empires world championship or something (did I mention that he was a gloater too?). But to his credit, he taught me the bread and butter basics of the game well. In each new game, I learnt a few more tactics, but in the end I always ended up dead (in the game I mean!).

Things got so bad that, whenever he lost to Zanub he would come over to my hostel (a few hundred meters away) and personally invite (read drag) me for a game at his place. Then he would make short work of my rookie talents and gloat for an hour about his accomplishments as the “best gamer ever”, out of Zanub’s earshot of course! Life as they say, was down in the dumps right then. It seemed that even in the virtual world, I was all set to become a loser.

Then one day, Zanub challenged me to a duel. It was plain suicide to play with the guy, but then, since I was getting slaughtered anyway, why not get slaughtered at the best hands, was my line of thinking. I guess he took about half an hour to put in my R.I.P and sign my death certificate. But, that was because he went to have a drink of water in the middle! Anyways, after trouncing me, he gave me that extremely valuable piece of advice. “Da, to fight, it is not just an army you need, but an economy to back that”. Hmm… interesting!

This time around I did the inviting, Rameez eagerly accepted. After a long drawn out game (knowing theory is ok, implementing it is a lot harder!), I managed to win! “You were just plain lucky” said Rameez. He was totally disgruntled at having lost, but the best part was that he did not even see the change in strategy that had come over my game. The score card read 1-5. I had opened! “Let us do this again” he said and I beat him once again! He left it at that for the day saying it was just not his lucky day.

It was exam season, so it was not surprising that I got the next invite to play on the eve of a semester exam. I decided that “I need to relax a bit, right now I am saturated” and took the invitation, I beat him again…. And again…. And again! As for the exam questions on the very next day… I (and he) got beat again and again and again! Well, at least I won the games. Poor Rameez, he lost out on both.

After about ten straight losses to me, he started picking up that some thing was very wrong. It did not take him much time to figure it. Suddenly, we were on par again. Time to cook up a new strategy, I decided.

I am no great thinker, but there was something that was nagging me at the back of my mind. I normally selected the Spanish civilization and occasionally some other civilization too. Zanub on the other hand used to select all types, mainly Spanish, Turk and Japanese and sometimes even mediocre guys like Mayans.

What was interesting however was that Rameez, almost always selected the Turkish civilization. Initially I thought that Rameez was just very comfortable with them and that is why he did not change. But, mulling over why he did that, I was suddenly struck with a revelation! This guy was actually playing Muslim in the virtual world!!! Now, if I went about destroying his mosques using my “crusader” army, guess who would be mad….:)

In the next game, I made sure to destroy every single mosque he put up. The idiot actually built walls for his mosques and towers for their defense! Needless to say, I won the game with a song on my lips (and that too a Christian song..:D), just to infuriate him that extra bit..:)

Now, Rameez is such a bad loser that he simply cannot take it in stride. He used to get emotional about it all. His normal modus operandi after losing a game was to run out of the room and shout to everyone that he beat me. Naturally, no one ever believed him. They would just come up to me and say, “Dude, keep up the good work, we love it to see him so frustrated”.

A few more games went on like this, until he caught up on my new tactic. By then, I had become a bit complacent with all the wins I had. So it was no big surprise (at least to me) that he won our 20th or so game. He was way beyond happy, he was ecstatic. Pure joy radiated from his face. But then, nobody had witnessed our game, so he ran out to spread the good news. Melvin was at that precise moment, walking into the room. “Macha! I won macha! I beat Aby!!!” cried Rameez.

Melvin, with that utterly bored look on his face replied…“Oh, yeah? Just f*** off loser, I know Aby won it as usual”..:)

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Final Battle!

Statutory warning: This post is meant for game freaks, others may not find it too interesting!

For those who came in late, Age of Empires is the Microsoft Game made for the laziest people on earth. It is a game in which you can create your own virtual world, empires, armies, trade, people, buildings....the works! “Hardworking” is one adjective that nobody ever insulted me with. Put two and two together and you come to the logical conclusion that I played the game as if there was no tomorrow.

But, even I stand in deference to that legend (read freak), the one and only Zanub Hassan! He was the looniest, craziest, gamer to set foot on terra firma (or at least my part of terra firma!). He played all sorts of games ever invented, right from those 80’s model Mario to the ultra modern half life and Max Payne. The type of guy, who had his priorities set straight. Games, before studies and exams, were his motto for life..:) There are rumors about him that he actually dreamt games. Like, why else would someone cry out “Attack! Alarm! Goal!” etc in their sleep???!!!

There were three computers in our hostel that we interconnected to “maximize our gaming experience”. On normal days, nobody bothered to even switch them on. But come exams and all of a sudden there would be this huge rush to play the games. It was no surprise then that yours truly and the legend in question were seen one exam eve playing furiously.

I will not go into my painful score card of playing with this guy. In fact, I considered a game “well done” if I could hold out for an hour against him. But I had thought out a well planned strategy for this one, in this one I was going to win!

Things started off as I expected. Zanub selected the Japanese civilization and I selected the Spanish civilization. Zanub also selected his favorite “big Islands” scenario for the game. He got an island to build on, I got an island to build on and we both built on without bugging each other for quite some time. But with all that testosterone floating around the room, war was not only a possibility, but a way of life.

To attack somebody you need at least 3:1 to 5:1 superiority in numbers. But that is for the real world. Here in the virtual world, you could easily manage with a 1.5:1 and come back singing your national anthem or whatever. My strategy was to tire him out. So instead of focusing on attack I built forts and towers around my island. Since I was pitted against such a good player, I had no illusions on the speed or ferocity of his attack. As expected, by the time I had made about 10 soldiers and a few towers, he came in by the hundreds in transport ships to attack.

But the towers held firm, a number of my virtual soldiers died heroic deaths and the day was saved. But to Zanub, this was just another “probing” action, not an all out attack. He would just keep coming back, bigger, stronger and faster. Fortunately this first round win had given me a small advantage in time. I used it to build some ships and raise a decent army. The economy was going just fine. Builders built, traders traded, wood cutters cut and basically everyone did a fine job of what they were supposed to do. No strikes or labor hassles in the virtual world!

That was when the second attack came. This time, I was even better prepared and was able to repulse it almost immediately. But in the back of my mind the writing on the wall was all too visible. This guy was just going to hammer me out till I gave in. Time for improvisation!

My plan B was that there was no plan B. I mean, I had the perfect strategy right, why would I need plan b. By this time, a number of fellow hostellers had taken front row seats to watch the action. The next best thing to gaming, is to see somebody else gaming! Every one was shouting out ideas, tactics and advice to both of us. Above all this din, I finally got my idea. I would sneak in a few workers to Zanub’s island and start building there.

But how would I sneak in without him noticing? A diversionary attack was all that came to mind and that’s exactly what I did. I recruited a few “would be martyrs” and sent them on an impossible mission. While that attack progressed, I sneaked in about 3 villagers to the opposite side of Zanub’s island. As expected, he made short work of my martyrs (poor guys! I still remember them in my prayers) and sent in another attack. But who cared, I had already engineered my silent coup. Now it was only a matter of time!

My villagers were on steroids I think, those champs made a town center, castle, tower, armory, stables and almost every other building in a very short time. On top of it they even dug out his gold from right under his nose. Ha! The satisfaction of a spy master! It is hard to explain the joy I felt.

I had started making an army right on his soil without him noticing it and boy, a big one it was too. In the mean time, he put in attack after attack on my island. But not with much ferocity I must say, the second attack must have demoralized him a bit. I lost a few towers here a few castles there and good number of people everywhere. It was all working out so well. I was lulling him into the illusion of a win, while I was getting ready to land that sucker blow!

At last my large army was ready. I just needed to give the orders. Finally after tweaking the formations a bit, I gave the order to attack with cries of "VIVA LA REVOLUCION!!!" (I am Spanish, remember?). The trebuchets were the first to set base and attack his castles (you should have seen the look on his face!). He had just wound up his final campaign, in which he destroyed all of my ships and achieved complete naval superiority when right in his back yard, I was throwing stones at his castles!

This was my day! The day of David! Goliath was gonna hit the ground anytime now. Sensing an imminent win for the underdog, the crowd of supporters who had gathered to watch the game was now cheering me on! I felt like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, going in for the final punch.

But that is when I noticed a small red patch on my island right next to my town centre. A small irritant, that. He might have sneaked in a small ship full of soldiers into my territory. Nothing big, I could handle it easily with my home guard and towers. But the fact that he did this irked my ego a bit. How dare he! I was going to show him who was master and lord, once and for all. Charity begins at home, right. So I was going to fix him up in my island before I finished him up in his island.

Now, for quite some time, I had been a bit negligent about my island, except for warding of a few serious moves, I had pretty much focused on getting things done “undercover”. When I went back to look at home good home, I was in for a shock. Yeah, you guessed right! That slippery b****** had set up shop in my island and what is more, he had incinerated most of it by this time.

In about five minutes of intense fighting he took out my entire home guard and the rest of my island, while I had by that time taken up the rest of his island! Talk about going back to square one! It was declared a “perfect draw” but I guess, me being the underdog and taking the rocky factor into account, I won!*

*If Zanub ever writes a blog about this, you might find some interesting changes to the ending..:)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Burning the midnight oil

Nithin wanted to study alone. So he went to one of the empty rooms, laid out his book and started in earnest. The exams were just 2 days ahead and even the second round of revision was not over (Geez! what a Nerd!). But in the corridors beyond his room walked his greatest nemesis. No prizes for guessing who it was!

Now, I normally don’t disturb people who are studying unless they do it in my room. But with the exams so near and nerves so jittery, I was not my usual self. As I walked past his room each time, I felt more and more frustrated. I couldn’t digest the fact that there were guys who actually finished the portions and had started revising this early before an exam. And Here I was, who had not finished even the first module, forget the revision! I ask you, is it too much to ask for a lil bit o’ company when you are as screwed up as I was?

Each room had a master switch outside. You turn it off and nothing works inside. So, it was no wonder that my hand inadvertently turned it off when I walked by. Nithin, came out cursing. “You bloody ass*****! What the hell do you think you are doing eh??” He then turns on the switch and goes back to study.

I reach the end of the corridor which is rather long, come back and again my hands “inadvertently” turn it off. Nithin is fuming mad by now. He got all the looks of a clinical psychopath. He somehow controls his temper and turns it on again. This time around as I pass by other rooms with equally frustrated people, I spread the news of what is happening. Everyone comes out to watch the unfolding tamasha. The third time I did it, Nithin comes out with the silent attack. His eyes all ablaze with fury and that “do it one more time and you are dead” look.

On a normal day, that’s the time I let things cool a bit. But then, exams make me act rather funny. So I repeat the whole thing again. This time around I see helplessness. I start wondering whether this guy is practicing for some acting lessons. He was dishing out all human emotions in all sorts of funny combinations by now. For some unknown reason he couldn’t see the fun in all this….:)

By the fifth time, he has stopped coming out of the room and is just sitting there in the darkness staring at nothing. I can’t stop myself giggling. There is a light in every room except his. But by the sixth round it was I who was in for a surprise. As I walk by, I expect to see a dark form huddled in a dark room. Instead I get to see a guy studying by candle light!!! The whole scene was so hilarious. Everyone came out to see this wonderful engineer, “burning the midnight oil”.

It was of course no wonder that when the results came, I was in deep shit and Nithin was one of the toppers. Well because of me, he can at least brag to his kids* about how he had to “struggle through adverse situations” and face “immense difficulties” to get his degree….:)

*Comments like "can he actually make kids?" are absolutely unwelcome! As they say "it is beyond the scope" of this article to discuss it....:)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ctrl + Alt + Delete! The Kate Winslet Affair - Part III

Scene 1 Take 2
Chacko sees Chemmachen walking towards the room with a wide smile on his handsome face.

He could have turned off the monitor, he could have turned off the computer, he could have done a lot of things, instead, all he did was keep typing “ctrl + alt + delete”. In the deathly silence that filled the room, only the frantic “tak tak tak” sounds as he pelted the keyboard were to be heard.

As is normal during such abnormal situations, the computer failed to respond! Kate Winslet still stood proud and erect with a faint smile on her supple lips defying all logic for a messy shut down.

“Enthokke onde bonnie” (How are you) Chemmachen asked in his friendly tone to Bonnie lying on the bed. He had not seen the computer yet! Chacko did a last ditch effort now, about 5 dozen ctrl + alt + delete’s in the flash of a second. But Kate Winslet just refused to budge. Nobody ever expected Nishanth to act. After all, all this was way beyond his primitive comprehension. The only escape, if it ever came would be from Bonnie. Now if Bonnie had a mind, he could have shown presence of mind. But then at that point, his non existent mind was in limbo/coma/vegetable state (I have a suspicion that it is always that way, but more of that later) what is important is, nobody uttered a damn word!

To make matters worse, Bonnie’s eyes unconsciously wandered over to the computer. Chemmachen’s followed suit! Chacko by then had given up all hope of ever getting Kate Winslet off the screen and sat dejectedly at his seat. Nishanth had his heart in his mouth, with the look of a man who lost his soul. As for kate Winslet, she still had that smile on her face as if in mischievous defiance of the unfolding drama.

At last the long wandering eyes of Chemmachen fell on that most beautiful image. It was all over in a second, with shock written all over his face Chemmachen turned and silently walked out of the room, past Chacko, past us, past the long corridor, to his room.

Scene 2
The call to his room came late in the evening. The three musketeers were called for. I and Nikhil went with them for “moral support” but were promptly shooed away by Chemmachen. Those three were in for a long session of counseling. "Since there are three of you here, I will give you three choices" said Chemmachen and gave them the following 3 choices
1) I tell your parents about this
2) I tell your parents about this
3) I tell your parents about this

The musketeers did a lot of head hanging and negotiations that day, fortunately Chemmachen agreed to accept an apology letter from all three instead of the opening a parent information service.

Bonnie and Nishanth gave in proper apology letters saying a straight forward sorry, but Chacko decided to do a bit of obfuscation. I guess he was trying to win the Pulitzer, with an apology letter! His letter went something like this.

“Whereas on the morning of this day, I was found wanting in the spiritual plane. The reason for my delight in the pagan pleasure of the flesh was totally unbecoming of Christian demeanor and vision. However seen in the light of my mellow age and adverse affect of being exposed to a belligerent media with unbecoming ideas, the depth of my action should be seen none too deeply.
Whereas you were also pulled into this ignominious delight of the flesh by the actions of one whom I wish not to name in an officious document such as this. My inability to mask you from this demonic horror has increased in me the perception and depth of my folly to such a level that I am in dire danger of self wrath… Blah blah blah…

“Ethu vayichal njan anne kandathenne parayoolo!” (If somebody reads this, they will think I was watching it!) Exclaimed poor Chemmachen on reading this "work of art". The week that followed was one peppered with talks on ethics and morals. Not surprisingly, we did not stay there for too long. In about a month’s time we had all shifted out to a new house where free, horny Indians could do as they please without worrying about the Sushma Swaraj’s of this world.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ctrl + Alt + Delete! The Kate Winslet Affair - Part II

Bonnie’s idea was simple (and shitty!!!). Put in an “aesthetic” photograph of a teeth achingly beautiful actress right on the desktop. He said he wanted it for motivation, but somehow, I have this funny feeling that it was for “blood circulation”. None of us were too enthusiastic about the idea, what was the use anyway?

Truth was that, actually there was some percentage. Our hostel due to its pious surroundings had gotten a lot of bad press as being a “Bujji setup” meaning an abode of nerds. “Nerd” is one way you really don’t want to be known in college. It is really bad for your non-existent social life! But while we got the bad press, we also got a lot of visitors to our hostel, ostentatiously for “combined studies”. What better way to show those chums that we too were “cool”, than by putting up a pic like that right on the desktop eh?

Thus purely as an exercise in un-nerdifying our image, I agreed with Bonnie. Most of the others did not bother one way or the other and thus Bonnie put in a picture of Kate Winslet in her birthday suit (ahem…!) right on the desktop. That day, she added ten more fans to her existing millions.

But a dark presence loomed over our lives. An evil eye looked upon our happy souls. Our “innocent” and carefree days were coming to an end….

It was one of those study holidays with an exam just two days down the line. There were only 5 of us in the hostel. Three including Chacko (at the computer), Bonnie (on the bed with a book in his hand) and Nishanth (on the chair) were in the computer room. Nikhil and myself were in an adjacent room, with him explaining the finer details of a digital problem using the female anatomy (Yeah! Just imagine those 1’s and 0’s) to me.

Scene 1 Take 1
Suddenly out of nowhere Chemmachen walks by our room. He nods to us with a wide smile and we nod back with wide smiles. As he passes the room, the creature in my gut contracts telling me something is amiss. But I can’t quite figure out what the problem is. Subconsciously I walk out of the room, my eyes following him as he walks to the computer room. He is walking walking walking and I am watching watching watching, when all of a sudden it strikes me! Nikhil had that somebody-kicked-my-balls look on his face, by which I understood that he understood. We exchange helpless looks and then keep looking at the door through which Chemmachen has just disappeared.

The rest of the story is better explained the way Chacko saw the situation….

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ctrl + Alt + Delete! The Kate Winslet Affair - Part 1

In the end you can blame it all on our college not having a men’s hostel. But the beginning was definitely due to Nishanth bringing a computer to our hostel run by the Bishop.

The actual person running the show was a very pious brother named Alias*, whom we called Chemmachen (meaning brother in Malayalam). The hostel was rather “religiously” positioned on the third floor of a building that housed the bishop’s residence, library, prayer halls and a church on the side. Altogether, a very holy atmosphere.

Thus, we were all on the path to imminent sainthood when Nishanth brought in his pc. Pavam Nishanth, he had such high hopes when he brought it along, higher marks, better life, what not. Such misplaced optimism! From the moment it came into our lives, there was no looking back. I mean looking back on vulgar life, not sainthood. It was our window to the “funny” world outside, an oasis in the desert, a light at the end of a very dark tunnel, the only silver lining in our hopeless existence!

Our nights that were earlier spent in prayer and meditation were now in hyper drive mode enjoying the paroxysms of rather non spiritual emotions. People who never wanted to come back to hostel from college were seen rushing out after the last hour in class. We set new records in running cross country from college to hostel…. Ah! The "innocence" of those bygone days!

The affect of this morale booster was immediate. Guys, who looked like they were the walking dead, started singing in the halls. Suddenly there was life outside the text book. Creative ideas like SUS (to be detailed later) and writing letters to Indian Express youth edition claiming we were gays living in the seminary were born during this golden era!

All this while Chemmachen, that most pious brother was ascending the ladder of responsibilities of his station. Sometimes, these responsibilities took him away for long periods of time from the hostel. It was during on of those long absences that Bonnie had this bout of constipation. Constipation so fearsome that he could not even fart! In the end, all that fart accumulated, built up a huge pressure and went right to his brain and thus was born one of the shittiest ideas during our first year in college.

*Name changed...:)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Unknown Hero

Readers Digest is one magazine where I have read a lot about unknown heroes. They are the small people who do big things and make this world a better place to live in. I am an avid fan of these people, but I would personally like to be in the well known sphere if ever I do anything big. My whole motto for life is, if you do something worth 10 rupees then give publicity worth 100*.

On my way to office the other day, I was crossing a road. Now, “crossing a road” might seem to be very trivial, but try doing it at the Madivala market near the police station at rush hour and you will find that climbing Everest could be an easier task. I, on average take more time to cross this road than to walk from my house till there. That road is a one-way and vehicles just do not stop for you.

The whole crossing exercise is like a foot ball game. You go in to the other side almost till the end and then you are pushed back due to a speeding vehicle back to your side. I went in about 3 times and had to come back on all three. Totally disgusted, I tried out the last trick up my sleeve. I call it “blind-walking”. The idea is that you look straight ahead instead of to your sides and just keep walking. It takes a lot of guts and even more faith in the expertise of some Indian drivers and their braking capabilities. It helps if you are deaf too, coz normally you get cursed at a lot if you do this.

Thus, I had just started my blind walking and reached a quarter of the distance when all of a sudden I feel a touch on my right elbow. It’s was a frail old lady who, under the impression that I am a responsible crosser, had tagged along! Now, things were a bit more complicated, coz blind walking requires that you be in prime physical form to jump away from a braking vehicle, do a jig and maybe even a partner-less salsa by the time you reach the other side. I normally end up jumping the last quarter of the road to escape unhurt.

But in one way, I was pleased. After all, I had seen so many movies where the lead helps out old (and usually blind) ladies to cross the road. Here was my chance to play the role. I took it in full seriousness and with some heavy hand signaling (including the rude ones) managed to reach the middle. Now, we were really trapped. There was traffic behind us and ahead of us. To move an inch this way or that was a straight ticket to the hospital. The only thing left was to wait for the rush to clear a bit.

As I was waiting, I also did some heavy scanning. As I said earlier, I don’t dig being the unknown hero, I like being appreciated you know. But the filmi touch ended with the old lady I guess. There was no heroine watching my heroic actions on either side of the road! What a tragedy!

If I knew a bit of Kannada, I would have asked her, whether we could repeat this whole charade a few times till the right “environment” was available…:) Finally, after an eternity of waiting, the vehicles in front of us cleared a bit, but not enough to do an easy cross. I had run out of patience by then and decided to take the plunge. By the tightness of her grip, I could understand the poor woman’s tension. Maybe, seeing the old lady or whatever, the rest of the vehicles fortunately slowed down and let us cross, without us having to resort to any fancy acrobatics.

I was still scanning the surroundings when we reached the end of the road, but lady luck stayed away and there was not a girl in sight. But then, for my heroic efforts, I was awarded with an extremely sweet and toothless smile from the old woman. To hell with the heroines! I felt right on top of the world just seeing that smile.

*Nishanth, don’t dare to comment that this post was for cheap publicity…. Well, even if it was, I wont admit it….:)

Monday, July 9, 2007


It was a cold evening. One of those windy, gusty days you get in Bangalore. Through the streets leading to Maruti Nagar in Madiwala, a man walked at full speed. He showed exceptional dexterity at dodging the human melee and traffic on the road. It was a dexterity born out of necessity, for his bladder threatened to explode if he waited another minute.

This unfortunate man was none other than yours truly on his way back from office. I was running to reach home, sorry… toilet. All of a sudden I hear my name called out, it’s none other than co-conspirator Athul Dev and my roomie Shyam. “How about a beer dude” says Athul. I cringed at those tasteless words. “Beer” is one word that you don’t want to hear when you are in such dire need to take a leak. Forcing a smile on my strained face, I explained the severity of the situ.

The sympathy was immediate, after all who has not been in my situation at one or more points in his/her life? But the solution that I got from them was one thing I would regret in times to come.

Athul: If it’s so serious, then take a leak there (pointing to a nearby dark alley) and then come with us.
I: The Street is so crowded! There is no privacy yaar!
Athul: Nobody is loafing around there dude. Do it fast and come with us!
Shyam: Yes man, do it there and come. By the time you reach home you would have peed in your pants he he he he!
I (Thinking): Probably true!
I (Speaking): But this is not an open area, it’s near somebody’s house. Its not right guys!
Them: Poda! Since when have you followed peeing etiquettes? Eh?
Seeing the supreme logic behind their arguments I bowed down and accepted the plan of action. That was Wrong Decision Number 1.

Hoping that nobody would come that way, I unzipped and started the charade. If I were to rate all human pleasures, I guess peeing after holding it all back under such pressure would definitely be up there in the top 3. On top of it, I always had an artistic tend of mind. So, it was no wonder that I started pelting the wall with my high pressure output in all sorts of modern art designs. That was Wrong Decision Number 2.

As I was reveling in this divine God given pleasure, the first signs of discord appeared in my paradise. It was no snake this time, it was a grand old lady of about 70-80 wearing huge soda glass specs and Tamil Iyer style sari. She started looking at my direction with more than a grandmotherly interest. I was left uncomfortable and fidgety by the type of stares. My artistic designs started going awry and I made a total mess of it (looking back on it, the design might have still grossed a few million dollars at any reasonable art fair going by the stuff I have seen on display).

But designs were the last thing on my mind then. What with an octogenarian staring so avidly at my manhood. Uh! The insult of it all! Where was our culture going to? If this is how the old guard behaved, what of the NextGen? Deciding to take matters by their head (pun un-intended) I changed the angle. The problem with this new angle being that every body going up and down the road could now see the performance. I got a few “bloody-pervert-exhibitionist-lets-murder-him” looks before I decided to revert back to the original angle.

A voyeuristic grandmother was better than a full life time worth of nasty looks. With my Greek God looks ladies were prone to look (quit laughing!), but all this while, I got this gut feeling that there is something I was missing out. With a heavy heart, I stopped the flow and re-zipped, slightly peeved at being robbed of my divine pleasure. As I was moving away from the wall, the old lady moved out in front of me. In the millisecond before she opened her mouth, I at last understood the issue. The “wall” on which I was peeing was actually the wall of her house, most probably her bedroom I guess. For all I knew, she could be allergic to uric fumes! The only thing I was sure about was that I was in for a round of counseling.

I was thus fully prepared to get a lashing in Kannada/Tamil on the ills of my generation when to my surprise she starts berating me in the finest oxford accented English I’ve heard. It’s rather easy to hear a few strong words in a language you don’t know. You just need to hang your head in pretended shame and then walk away with a hunched back. I was totally taken aback by this outburst in a language I knew. She gave me a thorough lecture on the ills of relieving myself in public. The same indiscipline and lack of manners/culture that which is the root cause of all our nations’ problems. In short she drew parallels between me and the national ills and found that I was the reason for the national ills. After about two minutes I really felt ill!

Like all old people, she too had learnt the difficult art of patience and forgiveness. So she finally dismissed me after getting solemn promises from my side that I would never repeat the crime again. I was relieved, I could go now, but before I even turned to go, she asked that final question.

“You look like an educated guy, where do you work?” That was when I noticed the company tag around my neck! For one moment I quietly visualized the next day’s news paper “Techie found urinating on old lady’s bedroom wall”. Believe me, it didn’t look too nice. So, I quietly took the tag off my neck and put it in my pocket and replied “I am a student”. They don’t call me quick thinking Abe for nothing you know!

I had noticed by now that the lady lacked a lot in the eyesight department, that she could only barely make out people with whom she was talking to, from one feet away. My faith in the old guard was thus restored! She had not noticed me removing my tag, Thank God!

Old Lady: “ok son, don’t do it ever again, now you can go!”
Me (appearing subdued and humble): “ok”
Truth is, for quite some time after that, I never peed in a public place.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A mail from Jiju

When I was in college, I always thought that this guy would become a priest one day. Instead he has become the biggest abhasan ever to set foot on earth.

Just before our trip to Thailand, I got this mail from our venerable Jiju.

"Fuuuninnuu vendiullaa theeraathha dahavumayi,
Fun mathramulla puthiyaa meechil purangal theedi
Thailandileekuu parakkunnna,
Nammudee priyaapettta Funnersnuu :-
Entey perrillumm nallavarayya ellaa priyaa fun aswadhaka sahridayarudee perillumm nyajan ashamsakal arpikkunnuuu.."

Ellavarkuumm etttupadamm : Funners anthemm
"Bottoms up Kick Ass Ahllaadippin Ahlaadippin :- "
"Funnumm Pennum Sindabhad"
"Fun power, 24 hour shower"
"Whereever we go Fun follows"
"Bollooo Funners keee"

I was bowled over by this outpouring of "emotion". If this guy keeps at it, he may actually end up a poet!