Wednesday, July 25, 2007

physic-ally impossible?

knowledge is power supreme;

ignorance is bliss;

half knowledge bloody sucks.

this post is the result of the pent up frustration ive been feeling lately over how little i seem to know, how superficial my knowledge of most things is, how im feeling increasingly stupid day by day as i discover more and more things i should know but dont.
right, ur wondering wat caused this outburst from nowhere, this sudden self-realisation - well, exams. not even mine. my 10th std bro whose schooldays now fall in one of three categories- pre-exam: hurriedly finishing portions, revisions, re-revisions, etc; exam: no need to elaborate, we all know that dreary routine too well to have to recollect; post-exam: marking schemes, report cards, rank lists, i-will-do-better-next-time's. repeat till the showdown next march. anyway, having skipped through the english paper (salient features of prepn include large dosages of the latest from jkr), he informs me that im supposed to sit with him as he wades through the science textbook and lend a hand whenever he's stuck in the muck. ha. as if. im not entirely sure how, but somewhere down the line, my parents, poor dears, have got it into their heads that their daughter (me, that is) is this all round genius (read: maths, physics, chem, bio, eng) and a brilliant role model for the next unlucky board exam facer in the family(my bro, that is). having aced the 12th boards, teaching measly class 10 science for a mid term exam must be a cakewalk as far as they are concerned. how sadly mistaken they are.

ray optics. oh brother(literally, as it happens). the second i see those kinda phrases- gravitation, archimedes principle, newtons laws for cryin out loud, the words motor, generator, armature,.. u get the picture - all physics-related terms u may come across from grade 9, i see in my mind's eye a lot of blurred text, half-formed pictures of candles and mirrors, and rapidly changing images of a variety of ill-fated experiments in the physics lab and endless 'discussions' in 11a and 12a under the physics teacher who longed to hear the bell more than any of us. btw i did like the physics teacher, i jus didnt like her physics teaching.

"Light travels in straight lines. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that a small source of light casts a sharp shadow of an opaque object".
elementary, my dear watson. i wish.

my brother looks at me enquiringly and i realise he's waiting for me to elaborate, and its apparent he doesnt think its all that clear. guess that makes it two of us. cheers. ''well?'', he prompts, and i respond half-heartedly with the tried and tested vague beat-around-the-bush technique. shameful, i know. and of course it doesnt work. without getting into specifics, lets say i took a break from the physics tutorial (no objections from the tutee - it should be a word if it isnt already one) and went online, and asked the first person i saw on my list, to kindly explain this simple fact. which i then humbly relayed to my bro. and no, im not gonna insult ur intelligence by explaining that here now, i know u know it.

this is just one classic example of my abysmal knowledge(?) of a vast number of things im expected to be comfortably familiar with. it just doesnt come too often to light cos everyone thinks everyone knows.

here's another - a couple of weeks back, i met up with two of my school friends, one doing and the other architecture. i dunno how, but right in the midst of the mundane hows so-n-so..omg i havent met her in ages.. she is going out with him??? type of conversation, ms.CA-to-be goes ''hey i was just wondering - how do aeroplanes fly??" and like clockwork, both their heads revolve to look at the engineer(semi. whatever) who has suddenly turned tongue-tied and reticent. engines. propellers(eh?). wings. hmm??? admittedly, its hardly the same as knowing y there are shadows, but my point is, i can barely rustle up any relevant principles or theories or watevers or even throw abt some big words (aerodynamics.. pressure difference.. upthrust.. which are keywords from responses i got when i confronted fellow bitsians with the same query)
physics and me. psst. look at the title ** nudge nudge wink wink** yes, i know. the wittcism is overwhelming.
going deeper, electronics and me. dear lord. i dread to think of the next year.

and it doesnt stop with physics, no, in addition im also this technology-retard which today is not a very good thing to be. whereas ppl around me are talking about dsp's, embedded systems, trojans, graphics cards, whatistcalleds, i'm- wtf, i dint even know wat DSP stood for until april, when there was this sudden frenzy over lop's cop's.. jumping onto the bandwagon without missing a beat, i joined my friends and off we went, chamber to chamber, and one of them instructors was talking about dsp, and i kept enthu-ly nodding my head all the while thinking he was talking about ESP :(

im the joker who, when asked how much disk space matlab takes, will sincerely reply 4kb after checking the desktop shortcut; who, a year back, was flummoxed when confronted with questions like "what kinda config u lookin at for ur comp?"; who was stupidly blinking at the monitor when told that her entire ps1 folder was hidden as a joke; who thinks her fantabulous new laptop is currently a very well-disguised blessing... u get the picture.

i dunno what the point of this blog is or if it even makes sense. im feeling a lot more at peace with myself now than when i started typing, but dont have the heart to chuck the whole thing so there u go. plus i have this strong urge to post one final blog before leavin for coll, before i switch from braodband to lan. abrupt ending, but i just realize i havent packed boggle yet. my answer to keep the grey cells busy. so long. happy journey to all of u, ill be unpacking when u guys start packing.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

of boss, bossini and more trivial nothings...

dont wonder abt the title.. completely unrelated, the two of them.. the coincidence simply struck me and for lack of anythin better to call the post, im stickin to it.

neway, i finally managed to get my dharshan of the superstars latest feat, a few days back. and well, to me, it was the usual mix of stunts, punch lines, style statements that characterise his films. u cant help but notice the grandeur in the sets, soo hyped up, which to me seems a colossal waste of money. and time as well - one year to make him look like he was badly whitewashed??? sad.

all that money might as wel have gone into some real sivaji university. the story wasnt exactly refreshing, and as any review wil tel u, its all the extras in the movie, rather than the story, that have thrown the masses into such frenzy. Brand Rajnikant + shankar + arr. no wonder. kinda bemusing for the non-fan. amusing too. and minus the usual suspension of all logic and reason(by now poor newton mustve gotten sick of turning around in his tiny grave), the comeback in the second half was cool, sivaji style :P

oh boy, any fan will be turning murderous when they read this simple one-para dismissal of the gazillion-rupee project of the demigod's. or perhaps a scornful dismissal of one who has no sense of appreciation. either way, its certainly worth the experience, to watch the superstar on the big screen, amidst all the ruckus(read mad cheering and confetti throwing). "summa adhirudhu illa?!"

and now, less lofty subjects. bossini. :D so much more satisfying, personally! if u dont already know wat that is, im guessing u wont b impressed. distinctly let down, in fact. right, girly stuff, or so they say... SHOPPING!!! *** gleam*** its this cool shop in pondy bazar, with the coolest discount :) proper discounts on normal clothes, not some sad pieces they have in excess cos of some lousy fashion forecast. they ought to pay me a commission really, with the no. of ppl ive sent there - vid varsha soori bk.. a pity so few ppl seem 2 notice it.

nicest part about it is that the salespeople there arent the snooty ones who follow u around like u'll flick somethin from their precious shop. such a variety of them, salesppl. on the next level, we have the oversmart types who pretend to be extremely helpful but are actually just taggin along to minimise their work in terms of replacing clothes u might misplace. bah. in fact, with some of them, u'd think ur doing them a favour, giving them somethin to do, they look bored to tears, and their shop is dead quiet(as in, dead empty).

class three are the truly nice ones. the ones who wil let u do ur thing, pick a favourite, then wil smile sympathetically as u wrinkle ur nose at the price tag. they may be polite, helpful but thankfully distant. or, as my mom informs me, in the case of sari shops(where they have maximum work to do, satisfying the whims of every cranky shopper), they may be bubbly and chirpy, ready with a smile. not the stiff plastered smile characteristic of class four, the exact opposites of class three. u literally have to plead with them to show u that blue one, not the next. of course its available dammit, u can see it!!

to be fair, front end workers do have it tougher than the others, having to put up with all sorts of customers, from the irate snappers to the despairingly fickle to the plain pain-in-the-neck types who walk in with their nose in the air, turn the shop inside out and walk out hands free, nose even higher up.

oh the joys of shopping :D

ps - shops -> bookshops -> crossword, where they let you sit for ages and read what u want, and have these little stools all over for just that :) naturally, i took advantage of this comfort when i went there today, and settled with's What will happen in Harry Potter 7? its full of theories, rumours, snippets from interviews with jkr,.. all the elements that spice up the run-up to the grand finale, which, omg, is barely a few hours away!!!!!! and with that sudden jolt, i realise i must sign off, its late, n dear lord, have i actually been prattling about salespeople all this time??? im not bothering 2 go over this draft, ill fall asleep midway. rip van winkle has been feeling drowsy, so excuse the rambling and enjoy the book (or ebook, as the case may be). happy reading!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

ceeri-ously alright

the last post was soo glum and gloomy, with all the whining and complaining, that i feel compelled to write another, cos it just wont do to end the ps chapter on such a dismal note. plus, on this side of ps, everything does seem ok after all. and no, its not the comments that have driven me to re-write the ps recap, i was simply waiting for it to be formally and completely done with, when i knew i'd feel fully positively about the whole thing, when i knew i'd look back and laugh. am jus sorry i dint do enough of it already, so here goes-

first and foremost, the whole course sure was some experience. in fact, the disappointments and drudgery of it all make it that much more worthwhile. life aint easy, and its never too early to get used to it. so in that respect, i guess im happy to have got my first real taste of the proverbial big bad world out there.

right from the ''this is not your college'' comment by some csir guy, in our very first week, cos we were leaning on the parapet wall, up to the seminar question round that i took so much offense at, for some reason - its been one big roller-coaster ride, dramatic though that may sound.

yes, ive done more than my share of whining, and thanks to everyone whos been patient enough to put up with it all - bk, who was simply bewildered at how much of a pessimist i'd become overnight; hbk, who, for all his non-sympathy (''u got your first choice?? then u have NO right to complain'') is still much better a counsellor than i give him credit for; gdk, with his lolest suggestions like wearing a sari to impress the scientist, who would always make out his bitsunami to be even worse in comparison; and everybody else for everything!

be it the ox-like, not-much-thinking-involved work i was inclined to believe i was doing, or the strict adherance to organizational timings expected from us( not that we completely followed it - my lunch breaks extended from 1-3, but that, i think, was the only lapse) , or in general, n ra's uncompromising principles on following the rulebook, word to word - it all simply added up to a new way of life for a month and a half.

as for the travel that seems to be the ubiquitous reason of complaint, i never did hate it so. on the contrary, i enjoyed the ride around the city (which most ppl found specifically annoying), at least i got to know my singara chennai(yes, i know ur bah-ing now giz! arrghh!) so much better, thanks to it (ya, any1 who knows me fairly well wil now be wondering how bad i mustve been to begin with :D). and all this from a person who lost her wallet with atm cards on the very day she was reflecting on how she had succesfully nearly completed over a month of public transport and managed to keep her belongings safe!! oh, to think some1 mustve flicked it even as i was blissfully congratulating myself - a tragic comedy, if i say so myself.

and n ra really is a nice guy, quite a rare species - havent met someone that sincere in a loong time. honestly it makes him quite of of step with the rest of the world. he's already told us thrice to simply forget the whole bus-stop incident (''please erase it from your databases'').

and well, if it hadnt been for venky, i bet i wouldnt have learned one bit of what i have now(which, i confess, isnt much, but still). and he did have a flair for talking. big deal if he would only look at the others as he spoke, i was listening anyway, n it was good timepass all the same. and his expectation-time curve finally turned out to be a U. i hope. kinda unsymmetric, but still.

oh boy, im sure gonna miss ascendas :P

nice ps mates, all of them. we may not have had a ps-trip to ooty or watever ( i highly doubt my parents wouldve lemme go anyway) but hp-5 on the last day of ps is good enough :D (i quite liked the movie btw, ob cant hold a candle to the book, but nevertheless good attempt).

yoyoyoyoyo PS1 IS OVER!!!!!!!!!

couldnt resist that last one :P i did mean everything i said before!

alls well that ends well. fillosofical eh?!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

rant rave crib crab

long one ahead. ideally for insomniacs. dont say i didnt warn u.

with the seminar n report finally out of the way, ps is virtually over(n for all u lucky asses for whom it really is over, kindly refrain from rubbin it in!!). but ob, n ra felt duty bound to remind us yet again that v r expected 2 come tomo as well, and wats more, not leave b4 5 either, same as usual. (snort) understandably, his faith in our sincerity is a tad shaken, ever since the bus stop mishap.

as for the seminar itself, the less said the better. mine, at least. in fact, mine only. oh sod it, it was a bit of a disaster, what with my own scientist, who, far from comin to my rescue in helpin me answer other scientists qsns, shot a bouncer at me, knowing full well how remarkably abysmal my knowledge of the theory of my project is. (and im truly sorry for my apparent affinity for long sentences, i dont intend them to b that way). In all fairness, i should have been able to answer him, but damn it all, i didnt. i just stood there goggling like a stricken goldfish, mumbling some vague reply, and just exiting the scene abruptly once he answered his own question. no thanks, nothing. ungracious eh. whatever. its over. good to get it out of my system, anyway. and if ur bored of all the whining, u did read the title.

ya well, ive been feeling like this major pushover lately. maybe cos 'tis the season to be whiny, but thats how i look at all the days ive sat in front of venkys comp, accepting meekly, without the slightest sign of protest every additional bit of work he gives me, like theres nothing i'd like better; hours and hours matlabbing away, typing with a vengeance, wondering why i dint have the nerve to tell him ever NO, actually im NOT all that keen on extra work. Ya, im sure the wavelet theory with its near-magical properties is as beautiful as he claims, but, guess wat, im not quite in the mood to appreciate it any more. ya ok, i took ceeri(remind me why, somebody?) i know, i know - im here, might as well learn somethin along the way. but the theoretically flawed ps1-is-for-timepass logic seems too deep-rooted for me to just devour new knowledge like that, and enjoy all the learning.

equity theory rocks (ha, i did NOT jus mug up pom last sem).Fact of life if ever there was one. most ppl i know r home after lunch, whereas im usually debating between stay- till- 5.30- catch- the- 5.45 train or leave at 5 and take a crowded bus, plus traffic... ps diaries that read like animal safari(thats fol, lolest), or include mentions of bombay meals for 12 bucks, vs. writing page after page abt corn, starch,blah, model, blah, NIR, BLAH... visiting ps twice a week vs. "complusory attendance this sunday cos v must follow organizational working days". seriously, where is the justice in this world????? thats exactly why i get pissed with ceeri now n then (ya, i usually live with it pretty well. i think.). on absolute terms, ceeri prolly aint all that bad (v gave it 60% when venky asked), but for us bitsians, everythin is relative.

maybe my thinking is warped, n im complaining abt the wrong things, (after all there r others complaining abt zero work to do, as well). so that makes me, wat, a flake?? sigh. and too bad i do give a damn. Guess the grass is greener on the other side.

oh well, its as good as over. and theyr giving us certs(sort of). and well, its entirely possible, probable even, that i mightve been complaining just as much if i had nothing at all to do, for all the money they make us pay for this.
oh and yes, they did give us 2 mondays off in compensation for that working weekend :)

peace out

POST SCRIPT(ya, ive had enough of the abbreviation) - also, u have GOT to be feeling better after reading this, right? so thats another plus- lift other ppls spirits; so much for relative misery!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

7 more days to go

with the official completion of my project 2 days back, i'm into the last leg of the BITS summer special, Practice School 1. and how do i feel about that? frankly, relieved, i would say. this last lap, its just like that of a return journey from coll - the stations are all on home ground - but from arakkonam to good ol' chennai central, the last hour DRAGS so, home tantalizingly far away.
its been a mixed bag of feelings, most of them negative to be honest. just so i can relive this whole experience everytime i read it, im going chronologically, right from day 1 up to day- well, up to today. u do the math.
those first few days were of fresh hope and maybe the slightest enthusiasm for whatever fancy project would land on our plates, before we had any idea what to expect from ceeri. they're remarkably quick here about allotting projects, and so, it progressed to a mild curiosity about the topic of my project, shortly thereafter, that lasted for about a week, the one, the only week i was to have no pressure at all, as my scientist guide assured me. i must admit, though, that the curiosity and interest rapidly diminished to plain bewilderment and panic, as i continued to listlessly read the two books he handed me, to get myself acquainted with what was to come.

the next few weeks are best summarised as ones of intense hopelessness at the task in hand(venky just gave me a deadline and went off for some hi-flying conference for a week, and boy, the word deadline had never been more apt), despair, major self-deprecation, lots and LOTS of whining, cribbing, wishful thinking about some other, any other ps. yes, we(me, gow, pavi, shrini) were quite fanatic in our belief that we had it worst off. predictably, we were not amused by the line on the quote-of-the-day notice board (which btw does not change for at least a week) -
Things are never so bad that they cant get any worse
-From the movie, The African Queen.

add to all this misery, our beloved instructor, n rajesh, ps-division in-charge, pilani - the embodiment of sincerity, discipline and everything else u really really dont want in ur ps instructor. ur doctor, maybe, or ur banker(or is it accountant?? i wouldnt know) but not ur ps instructor, for gods sake! having solemnly informed us that we were to strictly follow organizational timings, workdays, holidays, yadda yadda, and that he wouldnt be repeating it, he proceeded to do just that in every visit of his. punctuality was the one goddamn organizational virtue he didnt possess- we routinely waited for at least half an hour thrice a week when he was scheduled to visit us.

if my scientist (who, incidentally has the gift of the gab, and can talk about any subject for hours, knowledgeably, or at least so it seems) had any notions about BITSians and hence of me, whether due to previous batches or otherwise, i was here to disillusion him, and quickly. as his pop quizzes soon revealed, i may have read and i may have written, but remember i dont, cos learn i did not, in quite a few cases, which sadly were all the subjects he liked to quiz us about.

with more and more of my project completed, every stage faster than the previous, thanks to the increasing familiarity, the end actually seemed near. there was a time when my project was always 'almost over'. while that did improve my mood ever-so-slightly, the blues were still there; the earlier hopelessness was simply replaced by an inability to feel a sense of satisfaction or pride - i wished, still wish, i could be happy about being a smart-worker than a blah, sincere(sort of) hard-worker, slaving like i did with all that data and the same few functions over and over again, for different sets of numbers, doing, in my opinion, nothing more than a glorified data analysis.

but it is now time for photos,final reports, feedback forms, and last minute paperwork. the optimist is me is fighting back, after a lonng time, and even as i struggle to recap the summer in a positive light, i know the the memories, good or bad, will make me smile - skiving off to join the others in 213 the moment venky leaves the room, and those endless minesweeper games there, the only non-scientist territory.. lunches at ascendas, to lunches at ceeri followed by chumma hanging out in ascendas..learning the hard way how to un-hide files on a comp.. getting caught by n ra at the bus stop, and haplessly watch 5c leave without us as as he lectures us on the road.. leaving for lunch as the lunchtime-over-bell sounds and returning as the tea break starts..having venky actually compliment my typing speed as im alternating between gmail chat windows and matlab, all with his blessings, no less :D.. ceeri-clri meetings at hot chips and ascendas.. move from feeling annoyed to feeling sorry for n ra, the ambi of our times.. those 2 days of bliss with no scientists, no labs and no libraries.. the coinstructor tow of whose every three sentences would begin with 'i'm not paid to do all that'.. dd and fg and glasgow and mobile phones(LOLEST)...

7 more days to go.
so close, no matter how far.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


For about the thirty seventh time this summer, i debate, in classic Friar Tuck fashion, as i recollect the image of that woman in the bus leaning across me to bless the road with a red shower, about taking the real effort to organize a clean-up drive at least in my neighborhood. and about Sounding Off in the Metro(always the optimist, assuming the article is accepted) about the next-to-zero civic sense in our country, or at least the people I see everyday in the bus, in the train, on the roads, how utterly uncivilized people can be, spewing saliva every which way like it’s their birthright.
It makes me seethe to see some dude all nicely dressed, company tag sticking out of his shirt pocket, spit oh-so-casually on the road. why, why??? do they run to the wash basin in their offices, homes, every so often, too??? I long to tell these people exactly what I think of them, but coward that I am, want is as far as that goes. Cos im scared of the fluent local tongue-lashing that would invite, and which will positively include more than mere civic sense. and so i content myself with giving them the most repulsed, revolted, disgusted, scornful look i can muster. and ob, whoever the look is meant for wont bother and some others give me this funny look and with a sigh, rearrange my face, jus wishing the whole thing wouldnt bother me so. And sometimes I think I should pull out my I-card, flash it for a nanosecond and pretend im from some clean-up squad and can levy fines on those shameless losers(and no, idea aint original, got it from tht chetan bhagat book, the call center one). But yes, god, the whole idea is laughable. Ludicrously ridiculous. As if anybody would give a rat’s ass about why some depraved anniyan-wannabe girl half their age is kicking up a fuss over the normal, accepted our-city-is-our-dustbin non-issue. which jus makes me wonder- does it take a psycho alter of some mpd patient to make ppl sit up n do somethin abt this?? in fact, they only have to NOT do something, thats how easy it is!! is anybody listening though :( like blog 1, again im hoping for a yes

Monday, July 2, 2007

numero uno

its a beautiful feeling – lying in bed, sleep far away, feeling good for no specific reason, and your mind, notorious for its monkey-ways, jumps from one good thought to another random one, connected in the most obscure way. and suddenly it occurs to me i want to remember these thoughts, i want to capture these moments, every thing about them, so i can truly relive them, which is what has spurred this impulse to start blogging. plus maybe I’d like to hear the occasional comment that an unbiased stranger offers, simply by reading random musings in my head.

these are the thoughts, little snippets, that were flashing across my mind - these 'holidays' with ps, and why i still love it with all the cribbing about 1.5 months of ps thats neither here nor there- not at all timepass but no hi-fi project either; the things i really like, that have a feel-good, therapeutic effect on me – the way some words are spelt and spoken- like rhapsody, say. I just love the word- how its spelt, pronounced, what it means, everything about it. And nuance. And turquoise. And quintessence – it sounds so other-worldly, always has. Bougainvillea, chrysanthemum, those letters in that order somehow hold some charm for me, nothing to do with images of the flowers, seeing how I have no idea what they look like.. and how i love reading an oooolld, feel-good, IM conversation i once had the good sense to save.. writing on the back of photos.. going through old stuff and finding something new ive missed before… the smell of rain-washed earth in the middle of this chennai summer (mmm manvasanai, i don’t know what the English equivalent is, or if there is one).. reading the newspaper cover to cover and feeling I can still catch on with the world and its happenings.. reading the Letters to the editor, and actually know which previous article the writer is referring to.. remembering old stories and characters from Orient Longman English textbooks.. checking off items on my to-do lists.. timepass notes on doors in hostel rooms... remembering bits and pieces of the kural I read in the bus and having my parents recite it verbatim and explain its meaning.. finishing, not even all, but most clues in the crossword.. weekends that feel like heaven, after a long week of ps.. drinking elaneer and relishing it, less for the taste or thirst-quenching than the knowledge that I jus consumed something healthy and pure(right?!) … being the first to arrive at ps(only when the climate is like now, all drizzly all the time) and sitting on the doorstep watching the gardener mow the grass, and even better, being among the first to leave(WHAT a rarity,though) and just in time to catch the parakkum train .. seeing the coin pass from hand to hand in a crowded bus, and the ticket retrace the route... And more and ever more.

so thats it i guess for my first blog. pretty erratic, all of it, from the punctuation, not to my taste- id rather it were here or there(phrase of the day??) to.. everything else about it, i guess.. and theres more, so much more to come, the voices in my head are certainly more than a match for my fingers on the keyboard, but will i sit me down n put pen on paper, so to speak, again in the near future? hmm im hoping for a yes.