Saturday, September 15, 2007

I like November.

It's filled with anticipation.
It's cold and waiting.


Also, something incredibly solemn.

play.blogger.com

Watching snapshots of others lives.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tipsy for Self Service

Ok, now that I have been taunted by Sayan, I will pick up the gauntlet.

First things first!

Do any of you, (pointing pointedly at Sayan) have any idea how many times I've had to carry the sorry drunk asses of my wingmates/buddies/women(muhuhahaha)/juniors, down to their beds just because they had no idea what to drink and how to drink it? Also the next morning (and by that I of course mean 3 p.m.) I get dazed requests from the said people begging me to tell them how one would go about bringing the incessant ringing/spinning tables to a halt.

Suffice to say, my 22 years of experience with alcohol and its peripherals have only brought me nothing but much praise and adulation from peers and juniors alike. And so when Sayan made a reference to me in one of his posts saying that he disagreed with me when I said "A man must know his alcohol" and then pointedly pointed at me, I understandably was filled with righteous indignation.

The knowing of one's alcohol not only constitutes the pseud putting about the bouquet and vintage of a wine or the maturity of a scotch. It involves being acquainted with the nuances of alcohol, like alcohol+ herbal inhalation = BAD idea. It also includes the ever relevant pearls of wisdom such as,

"Beer before liquor, you've never been sicker. Liquor before beer and you're in the clear."

Knowing that pickles and lemon get rid of your hangover the quickest. This when followed by one bottle of Bisleri (with some ORS if you can make the extra effort) ingested at room temperature. Too cold will only increase the ringing, not to mention give you a horrible case of brain-freeze. Not to forget the age old recipe of thair-saadam is what one should be having in case you do feel the need for solid food.

Also in my infinite wisdom I have compiled a little something something for you all.

Beer: Now, I have on many an occasion confidently declared with full conviction that Beer is the real man's drink and to this day I stand by my assertion. All testosterone aside, it really is the most firm yet gentle, confident yet understated and bitter-at-first-taste yet refreshing drink mankind has ever known.

First timers should definitely stay away from this drink as it will most likely put you off alcohol until you gather the fortitude to try it again. But for us college veterans there is nothing like a cold Sud to wash away the pains of Extractive Metallurgy or Power Electronics or whatever else one would consider painful. It's hard on your taste-buds but it's high can be likened to that of a Jeeves-esque butler who knocks politely at the door before coming in. 3 cold beers down, I challenge any of you to come to me and tell me you're not happy to be alive and that you don't love me.

The fact that one bottle costs anywhere between Rs.65 and 90 rarely deters a true beer lover such as myself, especially if I can crack it open while its still cold. Definitely my idea of a lifesaver.

Suggestions of course include the ol' Mallya brews (both premium and strong serve one well). For a light crisp beer with your meaty dinner I would suggest a Foster's (of which the entire continent of Australia has never heard of btw) and of course if you do happen to be in Bangalore please go out of your way to find yourself a really really cold bottle of Jaguar Winey Beer (It's Strong, it's fast - It's a different animal) the sweetness when served at 4 degree centigrade transforms into a beautiful punch on your tongue as well. An experience rarely felt with beer. A definite must have. And of course I would suggest Guinness Beer, which can be likened to a substantial English breakfast, but for that one would have to head to the bar at your nearest Hyatt/ Oberoi/or whatever so don't bother unless your dad/senior is footing the bill.

Vodka: Ye Olde Faithful indeed. This drink is the average Engineer's staple. I myself started off with a 90 of Romanov and haven't looked back ever since. (Wistful Sigh) This is definitely the drink I would ask any first timer to start off with. When mixed with the right mixer (see below) it can be a love-at-first-sight kinda thing.

The suggested drink in one's student budget is the sturdy White Mischief (which I would liken to a Hero Honda Splendour, dependable and mid-priced) at Rs. 5 a quart more than your Romanov, it does seem a bit steep but believe you me it packs in a punch that's well worth it. I have yet to come across a more aptly named concoction. The suggested mixer is Sprite or Cranberry juice (a little chick, but yummy nonetheless), 7up will do but is much too sweet for my liking.

For the more adventurous boys (and girls) out there I would personally recommend MGM Apple Vodka. I know the suggestion may seem very vain but believe me young 'uns when mixed with Limca this drink can make for a lip-smacking experience. Also, be sure to take a whiff of the brew before you pour, as the fragrance is distinctive and very pleasant. Priced in the same range as White Mischief, this drink is a must try and thanks to a certain somebody is one of the most popular guest gifts when I visit my pals in Blore/Hyderabad.

The more upmarket options will always exist and we will always lay lustful eyes upon them, however for the sake of your sanity and mine I will refrain from describing them in exquisite detail. However, this post would be incomplete without special mentions going out to Absolut Cranberry, and Smirnoff Orange Twist (Hubba hubba).

For Vodka and Rum I do have a couple of warnings in order. Unless you've been drinking for at least a year, do not and I repeat do NOT
1) Have them neat (i.e: without mixer and generous quantities thereof)
2) Shot them in any form (i.e: drink 300 ml in less than 10 minutes)

Unless you are a) Masochistic b) Emetophilic (love the act of regurgitation) c) Heartbroken. In case C you might want to avoid drinking on the hostel roof.

Whiskey: This drink is in my opinion the only competition offered to the divine drink that is Beer. Of late it has been wooing me with its firm grip of class and punch. And of course the fact that it tastes much more refined to a veteran drinker only helps its case. This is one of those rare drinks that is better enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

For brands in the student range I would suggest DSP Black, Peter Scot (which was my dad's staple for 15 years and by that very fact bears a huge stamp of respect) or Royal Stag, both fine blends with a great deal of panache and a smooth taste. I would recommend you pay the extra Rs.5 per quart and get yourself a DSP black if you're going in for a Director's Special as the difference is noticeable and my oh my is it worth the extra buck. There are of course the others such as 8PM and Antiquity (regular and blue) but they're just novelty items in my books.

I'd largely ignore Seagram's and 100 pipers.

The classy alternatives are always aplenty with this gorgeous drink. Right from the finely matured Johnny Walker Blue Label (Matured 25 years) which comes in a velvet line blue casing that makes you want to cradle it rather than drink it and retails for a cool 12 grand the last time I checked to the chic Black Dog with is named after a fly-fishing bait and not the canine, options abound. In the 12 years matured range I would suggest you try Johnny Walker Black Label (keep walking johnny boy), Chivas Regal and Black Dog. All fine blends with distinctive personalities.

And for the madly rich and heathen children I would recommend Scottish Highland Single Malts. The nature of the soil in the Highlands makes for some fine fine brewing and lends a peaty and gorgeous flavour to the brew. I have only tried a couple of brands but I would recommend them highly Glenfiddich and Loch Lomond Single Malt (yes, Captain Haddock's choice [grin])

Also, I must warn you. If I ever find any of you incompetent nincompoops mixing whiskey with anything other than water or at the most soda, I will personally come and open a can of whoopass that will make you want to squeal and go back to your mama while you're still smelling of booze. Comprende?

Rum: This can be likened to Md.Ali in the ring in his early days, quick brutal and no nonsense. At least until you wake up that is. Then your head will begin to ring like a republic day parade and every beam light will begin to look like the next supernova. When you have ingested rum in large quantities you'd do well to have good and kind wingmates who will bring you water. Else, be prepared to lie in your bed groaning and swearing you'll never drink again (until next weekend of course). Dark Rum is in my books the ultimate karmic bitchslap. If you have friends, you'll be ok, else muhuhahahahha.

That being said Old Monk and Khoday's XXX (whattaname!) will always own special places in many an engineer's heart. That would be because they misguidedly picked up Dark Rum on their first night and have been hooked to the knockout ever since. If you enjoy that sort of thing, I'd definitely recommend it.

However be warned, Dark Rum has the most distinctive and prominent effect on your breath of all the drinks. So if you plan to woo a chick after a peg, this one is NOT one I would recommend, because you would probably smell like one of those veshti wearing crotch scratching men you would rather avoid on a Chennai bus. Definitely an all boys drink. Avoid during Saarang,

White Rum however is another story all together. Bacardi and Coke is by far one of the most charming drinks I have ever had the good fortune of coming across. The vaguely coconuty aroma, the fine taste and the beautiful all encompassing cotton fuzz high makes for a highly recommended drink. That and the hangover isn't a karmic bitchslap. Ergo do try.

Brandy: Definitely a fringe drink but brandy with Appy was one of those accidental thursday night drinks that happened one fine night in the ninth wing and has been a fond favourite ever since. If you do get the chance to try (and by that I mean you should) do go ahead and indulge. I guarantee you won't regret it.

The right music is essential when you are drinking, if you were like me I would suggest Miles Davis ( "Kind of Blue" ), JJ Cale with Eric Clapton ( "Road to Escondido" ), Steely Dan and The Doors ( The Entire Discography ) starting of course with the inspirational "Riders on the Storm" this playlist is bound to make you feel classy and nostalgic and happy and cool and all those things alcohol is supposed to do to you. And in the right company, like my wingmates, can make for some truly memorable times.

I will stop here, not for the lack of things to say but because my fingers are aching and the effects of coffee are beginning to wear off. I do have some parting suggestions though. But if you ever do have any queries on what drink one must resort to for any occasion/affliction (Brandy with warm honey for a cold btw, and beer for fatigue), how much mixer to add (add mixer till the glass ceases to smell violently of the alcohol) or just want to hear some awesomely funny drinking stories do not hesitate to call me. But, remember, your booze is nothing without your buddy, so go get one or ten and get some drinking stories of your own. Remember that the joy of having a drink can and must be shared.

The drink itself however, is a different story.

Cheers.

"To alcohol... the cause of and solution to, all of man's problems."
- Homer J. Simpson

P.S: Kneel Sayan. Kneel.

Friday, July 20, 2007

31 Songs

Taking Ganja's cue I am now gonna be writing about the 31 songs that rocked my world to it's very foundations. "Rock out with your cock out" and a bag of chips. These are the songs that have nostalgia, brilliance and an undeniable sense of cool associated with them. The cool could be a laid back I'm-fuckin-cool cool or the bleedin'-solo-with-crotch-out-fuck-you cool. But the fact remains, that they are cool.

Song #17: Reelin' in the years
Artist: Steely Dan
Album: Can't Buy A Thrill.

This one falls smack in the middle of the two categories I mentioned earlier. It's a laid back bleedin' guitar solo that reduced His-Royal-Shredness The Divine Jimmy Page himself to his knees! Right from the very moment Elliot Randall picks up that guitar on a standard blues distortion patch he bends his way down the fretboard like there's not gonna be any tomorrow. Bends, pinches, blues scales and some really really smooth arppegio's. Everytime the guitar kicks in to the song it will make you want to make you S-C-R-E-A-M! Because fuck it's so full of the highest degree of pseud that it makes you ache in the pain of not being a God like said Mr.Randall.

Did I mention it also has like the coolest drum rolls. The kind that confuse you. Should I even try air-guitaring? Or should I be whacking the person next to me turning them into the high-hat at the end of groovy bar!?!?! FUCK I don't know, it's a dilemma I've faced since the first time I heard the song in a senior's room who was so enthralled by the band that he went on to write a brilliant tribute to the band on the college magazine.

And for the lyrics... makes a man weep. It's nostalgia packed into a neat little 4 and a half minute tracer bullet and aimed straight for the JJ Cale-wind-blowing-in-corridors-with-exam-the-next-day pleasure center of one's brain... scratch that... heart!

"Your everlasting summer you can see it fading fast,
So you grab a piece of something that you think is gonna last"

(whimper)

As the senior once wrote, now you really CAN by a thrill!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

There are times when I feel like just an empty little box. And the entire world feels like an accounting software from the early 80's. Essentially black with badly shaped figures moving around in a predetermined and contrived manner to create the illusion of novelty. Cold colour, like neon lights fill the empty space to give you the sense that the program has a purpose. A higher purpose than just to add a few figures up.

Sometimes I wonder how everybody doesn't see it. The contrived novelty of it all. I'm not saying its a bad thing nor am I being cynical. I'm just calling it the way it is. None of it seems to have a higher purpose. Flashy lights are just that and nothing else. But I guess I can't really tell you. Because this is the vestige of an entire arc of thought left-over from a stupor last night. I've pretty much forgotten myself, all I remember is thinking a lot about the glaring colours in the old accounting softwares of the 1980's and finding parallels to life.

I guess it was what it was. A forgotten thought that seemed profound at the time, but now seems like an incoherent garbled stream of thought.

I also remember thinking a lot about my late teens last night. Ages 15-18. I should use that quote from Simon and Garfunkel, but I won't. It was a strange time in my life and I don't think I'll ever be able to fully tell anyone about it. Simply because most of the time was a fuzz of growing up. Everything happened then. My life suddenly took shape and almost 90% of my identity was formed then.

But all that is irrelevant. That whole period has a particular feel to it. I don't quite know how to describe it, but I know it has to do with a mixture of west-coast rains, being alone and wheels on wet roads with friends that seemed like they would stick around forever. The cold wet air in my lungs. The orange streetlight on the main road of manipal. The characteristic deep dark grey of the skies mingled with darkened laterite rock and green moss. And shades of green, so many shades of green. If I close my eyes I can just see flashes of the place all around me. Manipal was beautiful.

And I remember wet roads a lot. I remember rains a lot. I remember that feeling of just entering your house just after a ride in the cold rain and toweling your head a lot. I remember being young, like the real deal young. Over-confident. In need of friends. And I found them too. And in those moments, in those days, I was "there".

No, I can't. I can't write about this. I know I've given you nothing in this post. But believe me when I tell you, my heart is bursting. I can't type anymore. Even though this part of my life is infinitely beautiful and reading about it would be so satisfying, I just can't.

I don't have the words. I'm sorry.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Snap

Note: I posted this post thrice. But nobody got my existentialist joke. It seems the world has lost it's sense of humour. Gah!

Work has been my enlightenment. I've realized that if you stare at a microscope for long enough with 3 hours of sleep behind you then you will begin to see the zen. You will then proceed to launch into a long tirade about the merits of marxism with your mouse, which will give you carpel tunnel syndrome because its too high. And then you will come online and write something that only you think is funny. You will also at strange hours of the night burn fruit flies with a match and then ponder reincarnation. Die mortals die!

In other news, community dining is following me like the mark of Cain. I'm a social Animal. Yes, caps on the A.

And Norah Jones pouts on a mic, Floyd are stoners and BB King whines too much. I now mock my idols.

See Enlightenment!

*creak*

*crreak*

[snap]

I am now big fellow bird. Cuckoo, I'm six feet tall so I can't be in a clock. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Help.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Of lies, flashbacks and bedtime stories

This post is dedicated to Sowmya, claims to be a stud liar.

I've always been a stud liar. Something about spinning wild stories amuses me to no end. The haymaker that puts the icing on each lie is a very stud innocent/oblivious look that I manage to muster. It comes right after saying something with the utmost confidence. The two laws of lying Sowmya proposed were.

1) Let it not bite you back in the bum
2) Always have a back up

I propose a third.

3)In case both fail. Just look like you don't have a clue.

It may not validate the lie but it sure as hell lets you make a clean getaway. Sometimes it even earns you sympathy. I know I must sound extremely mean when I say this, but I have to say... I never lied about anything that mattered nor did I never lie with mailicious intent.

Well at least to the people I like. [sly grin]

My most prized yarns however come from the time I was a wee boy in khaki shorts. It comes from a time when I was in the cub scout for a year and knew the duties of a cub as instructed by Lord Baden Powell himself. I would dream of gold stars on my sleeve and joining the IAF to become a fighter pilot.

It was also the year when I got my first "First Rank". Funnily I still remember the whole episode, but for some reason I'm sure the episode the way I remember it (airbrushed et al.) is probably not the way it happened.

The teacher would call out the name of each student in the roll number order and loudly call out the marks of everyone. And I knew whom to watch out for. That boy Lloyd, who never did anything but study, Manoj, who was so sweet it made me want to puke and the dark horses: Raylen, who was a real close friend, but still this was war and finally, Naren, who somehow always managed to get First rank in every mid-term exam, and only the mid term exam [I still don't get it]. But he was a threat nonetheless.

So there I was Sahil R. Kini Roll No:47 (The year of Indian Independence, it kinda made me strangely proud of my roll number) and my name was to come after all of theirs. Which reminds me, if I'm ever gonna name my kid, I'll make sure her/his name starts with an S. It's perfect, not too early so you can come 5 minutes late for class, and not too late so the wait for your answer sheet doesn't kill the kid.

I always felt sorry for Yogesh. Roll No:82.

Ok so back to the year 1993. It was the second test marks. I was sure I'd done well, but Manoj had done impressively. He was on top. The dark horses had missed by a large margin and Lloyd was sulking in his seat. (He never really sulked. I hated that about him.) and Roll no.46 just blew by. Finally, she said "47, Sahil, First Rank and then my marks [which I don't remember]". I was stunned.

My first first rank.

I stood up and walked all the way to the front of the class in my cub scout unifrom (on thursdays we wore our cubs uniform to school) complete with tie and beret. And I could feel all the eyes following me, Lloyd just looked at me blankly, Manoj smiled kindly (The bastard was always so gracious. Grumble) and I grinned as I took my report card from the teacher. I also remember applause. However I think thats the airbrush kicking in.

So yes, it was during this wonderous time. When I was all of 8 years old, that I would go to school and tell my classmates fantastic stories in an overbearing voice that makes me hate myself whenever I see videos of my kid sisters 5th birthday party.

You see, I had this neighbour called Mrinal who had just returned from England with his kid sister and family. They settled in right next door and at that time they seemed soo much cooler than we were. Mrinal was just as obnoxious as me as a child, maybe more (I'd like to think so). But he had a cool accent and polished english and knew about the chocolates I only managed to see in Archie comics ads.

And he had a Nintendo (gasp!).

He was also a brilliant liar. He'd tell me stories, mad stories about how Vega from Street Fighter the game was actually from the star Vega and was a huge warrior who kicked ass. At 14 he introduced me to RHCP and told me John Frusciante was the coolest guitarist ever and was Slash's elder brother and had taught him how to play. Whenever he told me about these cool people I'd never heard about, I'd be too awed to care whether he was bluffing or not.

I mean I knew those stories he'd spin were yarns, but heck I gave him the benefit of the doubt because at that moment, I had to admit, he was way cooler than me. 8 years later at age 16 I did tell him what I really thought of him. But by then, he'd grown up too. I miss him now, in my own little way. The boy who taught me all about putting pseud. The boy who my dad rightly refers to as "Guru".

So at age 8 most of my stories were complex extrapolations of the tiny fibs Minnu (thats what they called Mrinal at home. His only achilles heel. HA!) made passing references to. They would contain the most exquisite details, like how Vega's forehead had a scar because that's where lightning had entered him to give him his powers. But I wouldn't leave it at that. I would tell them of how I had met Vega and how the world of Street Fighter was soo much cooler than Milagres Primary School. I'd tell them that my 4 day vacation to my aunt's house in Puttur was actually a Himalayan expedition ( a phrase that I'd just heard from Minnu the day before ). I'd spin yarns about pretty much anything.

And that obsession with detail, of how the air smelt and how the ice was grainy and Vega's forhead still haunt me when I write anything descriptive to this date, or when I watch a well spun fairytale like Pirates of the Carribean. It's just one of those things Minnu taught me that has stayed with me still.

And probably still will when I tell my kids a bedtime story.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bad to the Bone

"On the day I was born The nurses all gathered 'round
And they gazed in wide wonder At the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up And she said leave this one alone
She could tell right away That I was bad to the bone"
-
Bad To The Bone (George Thorogood)

The song always makes me feel like a leather jacket wearing mean ass 18 year old with a Harley and a Pool cue. Rebel days baby! :D Also I can now play the riff. All that remains is for me to get a processor so I can get the patch right. Pi, please!

Surprise. Awe. Uber-coolness.





'nuf said.


Location: H13 IIT Bombay
Time: 5pm. Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Glowing Tribute

Sat in my room all day because I was feeling a bit ill. After spending hours together napping. I finally did something fun. I heard PD in the corridor singing. He has this incredibly cool Electronic Tanpura that keeps ringing in the background giving the monsoon air a sense of humming solemness. I was so enchanted by the song that I asked him to dictate it as I wrote it down. In devnagiri, for the first time in 4 years.

It felt so weird because as the words came from his mouth my hands automatically moved to write something down in a script I had absolutely zero touch with. Since the song is in Marathi, I found it relatively easy to translate because all the nouns and adjectives are very closely related to Hindi and all the verbs and pronouns to Konkani. With help from PD, here's the song.

तेजो निधि लोह गोल
Radiant spherical treasure of iron.
भास्कर हे गगन राज
King of the skies
दिव्य तुझा तेजाने
Because of your divine energy
झागमगले भुवन आज
The earth shines with brilliance.

हे दिन मणि व्योम राज
O gem of the day, ruler of all space
भास्कर हे गगन राज
King of the skies
तेजो निधि लोह गोल
Radiant spherical treasure of iron

कोटी कोटी किरण तुझे
Countless rays of yours
अनलशरा उधळिती
Explode unrestrained
अमृत कण परि होउनी
But by becoming drops of nectar
अणुरेणु उजळिती
They enlighten every atom

तेजाताच जनन मरण
In your energy there is life and death
तेजाताच नवीन साज़
In your energy there is creation
हे दिन मणि व्योम राज
O gem of the day, ruler of all space
भास्कर हे गगन राज
King of the skies

ज्योतिर्मय मूर्ति तुझी
Full of radiance is your stature
ग्रहमंडल दिव्य सभा
The Solar System is aglow
दाहक परि संजीवक
Your energy burns but supports life
तरुणारुण किरण प्रभा
Your youthful morning rays
होवो जीवन विकास
May life prosper through them
वसुधेची राख लाज
May you protect the pride and dignity of mother earth

Spent the entire day playing the guitar and with music. This song is related to raag Lalith. Composed and sung by Jintendra Abhisheki and the lyricist is Madhusudhan Kalelkar. From a musical play called "Katyar Kalzat Ghusli".

Also I learnt a bit of raag Bhimpalaas today. So Yay!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

fraindship

I apologize for Kini, he isn't feeling very well today, so I thought I'd drop by.

How are you?

Good? I also.

Have you been shitting regularly?

Yeah, me too, but I've decided to stay off pseudo-Andhra food for a while.

... I love you.

...

...

I lovvvvvve you.

...


Hello, you're supposed to respond to that.

...

Ok, no need to be profane, assholes.

Hmph. Ok, back to the other friggin' konkani then.

-Pi


[You have to appreciate this, I just kicked up your appreciation for when he DOES post, rare as it may be]
Work doesn't appeal to me. Cricket has lost it's charm. TV from hollywood makes it seem like real creativity is dead, and that every story has to be packaged for an audience. The art of the "Hook" is what drives music. And the critically acclaimed stuff these days is either too complicated or too dark. Classic Rock is just that, classic. I eat more in messes and restaurants than I do at home. My friends are far away and life is drifting away from them. My family is growing old. I don't know what to do with my life.

Whatever happened to surprise? Awe? Uber-coolness?

God no.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I realised I write exceedingly well in bullet points. I think I'll take that MBA now.

Em B A. Don't try that progression. No strum pattern can make it work.

The irony.
I do not understand,

1) Progressive Rock
2) Death Metal and it's allies (Grindcore, Nu Metal, Goth and Co.)
3) Rap
4) Most of Hip-hop
5) Remixes

I like
1) Sappy love songs (The kind Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and John Mayer sing)
2) Trance (Infected Mushroom, Hallucinogen, Oakenfold, Prodigy)
3) Classical Music (Hindustani/Carnatic/Western/Anything)
4) Hindi Songs from the 90's with Jhankaar beats. With Govinda especially. They remind me that I'm an Indian.

I adore
1) Classic Rock (Led Zep, AC/DC, Kansas, Yes, Doors, Uriah Heep, Floyd) and I have a thing for Keyboard solos.
2) Blues (BBKing, Hendrix, SRV)
3) Old-school slow Jazz and especially swing.
4) Acoustic Guitar and funny lyrics (Thank you Tenacious D)

I don't listen to enough music. I don't read any books. My cultural education is a very intelligent cultivated farce. And you don't know it. HA!

Machine Gun Blogging

Random acidity from Shitake Mushrooms and Crabcakes. I should really learn to read the menu.

It rained in Mumbai today. For the first time this year. First rains of the monsoons. I missed it because of Shitake et al. No first smell of mud. Only puffed eyes by the end of rich expensive meal footed by newly rich working friend.

I had Souveneau Blanc. Shit that I had heard so much about. I shrugged. I really can't tell the difference.

And I also in the name of chivalry almost made a lady friend test the wine by graciously directing the first sip towards her. Apparently that makes me a social catastrophe.

Basic ground rules
1) You da man. You test the wine.
2) Smell the wine. If it smells nice, it's probably nice. (Du-uh!)
3) Swirl the wine. If it has a clean drop from the glass without any residues at the sides. It's a nice wine.
4) Don't gargle.
Were you looking for profundity?

*Snort*

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rage Against The Machine

The incoming general secretary of our institute now stands impeached because he had a few too many drinks with his batchmates who're passing out this year on the night of their farewell. I'm told it wasn't just because he had a few drinks, that people have a drink all the time. It was the fact that he got caught in the act, that landed him in a world of shit.

Fuck.

The students of the Mechanical Engineering department have been subjected to atrocities beyond comprehension by their HOD. An almost fetishist obsession with a new rule will now cost at least 50 students their hard work.

The rule states that the student be present in the examination hall 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the examination. This was put up in an A4 circular on a notice board in the Mech. Dept. And the enforcement of this rule has been thus,

Anyone who enters the hall after 8.55 am (for a 9 o'clock exam) will not be allowed to write the examination until and unless he collects a permission slip from the Head of the Department. The catch here is that the HOD has stooped to undertaking "rounds" of the examination halls. To catch the students in the act personally and to also make himself impossible to catch in the hour of need. The result is that these students end up waiting for at least 20 to 25 minutes after the examination has begun to get his permission.

One particular professor in the Metallurgical Engineering department actually listed out 12 questions, 7 0f which would appear in the examination, 8 days prior to the examination. The aforementioned professor resorts to using slides prepared by the senior students as a part of their assignment submissions as teaching material. Without changing the names on the title slides.

We have classes in which the attendance drops to 5 students for a particular class (in a class of 60) at least twice or thrice a semester.

The IIT hostel regulations disallow entry to any Non-IITian female student. Even on the production of an identity card.

The Dean of Students and the rest of the IIT-Madras administration actively encourages the student population to snitch on their fellow students. The actions taken in the regard are,

- All hostel general secretaries were called into the deans office. Here the secretaries were asked to disclose the names of all students who indulged in the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and/or any other intoxicant.

- If the hostel general secretaries refused to oblige, they were threatened with impeachment, disciplinary action for being "indirectly responsible for the intoxicant situation" and expulsion from the hostels pending further notice from the dean.

- In the case of one particular hostel, where the aforementioned drinking took place, the expulsion orders were signed and waved in front of the students even before they refused to divulge the names they were asked for.

- The Dean now has a list of everyone in the institute who indulge or has ever indulged in the recreational use of marijuana. The extent of indulgence has also apparently been made known to him. There are also reports that a 2200 strong list of students who partake in alcohol consumption has been compiled.

Big Brother is watching you.

I'm afraid. But I'm pissed off.

They say their doing all this because the quality of the students is dropping, and so is the sort of research and commitment they are able to provide.

- They need to improve attendance in the classes, so they threaten to cut the placement privileges of anyone who doesn't.
- They want to deal with the fact that a couple of students were caught with whores from velachery or the fact that somebody got knocked up, and so they repress sexuality.
- They want to know who's breaking the rules in the hostels, and so they make your roommate snitch on you.

When I joined this institute I subscribed not just to its rules and regulations but it's spirit. As corny and cliched as it sounds, it's true. And that spirit was built not just by the institute but by the alumni who passed through these very same corridors. It was a liberal and free thinking spirit which engendered entrepreneurs. We made mistakes, some of us really fucked up. They even lost one or two every batch. But everyone who made it through survived and was a better man for it. And that liberal thought pervaded every sphere we stepped in, be it from industry or academia or even administration. We were known for being broad-minded. That openness of thought is what led us to become leaders.

And now it's dying out. I do not know where I can voice my concerns. I am afraid of the consequences if I do. The dean can easily make my life more "difficult" and put me through hell for my degree if I so much as think of stepping out of line. And get caught thinking it of course. I feel like I'm in 1984.

This is just the sort of shit that makes someone pick up a sniper someday.

So here I am attempting to protect myself from passive implosive anger.

I HATE THE SYSTEM. It's made me a fearful and paranoid student. I cannot have a drink without being caught. I cannot walk around the campus at night with a female for fear of being harassed by a security guard. I am forced to attend classes taken by incompetent professors who are killing my interest in the subject with every passing second. And I don't know what to do but rebel.

I want to rebel. I want to chant and sing inflammatory slogans and songs against anyone who tries to impose any rules on me, from a moral higher ground. It is my opinion and I have a right to it. And in my opinion the dean and some professors are fascist, moralistic, holier-than-thou, prudes who allow their prejudices to affect the way they work. And they are lesser men for it.

All that said, I love IIT. It is my home. I now stand here defending it in whatever little way I can. I will publicize this post and invite trouble. Strip me of my degree. Detain me for a year. Fuck, execute me for all I care. But I will not stand back and watch this happen to an institute that has given me so much life and living.

"We don't need no education.
We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teachers leave them kids alone."

Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Favourite Mistake



Dedicated to pi.

N.B: This post is best read while listening to trance. Infected Mushroom's "Classical Mushroom" comes particularly recommended.

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The tablet felt like nothing. Swallowed. Nothing.

Damn it.

I walk into the haze. Anything gaseous must be and will be inhaled. The music moves in ripples. The party's kicking. I smile. I've been waiting for this for a while now. For escape, for my freedom. It's simple. Jump to the music and I'll be free.

The sweat is all pervasive. So is the sex. I can't think in too many syllables. The bass kicks in. I can't help but move. A body brushes against me. I can feel everything, the arms, the breasts, the hair, the smell. The bass kicks in again.

BoomBoomBoomScratchBoomBoom.

My head bobs, someone sucks on my lips. It's all good. I smile again. I don't see my friends. I don't have any friends. I suddenly exist on my own. There is no pain. Heck there is no tomorrow. There is only now. I'm in "Now". The music spins around. Left ear. Round the back of my head. Right ear. Nails scratch the side of my neck.

I close my eyes. The music stops.

It's a green meadow. Shit, just like they show on TV. It's all birds chirping and brooks babbling. The water sparkles, clear as hell. It smells like sunshine. I jump. I float. I smile.

I open my eyes. The beats pumps again. The laser spins again, the lips are now somewhere else. Boom, boom, boom. More sweat, more sex.

I close my eyes. I'm back in the meadow.

This is not good. This is good. I feel like molecules.

The eyes are open again. I'm back again.

The meadow comes and goes. The beat stays. The water splashes on my face. And then it's raining in the music.

The tablet. It worked. My eyes begin to flood. With colour. C# is now purple. Gsus7 is a deep blue. Nice colours. Mauve, electric blue, bright bright yellow. The colours dance. Her sweat smells like a caress. I can't think any more.

The music looks so beautiful.

Her scratches taste like oranges. Citrus fruits, with vodka. She kisses me. Sucks on my neck. Grabs my pants. Cranberry juice. Cigarettes. Whipped cream.

I lick her neck. It sounds like a symphony. Her hair. Her neck. Her breasts. Her back.
The viola. The piano. The bass drum. The harp.

And suddenly I'm in the open. The sea smells like oysters. For once a sensation that makes sense. She throws me on the grass and suddenly she's on top of me. Skin against skin. Symphonies, cigarettes and electric blue. All at once.

It builds. My eyes are open the whole time. I think. I don't.

The particles slowly float in the light. Like little fireflies. She screams. Vodka and Red. Deep Red. A very deep RED! I scream.

I breathe. She sleeps. The sun rises.

Acid. My favourite mistake.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Free Speech for the Dumb

Indeed.

Scream

Scream if you will. Quietly in a little room. With gritty flashing images of wind-chimes and blood. I don't like writing anymore. I don't like it. I used to write for an audience, and then it got tiring. I used to write for images and then it got boring. I hate the emptiness of my creativity. I hate that I can't think like I want to.

I want to scream.

Until my throat first itches because of the frequency, then scratches, then hurts. And then I want to go hoarse and lose my voice. I want my lungs to hurt so much that I stop feeling the need to express myself. I hope the blinding pain will blank it all out. I am being escapist. So fuck you. Fuck you all. Don't even try to protect me or say something about this because I don't want anybody to understand.

I just want to scream.

The Travelogue from Hell - Part 1

After having spent the last week in a haze, I believe it is time for me to break out of my state of vegetation and tell you a story. To borrow from a Spike Lee flick,

My name is Sahil Kini. Listen carefully because I never repeat myself (this of course is bullshit because in the course of this post I will reiterate myself several times to indicate cynicism, redundancy and plain balls-out frustration). That takes care of the "Who". The events described here-in took place over the course of 60 of the most excruciating hours from the night of March 13th to the morning of the 16th, so therein we have the "When".

The "What" is taken care of by the title. But I'll say it again just in case you can't read bold white letters [FontSize32] on a goddamn black background. This is a travelogue. The most confusing, hellish, painful, excruciating, *insert random word from thesaurus* travelogue you will ever have the misfortune of experiencing. The "Why" is because my dad asked me to. He felt religious. [InsertSardonicChuckle]. The "How" involves every imaginable mode of transport that can be conceived of, except a ferry, but goddammit how much can you want from a story.

That leaves the "Where". And therein, as the bard would tell us, lies the rub.

[PanFluteMusic]

At 7.30 on the evening of the 13th I had to leave for Thirupathi. The abode of the Lord. The good, kind, benevolent Lord. Who closes his gates to none. And so I set off, which hope in my heart. No bile. I swear. And besides I'd been prudent. I'd taken with me, my bag with clothes, Ananya (my beautiful creative Zen Vision:M loaded with episodes "How I Met Your Mother" and "My Name is Earl", perfect of a night of prayer and contemplation), my wallet, cellphone and a heart filled with hope. No really!

And no toothbrush.

No that's just the beginning.

So I get to the main gate. If right now you're imagining a great big map in your head with a blinking dot in Adyar, Chennai... don't. You do not want to follow that blinking dot. A bus ride takes me to CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus). I am now a Chennai veteran, I brush right past the auto-drivers at the CMBT entrance. I was once told that after a point women just say "fuck this shit" to eve-teasing and fail to even notice the roving eyes. My modesty seems to have been affected in a rather comparable manner. I felt proud. Round about this time Bob Seger was talking about his Night Moves and there was a gust of evening wind. The lights were fancy and I felt like I was in a movie. Going good so far.

9.30 pm, APSRTC bus Chennai-Thirupathi for Rs.61 (Who needs MasterCard?) I get that feeling everytime you buy something cheap and you're 21 years old. I think to myself "Aah. The life of a student. Here I am roughing it out. I'll look back on this 20 years from now and say 'Those were the days!'" [GrumbleCough]

1.15 am, Sri Nivas Bus Terminus, Thirupathi, with 4 hours battery depletion (Ananya runs for 14). Dad's ETA 3.30 am. Pick up a book ("Surely you're joking, Mr.Feynman", mighty fine book, get yourself a copy) and read it interspersed with those episodes I talked about earlier. It's right about now that I get my first omen, sign from the chap I'm visiting et al. Lights at the terminal go off. And suddenly I realize my cellphone is not in my left pocket.

I panic.

My cellphone is ALWAYS in my left pocket. Fuck. So there I am in the dark. And the only thing I hear is a "Legendarrrry!". I shut Barney and Ananya up. And frantically frisk myself. Once, twice, thrice. By this time I look like I'm doing something that isn't considered appropriate in public. It's not on me.

Fuckity fuck.

I then look behind the chair. Now that's one place I shouldn't have looked. No really, the smell of ammonia and cigarette butts and bandicoot that's a foot and a half (across) is the last thing one needs in a state of panic. Then I stop. Because the old lady 2 chairs away is freaked. My bag vibrates right about now. And that, believe you me, was the first time I was glad to hear about the new "Hello CALLER Tunes for latest Tamizh Movies at Airtel" I wanted to call them and thank them for the erm... public service announcement.

Ok so now I'll skip the religious bits. Suffice to say I went. For a brief moment did actually feel something. And then, was felt up. And we came back to Thirupathi from Thirumala in yet another tour bus. So there we are in Thirupathi at 1.30 pm with the sun beating the crap out us, which of course leads me to dread the MasterCard bus trip home. And feeling all safe in the company of daddy dearest, I air my woes. I need comfort, I tell him. I’ve been studying very hard, I tell him.

My dad has an idea. “Why don’t you come to Chittoor along with us?” And since they’re traveling in a fancy pilgrimage Volvo (complete with a PA system into which we receive blurbs on how to be religious in 3 languages) We have a word with the driver who “ass-shoores” us that there will be a KSRTC Volvo reaching the dhaba on the outskirts of Chittoor at 2.30 which will take to Chennai. Air-conditioning, reclining seats and a short ride home. The perfect deal. [Snort]

So I went. [Stop sniggering]

And at 2.30pm somewhere on the outskirts of Chittoor, somewhere in AP, somewhere in South India, my dad has to take his bus back to Bangalore. I wave nonchalantly and say “I’ll be fine day, I’m not a kid. I mean seriously, what’s the worst thing that could happen?” He nods and waves goodbye. My kid sister does a very entertaining goodbye routine too. I saunter up to the Security Guard dude. He tells me in a mixture of Telugu and Tamil (I have a wee bit of trouble following both languages) and sign language and lots of pointing that the bus is a wee bit late and will be there at 3. I say “Hey, what the heck, you can’t have everything right?” and so I wait. Ananya’s been running for quite a bit now. About 3 hours of battery life left. Perfect for the trip home.

3 p.m. comes… And goes.

No hassles.

3.30 p.m. comes and goes.

Security guard shoots me re-assuring look.

3.45 p.m.

Security guard shoots me sympathetic look.

4.00 p.m.

Me: Dude?

SecurityGuardDude(SGD): Saar, 5.30 saar.

Me: WTF?

SGD: Saar, [Points to 5 on the watch] 30.

Me: Sir, what about the 2.30 bus (Stupid Question)

SGD: Saar, one bus come. I call. He go. Naal Mani (4 o’clock) bus come, I call, show ticket [does some scissor action thing with his fingers] he no stop. He go. 5.30 saar.

Me: DUDE!

So there I am. In Chittoor. With 33 bucks on my phone. And nowhere to go.

Having fun yet?

[Intermission]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Something I read somewhere

How do they do it, the ones who make love without love? Beautiful as dancers, gliding over each other like ice-skaters over the ice, fingers hooked inside each other's bodies, faces red as steak, wine, wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away. How do they come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin?
 

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