Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poly-Ticks and Dummy-cracy!

Much has been said, written and shown about the unfathomable plunge that the Indian democracy took on the July 22nd. The alleged horse-trading in the parliament(read : paar-kiya-ment) has garnered headlines like it was the first time such nefarious money-transfers have taken place. The self-righteous Mr. Argal, or the saffron high command for that matter, wouldn’t have a gala time justifying what his party did with the five independent MLAs in Karnatka a few weeks back.

Criminalisation of Indian politics had its moments of glory when the trust vote kneeled down before Their Highness The Bahubalis serving sentences for life. The Opposition left no stones unturned, no pun intended. Neither did the ruling party illustrate any high degree of character. Ultra-strange bedfellows were the order of the day. Lalu’s witticism gave way to slanging matches. Rahul Baba’s Kalawati-sation was followed by high denomination currency display. Emotions, comedy, sleaze, tragedy, action, thrill…everything ran amok.

Who’s to blame for this demeaning exhibition of dummy-cracy? The answer is not that difficult.

Polticians are no superhumans. They are ones among us, albeit rotten ones. Its may be the classic chicken and egg situation when one ponders over whether power corrupts or corrupt come in power. For the ordinary middle class, there are other things to get in a sweat. Tapering monetary supplies and flaring family expenses make one work like a Trojan. No wonder election dates do not mean a tad more than Sundays to a decent percentage of city-zens.

This apparent ignorance of the Indian youth has been aptly struck upon by Paresh Rawal’s character in the Anil Kapoor-starrer Nayak. Our ambitions touch the sky but they limit the domain to personal accomplishments and family obligations. “Ghar ki safai mein haath kaun gandey karey,” comments Madhavan in the 2006 rebellion Rang De Basanti.

Things are starting to change, though on a microscopic scale. The nation was taken aback when 5 IITians relinquished lucrative job offers to take a dive into Indian Politics, forming Lok Paritran Party. Ironically, the leaders of this political party, including the founders, face charges of intra-party corruption. Shiv Khera, noted Indian author, has shaped a political party of intellectuals. Campaigns like Lead India have hurled in a few hopes as well. Mani Ratnam’s Yuva may find a real life twin saga in the time to come. The hitch is that we have a torrent of Lallans and a dearth of Michaels. But affirmative steps are always welcome. However inconsequential they may seem to be, they should be seen as portends of an all-encompassing change; as it is said… Hope springs eternal.

P.S.: Cambridge Dictionary defines a “tick” as an arachnid that sucks from other animals to live. Poly-ticks thus means many blood sucking parasites!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What is Love??

Here are some chosen ones:

Love is...

" a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever." - Anonymous

" quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away." - Dorothy Parker

"...everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it...It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong

" act of endless forgiveness" - Peter Ustinov

"...something that, if you have, you don't need to have anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have. - Sir James M. Barrie

Here's the masterly stroke:

"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." - Mark Twain/Robert Frost

And here's some food for thought:

"Love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down." - Woody Allen

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What not to do @ the placements!!! : The marathon post!

The anecdote dates back to 12th of May 2008. Four of the biggest good-for-nothings vowed to toil real hard in the summer break. Placements were about to begin two months down the line. With an engineering gyaan of our standards, we had to leave no stone unturned to get a job.
The summer break went on smoothly. The only thing we forgot to do was studying. Fed up of the #%&*@ within me, I went on to purchase a textbook on digital electronics on the 2nd of July. Reason: This was the only subject I didn’t know naught about.

Procrastination didn’t end. 36 hours to go!

I went to shop, finally, for the formals and all. It was then I realized the gross mismatch between the quantity of material used and the price commanded by the tie. I had almost zeroed in on an international business of reasonably-priced ties. I made the calculations: millions needed. Chucked the plan of setting out an IPO owing to the bullying bears (that’s quite an irony!) in the primary stock market. The B-plan bombed.

I prepared a schedule of how to extract the full monty of the next 36 hours. I did nothing.

Restless, I talked to all the persons who could possibly help me with clearing the interview. (I take this opportunity to thank every single one of them though I didn’t make much out of what they(except my sisters) said; but the gesture always counts.) In the process I ended up tearing my hair apart when one of my uncles suggested me to touch the interviewers’ feet on entering the cabin.

The evening before the D-day: it was raining cats and dogs. I had to get my certis back from home. Jishnu, the saviour, made an appearance. He agreed on accompanying me to my place. We hopped onto his bike and took the rain bullets on our chests like men. Dripping, we returned. Ugly sniffs and sneezes in the interview hall loomed large.

About 12 hours to go (I wasn’t quite sure of the reporting time until morn!). It was high time to prepare my CV. I scratched my head for ages and still couldn’t come up with one single accomplishment worth mentioning. I anaesthetized my conscience and declared that I was the second topper of my batch in the ICSE board exams. I wasn’t. At least it was better than Jishnu’s achievements that commenced with “Won the Long Jump event in the eleventh grade”. And they say academic achievements should feature in a CV!

2200 hours. We had to rush if we wanted the CVs printed. Jishnu and Kiran left for Bistupur. My job was to ask the mess boy to not to finish the food off so that the two do not have to get maggi-fied. I forgot.

Preparations for the written round got off the mark. I jotted down the list of probables – answers, not questions. Critical reasoning questions from the Barron’s GRE prep-book have a passage followed by some multiple-choice questions. There was a sheet that had the answers and the clues to have them by heart. The list had been handed over to us by our seniors and this is a tradition being followed since TCS has been gracing our campus. Given below is a part of the list of the answers to be mugged up.

Question with red,brown: Answers(1to4) : CABD : CAB in Delhi
Question with dogshow: Answers(1to5) : BCCAD : Beta Chori Chhupe Aur Daaru chadao
Question with 2 children : Answers(1to4) : DEEB : Dono Ek Ek Baar

I talked to some nice people over the phone and dozed off around 0200 hours.
Got up late. The pre-placement talks were to commence at 9am. We reached there around 0935. Fortuitously, punctuality isn’t one of the virtues of a firm that boasts of a punchline “Experience Certainty”. The talks began at quarter to twelve. Epiphany : I had forgotten the pen and the paper at the hostels. The TCS guy kept on blabbering and I jotted some points down anyhow.

Written round. Easy pickings throughout the grossly sub-standard paper. Qualified.
I started having second thoughts about my selection of “favourite subject”. 60 minutes before the interviews were to start, I changed my mind. Mobile Communication superceded digital bullshit. Manish took me orally through the basics of the subject.
1900 hours. I was famished. It had been 6 hours since lunch. It was decided to send the girls first for the interview. The order of interviewees was altered. I found myself near the end of the list. I took this opportunity to nip out in quest of anything edible. It was bucketing down outside. I couldn’t afford to get myself drenched at this moment.

1930 hours. Sukirti, the godsend, hove into sight. I handed him twenty bucks for sandwiches. I was on the ground floor of the Academic Building. I loosened my tie-knot and took a seat on the stairs dreaming about the delicacy.

I heard a call.
“Varun Gupta”.
I heard it again.

Dumbfounded, I ran up the flight of stairs. How could it be? How could the list be reshuffled? I tossed the extra stuff out from my file of certis. There was a commotion on the first floor. Several confused voices sounded like “VKG kahan hai”, “Kya karta hai ye #$%^$$”, “Jaldi Bulao yaar” and so on. The thirty yard corridor seemed like light years. I tightened the tie-knot, running. I checked the certis, running. I wiped the sweat off my face, running. Believe it or not, I entered the cabin, almost running.

Excerpts :
“Good Evening, sir. Good Evening, sir.”
“Good evening(almost in chorus).”
“Take your seat, Varun.”
“Thank you.”
“So Varun. How was your day?”
“Pretty nice, sir”
“No complaints? We heard you guys complaining about the hectic schedule.”
“No sir, not at all. Actually I was in the luckier batch. I had the time for lunch. Some people had to skip it. I’m fine.”
I wasn’t.
“Good. So tell us something about yourself. Your achievements, your moments of glory, when youe felt elated, when you helped someone, when you were helped…blah blah blah”
“I’m Varun…..”

I talked about two incidents that never happened. The people seemed interested and impressed.
The buggers didn’t ask for my file of certis. Neither did they ask anything about the much hyped “favourite subject”.
“Okay…whats BTS”
“Sir, Base Transceiver Station”
“Base Service Centre…Base Switching Centre.”

“Realise a NAND gate using OR gates.”
I drew a NOR instead of a NAND.
“Verify it using truth tables”
I was stuck. I realized my blunder. I apologized. I did it again. This time I was right.
“What do you know about Phase Modulation?”
Damn. What on earth was modulation?
“Sir, I’m not sure but I can try. Suppose…” Plain horseshit.
“What are the types of modulation?”
“Analog and Digital Modulation.”
It was a question more than an answer.
“I meant like frequency modulation…and what else?”
“Sir, frequency modulation, phase modulation…ummm…time modulation, amplitude modulation, velocity modulation.”

I guess my answer was ahead of its time. Time and velocity modulation had not yet been discovered. Damn you, scientists!

“Achcha, why is modulation done?”

Which sucker invented modulation???!!!????!!!

Anyway, rest of the interview went fine.

I returned to the hostels. Loads of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. I passed out soon. Got up late, had my breakfast and went to sleep again. I couldn’t stand the anxiety.
1630 hours. Abhinandan woke me up. “Saale uth, ho gaya.”