Saturday, April 12, 2008

Narmada Pass Out T-Shirt

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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.”