Sunday, March 2, 2008

Poltu Time

It's election time in IIT Bombay and while it's massively fun just being a spectator it's even better when you are involved cause the stakes are so much more higher.

There are certain things that one realizes, at least I do so now, about the whole election process. Firstly all the winning candidates over the past two-three years fit into a certain space which can be given as a basic criteria for just standing for elections. In terms of hostels it has to be 2/3/4/13 or one has to be an IB member - MI or Techfest or one has to be gulti - one of the largest ethnic groups on campus that votes pretty much enmasse for its own.

Secondly, another thing that I feel strongly about is the lack of ideology. It does not mean that a candidates manifesto is useless but often one sees that there are almost the same ideas. I have always believed that politics is strongly connected to ideology and emotive issues. While there is a serious lack of the latter - the closest one ever got to that would have been bike ban/tumtum and now lan ban, ideology is also lacking because the election system here is not party based but rather individual based and hence it keeps changing year after year so there's absolutely no longevity. So what that does leave the candidate is with the need for good campaigning especially the public appearances as in the Insight videos and the Awaaz debate, a good decent image and simultaneously the need for good poll arithmetic. I am seriously ashamed as to how I so subscribe to the idea of dividing the electorate into groups based on states/language, cultural/sports interests and then use contacts to try and get these groups to support a candidate. 5-6 years back at home I would have been disgusted with such an idea but then here I realize that in the absence of ideology and emotive issues - electoral arithmetic is paramount. The initial basic criteria I defined is very much a part of this maths. Sometimes I wish elections here like the ones in DU or in UP - which actually has parties and ideology but then I'd rather not cause there politics tend to be the most important thing and it's very very dirty and violent. Not that politics in IITB is clean - it's not violent but it is certainly dirty with many cards being played, some overtly while the majority are played covertly. The maximum poltu happens during the last two days - the silent day and election day when alliances are formed and broken, back stabbings happen, unknown movers and shakers come into the picture and some candidates laugh while the others cry.

The process has just come into its own now and over the next 10 days a lot more things will surface and happen till the last vote is cast and the counting happens. Till then it's fingers crossed for the candidates whom you support and some smart back room manoeuvring.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


And so the inevitable comes - EDP, the most dreaded thing in final year. Just when every thing is going smoothly and everyone is sleeping a lot more than they should ever be, EDP is one of the rudest and loudest wake up calls. Our batch in particular is having a ball of a time - we either have chemicals that are unheard of (Eg: Dimethyl Phthalate - that's mine) or extremely common chemicals with loads of stuff to read. So either way we are fucked. And now there's a mid term review - again we are the first batch to have something like this. This is vendetta - for the four years that we have troubled every single professor in the department, the department is having its laugh now.

I have postponed, procastinated and used evry trick to not do EDP work but now my hand is forced. The submission is on Monday and examiner is going to be Mahesh - not at all a walk in the park. Will there be an extension - I hope not cause I really want to go to Canada. I have put my entire visa application and ticket booking on hold just for this, so maybe next week after the evaluation I will get a better idea of where I am headed. But that means I have to go work now - and that makes me sad.

Work - until something else comes to distract me :P

Thursday, February 21, 2008

C for Clown

So it seems things on my list are moving - within a week of saying I wanted to see a play, I have actually seen one. If only other things move as fast!! But here's some more on my first Theatre experience (Theatre = High Culture = Blah! Culture and Media hangover)

The play was "C for Clown". Directed by Rajat Kapoor, it starred Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak and himself - a pretty regular combo nowadays (at least from the movie point of view). It was staged at Prithvi Theatre and I must admit my first experience of Prithvi has been mind blowing. It was something I had only read about till now, but to actually see it and the whole ambience was great. Got a look at Zakir Hussain, some other character actors in Hindi films and that's when I realized that these are the kind of places that Bombay Times must be covering for its daily dose of Page 3. I couldn't grab a bite at the Prithvi Cafe but hopefully there's a next time for it. The theatre itself is pretty small, contrary to my expectations of a large LT like venue it was a small cozy venue that could seat say maybe 250 people and seats went right up to the stage. So if you are in front row seats you can actually shake hands with the actors. Talking of shaking hands, the amount of schmoozing that goes on is so much - everyone seems to know the actors or at least pretend to know or be very interested. After a time one wonders how the hell don't they get bored with it?? But no more of ambience and the people cause it's time to begin the show - and you better be on time because Prithvi has very strict rules of not letting people in once the show has started (the theatre-wallahs now start their plays 5-10 minutes late just to make sure everyone is accommodated!!!)

The play started off in gibberish and for the first five minutes I was actually wondering if I am going to be lost for the remaining two hours. Had I made a mistake in coming and was this not my cup of tea? But soon my fears were laid to rest when it started off with English that I could understand. I shall cover the play without going too much into the details or by giving spoilers - In short the play is about the lives of five clowns - Bozo, Soso, Popov, Fido and Fifi and their circus show. There are a number of tracks that the clowns cover as part of their act which are well and truly hilarious. The first one hour is truly awesome comedy and even before you know it the hour's up. The play however starts to slow down a bit as the lady and the romantic track comes in which in some sense reminded me of a very filmy style and this track goes on for a particularly long time, making you look at the watch. The hilarious scences are still there every now and then but the theme lets it down. The ending following this track is even more abrupt and I personally felt it was there just because the show had to end.

Overall, as Anjor said the play was an experiment that focussed on the lives of the clowns. Every track was like a snapshot at a particular time. There is no apparent story line and indeed it is hard to try and connect all the tracks and acts other than the above mentioned idea. Regular theatre goers like Ghaza and Vishnoi found the play to be quite bad mainly for its lack of story/storyline. But one should still go see the play if only for the performances by the characters - stupendous is the only word one can use but every actor plays his/her part to the fullest. A special feature of the play - its interaction with the audience that was just so fantastic. They played on the audiences reaction for almost the entire first hour be it the mind reading act or the one with the suicide attempt or Bozo's run. The front row is indeed where all the action was and mind you the comedy is not clean and sterile comedy. What makes it enjoyable is that it is everyday language taking potshots at everyone and not afraid to say/show ideas that would be entirely unacceptable in our homes. The acting again comes to the forefront with the use of gibberish which took the emphasis away from the dialogues to the acting.

All in all, it's a good play to watch for the performances. A bit too lenghty, but if you have nothing better this is what you should be watching. As for my theatre experience - I just say bring it on. Maybe a few more in the next two months should actually get me enthused about dram also!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Things to Do

As I sit back and think, I realize that time is running out - at least my college life is all set to end in about two months (if all goes well) and then I figure I have about two months of free time. So maybe three or four months at the most and I realize that I have so much to do. So here's a list of things that I want (& need) to do, in no preference order over the next four months.

1) Go abroad
2) Goa
3) Bangalore (more visit than travel)
4) Barkur (that's my native village)
5) NIT Suratkal (??)
6) Bharat Darshan

1) Play good squash
2) Learn to play guitar (Sudeep has promised he shall teach)
3) Go for driving classes (A long standing wish now)
4) Put on weight (That's like Mission Impossible!!!)
5) See loads of movies and TV serials
6) Read and buy books - I desperately need to get back to who I was
7) Poltu - It's gonna be fun
8) Treats - to give and to take
9) Build the Techfest Wikipedia

1) See a play
2) Visit the Mumbai Film festival
3) Siddhivinayak and MumbaDevi Temples
4) A discotheque
5) A pub/lounge bar
6) Hard Rock Cafe
7) Visit my LGs (it's been so long since I have done this)

Acads (Yes, this unfortunately has to be done)
1) Courses: No matter what pass, at the very least
2) EDP: This has to be a miracle
3) Attend all of Roy's classes to avoid XX (I am on thin ice currently)

1) Get a new cellphone
2) Buy an iPod
3) Get new spectacles
4) Laptop (??)

That's as much as I can remember for now, more additions to be made as required. List to be reviewed at end of June to determine success and wish fulfillment

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Every time I get back to blogging there has to be some grouse about which I have to crib. Have had this feeling of wanting to blog for quite some time after tf now, but let's say I never found the right crib. But now I finally seem to have found it - Valentine's Day.

V Day by itself is probably not that bad but if you are single like I currently am (that status extends into the past as well as the near future) it's the most horrible thing. Like today morning when I woke up horribly late (wanted to wake up early to play squash) and then realized with a long deep sigh that today was V Day and I had absolutely nothing to do. It's bad enough that now I am so jobless that there is nothing to do on most days but when people around seem to be enjoying the day and you have nothing, it sucks - big time. Or "core dump" as we call it in IIT lingo - that's what made me sleep till 2 in the afternoon!!!

The solution: catch up with all your single friends, curse the couples and have a few beers!!
Other things to do:

Movies: Casablanca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dil Chahta Hai, Kate and Leopold, You've Got Mail
Books: Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, (any Sidney Sheldon :P)
Music: The Beatles, Roxette, Michael Learns to Rock, Corrs, Sting, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson

So take your pick and select which way you'd like to celebrate V Day. Single or couple, have a Happy Valentine's Day - whatever that means!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Preity's wallpaper has to be the most awesome one in my entire collection of over a year. I have around 10 of hers but the last one...the one that prompted me to write this post has to be the best. Black and white(I love these) and capturing all her innocence and naughtiness at the same time this one just makes me yearn for Preity.

I know I do sound like a school kid with a crush but with Preity it's perfectly acceptable I think. She's always been my favourite and no matter what anyone says she's the best. I have watched all her movies, almost all, even K.Jo movies just because she's there. (Talking of K.Jo movie - KANK, I agree with Saxena when he says the movie premise is flawed...why in the world would anyone want to cheat on Preity??)

Ness Wadia is one lucky bastard!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Ah, finally relief!! The deadline was reached last night and that should be the end of resume headaches unless there are a truckload of companies that want us to fill their own forms. No God let's please not have anything like's just too painful.

When they said 4 weeks to develop your resume I scoffed and said what the hell how much time does it take. Now that it is finally over, I know. Ten versions and lots of snipping and cutting later I know what "growth of resume" means.

Resumes are good and bad. Good because they let you know yourself more. It does involve a lot of soul searching and memory scratching and one does get to recollect a lot of good times all over again. It's bad however cause after a time you get sick of achievements and wish for the simplicity of things. Because of its competitive nature and the fact that one has to make an impression in under 20 seconds, everything suddenly gets hyped up. Action verbs - that's the key even though there might be no action at all. You claim credit for everything that has possibly happened and there is general aggrandizement. By then resumes become verbose and sickly like saccharine sweetness. Things are cramped because you have too many things to write from and can't choose what to leave out else you decide to increase font size and liberally add spaces because you have not much to write about (all in the name of better readability as in my case :)) And believe me the more you think about your resume the more points you will remember, infinite corrections to be made and it's like the proof reading will never end. Frankly, the best way to write a resume is to catch hold of 15-20 resumes from the previous year similar to your profile and just cut, copy and paste.

And then there's beloved html to drive us all crazy. Mine got done thanks to Zubin's fundaes and Surd jugaadofying some old resumes. After that it was just cut, copy, paste (Cut, copy, paste - every IITians mantra that mostly never fails). To make things more complicated resume headers keep changing every few hours right up to the last day. So you never know whether you have written too much or too little. Anyways am done with it so relieved. It's now the placement nom's headache of checking every single resume. Am I glad I am not one - so many resumes...yechhh!!! (But then again resumes make interesting reading especially when you know the guy has made a mountain of a mole hill)

Anyways one last comment they should just stick to one pagers for non tech and 2 pagers for tech. It will at least cut down on the unnecessary faff that people write especially about their positions of responsibility and academic projects. The tech guys can mention all the projects they want in the two pagers. That way everyone should be happy.

But now I no longer am bothered (hopefully) though I still have to work on making my academic projects and internships real for the interviews. Oh what a pain...