Saturday, April 12, 2008

Narmada Pass Out T-Shirt

Place your orders now

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Review of "Tarzan: The Wonder Car"

I have been accused by a number of my friends of writing blog entries which are too lengthy to read. I hope this entry satiate those who advocated short-and-sweet entries. This review was written by me and Gel for Narmada Hostel's creative writing entry and markedly reminds me of those long Saarang nights which I spent writing for the newsletter.

Movie Review- “Tarzan-the wonder car”

While most of the ardent movie goers would have loitered outside the theater and patiently waited for the movie to end, the made-of-titanium movie reporter sat through the entire length of the screening.

Tarzan-the wonder car, the name itself is sufficient to repel any sane person above the age of 6. And the movie totally justifies the name and its appeal by featuring Tarzan, the wonder car in the lead role aptly supported by Ayesha Takia and Ayesha Takia’s on-screen boyfriend, whose name we fail to recollect and like his role, is not important anyway.

The movie starts with Ajay Devgan, a mechanic working in Kartar Singh’s garage coming up with a brilliant and highly sophisticated car .The car being brilliant and sophisticated, predictably, becomes the sole aim of the villain of the movie who shall be referred to as Ayesha Takia’s dad hereafter. The fact that Ayesha Takia’s dad killed Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend’s dad who happens to be Ajay Devgan, thus restricting his role in the movie to a mere 15 minutes goes on to show that at least one member in the cast had read the script before signing up.

Twelve years later, his son, Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend, who has grown up to become a nerdy mechanic much like his father, rebuilds the car which the bad guys conveniently forgot to steal after Ajay was murdered. The next half an hour is devoted to the portrayal of the metamorphosis of the car from junkyard scrap to an enviable and elegant machine armed with every thinkable functionality under the sun, except for dancing around with Ayesha Takia, which sources confirm, was reserved for Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend on his special request. A minor subplot depicts the transformation of Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend from a nerdy and anorexic nobody into a wanna-be-cool dude nobody. After that comes the crux of the movie which very tersely put is Ayesha Takia with her flashy attires(or the lack thereof), scintillating dance moves, alluring expressions and her boyfriend dancing around in exotic European locales to Himesh powered music while the wonder car powered by the spirit goes on a rampage murdering and exhorting the unsuspecting villains in all possible ways a car can murder a human being and more.

The only interesting feature, apart from Ayesh Takia of course, is the appreciation of Darwinian theory showed by the director when he portrayed Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend chasing around Ayesha’s skirts and his departed father’s spirit going after her father’s ass at the same time, thus, proving that the off springs had actually inherited their parent’s primeval instincts and traits!!

The movie was unstructured and illogical to such an extent that when a nalli saree advertisement was mistakenly aired in the midst of the screening, the only thing that stopped us from believing that it was a part of the movie was the absence of a nasal tinge, so characteristic of Himesh numbers, in the jingle of the advertisement. If a reader feels that instead of being constructive, our criticism is nothing but blatant abuse, we would like to defend ourselves by stating that “There is nothing wrong with the script that can be undone without completely changing the script all together."

Coming to the acting, there wasn’t much to comment on. Except of course, you guessed it right…Ayesha Takia. All in all, the only people who could’ve possibly enjoyed the movie were Ayesha Takia’s boyfriend and her father in that order.

Enumerating four unique features of the movie:

1) This movie can be placed under multiple genres simultaneously. Horror, Sci-fi, drama, action, romance, comedy, b-grade. You name it, they have it

2) The censor board is recommended to bring out a new rating category U.S or “Under Six” to accommodate this kind of movies

3) The script writer, if there is one, provided us with a unique solution to reduce our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy . All we have to do to save earth from power-crisis is to kill people and allow their spirits to power the automobiles instead of petrol.

4) Ayesha Takia

Monday, February 25, 2008


The fact that I did not add anything to this space after a rather enthusiastic start, the enthusiasm of course being short lived, should not lead the readers into believing that the spirit of the stairway ceased to pester me during this period of hibernation. Its just that the ever so active ghosts of procrastination and inactivity always managed to engulf me like a creeper and overwhelm all the other spirits haunting me. Now, that I am finally managed to free myself from these personal devils, let me not waste your time and treat you with some of my thoughts before this temporary phase of blog enthusiasm ceases to exist just like a very good friend of five years who now has left the world of mortals for his heavenly abode.

This article is going to be published in the forthcoming edition of The Fourth Estate.


Returning from a boring physics class, in my first year, I found a bevy of my batch mates assembled near the notice board. The centre of their attraction was a list. The list of students who had to compulsorily take up the English O Level course. Knowing perfectly well that I, with my above average communication skills, would never be placed in this list, I coolly started going through it, looking for familiar names. As I went through the list, my passivity started giving way to bafflement, which in its turn made space for franticness as I slowly, but surely, started realizing that the names on the list had no humanely perceivable relation with one’s communication skills. The fact that most of the ‘listed’ names, never required a basic level English course and many others who did require were not in the list made one wonder about the basis to select these hundred odd students. Especially when the English workbook that we were supposed to complete and submit during our admission was never asked for and surely it was not possible that they chose all those names from a harmless looking bio-data form that they had asked us to fill where the only instance when one needed to string sentences together was while answering a Write-five-sentences-about-yourself question.

Little did I or the hundred odd black listed names envisage then that this list was destined to cause a furore in the institute after exactly one and half years, during the elections. But, I did realize something that day.

God doesn’t play dice with the universe, but, IIT Madras administration sure does.

And this realization of mine has only been strengthened ever since, thanks to a string of unwarranted administrative actions/decisions which on some occasions reflect the over enthusiasm on the part of administrators who at least seem to have their hearts at right places, and on some other occasions makes one question whether they have a heart at all.

One of the decisions, whose driving logic, I have never managed to fathom is the need to build a centralized mess facility when the hostel messes were already running smoothly. Central cooking facility, low transportation charges, competitions among caterers were some terms that kept floating during that time. But, I don’t understand how any kind of monetary saving or cost cuts can justify the amount spent on the mammoth structure that we call Himalayas, not to mention the land that was used for building it. And as far as competition is concerned, due to limited infrastructure, there is a cap on students who can be allotted to a particular caterer which by default assures the other caterer of a minimum number of students. Now, lets keep the Pro vs Anti-Himalya argument for another day for people can argue and argue all day about this topic. But, what can not be argued against is the acute change in student lifestyle that was suddenly brought upon by this decision. But, what was gross in this decision of considerable importance was the amount of student participation in the process of making this decision or rather the lack thereof. The administrators didn’t even have the common courtesy of taking an opinion poll among the students before taking this measure.

But, an instance where poll was taken was when widespread ire on the service and quality of food at Minar was sensed. But, after eighty percent of students voted for removal of Minar, this poll results were simply ignored and the issue was coolly forgotten. If it was not possible to remove Minar for contractual/legal reasons, then why was the poll taken at all and why were the students not informed about the reasons behind the administrative inaction to their verdict are just some of the many questions that remained unanswered. Rumour mills have it that Minar was spared of the axe due to the satisfactory comments in their suggestion book. But, surely an idea of considering the rarely used suggestion book that can be easily tampered with as a better mandate of students opinion than the poll conducted is an idea that is, probably, too preposterous for even our Admin Block to harbor. Or is it? We will never know.

But, what we do know, is the reason behind an Administrative decision that baffled many in the beginning of this academic year. This time it was the hostel administration which to everyone’s surprise, allotted hostels to first year students in a branch wise manner. It was only much later that it came to light that this type of arranging of freshers was due to a clerical error. To call this feat the "conquering of an unscaled height of abject incompetence" is still an understatement.

There have been decisions which were never changed, despite months of students protests and hours of reasoning, like banning foreign and university internships. And there have been decisions like disallowing every first year and second year student to stay in their hostels during summer vacations, which had to be diluted after protests from students and requests for professors as well. This decision was apparently based on the assumption that first year and second year students do not possess the requisite skills to do any worthwhile projects. But, why was middle of June, when hundreds of students had already taken up projects and had planned their stay, was chosen to be the appropriate time to announce this new rule is again an unanswered question. And then, there are again the third kind of decisions which were actually overturned, like disallowing the students who had the English O level course as an arrear to contest elections, even when most of these students had passed a basic English test in a later semester and had been informed that the course had been scrapped. The rule of disallowing students with arrears from contesting election was framed so that the academically hard up students don’t spend there time in administrative activities. But, here were a group of students, many of them above average in academics, who were disallowed to contest for organizational posts because they had not been declared passed in a course which was already said to be scrapped, notwithstanding the scant reasons as to why they were handpicked for the course in the first place. This act of following the rules to the letter and not to the spirit was followed by informing the students that the course had not yet been scrapped and there would be an exam later in the semester to decide who passes the course and who doesn’t. Needless to say that there was a lot of unrest among the students and it was only after hours of requests and reasoning from institute secretaries that this decision was overturned about an hour before the allotted time for filling nominations finished.

What are common to all these inordinate rules/decisions imposed on students and the aftermath, apart from lack of clarification of the underlying reasons and a conspicuous unwillingness to discuss any suggested amendments to these rules, is a perceptible lack of care and respect for students’ opinions. Administrators, at times, have demonstrated that they are clearly out of touché with the student sensibilities and these occasions only contribute to the ever growing indifference in the student community towards them. Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. And the lack of care and connection with students create a snobbish image of the rule makers in minds of students who start finding hostile undercurrents, even when they are non-existent, in any new development in the institute. This is apparent from the host of contumacious mails that have become a regular feature of the S-mail.

However, there have indeed been some decisions, though few and far in, which have been a welcome change from the conventions. After a Sunday was converted to a working day, due to arrival of the Parliamentary committee, any Monday could have been deemed as a holiday. But, the fact that the Monday after the day Saarang finished was declared a holiday is a decision which displayed that administration do know the students’ perspective and care about it. This is the kind human touch and an act of caring that begets trust and respect from the students.

At the risk of committing the cardinal sin of being preachy as well as clichéd, I would like to sum up my viewpoint with a quote.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Friend

A Flashback
Only one hour was left. One hour between me and freedom. And the English paper was a piece of cake. The half-yearlies of class three was finally getting over. But, I was not happy. Something was bugging me. The kid sitting next to me( I think his name was Gnana Ranjan) had copied each and every word I had written in my answer paper. I could have easily covered up my paper if I wanted to, and there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that he could have done about it. And I wanted to as well. But then, I just couldn't. Covering up your paper and not showing it to others would earn you a reputation of being a stingy bastard. Not that I was not one. But, being one, I just didn't want to be known as one. Thats a weakness in all the guys with weaknesses. If you call an intelligent chap a fool, he wouldn't mind it. But, try calling a fool one. If you tell a beautiful girl that she is worse looking than a modern art masterpiece, she would think that you are just bitter. But, just call an ugly one, "plain" and feel bad yourself for the whole day. Similarly, I did not want to be called a selfish, stingy bastard(IITians can read RGier). But, being the RGier that I am, I decided to do something about Mr. Xerox Copier.
Suddenly, I got a brilliant idea. The only questions left were the two essays- My Aim in Life and My Best Friend. I remembered both of them word by word( Thanks, to my mom). My aim in life was being a doctor and Ravi was my best friend( Only Ravi I know personally is a barber). Being a smart kid that I was, I started writing my own lines( instead of the ones I mugged up). I described how I would get a chance to kill people by being a doctor and how Ravi flunked every exam he wrote.(For ignorant fools, Ravis, Mohans and Shyams of My best friend essays are always supposed to come first in class) After writing a lot of bullshit I blew air out of my mouth creating a "whoosh" sound. That is the universal sign language of finishing a difficult task.
Mr.Modi Xerox fell right into the trap. He thought I finished the paper. So, without thinking much( his trademark style), he gave away his paper and went out of the class.
Immediately, I sprung into action. There was not much time to lose. I started correcting the the essays. But, my luck was "really rotten"(Any RGier's team in laffalympics- Ignorant fools can start watching Cartoon Network). I could only finish one essay in time. Ravi was still flunking when the invigilator pulled away the paper from me.
Now, a serious piece of advice- When you copy something, make sure you copy from the right guy. If you copy wrong answers, not only do you get wrong, but, you get caught as well. My teacher was not as dumb witted as I hoped she would be( Thats a rare breed among primary school teachers). Not only was I blasted by the teacher for assisting in copying,( That sadist bitch actually read out my essay in the class) I got branded as a stingy bastard by friends who came to know about my first essay. Mr. Photocopier was as cool as ice throughout the day. ( Being dumb has its advantages)
After so many years, I am in my third year at college now. Lately, a very good friend of mine has been pestering me for an orkut testimonial. But, as a tribute to SDKjunior of class three, I will write an essay with "My Best Friend" guidelines(which can be summarized in one line)

"My Best Friend-"Some-John-Smith-level-extremely-common-name" is GOD"

"He is a god."
"No you idiot, he must be a supermodel."
I think, he is...."Shrivastav(pause).Apurv Shrivastav", a mellifluous voice interrupted the discussion among a group of awe-struck sophomores. That was the day Indian Institute of Technology Madras was blessed with the arrival of Apurv.
What can I say about him?( This is the line that is common to 77% of the testimonials in orkut.Other 23% are some copy-pasted smiley-level bullshit,if you know what I mean) If you think Brad Pitt is handsome, Einstein was intelligent, Ronaldinho can dribble, Brian Adams sings well, Casanova was a ladies man, Al Pacino can act, Churchill knew oration, Shakesphere could
write, Micheal Jackson can dance and lots of other people can do lots of other things they are supposedly good at, then think again. If you still think so, then pay a visit to room number 144, IIT Maddus, and think again. Now, after this experience, if you continue to think so, then I have only one advice to you. Come out of the room, move right, walk straight for 5 metres, turn right, go to the water dispenser kept nearby, fill the steel glass kept over the dispenser with cold water and then try to drown yourself in the glass.
A.H.Shrivastava- Apurv Handsome Shrivastava: The interrupted conversation described above must have given you a clue about the dazzling look this gentleman posesses. In fact, he was the first choice for the LUX ad. But then, our man put his foot down because the ad involved too much exposure.(Its not as if he is against exposing or something, but, he will do it only if script demands it.)

A.F.Shrivastava- Apurv Footer SHrivatsava: There was this next Ronaldinho contest in which one has to send a video of him playing football(CIA agents looking to collect info on this amazing genius can read SOCCER). The most skill full one gets to train at Nou Camp(Thats Barcelona- for football knowledge impaired). We secretly made a video of Apurv Patriot Shrivastava( who wouldn't let us give his video as he wanted to stay and serve and die in India only) and sent it.
Frank Riijkard, changed his mind, after having decided to sign him as his striker,(He had almost agreed to sell Etoo and Henry to Madrid for free-they were not required anymore, you see) only when he realised that his wife(who also saw the video) was shouting "Ohhh Apurvvvv... Ohhh come on" while bedding him. That is the effect Apurv Handsome Shrivastava has on middle-aged women.
That made him change his mind and training offer went to Chingura Mankamunga of Thailand( And I thought Europeans were professional)

A.M.Shrivastava- Apurv Musical Shrivastava:
Music can make you laugh.
Music can make you cry.
Music can bring down rain.
Music can drain the ocean dry( Wow I wrote a poem!! Must be the company of Apurv Wordsworth Shrivastava)
I used to think that these sort of lines spoken out with a regal tone by sixty year olds (wearing clothes so ludicrously lashy that even any three year old in his right mind won't wear them) were bullshit, until I heard our man singing. He was also drumming, playing guitars and keyboard at the same time.Trust me, he can even make you go to loo with the power of music. All he has to do is to go to loo himself and start singing, All loos next to the one he is in get filled up immediately. No wonder they made him LM coord.

A.G.Shrivastava-Apurv Genious Shrivastava:
Apurv is currently busy in many top secret projects which pertain to national defense. In fact, divulging any information about them may result in Apurv Patriot Shrivastava being forced to kill me. But, let me make at least one earth-shattering revelation. All the projects( the good ones) that have been completed, be it student's or a professor's in IITM in last two years are done by our man. In fact, he made a bulb all by himself as soon as he was born. He made a line follower and a micromouse when he was two and three months old respectively. It was obvious from that day itself that he would one day be a Robotics coord(which he is)

A.C.Shrivastava-Apurv Casanova Shrivastava:
Apurv and ladies are two words which go together. They are just like "Larsen and Toubro" or "Adolf and Hitler". The moment you think of one, the other one just comes spontaneously to your mind. In fact, the only ladies who don't flock around Apurv are the ones who are extremely low on self confidence, suffer from severe inferiority complex and just can't handle the competition.
If any of you want to watch hot girls go crazy, just be near Apurv. Ladies do everything they can, just to get a passing glance from him. In fact, sights like ladies sorrounding him and belly dancing while he is going to class in the morning is not at all uncommon in IITM. Just, be careful of the guys around him as there is a high probability that they make passes at you after being exasperated at Apurv's lack of attention. He is also a major reason behind a marked increase of homosexuals in the IIT campus.
I consider myself very lucky to get a room next to this chap. It wouldn't have been possible, had my dad not discovered a pot full of gold.(most of which is spent bribing the officials so as to get the room next door to him)In fact, all the residents of the Narmada Hostel have spent a lot of dough just to be his hostelmates. Now, they are thinking of having reservations for rooms in the hostel as well.
Anyways, this is Apurv Shrivastava or Orchestra, my room neighbour and "MY BEST FRIEND"

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Quest In Vain

Following account is a real life description of a most depressing afternoon of my life. It affected my life so much that just in order to forget this incident, I stopped eating two specific food items, abandoned my favorite mess forever and stopped subscribing to certain cellular phone service provider. So, if you are a heart patient (I sincerely hope not) or a pregnant woman (I most sincerely hope not), you still can most certainly enjoy my plight. Before you come to terms with YOUR SHARE OF PAIN.
A QUEST IN VAIN (These two lines are there just because they rhyme)

A doctor eavesdropping my heartbeat could have died of heart-attack. I could feel my legs shaking and my knees could give way to my bodyweight anytime. But, I had to do this. I just had to.
Earlier the day, I,the new age Don Quixote of Da Macha ( These two words along with illla-saaar constitute my Tam vocabulary) set out on a mission. The same mission every IITian (well, almost every) has on the day before the dance workshop*. After a short walk which was used to remember the tricks and catch lines from "101 ways to start a conversation" I reached the CLT entrance. An inner voice told me to stop this endeveour immediately and return to senses. But all I could hear was a thousand times magnified female voice saying-"yesss youuu indabluh teeshirt. khaman aap"
Now time for a serious peice of advise. If you are standing in front of an Airtel Stall dressed in a blue t-shirt and you hear "yesss youuu indabluh teeshirt. khaman aap", then get the hell out. Don't think.Just run. unless of course you enjoy to try and hang on to a heart shaped balloon placed between your thighs and supported by crotch while you are hanging upside down with someone smacking your face with more such horrendous balloons. That too in the area boasting of "the highest Aphrodite density you ever get to enter" in 52 weeks.
After dropping the balloon, secondarily, because of the balloons that caressed my nose and primarily because of the glaring eyes of 30 odd people( and thus losing the opportunity of my lifetime to win the coveted hanky with airtel written on it), I hoped to salvage some pride by trying to get the "Oh it was a bit childish, but, I enjoyed every second of it" look on my face.That is when I saw HER. SHE was divine. SHE was ah-so-damn-beautiful. SHE was out of this worldly and I was in love.
A doctor eavesdropping my heartbeat could have died of heart-attack. I could feel my legs shaking and my knees could give way to my bodyweight anytime. But, I had to do this. I just had to. My faltering legs were headed towards HER, despite that strange kind of shaky feeling that was starting to grip more and more parts of my body.I felt pain, but this time familiar. The butter chicken at mess, burger at stall and the upside down exercise for five minutes seemed to have caused strange movements in my bowel. SHIT.Yes, shit. That is the word I muttered when I crossed her for the first and last time while running towards the hostel.

Necessity is the mother of all inventions.
The country needed good engineers. So, they started IITs. Students in IITM needed to have a week of enjoyment and female company. So, they started Saarang. But, your average shy studious IITian couldn’t muster up courage to talk to unknown girls without any specific reason. So, they had to find a reason. Thus, came the novelty. THE DANCE WORKSHOP.
Since, only western dance was taught and only couples were allowed, the regular Joe got a chance to be a Romeo. And this (a proper reason to talk to girls) along with hours of group discussions, three continuous days of bath, a bottle each of perfume and hair oil and a shave gave the IITian confidence to talk and actually invite girls to the workshop. The series of invitations, acceptance, rejection and “bulbing” during invitation that occur every year are part of IIT folklore. Due to high rate of rejection and bulbing during invitation, and ,of course, limited registration very few people manage to enter the hallowed portals of the workshop and information on what happens inside is a bit vague. Though there have been some success stories due to the dance workshop, majority of junta still think longingly for a chance to dance.

Spirit of the stairway

Espirit de l'escalier: It means that moment when you find the answer, but it's too late. Say you're at a party and somebody insults you. You have to say something. So under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party.... As you start down the stairway, then-magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should have said. The perfect crippling put-down.

That's the spirit of the stairway.

This spirit has been victimizing your's faithfully since time immemorial. This blog is to express all those "perfect things" which were left unsaid.